Part 7: Downtown DC – 2010
Aaron was nervous as he dressed for the evening. Tony had said business casual so he chose a pair of pale gray-violet Versace pants, a small checked gray and violet Luigi Borrelli short sleeved shirt, and he paired it with the gray Hilfiger casual jacket with his dark and light grey wingtip spectator Ferragamo shoes. Aaron knew that he had a bit of a streak of vain in him. He liked looking good and he had a soft spot for timeless classics with just a few fad pieces mixed in here and there.
Growing up with old Virginia money had instilled in him a sense of pride in how he looked. But that was where the family ‘values’ stopped with him. He didn’t want to think about that, about his childhood, not when he had a date. He decided to not mess with his hair too much and he left it slightly and artfully messy. He forwent the tie deciding for once not to wear one. Taking one last look in the mirror he grabbed his wallet and keys then was out the door.
Spencer had come by the night before on Friday and picked Jack up. He decided that he would take the boy for the whole weekend and though Aaron was sad to see Jack go the boy was excited to have the whole time just him and his Papa. It still made his heart constrict a little hearing Jack call Spencer that, but it wasn’t too far from the truth.
Aaron slid into his SUV, which was smaller than the Bureau ones, but it was what he was used to. A few minutes later he pulled-up outside of a very nice brownstone. Parking, he fed the meter in front, though he could use his Bureau tag if he wanted, but he hated abusing that power. Straightening his jacket, he made his way to Tony’s front door and knocked.
“Aaron, come in.” Tony left the door open as he walked back inside.“Would you like a drink?”
“Just some water or something virgin for now.”
“Okay.” Tony grabbed two small bottles of water and handed one to Aaron.
“This is nice, but I see boxes everywhere.” Aaron looked around trying his hardest not to profile the place.
“Thank you. I actually just bought it. I had been thinking of buying before but I wasn’t sure. After leaving NCIS, I needed to get out of my apartment. Too many people trying to manipulate me into returning.”
Aaron moved to the baby grand set-up in a corner of the living room.
“You play?” Aaron sat down on the bench and took a moment before he did a warm-up. Then he tapped out a simple tune.
“Why Aaron Hotchner, you surprise me.”
“It’s been years. I never kept up with it. My mother thought it was a good idea, well she liked me to play at her parties.” Aaron closed his eyes and shook his head trying to shake memories he thought he had buried.
“It’s okay, Aaron. You don’t have to talk about it.”
Tony sat next to Aaron and smiled. He played for a few minutes as he looked up every so often into dark eyes that shined and looked at him with such emotion it made his heart speed-up. When he stopped, he closed the fall board over the keys and closed his eyes.
“That was beautiful, Tony.” Tony looked up at Aaron and felt that old regret well up in him. He smiled sadly as he kept his hands on the cover.
“I wrote it the day after you left. I knew when I woke-up the next morning that I, too, made a mistake. I called out for the day and sat here playing and writing it all day. I called it ‘What Should Have Been’. You weren’t the only fool Aaron. I didn’t want to believe that you would do what you said you wanted to do.” Tony looked up and his face was pinched with emotion. “I was scared of how much I felt so quickly and I needed to let it out.”
Aaron swallowed hard then leaned into Tony kissing him, pulling him onto his lap. He wrapped an arm around his waist and a hand was gently wrapped around his neck. Tony was trapped with his piano at his back and the hard body of Aaron in front. They stayed like that kissing and touching where they could.
Tony slipped his arms under Aaron’s jacket and wrapped his arms around him and still didn’t stop. Finally, it was Aaron that pulled back.
“I think we should go to dinner, don’t you.”
“What if we just ordered in and stayed here.” Tony whispered against Aaron’s ear. The shiver that went down Aaron’s spine had his breath hitching in his throat. He had to swallow a few times before he trusted his voice.
“As much as I would like that, I, I’m not ready Tony. Like I said I want to do this right. I want us to get to know each other better. There, there are things you should know about me. I don’t want to just jump into bed, as amazing as that sounds. I want to know what it is we have.”
Tony closed his eyes as he gentled his fingers on Aaron’s face.
“Okay. I can wait Aaron. When you’re ready, when you trust me enough to know I’m not going anywhere and that I’m not afraid of this.”
“Then let me up so that I can take you to my favorite place.” It was an awkward couple of minutes detangling from each other. Getting into the position they were in was easy. Getting out, not so much. They giggled like teenagers as elbows hit places they really shouldn’t, but finally Tony was standing on his own two feet.
After a couple more minutes, they were walking out the door. Aaron breathed in the cool night air and it felt good. He felt good, it had been such a long-time coming. Tony smiled that smile that always made him ache just a little. Tony held out his hand and Aaron took it, unafraid for once in his life.
“We could drive but it’s only a few streets over, if you don’t mind the walk.”
“I don’t mind.”
The two men talked as they walked towards the restaurant Tony had in mind. They talked vaguely about their childhoods, each one knowing neither of them grew-up in the best of circumstances. They talked about music, books they’ve recently read and finally about movies.
“I like Hitchcock. His use of light and shadow to tell a deeper story alongside the main plot always got me thinking about humans and human behavior. How there is always this underlying motive.”
The grin on Tony’s face was unmistakeable and Aaron looked confused.
“What did I say?”
“You’re a closet movie buff.”
Aaron blushed as he dipped his head to the side.
“I don’t know if it’s a secret just no one really asked. I lean more towards film noir, old gangster and crime dramas. Some thrillers or suspense like Rebecca, Gaslight or Shadow of Doubt. Though I do have a soft spot for Original Star Trek and Star Wars.” Aaron found he was walking into the restaurant and Tony wasn’t next to him. He turned around and saw a very stunned Anthony DiNozzo standing on the sidewalk.
“Something I said?”
“Everything you just said. If I wasn’t already half-in love with you that would have clinched it.” Then he realized what he said and started cursing himself. Aaron walked back to him and grabbed his hand.
“Tony, don’t ever hide what you feel. I’m halfway there myself.” Aaron cupped Tony’s cheek and leaned in and kissed him. He didn’t care they were standing on the street in Downtown DC. “Come inside, let’s sit, eat, and get to know each other more.”
“Yeah, okay let’s do that.”
They walked in the restaurant hand-in-hand, they both ignored the couple of insults thrown their way. It wasn’t anything they weren’t used to as law enforcement agents. They were shown to a table and given a wine menu as well as the regular menu.
“Do you trust me?” Tony held up the menus.
Aaron raised a brow and decided to be adventurous for once.
“Then leave dinner to me.” When the waitress came back Tony ordered for the both of them and Aaron couldn’t wait to try everything. It started with a small plate of perfectly handmade burrata. When Tony cut into it the center oozed out onto the plate just like it was supposed to. Paired with a light pinot grigio Aaron was already relaxing and enjoying the meal.
“You know, we never talked about the usual stuff you’re supposed to on a date. Is that on purpose? Are we both avoiding telling each other our pasts?” Tony asked as he picked up a grilled piece of ciabatta bread and spread some of the olive tapenade on it.
Aaron took a sip of wine and wiped his hands on his napkin.
“I don’t often talk about my childhood. I have very few good memories of it. My father was a lawyer and also an abusive drunk. My mother and I were his favorite punching bags. When Sean came along I tried to protect him. Of course, he turned out to be the son my parents had wanted me to be. Sports, popular, and the kid everyone liked. I was the one that my mother liked to show off. The smart son who did parlor tricks for her friends.” Aaron closed his eyes and took a sip of water. He hadn’t meant to reveal so much so soon. “I’m a hardass at work because I have to be I have people who rely on me keeping them safe. They’ve become my family, but I can’t always let my guard down. When I have, people have gotten hurt.
“It takes a lot for me to trust in a relationship. I had trusted Haley, but I knew before I went to Baltimore that she was cheating on me. That first night we were together, I thought I was using you to forget, but….something happened that night and I felt things I hadn’t in a long time. I think I didn’t turn back because I was scared. I was afraid to trust again.
“I have a lot of baggage Tony. Some things happened in the last couple of years that have made me unsure of myself. I put up a good front for my team because I have to, but when I get home, that lonely boy, he just wants someone to love, someone to hold him and for a while Reid fit, but then I saw you, the man who has haunted my dreams for years. I want this Tony, I want this chance.” Aaron reached out and grabbed his wine he took a long drink trying to calm the emotional storm that had reared up inside him.
“I’m sorry, I don’t know why I said so much.”
Tony reached across and took his hand and held it.
“You aren’t alone, Aaron. Though I loved my mother she was a lush and it’s a little eerie that our mother’s were very much alike. She liked to dress me up and parade me in front of her friends. Though there were good things about her and I loved her very much. When she died, my whole world came crashing down. My father wasn’t physically abusive, he just never actually cared. After my Mother died, I was just the cute kid he could use for his con games. I was only important to him as long as he was able to close a deal. So, let’s just say we both had really fucked-up childhoods and move on.
“When I invited you back to my apartment that night it was because I thought you were fucking gorgeous and I knew if I didn’t at least try I’d regret it. You weren’t the only one affected Aaron. I was too. I knew you were married. The ring you wore, I saw it, but then you didn’t have it at the bar, so I took that chance. When you walked out of the station, part of me wanted to run after you and the other part, the one that had been hurt, didn’t believe you.
“I’ve created this facade that people believed because it kept everyone at arm’s length. I let a few people in over the years, and yet I got screwed over again. I need more control, because things got very out of control. I want to take care of someone, hold them, give them everything that, that little boy in me is craving. I want that person to be you Aaron. I let you go once, and it was foolish of me, I’m not going to let you go this time. I want to know what this is between us, like I said I am all in. And, when you are ready I want to meet your son.”
“You know I try to be so different than my father was for Jack. He’s everything to me Tony.”
“I couldn’t see you as anything less than a good father Aaron. You’re a good man and you couldn’t do any less.”
“Thank you, that means a lot.”
Their dinner came and though conversation slowed down it didn’t stop. They steered away from the minefield of their childhoods for the remainder of their date and talked about other things. By the time dessert and coffee came around they knew, without a doubt that there was something here, something worth grabbing onto and not letting go.
As they were walking back to Tony’s brownstone they heard someone running behind them. They both whirled around and pointed their guns. Neither one realizing the other was carrying.
“Whoa! Tony, it’s just me.”
“Autopsy gremlin? What are you doing here?”
“I, I, I just saw you leaving and I tried calling to you but, oh god don’t shoot me.” Jimmy had closed his eyes and held up his hands. Aaron and Tony put their guns away, but couldn’t help the smiles on their faces.
“We aren’t going to shoot you Jimmy. Sorry about that I didn’t hear you.”
“It’s okay.” Jimmy’s eyes were wide as he carefully watched the two men.
“I’m kinda on a date.” Tony nodded towards Aaron.
“Oh, oh god, Tony. I’m sorry. I just, well I wanted to see how you were. Ducky misses you. And, well so do I.”
Tony’s expression softened as he looked at the younger man, “Look, why don’t you and Ducky meet me for lunch at Sophia’s around 1:30 on Monday and we’ll talk. Just, not right now, okay?”
Jimmy smiled wide as he looked between the two men. “Yeah, okay I’ll tell Dr. Mallard. He’ll be happy to see you. I’m sorry, go, go on back to your date and I’ll see you Monday.”
Jimmy took off back the way he had been coming from.
“Sorry about that. Jimmy gets a little enthusiastic sometimes.”
“It’s fine.” Aaron wanted to ask more but he could see that Tony was thinking about the young man that had just left. Aaron took his hand and they walked the rest of the way to Tony’s place in silence. When they got there Aaron gave Tony another one of those damn toe-curling, butterfly making, heart-stopping kisses.
“Dammit, you have to stop that.”
“I should.” Aaron didn’t though. Finally after a few minutes, he pulled back, “I really should go.”
“You don’t have to.”
“Tone,” Aaron’s breath caught in his throat. “Give me a little time.”
“Okay. But it will be hard to wait Aaron. You do crazy things to me and all I can think about is getting you alone and in bed.”
“Jesus Tony.” Aaron wiped a hand down his face to settle himself. “I really better go.”
“Goodnight Aaron.” Tony held the door open for him. “I had a good time. I want to do this again, but next time I want to cook for you.” Tony’s heart was racing because he never had offered to do that for anyone before. Fornell had been the only one as of late to get a taste of his cooking.
“I’d like that. Goodnight Tony.” Aaron left and though Tony had wanted him to stay he knew also that they needed to take this slow. One step at a time.
Tony was smiling as he headed out of the office to go meet Jimmy and Ducky for lunch. He chose a nice cafe close to the FBI training facility where his office was. The first time he had driven onto this end of the base and realized just how close he and Aaron had been all these years he spent the night drinking and cursing. Later on, when he reflected on those in-between years, he knew that he wasn’t ready for a serious relationship. And Aaron Hotchner was every inch the serious relationship. This wasn’t a one night stand, or one weekend kind of thing, Aaron was a forever kind of person. When that realization hit him it made him not a little afraid. He was scared shitless, but, he knew he was ready for what Aaron had to offer.
All of this was going through Tony’s mind as he was driving away from the FBI building towards his luncheon destination. He shook himself off as he parked and walked in the little bistro that he had chosen.
“Anthony, it is good to see you.” Ducky did the unexpected and hugged Tony to him for a moment, then let him go. “Sit, and tell us just what you have been doing.”
Tony smiled a wide genuine smile. In the few short weeks since his departure from NCIS, he hadn’t realized how much he missed Ducky and Jimmy.
“Jimmy, good to see you again.” Tony sat and as soon as he did a waitress came right over to take their drink orders. “Duck, I’ve missed you too. As to what I’m doing now, I’m with the FBI. Unit Chief under Fornell. I’m still in the process of putting my team together. Hey, Ducky, you might know this, do you remember at all a Tara Jamieson. It would have been about…”
“Yes, yes Anthony I do.” Ducky took a deep breath as he leaned forward a little. “It was a terrible thing. Her whole family, wiped out. It tested even me. I remember the Federal agents on that case. A Jason Gideon and David Rossi. I also remember Agent Gideon holding that little girl. She kept calling out for her mother and it broke my heart. Why do you ask?”
“Well Tara is on my team. But she is Tara Gideon now. Jason Gideon adopted her not too long after. Do you remember anything else about that day Duck?” Tony picked-up his ice tea and drank deep, letting himself settle and watch as Ducky’s face clouded.
“I didn’t know Jethro long. He had not been with NIS for all that length of time when we got called out to the house. He was devastated. I found out that the father had been Jethro’s best friend. He was also the girls godfather. She kept calling out for him and Jethro walked away. I tried to talk to him, but we were barely getting to know each other then.”
“You didn’t know about his family. No one did till recent.” Tony looked the menu over for a moment then set it aside, “I’m sorry I didn’t mean to bring this up. It just made me curious after talking with her and bringing her on my team.”
“I always wondered what happened to her. But, my dear boy, you are avoiding the question of how you are.” Ducky raised his brows and gave Tony that ever patient look he was known for.
“I’m good Ducky. I’m….seeing someone.” He practically buried his face in the menu as he waited for Ducky to say something.
“And might I say a very handsome someone.”
“Hey Autopsy Gremlin, you keep your eyes off my man.” Tony lifted a brow as he gave Jimmy a playful smile. “Besides, I thought you were seeing someone.”
“We broke-up. She’s great and all, but I don’t know. You know?”
Ducky and Tony looked at each other a moment then looked at Jimmy, “Oh yeah, I know.” Tony chuckled as the waitress came over to take their order. “So, what was it, had you doing too many weird things? Went to freaky in bed? What?”
“Tony!” Jimmy blushed as he grabbed his water and took a drink.
“What? Look, you are great catch Jimmy Olsen.” Jimmy chuckled at the nickname and shook his head.
“I missed you Tony. I guess I just wanted some quiet nights or even weekends at home, you know? As much as I like to try new things, we were never still.”
“I get it. I do. You’ll find the right person Jimmy, I’m sure of it.”
“James, Anthony is right, the right person will come along. Someone who won’t try to change you. Who will let you be you.” Ducky gave a fond smile to his assistant.
“Thank you. Both of you.”
“Now, Anthony, you were saying you were seeing someone?”
“It’s new Duck. We just started but everything with him is already different from every other relationship I’ve ever had. We are taking it slow, getting to know each other.”
“That is good and by that smile on your face, he makes you happy.”
“Yeah, he does.” Their food came and conversation lulled a little but didn’t stop. Tony was happy that he had reached out to these two. They always had cared about Tony. They saw past the walls and the jokes and were the truest friends he had. “Well, I have to get back. Don’t want to set a bad example with my team. I’m glad you guys came.”
“I am too. Do not be a stranger Tony.” Ducky patted his arm before he started out of the restaurant. “And don’t worry about lunch. I’ve already taken care of it.”
“Ducky,” Tony started to protest.
“No, no my boy it was my pleasure.”
“Thank you, and I promise we will do this again.”
Tony shook his head and left grateful for the truest friends he’s ever had in his life.
“Ducky, you mind if we stop at that little coffee shop near the base?”
“Which one Mr. Palmer, as there are several we can stop and slake our thirst at?”
“Java Joe. They have this amazing cold brew coffee that I have fallen in love with.”
“You know that reminds me of the time I found myself at this little farm in Italy. The young woman there didn’t speak one bit of English. I had been walking the countryside, taking a small holiday at the time…..” Jimmy just shook his head and let Ducky ramble on. When they parked near the front of the shop the two men got out and started towards the door. Jimmy was still listening to Ducky so he wasn’t watching where he was going when he accidentally ran into someone spilling their coffee in the process. Jimmy’s face pinked when he looked up into hazel eyes and wild chestnut colored hair.
“Oh, oh gosh I am so sorry. I wasn’t watching…let me buy you a new coffee…”
“It seems I’ve found someone just as clumsy as myself.” The man smiled a slightly goofy grin as he went inside and grabbed some napkins. “It’s fine. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done almost the same thing.”
“Please, let me buy you a new coffee. I…I was coming in here anyway.” Jimmy felt his face get hot as the man kept looking at him and smiling. He licked his bottom lip and it drove Jimmy crazy.
“Okay. But, you have to take my card and let me take you to lunch next week, that is if I don’t get called away for work.”
“Um, are, are you asking me on a date?” Jimmy furrowed his brow and didn’t pay attention to where Ducky was going.
“Well, it doesn’t necessarily need to be a date. It could just be a potential friend lunch kind of thing.” The man blushed but didn’t stop smiling.
“Um, I,” Jimmy couldn’t take his eyes off the man as he felt butterflies in his stomach. “I think I might like it to be a date?” He squeaked out that last part as he shuffled his feet a little.
The man smiled then pulled his wallet out and handed Jimmy a card.
“I’m Spencer.” He held out his hand and Jimmy took it, smiling.
“I’m Jimmy. Well, James Palmer, but everyone calls me Jimmy.”
“James. It was nice to meet you. I ah, I need to get back, but how about Tuesday?”
“Tuesday.” Jimmy felt in his pockets and pulled out a piece of paper and quickly dashed off his phone number handing it to Spencer. “My number.”
“Tuesday then.” Spencer smiled wide, turned and started to leave the coffee shop.
“Oh, young man, here the girl at the espresso machine seemed to know you very well and had a new coffee made by the time I was ready to pay. I think it is I who should apologize. I had distracted Mr. Palmer, you see.”
“It’s quite alright. And thank you, Alliyah knows me a little too well. She seems to always know what I’m going to order before I do. James, I will see you Tuesday.” Spencer grinned as he took a sip then headed out the door.
“And what is Tuesday Mr. Palmer?”
“I think a date Dr. Mallard.” Jimmy was grinning from ear to ear when Ducky handed him a cup of the cold brew he had originally come into the coffee shop for.
Ducky just smiled and patted Jimmy on the shoulder as they made their way back to Ducky’s car. Jimmy’s smile stayed in place the whole way back to NCIS. He couldn’t wait till the next Tuesday rolled around.
PART 8: Leesylvania State Park, VA – 2010
The weeks went by and Tony and Aaron grew closer. They spent as much time as they could between cases and Aaron being a parent. When the BAU was on a case they stayed in touch through skype, phone calls, and texting. Aaron didn’t want to make some of the same mistakes he had in the past and he was grateful that Tony was letting him set the pace. He was also learning to open-up and communicate more. Part of that was the quiet, gentle prodding from Tony. Aaron reflected on how with Tony he didn’t have to be Hotch. He was just Aaron. Even quiet nights at home watching movies, eating popcorn and making out on Tony’s couch was more than he ever had with anyone else. Haley had always wanted to do something, be something he wasn’t. He felt freer than he had in so very long.
There were times he fell asleep listening to Tony play and he’d wake-up to a blanket wrapped around him with Tony puttering in the kitchen. It was all so new and real and wonderful that it scared the shit out of him. He knew the one thing he wanted to do was introduce Jack to Tony. It was time, long past time.
“Got your message, is it a case?” Tony asked as he strode into Aaron’s office and put down the cup of coffee he had in this hand and pushed it towards Aaron.
“No, well I’m waiting to hear about one, but that’s not what I wanted to talk about.”
“Okay, what do you want to talk about?” Tony couldn’t help the nervousness he felt well-up inside him.
“I think it’s time you and Jack meet.”
“Oh, yeah.” Tony’s breath left him as he leaned down a little.
“Tony?” Aaron hoped he hadn’t made a mistake. He thought Tony had wanted to meet Jack, they talked about it many times and it just felt like it was the right time.
“It’s fine, it’s fine Aaron. You just caught me by surprise. I want to meet him.”
“Good, for a minute there…I, well I wasn’t sure.”
“Oh, god, I’m so sorry.” Tony stood and came around the desk, leaned down and gently kissed Aaron. “I told you, I’m all in. I know how important he is to you and, while I’m not ready to say the big L word yet, I’m almost there.”
Aaron smiled and cupped the side of Tony’s face, “I’m almost there too. Are you free this weekend?”
“The only plans I have are whatever we plan together.” Tony smiled before he leaned in and kissed Aaron again. “Just tell me where and when. If you get a case, we’ll work around it.”
“Okay. You’d better go before I keep you here.”
“Hmm, I might not protest.” Tony teased as he reluctantly pulled away.
Aaron watched him walk out the door and smiled as he leaned back in his chair. He wanted this to work more than anything.
“So, things still going well for you and UC DiNozzo?” Rossi had come in the office and plopped in front of Aaron’s desk.
“You are going to tell me to go away now aren’t you?” Rossi smirked and Aaron just narrowed his eyes.
“Dave, stop prying. When you pry, you meddle.”
“I like meddling, especially when it comes to you.”
“I know.” Aaron just shook his head and couldn’t help the smile. “I’m going to introduce him to Jack.”
“Oh, it’s at the Jack stage is it?”
Aaron frowned and crossed his arms, “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“I know you. You don’t introduce Jack unless you know it’s going to be serious. Hell, it took you almost a year before you let the kid anywhere near Jack.” Aaron shouldn’t have been surprised that Dave knew.
“You two hid it well, but I know you Aaron. You and Spencer didn’t make a big deal about you two breaking it off, but you can’t tell me it didn’t hurt Aaron.”
“It was weeks ago, Dave. Spencer is a smart man and I think if Tony hadn’t walked back into my life we could have been happy. But… ” Aaron relaxed as he smiled to himself.
“I get it Aaron. You do seem happier than you have in a long time.”
Dave just chuckled as he stood and left Aaron alone with his reports and his thoughts. He was trying to figure out just the right place to have the two most important people to him meet.
The weekend rolled around and Tony was more nervous than he thought he would be. He was meeting Aaron and Jack at the park that the boy played soccer at. He slid on jeans and a polo shirt. He thought about how sports was good, he could talk sports with the kid and hopefully not screw things up too much.
Tony had never confessed to Aaron that he didn’t really like kids. He didn’t have very many good experiences with them and he always felt awkward around them. But, this relationship was worth the try, worth stepping out of his comfort zone for. He took a few deep breaths and tamped down on his nervousness. Finally, after putting on his sneakers, he was ready. Grabbing the bag of waters and snacks, he stopped hesitating and finally left his apartment. He had no more excuses to stall. Putting on his sunglasses, he finally walked out to his car.
The day was bright, but there was a nice breeze blowing off the Potomac. Tony tried to relax as he drove to the park, his heart pounding in anticipation. He made a quick stop for coffee, pastries and fruit. He wasn’t quite sure what the little buggers ate during games, but he damn well wanted a pastry, especially getting up at the asscrack of dawn just to get to the park by 7:30 a.m. This was one time he might actually want to strangle Aaron for getting him out of bed so damn early on a Saturday. But then he remembered his lover sprawled on top of him, kissing him, hands under his shirt touching him, asking if he’d be there the next day. With that kind of incentive, how could he say no?
“Fuck DiNozzo, get your damn mind out of the gutter.” He took a few deep breaths and tried to get himself under control. He did not think it would be appropriate to show up at a kids game sporting an erection. He almost laughed at himself for that.
Tony easily found the park Aaron had given him the directions to. As he parked and got out of the car he looked up and felt the warmth of the sun on his face and the gentle breeze was a wonderful contrast to the heat. He reached in his car and grabbed the waters and the food then walked to the south end of the park where Aaron said they would be.
When he got closer he saw a woman talking to Aaron. She had a hand on his arm and an almost predatory look on her face. Tony couldn’t help the rise of jealousy that started in the pit of his stomach and grew worse as he got closer.
“Surely one dinner Aaron. I know just how much a good home cooked meal, made by someone else, can be a refreshing change. Plus, don’t you want some, you know, adult time?”
“Oh, I think he gets plenty of adult time, don’t you tiger?” Tony smiled his most charming smile as he walked closer to the two. “I mean last night alone…” Tony let the rest of what he was going to say drop, on purpose.
Aaron, thankfully, had a sense of humor. It was dry, and often hidden, but Tony had been learning how to bring out the man’s playful side.
“Was it too much for you Tone?” Aaron smiled as he took the box of food out of his hands and right there, in front of the few mothers that had arrived, leaned in and kissed Tony.
Aaron pulled back and winked at Tony then turned back to the woman he was talking to.
“As I have been trying to tell you, Sharon, I am in a relationship.”
“But Aaron, don’t you want, you know, a woman to take care of you?”
“Frankly, no. Had a woman, she betrayed me by sleeping around. Tony wouldn’t do that. Now, we have a game to set-up for.”
Sharon spun, held her head in a very haughty manner and went to sit with a small group of four other women and glared at Tony and Aaron.
“Should I not have done that?” Tony couldn’t stop the wicked smile on his face even if he wanted to.
“Sharon Mills has been a thorn in my side for the last two years. I’ve politely turned her down every time, but she and her friends have it in their head that I need a woman to come take care of me and Jack.”
“Do I have to call out a hit squad on her?”
Aaron laughed as he laid a hand on Tony’s shoulder, “No, you do not have to send out a hit squad.” He leaned in and kissed Tony again. It was a claim and a declaration to those around that he was taken and had no interest in them.
“Are you sure you want to be seen kissing a man in front of these people?”
“I’m not going to hide Tony. Not anymore. You’re too important to me to treat you that way.” The two men were staring at each other for a few moments before he felt a hand on his leg.
“Jack, is everyone ready?”
“Yes Dad.” The boy looked up and eyed the man in front of him warily.
“Jack, this is Tony, remember we talked about him?”
Jack just shook his head and leaned into his father.
“It’s nice to meet you Jack. Your Dad talks about you all the time.” Tony smiled at the boy as he held out his hand for Jack to take.
Taking a few moments to assess him, Jack finally took Tony’s hand and shook it.
“Nice to meet you,” Jack’s voice was low and he seemed shy. Tony wasn’t sure what to do and he felt slightly uncomfortable, but was determined to hide it. Aaron was clearly not trying to hide his amusement, which made Tony glare at him.
“Go on buddy, I’ll be there in a few minutes and we’ll get started.”
“Okay Dad.” Jack ran over to the team where they were practicing some passing moves.
“Well that was awkward and uncomfortable.” Tony let out the breath he was holding.
“Give it time Tone. We’ll have plenty of time after the game. Now I have some coaching to do. But, we’ll go out for lunch and I know you two will end up liking each other. Even though I know you have issues with kids.” Tony gaped at his lover as he walked away.
“Damn profilers.” Tony grabbed a bear claw and his coffee then sat and watched the game, or more specifically watched Aaron, who was wearing running shorts. Tony just couldn’t help the smile and the wicked thoughts that kept running through his mind, then he remembered where he was and blushed.
Tony was hoarse and flushed after the game was over. He cheered on Jack and his team but his eyes kept going to Aaron. Well, more specifically he was watching Aaron’s ass in his fitted shorts. Every so often the First Wives Club, as they came to be known in Tony’s head, would look over at him. Most scowled, but one brunette in particular kept making eyes at him. He would just shake his head and turned back to watch the game.
He thanked every deity that he didn’t believe in that the game was over and he could get away from the FWC. Tony chuckled at his thoughts and stood to go congratulate the kids on winning. He was looking down at the grass as he made his way to Aaron and Jack when someone stepped in front of him.
“I’m sorry, could you please get out of my way?” Tony looked at at the brunette FWC.
“You’re one very sexy man. They said I shouldn’t even try, but, mmm, mmm, mmm, you are one delicious looking male.” The brunette swivelled her hips and smiled coyly. He saw out of the corner of his eye Aaron approaching.
“Look, I know that you think you’re all Raquel Welch right now sweetheart, but you’re coming off more like Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct. And I mean the psycho part, not the smoking hot blonde in her prime. Physically, you’re more like Kathy Bates. So, how ‘bout you just step the fuck off before I have to go all Al Pacino on you….honey.” Tony smiled but it didn’t reach his eyes.
Aaron moved behind him and wrapped an arm around his waist.
“I think you better listen to him Tonya.” The woman glared at them then stalked off. “I know this is totally inappropriate, but fuck that was hot,” Aaron growled in his ear, then kissed his temple. “Come on, team wants burgers.”
Tony turned in Aaron’s arms and kissed him, “Well, I got more where that came from, and burgers sound great.” Tony followed Aaron to a local family style burger joint. He liked it immediately. When he slipped into his chair he noticed that Jack was sitting between him and Aaron. He smiled shyly at the boy as he took a menu.
He knew he needed to break the ice somehow and when he looked down at the boy he smiled.
“Great game out there Jack. Some nice footwork on the passing.”
Jack looked-up at him wide-eyes. “You watched my game?”
“Of course I did. You know, I used to play basketball and football. I even got scholarships to college to play.”
“Wow, you musta’ been good.”
“I did okay.” Tony smiled and for once felt that his sports background was appreciated.
“Are you kidding Jack? Tony here was on his way to a big league team. One of the best College running backs I’ve ever seen.” Tony looked up surprised.
“What? I watch college ball.” Aaron smiled as he ruffled Jack’s hair. The waitress came by and took their orders then was back with drinks for everyone.
“Decided to leave that detail out Agent Hotchner?” Tony raised a brow and grinned.
“Was just waiting for the right time Agent DiNozzo.” Aaron smiled back at him, relaxed and happy.
Tony felt a tug on his arm and he looked down at Jack.
“How come you don’t play no more?”
“Well, my leg was broken during an important game and I was out the rest of the season. When it healed I found out I couldn’t play anymore.”
“I’m sorry. Wanna play basketball with me? Dad put a hoop up on our garage.” The little boy looked up with such hope that all Tony could do was smile and agree.
Jack warmed up to him after that asking all kinds of questions about sports. They made plans to go back to Aaron’s, play a little basketball, Tony fixed dinner and they watched The Sandlot. By the time the movie was over Jack was falling asleep. Aaron picked him up and took him to his room and put him to bed. When he came back out he pushed Tony down on the couch and kissed him. He moaned as Tony wrapped his legs around him and thrust up against him.
Aaron was still in the shorts and tight workout shirt he had worn to coach the game. The thin material rubbed as Tony moved against him. His mouth never left Tony’s as he encouraged Tony to open for him. He slipped his tongue inside as he ground against his lover.
“Tone,” Aaron moaned as hands slipped under his shirt and touched and kneaded his flesh. “Shit, Tony if we don’t stop…” His words were cut off by Tony pulling him back to his mouth.
Aaron couldn’t help moving against Tony, it had felt so good and had been so long, even if they were still clothed, he moaned again as he was thoroughly kissed. Tony’s hands slipped under his shorts and he was pulled harder against his lover. He sucked in a breath as he ground down and came.
Tony thrust up, keeping Aaron right where he was and followed a moment later coming in his jeans.
“Shit, haven’t done that since college,” Aaron teased as he buried his head against Tony’s, panting. He felt the rumbling chuckle in Tony’s chest and smiled.
“Neither have I. I think we need to change.”
Aaron nodded as he stood and pulled Tony up with him. “I promise, next time, a little less clothes.”
“I will hold you to that Aaron.” Tony finally stepped away and went to take a shower. He had a go bag in his car and had Aaron run out to get it for him. After they were both showered and changed they curled up on the couch together and watched movies and talked about the day. Aaron was happy that the first meet with his son had gone so well. He just knew this was going to work out and that made him happier than he had been in a long time.
Part 9: Alexandria – 2010
Tony was finding balance with his team. He had been able to woo both Ashley and Jordan away. Ashley was becoming emotionally compromised working in trafficking so long. Tony wasn’t surprised. They had one of the highest turnover rates in the Bureau. He was glad to get her. Tara and her had bonded quickly after they had learned about each other’s childhoods. Currently, he was looking at Jordan laughing and joking with Ethan and Gina and thought back to her interview.
“I just have one simple question.”
“Okay.” Jordan frowned as she looked at Tony.
“Will you ever be compelled to pull shit like this again?” Tony handed her the report that Aaron had written up and put in her file. She was surprised it was as fair as it was, but the formal reprimand was still there.
“No. I’ve learned a lot since then. The BAU kicked my ass, but in hindsight, I deserved it.”
“For now, before you talk to any media you will get it approved by me first. And, no lying to families, ever. Do you get why UC Hotchner gave you this reprimand?”
Jordan sat back and took a breath before she spoke.
“It undermines the trust we try to build with the victims families and friends. If we lie and get caught in that lie all trust is broken and then it cuts us off from any information they may have for our cases. It undercuts our sincerity and makes us look like assholes, Sir.”
“Exactly. Now, that’s all I’m going to say about it. But, Jordan.”
“You lie or you don’t back-up your team or you compromise their trust and safety, you will be busted back to the Agent Pool with another reprimand in your file. Understand?”
“Now, go take that last desk before those freaks out there decide to do something really mean, like wrapping everything up in wrapping paper or something.” Tony grinned at the stunned look on Jordan’s face.
“Thank you, Sir. I promise not to let you down.” Jordan practically jumped out of her seat from her excitement and ran out to the desk. Ashley and her hugged, having worked together before, they knew each other and Tony had seen that as a plus.
Tony came back to the present and was standing at the large window in his office that looked out to the bullpen. He watched his agents interacting with each other and was proud of the team he had put together. They had a few cases under their belt and though they had a couple of hiccups they learned quickly how to work together. There was one of them that stood out in the field and he finally knew he had his 2IC.
Tony peaked out of his office, “Gideon, my office.” He yelled out then walked back and sat down with his feet propped up throwing a baseball in the air.
“I need you to clean out your desk.”
Tara frowned deeply as she walked into his office.
“Um what did I do?”
“Nothing, you’re moving.”
“To the office next to mine. You’re my new second.”
“You bastard. I thought you were firing me for some reason.” Tara glared at him and crossed her arms.
“Nah, the way you took down Jamison through sheer snark alone told me right then you are who I want as my second.”
Tara laughed as she turned around and flipped Tony off as she went to get her things. He just laughed and leaned back with his hands behind his head thinking just how happy he was.
“You look awfully smug.” Aaron leaned in the door in jeans and a t-shirt.
“Hey, when did you get in and what are you wearing?” Tony stood and made his way to Aaron. He wrapped a hand around his wrist, their code for when they were in the office.
“It was a lake out in California. Didn’t think a suit would be a good idea.” Aaron reached out and straightened Tony’s tie. “I already saw Jack. He and Spencer are going out for the night. Strauss gave us mandatory down time so I’m off tomorrow. What are your plans?”
“Oh, well my plans just opened up.”
“I was thinking,” Aaron hesitated a moment as he let Tony’s tie go, “maybe staying the night.”
“I think I can agree to that.”
“I have some paperwork to finish. I can be at your place around six thirty?”
“Perfect. I’ll see you then.” Tony let Aaron go and wished, not for the first time, that he could kiss him. But the FBI frowned on that kind of thing so they made do. He went back to his desk and worked on getting his paperwork finished. He couldn’t believe that they were finally moving forward, taking that next step.
“Should we move this to the bedroom?” Tony was currently straddled on Aaron’s lap kissing him, pressing him into the back of the couch.
“Yes,” Aaron was breathless as Tony was slowly undoing that stoic facade he knew he put up as a defense against the world around him. Tony moved and held his hand out for Aaron who stood and took it. When they entered, Tony started to unbutton Aaron’s shirt, which he slid off and threw it to the side. Aaron hooked his finger in one of Tony’s belt loops and pulled him flush against him. He took his mouth once again kissing him hard as one hand cupped his ass and kept him close.
Tony reluctantly broke the kiss and moved away undressing as he went. Aaron undid his pants and slid off his boxers. He stepped out of them and threw them off to the side. He had his hands on the hem of his sleeveless t-shirt but hesitated. He sat on the end of the bed suddenly unsure of himself.
“Aaron? What’s wrong?”
“I,” his voice caught in his throat as his breathing went shallow. Tony dropped down to his knees and grabbed the end of the shirt. Never taking his eyes off Aaron’s, he slowly lifted it up and off him. When Aaron closed his eyes and turned his head Tony looked down. He lifted his hand and slowly traced each scar on Aaron’s chest and stomach.
“You were afraid to show me?” Aaron silently nodded. Tony splayed his hands over his chest then reached up and gently turned Aaron’s head back so he could look at him and kissed him. “These don’t matter Aaron. All they are is battle scars. They don’t make you less than what you are, an amazing man that I am stupidly in-love with. They don’t change how I feel about you in any way.”
“Tony.” Aaron reached down and pulled him up kissing him. He started to scoot back with Tony following. Reaching into his nightstand, Tony grabbed a bottle of lube and a condom then laid Aaron out. He took his time showing Aaron just what he was feeling. Kissing, touching and marking him, making Aaron his in more ways than one. When he slid a slick finger inside Aaron’s hole he was rewarded with a very obscene noise.
He grabbed for the condom and tore open the wrapper and slipped it on.
“God Aaron, you’re gorgeous like this waiting and splayed out just for me.”
“Tony, please.” Aaron begged as he arched up on the bed.
“Anxious?” Tony looked down on Aaron as he guided the head of his cock inside Aaron. He was pushing inside as he leaned over Aaron kissing him when Aaron went completely still.
“Tony,” Aaron’s heart was racing, and he felt a rising panic attack as Tony was above him.
“Aaron, what’s wrong.”
“Tony, off, please.” The panic on Aaron’s face was worrying Tony so he carefully pulled out and moved to the side. Aaron bolted off the the bed and ran into the bathroom. Tony took off the condom and put on a pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt and ran to the bathroom. Aaron was on his knees with his forehead against the porcelain of the toilet. Tony saw that he was sweating and lightly shaking.
“Aaron, are you okay?” Aaron just shook his head no as he felt wetness on his cheeks. “Can you stand?” Aaron nodded yes and Tony helped him up and led him into the bedroom. He grabbed Aaron’s overnight bag and handed it to him. Aaron rummaged through it and grabbed a pair of running shorts and t-shirt and put them on.
“What do you need Aaron?” Tony wasn’t going to push for answers just yet. He would let Aaron settle a little before he asked any questions.
“Some water please.”
“Why don’t we go out to the living room.” Aaron nodded and followed behind Tony then curled-up on the couch. Tony came back with some water and sat on the other end of the couch. He would patiently wait till Aaron was ready to talk.
“I’m sorry, Tone.” Aaron’s face was flushed with embarrassment.
“Can you tell me what happened?” It was several long minutes and Aaron only started talking after he drained the water Tony gave him.
“I only told you part of what happened to me. Foyet, when he attacked me,” Aaron pulled his legs up to his chest and wrapped his arms around his legs. “He didn’t just stab me Tony. It wasn’t that simple. He was straddled on top of me. Each time he slid the knife in,” Aaron’s breath was short and he started to shake. “He looked me in the face. He only moved to shift positions, he got off on it. I tried to fight back but the pain and I was losing blood, I just, I laid there and couldn’t do anything to stop it.” Tears slid down Aaron’s face but he didn’t move his hands to stop them.
“That’s not everything is it?” Tony kept his voice calm, compassionate but inside he was a raging ball of emotions. He wished the man wasn’t dead so he could kill him all over again.
“He was hard. I could feel it and my mind was screaming, I thought, from something he said earlier that night, I thought…” Aaron closed his eyes against the memories.
“You thought he was going to rape you?”
Aaron nodded his head and Tony wanted to curse but he quelled his own emotions because he didn’t want to scare Aaron.
“He didn’t, though.”
“Didn’t he? Aaron, he might not have physically done the act but everything else, he mentally and emotionally raped you. Even the way he stabbed you, isn’t that a kind of rape?” Aaron nodded his head yes. “May I ask you something?” Aaron again nodded.
“When you were with Spencer, he never topped you did he?” Aaron shook his head. “So when I started to, it brought all of that back.”
“Fuck, Aaron if I had known, if I had even thought I wouldn’t have, I mean I would have let you take the lead. God, I am so sorry.”
“He taunted me, Tony. He taunted me then he went to my bathroom and I could hear him. I could hear him.” Tony gently took Aaron’s hand and tugged him into his arms. He laid down and settled Aaron down on top of him. He wrapped his arms around the man and held him.
“You’ve never dealt with this have you? I can guess that you easily got past the Bureau shrinks and never talked to anyone about this.”
“No. I’m sorry. I..”
“Shh, don’t be sorry Aaron. We’ll figure this out. I think you need to talk about this, but not with me because right now what I want to do I can’t.” Tony gently rubbed his back and felt a wetness on his chest. He wasn’t moving, not for anything in the world and his heart ached. He loved this man and to see him breaking like this hurt him and he had no one to take it out on. For now he would bury it and figure out what to do with this later.
“We’ll figure this out Aaron, together. I’m not scared okay? I’ve already told you I’m all in and I meant it. So, we take this slow and figure out how to get through this. You aren’t alone Aaron in this, I won’t let you be.”
Aaron didn’t say anything he just fisted his hand in Tony’s shirt and for once let himself be cared for. All of that pain and anger he had held onto for so long, it broke inside of him and he let go, let himself break in the arms of the one man he trusted more than anything.
“I love you Tony,” Aaron shook but was soothed by gentle hands and gentle kisses on his forehead. Eventually it all caught-up to him and he was exhausted and fell asleep.
Tony was loath to move them so he settled a little more and tried to let go of the raging anger inside him. He knew he couldn’t do anything about Foyet, but he could help Aaron. Letting out the breath he was holding he tightened his hold on the man he loved and slowly fell asleep himself hoping they could find answers in the morning.