The Journey Home – Chapter Nine

Title: The Journey Home – Chapter Nine
Author: Jilly James
Beta: Naelany & IcefallsTears
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Chapter Nine

“Sean Miller,” Morgan began, looking at his notes. “Son of a mundane and a level three guide from Seattle. Mother and father divorced over a year ago. He managed to get on the docket of a judge with an axe to grind against sentinels and guides. Claimed the mother had been using her gifts to emotionally manipulate him and he was worried about the safety of their child. Judge granted him full custody.”

He glanced around at his crowded office; all the participants of last night’s oddities were here, except Gibbs and Fitzgerald, who hadn’t arrived yet. “She went to the Center in Seattle for help with getting the ruling overturned, but the father disappeared with Sean as soon as he picked him up with the custody order.

“The Seattle police have been looking for him for a year. There was an Amber alert on him, but from what Sean has said, they lived somewhere else until about two months ago. Guess the father thought it was safe to come back to Washington for some reason. Cascade PD got the print match about half an hour ago and called me. I talked to the Mother, let her know her son is a sentinel. The assistant director of the Seattle Center is bringing her up, along with an interim guides who has dealt with young sentinels before.”

“Is that typical?” Tony asked. “The kind of prejudice against guide or sentinel parents?”

Morgan considered his answer. “It’s not typical, but it does happen. There are prejudice issues lurking in every dark corner, including the judicial system, but it’s never accepted, of course.”

Tony nodded. “How’s Sean doing?”

“He’s quite vexed with me for keeping him away from you.” Morgan had to make the tough call, but Sean was having problems with his senses and couldn’t ground them on Tony, though it didn’t stop him from trying and actually making his senses spike worse. And as long as Tony was around, Sean wouldn’t pay attention to anyone else. “But he seems to be connecting with one of the guides and is making progress.”

“Do sentinels frequently come online that young?” Tony asked, brow furrowed.

Sean’s age was a factor in why he needed to be kept away from Tony for the moment. A trained, seasoned sentinel would only seek out a high-order guide as an empathic buffer, never for sensory control. It was an odd quirk of the high-order sentinel that even though they couldn’t work with an incompatible high-order guide, the inner-sentinel would still see them as a potential match and seek the guide out. They had to learn not to try to ground their senses on a high-order guide. And Sean was too young to understand why Tony couldn’t help him.

“No,” Morgan replied. “It’s a fraction of a percent that come online before the age of fifteen. Child sentinels do tend to do a better job of regulating their own senses once they get some training, and can many times do without a guide the majority of the time until they’re of age.” He drummed his fingers on the desk. “Let’s talk about what we’re clearly tap-dancing around.”

Tony huffed a little and leaned back, crossing his arms over his chest. “Okay. What do you want me to say?”

“I’d like some explanation of what happened,” Morgan said, careful to have no inflection or expression.

“I don’t know, so there’s nothing for me to tell you,” Tony retorted, his uncertainty seemingly making him a touch defensive.

Blair held up a hand. “I talked to Incacha this morning on the spirit plane, which is why I wasn’t around earlier, and we’ve developed a theory. I know the metaphysical stuff drives you up the wall, Morgan, but that’s what’s going on, so you’re going to have to buck up.”

Morgan tried not to clench his jaw, or really have any outward reaction. But he really did hate this nonsense.

“I’ve mentioned before that I think it’s possible for sentinels and guides to bridge to each other across the spirit plane. I mean, we all have a connection to spirit because of our spirit guides. So if a sentinel were to send out a call for help through the spirit plane, theoretically, someone sensitive to that kind of thing would hear it… in a manner of speaking.”

“You’re saying this could keep happening?” Morgan frowned.

“It’s possible. And, like any skill, we’ll have to train it if it comes to that.” Blair turned to Tony. “Incacha wants to meet you, so I’d like to try tomorrow morning to see if we can get you there without these weird circumstances.”

After Tony nodded, Morgan got Blair’s attention again. “So, you’re saying sentinels can pull a guide into the spirit plane?”

“I don’t know, but I don’t think so. Incacha wants to meet Tony before we throw out any more theories. The way Tony described meeting Sean, he saw Sean on the spirit plane before Sean saw Tony, or even realized where he was. I think Tony talking to Sean is what got the kid actually there.”

Tony looked horrified. “I’m yanking people onto the spirit plane?”

“I don’t actually know, but it’s not a bad thing, Tony. There’s no point in all of us getting worked up until we see if it happens again. And if it does happen, we have to figure out a way to make it easier for you.”

Morgan sighed. “Tony, I don’t want to keep adding on to what you have to accomplish before you can leave the Center, but I think we need to make some headway on your,” he paused and forced himself to say the words, “spirit training on top of stabilizing your shields.”

Tony dragged his hands through his hair, mussing it up and causing it to stick up in many directions. “Yeah. Sure.”

Blair reached out and clasped Tony’s shoulder. “It’ll work out. Your shields have been rock steady, so let’s just take it one thing at a time. You won’t be here forever.”

Part of Morgan sympathized, but it didn’t deter him from doing what he thought was right both for Tony and the people around him.

Morgan got an alert from the front desk on his cell. He glanced at Tony. “Gibbs, Martin and Doctor Mallard just signed in.”

Tony and Evan left to go meet them, leaving just the senior guides and sentinels in Morgan’s office. He glanced at Blair. “If he’s prone to being pulled to the spirit plane, it’s going to dramatically affect what he can do in the future.”

Blair sighed. “I know, Morgan. He’d never even be able to drive a car again. I need time to work on things to see if I can figure out what’s happening. Let’s not get alarmist before there’s cause.”

~*~

Tony settled at the conference room table, Gibbs seated across from him. Tony would have preferred to have this conversation elsewhere, but at the S&G Center privacy was pretty much only to be had in the soundproofed rooms with a white noise generator on.

Martin flashed Tony a quick smile. “I’ll wait in the hall. I can still keep tabs on you from there.” Evan was taking the day to catch up with friends, and Martin was going to cover Tony empathically unless one of the other guides were around.

Tony wanted to tell Martin to stay, but that was really Gibbs’ call.

“You don’t have to leave,” Gibbs said, then glanced at Tony. “You okay with that?”

Nodding, Tony forced himself not to make jokes or try to deflect whatever was coming. He wasn’t sure what Gibbs wanted to talk to him about, but he was a little nervous. The last time he saw Gibbs in person before Cascade, things hadn’t been going well.

Martin settled in the chair next to Gibbs, placing a hand on his sentinel’s arm. It struck Tony how different things were now. Intellectually he’d known, but seeing it was a little different. The most important person in Tony’s life was with Gibbs now, on Gibbs’ side of the table. He knew it was a good thing, but it still stung a little. Tony had never introduced Martin to anyone at NCIS, and he suddenly realized it was because he never quite trusted anyone enough to show them where his biggest vulnerability was.

Martin was watching him carefully, and then his lips turned up in a sad smile. A moment of understanding passed between them and Tony nodded. They’d always be brothers, but things had changed.

Tony turned his attention to his former boss. As soon as the word former crossed his mind, he knew with startling clarity that he wasn’t going back to the team. “What’s up, Gibbs?”

Gibbs had been watching Martin and Tony, but now stared at the table for a minute before taking a breath and meeting Tony’s gaze. “I fucked up, Tony. And it’s something I needed to say in person.”

He’d gotten some oblique acknowledgment that Gibbs knew he was wrong in the way he’d had handled things at NCIS since Harris came along. Despite that, he hadn’t really expected Gibbs to acknowledge it verbally. “Why?” he finally managed to ask.

“I’m not gonna make excuses, DiNozzo. I’m the one that let things get out of control.”

Tony blew out a breath. “Yeah, but I’d like to know why. Why you assumed the worst of me. Why didn’t you talk to me? Just why?”

“There’s no good reason for that. All I can tell you is that my team wasn’t performing like usual, and everyone seemed to be angry with you. I let that influence me and didn’t stop to think about the man I know you are. I let other things be more important than stopping and figuring out the cause, and you’re the one that suffered for it.”

He had to stop and think for several moments before he could reply. “So because McGee and Ziva were griping about me to the point it got in the way of their jobs…” Tony trailed off at Gibbs’ minute flinch. “Ah. It wasn’t McGee and Ziva that put the nail in my coffin. Let me guess… Abby?” He realized his voice had taken on a hard edge, and tried to tone it down.

Gibbs just shrugged, seemingly at a loss. It had never been a secret that Gibbs favored Abby to the point of it being unhealthy for Abby sometimes. In truth, so had Tony. “What matters is that I broke my own rules. I had no evidence other than people bitching, and I didn’t talk to you.”

Tony stared down at the table, trying to get his bearings. Things had been difficult at NCIS for a while, but the last month had been real hell, and Tony suddenly felt all the emotions he’d been denying. The frustration, anger, hurt and an agonizing sense of betrayal. He struggled for several minutes, aware that Martin had shifted uneasily in his chair.

The Abby thing was in some ways harder than the situation with Gibbs, because Gibbs had stopped being a dick as soon as the situation had come to light, and had backed up Tony. But Abby… he was really disappointed in her. He was cutting her a lot of slack because Harris had fucked with her head, but he wasn’t feeling like giving her the benefit of the doubt anymore. And that hurt, because they’d been friends a long time.

Gibbs got up and dropped to one knee by Tony’s chair. Cautiously he lifted a hand, waiting for Tony to say no, then clasped the back of Tony’s neck, giving it a firm squeeze. “I’m sorry, Tony,” he said softly.

Eyes burning, Tony had to glance away. Because he was so empathically touch-sensitive, he got all the emotions he’d been deliberately not reading from Gibbs. The regret, the anger, the guilt, and he knew Gibbs meant it when he broke one of his own rules by apologizing.

Finally, he got control of himself and settled for an oblique nod. “I need a minute. I’ll be right back.” He left the conference room and was aware that Martin was trailing behind, but still giving him some space. The hallway was fairly deserted and he just leaned back against the wall and tried to get his bearings.

His friend settled against the wall next to him and they stayed like that in silence for several minutes. Eventually, he righted himself, feeling more in control, and returned to the conference room.

Gibbs was back in his seat, watching carefully as Tony resumed his seat. After a few moments, he asked, “Are you…” he trailed off, expression shifting minutely through to some sort of realization. If Tony hadn’t known Gibbs so long, he’d never have understood those minute changes in facial expression. “You’re not coming back,” he stated, rather than questioned.

“To NCIS? I don’t know. To the team? No. I can’t. I’d always be wondering if my partners had my back, and I can’t work like that. Plus, it’s time, don’t you think? I’ve never wanted team lead responsibilities, but it may not have been fair to anyone to just stay like I did. Maybe not fair to me most of all.”

Gibbs frowned and seemed like he wanted to argue, but in the end he just nodded. “You’re the best I ever worked with, Tony. Don’t ever doubt it. I know you’ll be in touch with Martin, but I expect to hear from you, too. Got it?”

Tony’s lips turned up in a small smile. “Got it.” Being Tony, he couldn’t leave things on a grim note, so he grinned and took a chance. “So, I’ve always wanted to know and you’ve never been willing to tell…” he trailed off, and knew Gibbs thought he was going to ask again where the rules came from. “What is your spirit animal?”

Gibbs barked a laugh. “I’ll tell you, but it goes no further. If Fornell ever found out, I’d never hear the end of it.”

Now Tony was really intrigued and leaned forward a little. “How bad can it be?”

Rolling his eyes a bit, Gibbs finally replied, “Grizzly bear.”

Tony blinked, then was flooded with amusement. Gibbs was giving him the death glare, so Tony bit his lip and tried not to laugh. So many times people had avoided Gibbs over the years and come to Tony claiming his boss was a grizzly bear with a sore paw. “Well, it’s interesting that the two of you are both bears. I don’t think that happens very often.”

Martin, who was a sun bear, shook his head. “It’s uncommon for spirit animals to be so close in species, but it’s just a coincidence.”

Still, Tony’s lips were twitching. Gibbs the Grizzly. It so fit. “Come on, let’s go find Ducky before Gibbs murders me for being so amused.” Ducky was somewhere getting a tour of the Center and Tony wanted to spend some time with him before Ducky returned to DC that night. He and Ducky needed to really and finally clear the air, but he knew they’d ultimately be okay.

An hour later, the four of them were sitting down to an early lunch in the Center café. The conversation was fairly light, and Tony was enjoying himself. He was about midway through his meal when he got a text that Sean and his mother were about to leave.

Morgan had agreed that when Sean was ready to go, it would be okay for Tony to have contact again, so they all packed up what was left of their lunch and went to say goodbye.

The first thing Tony had to deal with was Sean’s mother, who sobbed all over him. Then Sean clung to him, begging him to promise to visit. Tony assured him he’d keep in touch, getting an email address for Sean’s mom so he could write.

After, the four of them wound up sitting at one of the tables in the courtyard to finish lunch, Ducky regaling them with some story from his younger days. Tony was content to let Ducky ramble, not sure when he’d have the opportunity again to hear another Ducky-tale.

A little later, Tony and Martin were in the bonding suite that was assigned to Tony. Gibbs and Ducky had tactfully excused themselves and were doing who knew what while Tony and Martin reconnected.

They sprawled in chairs, each assessing the other. Martin finally asked, “You doing okay?”

“Aren’t I always?” he replied flippantly.

“No. And you can’t BS me, so tell it to me straight.”

Tony gave his friend a tired half smile. “It’s all a little overwhelming.”

Martin snorted. “That’s a bit of an understatement.”

“Are you happy?” Tony suddenly asked.

“Yes. I’m falling in love with the damned jarhead. Which I didn’t really expect to happen so soon. Especially considering how annoyed I was with him at first.”

“Hn.” Tony grunted noncommittally.

“I must be rusty on your noises. Care to clue me in?”

“All I want is for you to be happy. Want Gibbs to be happy, too, for that matter. For all that, I still have a hard time putting you and Gibbs and squishy feelings in the same sentence.”

Martin laughed. “Don’t strain yourself.”

“Oh, believe me, I’m keeping the imagining to a minimum,” Tony said with a smirk. Leaning forward, his expression shifted to something more earnest. “You’ve been my best friend since I was six, and I love you like no one else. And Gibbs… well, Gibbs is family, too. And if you’re happy together, I couldn’t ask for anything else.”

Nodding, Martin paused a second before said, “I feel some grief from you, Tony, and I don’t know why. You’re not losing me, you know.”

Tony blew out a breath. “I know it in my head.” He tapped his temple for emphasis. “But everything has changed. The two important sides of my life collided and I’m not sure where I fit anymore. And that’s not on you and Gibbs, so don’t take it that way. But it all happened at the same time and I feel…” He trailed off, hating getting like this, but Martin had always been his safe place.

“What do you feel, Tony?” his brother gently prompted.

“Lost.” He looked away, blinking rapidly. “I don’t belong anywhere, and I haven’t been this uncertain about where I’m going since I broke my leg in college and had to figure out a new path for myself.”

“I can’t even pretend to know what’s coming for you. You’re a shaman, and that’s a calling, Tony. It’s for life. I want to drag you back to DC and see you get your own team, and come over for a beer after work. But that’s not what’s in store for you, and we both know it. But wherever you land, and whatever you do, I will always, always be there for you.” Martin reached into his pocket and pulled something out. “Gibbs was going to give this to you, but I vetoed him and called best friend’s rights.” He extended his hand.

Tony accepted something small and metal. “A key. Why?”

“Because we both want you to know you are welcome any time. And I got to be the one to give you the key because Gibbs only put in a lock because I’m there. The door’s never locked to you, Tony.”

He smiled faintly, and couldn’t help it that the smile was mostly sad. “Thanks, Martin.”

Martin got to his feet and pulled Tony up into a hug. “You’re welcome, brother mine.”

Having about all the emotionalism he could stand for one day, Tony steered them toward less charged topics. They talked about the people Tony had met at the Center, about Martin’s future plans, their favorite movies, and then laughed over some childhood memories.

They were in the midst of bashing the procedural screw-ups on crime dramas when he got a text from Blair asking if he could join them.

A few minutes later, Blair was seated in the chair Tony vacated, while Tony sat on the bed. “I’d like to try to take you to the spirit plane if you’re up for it. I know we talked about not doing this until tomorrow, but I feel we need to do it sooner. I was going to meet Incacha this evening anyway to discuss the situation further, but I think we should try to pull you along.”

After Tony acceded, and Martin agreed to keep an eye on the two, Blair gave Tony some basic instructions. “It usually takes quite a bit of training to get there on your own. So, what I’d like you to do is just stay seated and meditate, focusing on me. I want you to think about trying to get to me. Okay?”

Tony nodded. “I’m not gonna fall off the bed am I?”

“No. I always do this seated and come back to the same position I left in. Of course, I’d never try to go to the spirit plane standing up. So, stay on the bed and you’ll be fine.”

A minute or so later, Tony was dropping into a meditative state. Meditation would never be his favorite thing in the world, but he was getting more accustomed to it. Blair had mentioned that, as a shaman, he’d need to be able to do some pretty advanced meditation, so he figured he better get used to it.

As instructed, he focused intently on Blair, but nothing much was happening. So he tried to change it up a little and imagined a tether between them, and attempted to draw himself closer.

That visual seemed to help him sink deeper into his meditation and he was unaware of how much time passed. Suddenly, he felt the tug and a bit of a dizzy sensation.

“Tony?”

He blinked and found himself standing in front of Blair and what he could only assume to be Incacha, back in the blue jungle. In addition, there were the three spirit animals, Tony’s Siberian tiger, Blair’s gray wolf, and an enormous reticulated python.

“Greetings, Star Walker.”

Tony could only stare at the man in native dress and face paint. He registered that Blair was now staring at the other shaman as well. Finally getting his thoughts together, Tony blurted the first thing that came to mind. “Very George Lucas of you. Is that like Vader’s cousin?”

Blair gave him the hairy eyeball, then asked, “Incacha, why do you call him that?”

“Because that is what the spirits whisper.”

“Why do the spirits whisper that?” Blair prompted.

“It is up to each of us to find our own path, and the answer will come to him in time.”

“Okay,” Blair conceded, apparently knowing when he could press the guy and when he couldn’t. For his part, Tony didn’t much care what the other shaman called him, as long as he didn’t do it in front of anyone else.

Incacha stepped forward and placed a hand across Tony’s forehead and closed his eyes, murmuring under his breath. When he stepped back, Tony thought he caught a flicker of sadness in the dark eyes. “Much has been done to you that has made your journey more painful than it should have been. But the world will balance itself in time. Be patient.”

Tony wasn’t sure what to make of that and exchanged a look with Blair. “Um, does whatever you think was done have anything to do with my unexpected trip here last night?”

The shaman gave him a look Tony didn’t know how to interpret before responding. “Our ancestors spoke of times past when all shamans were able to travel to those in need. But the ways of the spirit had faded. We feared they were lost to us. Some, like Blair and myself, have tried to connect us more closely with our spiritual selves. The ability lies within every shaman, though they may choose to never use it. It’s simply a matter of removing the barriers.”

“Let me guess,” Tony replied, “the drug or the assault or something caused me to not have the barrier to begin with?”

Incacha inclined his head. “All sentinels and guides are capable of reaching out to the spirit plane. In times of great need our spirit guides will pull us here to keep us on the right path, but that is the end of most of our conscious awareness of this place. Most interpret this as simply a vision, but bridges are built to this place whether known or not. When a sentinel or guide is in a time of dire need, if they reach out across that bridge, even if they know not what they do, a shaman who is listening may reply.

“The listening is a long forgotten skill. What you call damage allows you to hear what others do not.”

Blair looked puzzled. “You didn’t tell me any of this when we discussed it earlier.” Though the statement could have been interpreted as an admonition, Blair’s tone was just puzzled.

“Because I did not know unless I could see and feel. But a shaman is never forced here. They are never taken against their will. This confuses me greatly. I believe you must practice coming here so that you can learn control of the bridge to this place. And perhaps you will uncover the reason why within yourself.”

Tony and Blair exchanged a look, before Tony decided to chime in. “How did Sean get to the spirit plane without his guide?”

“You brought him, I believe.”

Tony blinked. “I did?”

“Blair tells me he did not see you at the beginning, when you first saw him.”

“Yes,” Tony nodded thoughtfully. “I saw him in some representation of the closet, and when I said ’hi’, it took him a bit to see me.”

“I believe you were seeing a projection of the young sentinel, one he had unknowingly sent along that spiritual bridge in his time of need. When you spoke to that projection, you provided the connection to bring him here.”

“So shamans can bring anyone here?”

Incacha shook his head. “In ages past perhaps, but no longer. They must meet you part way. They must make themselves open to their spirit guide for you to reach them and bring them here.”

Tony chewed his lip, trying to think. “I’m doing all this by accident. I don’t know what to do or how to stop it.”

“You must practice. You must look within yourself when you do these things to see how they are possible, and then do them with deliberation. The damage that was done to you may yet yield a great gift to us, so do not curse it or seek to stop it. You will learn, and you will in turn teach other shaman how to listen.”

“No pressure,” Tony muttered, running his hand over his face.

“Incacha,” Blair interjected, “We will train diligently. But we may have questions. You are more experienced in these matters. May we continue to call on you?”

The elder shaman inclined his head. “You may.”

“I would ask about Tony’s spirit guide. He visits frequently. Is that unique to Tony because of the harm that was done to him?” Tony noticed how formally Blair engaged with Incacha and wondered at the source of that.

Incacha held out a hand and the tiger came closer, rubbing against the shaman. “He tells me his name is Gattino. What does this mean?”

Tony flushed a little. “It means kitten. In my defense I was very young when I named him.”

“He does not mind. He visits you because you wish it. Our spirit guides are only as powerful for us as we allow them to be.”

Blair looked a little distressed. “You mean my wolf could have visited more frequently? I’m the one that kept a distance?”

“Two shaman will see their guides differently. You see a source of guidance; Tony sees a source of comfort. They will be what they are, but also what you need.”

“I… I have much to think—wait a minute.” He looked at Tony. “Did you say you named him when you were young? How did you even know about him?”

Tony pulled away a little at Blair’s intensity. “I didn’t even know it was real. And besides, he was way smaller back then.”

Incacha smoothly inserted, “Blair, you saw your spirit guide when you were young as well. All shamans do. But your culture teaches you to close your eyes and to not see what others cannot.”

Blair shook his head. “I never saw a wolf when I was little.”

Tony twigged in to the flaw in Blair’s logic right away. “You never saw a little gray puppy?”

“Oh!” Blair looked completely shocked. “I… yes. I used to ask where the puppy had gone, and no one knew what I was talking about. Mom thought I had an active imagination.” He looked back to the elder shaman. “Only a future shaman sees the spirit guides before they come online?”

Incacha inclined his head. “A shaman is a shaman from birth, and our guide is with us from the moment we draw first breath. Our gifts would be a burden at a young age, but we are not denied guidance if we should seek it. They appear as if at a similar age to us to ease the acceptance of one another.”

Blair looked frustrated. “No one knows any of this any more!”

“I have long been aware of the hindrance of the modern world, but I did not know just how much you were affected. We have had many conversations as I would have with a shaman of your age and skills, but perhaps we need to have the conversations I would have with a shaman not yet into his gifts. In this way there may yet be opportunity to learn.”

With a grateful sigh, Blair nodded. “I would welcome that.”

Tony waited to see if they were finished before asking, “How is it that you two meet each other here?”

Blair replied, “Remember what Incacha said about building bridges to the spirit plane? One of the easiest bridges for a shaman to build is a connection to another shaman. In fact, I felt you connect to me right before I connected to you and pulled you here. You did it instinctively. I was searching for you at the same time you sought me. Incacha and I have built trust between us and keep a spiritual tether to one another. When one of us is in need, we come here and pull on the tether. It’s like knocking. If the other can come, they do.”

“I will leave you now,” Incacha intoned abruptly.

“Thank you, Incacha,” Blair said earnestly.

“Yes, thank you,” Tony agreed. “I think I’ll need all the help I can get.”

The shaman inclined his head, then vanished.

Blair looked at Tony then huffed out a laugh. “You don’t do anything the easy way, Star Walker.”

“Oh god, please don’t tell anyone that. I’ll never hear the end of the Star Wars references.”

Blair smiled, but it shifted to something serious. “That’s a rather perfect segue to something we need to discuss before we go back. And that’s what we share of what goes on here. It’s a complicated equation and we have to work it out as we go. Okay?”

At Tony’s nod, Blair continued. “There are some things shamans keep between ourselves because they are sacred to us. Then there are things we keep to ourselves because we judge it in the best interest of someone. Be it a person or the community at large or whatever. Then there are things that should be shared, but people aren’t ready for yet. Perhaps that’s a subset of the prior, but you get my meaning. So we need to work it out. I don’t want you to feel like you have to lie, because that’s never my intent. Though, sometimes obfuscation is our friend. That’s why this is a discussion and you need to feel comfortable with whatever you agree to.”

“Are we going to have this discussion here? Now?”

“I’d prefer it. No one could possibly overhear us.”

“Well then, pull up a bit of jungle and let’s do it.” Tony sat and held out his hand for Gattino, who flopped down with his head in Tony’s lap, chuffing as Tony started to pet him.

Blair and his spirit guide stared at each other for a bit before the wolf came over and went on its belly, snout on Blair’s knee. Blair smiled and reached out to connect his own spirit guide.

– – – –

Chapter Eight  |  Main Story Page | Chapter Ten

6 Comments:

  1. I am so thrilled that you posted this! Definitely going on my kindle. Thank you, m’dear.

  2. I’m not surprised that Abby is hateful towards Tony. She sees herself as Gibb’s goth princess and doesn’t like anyone who takes Gibb’s attention from her. I’m wondering if Carter is going to have the same attitude towards Tony once he bonds with Jack.

  3. So, apparently all I do now is stalk this story. In my defense (do I need a defense?), I’m both home and sick so my options are limited. My latest attempt to give myself more patience is to read all preceding chapters over again before I let myself read the new ones, which is a pleasure in itself. 🙂

    I can’t believe I forgot about Sean and his adorable little Tasmanian Devil! One thing this story does is really make me want a spirit guide, preferably of the fluffy variety. Watching Gibbs and Tony come closer to making up / understanding each other is just heart melting, particularly with Martin there as the bridge… though I must admit my desire to see a conversation where Abby gets a wake-up call only gets more intense. I love her, but as you say – she can be too good at getting her own way!

    (Also, since the end of chapter 7, a little voice in the back of my head keeps going ‘jackjackjackjackjack’. Seeing the meeting with Sean just reminded me how much I loved how you pulled off bringing Jack in!)

    • I want a spirit guide too. But I want mine to be vicious and have big teeth, but still be cuddly 😉

      And no defense required. Thank you so much!

  4. I almost never comment on individual chapters of a completed work. I just wait until the end and do my gushing and flailing then.
    But There Were Tears! And then my heart hurt and I had to let you know that. And I also wanted to say, well done. Really, really well done.

  5. The scene between Gibbs and Tony is so heartwarming! They, gasp!, communicate and use their words but are still so in character. Gibbs the Grizzly!

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