Coming Home – 2/2 – desertpoet

Title: Coming Home
Author: desertpoet
Fandom: NCIS/Hawaii Five-0
Genre: Romance, Crime Drama, First Time
Relationship(s): Tony DiNozzo/Steve McGarrett
Content Rating: R
Warnings: Explicit Sex, Graphic Violence, Major Character Injury, Permanent Injury, Bad Parenting/Child Neglect, Discussion-Murder, Death-Minor Character Drug use
Author Notes: I had a lot of fun writing Coming Home. I hope you enjoy.
Beta: Thanks to Love Me Last, Annie, and Shallan
Word Count: 60000
Summary: Steve comes home to take care of his injured father and finds a lot more than he bargained for.
Artist: Thanks to SpencnerTibbsLuvr


 

Lovely Art by SpencnerTibbsLuvr

 


Chapter Seven

Steve called Chin to let him know they were coming to get him, but Chin insisted it wasn’t necessary. At Steve’s request, Chin agreed to meet at Tony’s so they could talk. After some convincing, he’d agreed to join the task force. Chin told him that a man named Sang Min was in charge of human trafficking on and off the island. Chin thought he’d been the one to smuggle Hesse onto the Island in the first place.

Steve agreed he was someone they should keep an eye on, and he put in a request with the Governor for a warrant to bring Min in for questioning. Steve was inclined to force Sang Min to talk to him, but he promised Tony he’d followed procedure whenever possible, and that meant waiting for his requests to go through. The Governor would make sure everything was expedited, but it would still take a few hours to get everything into place.

Steve believed in covering his bases whenever possible. He figured that either Hesse would try to get off the island or he’d try to finish the job and kill his dad. He wished he could watch over John himself, but he was going to have to find someone he trusted.

Chin arrived, and they all made their way into the living room.

He hoped they’d both be willing to help. First, though he was going to have to explain the situation, Steve turned to Tony. “Do you have anything stronger than beer?” he asked.

Tony raised an eyebrow. “I have some whiskey.”

“That’ll do, pour each of us some. We’re going to need it.”

Tony gave him a look. “You shouldn’t drink while on duty,” Tony pointed out

“A small amount for each of us isn’t going to hurt.” Steve added, “Trust me.”

Tony looked at him for a long moment and then nodded. He went to the kitchen and pulled a bottle of whiskey out of one of the cabinets. He poured a small amount into each glass and brought them back.

Chin was sitting in the armchair while Steve and Tony shared the sofa. Steve put his arm along the back, and Tony easily leaned against his side much to his delight.

Chin turned to him. “What’s going on, Steve? I expected us to be tearing the island apart looking for Hesse not sitting here drinking and talking.”

Steve sighed and tapped his finger against the side of his whiskey glass. “There’s something I need to tell you both. There’s a lot more going on here than either of you know.”

“Okay,” Tony said quietly. “I have to admit I’m not surprised to hear that. I’ve known for a while something weird was going on with your dad. I asked him if he needed help, but he insisted he was fine.”

“Your dad stuck by me, and I know that cost him something. I’ll help you and John any way I can,” Chin added. “What’s going on?”

Steve told them both everything. Right down to their suspicions that there was at least one mole in HPD maybe more. It took a while especially since both Chin and Tony kept interrupting with questions. Steve was impressed with how insightful they both were.

Once Steve was done both Chin and Tony were silent for a few minutes. Tony got up and paced clearly lost deep in thought. Steve let them absorb the information. He knew firsthand what a shock it was.

“This is a lot to take in,” Chin said finally. “So, you want to take over your father’s investigation into Wo Fat and the Governor?”

Steve nodded. “I want to make sure both Jameson and Wo Fat go to prison where they belong.”

Tony stared out the window for a moment, and when he looked back at Steve, his eyes blazed with anger. “I can’t believe this. First of all, why didn’t your dad come to me?” The hurt on Tony’s face made Steve’s stomach twist. “I can’t believe he’s been dealing with all this on his own.”

“Believe me, I get how you feel. I’m angry too, but I understand that he was trying to protect us, both of us. He only decided it was safe to pick up his investigation recently.” Steve had mostly let go of his anger. After what had happened he wasn’t about to push his father away.

“I get that.” Tony closed his eyes for a moment the anger draining from his face, and then he squared his shoulders. Steve saw him turn to the matter at hand. “The biggest problem I see is that we don’t have solid proof of the Governor conspiring with Wo Fat. We need solid proof that she’s dirty.”

Steve patted the seat next to him, and Tony walked over and sat back down with a sigh.

“We need solid proof against both of them,” Chin added. “I’ve lived on this island all my life, and I’ve never even heard of Wo Fat until now.”

Steve nodded. “Right. Neither had I and I worked naval intelligence. Dad says he’s excellent at staying off the radar. We’re going to have to be careful while we gather information.”

Chin hesitated. “The thing is, Steve, this is a small island. All the bad guys know all the good guys, and word gets around quickly. How will you keep the Governor or Wo fat from figuring out what you’re doing? Your dad thought he was careful and he was almost murdered for it.”

Tony nodded. He leaned forward and rested an elbow on the arm of the sofa. “Chin has an excellent point, Steve. I don’t think you’ve thought this through all the way.”

“How so?” Steve asked genuinely curious.

“Okay, I know you won’t like this but hear me out. You shouldn’t be trying to do this on your own. If the Governor and HPD are both dirty, then the best thing is to bring in the FBI. It’s their job to investigate corrupt government officials, and they’re better equipped for it than we are.”

Steve ground his teeth in annoyance. He’d been afraid of something like this. He took a deep breath and remembered to stay calm. Tony was trying to help. “No, Tony. I am not going to turn this investigation over to anyone else. Hesse might have been the one to attack my dad, but it was the Governor that ordered his death. All because she thought my dad was getting close to exposing her misdeeds.”

Tony blew out a breath. He clasped his hands tightly in his lap, and Steve noticed his fingers were white. “Steve calm down, believe me, I understand, but I think you’re too close to this. This is personal for you, too personal.

“Believe me, I understand. Your dad is important to me too. There’s a part of me that’s tempted to go after Jameson myself. I know I can’t take matters into my own hands though. If we want to do this right we need to do it legally and follow proper procedure.”

Chin stood. “For the record, I’m with Tony on this, but I’m going to let you two sort this out. Since we can’t trust HPD, I’m going to go look after your dad personally.”

Steve shook his head and stood up. “No, I need you to go down to our new HQ and start coordinating the search.”

“No problem, Brah. I’ll get my cousin Kono to help. She just graduated from the police academy. Because she’s family, the HPD isn’t giving her a fair chance. They have her handing out speeding tickets. I’m sure she’ll be happy to help.”

“Are you sure?” Steve questioned. “Hesse is dangerous. I don’t want your cousin to get hurt.”

Chin grinned. “Trust me, Kono can handle herself. I’ll keep an eye on her, too. She’ll be fine.”

“I agree. Kono will do a good job. I’ve been helping with her training.” Tony and both Chin and Kono had met at John’s one day and got to talking. Kono had helped Tony improve his surfing quite a bit, and they’d become friends.

Steve gave him a quick glance then he nodded and clasped Chin on the shoulder. “That’s all I need to hear. Thanks, man, truly.” Steve had known plenty of badass women in his time. “I look forward to meeting her, and thank her for us.” It felt right to include Tony.

“Sure thing. You and your dad are Ohana, Steve. I’ll keep you posted.”

Tony stood as well. He held up a hand. “Before you go we need to discuss something else. With Chin at HQ and Kono watching your dad, we need someone else on the team, someone who can coordinate the search.”

“I have an idea. I have a friend; he’s new to the island. He’s a good cop, and he can help us out with this.”

Steve shrugged. “That’s a good idea. If you vouch for him, that’s good enough for me. You could coordinate while I go interview the guards myself. It’ll be fine, and then I’ll bring in Sang Min. We should have the warrant any time now.”

“Absolutely not. You’re stuck with me until this is over. With all of us. We’ll all watch each other’s backs as much as possible. .”

Tony was glaring at Steve. Steve could tell he was serious, and wouldn’t take no for an answer.

Steve held up his hands in surrender. “Alright, I take your point. Give me your friend’s name. I’ll call the Governor and add him to the list.”

Tony smiled. “His name is Daniel Williams. He’s only been on the island a few months. He’s from Jersey.”

“No one is going to like taking orders from a haole very much. They won’t like taking them from me either,” Chin commented with a frown.

Tony frowned. “Well, they can just get over it. They’ll follow orders, or they’ll get reprimanded.”

Chin nodded. “I hear that, brah. After I get Kono in place, I’ll check in and see where things stand.”

Steve agreed and, saying goodbye, Chin left. Steve and Tony sat down again. This time Tony leaned into Steve so that their sides were touching.

Tony sighed. “All of HPD is out looking for Hesse. If we want him to testify, then we have to find him and keep him safe. I know not all of HPD is dirty but we don’t know who we can trust.”

Steve glared at him he could already tell where Tony was going with this. “I don’t want to bring in the FBI or NCIS for that matter. My dad was handling this, and I’m going to finish it for him,” he said sharply.

Tony rolled his eyes. “God, you’re just as stubborn as John. You can both just suck it up. I’m not taking no for an answer on this Steve. It’s the right way to handle it. You have to be patient. We need to gather evidence and investigate the right way so we can put both Jameson and Wo Fat away for a long time. We do this right, and we’ll do serious damage to the Yakuza as well. The outcome will be worth it, I promise.”

Steve sighed and ran his hand over his face. He hated to admit it, but Tony had laid down an excellent argument. He couldn’t argue with any of his points.

Tony leaned forward and put his hand on Steve’s knee. “Listen, okay? I have experienced handling cases against organized crime so I know what I’m talking about. The FBI handles both organized crime and investigations against corrupt government officials. They are equipped to handle this investigation properly, we aren’t. If you want to bring in both Jameson and Wo Fat, this is the best way.”

Steve sighed. He opened his mouth to speak, but Tony cut him off.

“I’m not done. If we find Hesse, he’s going to need protection. Prison isn’t going to be enough. I think we should assume Wo Fat can get to him there. Again, an FBI Task Force would be far better equipped to protect him. Also, it would be very difficult for the Governor to interfere. This is the best thing all around, and I know you’re smart enough to get that.

“Steve, it’ll be safer for John and Mary, too. Not to mention you. I know you’re a SEAL, but I have a vested interest in keeping you safe, so please see reason on this.”

“Shush,” Steve gently lay his fingers and over Tony’s mouth. Their eyes met. He ran a finger over Tony’s bottom lip before leaning back. “Yes, okay. You had me at ‘serious damage.’ I’m impressed with your determination to convince me, though. Okay, bring in the FBI. I’ll let them run the investigation, but I want to be in the loop on what’s happening in the investigation every step of the way, okay? Promise me.”

Tony had closed his eyes for a moment and let out a relieved sigh. “Thank you for trusting me, Steve. I’ll do my best. I’ll go call Tobias Fornell now. He’ll help me get the ball rolling.” He didn’t get up, however. Instead, he leaned forward and cupped Steve’s face with his hand and gave him a gentle kiss. “This was not how I hoped this day would go,” Tony said ruefully.

Steve grinned. “Don’t worry, we have time. Go make your phone call. If we find Hesse first, we’ll need help to protect him. I can take charge of him in the short term, but once the Governor knows we have him, he won’t be safe. We have a fugitive terrorist to find.”

Tony nodded and took out his phone. Steve watched him as he drained the rest of his glass. The whiskey burned down his throat. He hoped he’d made the right decision. He did trust Tony, though. The realization gave him a warm feeling. It had happened fast, but it felt right. He knew Tony would keep his word. He loved Steve’s family as much as Steve did. He hated giving up control like this, but he knew they had to do this right. Both Jameson and Wo Fat would get what was coming to them. He and Tony would see to that.

It was a long while before Tony came back. Steve had taken the time to call the Governor and ask her to reassign Williams and Kono to the task force. She’d questioned his need for five people, but he’d pointed out that they needed all the help they could to find Hesse.

“The FBI knows about Wo Fat, and they’re very interested in using Hesse as a witness against him. They’ve also agreed to look at the evidence we have against Jameson.

“I need to ask exactly what evidence John has against Governor Jameson. My friend at the FBI wants me to send him pictures and copies of everything we have over an encrypted line. Then we’ll see if it’s enough to get the ball rolling.”

Steve shook his head. “They’re welcome to what we have. I took a look at it, and it’s like I said. It’s mostly suspicious campaign donations going all the way back to when Jameson was running for mayor.”

Tony looked thoughtful. “She’s also met with Noshimuri in public and John got that meeting with Wo Fat on video. That should be enough to get things in motion. Setting up a task force takes some time. They’re sending someone to help us with Hesse in the meantime. So, we need to keep this under wraps. They’re going to come up with a plan for Hesse so that the Governor doesn’t get suspicious. I’m going to need to see everything your dad has as soon as possible.”

“What kind of plan?” Steve asked. “What are they going to do, fake his death?” Steve wasn’t kidding. It was a good idea though he wasn’t sure Tony would agree. To his surprise, Tony didn’t instantly laugh it off. Instead he nodded. He’d expected Tony to ignore the suggestion.

“I’m not sure, but that’s a solid option. It would keep Wo Fat and any other enemies he might have from pursuing him.”

“I agree. It’s probably our best option. The evidence is back at the house. ”

“Good, we can stop there. Did the Governor tell you where the search for Hesse is being coordinated?”

“Yep, our new headquarters at Iolani Palace.”

“Nice. She’s pulling out the red carpet for you, isn’t she?”

Steve nodded. “I think she might be trying to keep me busy. Keep your enemies closer and all that.”

Tony made a thoughtful noise. “Maybe, but the easiest thing to do is to get you to leave. Why make it so easy for you to stay and investigate? I think there might be more going on with Jameson’s motivations than we realize at the moment.”

“Maybe,” Steve said. “But if she’s feeling remorse it’s a little late.” He didn’t much care about the Governor’s motivations unless it helped Steve put her in prison. Still, he admired the way Tony’s mind worked. He was quite insightful; Tony was clearly an excellent investigator. Steve had always found competence an extremely attractive quality.

“Let’s go,” Steve said.

Tony didn’t argue, but he did get in the driver’s seat before Steve could ask to drive again. Steve hid an amused smile even though he did prefer to be the driver. He was usually able to convince people to let him drive, but Tony was determined. Steve kind of admired him for it.

As they drove back to his dad’s house, they discussed how they were going to find Hesse. All of HPD was out looking, but since Steve had no doubt Wo Fat was the one who engineered Hesse’s escape he was pretty sure Hesse was going to be almost impossible to find.

A ride that would normally have taken half an hour took twice that in the Honolulu mid-afternoon traffic. By the time they reached his father’s house, Steve was feeling incredibly restless.

When they arrived, Fei’s workers were still working on the renovations to the house. The new first-floor bathroom was the only section that still needed to be finished. Steve sent everyone home. If Hesse did show up here, he didn’t want any innocent civilians getting caught in the middle. Steve didn’t think Hesse was going to come after him, though. Hesse was smart enough to know getting off Hawaii was his best bet.

Once everyone was gone, Steve led Tony upstairs into his sister’s bedroom. He opened the closet and pulled up the loose floorboards. He pulled out the toolbox and removed the top compartment to reveal the USB drive hidden underneath.

Tony was watching him with amusement. “Seriously?’ he asked.

“What? It was the best I could do on short notice. Dad was keeping all of it in the garage.”

Tony snorted and muttered something under his breath, but Steve figured he didn’t want to know.

“Let’s get it all back to my place. I have an actual safe, you know.”

Steve couldn’t argue with that. He picked up the toolbox, and they started back toward the stairs when Steve heard a weird noise. He was pretty sure it was the sound of the lanai door opening.

“Someone’s downstairs,” he whispered.

Tony nodded and pulled out his gun, mirroring Steve’s own movements. Tony let Steve go first, and they made their way quietly to the stairs.

Steve stopped short in shock at what he saw when he looked down into the living room. Victor Hesse was standing there staring back up at him. When he saw Steve and Tony, he put his hands up in the air.

“I surrender,” Hesse said calmly. “Don’t shoot.”

“What the hell?” Steve said shocked even as he pulled his own gun and made his way quickly down the steps, never taking his eyes or his gun off Hesse.

Steve took in Hesse’s disheveled appearance and his bloody prison clothes. He looked exhausted. “If you want to kill me, this isn’t the way to do it.”

Hesse glared at him. “I’m not going to hurt you, McGarrett. It would be satisfying, but it wouldn’t help me stay alive. You’re the only one who can help me. The man who hired me to kill your father—”

“Wo Fat,” Steve interrupted. “Or was it the Governor?” He wanted Hesse to know he was one step ahead of him.

Hesse nodded. “I see you’ve done your homework since we talked last. Full marks, well done. I don’t know if the Governor is involved. Obviously, I wouldn’t have asked you to get her to help me if I’d know she was working with Wo Fat. It wouldn’t surprise me though. Wo Fat has plenty of politicians in his pocket. He came to me in prison and ordered me to finish the job of killing your father and then you if I could manage it. He arranged my prison escape.”

Steve snorted. “So you really thought she could help you. I wondered if that was an act. For the record yhe feds would supersede her authority. She would have had to turn you over.”

Hesse glared at him and Steve smirked in response.

Steve looked at Tony, who nodded holstering his gun and taking out his phone. He already knew Steve wanted him to check on John without being asked. He talked quietly for several seconds.

Steve felt a genuine burst of fear, but he ignored it with the ease of long practice. “If you hurt my father-” Steve started grimly, but Hesse cut him off with a wave of his hand.

Tony gave Steve a thumbs up, and he hung up. Steve sighed in relief. Thank god. Then Tony dialed another number and had another brief conversation.

Hesse snorted. “There’s no need to threaten me. I haven’t been anywhere near your father. I came looking for you. It took longer than I thought to dodge the police. I need your help. I need you to protect me from Wo Fat and apparently the Governor, too. He will kill me if he finds me. I like being alive.”

Steve was watching Hesse carefully. “Sit down on the sofa with your hands on your knees, and don’t move or I’ll shoot you.”

Hesse sighed heavily, but he did as asked. “I suppose this means I’m not getting immunity,” he added. He suddenly looked exhausted.

Steve didn’t answer him.

Tony finally hung up the phone. “Your father is fine, Steve; He’s charming Kono and telling her stories about his time on the force. Chin is on his way over, too.”

“Good, find me something to tie him up with.”

“Damn. We don’t have any handcuffs, but I got plastic ties.” Tony tied Hesse hands behind his back none too gently.

Hesse grunted. “Hey, be careful. I’m injured here.”

Tony examined the wound on Hesse’s chest. “It’s just a scratch,” he assured Steve.

“Good, there’s a first aid kit on the top shelf in the upstairs bathroom.” Tony nodded and went upstairs to retrieve it.

“So why are you turning yourself in? You could have easily gone underground; we never would have found you.” Steve asked, genuinely curious.

Hesse snorted. “I wasn’t worried about you, McGarrett. I know you or HPD can’t find your own asses let alone someone as skilled as me, but Wo Fat will be able to find me. Even if I succeeded in killing both you and your father, which wasn’t likely, Wo Fat doesn’t like to leave loose ends. You can guess what he’d do to me after I stopped being useful.”

“So, you turned yourself in, hoping I’ll keep Wo Fat from killing you.”

Hesse nodded. “I’m not stupid. Wo Fat has cops in his pocket. For all, I know even a DA or a Judge or two, but I know I can trust you and your father to do the honorable thing. I’m willing to testify against Wo Fat in return for protection. I’m hoping you’ll just kill him instead of arresting him. Make all our lives easier.”

“What’s to stop me from killing you right now?” he asked Hesse. Steve wasn’t going to kill Hesse, but he wanted to wipe the smug look of Hesse’s face.

Hesse grinned. “We both know you need me, Steve. I’m the only person you know who has seen Wo Fat in the flesh. Without me, you’ve got no case against him.”

It wasn’t entirely true, but Hesse didn’t know that. It was better to keep Hesse in the dark. With Hesse, the case was much more solid. They would need Hesse’s cooperation, and he knew he couldn’t let Hesse rile him up. As much as he hated handing control of the investigation to someone else, he was relieved that soon Hesse wouldn’t be his problem anymore.

He’d be pleased when he didn’t have to see Hesse ever again. They’d turn Hesse over to the FBI and then it would be someone else’s turn to do their best not to give in to the urge to do Hesse bodily harm. Steve wished them luck, they’d need it.

Chapter Eight

Meanwhile, once he was upstairs, Tony took the time to make another phone call. He needed to fill in Fornell on their latest development. Tony had thought Hesse might come after Steve, but he was surprised that Hesse was smart enough to turn himself into them. He must be truly terrified of Wo Fat. Tony didn’t believe master criminals existed, but so far it seemed that Wo Fat came close. Everyone makes mistakes, he thought. ‘We just have to find out what they are.’

He dialed Fornell’s number. It was a secure line. When the man picked up, Tony didn’t waste any time. “We have Hesse.”

There was a surprised pause. “That was fast work, DiNotso. I’m impressed.”

Tony mentally rolled his eyes, but he ignored the mispronunciation of his name. He knew Fornell used it almost like an affectionate nickname after so many years.

“I’d like to take credit, but he came to us, believe it or not,” Tony said wryly. “He’s looking for protection from Wo Fat. Steve is downstairs talking to him now.”

Fornell laughed. “These things only happen to you, Tony.”

“Actually I think they happen to McGarrett. It’s a pretty smart move on Hesse’s part. We can keep him safe. Any progress on the task force?”

“It’s only been about three hours. You know how slow government bureaucracy normally is.”

“Yes, I know Fornell. I’m sorry. It’s just the faster we get moving, the better.”

“Yep.” Fornell popped the p. “Which is why you’ll be happy to know I talked to the assistant director who immediately got the director involved. Then we contacted NCIS and Homeland Security to rope them in. We’re forming an official task force, so we’re going to be sharing information and resources on this one. Can I work miracles or what?”

Tony let out a sigh of relief. “I’m impressed, and I mean it. That’s great news. I didn’t think we could handle the investigation on our own.”

“Right. Our director had a talk, and they nominated me to deliver the news. We’re going to have NCIS run point on this so as not to arouse suspicions. Besides they want a chance to interrogate Hesse and the FBI agreed. You’re a family friend of the McGarrett family, correct?”

“That’s right. Why?”

“Here’s what we’re thinking. We want you to be our liaison. We need the McGarretts cooperation, and they trust you. Your civilian status is a problem. We want you to accept a position with NCIS.

“You were an excellent agent, and it’s no secret the SECNAV hated letting you go. If you take a job at Pearl Harbor, you can act as a liaison for the investigation. That way Governor Jameson, this Wo Fat character, and anyone else who might be involved won’t get suspicious.”

Tony stifled a groan. No, that wasn’t what he wanted. He’d only agreed to work with Steve temporarily. “I have no desire to be a federal agent again, Tobias. You know this. I turned you down for a job twice before I moved out here. I like being a P.I.” He used Fornell’s first name to help get his point across. He wanted the other man to know he was serious.

Fornell snorted. “You’re enjoying following around cheating wives and their boy toys, huh?”

Tony felt a rush of annoyance, but he managed to keep his voice light. “Hey, there’s a lot more to my job than that. Plus I get to work in one of the most beautiful places in the world. I have nothing to complain about. You should come and visit sometime.”

Fornell sighed. “I might take you up on that someday, kid. Look, don’t give me a hard time about this, okay? You coming back to work for NCIS wasn’t my idea, and this is a request. You can turn us down, but if you do, it will make things that much harder, not only for the task force but for your friends, too. There’s some talk of taking them into protective custody.”

Tony huffed. There was no way in hell Steve or John would go along with that. Tony sighed and gave in to the inevitable, though Fornell didn’t need to know that just yet. “What is it that you want me to do exactly?”

Sensing victory Fornell pushed his case. “You go back to working for NCIS, and then all communication about the investigation between the task force and the McGarretts goes through you. No one will find your involvement on either end suspicious.

“You’re also an excellent investigator, and we could use your help on this. Governor Jameson likes to keep a close eye on what happens in her state. She will notice extra FBI officers in town if we make too much noise, so we have to be extra careful. Everything is going to have to come together very quickly and quietly for this to work.”

Tony sighed and sat down on the edge of Mary’s old bed. He’d slept in this room on more than one occasion so it was the room he’d naturally gravitated toward. A bunch of Mary’s old stuffed animals still sat on a toy chest under the single window in the room.

“Fine, I’ll do it if you can get the NCIS Director to agree. Personally, I don’t think he’s going to be very happy about this.”

“Don’t worry about Vance. He’s already agreed to this. He actually seemed pleased to have you back at NCIS, and especially that you’ll be working for the Honolulu office.”

Tony snorted. “Yeah, I bet.” Tony couldn’t get any further away than Hawaii from D.C. He and Vance agreed it was a good thing.

Tony ran his hand over his face suddenly tired. “So he’s willing to rehire me?”

Fornell chuckled. “SecNav didn’t give him much choice. If you agree, the papers will be pushed through immediately.”

Tony thought quickly. He couldn’t deny the plan made sense. However, Tony still wanted to refuse. He’d walked away from government work, and he’d never had any intention of going back. He knew he didn’t have a choice though. Steve was already unhappy with the situation. He wouldn’t respond well to dealing with someone he didn’t trust. Neither would John for that matter. Tony knew he was the best choice for this job.

“Alright, I’ll do it.”

Fornell blew out a breath. “Excellent. You didn’t have to make me work so hard for that, you know. We both knew you were going to say yes.”

Tony laughed, and he hoped it didn’t sound as bitter as he felt. “When will I be reporting for my new job?” he asked. Protecting John and Steve was worth it, though. He knew facilitating the arrest of an international criminal and a corrupt governor was important, too. He still believed in keeping the U.S. safe.

“Not exactly sure. We have to make it look good so at least a couple of weeks officially. We’re going to backdate some of the paperwork including your most recent job offer. Unofficially, the job starts right now.”

Tony nodded. “Of course it does.” Tony took a moment to get his head into the game. “Will you be my direct liaison to the FBI?’ he asked

“I will be for now. That might change at a later date.”

“I see. When will the team from the task force be arriving? It needs to be quick. It’s not like I can turn Hesse into police custody.”

“The details of that are still being worked out, but we will have someone with you by tomorrow, I promise. We have a team in mind already, and we just need to figure out the details. They’ll fill you in on the plan when they arrive. They’ll determine if Hesse’s information is worthwhile and if it is then they’ll handle the details of the extraction.”

Tony nodded to himself. “It’s vital that all interested parties think he is no longer a threat to them. What should I do with Hesse in the meantime?”

Tobias huffed. “Fine, DiNotso. We’re sending you to an NCIS safe house for the night. You should be secure there. Is your phone encrypted?”

“Yep, it’s the best I could get. It’s not government level but it’s good.” It was enough for Tony, but certainly not for the FBI.

“Okay. It should be good enough for this. I’ll send you the address. Memorize it and delete the text. If you need to talk to someone before tonight, call me.”

“I will, Fornell. Thank you for helping get all of this sorted out so quickly.”

“Don’t thank me, kid. It was your work that lit a fire under a lot of people here. The idea of finally being able to bring in Wo Fat is worth it all on its own. We’ve never been able to get any solid evidence against him. The bastard keeps himself squeaky clean on paper, and anyone who can testify against him has a habit of dying.”

“I suspected as much. I’d like any information you have on him.”

“Will do. Anything else?” Fornell asked

“Can I share this information with Steve and John? Steve insists he needs to be kept in the loop,” Tony asked. He hoped the answer would be yes. He’d keep it under wraps if ordered, but he felt the McGarretts had a right to be kept in the loop.

“Commander McGarrett’s clearance is certainly high enough, and his commanding officers speak highly of him. We’re hoping he’ll cooperate with us and I realize the easiest way to accomplish that is to share information with him. I leave that up to your discretion unless you’re ordered otherwise by the agent in charge of the task force or me.”

Tony sighed in relief. “Understood.”

“Good. Get Hesse to a safe place, and the team will meet you there. They should be in Honolulu by early morning.”

“Yes. I look forward to working with them.”

There was a pregnant pause. “Tony, I know you’re still angry, but Gibbs really is sorry and‒” Fornell spoke in a rush trying to get the words out.

Tony cut him off. “No. I told you I will not discuss Gibbs with you,” he said.

Fornell sighed. “Alright, alright, I had to try. DiNozzo, be careful, okay? Watch your back.”

Tony was surprised. “I will, Fornell, thanks again.” Tony hung up the call and looked down at his phone. It was just after five now.

This had not been how this day was supposed to go. He and Steve had been flirting for a while, getting to know one another. Tony liked Steve, and the flirting had been fun. Steve was smart, funny and incredibly hot. Tony had been looking forward to having some fun this afternoon. He had a feeling that the sex was going to be incredible. Instead, this huge mess had landed in their laps, and Tony was a god damn federal agent again.

Steve was not going to be happy that Tony wouldn’t be working on his task force. Steve liked to keep the people he cared about close to him, Tony understood that, but Tony was relieved. Workplace romances were never a good idea. Tony didn’t know exactly where he and Steve were headed yet, but he wanted to find out. Working so closely together would only ruin things. Gibbs had taught Tony that particular lesson, and he’d learned it well.

Tony grabbed the first aid kit and made his way back to the living room. Before he even reached the ground level, he saw Steve and Hesse silently glaring at one another.

“I called my FBI contact. The plan is a go. They’re sending a team to help us deal with Hesse. They’ll be here tomorrow. I’ll turn John’s evidence over to them. Tonight we’ll be moving him someplace safe. Then tomorrow we’ll take him to a safe house, one that only our team knows about. The investigative team will meet us there tomorrow. They’ll have more information for us, including how this is going to work.”

Tony nodded toward Hesse. “You need to be as honest as you can when they ask you questions. One of their first tasks will be to determine how valuable your information is. If it’s worthwhile, then we’ll do whatever we have to keep you safe, so it’s in your best interest to cooperate.”

He walked over to the sofa and sat down. Setting the kit down on the coffee table, he opened it.

“Want me to do that?” Steve asked.

“No, I got it.” Tony cleaned the scratches on Hesse’s chest, and then examined the bruise on his arm. “These look okay. They aren’t too deep. You got lucky.”

Hesse shook his head. “It wasn’t luck. I wasn’t supposed to get hurt, was I? If I couldn’t get away then how could kill your dad like Wo Fat wants.”

Steve glared again and moved toward them.

Tony decided it would be better to distract Steve.

“Steve, I think he could use some water.”

“And something to eat,” Hesse added.

“Who else was in on your escape?” Tony asked Hesse.

“The guard that was in the van with me for sure, I don’t know about the driver or any of the others though. The guard is the one that let me out of my cuffs and chains.”

Tony nodded. “The driver is in the hospital, but the man who was guarding you is dead.”

“I didn’t hurt him. He hit his head during the accident.” Hesse looked at Steve. “Hey McGarrett, how about that food? I haven’t had a decent meal in months.”

Steve rolled his eyes and glared at Hesse, but he went over to the cooler that was still sitting on the lanai pulled out a small bottle of water and held it to Hesse’s lips so he could drink. Hesse glared at him, but Steve just glared back; he finally sighed and took a few swallows. “There isn’t any food in the house. He can wait until we get him to the safe house.”

Tony nodded. “Sounds good. Are you going to go interview the guard that was driving the transport? We need to know whether he was involved and we need it to look like you’re searching for Hesse. I’ll stay here and take him to a new location as soon as it gets dark.”

Steve frowned. “Can I talk to you over here, please?” Steve indicated the kitchen doorway. “I’m not leaving you alone with him,” Steve said harshly.

“Look it’s not ideal, but it’s only for a couple of hours. Sunset is just after six. I can handle him. We’ll tie him up if it’ll make you feel better, but he came to us.”

Steve nodded looking over at Hesse. “I’m not happy about it but let’s do it. Give me the address of the safe house, and I’ll meet you there.”

Tony hesitated. “Steve, you can’t come with me. We have to act like everything is normal. It’s bad enough you’re with me instead of at headquarters right now.”

Steve frowned and his fists were clenched. “You promised I’d be kept in the loop,” he said softly.

Tony held up a placating hand. “Calm down. I promise I’m not going to keep anything from you, okay? I’ve been given permission to keep you informed about the investigation and I will. What I know, you’ll know, but you can’t be anywhere near it. The Governor is going to be keeping a close eye on you. You can’t give her a reason to get suspicious.”

Steve sighed and raked his fingers through his hair. “I hate this.”

Tony sympathized. “I know you do. I would too but I –“

Steve cut him off. “I trust you to keep your word, Tony. This is best for Dad and Mary. I know you’ll keep me posted about any progress. I just hate letting someone else handle this.”

Tony wanted to comfort Steve, but he was very aware of Hesse watching them so settled for squeezing Steve’s shoulder. “I know, and I appreciate the trust. It’s going to be okay.”

Just then Steve’s phone rang. Steve frowned down at it. “It’s Chin, I have to take this.” He walked off toward the den for some privacy.

Hesse smirked at him. “I didn’t take McGarrett for a fairy,” Hesse sneered.

“Shut up,” Tony snapped. “If you use that word around me again you’ll have more bruises to deal with.”

Steve came back in a couple of minutes later. “The prison guard is awake. I have to go and interrogate him.”

Tony grinned. “Interview him. Police officers do interviews.”

Steve waved that away. “Same difference.”

Tony sighed. Not exactly, especially since Steve had a military mindset. “Similar, but they aren’t the same. First, interview him if you think he’s guilty then you can get more serious. We’ll work on it. Help me get Hesse upstairs before you go.”

“I can call Chin and have him come over to stay with you.”

“He’s busy,” Tony said reasonably. “It makes no sense to make him come down here.”

“Alright. Have it your way.”

“Take Danny with you when you interview the guard. Call him and have him meet you at the hospital.” Danny would help smooth over Steve’s rough edges.

Steve frowned. “You trust him?”

“Yeah, I do absolutely. He’s an excellent cop and a good friend. We can trust him.”

“I’ll give him a chance, but you can fill him in on what’s going on since you’re the one bringing him into this circus.”

Tony smiled. He didn’t mind because explaining all this to Danny was going to be fun. Danny was going to explode when he heard what John had done and that Steve had planned to do the same. The rant would be epic. “I am sorry I’m missing your first meeting with him through.”

Steve instantly looked suspicious. “Why?”

“You’ll see.” Steve’s frown darkened even more.

“Don’t worry, you’ll like him. He’s a great guy, I promise. You better get going. I’ll call you once we’re at the safe house tomorrow.”

Despite his protests, they dragged Hesse upstairs and tied him securely to a chair in Steve’s old bedroom. Tony figured he’d be better hidden up there rather than in the living room.

Once they were done, Tony followed Steve downstairs. “I still don’t like the idea of leaving you alone. What if Wo Fat or his men show up?”

Tony smiled. Steve was sweet to be worried about him. He reached up and touched Steve’s cheek. “I can take care of myself.”

“I know that. I’m just concerned.” Steve leaned into his touch and Tony wondered if he even knew he was doing it. Tony leaned forward and kissed him. Steve’s hand drifted over to Tony’s hip as he returned the kiss. It was just a quick brush of lips before Steve pulled away, but Tony still felt desire stirring slightly. It seemed he was always interested in Steve no matter the circumstances.

Tony motioned Steve toward the door. Tony bet that there was going to be a lot of yelling in Steve’s future. He trusted Danny to keep Steve from doing anything too crazy. Tony was still kind of pissed that first John and then Steve had kept all this from him, so he figured whatever Steve suffered at Danny’s hands he more than deserved.

Steve went to the door and then looked back at Tony. Their eyes met, and they shared a long look then Steve left without another word.

Tony watched him go, and he couldn’t keep the smile off his face.


Despite what he said to Steve, Tony would have preferred to have back up. Being solely responsible for Hesse wasn’t something he was looking forward to. Hesse had volunteered for this, but there was no telling if he’d change his mind at the last moment. They also needed to keep Hesse hidden from Wo Fat and his people. Still, he was glad he’d made sure Steve had back up. He was the one out in the field making himself a possible target for the Yakuza or Jameson.

Ten minutes after sunset, Tony got ready to bring Hesse downstairs when the doorbell rang. Tony took his gun from his holster and looked out the peephole surprised to see Chin. He supposed he shouldn’t have been though.

Tony opened the door with a scowl despite the flash of relief he felt. “Steve sent you, didn’t he?” Tony asked in greeting.

“Yep. I brought a coffee as a peace offering though. It’s your favorite.”

Tony took the mocha latte and took a long sip. “Bless you. You’re my favorite person. Honestly, though, Steve shouldn’t have sent you. We can’t draw attention to ourselves.”

Chin shrugged. “Steve doesn’t agree, and neither do I.”

“I told him not to send you. I can handle this on my own. You should be doing your job.”

Chin snorted. “He told me to remind you, you’re the one who told him we should always have back up. He’s just following your rule. There’s not much to do to the moment. There have been no sightings of Hesse. No one has any leads.

“The higher-ups decided not to ask the public for help for now, so there are no tips to go through. Officially Steve sent me to get something to eat and take a break since we’ll probably be up all night. Unofficially, I’m your back up. Steve is at headquarters so I’ll be with you until you drop Hesse off.”

Tony huffed. Smug bastard. Steve clearly did what he thought was best no matter the situation. Tony would remember that in the future. There wasn’t much he could say. “Yeah okay. If you’re sure no one will notice, then I am glad you’re here. I definitely don’t trust Hesse.”

Chin nodded. “I’ll just make sure you get to the safe house in one piece, and then I’ll get back to the job. I brought my uncle’s Camry. I figured we could fly under the radar. Your car is kind of conspicuous.”

“That’s a good idea.” Tony should have thought of that on his own. The situation had him more rattled than he’d thought or maybe he was just rusty. He hadn’t done this kind of work in years. No, that wasn’t it. It was the fact that John had kept this from him, and that Steve had just planned to continue the insanity.

He needed to talk to John soon. Get your head in the game, he admonished himself. “We’re going to be taking Hesse to a crappy motel for the night. Someplace no one will think to look for him. The safe house won’t be ready until tomorrow.

“Okay, let’s go,”

Hesse was not a happy camper when Chin and Tony went upstairs. As they entered, he glared at them. “This is no way to treat a witness. I’ve been sitting here for hours. My arse is numb. Untie me already, arsehole,” he demanded.

“Hey, watch your mouth, unless you want to get gagged. Terrorists don’t get special treatment” Chin said before Tony could. “You look comfortable enough to me.”

“I’m going to untie you, and we’re going to go to the car. You’ll behave yourself if you know what’s good for you. I have to get you there alive, but no one said anything about conscious. We’re going to a safe house where no one will be able to find you.”

Hesse frowned at him. “How do I know I can trust these people? Wo Fat has a mole in HPD, you know.” Tony nodded. Having confirmation was good.

“Do you know who it is?” Chin asked, looking furious. It wasn’t an expression Tony associated with Chin. The man was usually so laid back. Still, Tony understood what Chin was going through. Chin was dealing with the betrayal of one of his own. It didn’t matter that Chin wasn’t a cop anymore.

“This has nothing to do with HPD. We’re putting you in FBI custody. There’s no way Wo Fat will find out where you will be. “

Hesse stated at him for a long moment. Finally, he nodded. “Fine, let’s go. I’ll be just as happy to be rid of you lot as you are to be rid of me. Hopefully, your replacements will be more reasonable.”

Tony stifled a chuckle. He had a feeling Hesse would be disappointed. The team would protect him, but someone like Hesse didn’t merit the careful care innocent witnesses received.

“Good, let’s go.” They left after untying him. Hesse walked in between Chin and Tony, and they made it to the car without a problem. Tony made sure Hesse wasn’t visible through the window. Hesse grumbled about having to lie down on the seat, but he cooperated.

Chapter Nine

October 21, 2010

The next day Tony and Chin took Hesse out to a house in Manoa. The hotel had indeed been crappy, and Hesse had complained about absolutely everything. It wasn’t an experience Tony ever wanted to repeat, and he was looking forward to getting rid of Hesse. The area was known for students and shopping. Tony was still surprised by the location. He had been expecting another tiny apartment somewhere, but he supposed there hadn’t been much time to prepare.

The FBI probably owned the property. In the early morning traffic, it took them more than an hour to get to the address Tony had been given. It turned out to be a gorgeous house behind a high wall. Tony pulled up to the door and without him having to identify himself the door opened for him.

The garage door opened as they approached and they drove right in. The door closed behind them. Tony and Chin got out, and Tony helped Hesse out of the back seat.

The interior door opened, and Tony was surprised to see Sam Hanna, an NCIS agent out of L.A., standing in the doorway.

“Hey, Tony. It’s been a long time.” Sam came forward and held out his hand. Tony shook it.

“Hanna, it’s good to see you. What are you doing here?”

“First let’s get Hesse squared away and then we’ll talk. Bring him this way.” Sam took out a pair of cuffs and cuffed Hesse’s hands behind his back ignoring Hesse’s enraged swearing.

“Shut up,” Sam told him easily “I could knock you out instead.”

Tony stifled a chuckle.

“Why do you all keep threatening to knock me unconscious?” Hesse asked. “I’m going to make sure the authorities know how you’ve been treating me.”

“It must be your special brand of charm,” Tony said wryly. “This is Chin Ho Kelly. Chin this is Sam Hanna. Chin’s here watching my back, but he’s leaving now. Could I get a ride from someone? Chin is going to take the car.”

“Yeah, absolutely. We can arrange that.”

Sam turned to Chin. “It’s good to meet you, Chin.” The two men shook hands. “I’m sorry you can’t stay, but you don’t have clearance for this. You shouldn’t even be here, but Tony clearly trusts you so I’m not going to make a fuss.”

“No offense taken, man. I get it. I’m just glad you guys are here and that I’m leaving Tony with someone he trusts.”

Sam raised his eyebrow. “You can tell Steve Tony’s safe with my partner and me, and that he has nothing to worry about.”

Tony stared at him. How the hell did he know that Steve would worry about him? Very few people knew about the true nature of their relationship. They weren’t hiding, but Tony hadn’t mentioned it to Fornell either.

Sam read his expression correctly. “Steve and I are friends. I know him. He cares about his people, and if he trusted you with this, he already considers you a good friend.”

Chin laughed. “That’s Steve alright.”

Sam gave him a strange look though, and Tony wondered if Sam guessed that they were on their way to a deeper relationship. He wouldn’t be surprised if that were the case. Tony didn’t hide his bisexuality and Sam knew Steve, too.

Chin’s voice broke into his thoughts. “I’ll be going then.”

Sam looked at them both. “Thanks for your help. Mr. Kelly. We’ll have a plan in place by tomorrow. We have to make sure no one comes looking for Hesse. We’ll fill Tony in on the details, and he’ll let Steve know if we need their help with the cover-up.”

Chin nodded, “We’ll be ready.”

A young woman with short blond hair walked up to them. Sam smiled at her. “This is a member of my team, Michelle Lassiter. She’ll walk you out.”

Chin held out his hand, “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Agent Lassiter.”

Agent Lassiter smiled at Chin. “Follow me please.” She motioned toward the door, and with a final nod at Tony, Chin left.

“Follow me.” Sam took charge of Hesse while Tony followed behind.

They entered a short hallway. Tony noticed a small laundry room across from the door. They turned left, and Sam led them down the hall and through the kitchen.

They entered and walked through the kitchen to a foyer with a large central staircase. The floor was hardwood rather than the marble Tony had been expecting. G was waiting for them at the bottom of the stairs.

Tony grinned. “G, it’s good to see you. I can’t wait to hear how you guys got such a cushy assignment.”

G snorted. “Cushy isn’t the word I’d use. This case you dropped in our lap is damn complicated.”

Tony gave G a sympathetic smile. “Sorry, man, but I knew we were in way over our heads with this one. I know how complicated investigating organized crime can be.”

G grinned, but he looked at Hesse. “No kidding. Anyway, we have a room set up for your witness. I’m going to make sure he’s secure, and then I’ll be back down.”

Hesse glared at all of them. “I am damn tired of being tied up, and I was promised some food. I swear I got better treatment in prison.”

Tony sighed. “Just remember you’re damn lucky we didn’t just send you back there. So behave. I’ll make sure you get food real soon.”

G grabbed Hesse on the shoulder and led him up the stairs.

When he was gone, Tony removed the USB drive from his pocket “Here’s the information I promised you.”

Sam grinned. “Great. I’ll get it analyzed right away. Based on what you’ve told us, our cyber guy has already started digging.”

Sam led Tony into a large dining room and through another door. This room was surprisingly dark. There were no windows, and several computers were sitting on a table in the middle of the room.

“No one can see this room from the outside,” Sam explained. “NCIS has owned this house for years, and we’ve renovated it for our needs. I normally prefer something less flashy, but we were in a hurry.”

Tony nodded. “Why did you guys get the assignment?” Tony already had some idea, but he wanted to hear it from Sam.

Sam grinned. “We’re special projects, Tony. This is what we do. It was easy to put together covers for us, and our presence won’t make the Governor or Wo Fat suspicious. We’ll be throwing Wo Fat off Hesse’s scent, and helping you look into the Governor’s alleged illegal activities while other agents look into Wo Fat.”

“Besides, if someone does find Sam’s real identity, his connection to Steve won’t make anyone suspicious. He’ll just be an old friend coming for a visit and offering support.”

Tony looked up at the familiar voice. He was genuinely shocked to see Tim McGee standing next to one of the laptops. Tim moved forward, and the two men hugged. “Probie, what the hell are you doing here?”

Tim grinned. “I’m working out of the San Diego office, and I do some work for special projects from time to time. I’m here mostly because we’re old friends. After you left, I couldn’t stay in D.C. anymore. I needed a change after everything that happened.”

Tim grimaced as Tony nodded his understanding. Neither one of them wanted to think about what had happened. Realizing their team member was a spy had been one of the worst moments of both their lives.

They shared a look, but neither of them spoke. Hopefully, they would have time to talk later. Instead, Sam continued their conversation. “I’m here to play go-between until this op is over and Hesse is safely in custody. Fornell will continue to be your official contact. If everything goes to plan, you won’t even see us again after we take care of Hesse.”

Tony nodded. No one would think it odd that an old friend from D.C. had come to visit. “I figured as much. I’m relieved to know you guys are the ones working on this. I know it’s in good hands.”

“You know it is,” said G as he entered the room. “I’m glad you’re here. We need to debrief you and that we want to get your opinion. I know you’re close to the McGarretts. Sam says Steve is good people, but I want to know what you think. You have the best information on this.”

“Sure,” Tony said. He understood G wanted all the information he could get.

Sam handed Tim the USB, and Tim immediately went over and grabbed one of the laptops. He loaded the files and started looking through it. Tony wanted to join him. He wanted to get a good look at the evidence John had gathered on Jameson and Wo Fat.

“Tim will be sorting the information for a while. Let’s strategize while we wait. “Tony agreed, and Sam led them to a desk in one corner. He took the chair behind the desk and gestured for Tony to take one of the seats in front. Instead of sitting, G leaned back against the wall next to the desk. He motioned for Tony to start talking.

They talked for well over an hour. Tony gave him his version of events and his thoughts on what they should do next. G and Sam asked a lot of questions, and they went over what little the team was able to find on Jameson and Wo Fat. Tony wasn’t surprised to learn that on the surface Jameson looked as clean as Wo Fat.

Tony had been thinking about what needed to happen. He hadn’t been sure the team on the ground would want his input, but he was glad to give it. “I think that you’ll have to make it look like Hesse is dead,” Tony said frankly. “I think it’s the only way Wo Fat will stop looking for him. From what I know of this guy so far, he’s smart, methodical, and careful. He’s managed to fly under the radar for years.”

“Agreed,” G said. “Interpol has never heard of him, and the FBI can link him to the Yakuza, but there isn’t any proof he’s ever gotten his hands dirty. That takes a lot of skill and planning.”

“Also, a strong willingness to let others do his dirty work. Based on what you told Fornell, I was able to identify a trail of bodies around Wo Fat though there’s no direct proof that he killed anyone. I’ve found eight so far and all on U.S. soil in the last ten years. It seems these were people the Yakuza didn’t want to be traced back to them. All but two were found in Hawaii. The other two are in the L.A. area. They all died either of what appeared to be natural causes like heart attacks or in accidents.”

“Accidents?” Tony asked.

Tim nodded. “Falls, car accidents, even a mugging gone wrong. It’s only because I knew to dig deeper that I found a link. Each person who was killed threatened the business interests of the Yakuza in some way. In five instances I have proof Wo Fat was in the U.S. just before they were killed. If he was nearby for the others, I haven’t found any evidence yet. There are probably more I haven’t been able to track.”

“Does the evidence John McGarrett collected give you anything?” Tony asked.

Tim nodded. “Yes. He found some of the things I already did and at least one victim I missed, so that makes nine. John noted the death of a city inspector who refused to clear some land for development. A development that the Yakuza had put a lot of money into and one Governor Jameson was very much in favor of. I’m going to look further into the land developments and see what else I can find.

“John McGarrett also found a paper trail that proves that Governor Jameson has been accepting campaign donations for shell companies linked to the Yakuza for years. There’s also a video of her talking to Wo Fat and pictures of her having lunch with Hiro and Koji Noshimuri. Unfortunately, the audio on the video is deleted.

We have someone who lip reads on our team, but unfortunately, she’s on another assignment at the moment. I’ll send her the video to see what she can get. There is an obvious connection between the Yakuza, Jameson and Wo Fat. I need to look through the rest of this more carefully, but I’m sure it will be useful.”

Tony nodded relieved. He’d thought so too, but it was good to have confirmation. He would have liked to look over all the evidence himself, but he trusted Tim’s assessment. He’d make time to look through it in the next couple of days. He was hoping the investigation would be over sooner rather than later. He wanted to get Jameson and Wo Fat the hell off his island as soon as possible.

G grinned. “He’s done a lot of good work for us already. Both the FBI and NCIS directors have been briefed. They want to dig deeper before we bring her in. Make sure we have all our ducks in a row.

“The task force is investigating Wo Fat and Jameson separately and together. Their connection is important, but it isn’t the sole purpose of our investigation. We’re hoping to find evidence on both of them. We will be sharing information on a remote encrypted server that’s been set up just for us.”

Tony nodded. “Will I be kept informed?”

“Yes, you’ll be our official liaison at NCIS and with the McGarretts. We may need Steve and John’s help from time to time. Steve’s position on the task force might turn out to be valuable,” Sam replied.

“Since we agree that Hesse has to die, we’re going to need Steve to find him and try to capture him. McGee is an old friend of yours so no one will think twice when you tell people he’s come for a visit. He’ll bring you the details on the plan and brief you and Steve on what will happen. We have to make it convincing.”

Tony suggested, “It should be soon. Steve is pretending to investigate, but soon the authorities will probably assume Hesse made it off the island.”

G nodded. “If Hesse’s information pans out, we’ll be taking him into custody and making sure Wo Fat isn’t looking for him anymore. It’ll be as soon as we can pull it off. We’re working out the details now. We’re hoping for tomorrow or the day after. I’ll let you know what we’ve decided.”

“Good. I’ll wait for your call.”

Sam grinned “Good. I want to talk to more about the investigation. You have a unique way of looking at things.”

“I’d be happy too,” Toy agreed.

With John’s evidence spread out on the screens in front of them, they spent the next couple of hours going over the information they had and discussing next steps and possible avenues of investigation. Tony was confident G ad Sam had everything under control.

Sam and G both nodded. Sam got up, and Tony followed suit. Sam clasped his shoulder and gave him a one-armed hug. “It was great to see you, Tony. Don’t worry everything will be fine, and with any luck, this won’t have a huge effect on your life.”

Tony nodded. He was relieved to have people he trusted working on this. He had no doubt the team would do an excellent job. He just had to keep John and Steve from getting impatient and trying to take over again.

“Well, if that’s all I’d better get going,” Tony said.

“Wait. I almost forgot. I’m supposed to give you this.” Tim took something out of his jacket pocket, and Tony realized it was a phone. It looked just like the one he already had.

“Here’s your new phone. It has government level encryption on it, and I put a chat program I created on there, too. There’s also a link to the secure server I set up. You’ll be able to access it from your work laptop, too. That’s how we’ll communicate from now on, and if you need to, you can send an emergency message as well.”

He turned toward Tim. He was genuinely happy to see him “Probie since you don’t have to stay hidden, you want to go out to eat? Though, we’ll have to pick up my car.”

“I’d love to, Tony. We can catch up. I have a car with me. I won’t be coming back here either, so we should be safe enough.”

“Good. I know the perfect place. Let’s go.” Tony patted Tim on the shoulder. “After you, Probie,” he added, waving Tim to go on ahead.

After saying their goodbyes, they went out the front door to a Toyota Corolla waiting in the driveway. It looked about ten years old. It was pretty average as far as cars went and would blend in well.

“This is the car they assigned me while I’m here.”

“Could be worse. Once undercover, I had to drive around in a Chevy SSR. It was brutal.”

Tim laughed. “Man, I wish I had a picture of that.”

“Dream on, Probie.”

One they were in the car Tony, directed Tim to one of his favorite places to eat. As they drove, Tony texted Steve.

Package delivered safe and sound. No problems.

Good. My day has been fucking awful. Come over? Need to talk.

Tony smiled. He didn’t think that Steve just wanted to talk, at least he hoped not.

Can’t. Lunch with a friend. Don’t know how late I’ll be. Talk tomorrow. The pause was longer this time.

Finally, Steve responded. Sure, have fun. Breakfast tomorrow my place.

Tony sent back an affirmative and then put his phone back in its holster.

Tim snuck a quick look at him. “Who has you smiling like that?” he teased. “You must have enjoyed what they had to say.”

Tony took a moment to thank god he was never one to blush.

“Shut up, Probie. It’s none of your business.” There was no heat to his words though, and Tim only smiled wider though he did, in fact, shut up. Tony turned up the music on the radio.

The restaurant was a small hole in the wall. It didn’t look like much, but it smelled amazing and had the best Chinese food Tony had ever tasted. Tony had helped out the owners; one of their employees had been stealing from them.

Tony had caught him on video. Ever since he’d eaten here for free, and Tony found that far better compensation than any amount of money. It was the kind of place that was frequented by locals. It was a lot better than most of the restaurants that catered to tourists, in Tony’s opinion.

Once they were seated and had ordered, Tim gave Tony a long searching look. “How are you doing, Tony? It’s been a long time since we talked.”

Tony looked down at his hands. “I’m sorry I stopped returning your texts and emails, Tim. I just felt the need to make a clean break and do my best to move on. I didn’t want to be reminded of my life in D.C. I just wanted to leave it all behind.”

Tim reached out and covered Tony’s hand with his for a moment, squeezing his fingers before letting go. “I understand, Tony. We were all shocked and hurt by Ziva’s betrayal and then Gibbs trying to make us keep quiet. I never would have imagined he’d do something like that. It made me feel sick.”

The waitress came over with their beers and their appetizers, and they were quiet for a few minutes while they ate.

Not knowing what to say, Tony nodded and took a long sip of his beer. Before he could speak Tim continued, “I know it was worse for you. I know how you felt about Gibbs, how important he was to you.”

Shocked, Tony looked up. “Were we that obvious?” he asked quietly.

Tim shook his head and smiled sadly. “No, not at all, but I know both of you, and you forget we spent a lot of time together looking for Ziva. After a while, I realized you had feelings for him. I admit I was never sure about how Gibbs felt.”

Tony took another sip of beer to buy himself a little time. There was no sense in keeping quiet now. It wasn’t like it mattered anymore. Tim seemed to know anyway. Tony wondered if the others had guessed as well. He was pretty sure Ducky had at least. “I honestly thought he loved me, and I was so in love with him I couldn’t see straight.

“When we realized Ziva had been spying for Mossad, I was so afraid to tell him. I knew he saw Ziva as a daughter, and I wasn’t sure how he was going to take it. I expected some denial and anger, both of which I got in spades, but I didn’t expect him to try to protect her the way he did. He expected me to lie for them. He expected me to protect a woman who had spied on us for years. I couldn’t believe it. I don’t think I ever really knew him.”

“He hurt you,” Tim said. “He chose Ziva over you.”

“Yes, he did, I suppose, but I didn’t see it that way at first. It never occurred to me that he’d need to choose between us. That wasn’t what it was about. I wanted to protect Ziva, too. She was my family. I thought she needed my help. That’s why I went to her place to talk before I said anything to anyone. I was hoping against hope she’d have an explanation. Instead, I found Michael Rivkin there, and he attacked me. That’s when I realized she was working with him of her own volition.

“I investigated Ziva carefully before I went to Gibbs, and I discovered that he already knew and that he didn’t care. He was going to look the other way. Gibbs has always played fast and loose with the rules, but this was too much. I knew I had to do something so I went to the Inspector General.”

Even though so much time had passed, it still hurt. Tony knew that time lessened the pain, but it would never disappear completely.

“You did the right thing, Tony,” Tim said fiercely. Tim leaned toward him, and he met Tony’s gaze head-on. “Gibbs was wrong to try to cover it up and expect us to go on like nothing happened. He was wrong to blame you for Ziva getting sent back to Israel. She was lucky that’s all that happened. She should have been arrested for espionage. If she weren’t Eli David’s daughter, she would have been.”

Gibbs hadn’t been able to forgive Tony. He’s been as angry as Tony had ever seen him. When Vance demanded Tony go to Israel, Tony realized Vance hadn’t been told what Ziva had done. Vance had been furious, and he’d forced Gibbs to go on immediate leave while he handled the situation. Vance and Tony would never like one another, but Vance had done the right thing when it counted. Tony appreciated that. The SecNav had been informed, and he’d wanted to file charges, but David had been able to work out some sort of deal to save everyone embarrassment.

“I know I didn’t do anything wrong, Probie, but after the way Gibbs treated me, I couldn’t stay. I’d turned down two promotions by that point to stay near him, and he turned his back on me just like that. I promised myself I’d put my needs first after that, and I have.”

Tim grinned. “Well, Vance forced Gibbs to retire. He moved back to Mexico with Mike Franks, but he did keep his house in D.C. I haven’t seen him since then. I don’t think he’ll ever come back.”

Tony nodded. “I know. Abby let me know what happened.” It was more like she’d sent him several hostile emails demanding he come back and fix things. She kept insisting he’d broken up their family. Tony had finally been forced to break off all contact with her.

Tim raised an eyebrow. “You mean she harassed you until you wanted to scream at her. I know because she did the same to me. I finally told her to shut up and stop being a brat, and that you’d done the right thing.”

Tony stared at Tim in surprise. He sat forward in interest. “You stood up to her?”

Tim smiled and shrugged. “I did, finally. It was a long time coming I know. I just got so tired of her whining and childish insistence that everything had to go back to the way it was.” He took a drink of his own beer.

Tony was impressed. Tim had never been able to stand up to Abby. “Good for you, Probie. It’s more than I did. I just cut her off.”

Tim shrugged. “I think that was brave, too. We all went out of our way to make Abby happy. That’s why she thought she could make us do whatever she wanted. Sometimes you just have to be willing to walk away from a person who isn’t good for you anymore.”

“You’re right, but part of me hated to lose her completely. She was no good for me though, and I’ve learned when someone is hurting you sometimes you have to cut them off.”

It hadn’t been the first time for Tony. Tony thought of his father whom he hadn’t seen in three years. He’d had to walk away from his father, unwilling to accept Senior’s toxic presence in his life any longer. For the most part, Tony didn’t regret it, but there was a part of him that wished things could have been different. John’s presence in his life had done a lot to ease the pain of walking away from his father.

“Thanks, Tim. I’m sorry I cut you off too. I’d like to rectify that mistake if you’ll let me.”

Tim chuckled “I’d enjoy that. I’ve missed you. too.”

The waitress arrived with their meals, and they ate their food. Tim took a bite of his beef and broccoli. “This is delicious.” He popped another piece of food in his mouth, and the look on his face was blissful.

Tony chuckled. “Best Chinese food in Honolulu,” he said. “I’m glad you like it.” He took a bite of his egg roll.

Tim’s expression turned teasing, “Tell me about Steve McGarrett. He seems like an interesting character, to say the least. It isn’t many who would take on the Governor of Hawaii and a crime lord all on his own.”

Tony couldn’t stop the smile that bloomed on his face. “He’s something alright. He’s a little crazy but what SEAL isn’t?”

Tim grinned. “You like him. I know you well enough to recognize the signs.”

“Really? What are we, in middle school?”

“Fine, you’re attracted to him,” Tim said, rolling his eyes.

He and Tim hadn’t had the kind of relationship where they talked about personal stuff like this, but maybe it was time for a change. Tony didn’t have many people he could talk to.

He nodded. “Yeah, I am. He’s smart, funny and he has a good heart. Sometimes he makes me want to punch him, but oddly that just makes me like him more. I’m not sure what that says about me.”

Tim made a thoughtful noise. “You know you can trust him.”

“Yeah, I do. I know he has my back.” Tony pulled his napkin off his lap and crumpled it.

“I’m happy for you. I hope he feels the same way.”

“Yeah, I think he does.” Tony knew his expression was soft as he thought of Steve. He thought of Steve offering to go on a job with him and trusting him to help with John’s investigation. He was sure Steve shared his feelings even if they hadn’t discussed it.

“So how do you feel about rejoining NCIS?” Tim asked. “I know the Director is happy to have you back.”

Tony snorted. “Yeah, right.”

“No, he is. He never wanted to let you go in the first place.” Tim sighed as he gave Tony a fierce look.

“Okay. Okay, I believe you. To answer your question, I’m not sure. I like my job. Sure, it can be boring and a little seedy at times, but I get to help a lot of people too. I like being my own boss and making my own hours. I’m not looking forward to working for someone else again, but I’m also unwilling to walk away from this investigation. It would drive me crazy not to know what was going on.” Besides this was the best way to protect John and Steve. That was the deal breaker for him.

Tony finished off the last of the food on his plate.

“Well, we’re lucky to have you,” Tim said firmly. He finished off his beer in one long swallow.

“What about you Tim? Are you enjoying San Diego?”

Tim smiled boyishly suddenly looking years younger. Tony felt a pang reminded of the green agent that Tony had taken under his wing all those years ago. Tim launched into a story about his life in San Diego as the head of the cyber division. Tony sat back and listened as he sipped his beer.

He hadn’t known he needed this, but he was glad Tim had come back into his life. Tony felt a little better. It surprised him because he hadn’t realized he still had healing to do. He’d told himself he’d moved on; maybe now that would be true. It was a pain he had grown too accustomed to he supposed.

They talked for another hour and then Tim drove Tony back to Steve’s house where his car was waiting.

“I’d offer to let you stay with me, Probie, but my place is pretty small. Unless you want to sleep on my couch, you’re welcome to it.”

“Tempting, but I think I’ll pass. I have a hotel room.”

“It was great to see you, man. Don’t be a stranger,” Tony told him, and he was surprised when Tim leaned in for a quick hug.

“Once the investigation is over, maybe I can come back for a vacation, and we can hang out.”

“I’d like that. I can show you around. Maybe I can introduce you to Steve, too.”

“Sounds good,” Tim agreed. Tony didn’t know if they’d actually get together for lunch or not. It depended on what happened with Hesse.

Once he left Tim Tony went about his day as normally as possible. He checked in with the P.I he’d asked to take over his cases. Tony trusted Thomas Magnum to do a good job for Tony’s clients.

In the evening, Tony arrived home and was a little surprised to see Steve leaning outside the door to his apartment. His heart sped up at the sight of him, and he knew he was grinning like an idiot.

He straightened up when he saw Tony. “Hey, I hope this is okay. I wanted to make sure you’re good, hear all about how it went.”

“It’s fine. I’m happy to see you.”

Tony unlocked the door and led Steve upstairs. When they reached the living room, Steve grinned at him.

“Did you have a good time with your friend?”

“I did. He’s a co-worker from NCIS, and it was surprisingly good to see him again.”

Steve arched an eyebrow. “Why surprising?

Tony hesitated. He’d never told Steve why he’d left NCIS. The information about Ziva was classified so Tony couldn’t tell him about that part anyway.

“I can’t really get into it in detail. It’s classified. Long story short, I discovered one of my coworkers had done something illegal and reported them, but let’s just say I didn’t leave under the best circumstances. I did the right thing, but I couldn’t stay at NCIS. I walked away from everyone, and I didn’t think Tim wanted to see me. I wouldn’t have blamed him if he were angry with me.”

“But he wasn’t,” Steve said it like it wasn’t a question.

“No, catching up was great, and we’re going to stay in touch. He’s on the task force working the investigation.”

Steve frowned and took a step back. He moved toward the living room, and Tony followed him, sitting down Together. Steve leaned back against the cushions turned toward Tony and Tony angled his body toward him, so they were looking at one another.

“You said everything went well?” Steve asked.

“Yes. You didn’t have to send Chin, but I’m glad you did. It was helpful to have him with me.”

Steve smiled mischievously. “I was only following your rule.”

Tony mock glared at him. “You aren’t supposed to use my words against me.”

Steve snorted. Tony heard his silent ‘Yeah right’ clearly.

Tony hid a smile. “Thanks again for letting me handle this my way. I promise it’s for the best.”

Steve nodded through the frown was back. “I trust you, Tony, and after giving it some thought I realized you were right, but I’m not looking forward to telling Dad.”

Tony nodded. “Why don’t you let me do it? This was all my idea anyway.”

“I should do it,” Steve said, with a shake of his head.

Tony covered Steve’s hand with his own where it rested on his knee. “Let me, please. I think he deserves to hear it from me. Besides he and I are due to talk anyway.”

Steve looked into his eyes. Whatever he saw there he finally nodded. “Okay. I’d wait until the situation with Hesse is resolved, and the Governor is happy.”

Tony nodded. “I met the team in charge of Hesse. It turns out I know them, and so do you.”

Steve tensed. “I do?”

“The team is being led by Sam Hanna. He said you two know each other.”

Steve’s tense muscles relaxed a little. “Sure, I know Sam. He’s a good man.”

“He is. I’m glad we’re working with someone we both know we can trust, and his team. The case is in excellent hands.”

Steve nodded “Good. I’m extremely relieved honestly. I know Sam has our backs. Did my dad’s info help?”

“I think it will,” Tony explained what he’d been told.

Steve looked thoughtful. “Hesse was being held in the county jail while he was waiting for his arrangement.”

Tony took a deep breath. “So there are some things I need to tell you,” Tony explained about his role as the liaison between Steve and the FBI.

“If you’re open to it, we’d like you to keep your job on the task force. Having someone the Governor trusts close by could prove useful.”

Steve grinned looking relieved. “Absolutely! I’d be happy to. Anything I can do to help.”

“I’d thought you’d say that. I’ll call in and let them know. I also suggested to them that it would be useful if you’re the one who catches Hesse. I think it would go a long way toward ensuring the Governor’s trust in you and the task force. Sam agreed it’s a good idea. He’s going to get back to us with a plan.”

Steve’s face lit up. “Thank you, Tony. That’s a great idea.” Tony wanted to kiss the smile off his face. “Thank you for including me in this.”

“Well, I know how important it is to you.” Their eyes met, and Steve reached out, running his finger along the side of Tony’s neck. Tony shivered a little and leaned into the touch. Focus, he told himself.

All thoughts flew out the window though because Steve leaned forward so that his face was inches away from Tony’s. Tony felt a rush of anticipation. Their lips met in a searing kiss, all thoughts of conversation forgotten.

They kissed and, after a moment, Steve’s tongue touched his lips. With a sigh, Tony parted his, allowing Steve’s tongue to play with his own. Desire zinged up his spine, and he could feel his cock hardening in his jeans. Steve broke away and gulped in a deep breath. “I don’t think we’ll be interrupted this time,” he murmured and kissed Tony again. This time the kiss was gentler.

Steve was a great kisser, but Tony wanted more. Tony ran his hands over Steve’s shoulders and ran one hand down his back to his waist. He stood and grabbed Steve by the hand and led him into the bedroom.

Chapter Ten

The next morning Tony woke up slowly to find he was cuddled up against Steve who had one arm wrapped around him. He wouldn’t have thought Steve would be a cuddler, but he couldn’t deny it felt right. He could get used to having Steve in his bed.

Tony shifted slightly. He felt pleasantly sore all over. Steve had left him totally fucked out, and Tony was looking forward to returning the favor as soon as possible.

Steve stirred, and his arm tightened around Tony. “Where are you going?”

Tony leaned back against Steve. “I have to get to work. I still have cases you, know. I can pass a few of them to other investigators, but there are a few that are in the final stages. I have reports to write.”

“Okay, I get it. I have to go into work today myself. I didn’t tell you last night, but we brought in Sang Min for questioning, and we found at least thirty people in a crate. He was going to sell them into slavery. It was disgusting.” Steve loosened his grip and Tony turned to face him.

“That’s great work, Commander. Congratulations on your first bust.”

Steve smiled at him a little shyly. “It felt good to help those poor people, and I even restrained myself from punching the asshole in the face.”

That deserved a kiss, so Tony brushed his lips against Steve’s. “Good. I’m proud of you. You realize that means you have lots of paperwork to do.”

“That’s what Danny said. Just because I have the Governor’s approval, doesn’t mean I can make someone else do my paperwork.” He did a pretty good imitation of Danny.

Tony grinned in amusement even as he nodded. “Exactly. There will be a lot of stuff you can delegate, but if I know Danny he won’t be doing all your paperwork.”

“Fine, I’ll learn to fill out my own,” Steve said with a heavy sigh.

Tony saw his lips quirk up and he knew Steve wasn’t serious. “I’m sure your team will appreciate it. But seriously, you have important skills, but you don’t know the first thing about being a cop. Listen to Danny and Chin they’ll teach you.”

“Good point.” Steve looked uncertain. “I have to admit this job doesn’t seem real yet and it’s only temporary. Once Jameson gets arrested, I supposed I’ll be out of a job.”

That gave Tony pause as his stomach dropped. He hadn’t thought of that. He hated the idea of Steve leaving to go back to the Navy. Tony met Steve’s eyes, and he laced their fingers together. “We don’t need to worry about that yet. We still have a job to do, and your dad still needs a lot of help.”

Steve kissed Tony’s knuckles. “If I do go back I can always come home on leave.”

Tony felt his breath catch. He wanted to say yes, but he couldn’t possibly be in love yet. This was moving way too fast, and yet he couldn’t deny his feelings for Steve. He wasn’t ready to put himself out there though.

“I’d like that. I’m enjoying what we have going so far.”

Steve smiled “Me, too. I want us to have a chance. In fact, I want to tell my dad about us. I don’t feel right about him not knowing.”

Tony felt a rush of warmth at that. He was also concerned though. What if John didn’t want Steve and Tony to be together? What if he didn’t think Tony was good enough. It was probably a ridiculous thing to be concerned about, but Tony couldn’t shut the little voice in his head up. It was a voice that sounded a lot like Senior. Tony banished it from his mind.

“I’d like that. You don’t think he’ll mind, do you?”

Steve laughed. “You aren’t serious, right? The man adores you. If anything he’ll probably try to convince you I’m not good enough for you.”

Tony rolled his eyes. “Shut up. John loves you.”

Steve grinned. “Well, I’m sure he’ll be thrilled. Eventually.”

“Eventually?” Tony asked curiously.

Steve shrugged. “He has no idea I’m bisexual; we’ve never discussed it.”

“So this is going to be a shock for him.”

Steve nodded. “Yeah. I’d like to think he’ll be okay with it though. It just might take some time.”

“Well, we can take all the time you need. I know it isn’t easy. I told my dad I was bi at the age of fourteen. He didn’t take it well. He still refuses to accept it, but I decided a long time ago his opinion doesn’t matter. He can’t change who I am.”

Steve grinned. “Your dad is clearly an idiot. The more I learn about him, the less I like him. I honestly hope we never meet.”

“I doubt it. I haven’t seen him in a long time.” Tony sighed. “For what’s it’s worth I think your dad will be fine. He knows about me, and he’s never given any indication of being uncomfortable.”

“Thanks,” Steve said.

“Of course. I hate to leave you, but I have to get moving.” Tony tried to get up, but Steve pulled him in for a kiss. Tony’s thoughts were immediately derailed by the feeling of Steve’s warm mouth on his own. They stayed like that trading slow kisses until Steve’s alarm went off.

They had breakfast together, and Steve left for headquarters. Tony was getting ready to head to his office to do some paperwork when Tony got a call from a number he didn’t recognize.

“DiNozzo,” he answered.

“Mr. DiNozzo. Hello, this is Hope. I’m calling you regarding your new job at NCIS. Before you come in for your second interview, the SAiC would like you to get your readiness tests out of the way. He’d like you to come in a soon as possible for a physical exam and fitness test.”

A second interview? There hadn’t been a first. Tony assumed someone had fudged the paperwork on that. He wished there was some way to get around the qualifying test, but he knew better. NCIS wanted to make sure he was still fit for duty, particularly given his medical history. “

“Sure thing, Hope. I’m excited to get this process started. When would they like me to come in?”

Hope made a thoughtful noise. “I know this is short notice, and I apologize for that. I’m not sure why you weren’t on my list. There must have been some sort of clerical error. Is there any way this morning works for you? We have some other candidates testing starting at 10:00 AM. I could squeeze you in.”

Tony started, but he bit back a surprised nose. This whole thing was moving a lot faster than he’d expected. Still, he was as ready now as he was ever going to be. It was a good thing the paperwork could wait until tomorrow. Besides he liked the idea of helping Hope out. After all, it wasn’t her fault that he wasn’t on her list.

“Sure. I can come right over if that’s convenient.”

“That would be fine, Mr. DiNozzo. Thank you so much for your understanding.”

“It’s no problem. I’ll see you soon.”

Hope gave him directions about where to go and reminded him to bring the papers he’d been given at his interview and his driver’s license.

“I’m sorry, Hope, but I wasn’t given any papers to fill out.”

“Are you sure?” Hope asked. “They’re standard.” Tony heard keyboard keys clicking. “Oh, I see you already filled them out online and submitted them electronically. That explains it,” Hope said, her voice cheerful.

Tony thanked her and hung up. His papers had already been filed electronically, had they? He thought with amusement. He knew just how that had happened.

He took out his phone and texted Tim.

Thanks for doing my paperwork, Probie

A few seconds later he got a smiling emoji in return making him snort.

Then another message came in. No problem. You did plenty of mine over the years. Just returning the favor.

Tony smiled to himself. His probie had grown into an excellent agent and a good man.

Consider us even then. He sent back. He knew Tim would read between the lines.

He ran his hand over his hair. The day had started out so well, but it was going downhill fast. He remembered the physical fitness test, and it was no fun at all. He knew he’d be able to pass it. He was going back to work for NCIS. With a sigh surrendered to the inevitable and got in the car.


Four hours later, Tony was finally done with all his tests. He was able to take a shower and change, and he was heading back toward the lobby of the building when a beautiful woman with chocolate brown skin and a short, no-nonsense haircut walked up to him. “Mr. DiNozzo, I’m Hope. If you’ll come with me, Special Agent in Charge Owens wants to see you.”

“Hope, it is lovely to meet you. Please lead the way.” He gave Hope his friendliest smile.

She smiled in return. She led him over to the elevator and on the way up she stood a little too close. She was very gorgeous, and under other circumstances, Tony might have asked her out for coffee, but right now the only person he was interested in was Steve.

They rode up in the elevator to the top floor, and the door opened up onto a small but pleasant waiting room with light yellow walls and grey furniture. There was a desk and beyond it an open door.

Hope motioned toward the door. “You can go right in. SAiC Owens is waiting for you. Can I get you anything?”

“Some water would be great.”

Hope nodded and walked away while Tony headed inside the office. A blond man was sitting behind the desk in the center of the room. There was a large window behind him, and off to one side, there was a small sofa and a table. Like so many in Hawaii, he wasn’t wearing a suit jacket or a tie. His crisp white shirt was open at the collar. The man stood and came around the desk.

“Mr. DiNozzo, I’m Special Agent in Charge Michael Owens. I run the Hawaii Field office. It’s a pleasure to have you here.” Owens held out his hand, and Tony took it. Owens had a firm handshake, and he met Tony’s gaze easily.

“Sir, it’s a pleasure to meet you.”

Owens smiled. “Please have a seat.”

Tony sat in one of the visitor’s chairs in front of the desk, and Owens sat back behind it. “I have to say I was surprised to receive Hope’s call today.”

Owens leaned back in his chair. “I want you to know I’ve been told by the Director himself that I should hire you and I received your application directly from his office. I’ve also been told that you are involved with some important work for the agency, though I’m not cleared to know the exact nature of that work.”

Owens didn’t look happy about that, and Tony couldn’t blame him. No one had told him about this, but he could only assume they were keeping Owens in the dark to protect John’s and Steve’s identities. Still, it would have been nice of Fornell to give Tony a heads up.

“That’s right. I promise you that it won’t affect the job I do here in the least. I’m only peripherally associated with the operation. They might not even need me at all. It’s hard to say.”

Owens nodded. “So I’ve been assured by Director Vance. He speaks very highly of you.”

That was news to Tony. He was sure Vance had hated having to sing Tony’s praises for any reason. It probably gave him an ulcer. The thought amused Tony no end. “I’m glad to know Director Vance thinks so highly of me.”

Owens picked up a file from the desk. “I’ve gone over your file. I agree with the Director’s assessment. You did a lot of good work for us, and unofficially I know what happened with your colleague, Ziva David.”

Tony stopped himself from flinching but only just. He resisted the urge to fidget. Owens was watching him with a penetrating gaze.

“I admire your diligence and courage in coming forward. I know there were others on your team who disagreed with your actions. You did the right thing despite knowing what it might cost you. You’re the kind of man I want on my team.”

“Thank you, sir. I appreciate that.”

Owens continued, “You passed all your physical exams with flying colors. I admit I was a bit concerned given your history, but you’ve proven my concerns are baseless. I’d like to tell you about what you’ll be doing here at Pearl.”

“I’m eager to find out, sir.” Tony was surprised to truly feel a rush of excitement.

“The Hawaii Field Office is one of the largest branches of NCIS. We take care of Hawaii and Guam and are sometimes called to work with the Asia offices. I’d like to make you the new SFA of the Major Case team. It’s the same as Major Case in Washington. So the work will be familiar. Your team is responsible for all crime committed involving navy personnel on the island.”

Tony nodded. Going back to the equivalent of his old position was a little disheartening, but he’d been away from NCIS for a year. He knew he’d need time to adjust. It was better than he might have expected.

“I see. I think I’d bring a lot of experience to the position.”

Owens nodded. “I know you’re more than qualified. I know it might feel like taking a big step backward, but the head of the unit is retiring in eight months. If you do the job I know you’re capable of, you’ll be promoted when he retires. Does that sound good to you?”

That bit of news did make it better. He enjoyed being an investigator, and he was good at it. “It does, sir. I promise I won’t let you down.” He gave Owens his best professional smile.

Owens grinned back. “I’m sure you won’t. We’d like you to start as soon as possible.”

Tony nodded. “I need a few days to wrap things up in my P.I. business and a small matter I’m helping a friend with. Would a week work for you?”

Owens leaned back in his chair. “Starting mid-week isn’t ideal. How about I give you until the next Tuesday.” Owens looked at a small calendar sitting on his desk. “That would be November second.”

“That’s more than enough time. Thank you, sir.”

“Your credentials will be waiting for you when you arrive.”

Owens stood, and so did Tony. Tony held out his hand, and they shook. “Thank you for the opportunity, sir. I know these are unusual circumstances, but I’m looking forward to working for you.”

Tony decided he liked his new boss. His intuition was telling him Owens could be trusted, and for the first time, Tony was feeling good about working for NCIS again. He couldn’t deny that the idea of running his own team was exciting.

Owens nodded. “I look forward to having you. If you come with me, you can meet your team before you head home.”

Tony hadn’t been expecting any of this, but he was surprised to find he was looking forward to it.

Chapter Eleven

October 22, 2010

The next day Tony arrived in John’s room not at all surprised to find John and Kono getting along like a house on fire. John had known Kono for years, but Tony wasn’t sure how much time the two of them had spent alone together prior to this. Tony knew John was much closer to Chin. “Hey guys, how are you doing?”

John looked up with a smile. “Tony, it’s good to see you, son.”

Tony looked John over. He hadn’t seen him in a few days. The smile on his face reached his eyes, and his color was a lot better.

“You two look like you’re having fun.” Tony held up a bag. “I brought you both some sandwiches and malasadas.”

John grinned. “Good, but don’t think you’re getting out of telling me more about what’s going on.”

“That’s why I’m here.”

Kono grinned up at him. “Hey, Tony. We’re having a really good time. John has some great stories. I’m glad you’re going to handle all the questions. I only know what Chin told me. It was frustrating for John.” She stood up and gave him a quick hug.

Tony returned it and gave her a kiss on the cheek. Kono was like the little sister he’d never had or known he wanted. “Hey, kid,” he said. “Anything to report?”

Kono’s expression turned serious. “No, nothing to report. I haven’t seen or heard anything strange, and only authorized personnel have had access to John since I’ve been here.”

Tony squeezed her shoulder. “That’s good. I’m glad there haven’t been any problems.” Kono beamed at him. “Listen, I need to ask John some questions. Can you give us some privacy for a bit?”

Kono nodded. “Sure thing. I’ll go and get a drink and then I’ll be outside if you need me.”

Once the door had shut behind Kono, John crossed his arms and glared at Tony. “Tell me what the hell is going on? I could hardly get anything out of Steve; only that Hesse had escaped.”

Tony sat down in the chair Kono had vacated. Tony told him everything that had happened about Wo Fat engineering Hesse’s escape and Hesse turning himself in. When he was done, John looked pale as a ghost.

“Steve’s alright?” he asked, obviously worried.

Tony nodded. “He’s fine. I promise.”

John sighed and leaned back in his chair “Good. He told me he decided to accept the job on the Governor’s task force for the time being. I wish he wouldn’t. It could be dangerous.”

“I know you’re worried, but he’ll be fine. Steve can take care of himself, and he has good people watching his back.”

“I know. I can’t help but worry. So, Hesse is going to testify against Wo Fat. I admit I didn’t see this coming. I’m glad though. Maybe that bastard will finally end up in prison where he belongs.”

Tony nodded. “Hopefully. The FBI thinks he’s a credible witness. Hesse isn’t our only lead against Wo Fat, though. Governor Jameson is now officially under FBI investigation. They’re looking at Jameson for corruption, among other things.”

John was so startled he dropped his cup and water spilled on the floor. Tony felt a little bad for being so blunt, but he couldn’t deny he’d wanted to get a reaction. He went into the adjoining bathroom and got some paper towels to clean it up.

John watched him silently until he was done. “Steve told you,” he said quietly, and it wasn’t a question.

Tony nodded and sat down again. “He did. He wanted to go all Lone Ranger and investigate the Governor himself. I couldn’t believe it. I thought he had more sense. Though I do know Steve reacted with his gut. He wanted revenge and justice, too. Contrary to popular opinion, I think you can have both. I understand the impulse, you know I do.”

Tony knew that John would understand what that meant. Tony wasn’t opposed to bending the rules every now and then.

John closed his eyes again. “Tony, you have to –“

Tony held up one hand. “Wait, I’m not finished. Steve is used to making decisions on the fly and coming up with creative solutions when he needs to. I understand that. The part I can’t understand is how you could agree with him. I was shocked when I realized he got this crazy idea from you. That he was continuing your investigation. I can’t believe that you decided to investigate not only the Governor but someone as dangerous as Wo Fat, and the Yakuza, on your own. Do you have a death wish? Why didn’t you tell me?”

Tony’s voice rose at the end, surprising him. Perhaps he hadn’t realized how upset he truly was. He sighed and took a deep breath to steady himself.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to yell. Why didn’t you tell me? I would’ve helped you,” he said more quietly.

John ran his hand over his face. “I didn’t know who I could trust. After Doris was killed, I dropped the investigation to keep my kids safe, but when I saw the extent of the corruption Noshimuri has created within our government, not to mention the HPD, I couldn’t let it go. Pat is a friend, and she’s in bed with the people who killed my wife and god knows how many others all in the name of power and profit. I just couldn’t let it go anymore.”

“You could have trusted me. I’ve been in Hawaii for a year. We could have done this the right way, and I would have made sure you were safe.”

John sighed. “You’re killing me, kid. You almost seem angrier than Steve did.”

Tony shook his head. “I’m not. He’s just quieter about it, and he had a lot to process. Steve would rather go out and do than talk. He’s a lot like you that way.”

John grinned. “It sounds like you’ve gotten to know each other pretty well.”

“Yeah, we have. He’s become a good friend.” Tony hoped the smile on his face didn’t look too goofy.

John raised an eyebrow. “A good friend, huh? I’m glad. I always knew you two would get along.”

Tony nodded and took a sip of his soda.

“If you ever decide to do something about the attraction between you, I think you’d make a great couple. Think about it.”

Tony did a spit take, and John burst out laughing. “The look on your face.”

“How did you know?” Tony demanded. “About us? I’ve been trying to find the right way to tell you. Steve was worried you’d be upset because we’re both men.”

“So you are together. That’s good. Though there will be no funny stuff in my presence if you please,” John said with a beaming smile.

Tony snorted – funny stuff. “Were we that obvious?” Tony remembered that Fei had said something similar.

“No, kid, only to someone who knows you well. I’m happy for you both.” John’s expression turned serious. “So are we okay now?”

Tony nodded. “Getting there. Next time you have a problem, come to Steve or me or even Chin. We’re your family; you don’t have to do things alone. Got it?” Tony pointed his finger at John.

“Scouts Honor,” John said. “Seriously though, thank you for watching out for us, Tony.”

“You’re welcome. Before you distracted me, I was going to tell you the FBI has taken over your investigation and they’ve promised to keep me in the loop, but we’re going to let them handle it from here on out. Understand, old man?”

John looked mutinous for a moment, but then his shoulders slumped. “Understood. I don’t like being cut out, but I’ll keep out of it as long as the FBI does its job.”

Tony nodded. “Excellent. I’m going to hold you to that. I appreciate you cooperating. You know that investigating this legally is the best way to do it. Otherwise, they both might slip through our fingers.

“For now, we have to keep you safe. Everything has to look like business as usual. Hesse will be off the board in the next day or so. Don’t worry, this will be over soon, and then you can concentrate on getting better and coming home.”

“I guess it could be worse. Maybe Wo Fat will be so pissed he’ll make a mistake. I’m just sorry I’ll miss the look on Pat’s face when she realizes not only has she been duped but she’s being arrested as well.”

Or he’d send someone else after John. Tony knew he and Steve were going to have to prepare for that possibility.

“I’ll see if I can get you a video. Come to think of it, a video will make a good present for Steve, too.” Hmm, maybe Fornell or Tim could make it happen. He’d have to see.

“That’s my boy.” John patted Tony on the hand.

A few hours after Tony left John wasn’t surprised to find Steve standing in his doorway. Kono had gone home to get some sleep, and one of her cousins was sitting outside his door. John didn’t know him, but both Chin and Kono had vouched for him.

“Come in, son,” he said with a smile. “I assume you talked to Tony about our conversation.” It was generally best to be straightforward with Steve, so John got to the point.

Steve came in looking uncertain. “Yes. I would have come with him, but he wanted to talk with you on his own. Are you okay with all this?”

John motioned to the chair by his bed. “Sit down, son, and to answer your question I am okay with all of it. I was angry at first, but then I realized Tony was right. It was arrogant of me to try to investigate all on my own. I should have contacted the feds as much as I hate to admit it. Thinking I know best all the time is one of my worst traits, or so your mother always claimed. ”

Steve grinned at that. “Tony said something similar.”

John returned the smile. “Somehow that doesn’t surprise me. As for you and Tony being together, I couldn’t be happier. I love Tony like a son, and I always thought you’d be good for each other. This isn’t what I envisioned exactly, but it doesn’t bother me. I just want you both to be happy.”

Steve looked relieved. His shoulders relaxed, and he sat back in his chair. “Thanks, Dad. He makes me very happy. I’ve always been worried about telling you I’m bisexual. I wasn’t sure how’d you’d take it.”

John shrugged. “I’ve never had a problem with gay people. I admit for some time I didn’t realize bisexuality was possible, but it makes no difference to me. We can’t control who we love. You’re my son, Steve, and I know I’m not the most demonstrative person. I wasn’t raised to discuss my feelings, but I want you to know I’m proud of you and I love you. You’ll always be my son no matter what.”

John looked over at Steve to find him looking down at his hands. He looked up, and John saw his eyes were wet.

“Come here,” he said holding out his arms. Steve stood and hugged him without hesitation. John squeezed him tight for a long moment.

Finally, Steve pulled away. “Thanks, Dad. It means a lot to me.” Their eyes met, and they both smiled. They understood each either. He was so grateful to have his son back no matter what this situation had personally cost him.

John cleared his throat. “Good. Now that we have that straightened out tell me about your new job.”

Steve sat down with a chuckle, and they talked for quite a while.


October 23, 2010

Tony looked on as Steve shot Hesse point blank in the chest and he fell backward off the deck of the private yacht he’d been trying to escape on. Or at least that was the story they were going with. They’d arranged for the word to get out that a man matching Hesse’ description had rented a private yacht under an assumed name.

Steve and the team had rushed down to the harbor where Hesse had led them on a merry dance before he and Steve had a scripted showdown. A diver was waiting in the water to pull Hesse to safety, and if all went to plan, he’d be off the island by nightfall.

Steve made as if to jump into the water, but Tony stopped him. “It’s too dangerous,” he chided. Steve gave him a look; he had a huge grin on his face. He was definitely enjoying himself. Participating in the ruse had been fun for Tony, too, if he was honest. Steve had thrown himself into the role with gusto. He’d even jumped from one roof onto another during the chase. Tony had admired his ability, but that didn’t mean his heart hadn’t been in his throat the whole time.

He’d been known to push the envelope from time to time, but Steve took it to a whole other level. He was focused and efficient, and he’d barely seemed to notice the danger. That was a SEAL for you, Tony supposed. If he was honest, watching Steve do his thing was kind of a turn on. Competence did it for him in a big way. Watching Steve’s arm muscles in his tight black t-shirt didn’t hurt either.

As HPD officers stormed the boat with Danny and Chin in the lead, Steve’s expression turned appropriately serious. He addressed Danny. “Get search teams into the water; we have to find him as soon as possible. I shot him center mass, but I want verification that he’s dead.”

“Already on it,” Danny said. He pointed his finger at Steve. “Once this is over, you and I are going to have yet another conversation about proper police procedure and why we don’t threaten witnesses or jump off of any high places including roofs and balconies .Also I will not do your paperwork no matter how much you ignore it. You will learn police procedure. Understood?”

Steve sighed. “Yes, Danno. If it’ll make you feel better.”

Danny’s eyes narrowed. “I told you not to call me that. Only my daughter calls me that.”

Steve rolled his eyes. “Whatever you say, Danno.” He emphasized the nickname.

Danny spluttered for a moment and then stomped away. “I’m going to go do my job. The right way,” he called over his shoulder.

Tony turned away to hide a smile. Watching Steve wind Danny up was pretty funny. He thought they’d get along eventually. Danny had been good as his word after their talk, and he was determined to teach Steve to be a good cop, even if the situation turned out to be only temporary. Tony was looking forward to watching the ongoing battle safely from the sidelines, but he had no doubt someday Steve would be not just good but great at his job. If he gets to keep it, a voice reminded him.

“Incoming,” Chin said just loud enough for them to hear. Steve turned to see Governor Jameson and her assistant, Laura Hills, walking briskly toward them.

Steve stood up to his full height and stiffened a bit. He plastered a bright smile on his face that didn’t reach his eyes. Tony wondered if Jameson could see the sudden tension in him. She stopped in front of Steve and held out her hand with a big smile. If she noticed anything wrong with Steve’s demeanor, she didn’t let on.

“Congratulations, Commander, on getting a terrorist off the street. Obviously, I wish you’d be able to bring him in alive, but I’m satisfied knowing Hesse will never hurt anyone again. In the future, you can take any cases that you like. You’ll still have full immunity in means to arrest men like Hesse and get them off my island. ”

Tony was a little surprised to hear that. He knew what Jameson had offered Steve, but he hadn’t thought she’d meant it. Full immunity and means seemed far too dangerous for her. It was odd she didn’t want more control over their task force. Hesse being dead was probably the best possible outcome for her.

Depending on how much trust she had in Wo Fat, she might not be sure what exactly Hesse knew about her. But either way, he knew too much about Wo Fat and his dealings to threaten Jameson too.

She must be relieved he’d never be able to talk. Tony wondered how she’d gotten mixed up with the Yakuza. Tony was usually good at reading people. He could tell Jameson genuinely cared about Hawaii and her constituents. Tony was almost sure about that.

Tony hoped that if they brought her in, she’d be willing to flip on Wo Fat and the Yakuza. With Jameson’s help, they could put a serious dent in the Yakuza’s hold on Hawaii. Tony felt a rush of satisfaction at the thought. It felt good to be working in law enforcement again. They would do some good not only for them but for all the people in Hawaii.

Steve’s voice thanking Jameson brought him back to the present. Jameson looked at each of them in turn. “Good job, gentlemen. I thank you on behalf of the people of Hawaii. I think this task force is going to be even more productive than I first imagined. Keep up the good work.”

They each thanked her in turn, and then her phone rang. She answered it as she walked away.

The fake smile fell off Steve’s face. He stared after the Governor, watching her walk away with narrowed eyes.

”Well, I guess that’s it. At least she seemed pleased. Should make it easier to fly under her radar.” He spoke quietly so that he wouldn’t be overheard.

“For now there’s nothing more we can do. It’s out of our hands,” Tony reminded them. He got nods from everyone.

“Right. Let’s get back to it, team,” Steve said. “When we wrap this up the drinks are on Detective Williams. The paperwork can wait until tomorrow.”

“Excellent,” Chin said.

It couldn’t, but Tony didn’t think Jameson would complain. “Shouldn’t you tell Danny you volunteered him to take us all out tonight? Since it’s his money and all?”

Steve waved that away. “Naw, it’ll be a surprise. I’m sure he’ll be thrilled.”

“Okay, it’s your funeral. Just know that when he hits you, I’m not going to do anything to stop him.”

Steve leaned toward him, and suddenly he was in Tony’s space. “You wouldn’t protect me from him?” he asked softly. Tony could feel the heat radiating off his body, and he felt his desire stirring.

“I’ll only protect you when you don’t deserve to get punched,” Tony told him. “In this case, I wouldn’t protect you. You bait Danny, and you’re on your own.”

Steve chuckled, and Tony realized they were still standing too close together. He stepped back. Steve reached out and took his hand heedless of all the cops milling around. Their eyes met. “I don’t care what others think if you don’t.”

Tony was out. He decided he didn’t care what anyone thought once he’d left NCIS. He imagined having to go back to being discreet now that he was going back to work at a federal agency. He felt sick at the thought. “I don’t care either. Let’s just not flaunt our relationship while we’re on the clock.”

Steve gave him another brilliant smile and squeezed his hand once before letting go. “Fair enough. I’m glad we’re in agreement. Will I see you later?”

“Yeah. I have some cases to finish up but text me the address when you head over.”

Steve smiled, and his eyes brightened. “Good. I’ll see you later.”


November 2, 2010

Tony took a deep breath and tried to stay calm. Today, though, Steve had well and truly pissed him off for the first time. It was Tony’s first fucking day, and his team had caught a big case. An Ex-Navy SEAL named Graham Wilson had allegedly murdered his wife before leaving the scene of the crime and then taken hostages aboard the U.S.S. Missouri in Pearl Harbor. Even as he created havoc, Graham insisted he was innocent and demanded that the police find his wife’s murderer.

The case was clearly the purview of NCIS, and his team had been dispatched only to arrive and find Steve’s team had taken over the case with the Governor’s permission. Things had gone downhill from there. Hence, he and Steve had their first real fight.

“Do not walk away from me,” Tony called after him. “We are not done talking about this.”

Steve sighed and turned. “I don’t want to fight with you about this. I’m sorry the Governor gave me your case, but as a -SEAL myself I was the most qualified person to deal with the situation.”

That was debatable, but it wasn’t even the issue at hand. Tony gritted his teeth and forced himself to take a deep breath. He willed himself to relax and calm down.

“I’m not upset that the Governor put you in charge. I disagreed with her decision, but my boss and I accepted it. I’m angry because you ignored proper procedure from minute one and put yourself and a lot of civilians at risk in the process.”

“No one was in danger. I knew what I was doing,” Steve insisted.

Tony rubbed at his temples. He was so damn stubborn. “Let’s go inside,” Tony suggested. “We aren’t doing anyone any good arguing out here.”

“Fine,” Steve said with a stiff nod.

Steve moved briskly down the walk and waited while Tony unlocked the door to his apartment.

“Like I said,” Steve continued. “I knew what I was doing, and I had the situation under control.”

Tony sighed. “I know you think so, and granted everything worked out, but the whole thing could have gone terribly wrong, and there wouldn’t have been much you could do. This is why we have established procedures during a hostage situation. You didn’t even try to negotiate with him. Instead, you went all super SEAL and snuck onto the ship.”

Steve snorted, and now he was smiling slightly. “Super SEAL? You’ve been spending too much time with Danny. Are you joining his campaign to turn me into a model cop?”

Tony didn’t smile back. Sometimes Steve was a huge pain in the ass. “I’d settle for a cop that follows the rules more often than not. I’m not saying rules can’t be bent sometimes, but a hostage situation is not the place for it.

“Look, I know that you’re used to calling the shots and putting yourself in danger. I respect your skills, but you should have let the NCIS hostage negotiator do his job first. You could have waited to see if he made progress before you acted.”

Steve sighed. “I’m sorry. I didn’t think we had time to waste. I knew I could reason with him. My gut told me he was telling the truth about his wife’s murder, and we needed his cooperation. I needed to make sure he didn’t have a chance to hurt anyone.”

Tony sighed, too. It was all about control with Steve. It was hard to argue with someone who always thought he was right. Gibbs had been the same way. The similarity made his stomach twist.

“I get you don’t think you did anything wrong. I know I can’t convince you otherwise.”

Steve sighed and walked over to Tony and put his hand on Tony’s arms. “Look, I do think I did the right thing, but I agree I could have handled it better. I should have let your team know what I intended to do so you could back my team up. I’m used to being in charge and making decisions on the fly. I didn’t mean to put anyone in danger.”

Tony blinked. Steve had admitted he had been wrong. He’d qualified it, but he’d still admitted he’d been wrong. It was more than Tony had been expecting and a lot more than Gibbs ever would have done.

Tony sighed. “Okay then. I’m still kind of pissed at you, but I also know we’re never going to completely agree. You have to learn to work better with others though. Not just your team, but other law enforcement agencies. It’ll make all our lives much easier.”

Steve looked stubborn for a moment, but then his eyes softened, and he nodded. “You’re right. I need to work on my cooperation skills. Maybe it’ll keep you and Danny from yelling at me. I swear I haven’t been yelled at so much since BUDS.”

Tony smiled despite himself. “Thank you for being reasonable. You’ll also be reviewing police procedure with Danny and Chin.”

Steve groaned. “No. It’s bad enough, I’m doing paperwork.”

“Hey, you’re lucky you didn’t have to go to the police academy so stop complaining. We’re going to make a good cop of you yet.”

Steve shook his head, but then he sighed. “Alright. The Governor mentioned she’d like me to be more careful too, so I guess it can’t hurt. Not that I actually care what she thinks, but it’ll look good.”

Tony stepped forward and wrapped his arms around Steve’s waist. He leaned down a little and brushed his lips against Steve’s. He pulled away after a few seconds and Steve made a protesting noise.

“I’m still a little pissed at you, but I have to tell you I find you being reasonable extremely attractive.”

Steve put his hand on the back of Tony’s neck and stroked gently with one finger. “Is that right?”

“Yep. It’s incredibly annoying.”

Steve leaned up slightly and kissed down Tony’s neck. Tony shivered in reaction. “Excellent. I plan to take full advantage just so you know. Besides, there is nothing wrong with angry sex.”

Tony laughed, and Steve pulled him closer. Steve kissed him hard. His hot mouth felt amazing, and Tony parted his lips. Steve took advantage and deepened the kiss. They kissed for what felt like a very long time. Steve reached down and stroked Tony’s cock through his pants, and Tony moaned.

“Not here,” Tony whispered. “In the bedroom.”

Steve nodded, and he was already pulling off his t-shirt as he went walked toward the bedroom. As soon as they were inside and Steve unbuttoned Tony’s shirt and pulled it off. Tony unbuttoned his pants. He pulled down Steve’s pants and underwear together, and Steve’s hard cock sprang free. Tony took it into his hand and stroked it firmly the way Steve liked.

Steve groaned softly. He put his hand over Tony’s to stop him. “No, not like that. I want to fuck you.”

Tony cock jerked, and a jolt of pleasure rushed up his spine. “Makeup sex is one of my favorite kinds. Since you were an asshole today, I get to decide what we do. You’re going to do whatever I want. Lucky for you I’m in the mood to get fucked.”

Steve stepped back. “Get on the bed,” he murmured.

“No, you get on the bed. I want to ride you,” Tony said softly. Steve groaned softly, and his cock jumped. It was one of Tony’s favorite positions, and apparently, Steve liked it too. He propped some pillows behind his back and rested against the headboard.

Tony found the lube on the nightstand drawer and popped the cap. “You look gorgeous.” His voice was deep with desire.

Steve held his hand out for the lube, but Tony ignored him. “No touching until I say,” he told Steve teasingly.

Tony grinned and squeezed a generous dollop a lube onto his fingers. He rubbed it a little getting it warm and then he reached behind and carefully inserted one finger into his hole, stroking in and out slowly. He closed his eyes enjoying the feeling. Once he felt ready, he added a second finger stretching himself slowly. The slight burn felt good, and he knew that soon it would feel even better.

“Open your eyes and look at me,” Steve ordered.

Tony did, even though he was the one who was supposed to be giving the orders, and their eyes met. Steve’s eyes were hot with desire as he watched Tony. Tony’s cock was already leaking pre-come, and he could see Steve was in a similar state.

Tony added a third finger, and the stretch became almost too much. He searched carefully until he brushed his prostate. A jolt of pleasure rushed through him, and he moaned softly.

Steve was stroking his cock lazily. Tony gave him a look. “You said I couldn’t touch you. You didn’t say anything about touching myself.” Tony conceded as he definitely enjoyed watching Steve pleasure himself.

Tony grabbed the condom he had next to him, and once he got it open, he slid it onto Steve’s cock. Then he crawled over to Steve on his knees and then straddled Steve’s lap. He guided Steve’s cock to his hole and then he sank down slowly just a little. Steve groaned as the head of his cock slipped into Tony’s hole.

Steve put his hands on Tony’s hips, and Tony stopped. Giving himself time to adjust, he then sank down a little further taking more of Steve’s cock inside him in one motion. The burn was a little deeper now, but it was still pleasurable. Steve’s cock was large, but it wasn’t anything Tony couldn’t handle.

Steve was holding carefully still, letting Tony have control, but he was biting his lip, and he had a look of concentration on his face. Tony reached out and put his hand on Steve’s face as he leaned forward to kiss him slowly. Steve took Tony’s hand in his and held on.

Tony lifted himself up and then sank down a little more. Finally, he took all of Steve’s cock, and his ass brushed against Steve’s lap. He felt full and stretched as he lifted himself and then sank back down. Pleasure rippled over him. He shifted around trying to find just the right angle when suddenly the head of Steve’s cock brushed his prostate and lights sparkled in Tony’s vision as intense pleasure flowed over him. He gasped.

“Oh, God. You feel so good, don’t stop,” Steve said harshly. “Faster please.”

Tony nodded and picked up the pace. The pleasure was building. He was so close.

Steve played with Tony’s nipple, tugging on it with his teeth. It sent a jolt of pleasure right to Tony’s cock, and he moaned. “Touch yourself just how you like. I want to see you come for me,” he told Tony.

Steve was breathing hard. “I’m not going to last much longer. God, you feel so amazing,” he warned Tony. Impatient, he reached down and took Tony’s cock in his own hand. He stroked over the length and then played gently with Tony’s balls. Tony moaned; the pleasure was so intense now it was almost unbearable. Tony steadied himself, his hands on Steve’s shoulders. Steve’s skin was slick with sweat beneath his fingers.

Tony lifted and sank down on Steve’s cock, and he hit his prostate. The pleasure rushed off his spine, and he came.

He felt his inner muscles clench around Steve’s dick. Steve gave a small yell as he came, too, and then Tony collapsed on Steve’s chest. Little aftershocks of pleasure jolted through him for a few moments before easing away. He was suddenly exhausted. They lay there for a long while catching their breath. Steve was running his hands over Tony’s back slowly.

“That was amazing,” Steve said. He ran his hand through Tony’s hair, and he kissed Tony’s cheek.

“Yeah, it was.”

In Tony’s experience, it usually took a while to get the sex right, but with Steve, it had been good from the start. Much of this relationship had been a little strange, but Tony wasn’t complaining. They just seemed to fit together.

“I’m so pleased we decided to do this. I haven’t dated in a really long time,” Tony said thoughtfully. “I had a bad break up, and I’ve been kind of gun shy since.”

“I’m sorry to hear that. Do you want to talk about it? I’ve mostly had casual hookups. Work has kept me pretty busy. I haven’t had time for a real relationship.”

Tony sighed lifted his head and looked up at Steve. “You might as well know. I fell in love with my last boss. I know, so cliché, right? I thought he was the one and let’s just say it didn’t end well. He wasn’t who I thought he was.”

Steve cupped his face and kissed him softly. “I’m sorry, babe. He was an idiot to let you go. I’m sorry he hurt you.”

“Thank you.” Steve was sweet, and Tony saw no judgment in his expression.

“I’m sorry you were hurt, but I’m glad this guy is an idiot, though. Otherwise, you might not have come to Hawaii, and my dad might not be here right now.”

Tony nodded. “Me too, your dad means a lot to me. I’m glad I was here to help him.” He lay down and put his head back on Steve’s chest.

He didn’t want to ruin the moment, but he knew it was time to tell Steve the rest. He’d checked and Steve’s security clearance was more than high enough for Tony to tell him the whole story.

Tony took a deep breath. “My failed office romance wasn’t the only reason I left.” He told Steve about what happened with Ziva, about the horror of realizing that his teammate and friend was a spy and the difficulties that followed.

Steve had stiffened, but he put his arm around Tony’s back holding him close. “So this Gibbs isn’t just an idiot, he’s a criminal.”

Tony snorted. “I don’t know if I’d go that far, but he sure doesn’t believe the rules apply to him.”

“Don’t defend him. I’m all for bending the rules when necessary, but there are lines you just don’t cross and threatening national security is one of them. Fuck any of your co-workers if they can’t understand that. You did the right thing. I’m glad you left NCIS and moved here.”

Tony nodded. “True.” He felt something inside him unwind at Steve’s words. He suspected that Steve would agree with his decision to turn in Ziva, but it was good to have confirmation.

Steve’s arm tightened around him. “I’m happy we met. You’ve changed my life in such a short amount of time. Is it weird that you’re already so important to me?”

Tony huffed. “I hope not because I feel the same way.”

“Well, then I guess we can be freaks together.”

“Deal,” Tony said with a chuckle. Steve just seemed to get him. They were on the same wavelength. Tony hadn’t felt this close to a lover since the woman he’d almost married.

Tony knew he was falling in love with Steve, but he was reluctant to tell him just yet. Despite their talk tonight, he felt it was still too soon. He didn’t want to scare Steve away.

Tony relaxed into Steve’s side feeling pleasantly drowsy. They had time, and if Steve went back to the Navy, then Tony hoped they’d a way to work it out. For Steve, he’d do the long distance thing.

After a few minutes of Steve’s hand rubbing up and down his back in a soothing motion, Tony fell into a contented sleep.

Chapter Twelve

November 22, 2010

Tony hit the save icon on his last report and looked at the clock on his computer. It was almost noon and time for Tony to go. He’d gotten permission to leave early so he could go with Steve and pick up John from rehab. They had a small welcome home party planned.

Tony suspected John was on to them, but it was still going to be a fun time. A celebration was needed after all the stress of the last couple of months. Waiting for the task force to do its job was harder than Tony anticipated. Steve and John were even more impatient, even though they all understood investigations took time. They all had to be patient.

Meanwhile, Tony was getting comfortable in his new job. A part of him missed being a P.I., but in his heart, he was an investigator. He’d fallen back into the rhythm of the job with ease. Tony’s desk was across from his new boss’ desk. His team had five desks in a cluster in one corner of the room. The area was arranged pretty much like the major case bullpen in D.C., though thankfully the walls were a soothing yellow rather than orange.

He’d been working for NCIS for three weeks, and so far things were going well. Tony liked his boss and his co-workers. The Hawaii Field Office was one of the largest in the NCIS system. NCIS Hawaii was all alone in the Pacific region, so they needed to have a lot of resources on hand.

Being in one of the most isolated areas in the world presented special issues. A lot of the field offices resources went to counterintelligence. Major Case had two permanent teams, including Tony’s. Their team handled all sorts of general crimes involving Navy officers, everything from petty theft to murder. Though thankfully, there weren’t as many murders in Hawaii as in D.C.

The Special Agent In Charge of his unit was a twenty-year veteran named Hani Sinclair. He was calm and shrewd. He had high expectations of his officers, but he was fair, too. Tony had liked him from the moment they’d met. He listened to the members of his team, and let everyone contribute. Marisa Alvarez, a short black woman with a bright smile and a fiery temper, was the team’s junior agent. She’d been with NCIS for three years and in Hawaii for two.

The team also had a probie named Kevin Tran. He’d only been on the team for three months, but he was eager to learn. He took notes on everything Tony told him, and he was incredibly focused.

Tony had stepped in as SFA with only some minor problems. The rest of the team had welcomed him.

He stood from his desk and walked over to the team’s junior agent. “Hey, Alvarez, I’m on my way out. Good job on your latest report. I do need you to clarify some of your notes from Sanchez’s interview. I highlighted the areas and sent it back to you.”

Marisa Alvarez gave him a bright smile. “Sure thing, Agent DiNozzo. I’ll redo it tonight before I go home.”

Tony stifled the urge to remind Alvarez that she could use his first name. So far she had stubbornly stuck to his title. Tony figured it was a work in progress.

Kevin’s desk was right next to Marisa’s. “Kevin, pretty good job with the report from yesterday. I made some notes for you on where you can improve. You also forgot some key information. Go in and fix it. If you have any questions, you can ask me tomorrow.”

He looked up from his notebook and took the papers Tony held out to him. “Will do, Boss.”

Tony hid a wince. “Don’t call me that, okay? I prefer sir, but Agent DiNozzo or just DiNozzo will do in a pinch.”

Kevin blushed. It was adorable. He reminded Tony a little of Tim when they’d first met. “Understood, Agent DiNozzo.” Good enough. It’ll take time Tony told himself and with a wave he left.

Finally Tony stopped at his boss’ desk. Agent Sinclair spoke up. “On your way out, Tony?”

“Yes, sir. I finished up my reports, and Tran and Alvarez have their assignments. They both did a good job, but I’ve corrected some things and given them some notes.”

“Good, good. I’ll see you tomorrow. I hope Mr. McGarrett has a good day and that he enjoys his party. “

Tony had explained that John was an old family friend. Once Sinclair had realized the John in question was John McGarrett, who had been shot by an assailant in his home.

“Thank you, sir.” Tony turned away with a nod.

“Tony,” Sinclair called out.

Tony turned back toward him. “Sir?”

“You’re doing a great job. I’m glad you decided to work for us.”

Tony grinned. His boss’ praise left him feeling pleased. “Thank you, sir.” So far, this place was almost nothing like the Navy Yard, something for which Tony was infinitely grateful.

Tony left the building and went out toward the parking garage. He was picking up Steve and John in the new handicapped van they had bought for John so he’d eventually be able to drive himself around. Having independence was important to him, and he’d been fretting about having to depend on others. John was still going to need help, but they were working on making him as self-sufficient as possible.

For once traffic was light, and he made good time. Tony pulled up to the curb and was surprised to see John and Steve weren’t waiting for him. He and Steve had agreed that Steve would have John waiting on the curb so they could surprise him with the handicapped van. Maybe it had taken Steve longer to get John ready than he’d expected. He called Steve, but the phone went to message. Maybe he’d forgotten to charge it. He waited a few minutes and then decided he’d go find out what was going on.

As he was starting to get out of the van to go inside, his phone rang.

Fornell’s name flashed across the screen, and Tony answered. “Fornell. Do you have an update for me?”

Steve had been chomping at the bit for an update on the investigation. He’d been driving Tony crazy asking about it, and he wasn’t happy that all Tony could say was that he didn’t have any new information. Tony had known it might be a while before he heard anything. These types of investigations took time.

“Tony, are you with John McGarrett right now?”

“No,” Tony said surprised. “Why?” he asked suspiciously. He gripped his phone tighter.

“Is he with someone? What about the commander?”

“Steve’s with John. John is coming home from rehab today. I’m sitting outside the rehab facility now. “

Fornell sighed. “I’m glad Commander McGarrett is with his father. Look, there might be nothing to worry about. We believe Wo Fat tried to have Governor Jameson assassinated today. We found a bomb in her car. If the FBI hadn’t been watching her, she would have died. One of the agents assigned to watch her saw a strange man hanging around her car. When he went to investigate, he found the bomb.”

Tony’s hand tightened on the phone. He needed to get upstairs and look for Steve and John. “Do we know who it was?” Tony asked. He got out and left the van where it was. Being in a No Parking zone was the least of his worries. He practically ran inside.

“Yep, the whole thing was caught on camera. The man who attached the bomb to the car is one of Wo Fat’s men. We saw him with Wo Fat at the prison while he was talking to Hesse. We’ve decided to bring the Governor in for her own safety. Normally I wouldn’t do this, but we need to make sure she’s safe. Jameson is no use to us if she’s dead.”

Tony nodded, although Fornell couldn’t see him. His thoughts were racing as he made plans for keeping John safe. He needed to be moved, and going home was out of the question. Concern for Steve and John was foremost in Tony’s mind. The fact that they weren’t where they said they supposed to be seemed sinister. Was something wrong? Did Wo Fat attack them? If Wo Fat was tying up loose ends, then John and maybe Steve might be next.

Focus, Tony admonished himself. One thing at a time.

“Dinotso!” Fornell barked “Are you there?”

“Yeah, sorry. I think you did the right thing,” Tony said as he headed inside. “Did you manage to gather any more concrete evidence against her?” he asked as he hit the elevator button.

“Yes, though I can’t go into specifics. It should be more than enough to gain her cooperation if the threat to her life isn’t, enough.”

“Good. Let me make sure John and Steve are okay, and I’ll call you back.”

Fornell agreed and hung up without a goodbye. Tony barely even noticed.

He looked around. Everything on the first floor looked normal. There was a security guard behind the desk and a couple of people sitting in the lobby. It wasn’t as comforting as it might have been. His gut was telling him something was wrong and, not waiting for the elevator, he walked quickly to the stairs. John was on the third floor, and Tony took the stairs two at a time. He tried Steve’s phone again, and again it went to voicemail without ringing. It was turned off.

Not for the first time, Tony wished they had been able to get security for John. Once Hesse had been killed so publicly, the threat to John had looked like it was over, and John’s protection had been withdrawn. Hiring someone would have looked odd. The team had done what they could, but they all had responsibilities and couldn’t stay with John every minute.

He reached the third floor and was glad to see the nurse sitting behind the desk in her usual place. She greeted Tony, and he waved at her but didn’t stop. He approached John’s room carefully even though everything looked fine.

As he got closer to John’s room, he heard Steve’s voice. “Don’t do anything stupid. You’re already in enough trouble as it is. What exactly is killing us supposed to accomplish?” Tony took out his gun as he reached the door to the room.

Tony heard an unfamiliar voice reply. “I could make an excuse about tying up loose ends, but I’m going to kill you because I want to. I’ve wanted to see you both in the ground for some time.”

“Kill me if you want, but leave my son alone. Please,” John said his voice shaky.

Tony took out his phone and texted Fornell asking for help a.s.a.p. He also sent a text to Danny for good measure.

“Dad, please,” Steve said quietly. “Why do you want to kill us?” Steve asked the person Tony assumed was Wo Fat.

“I admit killing your father was a practical matter. Both Jameson and Noshimuri wanted him dead. That seeing him dead would be personally satisfying to me but was a secondary perk. I’m going to kill you for a couple of reasons.

“You’ve been interfering with my business since you came back to Hawaii. It’s because of you that I have the FBI breathing down my neck. As it is, I’m going to have a lot of cleaning up to do. More importantly, I’m going to kill you because I was denied the pleasure of killing your mother myself. So I’m afraid you and your father will have to do.”

“What does my mother have to do with any of this?” Steve sounded angry and bewildered

“Wo Fat, please don’t.” Then John added, “Steve, don’t listen to him. He’s lying. He’s just trying to get under our skin.” John sounded genuinely scared and Tony grit his teeth. He needed a clear idea of what was going on before he burst in.

“Shut up, old man, or I will blow your brains out.” Tony winced at hearing his nickname for John used to threaten him.

“Leave him alone. This is between you and me.”

“Dad, stop antagonizing him,” Steve pleaded.

Tony wished he could see what was happening.

“What do you know about my mother? You must be about my age. You would have been a kid when she died.”

“Yes, I was, that’s true, but you see, I met your mother when I was a child. She killed my father in front of me when she worked for the CIA, and I promised my father as he lay dying that I would avenge his death.”

Tony heard gasps, and then Steve cried, “Liar! My mother was a teacher, not a spy.”

“Unfortunately, Noshimuri had her killed long before I could take my revenge, but I still have my family’s honor to think of. I must keep my promise to my father. His death must be avenged by my hand. Both your deaths will have to do.”

“What the hell are you talking about? Mom didn’t kill anyone,” Steve demanded loudly.

It was a shocking revelation, but Tony pushed it aside. There would be time enough to think about that later. Tony didn’t think he could wait anymore. Wo Fat was determined to kill the two most important people in his life. There was no way Tony was going to let that happen.

Tony eased around the corner to peek through the doorway. Wo Fat was standing in front of Steve and John pointing a gun at them. Steve had positioned himself so that he was slightly in front of John. If Tony could distract Wo Fat, he knew Steve would take advantage of it. The only problem was that Wo Fat might be able to shoot Steve first. It was a risk they’d have to take.

Tony called out, “Federal Agent, freeze!” Wo Fat’s head whipped toward him, and Steve took advantage, grabbing for the gun. There was a small tussle, but Steve was stronger, and he managed to wrestle the gun from Wo Fat’s grip.

Looking around, eyes a little wild, Wo Fat made a move toward Tony. Tony had moved closer and was pointing his gun directly at Wo Fat’s head. “Stop or I will shoot.”

Wo Fat stopped. Steve took out his own cuffs and put them on Wo Fat.

“Are you both okay?” Tony asked John and Steve.

“Fine,” Steve replied. He looked at Wo Fat. “I wish you’d shot him. I’d feel better knowing he was dead.”

Tony grinned “He’s going away for a long time.”

Just then there was a commotion in the hallway, and several agents came storming into the room. “FBI! Guns on the floor and put your hands in the air!” one of them shouted.

Steve and John did as asked and Tony carefully put his gun down. Tony smiled at the lead agent. “Special Agent Tony DiNozzo, NCIS. Everything is under control here. If it’s okay, I can reach for my badge.”

“Do it slowly,” the agent said with a nod.

Tony did so, and the agent ordered everyone to stand down.

“I’m Agent Josh Mitchell. Agent Fornell sent us. We’re here to back you up, Agent DiNozzo.”

“I appreciate that. This is Wo Fat. He’s an international criminal, and he’s currently under investigation by the FBI.” Tony pointed to where Steve was holding Wo Fat. “He needs to be taken into custody immediately.”

Mitchell looked startled for a moment, but then he jumped forward to do what Tony asked.

Wo Fat glared daggers at them as he was led away in handcuffs. If looks could kill, Tony thought wryly. He cautioned Mitchell to keep at least three agents guarding him at all times as the man had a habit of slipping out of trouble.

A few hours later they had all given their statements and were finally free to go. Everyone was exhausted. Wo Fat and Jameson were both in custody. They should have been celebrating, but the revelations of the day had been far too stressful. An officer was ordered to give them a ride home. The silence in the police car was deafening, and the tension between Steve and John could be cut with a knife.

When they got dropped off, the silence continued as Steve helped John into his chair. John insisted on getting into the house under his own power. The house was empty, and someone had cleaned up all the preparations for the canceled party. The welcome home banner was still hanging over the upstairs banister, and there were still some balloons floating in a corner.

John looked around the living room. “Now I know there used to be a wall there,” he said indicating the open kitchen.

“Surprise,” Steve said tiredly. “I had the house remodeled to make it easier for you. Your bedroom is in the den now. I hope you like it, but first, we are going to talk.”

Tony looked between John and Steve. “Maybe I should go and let you guys talk.”

John sighed. “No, Tony, stay. You might as well hear this, too.”

At the same time, Steve took Tony’s hand in his. “Please stay. I want you here for this.”

Tony’s heart clenched. He nodded and squeezed Steve’s hand in silent support.

There was the sound of someone running down the stairs. “Oh my God! Dad, Steve, are you alright?”

The three of them looked up to see Mary coming down the stairs.

“Mary,” Steve said. “What are you doing here?”

“What? You invited me to the welcome home party, didn’t you?”

“Yeah, and you said you couldn’t come.” Steve sounded exasperated.

“I wasn’t going to come, but then I changed my mind. I thought a lot about what you said and got a plane ticket at the last minute. Chin picked me up from the airport and brought me here. I’m glad I did because I hear you two almost got shot again.”

They all stared at her.

Mary raised both hands in the air. “This is the welcome home I get.”

“Sorry,” both Steve and John said in unison.

“We’re just surprised,” Steve added. He went over to her and hugged his sister tightly.

Once everyone had said hello, Steve looked at Mary. “How did you know? About what happened today I mean?” Steve asked.

“Chin Ho Kelly was kind enough to call. I was surprised since I didn’t know he and Dad were close, but I remembered him from when I was a kid, and Dad used to drag me to all those high school football games he played in. He’s kept me filled in on what happened since no one thought to call me.” She smacked Steve on the arm.

Steve glared back. “How was I supposed to know you’d be interested?”

“Kids, that’s enough,” John said, and Tony watched in tired amusement as both Mary and Steve shut their mouths and glared at each other silently. John still had the dad voice down.

Mary turned to look at Tony and smile brightly. “You must be Tony. I think I remember you from when I was a kid. Hey, Tony. Thanks for saving their bacon again.” She came forward for a hug.

Tony was surprised but put his arms around her automatically. “It’s good to see you again, Mary.”

She smiled. “Yeah, you too. I’m so glad that our family has you in our lives. It would have sucked to come all the way home only to find Dad and Steve had been murdered.”

The statement surprised a laugh of Tony. She was a smart ass, but she came by it honestly. Tony was going to like her; he just knew it.

“I’m glad you were able to make it,” Steve said.

John finally seemed to find his voice. “I’m so happy to see you, Mary. This is the best gift I could have gotten. Can you stay for a while?” There were tears in his eyes, but no one commented on them.

Mary flushed and turned to John. “I was hoping if this went well I could stay for a while. I’m between jobs right now, and I actually need a place to stay, just until I can get back on my feet.”

“But I thought—” Steve started to say, but stopped when Tony reached out and put his hand on Steve’s shoulder, squeezing gently.

John was smiling brightly as he looked up at her. “Absolutely, sweetie, you can stay here as long as you want. I’m thrilled to have you. This will always be your home.”

Mary’s face went blank, and John sighed. “Mary, I know you’re angry, and I’m not asking you to forgive me right away, but please give me a chance. I didn’t want to send you away, but it wasn’t safe here, and I didn’t know what else to do.”

Mary frowned in confusion. “What do you mean it wasn’t safe?”

Tony spoke up. “Why don’t we all sit down? The explanations are going to take a while, and there’s a lot to talk about.” They were all exhausted, but Tony knew this wouldn’t wait until morning. Tony and Steve sat down together on the sofa. Steve leaned into Tony, so their sides were pressed together and put his hand on Tony’s knee. Tony was surprised but pleased. He put his hand over Steve, and they linked their fingers together. Mary sat in the recliner and John wheeled over, so he was in front of her.

John took Mary’s hand and then quietly brought her up to speed about Doris’ murder. Mary paled dramatically as her father spoke and she stood up and walked away from him. Then she stopped and turned around. “How could you not tell me this? Tell us?” she demanded, motioning to Steve.

“Noshimuri threatened you both. He told me that if I didn’t pretend your mother’s death was an accident and walk away from my investigation into his business dealings he’d kill all three of us. I didn’t have a choice, Mary. I had to protect you.”

There were tears in Mary’s eyes. She leaned forward and hugged John. “Dad, I don’t know what to say. I’ve been angry for so long, but I think I understand why you made the choices you made.”

She pulled away, and John smiled at her. “That’s pretty much what your brother said.”

Mary glared at Steve. “Jerk. I can’t believe you didn’t tell me the truth.”

“It isn’t the sort of thing you blurt out over the phone,” Steve said defensively. “I was going to tell you as soon as I found the right time, but we’ve been swamped lately. I did ask you to come home more than once if you remember. It wasn’t just for Dad’s sake.”

Mary huffed. “Fine, but don’t think you’re off the hook. In return for keeping me out of the loop I want to know all about what’s going on here.” She indicated Steve and Tony as she sat back in her chair.

“It’s none of your business,” Steve said. The long-suffering tone made Tony chuckle. Steve and Mary both turned to look at him with identical annoyed expressions which only made Tony laugh harder.

“Sorry,” he finally managed to say. “You two are funny together.”

Steve raised an eyebrow at him, but there was a smile quirking his lips. Then he turned his attention to John and glared. “Speaking about not telling us things, Mom wasn’t actually in the CIA, was she? Tell me Wo Fat was either lying or crazy.”

“What?” Mary asked incredulously. “What the hell are you talking about now?”

John sighed. “Your mother and I agreed we’d never talk about this. In truth, we weren’t allowed to tell anyone. She only had permission to tell me the truth, so please try not to be too hurt when you hear this.”

Steve’s fingers dug into Tony’s thigh, and Tony hid a wince. Tony put his hand over Steve’s, and after a moment, Steve’s fingers relaxed. “Sorry,” he murmured.

“Before she met me your mother was a CIA officer.”

Mary gasped. John turned to look at her, a small smile on his face. There was a faraway look in his eyes.

“I was just as shocked when she told me. The idea that I’d fallen in love with a spy seemed so far-fetched. She told me after I proposed. We didn’t have any secrets from each other, except for the details of her work. I accepted I couldn’t know details about her past and I was okay with that.

“By the time she met me she had been retired about a year. As far as I know, she never did any work for them while we were married. As a result, I had no idea she had anything to do with Wo Fat or his father, and I was caught off guard just as much as you all by his revelations today.”

Steve was just staring, and Tony looked over at Mary, her mouth was hanging open.

“This is crazy,” she said. “I thought we were one of the most boring families on the planet. I loved Mom, but I didn’t know she was a super-secret spy. That’s so cool.” Mary bounced in her seat a little, and John smiled at her.

Steve ran his hand over his hair. “I can’t believe this,” he said softly.

John sighed. “I know it’s a lot to take in, Steve, but your mother wasn’t allowed to discuss it with anyone. Besides, Doris gained a few enemies in her career. The less we knew, the better for our own safety.”

Tony grinned at Steve and squeezed his hand. “I guess you got your urge to serve and protect from both your parents.”

Steve smiled faintly. “That’s true.” He took a deep breath and made a visible attempt to relax.

John frowned and looked down at his hands. “It was hard for me when she died. She’d spent so many years putting herself in danger, and she was killed because of me. Because of my work. For nothing.”

“I know, Dad. It wasn’t your fault though. You were doing your job. You couldn’t know what would happen. I’m sure Mom wouldn’t have blamed you, and she definitely wouldn’t have wanted you to blame yourself.”

Steve got up and then kneeled beside his father’s chair putting his hand over John’s. Mary reached out and laid her hand on top of Steve’s. “At least we never have to worry about Wo Fat or Noshimuri coming after us again, and we’re all together now. I’m sure she’s looking down on us happy that we finally worked things out,” Steve said, and John and Mary chuckled in response.

“I felt so desperately guilty, I couldn’t think straight. For a while, I was convinced that she might even still be alive.”

Steve made a pained noise. “Dad.”

John patted his hand. “I know, I know. It was crazy. The dental record was conclusive I promise.”

They sat there for a few minutes in silence, and Tony was content to quietly watch them.

Finally, John looked around. “So are you boys going to show me what the hell you’ve done to my house?”

“Yes, come on. You’re going to like it,” Steve said.

“You will,” Mary agreed. “They did an excellent job.”

“You shouldn’t have bothered. No doubt you spent way too much money. I would have made do.”

Tony looked between Steve and Mary. “Oh really? I guess this is a bad time to mention the new wheelchair accessible van I bought you? I was going to surprise you with it, but Wo Fat ruined my plans. I had a friend pick it up from the rehab, and it’s in the garage.”

John’s gaze flew to him. “You did what? I don’t need anything like that Tony. You shouldn’t have.”

“Maybe I shouldn’t have, but I did. I finally got some of my money back from my father. It isn’t nearly as much as he stole, but I’m still pretty well off. I wanted to do this for you, and I saved your life today, so you can’t argue with me, old man.”

John glared, and he grumbled something about getting no respect.

“Just shut up and let us help you. You know you’re going to enjoy being able to do things on your own,” Tony added with a grin.

John opened his mouth and then closed it with a snap. “You’re right. I’m being stupid. Thank you, all of you. Come here, kid.”

Tony stood and leaned down to give John a hug. “I was blessed the day you came into my life,” John said softly enough that only Tony heard. Tears stung his eyes, and he blinked them away.

“Me, too.”

“Come and see.” Steve started pushing John toward the kitchen with Mary and Tony tailing behind.

Tony let their voices wash over him. He finally knew what it was like to have a real family, what it was like to belong. It was good to finally be home.


December 22, 2010

Tony was waiting for Steve in his apartment. He was doing his best not to get up and pace with impatience. It was a big day for a couple of reasons. Don’t Ask Don’t Tell wasn’t officially repealed yet, but President Obama finally signed the legislation. In less than a year it would be repealed. They were going out to celebrate, and Tony was hoping they’d have even more to be excited about. Steve had called early that morning and asked if he could come over.

Steve had an important meeting today with the acting Governor about the future of the task force, and Tony was anxious to find out what happened. Luckily, it was Tony’s day off. He was looking forward to having some time alone with Steve.

Between their jobs, and John and Mary being home, they hadn’t had much time for themselves. Mary had taken it upon herself to make sure John continued to do his physical therapy, and John continued to improve. Having Mary and Steve with him had done wonders for his recovery. He and Mary seemed to be repairing this gulf between them as well. She had decided to move to Hawaii permanently.

Pat Jameson had agreed to cooperate in exchange for a deal. Wo Fat was sitting in prison, and he’d be there for a very long time. Thanks to the former governor’s information, many of the Yakuza’s businesses in Hawaii were in the process of being dismantled. Things had worked out better than Tony could have hoped.

Steve used his key to enter Tony’s tiny apartment, and his face lit up when he saw Tony sitting on the sofa. It was a look Tony was still getting used to, but it never failed to make his pulse quicken. Steve leaned down for a short but heated kiss that left Tony’s lips tingling. Then Steve sat on the sofa and pulled Tony’s feet in his lap and started rubbing them.

Tony waited expectantly for several seconds, but Steve didn’t say anything.

Finally Tony couldn’t wait anymore. “Well, what did the Lt Governor say? Is he going to keep the task force or not?”

Denison had given Steve a month to prove the task force was vital to the security of Hawaii.

Steve sighed and shook his head. “He said we did good work but that my methods were too unorthodox and the results weren’t worth the cost to the taxpayers. We have one more week, and then everyone will be reassigned.”

“I’m sorry, baby. I know that’s not what you were hoping for.” Tony’s heart clenched. Steve had taken the job to be close to Jameson, but he’d found that he enjoyed the work and his teammates.

Steve shrugged. “I’m disappointed but not surprised. I asked the Governor to make sure that Danny, Chin, and Kono are well taken care of; they’ve done good work, and they deserve to be rewarded.”

“That’s great news. Will Chin get to keep his job?”

Steve nodded. “Now that we were able to prove his innocence, the Lt. Governor is eager to have him back on the force. He’ll be fully reinstated as a lieutenant if he wants.” Tony was pretty sure Chin would take the offer. It was precisely what Chin was hoping for. Tony was really happy for him. Kono had been welcomed to the force with open arms.

Steve had been quietly investigating the theft of the money that Chin had been falsely accused of committing. He and the team had found the real culprits.

That was his Steve. Always putting others well-being before his own. Tony smiled and put his feet on the floor and moved closer to Steve. He put an arm around him. “Whatever he decides to do, I’m sure both of them will l land on their feet.”

Tony hesitated. He hadn’t been looking forward to this conversation. “What about you? You know if you want to go back to the Navy, I’ll support you. DADT has been repealed so you can keep in touch a lot easier.” It wouldn’t be easy, but they’d find a way to make the long distance thing and Steve being military work for them.

Steve leaned forward and kissed him softly. “I know you would. I loved the Navy. I loved being a SEAL, but I liked being a civilian, too. I like being home, and I want to stay near my family. Dad’s not getting any younger. Just as importantly, I don’t want to be away from you. You know what I’m saying?”

Tony kissed him again for that. “I don’t want to be away from you either,” he said softly

“Anyway, I’m not sure what I want to do yet, but I’m looking forward to taking some time to figure it out. I do know I’m going to go into the reserves. I don’t want to resign my commission outright.”

Tony grinned “You could always join NCIS.”

Steve laughed. “I’m not sure being a Federal Agent is for me. Too many rules and regulations.”

Tony snorted. “I think you’d be fine. Think about it. You’d be good.”

“What about you? Now that this is over, you could leave NCIS. You’ve only been working there a little over a month.”

Tony shrugged and leaned back against Steve getting more comfortable. “I’ve thought about it, but I’ve realized I don’t want to. I like my job. I like having a team I can trust again. I forgot what it’s like to work with people you can trust to always have your back. Besides, I’m hopefully going to get a promotion. I think this is going to be good for me.”

Steve rubbed the back of Tony’s neck. “I’m glad the new job is working out. I know you liked being a P.I. I was worried I’d ruined things for you with the investigation.”

Tony shrugged. “I did enjoy it, but I enjoy the work I do for NCIS, too. I thought I’d feel like I was going back to what I left, but the experience has been different from my old job at the Navy Yard. They’re like night and day. My boss gave me a compliment today. Something Gibbs rarely did.”

Steve ran his hand through Tony’s hair soothingly, and Tony relaxed against him. “Gibbs is a moron. I thought we agreed on that.”

Tony cleared his throat. He supposed now was as good a time as any to tell him the way he felt. With most guys, he’d be wary of sharing his feelings, but Steve was surprisingly affectionate. Tony wanted to tell Steve, to let him know that he was all in despite the short time they’d known each other.

He took a deep breath. “I have to admit I’m surprised you’re not going back, but I’m thrilled to hear it. I know this is fast, I can admit I hated the idea of being without you and doing the long distance thing. Our relationship is good, and I don’t want to do anything to jeopardize it. As you know, I’ve been pretty unlucky in love until now. Everyone I’ve ever been serious about wanted to change me. I was never good enough. But with you, it’s different. With you, I can be me.”

Steve snorted. “As far as I’m concerned all the people that let you walk out of their lives were fools. Their loss is my gain. You’re perfect just as you are. When Dad got hurt, and I came home, I never imagined I’d get my family back or that I’d find someone like you. You’ve changed my life for the better. I want to wake up next to you every day. I’ll go back if the Navy calls me, but otherwise, I’m done with that part of my life. I want to be with you. I want to build a life with you.”

Tony felt like his heart might burst at Steve’s admission. He felt the exact same way. He trusted Steve to never hurt him, at least not deliberately. He couldn’t remember feeling this way before. Steve was special, and Tony wasn’t going to let him go. He was finally able to say the words he’d been thinking for a while but hadn’t yet dared to say.

“I love you, Steve. I love you so much. I can’t imagine my life without you in it.”

Steve grinned, he leaned in close, and his breath tickled Tony’s ear. “Ditto,” he whispered.

Tony gaped at him. “You jerk,” he said. “You choose now to make a movie reference, and you pick Ghost. You’re lucky. I love you.”

Steve looked at him seriously, and their eyes met. “I know.”

Amusement and affection swelled up. “Better. There’s hope for you yet.” He put his hand on Steve’s shirt and pulled him in for a heated kiss.

Steve pulled back with a gasp. “If I’d known quoting Star Wars would get me kissed like that I’d have done it sooner.”

Tony burst out laughing, and Steve touched their foreheads together. They sat like that for a long moment, and then Steve kissed him again. Tony realized for the first time in a long time he was truly happy. They’d come a long way in a short amount of time, and Tony couldn’t wait to find out what the future would bring.

Epilogue

December 18, 2013

Tony smoothed out his tuxedo jacket and then straightened his tie. He looked himself in the mirror satisfied with what he saw. Tim was beside him, and he grinned as he held out the box with the gold cufflinks shaped like tiny falcons that Steve had given him especially for the occasion. They commemorated their first real date.

Same-Sex marriage had become legal in Hawaii a month ago. Steve had asked him immediately after they got the news; Tony had wasted no time saying yes.

“Nervous? I know I would be.” Tim said. “It’s not too late to run you know?” he teased. “I have the car out front and ready to go.”

Tony chuckled as he finished attaching his cufflink. He admired the way they glinted in the light. They were perfect “You do not, shut up. Besides, even if I did run, Steve would track me down. There’s no hiding from Super SEAL.” Tony didn’t try to hide the affection in his tone.

Tim laughed. “Thanks for that mental image.”

“Seriously though, I’m not nervous at all. During my first wedding ceremony, I was a wreck, but this feels right. I think this is where Steve and I were headed from the first moment we met.”

Tim smiled and squeezed Tony’s shoulder. “I’m really happy for you, man.” Tim looked down at his watch. Tony had the urge to tease him about it but ignored it. Who still used watches?

“It’s almost time. We should get out there,” Tim continued.

They’d decided to walk down the short aisle together since neither one of them wanted to be the one waiting at the front. Tony wasn’t anxious to relive the memory and Steve had understood. They wouldn’t have bothered with an aisle at all, but Mary’s daughter had demanded the right to be the flower girl. Neither Tony nor Steve had the power to deny Daisy, especially when she pulled out the puppy eyes. Seriously, the kid was slowly killing him with cute.

There was a knock on the door, and then John stuck his head in. He still needed his wheelchair, but he had regained some feeling in his toes and lower legs.

John grinned widely as he took in Tony’s appearance. “Ready to go, son? Steve is chomping at the bit to get out there. I’ve never seen him so excited.” John looked good in his tuxedo. Over the last three years, he’d regained a lot of his strength back, and he was in a good place mentally. He often said having his family around him had made all the difference for him.

Tony nodded. “I’m more than ready. Let’s get this show on the road.” The three men walked out of the cabana and onto the beautiful beach. They’d rented out space at the Hilton since the beach at the house isn’t big enough for all their guests.

It was a beautiful spot. The hotel had put an arch made out of driftwood on the beach, and the guests were seated behind it in short rows. The setting had been Steve’s idea. Tony honestly hadn’t cared where they got married, but Steve had wanted a formal wedding. He had surprised Tony, but he’d gone along with it.

When he’d asked Steve why, all he would say was, “I’m only going to do this once, so I want to do it right with all our friends and family watching.” Tony hadn’t been able to argue with a statement like that, so here they were.

Steve was waiting for Tony. He looked resplendent in his dress uniform, and Tony couldn’t wait until he could get it off of him. Steve gave him a huge grin. “Hey Gorgeous,” he said and pulled him close, and brushed his lips against Tony’s. Tony returned the kiss enthusiastically.

“Hey!” Chin called out. “Save it for after the ceremony. People are waiting.” Tony reluctantly pulled away with a chuckle.

“Hey, can you blame me,” Steve called back. “I mean look at my fiancé.” Tony felt himself redden slightly, but he didn’t look away from Steve.

Chin laughed and shook his head. He was Steve’s best man. He’d surprised everyone when he’d turned down his promotion to Lieutenant and gone into business with Steve. They had worked hard, and they were the proud owners of one of the best personal security companies on the island.

The transition to civilian life hadn’t always been smooth for Steve, but he’d never given up, and Tony knew he’d never regretted his choice to leave the Navy. He was still in the reserves, and occasionally he got reactivated for a mission. Those times were stressful for Tony, but he understood Steve’s need to serve.

For his part, Tony stayed at NCIS, and he was now the lead agent on the major case team. Sometimes he still missed the freedom of being a P.I., but he loved his job. Recently, Owens told him that he expected Tony to take over his position within the next few years. Tony wasn’t looking forward to the paperwork, but he was looking forward to the promotion. He knew he’d be damn good at it.

Kono came walking toward them quickly. “Everyone is in place. You both look great.” She kissed them both of the cheek. Kono had made detective at HPD, and she was currently partnered with Danny. Steve had invited them to work with him, but they’d turned them down, at least for the foreseeable future. They were both happy being cops.

Steve looked at him, and their eyes met and held. “We’re ready as we’ll ever be,” he said, and Tony nodded.

Steve held out his hand to Tony. They moved toward the edge of the long runner and watched as Daisy skipped down the aisle flinging rose petals with great enthusiasm. She looked adorable in a light blue princess dress and a little tiara.

“Are you ready?” Steve asked quietly.

Tony grinned. “More than. I want to get on with the rest of our lives already. “

Daisy made it to the end of the aisle and Mary led her to their seats. Tony waited for the music to start.

“Wait,” John said from behind them. Startled, Tony turned around as he heard Steve gasp.

Tony knew his mouth was hanging open and he felt tears prick his eyes at the sight before him. John was standing carefully on crutches, but he was standing.

“John, how?” he heard the quiver in his voice and stopped.

“I’ve been practicing,” he told them his voice a little shaky. “I had to walk my boys down the aisle, didn’t I?”

Tony looked at Steve, and he saw a tear run down his face. Tony reached out and brushed it away.

Steve cleared his throat. “We’d love that, Dad.”

They got on either side of him and the each took an elbow. Tony was careful not to lean on John. The music started, and they made their way slowly down the aisle. There were gasps and excited whispers as their friends and family watched. Tony was sure that there were some tears too.

It took several minutes to get to the front where the minister was waiting for them, but it could have taken an hour, and Tony wouldn’t have cared. Mary was waiting with John’s chair, and Steve helped him ease himself down into it.

“Did you know about this?” Steve asked Mary quietly.

“I might have helped a bit,” she admitted. “Someone had to help him practice.

“This is an amazing gift,” he said and kissed Mary’s cheek. “Thank you both.”

Mary waved that away, but her eyes were wet, too. “Dad did all the hard work. Now go get married.”

John grinned. “Listen to your sister. I did it as much for me as for you. I didn’t want to miss out. Go on, and be happy together.”

Steve and Tony both took turns hugging him. Then they turned to face the minister as Mary and John went to their seats.

Steve took Tony’s hand in his. As the minister talked, Steve turned to him and whispered, “Best day ever.”

Tony shook his head. “No, they’ll only get better from here.”

 


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desertpoet

I discovered fanfic way back in 2007, but I only started writing it five years ago. I mostly write romance and slash, but I enjoy reading all kinds of stories. Coming Home is my first novel-length story. You can find my work on ao3 and Wild Hare under the same name.

20 Comments:

  1. Oh, that was lovely! I adore this pairing!

    Thanks so much for writing and posting!

  2. Awww, that was lovely! And not just one, but two fandoms fixed!
    I enjoyed this very much. Thank you!

  3. Everything fixed nicely, and a happily ever after! What a sweet story. Thank you so much for sharing it with us 🙂

  4. And then you put in Magnum, PI! This was wonderful and I enjoyed it, a lot!

    Thank you!

  5. Gorgeous story, love this pairing, they are both lovely sexy men, great twist on canon for both characters, loved reading this, thank you.

  6. Awesome story

  7. Reaper of Ghost Gum Pie

    This was great. Thank you

  8. I love Steve and Tony together and it was great how much having John changed things. 🙂

  9. That was a charming fix-it. I loved the wedding at the end as the final note for the story. I liked the way you handled the investigation and everything, and you explored some interesting ripples in having the governor taken down so much earlier than in canon.

    #mothership forever!

  10. Thank you for this lovely story. I really adore it and will gladly return to read it again and again. I love your Tim, I’m glad he got his head out of his ass and was able to mend his relationship with Tony. The wedding had me tear up when John was standing there to walk his boys down the aisle. Thank you again for this lovely, lovely story.

  11. This was such a lovely story. It will definitely go on the reread pile. So sweet and satisfying. And I appreciate that you presented John as having a full satisfying life with his disability. But his struggles with acceptance and depression were deftly handled as well.

    Also, I loved the story art and the chapter banners. They were gorgeous.

  12. This was a lovely story with a really lovely ending. My eyes are blurry with happy tears. I love that everyone got a happy ending. Thanks for sharing with us.

  13. This was so wonderful! All the fixing! I loved the development of Steve and Tony’s relationship. Thank you!

  14. This was really fabulous. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

  15. I have read your work on AO3 and have loved it all. I have to say that as far as your first novel length story goes you hit it completely out of the park. This was a fantastic story and thank you so much for writing and sharing!

  16. Lovely and sweet! Plus, you fixed two different shows, and name-checked Thomas Magnum on top of it all. I enjoyed every minute of it. Thanks for sharing!

  17. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us! I adore the relationship Tony had with John and that he saved John’s life, giving Steve and his dad a new shot at their relationship.

  18. Wonderful story. I love the feelings between Tony and John.
    Thank ;you.

  19. I really enjoyed this fic. Thank you!

  20. This was so good. I loved everything about it, except that it made me cry at the end. Lol Happy tears though, I loved John in this. Great job!

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