I Never Stopped Thinking of You – Chapter 4 – 6

Part 4: Washington DC – 2010


The pounding on his door was incessant. And loud. Very, very loud. Tony groaned as he sat up in bed. He had a very, very bad hangover.


“Tequila, why did I do tequila? Oh that’s right, bad movie, just quit my job, dropped my lover and who the fuck is pounding on my door?” He dragged himself out of bed and pulled on the sweatpants and relatively clean t-shirt that was on the floor. The pounding continued and it just added to the headache that was already behind his eyes.


“Gimme a sec, dammit,” he yelled, then winched at the sound of his own voice. Finally he made it to the door and opened it. What he didn’t expect was a furious faced goth girl pushing past him and storming into his apartment.


“How could you Tony?” Abby Sciuto, forensic specialist and someone he thought of as like a sister glared at him.


“Abbs, it’s only.” He looked at the clock on his blu-ray player and winched, “Okay so it’s not early but still shouldn’t you be in your lab drinking a god awful amount of kaf-pow and listening to Dying Fetus or something and working on evidence?”


“Hey, I’ll have you know Dying Fetus is an awesome death metal band. If you would just give them a chance….” Tony held up a hand to stop her on one of her death metal is awesome tirades.


“Abby, what are you doing here?” Tony asked, trying to stay as patient as he could with the woman.


“I came to take you back home so you could tell Gibbs that it was all a mistake. You didn’t really mean it, and you’re back on the team.” Tony’s face darkened and his headache got even worse.


“Listen very carefully to me Abby, I’m not coming back. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever. Understand?”


“But, Tony.” Tony almost winched at the whine that came out of her mouth. “Gibbs is going to miss you. We’re a family and without you what is he going to do?”


“I don’t care. Now, please go back to your lab and when you can talk to me like an adult and not a spoiled, petulant, manipulative child we will discuss this, but right now I have the mother of all hangovers and I don’t want to discuss this with you.”


“You’re the one acting like a spoiled child Tony. You’re breaking up our team, our family…”


Tony pressed his lips together and clenched his fists tight against his body to try to keep himself calm.


“There is no family Abbs. There hasn’t been since Gibbs came back from Mexico. In fact, since you tried to make me into Gibbs. Now, I get it Abbs, I really do. You love him like a father figure and frankly I think he indulges you way too much, but that isn’t my call, is it? But, I was never Gibbs and you just could never get over that. We aren’t family Abby, we haven’t been for a long time and I think it’s time you grew up and saw the goddamned forest for the trees.”


“Why are you saying these things Tony?” Abby frowned as she looked like she was going to cry. Tony could not really figure out if they were real tears or if she was pulling one of her little manipulative stunts.


“I’m just telling you the truth. I’ve woken up to the truth Abby. Gibbs is out for Gibbs. Now, please run along back to your lab, hug Bert, pout, do whatever the hell you want, just don’t do it here.”


“I don’t know why you’re being so mean. Gibbs will talk some sense into you.” Abby turned on her platforms, pigtails bobbing behind her she stormed out of Tony’s apartment slamming the door making Tony’s head pound even more.


He wasn’t sure what he had expected from her. She was always Gibbs first but he thought that they had a special relationship. He could see now that perhaps that was all a lie. Not wanting to think about it he went to his bathroom, grabbed the aspirin and dry swallowed two of them then took a blistering hot shower hoping he could stave off the migraine that was slowly developing on top of the hangover. When he got out he put on clean jeans and a t-shirt then padded out to his kitchen. He started a stovetop espresso pot for some coffee and pulled out a few ingredients to make a frittata, his go to hangover meal.


The coffee was done quickly and by the time he was taking his first sip he had some sausage going in one pan and some zucchini, mushrooms and tomatoes being sauteed in another. He took the sausage out and layered the pan with some thin sliced potatoes. When one side was golden brown he flipped the whole thing and let that side brown as well.The cooking was relaxing him by inches. He shut his mind off for the time being and he was able to not think for a few blissful minutes. He topped the potatoes with the vegetables and sausage. By the time he had the eggs, cheese and cream mixture in the pan the oven was ready. He turned it low and slid the pan in. It would take a short while to cook and he decided to have some toast with his coffee while he waited for his food.


Of course the small measure of peace he had gained was intruded on. He groaned in frustration at the knock on his door. He really hoped that whoever it was would just go away, but they didn’t. Resigned, Tony slid from the stool that he was trying to relax on and went to open the door.


“I don’t want to know what happened, I don’t need to, but what I want to know is, are you okay?” Tony blinked a few times as he looked at one Supervisory Special Agent Tobias Fornell.


“Umm, I think.”


Tobias smiled a toothy grin as he studied Tony, “This has got to be a first DiNozzo. I’ve actually rendered you speechless.”


“Screw you Fornell,” Tony chuckled at the laugh that spilled from Tobias. “I take it you want to come in?”


“May I? Don’t want to intrude on whatever brood you have going, just wanted to check on you.”


“How did you hear anyway…..Gibbs, he called you didn’t he?”


“Yes, he did,” Tobias said as he moved into the apartment. “And no, I’m not here to talk you into going back. I told Gibbs he could fuck off. If the kid wanted out, that meant that he, meaning Gibbs, fucked-up royally.”


“Let’s have this conversation in the kitchen. I’ve got a frittata in the oven.” Tony led Tobias into the other room and checked on his food then sat at the counter once again.


“Would you like some coffee? I can make another espresso.”


“I’m fine.” Tobias sat across from him at the counter.


Tony took a sip of coffee, rubbed at this eyebrow then looked back at his guest.


“I just couldn’t anymore Tobias. I needed out of there or else I was going to lose more pieces of myself. I know, I know I brought some of it on myself but not all of it. Not by a long shot. This comms thing was the last damn straw. I don’t care what they say about me, I’ve never broken basic safety procedures like that. I’ve always had my team’s back.” The timer dinged and he set his coffee aside and pulled the food out of the oven.


“That looks good.”


“My Italian hangover cure, want a piece?” Tony held it up for Fornell to see.


“Sure, why not.” Tony grinned as he plated up two pieces and threw on some pan grilled ciabatta.


“Tony, I came here because I have a job opening. I’ve accepted a promotion. It took a while because they wanted to find other positions for the people on my team, but I’m going to be Section Chief of the Major Crimes Units. We currently have two teams. One is a travelling team that helps out other MCU departments across the country. The other works directly with Homeland Security and sometimes CIA, but we need a Unit that can work locally. Now, when I say locally you could be working as far away as Maine, but you get the idea.”


“Who would I be under?”


“You wouldn’t. I want you for Unit Chief of your own team. You would be able to pick your own teammates. I have a stack of candidates you might want to talk with but all your decisions are final. Your work may also take you into collaborating with the BAU. If you get yourself into a serial case you have the option of bringing them in whenever you want. Unless it’s specifically a serial killer, then you will be required to bring in the BAU’s A team.”




“They have an excellent track record and they have been building a database on what we know about serial killers. Their combined skill, knowledge and solve rate has never been surpassed. The Director has them doing a lot of important database building and research in-between their cases so he wants every department on-board with this.”


Tony’s heart beat a little fast. He knew what this meant. He’d probably be working with Aaron Hotchner’s team. Whenever his thoughts drifted to the man, he ached. He ached in a way that he never could understand. It was only three days. But those three fucking days had made a mark on him. He never could quite rid himself of the impact that those three days had made on him. Could this be, somehow, an opening? A way to get to know the man again? But not only that, he’d be the boss. He had liked being in charge when Gibbs had done his dash when the going got really hard. When memories of a dead wife that he just couldn’t let go of reared up and fucked with the man once again. This was a chance, a chance at whole new possibilities. A fresh start, for, well everything.


“I’m in.”


“DiNozzo, you don’t have to give me your answer now. Take a few days, think about it.”


“Don’t need to. I’m in,” Tony said as he munched on a piece of bread.


“Okay. I’ll have a courier send over the contracts and some personnel files for you to look over. Take a few days anyway DiNozzo. You’ve earned a little rest.”


“I have just one question.” Tony narrowed his eyes at Fornell thinking of his, well for lack of a better word, nemesis.


“Saks will be nowhere near you Tony. I’ll make sure of it.”


“How’d you…”


“I know you better than you think. How about you come to the office on Monday. Take a nice long weekend. Go to the movies, relax have some fun for once Tone. Then we’ll get you settled in on Monday.”


Fornell took a few bites of the food and moaned in pleasure, “Jesus DiNozzo, if you cook like this why the hell are you still single?” He teased.


“You know me Fornell, gotta always keep them guessing.” Tony smiled wide, but even he knew it was fake. He had made connections in the past, but they always ended in disaster.


“Okay. Then I’ll see you Monday.” Tony saw Fornell out of his apartment and couldn’t help the smile that came over him. He couldn’t believe how quickly things had changed for him but he knew, deep down, that this was better. He had hope again where before he was slowly losing that hope, that joy that he once had. New agency, new job, and maybe, just maybe there was a slim chance with Aaron. Then he remembered seeing him with Dr. Reid, but before he lost even that hope he would get the whole story behind that first. Tony finished his breakfast and his coffee and found that he was feeling surprisingly better. Hope can do a lot of amazing things, and his future looked very bright indeed.




Tony had been having a good few days to himself. He had done some much needed shopping for some new clothes and some basic necessities. He also had a very good talk with his broker, where he moved some investments around and sold some stocks that looked like they were topping out. He also made long term plans and rolled over his retirement funds from NCIS and decided to take the hit on penalties if it meant a complete break from the agency.


He knew he preened, he liked dressing well and he liked his cars, but what no one really knew was just how careful he was with his money. Growing up with Senior wasn’t easy and knowing how his father blew through money, he didn’t want to do the same thing. Tony was very well off and he wanted to keep it that way. He knew something could happen at anytime and he wanted to be able to be comfortable if it did.


After his successful meeting with his broker he went out and bought a few books, had a nice lunch, went to his classes that night and felt more settled than he had in months. Currently he was home indulging in a plate of pasta carbonara, a nice soave wine with an antipasti salad. He settled in to watch Dark Passage, the lesser known classic with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. It fit his current mood very well.


Tony was just about to start the movie when someone knocked at his door. Rolling his neck to try to ease the sudden tension in his body he slowly stood and went to open his door. When he did, he just glared at the person on the other side. He did not want them there, in any capacity.


“Gibbs. What are you doing here?”


Gibbs frowned at him as he held up the take-out bags, “It’s Friday night Tone, what do you mean what am I doing here?” He smiled and moved to step forward. Tony put a hand on his chest to stop him.


“Did you think I was kidding? I meant what I said Gibbs. We are over.”


Gibbs face fell and Tony almost believed the look of shock that came over his face, but he had been manipulated by one Leroy Jethro Gibbs one too many times to believe that look anymore.


“You didn’t really mean that Tony.”


“Yes, I did. Now, I’m already having myself a lovely dinner and was about to start a movie. So please, go home Jethro. I’m sure the next redhead that comes around will comfort you nicely.” Tony didn’t relent as he continued to glare at his former boss, former lover, former….everything.


Gibbs narrowed his eyes at Tony, “What the hell did I do?” He growled as he glared at Tony.


Tony sighed, he really was having a good day but he knew this conversation was inevitable.


“Fine, come in. But when this conversation is over you need to leave.”


Gibbs strode into Tony’s living room and set the bags of takeout on the coffee table.


“Can I at least have dinner?”


“Knock yourself out.” Tony couldn’t help the resignation in his voice as he resumed what he was previously doing.


The two men sat in silence for a while as they finished their food. Tony was not in the same good mood anymore and he had turned off the television and turned on his stereo on low. Knowing they needed to start somewhere, Tony pushed his plate away and sat back on the couch. He turned so he could look at his former boss.


“You want to know what you did Gibbs? How about we start with what you didn’t do. You didn’t reprimand the dynamic duo for breaking safety protocol. What if I had been hurt? What if something went horribly wrong? Sure, it was boring work, but fuck Gibbs, they needed to stay alert and listening on the damn comms. If it had been me that did it you would have torn me a new one, yet you didn’t even raise an eyebrow at them.”


Gibbs sat back and wiped his face, “They said you were goofing off.”


Tony curled his hands into fists and tried not very hard not to punch Gibbs in the face.


“Have you tried to go door to door in a huge ass gated community getting people to talk to you just so you can get their damn voice recorded? No? Then until you do, until you remember what grunt work was actually like you can’t blame me for trying to keep a little levity. Jesus fucking christ Gibbs, did you think that shit was easy?”


Gibbs blew out his breath as he threw his napkin on the table.


“No, no I know it wasn’t easy. And you’re right.”


“Excuse me? Did you just admit that I was right?”


“Don’t get carried away DiNozzo.” Gibbs stood and paced a moment, “If I talk to them, will you come back?”


“You don’t get it do you Gibbs? It isn’t just that. It’s the last eighteen months. It’s everything since Rivkin on. Ziva knew what the hell her boyfriend was doing. She knew and she told no one. She participated in an act of treason. Yet she’s still on the team. She got me shot, she tried to screw me on evidence and had McGee going along with all of it. It isn’t just the comms. Get your head out of your ass Gibbs and take a look at the people working for you. Wake-up. But don’t ever expect me to come back.”


Tony grabbed his plate and glass and walked into his kitchen. He slammed the glass down and threw the plate in the sink. He was so mad that he wanted to cry. He was standing hunched over the sink trying to get his emotions under control when he felt hands on his hips.


“Let go Gibbs. I meant what I said. We, this thing between us that you don’t ever want to acknowledge, we’re done.”


“You don’t really mean that Tone.” Gibbs whispered in his ear. Tony turned around, his jaw set as he glared at Gibbs.


“Yes I do.”


“I thought we were good, this was good.”


“For the few hours you’re here. But you aren’t all in Jethro. You never will be. It’s you, me and the ghost of Shannon that you just can’t let go of. I’ll never be her, no one, will ever be her. No one will ever be good enough for you to let her go and move on. Well, I’m moving on.” Tony moved away from Gibbs and went back to the living room.




“No, just leave.” He held Gibbs things out to him and didn’t even flinch when the man grabbed them out of his hand and stalked out of Tony’s apartment. He fell back on the couch and closed his eyes trying to get the pain and anger under control. A part of him had loved Gibbs. Had finally given in because he needed that something that Gibbs had been offering. The feelings were there, but even he had to admit to himself that he may not have been all in either. Most of the time Gibbs had been all he could think about, and he was happy with that, but sometimes he would creep in. Dark hair, dark eyes, handsome, a force all his own and Tony would ache. He wished he understood it. Wished he understood why Aaron Hotchner still had such a hold on him.


Tony wiped his face and gave-up for the night. He crawled into bed lying there trying to get Gibbs out of his mind so he could move on and make a new life for himself. He wondered if he should look for a new apartment. He didn’t want them to keep coming around trying to demand him to come back. He decided to put it on the agenda for the next day as he turned on his side and tried to go to sleep. He hoped everything would be better in the morning.




When Tony walked into the FBI building Monday morning precisely at 7:00 a.m he had a smile on his face, coffee in his hand and a whole new attitude. The weekend had been good to him. He even found a nice brownstone that he put in a bid on. Now he was just waiting to hear back from the real estate agent. When he stepped onto the elevator the world around him seemed to stop. He swallowed hard as the two men stared at each other.


“Tony…” The other occupant said almost breathlessly.


“Aaron,” Tony said with a smile.


“You look good.” Aaron’s breath had been knocked out of him as he stared at the man in front of him.


“And you look better than a man has any right to.” Tony smirked and poured on the charm.


“How have you been?” God, that just sounded stupid Aaron, he thought to himself. He was so caught off-guard that he was completely inarticulate.


“I’m good. I’m actually starting here today. Major Crimes.”


“You’re Tobias’s new UC?”


“I am. Can you handle that Aaron?” Tony pitched his voice low as he took a step forward. He was rewarded with the blush that creeped up on Aaron’s face and the visible hard swallow.


“I can handle it. We may be working together from time to time.”


The elevator stopped on Tony’s floor at that exact moment, “Yes, I was told. I’m very much looking forward to it.” Tony smiled as he stepped out and left a very perplexed Aaron Hotchner behind. Tony smiled to himself as he strode to Tobias’s office, having gotten directions from him the day before. Aaron, it seemed, still blushed very prettily. Tony was smiling and thought that just maybe there was that slim chance after all.


He found Fornell’s office easily and knocked.


“Ah DiNozzo, you found me, come on in.”


Tony entered and sat down in front of Fornell’s desk. He set his coffee down and pulled out the contract.


“Everything in here looks good. I signed and here you go.” He handed over the paperwork to his new boss.


“I think you’re doing the right thing Tone. Now, let me show you to your office.” Fornell stood and motioned for Tony to follow him. “The candidates you’ve requested will be here in the next couple of hours. That should give you time to get settled. I’ll have one of our tech analysts come up and get your computer set-up. There are some case files you should get familiar with also.” Fornell stopped in front of a nice looking, if very functional office.


“You’re kidding right?”


“No kiddo. Offices around here are not elevators. You get an honest to god office. Follow me.” Tony looked at the door and he smiled hugely. There was a name plaque, Unit Chief Anthony DiNozzo, Jr. He patted it once then followed Fornell out the door and to the side of his new office. He looked out into a bullpen similar to the one at NCIS. The set-up was a little different as there were sections of desks laid out like large squares.


“Each section is a team. Your team, will be over there. The smaller office next to yours will be for whoever is your 2IC, or lead investigator, it will be your choice who you give it to.”


“Wow, so this is really happening.”


“Yeah, it’s really happening. You aren’t changing your mind are you?”


“What? No, no not changing my mind at all just a little overwhelmed.” Tony took a breath and took it all in. “Okay, okay I can do this.”


“Of that I have no doubt.” Fornell walked Tony back to his office. “If you need anything at all DiNozzo you know where my office is.”


“Thanks Fornell. For all of this, for believing in me.”


“You’re a better man than you give yourself credit for DiNozzo. It’s time you step up and be the leader you were before. You can do this, I have a lot of faith in you kid..” Fornell clapped him on the back then left him alone.


Tony stood there a moment relishing the feeling of knowing he was in charge. Not only was he going to do things different than he did before, but he knew he was going to do things completely different from Gibbs. He would demand respect, of course, but he knew from experience that giving respect to those that deserved it was what made people want to give it back. Taking a deep breath he stepped into his office, turned on his computer, pulled the files that Fornell had left him and started to familiarize himself with his new place in life. It all felt so absolutely amazing. Now all he had to do was choose a team. How hard could that be?




Part 5: Quantico, FBI – 2010


It was really fucking hard. Choosing a team that is. He looked through dozens of files and while many were qualified for what his unit was being set-up for, only a few of them clicked with him. And, he had to admit they were a little rag tag. The first one he was really interested in, he wanted to talk to someone else about her. Get a second opinion so to speak. Picking up the file he didn’t even think before he made his way to Aaron Hotchner’s office. When he walked into the BAU bullpen he stumbled a little but there was one person he was beyond delighted to see.


“Dr. Reid,” Tony called out as he walked towards the desk.


“Mr. DiNozzo. Or should I say Agent DiNozzo,” Spencer stood and did something that shocked his teammates speechless. He hugged the man that had just walked in.


“Please, call me Tony. I actually wanted to speak to your Unit Chief.”


“Hotch? Sure, follow me. And please, call me Spencer since we’re going to be colleagues.” Spencer smiled that goofy infectious smile and Tony couldn’t help returning his own. He followed Spencer up the stairs to the office that Tony hadn’t missed. He also didn’t miss that Aaron had been watching them, closely.


Spencer knocked on the open door, “Hotch, Agent DiNozzo wanted to talk to you.”


“Thanks Reid, come on in Agent, and close the door.” Spencer’s brows disappeared under his hair as he looked between the two men and felt there was something else going on underneath. He really wanted to ask what was going on but decided to corner Aaron later.


The two men stared at each other, practically drinking each other in. Finally, it was Tony that broke the silence.


“How are you Aaron?” Tony’s breath was short as he tried to hold himself back from crawling in the man’s lap and kissing him within an inch of his life.


“I’m okay Tony. How are you? Are you settling in well?”


“Yeah, It’s a little strange but I’m getting the lay of the land so to speak.” God, could this conversation get any worse? Tony thought as he gripped the file in his hand. “I actually did want to talk to you, about a possible candidate for my team. Her name is Tara Gideon, and it says in the file that you are her medical power of attorney so I assume you know her well?”


Aaron smiled softly as he sat back in his chair, “I am and I do. Tara is an excellent investigator. She’s still young and learning, has a bit of a stubborn streak, but considering who she was raised by I’m not surprised. I think she’d be excellent for a unit like Major Crimes, it would season her a little.” It didn’t go unnoticed by Tony that Aaron didn’t say father, he set that little tidbit aside for now and would ask about it later if it wasn’t addressed. He knew, even from their limited experience with each other, Aaron never said what he didn’t mean.


“What’s your hesitation?” Tony also had picked-up on the slight hesitation that Aaron had when speaking about Tara.


“She had a difficult time growing-up. Her story isn’t mine to tell but she does have some anger issues that she is still working out. She has a temper and I’m worried it could get in the way, get her in real trouble.”


“Okay. I’ll take that into consideration. One thing I’m impressed by is that she hasn’t used her father’s name to get ahead. Couldn’t she write her own ticket?”


“She could. If she wanted she could petition a spot on my team, but she won’t. She hates that. She doesn’t like to be treated differently than any other agent. She’s trying to make her own way. I think,” Aaron narrowed his eyes and thought a moment, “I think you’d be good for her. I remember how patient you were with that young badge when I was in…well I remember how patient you were.” Tony quirked up a brow at the stumble. So, Aaron still thinks about those days too. Tony smiled as he stood.


“Thank you. You’ve helped me make a couple of decisions.” Tony started to make his way out the door. “Oh, if I need your invaluable counsel again, may I drop by?”


“Of course, anytime that I’m here. My door will always be open.” Aaron visibly swallowed and Tony couldn’t help pouring on the charm. He leaned a hip against the desk and tilted closer to Aaron, he pitched his voice low as he did it.


“Anytime you say? So, if I catch you here late at night and just happen to bring a cup of coffee or something, you wouldn’t mind, talking?”


Aaron blushed again, Tony did not think that he would ever get tired of making the man do that.


“Anytime.” Aaron finally said after he took a sip of water trying to get himself under control.


“Good. And, thank you for talking to me. It was very,” Tony stood and straightened his suit, “enlightening.” He gave one more smile as he sauntered out of the office and back to Spencer’s desk to say his goodbyes before going back to his office.


Spencer looked up towards Aaron’s office and raised a brow and wondered just what went on in there. He watched Tony walk out of the bullpen then looked back up and noticed Aaron watching Tony walk out of the office. Spencer sat back down at his desk and had some serious thinking to do.




Tony carefully studied the woman sitting in front of him for a few minutes before he finally spoke..


“So, Agent Gideon. I’ve reviewed your file and talked with several colleagues and they all say you would be perfect for my unit. I want to hear from you why you want to be on my team.”


“Sir, I’m sure you’ve also been told that I have a temper and need to work out some long unresolved issues.” She crossed her legs and bounced one on the other. “I won’t lie. I’ve been ‘in therapy’ for a while trying to get myself together. I need this. I need to prove to myself that I can be in the field and not let myself become emotionally compromised. I know my faults, Sir, but I’m also smart. As you can see I not only have a Psychology degree but a masters in Criminal Psychology and Police Science. I started out as a cop and worked my ass off to get here. I’ve never once used my father’s connection and I won’t. Ever. He’s a good man and I love him, even if he’s kinda gone off the rails. But, see that’s why they all watch me too closely, and they all forget that I’m adopted.”


Tony looked up for the file and narrowed his eyes, “You’re adopted?”


“No one told you?”


“No, they said that it was your story to tell me. Even Agent Rossi came to me and said to tread carefully.”


Tara rolled her eyes and chuckled, “Uncle Dave is the most over-protective asshole on the planet. I love him for it. But, it’s like because I grew-up around here they don’t want to acknowledge that I indeed have grown up. I’m not the little kid that sat on Uncle Max’s lap and peppered him with a 1000 questions and he grouchily told me to ‘get lost’ then proceeded to answer every one of them. I’m almost 30 years old and have earned my place here.”


Tony smiled at every word. He liked her. He liked her a lot. He liked that she was honest about herself and her own faults and needs.


“So, tell me then.”


Tara took a moment and sat-up straight and Tony knew this was a story she didn’t tell often. One she didn’t like to tell, he would be patient and wait.


“My real father was named Marcus Jamieson. My mother was Amelia. I had an older brother John and twin brothers, Andrew and Anthony. My Dad was an active duty Marine Doctor. His best friend was Leroy Gibbs. We lived just a few houses down on the naval base from them. One night, when my father was home on leave, someone broke into our home and attacked my family. I was saved only because Uncle Jethro and my father had made a hidden play area in my room which I scrambled into and hid in. It wasn’t until several hours later when Jason Gideon coaxed me out, that’s when I found out my whole family was killed. I was only six.” Tara sniffed as she squirmed a little in her seat. She looked down at her hands a moment before she continued.


“It was a family annihilator. The BAU had been after the same UNSUB for months after he killed five civilian families before he started stalking my father and our family. The common factor with all of the victims had been the fathers, they all were doctors.”


Tony leaned back in his chair and couldn’t even imagine the horrors she had gone through.

“When Uncle Jethro refused to take me in, even though he was my godfather, Jason took me in. He fostered me, then later adopted me.”


Tony was working out the timeline in his head when he leaned forward.


“This happened close to when Shannon and Kelly Gibbs were killed, wasn’t it?”


Tara nodded before she looked up again, “Look, I know you worked for him. And I want to work for you, I do, but I’ll tell you right now I want nothing to do with him. He made an agreement with my father and broke it. He abandoned me and it may be childish on my part, but I will never forgive him for it. I don’t know if you’re still friends at all with him, and if you are, that’s your own personal issues, just don’t expect me to have anything to do with him.”


“Don’t worry Tara, that ship has already sailed. LJ Gibbs has no place in my life. I’m sorry that happened to you but, I think we can work well together. Welcome to the team, Agent Gideon.”


“Really? You want me?” She smiled the biggest smile and Tony had to laugh.


“Yeah kid, I want you. Now, go take a desk.” Tony was wondering how she was going to do in a team. He was excited at the prospect of finding out.


He wasn’t going to choose his 2IC yet, not until he had his team fully assembled and they had a few cases under their belt. They needed to come together as a team first and the one that stood out in leadership would be who he promoted.


He had three more interviews planned for that day but he really needed something to eat, it was past one in the afternoon. He quirked up his mouth in a crooked smile then picked-up his phone and called Chief Sexy himself.


“Hotchner.” Tony almost groaned in pleasure at hearing that name.


“It’s Tony, Aaron. I was wondering if you were free for lunch? That is, if you hadn’t already had it.”


Tony waited and could almost picture in his head that Aaron was looking at the time and realizing that he hadn’t taken the time for lunch.


“I didn’t know it was so late. I have a budget meeting at 2:30, but I could take a few minutes. Meet me at Max’s? That little sandwich and coffee shop down in the lobby?”


Tony smiled and raised his eyes to heaven and did a little thank you.


“Sounds perfect. Meet you there.” He hung up, grabbed his jacket and pulled his wallet from his desk then walked out of his office and made it downstairs in no time. When he saw Aaron walking down the lobby, head slightly down, but with a sure, confident stride it did crazy things to his brain. Chief Sexy was right and Tony wondered how long it was going to take to woo the agent back into not only his bed, but his life as well.




Aaron kept smiling all the rest of the day through reports. It was making his day go faster and he had his pile taken care of, his budget meeting done and quarterly evaluations scheduled. He was snapped out of his almost zen like zone when Spencer stepped in, closed and locked the door, closed the blinds then walked over and crawled into his lap. The genius cupped his face and Aaron thought he was going to kiss him, but he didn’t.


“I’m letting you go.” Spencer gave him a soft smile as he rubbed a thumb over one of his cheeks.


Aaron frowned in confusion as he looked at Spencer.


“I’m sorry, what?”


“Tony DiNozzo. That’s him isn’t it?”


Aaron rubbed the back of his neck and wondered just what Spencer was on about.


“What are you talking about?”


Spencer took a breath and looked Aaron directly in the eye.


“When I first started with the unit Gideon took me aside one day and told me that you had your heart broken pretty badly. I knew he didn’t mean Haley. He was telling me this because of, well, he intuited my crush on you. He was entirely too perceptive. And he told me a vague story about Baltimore and I always somehow knew it was a man. Sometimes, when you look at me when we are alone I can almost feel you wanting it to be someone else Aaron. When Tony showed – up earlier, it was all you could do to hold back. You forget how well I read micro-expressions. So, in light of what I know, I’m letting you go.”


Aaron’s arms came up around Spencer as he buried his face against Spencer’s neck.


“What if I don’t want to let you go?” he whispered in Spencer’s ear.


“I know it scares you Aaron. I know how hard it is for you to let yourself feel. I know a part of you loves me, but, you are not and never will be in-love with me. You will always be in-love with someone else.”


Aaron pulled back and laid a hand on Spencer’s cheek and closed his eyes a moment.


“I do, you know. Love you. I think, I think if Tony had never walked in here, I could have been happy with you Spencer.”


“I know. And I know what you bought and I don’t know what my answer would have been. Because I do love you too. I could be comfortable with you, but don’t you think we would be cheating ourselves out of something more?” Spencer’s hand was over Aaron’s heart when he took a breath. “Take the chance Aaron. Don’t let it go a second time, don’t sabotage yourself before it even begins.”


“How did you get this smart?” Aaron smiled a bittersweet smile as he kept a hand on Spencer’s waist.


“With you it’s, I don’t know, easy. And maybe it shouldn’t be. Maybe if it’s really worth it, it should be hard and complicated and messy. We, we are too easy Aaron. So, keep that gift and give it to the person who truly deserves it.”


“I never deserved you. Dammit Spencer.” Aaron wiped his face as his eyes became wet, but he refused to let them go.


“You deserve to be truly happy Aaron. I don’t regret these last three years, and a part of me will always love you. And, I know you will always love me. But, I’m letting you go because I’m not going to be the other man, and I’m not going to get in-between what you could have.” Spencer bent down and kissed Aaron one last time then slid off his lap, unlocked the door and left his office.


Aaron’s heart constricted a little as he watched the genius leave. Spencer wasn’t wrong. They did have feelings for each other. If it had just been sex all these years it would have fizzled out, but it wasn’t. It was a human connection, someone who understood him, understood the job and accepted him for who he was. But, that was just the problem. The feelings didn’t go deeper than that. It didn’t mean that this didn’t hurt, that seeing Spencer walk away from him didn’t hurt like hell because it did.


If Tony had never walked in the building he would have tried to make it work with the genius. But, seeing the man on the elevator just a couple of days before, he knew it wasn’t going to work. Spencer was right, he wanted that second chance and to do that he had to let Spencer go.


Aaron waited till everyone was gone from the floor before he gathered his things. The only thing he didn’t know was how he was going to tell Jack. The boy loved Spencer and he wasn’t going to take that away from Jack. They would have to work something out, but all the plans Aaron had made were now down the drain. Oh, they would still move into the house he had bought, but the rooms that would have been Spencer’s office and library would stay empty, for now at least.




Aaron was sitting in his bedroom trying to stave off the headache that had been building. His prediction had come true. Jack was not a happy ten-year old. He loved Spencer like a second father and now, even though they hadn’t lived together it felt almost like a divorce. Jack was currently in his room not wanting Aaron anywhere near him. He would try to talk to his son in the morning before he had to drop the boy off for school.


Aaron had grabbed his phone from the nightstand and held it in one hand staring at it. The slip of paper with a phone number on it, in the other. He wasn’t sure what he was doing till he had the phone to his ear and someone was answering on the other end of the line.


“Don’t talk, just listen, please. When I walked out of that police station in Baltimore I knew, without a doubt that I was leaving something behind. I didn’t fight as hard as I should have. I was married and tried to keep the pretense of my failing marriage alive. I was a fool Tony. I should have turned around and told you the truth, but I didn’t. My marriage didn’t work out. We divorced only three years later and it wasn’t till after that she told me she was pregnant. I love my son. I try not to do anything to hurt him and right now he’s hurting because Spencer and I are no longer together.” He heard the gasp on the other end of the line but didn’t wait for Tony to say anything, he plowed ahead before his courage left him.


“I saw you, you know, at GU so I know you saw me with Spencer. We were in a relationship and until I saw you on the elevator I thought I knew where my life was going. But, he’s a smart man and he informed me that I would be stupid not to take another chance with you. But, I need to know, Tony, not just for my sake, but for my son’s, that if we start this, you are all in. I can’t take another heartbreak and neither could Jack. So, if you are willing to take me on, baggage and all I’m in.”


Tony was silent on the other end of the line as Aaron gripped the phone tight in his hand. He deeply hoped that he didn’t just spill his whole heart out just to get rejected. The silence and the anticipation were killing him as he waited.


“Do you need some time Aaron? I saw the affection between you and Dr. Reid. I’m not willing to get between you two if there is more there.”


“There isn’t. We ended things and I can promise you that I would never treat you like that. I don’t give easy Tony. I’ve been down this road too many times. But, I want this. And, yes I need a few days. Spencer needs to talk with Jack and I need to work out visitation with him. Can you handle that? Spencer is like a father to Jack and I would never take that from him.”


“I’d never want you to. And, I hope, when we are more sure of what this is between us, I hope to meet him. I want to meet him.”


Aaron couldn’t help the smile even though he knew Tony couldn’t see it, “Good. But it’ll take time. I want to do this right Tone.”


“So do I. When you are ready Aaron and I promise you I’m all in too.” Aaron heard the surety in Tony’s voice and it made his heart flip. Though he was still hurting letting Spencer go, he knew, the man he always wanted was there, waiting for him.


“Goodnight Tony.” Aaron took a shaky breath and felt something click in his heart.


“Goodnight Aaron.” The two men hung up and each went to bed with a mixture of emotions. One was feeling a combination of heartbreak and hope, the other a little fear but anticipation for the future.




Part 6: Quantico, FBI – 2010


Aaron was standing at the stove making breakfast the next morning thinking about his call to Tony the night before. Spencer wasn’t wrong about him being scared. He was scared shitless and not for the reasons that Spencer thought. He’d changed in the years since he and Tony had their short affair. And one of those changes, he didn’t want to think about. He was standing there hand on his stomach as his thoughts drifted to one of the darkest times in his life. If it hadn’t been for Jack and Spencer, he wasn’t sure how he would have made it through. He was brought out of his thoughts when he felt a hand on his leg. He looked down and smiled softly to see Jack there.


“Hey buddy.” Jack threw himself around his legs and held tight. Aaron turned off the pan he was making pancakes in and knelt down in front of his son and pulled him into a hug.


“I don’t hate you Daddy. I didn’t mean it.” Jack started crying against Aaron’s neck and his heart broke for his son. Standing up with Jack in his arms Aaron walked them to the living room where he sat down with the boy on his lap.


“I know Jack. And I know you love Spencer. That will never change and you can see him whenever you want.”


“But he won’t be with you.” Jack’s bottom lip quivered as he tried to stop the tears. Aaron could see that his son was trying to be like him and he wasn’t sure that was a good thing.


“No buddy, he won’t be. But that does not mean that he doesn’t love you. I know he will want to spend time with you. Do all the fun things that you like to do now. It’ll just be different.”


“Don’t you love Papa, Daddy?” Aaron frowned a moment. How do you explain love to a ten-year old when you don’t even understand it yourself.


“Jack, it’s not that I don’t love Spencer, I do, but it’s not the type of love that keeps two people together. We didn’t want to end up disliking each other and we agreed that we would be better friends. Spencer’s friendship, that’s very important to me and I don’t want to lose that.” Aaron knew part of this was a lie, but it was a lie he could live with. It was a lie to help his son deal with the break-up.


“Do I have to stop calling him Papa?” Jack’s tears broke Aaron’s heart even more and he wished he could make this better for his son, but he just didn’t know how.


“You can call Spencer whatever you want Jack. He’s been there for you for a long-time and he loves you just as much as you love him. If he says that it’s okay, then you don’t have to change.”


Jack threw his arms around Aaron and he just sat back on the couch holding him, hoping that he could somehow help Jack through this.


A short time later, after a quick breakfast Aaron was dropping Jack off at school and heading into the office. No one was there except Spencer as of yet which he was grateful for because they needed to talk..


“Reid, can I talk to you for a moment?”


“Sure.” Spencer put his work aside and followed Aaron up to his office. Once they were settled with the door closed, Aaron turned to him.


“Jack’s not taking our break-up well. I was wondering if you’d be willing to take him this weekend. I think he needs to know that you still want him in your life.”


“Of course Aaron. God, I didn’t even think…I’m sorry I probably should have been there. I..I didn’t mean to put that all on you…”


“Spencer, it’s okay. Jack is pretty resilient, but I know he’s going to still want to spend time with you. I won’t ever keep Jack from you. You’ve been like a second father to him and I would never separate the two of you. He,” Aaron furrowed his brow and leaned forward, ”he still wants to call you Papa.”


Spencer’s face softened in a smile,”I don’t mind. I liked it before, that is if you don’t mind.”


“I don’t. It’s how he sees you, it’s how he feels about you and you know that no matter what, Jack comes first.”


“Thank you, Aaron. I’m sorry.”


“Don’t Spencer. This will be awkward for the three of us for a while but, we’ll work it out.”


Aaron watched as Spencer stood and gave him a small smile then leave the room. He knew the genius was hurting more than he let on, but in his own way Spencer was just as closed off and stoic as he was himself. He wiped a hand over his brow and wondered just when his life got so complicated. He took a moment as he took his phone out then sent a text out to Tony


Spencer is taking Jack this weekend. Wondering if you would like dinner Saturday?.


Aaron waited a moment before putting his phone away. He hadn’t expected an answer back right away and he felt like a stupid teenager for sitting there looking at his phone. He chuckled to himself as he turned his computer on and started to organize for the day.


“How the hell do you deal with those boring assed budget meetings?” Aaron looked up to see Tony leaning in his doorway, smiling and holding out a cup of coffee for him. He stood and couldn’t help the smile on his face.


“I’m serious, I was ready to gouge out my eyes. I knew I was in trouble when I started to hum the theme song to Cape Fear in my head. The Robert Mitchum version, far superior in my opinion to the Mickey Roarke one. Though Roarke did a fine job, but that’s not the point. Budget meetings, seriously?” Tony grinned as he handed Aaron the coffee.


“Don’t tell anyone, but I picture them all dying horrible deaths at the hands of one of the more famous serial killers. It’s a problem. One time I even outright laughed when I pictured the AD’s secretary being strangled to death.”


“That is a problem AC Hotchner.” Tony teased as he crossed his legs and looked far sexier than any man should.


Aaron itched to move the few inches it would take to lean in and kiss him, but he restrained himself. “What is it I can do for you Agent DiNozzo? Other than our mutual hatred of budget meetings. But, wait till you have to do your first quarterly evals. Then you’ll really know what hell is.” Tony laughed as he reached out and gently circled Aaron’s wrist with his hand. He held it there a moment before he pulled away.  


“I wanted to ask about Gina LaSalle.”


“Gina? Sam Cooper’s Gina?”


“Yup. Seems she wants a little less travelling and put her name in as being interested in an MC Unit. I was told you know UC Cooper well, wondered if you knew his people at all.”


“Come in and sit.” Aaron settled the butterflies in his stomach as he took a sip of the coffee. He raised his brow as he looked over at Tony.


“What? I like good coffee.”


“You and Reid…” Aaron swallowed, he didn’t quite know the protocol here.


“Don’t. I’m not some naive teenager that gets mad when ‘past lovers’ are mentioned. He’s an important part of your life Aaron. And from what you said he’s an important part of your son’s. We will be, in the near future, spending a lot of time together and I am sure our paths will cross quite often. Don’t hide.”


Aaron couldn’t help how relieved he felt at that.


“Thank you Tony. You might want to talk to him about coffee one day. Though you may get an hour long lecture on the fair trade practices and why they are not only good for the economy, but for the health of the world in general.”


Tony laughed then he thought about it a moment and realized that Aaron wasn’t joking.


“You aren’t kidding.”




Tony shook his head a moment, “Anyway, Gina, what do you think of her?”


“She’s smart, competent. Won’t take anyones bullshit. Won’t let even Sam bully her around. If he makes bad calls she’s quick to point them out. She’ll respect you as long as you give it in return. Excellent field person. She won’t let you down Tone.” Aaron closed his eyes at the slip.


Tony almost laughed at the hard stoic mask that slipped on Aaron’s face.


“You think that look is intimidating? I think it’s sexy.” Tony smirked as he stood, grabbed his coffee and leaned forward, “Enjoy your day, Aaron.”


Aaron couldn’t help watching him walk out the door.


“So, that’s the new UC Anthony DiNozzo.”




“And from the eyefucking you were giving him I’d say someone you would be interested in, but for the life of me I don’t ever remember you mentioning that you liked men.” Dave strode in Aaron’s office and plopped down in the exact chair Tony had been in.


Aaron just picked-up his coffee and took a sip.


“You are avoiding Aaron Michael Hotchner.”


“No, just choosing not to answer your prying question.”


Rossi narrowed his eyes at Aaron then leaned forward, “I’m going to guess something and you tell me if I’m wrong, okay?”


“We’ll see. What is your guess?”


“That is Baltimore.”


“Fucking hell. Who did Jason not tell?” Aaron huffed out a breath.


“So I’m right?”


“Yes, you nosy bastard, you’re right. That is Baltimore.” Aaron’s phone buzzed and he knew it was a text. He itched to look at it but he wasn’t going to in front of Dave.


“Don’t mind me, loverboy.”


Aaron glared at him as he turned his phone over and looked at it.


Dinner Saturday sounds perfect. Why don’t you meet me at my place at 7:00. I know the perfect restaurant. If you get a case let me know.


There was a second text with an address. Aaron snorted as he realized that the place wasn’t that far from his own apartment.


“Well, I can see you aren’t going to answer my questions so I’ll leave you alone.”


“It’s new Dave. We haven’t even had a first date yet.”


“Wouldn’t this be a re-first date?”


Aaron blushed as he sipped at his coffee, “No, first date.” He took another sip, “ever.”


Rossi opened his mouth to say something but nothing came out. Dave stood and turned to say something else but he just shook his head, pointed a finger at Aaron then just walked out the door. Aaron did not stifle the laugh that bubbled up out of him.


“Laugh now Hotchner, I will get you back,” Rossi yelled from just outside the door.


Aaron pulled his files to him and smiling to himself he started his work day.




“Welcome to the team, Agent LaSalle.”




“Yes, seriously.”


“Cool. You will not be disappointed. I think we’ll work well together. You’re a bit like Coop, unconventional. I like that.”


“Just, trust your team, trust me and we should get along great.”


“Okay.” She frowned a moment as she looked at the laminated poster to the side of his desk. “Um, Boss, what’s that?”


“That? Oh, That’s DiNozzo’s rules, well not really ‘rules’ more like ‘Always be prepared’. Written and laid out for anyone to see. I expect everyone on the team learn them. They won’t get you fired unless you break rule 1 and/or rule 22. Safety of this team and backup is a must. I hear anyone doing anything to compromise the safety of a team member, they are busted down to the Agent Pool, you understand?”


“Yeah. You won’t have to worry about me with that I’ve never and will never screw-over a team member.”


“Good. I’m going to need your requalification done by next week, can you do that?”


“Absolutely Boss. So, any desk out there?”


“Yup. Once everyone is here we’ll have a campfire.”


“Campfire Boss? In the office? Isn’t that kind of, you know frowned upon?” Gina looked at Tony like he just lost his damn mind.


Tony grinned a big toothy grin, “No, you’ll see. Now go grab a desk, don’t shoot anyone and remember…”


“People are assholes.” She grinned as she started to back out of the room and ran right into Tony’s next interview.


“Get a desk LaSalle, and try not to kill your teammates before you even meet them.”


“Right,” She gave him a two finger salute and Tony knew right away that he was going to love her.


“Umm, are you SAIC DiNozzo?”


“The one and only I’m afraid.” Tony said as he motioned for the young man to come into his office.


“Agent Ethan Michaels. You asked to see me?”


“Yeah, sit.” Tony had gotten up and motioned for the young man to sit down in the chair that Gina had just vacated..


“I see that you’ve only been with the Bureau for a couple of years.”


“Almost three.”


“I also see in your file that you used to work in New Orleans as a piano player. Why the drastic change?”


“To be honest it was my original goal. Then in school I just, I burned out. It’s not easy being a young ‘prodigy’ so to speak. So, while still at CalTech I said fuck it. I finished out my degree then applied to the San Francisco Music Conservatory. I got in with my first audition. I’ve had fun and enjoy my music but, after seeing a friend a few years ago I began to wonder. Did I make a mistake? So, I applied and made it in.”


“You were in the Agent Pool for a while before a team brought you on, why?”


“I was green, Sir. Greener than damn grass, if you know what I mean. I learned a lot my first year in the Bureau and being in the Pool taught me that. I worked a variety of areas and it gave me perspective.”


“Do you think you’re ready for a team? I have a couple of reprimands from UC’s that, though you don’t have a temper, you do have a tendency to zone out and not follow their directions.”


“May I speak freely, Sir?”


“By all means.”


“They were assholes. I have doctorates in Engineering, Math and Physics. I can put together a good geo profile. But, those two UC’s that reprimanded me? They thought my work was shit. Said I didn’t know what I was talking about and that if I wanted to get ahead I should listen to my superiors. If I had listened to my superiors on those occasions a woman would be dead and a bank would have been robbed with possible casualties. So, yeah I bent the rules, but I was cleared both times.”


“Why didn’t you call another team? Or your Boss in the Pool?”


“I did. And that’s why those are only reprimands.”


Tony sat back and studied Ethan a moment. “You write anything original?”


“Excuse me?”


“Music, you write anything original?”


“Yessir. Indeed I do.” Ethan smiled as he slouched a little in his chair.


“Go find a desk. You’re on the team.”


“I am?”


“Yes, you are.” Tony almost laughed at the stunned look on his face. Now, he only had to get Ashley Seaver and Jordan Todd in for interviews and offer them positions. He hoped they said yes because he was really damn tired of looking at personnel files.




Tony liked getting in early. Even at NCIS he had liked getting in early, but here there was another incentive to get in early and he was sitting at his desk getting started for the day. It was the third day in a row him bringing Aaron a cup of coffee. He liked seeing the look of surprise on his face and then a small smile. Tony was determined to always get a smile out of Chief Sexy.


“I’m beginning to think that this week just might go off without a hitch.” Tony also liked surprising Aaron. It would never get tiring.


“I should just expect you, shouldn’t I?”


“Ohh, now I hope not. If I get you to used to this you just might take advantage of me.” Tony smiled a toothy grin and he leaned in the doorway. It was early enough that no one was in the BAU yet.


Aaron stood and came around his desk and took the cup of coffee offered him.


“I think you’re either trying to spoil me or butter me up for something. I can’t decide which.” Aaron set their coffees on his desk then turned to Tony pulled him in his office, shut the door and backed him up against it. “But, what I really think is that you are driving me crazy SAIC Tony DiNozzo. I’ve been trying very, very hard not to kiss you but dammit, even I have my limits.”


“So what’s stopping you, SAIC Aaron Hotchner?”


“Fuck Tony. We’re in the office.” Aaron put his hands on his door on either side of Tony’s head.


“Yes, but no one’s here yet.” Tony grabbed Aaron by his tie and pulled him forward. “One kiss won’t hurt.” Then he closed his eyes as he felt Aaron’s lips on his. This wasn’t just a quick peck on the lips. God no, it was slow and sensual and Tony’s hands curled into fists as warmth spread all through him and settled in his stomach. Aaron slowly swiped his tongue across Tony’s lips and he couldn’t help the obscene moan that escaped.


Eyes still closed Tony slid his hand up and gently gripped the back of Aaron’s neck and pulled him in impossibly closer, deepening the kiss as he opened his mouth just enough for Aaron’s tongue to slip in and get a taste. Hands gripped hips as the angle of the kiss changed and Tony thought that if they didn’t stop now he might just go off like a rocket over the very wicked things Aaron was doing just with his tongue.


Finally, Aaron pulled back, breathless as he laid his forehead against Tony’s. “Jesus.” Aaron finally said as he slipped his hands inside Tony’s jacket.


“I second that. Hell, if you hadn’t stopped, I might have had to go change my pants.” Tony smiled and put a hand on Aaron’s chest and slowly pushed him away. “I very much think you need to go back to your desk while I try to walk out of here with some of my dignity in tact.”


Aaron laughed and gave Tony one of his brilliant dimple popping smiles.


“Yup, most definitely time for me to leave.” He swallowed hard then pulled Aaron in for that simple peck on the lips. He grabbed the coffee that Aaron had taken from him and fled the office before he forgot himself altogether.


He made it to his office and thankfully no one stopped him on the way. When he finally sat behind his desk he blew out a breath and tried very hard not to let the memory of the kiss fill his mind. It took a while to get his body under control and work was very instrumental in helping out with that. The team was still being assembled and they had not gotten a case yet.  He was going over what the budget was for his team and so far he was keeping it under the radar. Even if Ashley and Jordan accepted the packages he was offering them he would still be under. He set aside the reports and once again went through the files that Fornell had given him. They were cases that the MCU’s were looking out for. Ones that had gone partially cold but could come up again at any time.


He looked up when there was a knock on his door and was surprised to see who it was.


“Dr. Reid, what can I do for you?” Tony wasn’t sure where their friendship stood in light of everything that had recently happened.


Spencer moved to sit in one of the chairs on the other side of Tony’s desk.


“He’s a lot more vulnerable than he likes to let on. It’s hard for him to talk about himself and his past but you have to get him to open up because where he came from and everything that has happened to him in the last year has shaped who he is now.”


Tony sat back and steepled his hands. He wanted to be upset that Spencer was telling him these things but he wasn’t. He wanted to listen and from the nervous posture and twitching fingers he figured that Spencer wasn’t used to this either.


“Okay. Tell me what happened.”


“No. It isn’t my story to tell and we, as a team, agreed not to bring up these events. However, there is a file on record. Though most of it is sealed you will get the general idea. The rest you will have to ask him. There are two dates that I know he will take very hard. The first already passed, but the second is coming up. I don’t know what he’ll do other than retreat. Your first instinct will be to pull him out. Don’t. Let him do what he needs to do. Then, go to him.”


“Dr. Reid, you are not making any sense.” Spencer looked down at his hands again and Tony thought he wasn’t going to say anything. Spencer leaned forward and handed him a piece of paper with a file number on it.


“If he doesn’t tell you, don’t push him about it right away. He’s a strong man Tony, he’s been through more than any should. I know more than even the team does but that’s only because we were intimate and we told each other things that we would never tell anyone else. If you push too hard, he’ll shut down. Be patient. If you love him like I already know you do, you’ll take your time and learn who he is now and you’ll be patient. Because if you hurt him, in anyway, I know at least thirty good ways to dispose of a body and they will never trace it back to me.”


Tony frowned as the looked at the good Dr. The man had one of the best poker faces he’d ever seen.


“You aren’t sure whether I’m kidding or not.” Spencer stood quirked-up the side of his lips and started to walk out the door. “You just may never know.”


Tony swallowed and felt a touch of fear. He really wasn’t sure if Spencer was kidding. He looked down at the note and turned to his computer bringing up the file Spencer had written out, he then proceeded to read all about The Boston Reaper.