Title: A Bison’s Guarded Heart
Fandom: NCIS/MCU Sentinel fusion
Summary: When Tony DiNozzo came online in the sewer with Marine Gunnery Sergeant Bill Atlas, he kept it a secret. He learned to use his senses without a Guide, hiding his knowledge behind seemingly intuitive leaps. After Gibbs heads off to Mexico and Tony is left in charge, he hears the truth of Jenny’s plans and resigns. A trip to the Stark Expo while he tries to figure out his life, changes its entire focus when he comes across an ill (and hiding it) Tony Stark, his Guide.
Banner Art: FanArts_series
Tony DiNozzo stood near the exit to the Stark Expo main building as fireworks bombarded the skies as the crowd waited for the man of the hour, the superhero himself, Tony Stark, Iron Man. Tony wasn’t sure why he had talked himself into attending this overhyped event that seemed more of an exercise in ego than anything else.
It seemed more than a little masochistic and self sabotaging to the former Special Agent. The crowd, the fireworks, the music… the smells, the sounds, the flashes in his sight. Not a great place for an unbonded Sentinel, especially one who had never registered as a Sentinel with the Sentinel & Guide Center. Tony had been hiding his status and dealing with the sensory spikes and near zones (and admittedly a small handful of actual zones) on his own for years now, with the occasional unknowing assist by Leroy Jethro Gibbs and his patented head slaps.
But this place during this event was almost begging for a gigantic zone out which would reveal him and his online status. Tony supposed he was too sentimental. Some of his mother’s favorite stories were from the time she spent at the Expo in the 1970s as a booth girl.
She even claimed to have met the man whose name was branded everywhere in the fairgrounds, Howard Stark. Tony rather hoped that most of the tales featuring the genius were drunken fantasies fueled by wishes and dreams from the alcohol and pills she couldn’t live without. Or, it turned out, that she couldn’t live with, the combination leading to the overdose that killed her.
Tony had heard the rumors of Stark’s womanizing and hoped that it was those rumors which fed the stories of hot sexual encounters in hotel rooms and back rooms at the Expo. There was no way he wanted to believe that the erotic adventures recounted to his 7 year old self by his mother were real. She never claimed that the encounters were more than scratching an itch on both of their parts and it still freaked Tony out to think of the details she had provided.
When he had been a child and heard these stories he had always hoped that she was leading up to admitting that Howard Stark was his biological father. Anthony DiNozzo, Sr had never been up for any father of the year awards, or even father of the day, or father of the hour, for that matter. Tony had assumed that a genius like Howard Stark would be better.
That dream had died as he got older. Tony was born almost two years after his mother’s summer job at the Expo. Tony had never been overly good at math when he was a child. Or maybe, it was more that he didn’t know biological facts like the length of human gestation.
Regardless of his idiotic sentimentality and sense of nostalgia, Tony was here, constantly battling the overwhelming input his heightened senses were being bombarded with every second he remained.
Then, the rhythm of the fireworks changed. They had been going off in a regular pattern but now they were shorter bursts and aimed differently. Tony realized that the moment had arrived and the man they were waiting for was going to be a showboat about his entrance. It wasn’t really a shock, all things considered. The billionaire had a reputation for grand gestures after all.
The Sentinel knew that most people wouldn’t pick up on the pattern within the seemingly now randomly dangerous fireworks display. But he could see it and hear it. The new display was designed to look like ground to air missile fire and the armored hero would obviously be flying in and dodging it. But he didn’t want to actually take a dangerous chance. So he would know the pattern and where to be to make it look good but it was all smoke and mirrors.
Tony sighed in disappointment. But there was a reason that he hadn’t gone to any magic shows since coming online. Tricks like sleight of hand and fake walls wouldn’t fool a Sentinel. Unless Tony dialed his senses down to a normal, mundane level, the shows were boring and the tricks easily seen through. And messing with his dials that much without a Guide was incredibly stupid and dangerous.
As he gazed skyward, his eyes saw the plane approaching high over head and watched as the seeming robot jumped from its rear. The flight the man took toward the ground was beautiful and acrobatic, and the crowd surged forward in anticipation as he hit the stage.
Tony blinked once and cocked his head as the arms removed each piece of armor from the genius. There was a sound, a rhythmic noise and it captured Tony’s attention over all of the crowd noise and music and city sounds that had bombarded him all night. Without even realizing it, without the slightest attempt to fight or stop it, the unbonded Sentinel slid into a zone listening to the heartbeat of the man on the stage.
Tony sat on a bench near the Capitol Building in Washington, DC. As he was coming out of his zone the night before he had heard a woman tell Stark that he needed to be here today. Tony had reasoned things out in the hours after the Expo and knew that there was an excellent chance that Tony Fucking Iron Man Stark was his Guide.
As soon as he had caught the sound of that heartbeat over the hundreds of others in the area, Tony had fixated. It had been the luckiest chance that a Guide in the crowd had noticed his zone and brought him out of it when the genius had left the stage area.
If Tony had still had his federal agent credentials, he probably could have gotten into the Capitol Building, if not into the hearing room. As it was, Tony was a civilian, not even a PI license to his name, let alone a federal badge, so he was relegated to remote stalking via Sentinel senses.
He let his hearing expand and heard that wonderful sound. He added sight to the line and saw the man he was now convinced was his Guide, against all odds and common sense. Never had anyone said that Tony Stark was a Guide. But Tony couldn’t come up with another answer and as Conan Doyle was quoted as saying: “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” And finding Stark’s heartbeat so easily – it was proof. Tony had barely had to try to find it when he honed in on it. That was the sign of a Sentinel’s Guide.
So, here Tony sat, outside a government building on a bench, ear buds lightly in his ears to give a reason for his reactions to what he was hearing from inside. And that had been a good call as he chuckled over the genius verbally eviscerating Senator Stern. And his sight saw the screen as his Guide took it over to show the failures worldwide.
Stark was an ass, an over confident one, but hilarious if you weren’t the one on the receiving end of his acid tongue. But he wasn’t just taunting Congress and protecting his property. Tony could see, with his years of law enforcement background, what the engineering genius was overlooking. Stark was brilliant and the other weapons manufacturers and countries didn’t have scientists on par with him but that didn’t preclude private citizens with the intelligence, knowledge, and ego from feeling challenged. Thus was a nemesis created.
People saw Iron Man as a superhero. Well, if comics and movies had taught the world anything, it was that every hero had a villain rise to fight them. Stark boasted about privatizing world peace, awesome on a global terror level. But what about more locally, more personally. Tony pushed thoughts of Ari Haswari and Gibbs away with practiced ease. Stark took out the Ten Rings and other terrorists but what about the lone gunman that no one saw coming until after the fact?
As the hearings ended and the genius took a final potshot at Congress, ass clowns, really, that was just plain juvenile, not funny, Tony knew he had no chance of interacting with his Guide here. But the upside of stalking a celebrity – a public schedule.