Tony stepped into the hospital room and saw Emily cuddled between Gibbs and Fornell but still awake. Tony got the impression that this would be an often repeated scene. It was clear that the young girl was freaked out by something and sought comfort with her close family. Tony could relate as it was a favoured trick since he’d bonded with Aaron. He did smile at seeing the tabby cat lying at the bottom of the bed fiercely swishing its tail as a way of trying to protect his little pride. He wondered how big the cat would grow as Emily aged.
Tony chuckled as the spirit guide was just like its human - fierce yet adorable. “What’s she called?”
Emily perked up and whispered. “Isis.”
Tony smiled softly as he sat down in the vacant visitor chair. “A fitting name I think.” The cat certainly had a regal air.
Emily smiled timidly. “So what happens next?”
Tony answered her honestly. “Well, a lot will depend on you and what you want.”
She looked startled by the idea and that saddened him. Tony got the impression from both Tobias and Jethro that Diane Sterling had a rather forceful and dominant personality. “Like?”
Tony looked to both of the adults. He was talking directly to Emily but reminding both of the adults too of their rights. “Well, in the case of a minor coming online, the custody agreement is reviewed and takes into account the SG Centre’s report.”
Tony looked at her seriously because that was said way too quickly and with a little too much relief for his liking. He was glad that Fornell and Gibbs had stopped feigning sleep. He got the feeling they were just as keen to find out the answer as he was. Tony asked the question he wasn’t too sure he wanted the answer to but he was the responsible adult. “What will it say, Em?”
Em’ bit her lip, clearly nervous, and you didn’t need to have guide’s senses to know it. Tony didn’t force the young girl, he waited for her to clarify. He knew the danger of leading a witness in such a crucial situation.
Tony held his hands up because he couldn’t pretend to understand. He’d never had a close relationship with either of his parents. “Hey - no judgement from me. I just want to help you, little guide.”
She chuckled because she knew he was telling the truth. “It’s weird. I’ve always seen you as a big brother.”
Tony smiled softly and pulled her in for a hug, sensing her need for comfort. “And it’s a role that will continue, only now I will be even more protective. I can’t help it ... it’s instinct.”
She sighed knowing that Tony could be as tenacious as her daddy when he wanted to be. She twisted in Tony’s lap to tell her Dad - having the courage to say it now on the Alpha Sentinel’s lap. “Dad. Mum loves me but she distrusts guides and I hate it there. It’s all I can feel in that house.” Her voice broke on the last part and so did the hearts of the adults in the room. When her Dad put his hands out she dove from Tony’s lap into his arms. Tony was glad because he’d happily give her as many hugs as she needed but there was nothing that beat a dad’s hug - or so everyone said.
Fornell crushed her into a fierce hug and even Gibbs managed to get up, wincing at the injury but that was secondary to his desire to comfort the young girl. Gibbs looked at Tony with anger in his eyes. Tony understood implicitly the anger and nodded. He would sort this - he would have done it for any young child guide but Em was family. He assured them. “I’ll sort it. No one is allowed to enter the room without me or Hotch as an escort.”
Emily looked upset, thinking she’d caused the commotion. “I didn’t mean to cause trouble.”
Tony lifted her chin up. “Hey, kiddo. You said I’m like your big brother, right?”
She bit her lip. “Yeah.”
“And big brothers sort things for their little sisters?” Tony asked gently, trying to get her see reason.
She giggled as that was the stereotype. “Yeah.”
So Tony gave her a gentle smile. “So that is what I am going to do. Do not ever think that you are a burden or a waste of time. Your Dad and Gibbs adore you and so do I. Aaron and Jack will too, once they get to know you.”
She grabbed him in a fierce hug and Tony let her. He had to smile at the way Orso, his spirit animal, decided to get in on the action. He was such a cuddle slut when he wasn’t being all angry and gruff.
Gibbs looked at the exhausted girl curled up between him and Tobias. He’d always been fond of Emily but now there was more - she would be a child of his heart. He knew that bonding with Tobias was a formality. As his strength slowly returned, so were his senses aligning and they were all primed on the guide.
“Diane is going to kill us.”
Tobias chuckled as he moved a hair from his daughter’s face. “Nah, she’ll have to get through Tony and Aaron and I’m not above hiding behind them.”
Sentences he never expected to hear, and that ranked up there for Gibbs. He spoke softly as he had no intention of waking Emily up. “We’re not hiding behind my son.”
He’d long since stop denying his heart on the relationship between him and Tony - if anything, the current events had cemented that.
Tobias pouted at him. “Hey, you’re the one that taught him how to be a badass. He’s learned every lesson well.”
Gibbs did feel proud of the idea. “He was already a badass when I got him, I just built on it. Besides, don’t think that will change my mind. We have to face her head on. It’ll hurt Emily more otherwise and you know it.”
Tobias sighed. “I hate when you’re right.”
Jethro closed his eyes with a contented smile on his face. He knew that Tobias would win his fair share of the arguments so he was going to savour this small victory while it lasted.
Meanwhile, Ziva was planning her own revenge on the people who’d ruined her life. Her fury had not abated one drop. It wasn’t enough for Tony to take her job, he’d ruined her and all over a stupid joke. It was not her fault that Gibbs had got shot - how could she have predicted it? Step one of her plan was implemented by having got Sergei’s attention.
Mossad taught you to use any weapon available to you. Plus, if you could manipulate someone into doing your dirty work - even better. It allowed you a layer of protection.
They’d be on the lookout for her - they wouldn’t have planned for Sergei. He had more to gain and revenge was always a powerful motivator.
There was a call from a number she didn’t recognise.
“Take a stroll in the park next to you.”
The call ended abruptly and Ziva bit back her anger at the rude manner. She reminded herself that she needed him in order to get her own revenge. It was just fate that their goals coincided. She grabbed her jacket and slipped several more knives onto her body.
“Tell me more.” He demanded gruffly.
Ziva didn’t mind, she wasn’t one for small talk. “About Gibbs or DiNozzo?”
She handed him a folder, she just forgot to add the part about him being the Alpha Sentinel of the Area. If he wasn’t good enough to find it out on his own, it wasn’t her job to let him know. “Here is what I know ... they whisked Gibbs off to a hospital once he was discovered.”
Sergei had a razor sharp grin. “That was careless, wasn’t it ... letting him be discovered?”
She threw her hair back. “I was aiming for not too obvious.”
He perused through the files and closed them. He glared at her. “I will finish the job you couldn’t. Did you get Daddy’s dispensation through the academy?”
She hissed but there was no chance to reply as he’d already disappeared into the crowd moving through the park. She wished she knew just what Sergei was planning but then there would be no way she would have plausible deniability.
Tony was glad to be back home, he’d stopped by the hospital to let Fornell and Gibbs know what was happening. He’d dealt with more than one situation today ranging from the day job of FBI Assistant-Director to his duties as Alpha-Sentinel. “I’m home.”
Jack ran to greet him. “How’s Grandpaw?”
Tony smiled because his stepson was so concerned. “He’s sleeping under Uncle Toby’s watchful eye.”
“Good,” with a grin. “I made sure to ask him to read a story.”
Tony chuckled ruffling Jack’s hair. “Thanks, kiddo. Where’s your Dad?”
And it wasn’t Aaron but Jessica, Haley’s sister, that answered. “He was called back to the office.”
Tony groaned because he’d made it explicitly clear that Aaron did not go to work without him unless it was a dire emergency. “Seriously, did he say who was stupid enough to countermand the order on both of our files?”
“Victor FitzGerald, although Aaron actually used a more colourful variant.” Jessica replied and sadly that did explain everything.
Tony growled, rather like his spirit animal. “Stupid man, you’d think they’d learn not to screw with my guide.” In fact, Orso popped into view. Tony didn’t even blink. “Go and keep an eye on our guide, detain anything that tries to hurt him.”
Jessica smirked. “Well, I am here and I don’t mind staying.”
Tony kissed her cheek and looked down at Jack. “Hey buddy, I gotta go and make sure Daddy’s safe. You’ll be good for your Aunty, right?”
“Of course.” He said, highly offended at the idea he might misbehave for his beloved aunt. He wasn’t a silly boy if he did - then she didn’t bake cookies and that would suck.
Tony waited until Jack ran off to wash his hands. “Hey, guards will be posted here as a precaution.”
Jessica nodded. “Go. We’ll be fine and I have the code for the panic room if needed.”
Tony relaxed knowing that she had a good head on her shoulders. “Do what you have to do to stay alive.”
“Why has my guide been called into work without me?”
The voice on the other side spluttered. “You work for me, DiNozzo, not the other way around.”
Tony snorted amazed at the arrogance of the man. Once he’d dug down to the bottom of this he was going to make sure the Deputy Director understood just what a stupid position he’d put himself in. After all, it was only a fool of a man who would make himself an enemy of the tribe.
“If there is a hair out of my place on my guide’s head I will make what I did to the Reaper look civilised.” Tony promised calmly and all the more deadly as a result. He knew in his gut something was wrong - he just didn’t know what. He was pressing the Bluetooth activation on his steering wheel to make a call.
“Toby - are Gibbs and Emily secure?”
“Yes, Alpha. What is it?” Even Toby was picking up his anger and he was miles away.
Tony huffed. “Victor Fitzgerald ordered Aaron to the office without me and doesn’t seem to understand the implication. Worse, doesn’t care.”
Tobias paled and so badly freaked out that Gibbs woke up.
“What is it?” His own Sentinel demanded to know.
Tobias shook his head, focussing on Tony for the second. “Focus on getting to your guide, Tony. I’ll ensure there are agents here, and get Ellison and Sandburg on the phone. We’ll raise hell on your behalf.”
Tony snorted. “You know what? It’s like I’m talking to Gibbs.”
Tobias snorted. “Hey, we’re pairs for a reason. Be safe.”
“And you. Look after Pops, and my new little sister.” Tony ordered, having had so little of a family he fought like crazy to protect what he had now. He considered Aaron, Jack, Gibbs and by extension Tobias and Emily, family.
Tobias looked at the pair who were actually on the bed. Gibbs' eyes were wide open, intent on listening to every bit of information. “I will.”
“Who is it?”
Tobias shrugged because it was his least favourite action as an investigator. His whole job was about finding answers and right now, he had none. “We don’t know but Tony’s instincts are primed to full and he listens to his gut now.”
“Good. There’s no one in the hospital I don’t recognise.” Gibbs remarked, straining to hear something in the distance.
Tobias smiled softly. “Are you saying your senses are fully online?”
Gibbs didn’t shrug as Emily was currently using him as a pillow. She’d been exhausted after the emotional upheaval of admittings he would rather live with Tobias than Dianne. He felt hunted, he knew this was his enemy coming after the tribe - he just didn’t have a name.
Across town, a gunshot rang out across the night skyline ...