Chapter 1: Contents Page
The other collections included in this series are as follows:-
Tony's Little Black Book: The Original Collection (Complete)
- Tony's Little Black Book: Shades of Grey
- Tony's Little Black Book: Law and Spy Zone (Complete)
- Tony's Little Black Book: Night in front of the TV (Complete)
- Tony's Little Black Book: Big Heroes
- Tony's Little Black Book: Holiday Collection 2017 (Complete)
The rest of phase 3
- Tony's Little Black Book: Turn of the Women
- Tony's Little Black Book: The Threesomes
- Tony's Little Black Book: The Fusion Zone
Content Page for Tony's Little Black Book: Author's Fav
- John Sheppard 3 (Stargate Atlantis)
- Dean Winchester 3 - (Supernatural) - Prequel for Special One in His Life & Down to Jericho
- Jack O'Neill 3 - (Stargate SG1) - Sequel to A Tale of Snakes and Politicians
- Steve McGarrett 4 (Hawaii 5-0)
- Jack O'Neill 4 - (Stargate SG1)
- Luke Hobbs 3- (Fast and Furious presents: Hobbs and Shaw)
- Greg House 4 - (House M. D)
- James Bond 3 - (James Bond - Craig Movies)
- Jack Carter 3 - (A Town Called Eureka) Sequel for Tony goes to Eureka & Surprise Arrivals
- Jack O'Neill 5 - (Stargate O'Neill)
- David Rossi 4 - (Criminal Minds)
- Aaron Hotchner 4 (Criminal Minds)
- Aaron Hotchner 5 (Criminal Minds) Sequel for Show a Man a Good Time
- David Rossi 5 (Criminal Minds) Sequel for Make or Break Them?
- David Rossi 6: (Criminal Minds) Sequel to Make or Break Them and Future Father-in-Law
- Jack O'Neill 6: (Stargate SG1) Prequel for Presents for Me and You
- David Rossi 7: (Criminal Minds) following on from Make or Break Them, Future Father-in-Law , and Mother-In-Law
Names that are intended for this collection
- Jack O'Neill
- Steve McGarrett
- David Rossi
- Aaron Hotchner
- Cal Lightman
- Chin Ho Kelly
- Cameron Mitchell
- ... And a few more if muse hits
Chapter 2: An Officer and his Agent (John Sheppard 3)
John never believed DADT would be repealed ... it was and boy was his Tony in for a surprise!
He'd read the report. He couldn't believe it. He was still digesting the words on the page. This had been one hell of a year, and definitely not what John had expected when he'd taken the Atlantis mission.
"John?" He could hear the alarm in Liz's voice. "Are you okay?"
John nodded because he was okay. In fact, he was better than okay. He had the biggest grin on his face. He'd never thought he'd see the day that it would pass. He could finally acknowledge his lover. He'd known that in the Program that DADT was never enforced but he had enough enemies to know that being discrete was the only way he could stay as commander. "I'm more than alright. You know when we have to report to the IOA?"
She didn't understand why he was so happy with the idea. She usually had to drag him kicking and screaming to their quarterly review debriefs.
John bit his lip on the inside and debated the merits of what he was about to say but when it came down to it - he trusted Liz. She'd helped rehabilitate his career in ways he'd not even thought possible. He was more than aware of some of the fouler gossip about the pair but paid it no mind. Liz was an awesome woman but he was gay so it just wouldn't work. "Do you mind if someone else is your security for the one evening? I'd like to surprise my partner."
She sucked in a breath, realising just what he was implying. She had a huge smile on her face. "Yeah, Colonel. That will be fine. Does he know about the promotion?"
John shook his head and decided to share a little more. "He was resigned to leaves, warming me up as I waited out my time until retirement."
She grinned crookedly. "I say you visit him in your Dress Blues."
John chuckled but the idea appealed to him. "Oh, that would certainly cause a stir."
"He’s a federal agent who works for NCIS." John explained. He'd get a kick out of it and Tony was trained enough to take out any homophobe. He'd shout his love for John from the rooftops but he'd never willingly jeopardise John's career - in Tony's words.
She had an impish grin. "Mind some company when you visit?"
John snorted. "Sure. He'd love to meet the woman who got me out of the Antarctic even if it is for some secret mission. His words, not mine."
She'd loved the fact that John would willingly confide these things. It was one of the disadvantages to leadership - her and John had the loneliest positions on Atlantis. If her Military Commander had managed to find someone then it gave her hope.
What she didn't know was John was actually playing matchmaker. After all, Liz's hair did have a red tint and her personality was very easily described as feisty.
Sheppard was pouting. He hated commuting around Washington. He'd been spoiled by the puddle jumpers. Plus, he'd never been fond of being chauffeured, even as a kid. The debriefs had been long and tedious as you would expect. Still, the only good news was they were now heading to the Navy Yard.
Liz was smirking at his jiggling knee. "I never thought I'd see the day you were antsy."
John sighed. "I've known Tony since I was five. We only figured out the thing between us two years ago ... and we couldn't admit it. He point blank refuses to allow any discussion of our relationship - not wanting to risk my career."
"What about his own?" Liz asked with curiosity because whilst there no official policies like DADT, she was well aware that law enforcement was not the most tolerant of sectors.
John smiled. "He has a knack of landing on his feet and the money to take a while if he needed to figure out what he wants to do next. His words, not mine."
Elizabeth held a file in her hand. It was one she'd asked for after her earlier conversation with John. She hadn't explained why but Tony had a unique set of skills that would make him well suited to Atlantis. She needed a deputy who could run investigations rather than pulling John or one of the marines to do the job. Added to that fact, that John was a mission essential peerless asset that now had a tie to Earth - it was in the IOA's best interests to bow to her request. She had yet to let John know this bit though. She wanted to see if they were so serious - long distance relationships sometimes worked because of the distance.
Tony answered his phone, surprised to see John’s number. He played it coy with a simple question of, "What's up?"
John smirked. "Look up."
Tony's head whipped up super quick. There was John, standing on the upper level that overlooked the bullpen. Damn, did he look good . He couldn't believe that John was actually here.
Tony knew he had an audience but his man was here, in dress blues, looking like something out of a movie. He would happily be Debra Winger to his Richard Gere. He walked towards his lover, standing so they were close but not touching - Tony still wasn't sure this wasn't a dream. John was so sure that he would not have any leave to see Tony for another two months.
"Looking good, Johnnie. What are you doing here?" Tony asked in a calmer tone than he felt. He had the feeling this visit was going to change things. He knew all about the DADT repeal and he knew John had never believed the day would come.
John smirked. "This."
And the son of a bitch dipped him like he was a Hollywood starlet. Tony was too busy kissing him back, and grinning into the kiss, to truly reprimand him.
"DiNozzo! What the hell are you playing at?!?!"
Tony reluctantly pulled himself up and turned around to face Gibbs but notably didn't pull himself out of John's personal space. "I was greeting my lover who has been stationed overseas. What does it look like?"
John snorted. "Yeah, and we need to talk somewhere a lot more private."
Tony narrowed his eyes. "Are you the reason my security clearance got reviewed yesterday and raised?"
John nodded and didn't look sheepish, or sorry. "I think that was Dr Weir but yeah, probably."
"DiNozzo, you going to introduce us?" Gibbs asked, radiating annoyance at not being in control of the situation.
Tony looked relaxed and calm though. "Well, boss, this is my partner Lt Colonel John Sheppard, and his boss, Dr Weir. And they've surprised me."
"We had a debriefing in town and I know you love surprises." John said like that was enough of an explanation.
Weir took over though, in her element. "Whereas I do have something to discuss with you but it is for your ears only. Sorry, Agent Gibbs, but I need to steal your agent to discuss a few things."
Tony had to admire her style. She made it clear that Tony was coming with her, and that it wasn’t a request but still sincere enough that she didn’t rile him up. Then again, she was a redhead and it was Gibbs. “Follow me to the conference room, Dr Weir, John.”
Dr Weir turned back toward Agent Gibbs. “You should know our project is so classified that the President will throw anyone into Gitmo for unauthorised breaches of the servers.”
Gibbs' eyes widened as that was a big deal and he understood the information for the threat it was, and he could only hope McGee and Abby listened to his order. It would be fifty-fifty when it came to finding something about Tony.
Tony had shrugged off the MCRT, in fact, he'd just blanked them in favour of finding a conference room. He led his two guests into the room and waved off any inquisitive colleagues with a wave of his hands.
"This is as private as I can make it but if you have any tech available then it might be prudent to utilise it," Tony said by way of opening as soon as the door was closed.
John chuckled and fiddled with a weird stone in his pocket. "You're right. Who do you suspect of being the nosiest?"
"The entire MCRT and Abby Scuito." Tony said simply. He was under no illusion that they would be unable to afford him any type of privacy. They seemed to think he should surrender his private life - on the grounds of supposed friendship but then treat him like he was shit.
It might have succeeded but John had come back into his life. He’d been the one to keep him on an even keel, even if it was a travelling-soldier-style relationship. “We can speak freely.”
Liz nodded, pleased to be able to get to the good stuff. “I have a job offer for you. Now there are some things to be aware of before you say anything.”
“Well, I need a deputy leader for my mission. Should you accept, you should be prepared to be out of contact for a year at a time.” She started to explain.
“When do I get to the secret decoder ring and just how big is the NDA for this project?”
Sheppard looked sheepish. “It will take an hour to go through the NDA.”
Tony rolled his eyes. “Perfect. So what is the big secret? Aliens or weapons?”
Tony was thinking of the two things that would freak the American people out the most if it were revealed and he was only partly being sarcastic.
Weir twisted her lips into a wry smile. “What if I said both?”
Tony looked to John and could see his tense expression and he knew there and then that was serious and real. Jesus, what a thing. His eyes widened with wonder at the possibilities before him “Let me sign this NDA and then I want you to tell me everything.”
Chapter 3: When Tony Meets Dean (Dean Winchester)
Dean didn’t usually do this but Tony was hot as fuck and he needed the distraction. He had no problem with the cliche of the alleyway when it helped him get his rocks off. He could guess John Winchester would have a thing or two to say about it - but Dean was done listening to the man.
All the bleak thoughts he had about his family disappeared as his back slammed into the wall, and he just grunted as his lips never left Tony’s neck. His hands were roving trying to slip inside the man's jeans. “Come on.”
Tony broke off his kiss. “I’ll get you there.”
But, the screech would have been enough to kill any lust, and the bone-deep ugly mask didn’t help. Dean didn’t think, he gutted her with “What the fuck was that?”
Dean was laughing, not exhausted funny laughing but full belly laughter. Wow, he knew Tony was special but what a human. “Do you know you are sexy enough that you just beat a succubus, who was using full thrall?”
Tony quirked an eyebrow in confusion. “That thing is a succubus?”
Dean shrugged. “Oh yeah, meet one of Lillith’s children. The vicious bitch obviously didn’t like the fact that I turned her down in favour of you.”
“So that is a sex-demon?” Tony asked, as his mind raced to catch up with what he’d been told. He’d liked to have denied it, but one minute he’s about to get down and dirty and the next thing - he has Freddie Kruger’s uglier sister coming after him.
Dean looked at him curiously and there seemed to be hope in the guy’s eyes. “So you seem to be quite accepting of what I just said.”
Tony snorted, his world perception was a little different after hunting the Mob in Philly. “I’ve just come off a crazy assignment so I am willing to risk having an open mind.”
Dean who was still revved. “So what do you say we salt and burn this hell skank and find a hotel room?”
“You’re still thinking about sex after that?” Tony asked in bemusement. He was a sexual man himself but that had definitely doused his arousal real quick.
Dean was pouting at him. “Well, yeah, hunting revs me up. Plus you’re hot and so am I, and this seems like an easy equation to me. Only we can’t leave this to be found by anyone else.”
Tony had only been in Baltimore long enough to find his new apartment and accept a job with the local PD department. “Sure, why not? But let’s go back to mine. Motels are not always discrete in a city like this.”
Dean nodded and was glad for the forethought. “So. Let’s get moving.”
Dean didn’t think he’d ever done a salt and burn as quickly. Then again, he’d not had the offer of a night with a man as hot as the young detective. Things were looking up, and he could always find a new hunting partner tomorrow.
Only the one night stand, became two nights and then three. Tony was horrified when Dean explained that he was living motel to motel. “You what?”
“Hey, I’m used to it, and that is the job.” Dean said pointedly.
Tony glared at him but Dean was being as obtuse as he was handsome. “Don’t be dense, Dean.”
Dean wasn’t being dense he just didn’t see what else he could do. “So what do you suggest?”
Tony smirked. “Use here as a home base. You look suspicious as hell on paper when you roam. You will have a home base with a detective.”
“And if people are homophobic bastards with you as a result?” Dean asked. He didn’t care about it himself. It was just law enforcement wasn’t the most enlightened place to work even if things were changing slowly.
Tony shrugged. “Then that is my issue to deal with and I do carry a gun and a knife now at your insistence.”
Dean had pointed out a silver blade wasn’t too obvious and should he stumble over something like the incubus again then Tony wouldn’t be caught short. “You’ll get sick of me, everyone does.”
Tony bit down his anger, and if he ever saw John Winchester the man was getting a fist to the face at the very least. “Let me decide that and hey, I fought a succubus for you.”
Dean reeled him in for a kiss. “I know, it gets me hot every time I think about it.”
Tony had been surprised to see his old piano teacher. She was still hot in that sexy-teacher way. It was a rough case and she was flirting with him pretty hard. He was being polite but he wasn’t interested. Dean had said he was coming back today as he’d finished up his case.
Wendy huffed at him. “You could have said you were seeing someone.”
Tony smiled, he didn’t know it but it was that of a man in love. “I am, it’s pretty new but De’ is the best.”
She looked annoyed but managed to be magnanimous enough to say. “She must be quite something.”
Tony didn’t bother to correct the gender assumption. “There is no one like De’ in this world.”
“Well, I hope you’re happy together.”
It was early days and there were issues that they needed to figure out. Tony was willing to try though and that was the main thing.
Tony came back to the apartment and a very sweet car was in the lot. Best of all, there was a very sweet and familiar ass hanging over the bonnet. He found himself smiling as he said. “You having fun there?”
“About as much fun as you staring at my ass.” Dean replied without taking his eyes off his engine.
Tony snorted but didn’t deny it. “So a lot then.” He was really glad that Dean was back from his case. It had been a vengeful spirit that was offing high-school jocks.
Dean turned his head so that he could finally see Tony. “Good to see you too, Darlin’.”
Dean was still getting used to the fact that he was no longer constantly travelling with his family. His Uncle Bobby was a legend in the business. He was a hunter, who more importantly was connected and willing to stand up to John Winchester, and there were not many who were willing to do that. What he’d found was he was feeling freer now that he wasn’t trying to jump to every demand of his father, who took and took and gave very little affection back. It was relaxing now he wasn’t having to break up fight after fight between his Dad and his brother. Most of all, he was starting to realise who Dean Winchester was as his own person.
Tony helped Dean pack up his tools and they both made their way back up to their apartment. It might have only been a week but they’d spoken everyday by phone through messages as well as conversations.
It was over dinner that night that Tony broached a topic. He’d been scared by what would happen if he was found doing something suspicious. He knew his lover was a consummate actor but he shouldn’t have to be. He already had a risky enough job without running the risk of running foul of the law at the same time.
“You know, being a cop has many of the same skills as a hunter. You would also be able to operate legitimately.”
Dean dropped his fork. “How would that work?”
“Well, you apply. You have the minimal qualifications needed ... You will ace the fitness test and you know it. You have nothing on your record thankfully so you’re good to go. If you want, that is.” Tony finished. This needed to be Dean’s choice, not his - it was a suggestion of a way to channel his protective instincts.
Dean had looked at it. He was curious but dismissed it, to begin with feeling like he’d not pass the background check. “How do I explain my family history away. It’ll be a quack’s dream to unpick.”
Tony winced as that was going to be the hardest part and no one liked to bare their soul before another human being they didn’t trust. “You offer a superficial explanation. Your Dad couldn’t handle your mother’s death and dragged you around the country. You don’t explain why. You hated the instability and you made sure that you got your GED and now want to help others.”
Dean bit his lip. “What about us?”
Tony was glad dinner was over because he realised Dean thought this was his way of kicking him out. He pulled Dean over to the couch and enveloped him in a hug. “Anyone at work asks, I love my De’ with all my heart - so pretty and patient with my sorry ass.”
Tony got the fiery response he expected. He was suddenly on his back facing a pouting lover who looked gorgeous. “Asshole.”
Tony was unrepentant. “Your asshole.”
Dean kissed him and pulled back with a smug grin. “That okay, my Toni is a sweet ass Italian who does great things with popping candy.”
Tony growled because he did, and it was a great trick he’d learned and was only too happy to share with Dean as it turned him into a puddle of goo.
A year later and Dean was now a Baltimore cop who took regionally close hunts that Bobby sent his way. He kept the city in check and learned that there were more than a few monster communities in the city. He’d realised that not all monsters needed ganking. He’d adopted a live and let live policy. If the person wasn’t harming humans they were okay in his book - if they did, all bets were off.
He’d found that Tony wasn’t content to let him hunt in the city and went with him. He’d picked up a few extra tricks with Dean’s street fighting and together they were able to gank the ghost and the other creatures that went bump in the night.
Dean loved the fact that he could mentor Tony in the ways of hunting as it was a nice balance to Tony advising him on being a cop. He figured it was the balance that kept them together, that and the fact they were smoking hot.
What Dean hadn’t expected was to see Tony sitting on their couch looking so small, and lost. “Babe?”
Tony looked so sad right now that Dean had the irrational urge to shoot whoever made him feel that way. “Danny is dirty and Gibbs offered me a job as an agent with him at NCIS.”
Dean smirked at Tony because he knew just how to get him out of the funk. “You’re going to become a Fed?”
Tony pouted. “So will that make me less hot to you?”
Dean shook his head. “Nah, I’d still take you over a succubus,” he replied airily.
Tony pulled him onto his lap. “You’re mine, Officer Winchester.”
Dean wrestled him into a filthy kiss. “Just as you’re mine, soon-to-be Special Agent DiNozzo.”
And he was. Tony might not have taken Dean’s soul on their first encounter but he did steal his heart. Still, he offered a fair exchange as he’d given his own in return.
Chapter 4: Options Ahead (Jack O'Neill)
Tony was furious. No, he was way past furious and right now he didn’t know what he was going to do. He had options. He always had - but the idea of Kate’s killer being allowed to stay at NCIS and sit at her desk ... it had him seeing red in a way he hadn’t felt before. He wanted vengeance in a way unbecoming of a federal agent.
He slammed the door to their townhouse. “Woah. What the hell, Tony? You look like me after a mission’s gone bad.”
Tony looked up and managed a weak smile. “The stupid bitch is letting a Mossad Agent work as a liaison officer on the MCRT. It’s so messed up, Jack.”
“Well, that’s stupid on an IOA level.”
Tony laughed at that because for Jack, there wasn’t a group he hated more than them. They continuously tried to give the couple a hard time. Tony apparently should have allowed himself to be snaked when Ba’al had attacked them.
It was meant to be a one night stand where Tony helped Jack get over his promotion. Only, the sex was fantastic, they worked great together. Oh, and Jack had let Tony look through a mirror glass that he couldn’t ever take back.
“She profiled the team for Ari to take us out, and now I’m supposed to work with her.”
Jack sighed, pulling his lover onto the sofa. “You have choices in front of you.”
“I know, but at the moment all I see is a red mist.” Tony replied honestly. He felt himself relax in Jack’s arms but it didn’t change just how messed up the situation was for him.
Jack sighed. “Option One, come and work for Morrow and you’ll end up being the investigative agent for the programme.”
It had its appeal but Jack was now in Washington full time and the programme could see him spending six weeks travelling to Atlantis if he was needed. Still, the flip side was the work would always be original and never boring. “It has its appeal but it might be awkward considering our relationship, don’t you think?”
Jack smirked. “Not at all. We didn’t tolerate that type of shit before DADT got repealed and we definitely don’t now.”
Tony chuckled. “I guess if you’re homophobic then meeting alien races could be difficult.”
“You have no idea. We filtered out and any all potential candidates exhibiting any of the -ic’s, like homophobic or xenophobic. If they got through then they met my man Teal’c for an attitude adjustment.” Jack explained with a grin. His lover seemed calmer and he continued.
“Option two. I drop a word to the SecDef that I’m unhappy with the situation and mention my annoyance to the President.” Jack offered, although he wouldn’t do it without Tony’s agreement. He didn’t want Tony to feel like he was stepping on his toes.
Tony had to laugh at the picture forming in his head when the news filtered down to Davenport. “I can just imagine his head imploding. I’m not sure what will shock him more. You and me, or, the fact Mossad put a spy and an assassin on the MCRT.”
Jack smirked. “Oh, definitely us. The last option is you carry on and watch your back. I recommend Kevlar if you go with that option.”
Tony looked horrified with the idea that he would carry on without challenging the ridiculous situation. “Shepard is dreaming if she thinks I’ll just roll over and accept this.”
“So option one or two?” Jack asked.
Tony thought about it seriously. He’d been at NCIS longer than anywhere else but could he just leave? “Let me think on it. Tonight I want you to help me forget everything.”
Jack pulled him up. “On your feet, then.”
“No rank.” Jack huffed. It was said as their private joke and if anyone had been in their apartment then they would have heard the laughter in between the kisses.
The next morning, Tony had been up and out before Jack woke up. His lover had given him the clarity and the perspective he’d needed. In the end, it came down to lines that one was willing to cross. He wasn’t willing to let this go and Jack’s position offered him the chance to intercede without repercussion.
Tony had left a note on the pillow saying. I choose one and two. Love, Tony.
Such a simple statement that could start a whole stack of problems tumbling. He entered the bullpen and sat at his desk. The harridan was sitting in Kate’s chair looking smug.
He took a path of least resistance. It was best not to show he was a threat until the big reveal. It wouldn’t help matters.
“You seem calmer today,” she observed.
Tony just looked at her, raising an eyebrow and then returned back to his screen. “I had a good evening and now, if you don’t mind, I have paperwork.”
McGee looked surprised by his cool detachment but it was the best foot forward. Gibbs looked up and seemed to glare like he was trying to figure out whether Tony deserved a head-slap.
His method of dealing had two advantages. First of all, his paperwork was doing better than ever before and second of all, it had freaked out his team. Bonus.
He kept it up all week and Jack and he laughed about it over dinner every night.
It was Friday of Tony’s modern day cold war enactment. Today she tried to flirt with him and it was so bad. He was so sure that if he’d actually been interested that would put him off.
“Sorry, not interested. I’m in a serious relationship and I’m not going to risk it on a fling.”
McGee’s head shot up as this was the first he’d heard of it. “Since when?”
Tony rolled his eyes. “Since just after you joined the team.”
He didn’t offer any more of an explanation but Gibbs had cocked his head to the side. Apart from the team, there had been one other visitor to Tony when he’d been dying of the plague. He’d dismissed it as a close friend who knew him, he had no idea it was biblically. “O’Neill?”
Tony smirked. “What’s so shocking about that?”
Gibbs though, he knew what to say even if it would shock the others. “You’re dating a Zoomie?”
“What can I say?” Tony was looking at Jack with a grin. “I couldn’t resist his snark.”
Ziva didn’t get it. She was trying to piece together what she knew. Her profile of DiNozzo had indicated a chauvinistic womaniser, not someone in a homosexual relationship. “A Zoomie?”
A new voice surprised them. “He means me.”
Tony whirled around. “Hey, what are you doing here? Have your marines misbehaved again?”
O’Neill shook his head. “No, if they upset me I ship them off to Sheppard. He likes the crazy ones, and if not they soon get their head put one straight.”
Tony snickered because Atlantis was one hell of a wake-up call. “I can imagine.”
O’Neill grinned. “I need a date to the ball, and I refuse to be bored on my own. So ... I brought your tux. I’ll pick you up at six.”
Tony understood what was not being said. The fireworks would be today but the sneaky git had also ensured that he wouldn’t be bored at his engagement tonight. In truth, Tony didn’t mind supporting Jack in any way he could.
Jack left as quickly as he entered, showing the others that he was sneaky and Ziva looked perturbed. Good. Tony didn’t want her settled and thus having the potential of causing mischief.
Of course, McGee and Ziva were not done with their comments.
“You’re gay?” McGee said, the disbelief evident in his voice.
“It’s the twenty-first century, McFootinMouth, and the word you’re looking for is bisexual.”
Ziva shook her head. “No, this is a ploy.”
Tony snorted. “What would you know?”
“I.” She paused because what could she say that wouldn’t damn her.
Tony though pressed his advantage home. “You mean you told Haswari that I was a jaded womaniser not worth harming, I know.”
She flushed. “I had no idea he was a traitor.”
Tony cocked his head to the side. “Not my problem, we’re teammates now.”
Gibbs suddenly had the overwhelming urge to bash his head against a wall. He’d not seen Tony be this passive-aggressive since the days of Vivian and he’d been right about her too in the long run. He was sure his protege was up to something but had no idea what it was.
Davenport was their next visitor. Gibbs looked at Tony. “First your General and then the SecNav. We’re popular today.”
“So we are.” Tony offered without any inflexion, not wanting to give anyone a clue that he knew more than that.
“Gibbs - get up here.” Davenport demanded, not looking happy by the situation that was unravelling.
Tony kept on typing. Ziva glared at him. “What have you done?”
Tony shook his head. “Nothing. You’re the big bad Mossad agent who can kill me with a paperclip.”
“And don’t you forget it.” She said glaring fiercely at him. She was aiming for intimidating, he presumed, but it just came across as cartoonish. He blamed the ridiculous run-in with Ba’al for making him not respect villains.
Sheppard came out onto the mezzanine level looking pale and not so put together as normal. “Officer David. My office.”
Tony watched her go and didn’t let on his satisfaction.
“What’s going on?”
Tony shrugged, feigning cluelessness. “Who knows?”
Ziva tore down the stairs, fury in her eyes. All her plans were unravelling. There was no way she would be able to help Mossad from the counter-terrorism desk. “This was you.”
Tony snorted. “Don’t know what you’re talking about.”
She went to slap him but he blocked her, as it was a move Kate had taught him. The irony was not lost to him. “Don’t be sore, go and do what you wanted. You weren’t a good fit for the MCRT no matter how you twisted things.”
She hissed. “It had all gone to plan.”
Tony was done playing games. He whispered in her ear a parting comment, a trump card if you will. “Go - before I tell Daddy who really fired the bullet.”
She hissed something in Hebrew and stormed off. Tony just rolled his eyes and went back to his paperwork.
Gibbs wasn’t happy but seemed content to wait until they were in private to rip him a new one. Tony didn’t care.
Gibbs waited until Tony slipped away at the end of the day to change into the Tux to have a word with him.
“You shouldn’t have done that.”
Tony was concentrating on his shirt but didn’t ignore him. “Done what, Gibbs?”
“Go behind my back.”
Tony snorted. “No, you were blinded by her daddy issues. Now, I say this with all the respect in the world, You were dreaming if you were thought I’d sit by and swallow the report you gave in. I can calculate trajectories in my head for crying out loud.”
The last part suggested he’d spent too much time around Jack, as that was his favourite saying but also, Jack found that trick hot.
“She was trying to get out from Eli’s influence.”
Tony shook his head. “Look, I asked Jack his opinion. It’s not my fault he spoke to the President. Gibbs, ultimately, if nothing was wrong she wouldn’t have been removed. She was a foreign agent who had no right to be on the cases that involve our national security. You know this, in your mind. Let that rule but if you don’t like my choice ... It’s fine. I’m transferring anyway.”
Gibbs snarled. “You’ll leave my team when I say!”
Tony shook his head. “Nope, I’ll be leaving today for a new role with Homeland.”
Well, Home world Security but the devil was in the details and even offering the true department would be a bone for Gibbs to try and unpick.
Gibbs then sighed. “What happened, DiNozzo?”
Tony smiled softly. “I grew up. You’ve been a hard but fantastic boss so let’s not let it get soured at the end.”
As there was no one around them - there were no masks. “Why do I get a feeling that O’Neill has something to do with this.”
“He’s an Air Force General, not Homeland.” Tony reminded him.
“Just how did you two meet?”
Tony snorted. “He was sad that he got promoted and I helped him get over it.”
Gibbs knew there was more to the story than that. He was still trying to wrap his head around the fact that they were together. “I want to hear that story.”
Tony chuckled. “You can cook him your cowboy steaks when everything has calmed down.”
Gibbs nodded. “Go and get ready for your ball with your General.”
Tony smiled fondly. “Thanks, boss. He drives me nuts but I wouldn’t change a damn thing.”
Gibbs smiled back. “Good. That’s how you know you’ve got the real thing.”
And Tony did know. Together they fought anything that tried to come after Earth including the Wraith, the Goa’uld and the Ori. In between the end of the world battles they found time to get married. The President officiated because he wanted to for so many reasons and no-one was going to tell him ‘no’. Our two heroes came back from their honeymoon on Atlantis and built a hell of life together. Tony had no regrets about anything he’d done when he left NCIS and apart from cowboy steaks with Jethro and bar wings with Jimmy he never looked back even once.
Chapter 5: Regular MacGyver (Steve McGarrett 4)
The whole Five-O team knew that their leader had an other-half. Although it was an abstract idea as they’d never seen them.
Danny had confirmed that there were no pictures at Steve’s. Although that made sense considering up until very recently he’d been an active duty SEAL. If he did have a partner they could be a legitimate target. It wasn’t as if Steve hadn’t suffered it personally with Hesse targeting his old man.
Kono was curious. “So is it a man or a woman?”
Chin shrugged. “All I have is a first name, Tony.”
Kono and Danny thought about it but that was, in reality, a gender-neutral name - Toni or Tony.
Kono pouted. “That’s not enough to go on.”
“Well, you know they’ll be interesting if they’ve shacked up with the boss.” Chin offered with his usual calmness.
Danny snorted because he figured you should substitute the interesting with something more likely. “You mean crazy and slightly less law-abiding than they should be.”
The cousins shrugged because they knew the only way they were going to figure it out was to wait and meet the mysterious person.
The room was damp and sparse when Tony woke up. Damn. His head hurt. He’d been chloroformed somewhere along the way.
He’d been given a mattress at least. So as far as he knew he had no enemies on Hawaii so he was guessing this was one of Steve’s. He had his jacket taken and his shoes, as well as his belt buckle. That was cool - he still had one left.
He figured that Steve would know he’d been snatched soon enough and he didn’t want his lover to worry. He’d already lost his Dad last month, Tony wasn’t about to let himself be added to the list if he could.
He wondered who he was currently the guest of - whoever they are their accommodation sucked. He faked a groan and rolled over. Awesome. The mattress was threadbare - he was going to get his MacGyver on.
Victor Hesse had survived by the luck of the devil. That didn’t mean he was going to forgive and forget. He owed Steve McGarrett a bullet to the brain. He’d snatched his bit on the side from the airport. It was easy but he was more than just a pretty boy. He’d been impressed by the two guns and three knives on his personage.
Victor was smart enough to just dump him in a locked room. He had no intention of offing the Federal Agent who was so highly ranked in his own agency. It could start a much more intense manhunt than the one Naval Intelligence was already pursuing. He’d never be able to get any more work ever again.
“I can’t decide if he is an idiot or mercenary.”
Victor sighed because he’d hired a crew but they were hardly fighting each other for brain cells. “The agent, by all accounts, is a clown who skates by on his charm.”
Henchman One snorted. “I can be charming with two guns and three knives.”
Victor looked at the camera. “That is what bothers me, I can’t predict his actions and that makes him a wildcard. I hate wildcards - they always fuck everything up.”
“Well, he is locked up - How much harm can he do?”
Steve growled into his phone. “Victor I am going to gut you, you spineless bastard.”
Danny raced into Steve’s part of the offices. He was signalling Chin and Kono to start traces and recordings.
“If you harm a hair on Tony’s head...” Steve broke off but Danny couldn’t hear what the threat was uttered by Victor.
Danny saw Steve start to pace. “Hey, soldier boy, quit pacing and tell me what the hell is going on.”
Steve’s face was still set to stony but worringly didn’t correct Danny about the difference between army and Navy. Danny knew that face - it usually involved explosives. “Hesse has taken Tony. He wants me to meet him to get Tony back.”
“Yeah, that’s suicide.” Danny concluded. “He’ll shoot you, that it is too obvious.”
“I’m not stupid, Danno. I need a plan but we need to find Tony.” Steve said, his voice betraying his urgency. He sighed. “I’m gonna call, Gibbs.”
Gibbs was in the office when he took the call. It was a phone number that Tony had given to him to be used should he ever be in trouble.
The other voice was not Tony but a male. “This is Lt Commander Steven McGarrett, Leader of Five-O in Hawaii.”
Gibbs remembered the name, he’d made the news and Gibbs had been wistful at the idea of being able to go after anyone with full means and immunity. “What can I do for you? And where is my SFA?”
“That’s the problem. He’s been snatched by Victor Hesse as he landed in Hawaii.”
Gibbs stood up because now the man had his attention. “The team has downtime.”
“I know and Tony wanted to visit me. Hesse has just made contact and wants an exchange.” McGarrett explained.
Gibbs looked around his empty area and sighed. “Does full means include a plane?”
“There’ll be a chartered plane ready for you.” McGarrett promised him.
“Good. I’ll grab my rifle.” Gibbs ended the call. He had a plane to catch. DiNozzo had better remember that he had standing orders not to die.
Tony had no idea what forces had been mustered to help with his retrieval. He was always of the school of start a plan and if backup arrives then great. He wasn’t going to wait for anyone though. He’d used his one knife to unpick a few of the coils. He’d fooled the camera with some dry humping of the mattress.
He figured the free show would distract them from him picking the coils. The noise would also cover the actions. He groaned Steve’s name for good measure, figuring if they were Steve’s enemies it would probably enrage them.
The door opened and he got a kick to the leg. He groaned. “Hey, what gives?”
“Ah, you’ve awoken. Excellent.” His captor announced like he was truly pleased. Tony hoped there never came a day he understood psychos.
“Not the Ritz.”
Hesse tilted his head. “Well, your boyfriend chucking me off a ship meant I can’t do nice things anymore.”
Tony frowned, playing dumb. “I figured that was you being an international criminal and killing his father.”
Hesse snorted, “You know, some might think us equal that he killed my brother and I killed his father but I am a petty bastard.”
Tony smirked. “Recognising your flaws is the first step to fixing them.”
He guessed by the smack to his jaw, Hesse wasn’t ready to take that action. “Ow. You could have just said you’re not ready.”
“Christ, you’re too mouthy for your own good. How does McGarrett put up with you?”
Tony knew if he was homophobic then this next comment might provoke him but it would be worth it. “Like you said ... I’m mouthy.” His salacious grin would feel any blanks in.
Hesse went to smack him again and that was when Tony struck. He used the spring to impale Hesse’s hand. As he was shocked by the surprise attack, he used his knife to get his leg. It was an arterial cut so Hesse would need to focus on getting a tourniquet.
“Thanks for your hospitality but I am outta here.”
Tony was out of the room but that didn’t mean he was out of danger. He needed to find weapons, his knife was good and all but he would prefer a gun.
Chin poked his head up. “There’s an explosion in a warehouse downtown.”
Steve froze for a second. “Where?”
Chin pinpointed it on the map. “Right here.”
Steve was torn between doing what was right and what he wanted to do. He should probably wait for Gibbs but if this was Tony making his escape attempt he wasn’t going to wait.
“Danno and I are heading there, grab Gibbs and make your way there. Kono, get up high and take any shot you need.”
Tony heard a door being knocked in and paused for a second. It was all he could afford but he wasn’t going to shoot the cavalry. He wanted to cry with relief because he had cavalry. “Steve.”
Steve was there in full gear. “Any more left?”
Tony shook his head. “No, I made a mess. Hesse is in a bedroom back that way if he hasn’t bled out.”
Steve’s smirk spoke volumes. “Bled out?”
“It’s true what the say, psychos just can’t keep hold of the blood when stabbed in the femoral artery.”
Steve didn’t care for professionalism, he kissed Tony fiercely. He was entitled to a moment because today has scared the shit out of him. “You stabbed Hesse?”
Tony shrugged. “He smacked me when I suggested we enjoyed our love life. He was threatening to kill me to make you suffer, or he was building up to that. So I took the opportunity to jab the bed coil into his hand.”
“Bed spring?” Danny asked, trying to figure out his best friends other-half, Tony, who now had Steve’s arm wrapped around his waist and keeping him upright. “Well, they took my two guns and found three knives so I only had one knife left and needed a surprise. So I teased out the bed springs.”
Danny shook his head. “And why do you need four knives and two guns?”
Tony looked sheepish. “I’d shake your hand but it seems Steve is in caveman mode. I’m Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo, NCIS.”
Danny groaned. “So you a regular little science geek?”
Tony shook his head and laughed. “No, I leave that Steve. Me, I just tried something I saw on MacGyver.”
Danny looked at Steve to see if he was joking. It was clear from Steve’s dopey grin that no, he wasn’t. Danny started to groan. “I needed back up and you’re just going to encourage him.”
Tony frowned and was confused and needed a checkup. “Look, I am not sure. Can someone please let me know if Hesse is still alive and then I need a checkup to make sure the crap he gave me hasn’t hurt my lungs.”
Gibbs, Kono and Chin had arrived. “DiNozzo, nice work.”
Tony looked surprised for a second and then there was a massive grin. “I was aiming for a nice relaxing break. It is not my fault the psycho abducted me.”
“Well, you just took down the number three on the wall. Just think how much fun you’ll have letting McGee and David know that?”
Tony coughed a little but it was clearly a thought that pleased him. “Please stay, boss, and have a break. I really did want to have a week with Steve.”
Gibbs rolled his eyes. “Sort this out and take a week with your boyfriend. I think I’ll take a look at the sailing.”
Danny, and the others, had wondered for a while what Steve’s partner would be like. They didn’t imagine it would be strong Federal Agent, with movie-good looks and a penchant for sharp suits.
He was terrifyingly efficient when he wanted to be - just like Steve. And yet, he had the ability to relax and have fun. Danny got to see what Steve was like he was relaxed and wanting to have fun.
There was one change though, as the team were not adjusting to their leader having a boyfriend but rather a fiance. It was the big change as Tony and Gibbs went back to DC, overseeing the transfer of Victor Hesse who was still recovering and looking decidedly pale.
Gibbs let him talk the whole way back as Hesse hated every minute but because he was a kind person he’d had it recorded and sent back to Steve so McGarrett could enjoy the show.
It was so good the Five-O team watched it with popcorn.
Chapter 6: Date Incentives (Jack O'Neill)
Right now, Jack was regretting his life choices. No, that’s not quite right. He’d lived his life - good and bad - and still made it to General. He was not the only one surprised by that in Washington.
He wished he hadn’t accepted the date tonight. Senator Evelyn Collins was a lovely if a somewhat vapid woman, Jack had come to discover over the course of two meals.
“You can’t think it is justified.” She replied, clearly horrified by his opinion.
Jack was just staring in disbelief. The only reason why he wasn’t faking an emergency was because he deserved some pudding for this car crash date. “Listen, Evie. You are the ones who decide to go to war. I’m just the guy you expect to run it.”
She seemed aggrieved by his answer but her manners kicked in. She stood up primly. “I am going to powder my nose.”
He didn’t offer any response, just grabbed the dessert menu. He looked at his phone and chose to message his aide for a thirty-minute exit excuse phone call. As he put his phone in his pocket, he caught goon one coming down the stairs.
The Ritz was normally too classy for a guy with a small machine gun - and what the hell was security doing? Napping? Jack had no more time for complaining as there was a second goon. He had about thirty seconds before this ended in bodies. He upended the table to act as a shield.
However, he was surprised when he was beaten to warning the crowds. There was a single shot that was deliberately embedded in the ceiling. “ Federal Agent! Everybody down! ”
That helped. Jack shot at goon one over the table. He used the cover fire from the federal agent to take out the first one. He got a saucy grin but there was no time to flirt. They still had at least one more goon.
Jack had to snort at the way the agent shouted. “Hey Ugly!”
Goon Two actually looked and Jack considered it was his civic duty to kill his ass. He was just lowering the class of assassins.
In the end, it was unclear what killed the assassin, whether it would be his bullet or the knife to the eye.
Jack looked askance at the agent. “What? A bullet too easy?”
The Fed smirked at him. “I was outta bullets, General.”
“You know me?” Jack asked because he was sure he would have remembered the cute sarcastic agent.
The Fed smirked. “I do, General, and I’m Agent Anthony DiNozzo, NCIS.”
Jack looked at the two bodies. “So were they after me or you?”
Tony snorted. “So you make friends as well as I do?”
Jack shrugged. “I have no idea what their problem is because I am awesome.”
Tony had a wicked smirk as he plucked the phone out of the guy’s front pocket. He may have been in casual clothes but he still had his gun, cuffs and a pair of forensic gloves.
“And the winner is ... You.”
Jack sighed as he had been wanting to get out of his date but this seemed extreme. He was just glad he had back up as there was no doubt in his mind someone would have died before he could take them out. “And goon one?”
Tony snickered at that. “And that one is for me, Dr Seuss.”
Jack heard a scream and there was his date returned from the toilets. She screamed at the dead bodies. He groaned. “Ah hell.”
Tony took pity. “Bad date?”
Tony patted him on the shoulder. “Phone it in and I’ll get rid of her.”
“Careful. She is a senator.” Jack warned. He knew better after the goa’uld but he was still a man with needs.
There was a carefree grin he got in return that had him shaking his head. “I can be as charming as I need to be, General.”
Jack was too old not to recognise flirting. He was so glad DADT was a thing of the past too. “Well, if you charm like you can party, I’m going to be entertained.”
Tony didn’t reply but his salacious grin promised everything if only the General was willing to take him up on the offer. “I just know this is going to be a headache.”
Major Davies had appeared, and so had Gibbs at the same time.
The two men shared a smirk and a roll of the eyes. There was no point in worrying now and Jack, being the one with stars on his collar, offered the sass. “You know... everyone is dead now, so quit worrying.”
Davies looked at both and grimaced. “Seems there is a Trust issue at the moment.”
Jack cocked his head to the side. “That is interesting as goon two was after me, but one was after Agent DiNozzo.”
Gibbs interjected. “What have you done to upset shady types today, DiNozzo?”
Tony shrugged. “Breathed, went for a check-up with Brad for my lungs and then decided I really needed a drink having refereed between Ziva and McGee for too long today, boss.”
Jack recognised that tone. It was the same one he had when he had to previously babysit annoying nuggets. “Well, Agent. You will get to join the cool club. We need to know why the goons wanted you. Wait. Tests? Blood?”
Tony frowned as he was pretty sure that was a standard procedure. “Yeah.”
Jack groaned. “Want a bet?”
Davies chuckled. “Not on your life, General. I wonder how strong.”
Tony was getting a little aggrieved at the conversation and was tired and cranky from having taken out bad guys. “Look. What did the goons want, and am I going to get a decoder ring on why my blood is so intriguing all of a sudden?”
Davies was messing on his tablet and Gibbs was peering at the body with the knife in the eye. He was proud. “Nice throw, Tony.”
Tony was shocked by the praise and shrugged, trying to play it cool at the rare compliment. “I was outta bullets but I never forget rule 9. Plus, you know, what is the point of a knife if you can’t use it.”
Now, O’Neill and Davies were paying attention. “I thought you were a Fed.”
Tony flashed his badge and so did Gibbs. “He’s Special Agent Jethro Gibbs and as a marine insisted his team was trained to a higher standard.”
Jack had a new plan and it was one that warmed his heart. “I have a group of people who are trying to subvert American defence and security. I can’t nail the bastards so can’t eradicate the problem. I could use some investigators and the fact you have skills doesn’t hurt.”
Tony pouted because he really wanted a date not a job offer.
Gibbs frowned. “What about the other members of my team?”
Davies had been investigating. “Nope, they won’t pass the security screen and your clearances due to your previous work are stupidly high - which helps.”
Tony and Gibbs had both been around clandestine work long enough to know what was happening here with the language they were hearing. Tony was the one to groan and ask. “How big is the NDA?”
“Huge. 77 pages, I think, at last count.”
Davies shook his head. “No, sir, it is now 85 ... you’re forgetting Sheppard’s crew.”
Jack snorted. “Not likely. Sign it, you go down a rabbit hole but it’s worth the ride.”
Tony tilted his head. “So - red pill time. You got a pen?”
Davies frowned. “You should read it.”
Tony and Gibbs rolled their eyes as it wasn’t their first rodeo. “Wait, let me guess. This is a super-duper top-secret programme and if I utter any type of word about it I will disappear into a deep dark black hole never to see the light again.”
Jack chuckled. “I like that, I’m going to use that next time. They are pros, Major.”
Gibbs trusted his second and signed. Besides, he was curious about O’Neill’s project just like everyone else. “He’s right.”
He looked around the bar and noticed military BDU’s all around clearing up the place. He got the feeling that if he came back three hours from now - it would be like nothing ever happened. “So are we going to go somewhere to discuss the issue at large?”
O’Neill took one last look around the place. “Yeah, we don’t keep the knife.”
Tony looked relieved at being able to take back his knife. Jack knew the type, marines felt naked without at least one knife. He walked over and wiped it clean on a table cloth before spiriting it back on his clothes.
Jack didn’t say anything but so far DiNozzo was hitting every one of his kinks. “Let’s go and talk in my office.”
So that was how Gibbs and Tony found out about aliens at 9 in the evening. O’Neill offered them any and all resources they needed if they could break the Trust problem.
Tony waited until the others left before he said it. “You know I wanted a date, not a job.”
Jack smirked. “Darlin, I know how to mix business with pleasure but we need the Trust gone or we’ll never have a date that goes uninterrupted. Just think about tonight.”
Tony leaned over the desk. “You got yourself a deal.”
Jack shook his head and wondered if he knew what he was getting himself into because the agent was still fifteen years younger. Still, he had to explain this to the President and tell NCIS he’d stolen two of their assets and he might give them back. Maybe.
Gibbs was being walked through the mountain along with Tony by a Colonel Mitchell. “So personnel turnover - how long are they monitored?”
Cameron frowned. “They have the exit interview and then the NID takes over if they’re considered a threat.”
Tony asked a simple question. “Aren’t they the mole infested agency?”
Cameron stopped short as he considered that point. “Yeah, but it was mandated by the IOA.”
Gibbs shared a look with Tony. “We’re going to need their files too.”
Cameron wondered just what they were looking for but this was what they were experts in. “Okie dokie.”
Tony sneered as he put Senator Kinsey on the board. “Who is his backer, yeah, he has power but no money. You don’t get an outfit like this without money.”
Gibbs added three questions to the board - Money? Power? Influence?
Tony chuckled. “We do have a shitty trifecta, don’t we?”
Gibbs shrugged. “We will find them. Otherwise we will be stuck in this mountain.”
Tony was frustrated. “Let’s go and spar? We need to think and this room is stifling my brain.”
Gibbs chuckled. “Okay, slugger, but don’t hold back here like at HQ.”
Tony tilted his head to the side. It was a series of unusual events. First Gibbs complimented and then reminded him he knew Tony used masks. “Okay, boss.”
Maybe this case would be good for more than one reason.
They twisted and turned and landed a few punches but most they pulled back calling a score as they went. Cameron and Teal’c were heading to train and stopped to watch the show.
Teal’c was tilting his head to the side. “The older one is a warrior.”
“And the younger one?” Cameron asked as he’d been around the pair of NCIS agents and still couldn’t get a solid read on them.
“He will surprise you, and win every time.”
Cameron stopped cold. “What makes you say that?”
Teal’c offered his insight. “What form is he using?”
Cameron watched critically. “Judo, Krav Maga, that one’s a cop move, not sure on that one. Kickboxer?”
Teal’c nodded in his usual implacable way. “Exactly. He is a survivor and adaptable, whereas most of you all favour one form.”
Cameron knew there was a lesson in that - one he would have to write up into a proposal. The galaxy was a mean ass place to make war so any way to help survive it would be done.
Davies was writing up the minutes to O’Neill’s and Landry’s satellite call. He was glad that he just knew to transcribe the speech and offer no analysis as it would be hysterical.
“Who did you send me?” Landry asked O’Neill with suspicion, it was the same as every time he got a crazy marine due to cycle to Atlantis.
O’Neill was playing it coy but could guess the two had unintentionally shaken things up. “Two of NCIS’ best. Why, Hank?”
Landry shook his head in disbelief. “They have made more progress on the Trust in a week than our brainboxes did in a year.”
Jack smirked. “What else, Hank?”
“Mitchell has rewritten the training schedules because he wants our marines to be less breakable.”
Jack chuckled. “And would be that because of Gibbs or DiNozzo?”
“Not sure. Teal’c said Gibbs was a warrior and DiNozzo was a survivor.” Landry replied.
“Well, frak me.” It was rare for the big guy to be impressed, he very rarely went above passable for new recruits.
Landry was smart enough not to say anything. “Any more warnings?”
“Have they gone to the shooting range?”
Landry shook his head. “No.”
“Then expect a few more soldiers to get broken.”
“Why?” Landry had to ask, at least, he was aiming for a heads up.
“Gibbs holds the marine shooting records.” Davies interjected.
“Which ones?” Landry knew the Air-Force holders but not Marine.
O’Neill snorted. “All the ones that matter and he makes sure all his team are to his exact standards.”
Two weeks later, five spars, and three shooting matches after they were aware of the stargate. Tony slapped the file on Landry’s desk. “Can we go arrest them?”
Landry looked at the evidence. “Yes, yes you can. There will be cameras at Kinsey’s.”
“We’ll go and arrest Mr Simon.”
Tony had more plans than that and it would mean he needed to head to DC and Kinsey, right now, was in California.
Tony waltzed into Jack’s office and managed to time it to Kinsey’s arrest on the news. “So how about that date?”
Jack grinned. “I’m in the mood for Italian.”
And Tony was more than okay with being the dessert that evening.
Chapter 7: He Blends, so I Don't Need To (Luke Hobbs 3)
You would be amazed at how one throwaway comment in a movie can so easily become a short that I want to write.
Hattie Shaw was the type of operator that Luke knew all too well. She was feisty, confident and adaptable in all circumstances and would have been just his type in normal circumstances.
He was also certain that she wasn’t guilty of killing her entire team like the CIA was suggesting. What it meant, though, was he needed answers and fast. He couldn’t help if he was flailing in the dark as he didn’t have the full picture.
When they’d fought she’d been using tactics to escape and not kill. She was using restraint where if she was a thief and a killer, as the world was painting her to be, it wouldn’t have been her first instinct. She would have tried to kill him as you don’t allow a threat to stay alive at your back.
She wasn’t willing to be passive in this interrogation either, much to his amusement. She leant forward, her keen intelligence trying to figure out the mystery in front of her. “Who are you?”
“We’re talking about you,” Luke redirected the conversation. She was good and it reminded him of the early cagey talks with his own suspicious partner.
“Yeah, well, you’re not CIA like all these idiots.” She replied dismissively like she wasn’t keen on them, and clearly didn’t rate their skills. She would get on well with his fiance in that regard as he was of a similar opinion.
Luke sat back in his chair and wanted to try and get a measure of her analysis skills. So far, she was clever, resourceful and he challenged her. “What makes you say that?”
“Well, CIA has two types,” she smirked. “Intelligence and espionage and you’re neither of those. I mean you look like you could lift this building and they look like they’d struggle to lift paper. So they’re intelligence agents.”
Hobbs was impressed despite himself. “Hey, just ‘coz I look like I am all brawn doesn’t mean I don’t exercise this as well.” He said, pointing at his head. It was a sore point for him and he would have thought that someone so stunning wouldn't judge others by their looks.
She had to give him his humour at least. She was surprised. She was sure they removed that surgically when you got the badge. “Right, and you don’t do espionage as those agents need to blend, and there's nothing about you that is subtle, sweetheart.”
“I’m Luke Hobbs, DSS.”
She sat back. “Oh.”
He chuckled. “They needed to track you - so I did.”
She looked most put out by the news but Luke stayed quiet. He often found that when he said nothing people tried to fill the void with noise.
So, of course, that was when Deckard turned up to reveal she was his sister. It figured that two of the most irritating people were actually related to each other. “She is not your sister.”
“Get your mitts off her.”
Hobbs could see his fiance smirking at him. It was a good job he wasn’t the type to get jealous over stupid things. It helped that he was secure in their relationship.
Tony saw the soldiers about to smash through the window and he got under the table. He needed to avoid the concussive blast. It worked and he wanted to scream at the way the agents were being cut down like they weren’t even human.
He had a priority, though, and that was the blonde. He could not let her fall into the hands of the super-soldiers. He didn’t think, just scooped her up and headed for the bulletproof lift. It would let Luke and Deckard Shaw have free reign without worrying about collateral. The last thing he heard on their level was, “Who’s got my asset?”
The super-soldiers dived back out of the window. Hobbs pulled Deckard back so he didn’t get his head shot off.
“They’ve got my sister.”
Luke rolled his eyes because that was so not true. “No, she’s with Tony.”
“Who the hell is Tony?”
Luke smirked. “My fiance and he blends so I don’t have to.”
Tony had guessed the way these bastards would operate and thanks to an Abby hack special, the whole attack was streamed to all CIA and MI6 computers. So he’d eliminated the one chance that the narrative could be changed on them as it had been with Agent Shaw the day before.
Back in the glass elevator, Hattie was waking up. “Relax, Agent Shaw. I’m one of the good guys. Your brother and Luke are spoiling for a fight and removing you from the level just enabled it to happen.”
Tony smirked. “Well titles and ranks become awkward in bed, don’t you think?”
She scowled as she hadn’t spotted him. “Why protect me? I’m rogue.”
Tony snorted because she wasn’t at the top of her game. “No you’re not and by the way, when you cut through Luke and Shaw’s crap on the top floor you told your side of the story to the upper brass of the CIA and MI6.”
She had no clue what was happening but she did know that she wasn’t feeling overwhelming despair for the first time in nearly twenty-four hours. They got a first-hand view to one of the most hollywood-esque fights in mid-air they'd ever witnessed.
She tilted her head in curiosity but her tone showed how frustrated she was by it. “Are they really using the soldiers to bash into each other?”
Tony sighed. “It looks that way. Tell me, does your brother play well with others?”
“Oh.” Tony just knew this was going to end in a headache. He'd already suffered through more than one rant regarding Shaw and being forced to work with him.
Amazingly, Luke and Deckard put aside their differences long enough to appropriate a Jeep. Hattie did like the way Hobbs dropped a different jeep onto the supersoldier-terminator wannabe.
Deckard risked a glance in the back to see who their other guest was. “Who the fuck are you?”
Tony didn’t blink at the bluster because, despite his jawline, Gibbs had him beat for glares. “Agent Anthony DiNozzo. NCIS.”
Deckard paused for a second because this wasn’t a disaster - the chatter from those in the know was DiNozzo was a smooth operator that worked out of DC. “Why are you with the she-hulk?”
Tony smirked. “He is a big, sexy, dangerous, loyal, gorgeous mountain of a man.” Tony winked at Luke. “Plus, I said yes when he asked.”
Hattie grinned. “Congratulations, he streamed the attack so your bosses know you’re not to blame.”
Luke whipped his head around. “He blends so I don’t have to.”
She gave him a crooked grin, remembering their first conversation. She gave Tony an open leer. “I can see that.”
Deckard deflated. “Okay so I like you more than lover boy but how do we get the chip out of her?”
Tony and Hattie rolled their eyes because they’d been plotting whilst they’d been bitching in the front of the car. “We need to find this scientist, and we can only find one lead.”
Tony smiled. "It’s a Russian newspaper that’s only sold by one newsagent in all of London."
"That’s convenient," Luke replied with a smirk.
"I'm eager to read about today's news."
The scientist was a soft academic and when faced with Deckard and Luke he folded like a cheap pack of cards. The news wasn’t good when they caught up to him. They had two choices to extract the virus - kill Hattie, or try and get the sequencer deep within the bowels of a secure Eteon facility.
The plan to remove the virus had not gone to plan. Hattie had gotten the sequencer and was about to dash out there when she saw her brother and Hobbs being tortured by Brixton, the head-crazy-terminator type soldier chasing her. She gasped hearing the man say her brother had been framed.
Her mind was a whirl of thoughts when someone leaned in close. “Make sure the scientist gets out of here, and let’s get our boys,” Tony whispered.
She tilted her head because, seriously, Hobbs’ fiance should wear a bell. “How?”
Tony chuckled. “Remember - I blend so he doesn’t have to.”
They were quite the partnership. She grabbed a passerby to get a white coat just like Tony. He whispered. “You need the glove.”
“I can’t get one!” She hissed.
Tony waved his hand, showing he already had the glove. “How about a double bluff?”
She grinned, oh, she loved working with a proper professional. The plan was set and now they just had to survive long enough to get rid of this blasted virus out of her system.
Brixton looked so smug when her gun didn’t go off. He was only too happy to explain what had gone wrong. “You see, you need the activation code to operate our guns. And you, little miss, don’t have it.”
Luke and Deckard had their hearts in their mouths but knew they were missing something. Hattie was too calm, she had something up her sleeve and it was something the super-soldier didn’t see coming.
They were coiled ready to spring into action once the current got destroyed.
“I do.” And the gunshot saw the soldier’s head explode. It turns out it didn’t matter how much of a machine you were. If the brain was destroyed, you died.
The soldiers might have stood a chance but the shock of seeing their leader taken down, and Luke and Deckard working together, saw them down for the count.
“What are you doing here?” Luke shouted. Tony was supposed to be coordinating off-site at least in the plan they'd agreed.
Tony rolled his eyes. “What you mean is - thanks for saving my ass, babe. Let’s get out of here before it blows sky high.”
Hattie laughed at the gobsmacked look on the two men’s faces. Tony hadn’t so much agreed to stay back as promised he was following up on a few leads. “You heard him.”
Hobbs took the driving duties and managed to outrun the blast. The engine cut out just outside the facility and a disembodied voice filled the cab of the lorry.
“That was unexpected.”
Hobbs frowned. “And who might you be?”
“You outperformed our peak soldier.”
“You can’t plan for a wildcard and you had four of them.” Hattie pointed out with a vindictive grin. She was starting to relax now that she could see her life once more stretch out in front of her.
“Yes, our original plan has failed but you have all outperformed beyond your optics. Get healthy, Agent Shaw, we will be seeing you soon and Hobbs - I look forward to seeing you soon too.”
The machine was working to extract the virus. It seemed the disembodied head of the creepy organisation was willing to lose this round because he now had a new plan and it was one that involved them.
“So that was creepy and stalkerish, right?”
Hattie snickered. “You’ve never had unwanted attention?”
Tony shrugged. “Same as you, I should imagine.”
Hobbs was thinking about the threat. It sounded like they were about to get chased down, which was ironic as he was usually the hunter. He knew once he made contact nobody would give them the mission to take down Eteon.
“We need a plan.”
“We need somewhere we can bunker down, regroup and get someplace that we can fortify.” Tony added.
Luke nodded because he didn’t like the thought of his daughter, Sammie, in LA. He knew that Agent Locke was looking after her but it wasn’t him, so it didn’t sit right with him. “I know where you can go.”
Hobbs sighed. “I mean you should probably meet the in-laws before we get marriage, right?”
Tony froze as he knew the bad-blood and what it had cost Luke to do it. “You sure?”
“We need to be safe, and I need Sammie safe. Samoa is isolated and anyone who doesn’t belong will stick out.”
Luke found that his family adored Tony, and his brother made a point of being extra-friendly with him. He knew it would drive Luke mad but this case was going to need his whole focus. He’d only ever chased one criminal at a time - this time the four of them had a whole organisation to stop.
It went okay, his momma is still mad about her yard but that is another story.
Chapter 8: The End Days? (Greg House 4)
The people of the hospital were freaked and the staff were definitely scared. The gossip had it right - even if they didn’t understand how it might have happened.
The only explanation people had so far come up with was an apocalypse was nigh. Now, you might think that hard-working professional people would not be prone to exaggeration. It was still all they could come up with for what they were currently witnessing. It had been happening all week so it wasn’t like it was a one-day weird fluke. Dr Gregory House, miserable bastard extraordinaire - was happy. When he started smiling at the beginning of the week people found it scary. It had been upgraded to shining creepy levels when he had been overheard humming. It was no better with House’s actual staff. His favourite little ducklings were in their office gossiping about their boss’s sudden change in mood. It just goes to show - they needed more cases.
Chase shuddered. “It’s not natural.”
Cameron rolled her eyes. “You know he might just be happy. There is no rule that says he has to be miserable.”
Chase just stared at her, his expression speaking volumes. He really was starting to take after their boss. Foreman shook his head, wondering how two smart people could be so clueless.
He looked up from his journal. “You’re both idiots, he’s getting some.”
Chase shot back with a zinger. “Hookers don’t count.”
A throaty chuckle from behind them disturbed their little gossip session. Three sheepish heads shot around to see who had disturbed them. It was a model looking guy who looked too healthy to be in need of their services. His suit was stupidly expensive which might have suggested he was a doctor but the gun and badge suggested otherwise.
Cameron, of course, was the one to move forward. “Can we help you, Sir?”
“Back off, wombat. He’s mine.” House declared.
Cameron flushed at the implication. She was just being friendly and he was admittedly very handsome. Then her flush grew into a full-blown blush.
Tony smirked at House. “You said no more hookers...”
“I didn’t mean to imply you were a hooker.” Chase managed to say, having found his voice once more. He really did need to learn to think before he spoke. House got away with it but he didn’t have the brilliant maverick reputation to be as sassy, yet.
Tony snorted. “It’s alright. Greg asked me the same thing when we first met.”
Cameron was aghast. “And you still went on a date?”
Tony snorted. “Oh yeah. He’s a sexy, snarky, silver fox. What’s not to like?”
House was dying of laughter inside. He had often wondered what it would take to break his workers. He’d stretched their standards, ethics and everything else. He had no idea that the straw to break the camel’s back would be his dating life.
“Come on, lover boy, I owe you dinner.”
With that, they left. House being House and unable to resist winding people up slipped his hand into Tony’s coat and used him for leverage to walk outside. Tony waited until they were in the lift to speak. “Keep squeezing my ass and I won’t be responsible for my actions.”
House had a wicked grin. “Is that supposed to stop me?”
Tony shook his head in bemusement. “Greg, I so can’t arrest myself for public indecency.”
“Who’s going to report it?”
House groaned as he saw Cuddy at the entrance of the hospital because there was no way they were going to escape without at least a conversation.
Greg just pouted. “Tony, meet the evil overlord of my working life.”
Cuddy narrowed her eyes. “I prefer Dr Lisa Cuddy.”
House saw Tony smirk and knew it would be good. His lover had a delightful line in refined sarcasm - it was one of his more attractive qualities. Well, that, and his attitude, personality, and looks. He really was the whole package.
“I prefer Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo, although, Greg may call me his escort.”
“You are hot, that is not my fault. Now can we go and get some food that won’t make want to be admitted to here for more than work.”
Cuddy was bemused, and possibly dying to look his boyfriend up on the internet. “Sure, be back for clinic hour at 3.”
House was vibrating with nervous energy. “So what did you decide?”
“That an hour’s commute was better for me.”
House thought about the area and where Tony might have settled for work. “You’ve left NCIS?”
Tony nodded and let out a sigh of relief. “Yeah, I used the last screw up to extricate myself without having to worry about things. The radio screw up had been the straw to break the back.”
Only he had alternate things to keep him going and not just decide to hide it behind his masks.
“You’ve fixed one too many of their screw-ups.” House pointed out even as he bit into his burger. “So who did you sell your soul to? You couldn’t decide this morning?”
Tony snorted. “How do you feel about dating a Homeland Agent?”
Tony smirked. “You know we can use the cuffs whenever you like?”
House snorted because he loved the way Tony could match his sass. “You promise?”
Tony nodded because he knew that House would start to feel uncomfortable about the emotions on display. He changed the focus, knowing he would irritate his lover. “Yes, Darlin.”
House’s eyes narrowed. “We’re going down the nickname route, sweetcheeks?”
Tony quirked an eyebrow. “I can indulge in this game with you... or we can agree on one we like and use it to make everyone around us feel uncomfortable.”
House chuckled because that did sound perfect. “How about after lunch?”
Tony rolled his eyes. “I am yours to do with what you want for the afternoon. Morrow has me heading to the Philadelphia office on Monday.”
Dr James Wilson looked up from his paperwork to being besieged by his boss, and House’s underlings. “What did he do?”
“He’s happy, and not because he’s upped his Vicodin.”
James rolled his eyes. “You know he did have an infarction on his leg but because bloody Tony seems to hang the moon he is trying alternate pain therapies.”
Lisa was stunned. She had tried for years to get House to look at alternate options. She wanted him to be in the least pain possible but was worried about the Vicodin build up in his blood. “He didn’t even do that for Stacey.”
James was more than aware. “I know - hence the divorce but Tony is House’s equal.”
The Ducklings were catching up. “House was married?”
Chase often forget he was there for longer than the others. “Sharkish lawyer type. She would eat you both alive and then bill you for the privilege.”
Cameron was pouting. “The man was definitely not a Stacey.”
James could have made a flippant comment. “You want to know more about Tony then ask them as they’ve come back from dinner. You should be nice because Lisa if Tony accepts a job too far away he would look for another job.”
That stopped her cold because she’d been unsure about the whole thing but if James said he would leave Princeton - then it was serious. “How serious?”
“Like bells serious.”
She sighed. “Well, damn. I better go and introduce myself to the future Mr House.”
Wilson being smug. “Oh, no, he has a Doctorate in Criminology and Terrorism.”
Oh, and the choosing of their names after their marriage was of great debate but that is a different story.
Chapter 9: Trouble Ahead (James Bond 3)
Tony hated the world and everyone in it. He shouldn’t have slipped off to Montenegro but he needed a break. He had hated every minute of playing the assassin in Paris. The issue wasn’t that he was undercover as a psycho - he could handle that in his sleep - his problem lay in his partner - in the fact he had to rely on Little Miss Mossad and he did not trust her in the slightest.
He just didn’t see why everyone else seemed to think she was the bee’s knees. Well, he suspected that she was the one to kill Ari and was trading on Gibbs’ soft spot when it came to young women. Anyway, he wasn’t drinking the kool-aid so he’d slipped off for some decompression time.
He punched in the code for the Paddington apartment in the area and within seconds he was getting a call. He knew who it would be without even looking at the display and he always enjoyed these conversations. They usually ended in an adventure but he could guarantee there would be no Mossad.
“Anthony. You’re holidaying, are you?” She asked lightly.
Tony knew his grandmother well, he adored her in fact. It wasn’t known at NCIS but she was the reason he didn’t go off the rails when his father disowned him. She was the one who had stepped in to see that he wasn’t neglected. He knew that she had something up her sleeve just by the tone of her voice so laughingly asked outright. “What do you want?”
“Is that any to talk to your beloved grandmother?”
Tony snorted because he was more than capable of calling bullshit when it was deserved. “It is when she heads up an MI6 programme.”
There was silence on the other end of the phone. Tony’s high-security clearance was for more than one reason. He served as one of the ways the British and Americans could send information through unofficial channels. It had come in handy on more than one occasion and meant that several people who had tried to come at him had mysteriously backed off and he just acted none the wiser.
She figured she would get the sales pitch out of the way early. “You know you should join me at Six. You would be a good fit.”
Tony chuckled because she would have gone before the government committee today. “You mean I can handle your attitude.”
“Well, when you’re competent I don’t need to be rude, do I?” M replied.
Olivia Mansfield nee Paddington was one of Tony’s favourite people in the whole world. She was a true legend and badass and yet no one was allowed to know it. It didn’t matter that she was nearing her seventies because she refused to slow down. “I repeat, what do you need?”
M sighed but knew she had to say it. “I have an agent coming towards you and he is rash but on a vital mission.”
Tony chuckled and couldn’t help but point out. “You know you used to say the same thing about me.”
“Anthony, you seduced your way into a mob family and did it so well they didn’t want to kill you after you betrayed them.”
Tony snorted because really his grandmother shouldn’t judge him. “In my defence, I was really charming but knew you would string me up by my toes if I took over a mob outfit unless it suited our needs.”
She snorted because if there was one thing she loved was his practicality. “Yes, well 007 is chasing a terrorist banker to a poker game in the main hotel in the city. I think I could relax if you were there as a silent partner in the game.”
Tony smiled as he thought about what suits he had available. “Send me the relevant details and you know I will do what I can to help. Are you asking for me to officially be seconded or should I book some holiday?”
“I think I will second you. Also, we need to discuss some things that could concern your longevity staying at NCIS.”
Tony rolled his eyes because he was almost certain that it was to tell him that Ziva would soon as shoot him as work with him. “Okay, love you and see you soon.”
He looked up the game and the hotel, and then placed a call to someone who could get any job done. The phone call connected and he greeted the person. “Hello, Sherringford.”
“I have a title, Anthony. You know this - your grandmother gave it to me.”
Tony snorted, knowing full well that anyone in MI6 would not get away with calling him anything but Q. He bulldozed ahead. “Sherringford. I need the security plans to this blasted hotel that Nana is setting up the operation up in.”
“You’re in the city?”
Tony snickered and called Q on his polite crap. “As if you don’t already know. I wanted to decompress after a shitty operation and Nana’s idea of how I can do that it is to babysit her new OO.”
It was now Q’s turn to full-on laugh, knowing just what was in store for his old friend. “Oh, Tony. You have your work cut out for you ... He is a handful.”
Tony put the phone down and thought through the problem at hand. He needed a good suit. There was a small advantage to the whole plague incident and then not trusting his new partner. He could fit into the suits that he’d had made for him when he’d first gone back to America.
Tony figured the best play was to go with his mother’s snotty side of the family. He phoned the hotel, knowing that as the only Five-Star hotel in the city, it was the only one his family would stay in. The fact that they had an apartment here and yet would need a hotel was one of those unspoken family non-secrets. His Uncle needed somewhere to see his mistresses and it would have been vulgar to take them to the apartment.
The concierge answered and Tony went into full flow without a trace of American in his voice. “Yes, this is Lord Paddington. When will the suite be available to check in to?”
Tony could practically feel the squirming from his current location. The best bit was Tony wasn’t even lying, When his father had disowned him his mother’s family had welcomed him with open arms.
“We are busy with a poker tournament this evening - it may be rowdy .”
Tony rolled his eyes. So, the concierge knew the characters in the game were dodgy. He might ask Q to check into the guest list and see who else might shake free of the proverbial terrorist tree.
Okay, so now he told a small lie. “Listen, my wife is in town and I need my discreet escape. So I ask again - when will my suite be ready.”
“Four O’Clock, Lord Paddington.”
Tony was cordial. “And that is the service I expect to receive.”
He knew his Nana would get a kick out of this OO7 being relegated to a mistress but he’d go and observe and offer aid if necessary. If he didn’t she would probably be very disappointed in him and that wasn’t something he could handle.
Tony stayed close to the bar but it gave him a perfect angle to observe the half-room while wearing his perfected sad look, nursing a drink and allowing everyone in the room to dismiss him. The game was tense and it was clear who was here for the show, and who was here to win. You would think that given half of the participants were actually wanted criminals they’d have looked for more something discrete.
Tony sent a text to Q with a picture. He figured it might be worth checking into all the other members of the game.
He got a reply almost immediately. What am I focusing on?
Tony smiled internally at the speedy response while maintaining his maudlin drunk persona.
He knew if it was anyone else he would probably get a face-palm emoji. Q was still the legend. He got a one-word response - arse.
Tony couldn’t help but keep going back to the one person who was supposedly with Bond. She made the hackles on the back of his neck rise. He decided to add a second message to Q, after all, it would be stupid to ignore his instincts.
Deep background - Bond partner.
He had to wonder if there was a second reason his Nana had asked him to be there.
His eyes once more swept the room and the sultry blonde had deliberately drawn the room. She slid up to Le-Chiffre who Tony knew was the main suspect and wow, what an old trick. Tony wasn’t judging, after all, he’d done it himself. He didn’t like seeing the drops to the liquid she was adding, especially as the vixen brunette who was supposed to be watching his back just watched.
Damn, you just couldn’t get the back up these days.
The worst of it was he was too far away to stop it. He watched as Bond realised he’d been poisoned. He stood up and discreetly left, affecting a stagger to seem drunk. It was lucky that no one followed Bond too closely as they must have assumed he was blackout drunk. Bond got to his car, and Tony could hear him make contact with his Grandmother. It wasn’t good as before he could cross the road - Bond collapsed on the chair. He raced to the car, knowing that Bond would be in no fit state to try and attack him anyway. He could hear her shouting down the phone.
“BOND! Jesus Christ. Where is bloody Tony?”
Tony knew it was time to make his appearance. “I’m here, Nana, now let me save your baby Double-O.”
Tony waited and listened to the instructions from the Doctor who was still back in the UK. It would be the first time he’d shocked a heart back using a fancy defibrillator. Bond looked to be in bad shape so the poison had done a number on his system.
The shock worked and Bond slammed back up into real alertness. Tony had to shake his head in disbelief as all Bond said was, “Youch.”
Bond did double over for a minute as he tried to catch his breath. He wasn’t like most people who would be gasping for air and seriously weak having just had their heart shocked back to cardio rhythm.
It seemed Bond had given himself all the time he would be weak in front of someone. He was a hot mess looking like he’d had a stunning amount of alcohol and possibly drugs too.
Tony snorted at Bond’s apparent superhuman ability to shake off things. Het didn’t miss the opportunity to rake his eyes across Bond’s naked chest. The man wore a suit well but even half-dead he still looked stupidly attractive. Perhaps he was channelling his Grandma but Tony couldn’t help but point out, “That is what you deserve for drinking on the job, you idiot.”
“I had appearances to keep up.” Bond frowned, clearly trying to get his faculties back in order. He then realised that Tony was a stranger who saved him. He was quite low on trust right now which was understandable considering he’d just been poisoned. “Sorry, who are you?”
Bond was still sharp. “You’re M’s family?”
Tony smirked. “Careful what you say about my grandmother, James.”
Bond smirked. “I see. Well, thanks for the assist but I have a game to win.”
Tony could hear the expletives all the way back in London and had to smirk at Bond. On the surface, it would seem rash. It wasn’t the smart choice as it was obvious that Le-Chiffre was desperate if he was willing to assassinate to try and recoup the money. “Okay, hot stuff but let’s get you put back together. You can’t go back to the table looking like I have ravished you considering you looked blindingly drunk not two minutes ago.”
“That is exactly what I want them to think.” Bond replied with a sexy smirk of his own.
Tony was impressed because most agents would have backed off hearing who his family was. “By the way, ditch the brunette.”
“She is the money.”
Tony sneered. “She watched you be poisoned, darling, and did nothing. So do you want her or me watching your back?”
“Definitely you,” James replied. He let Tony help him straighten up because he couldn’t appear to be upset by the move.
Tony walked with him back to the lounge. “You ready?”
James smirked. “Kiss for luck?”
Tony smirked. “I will do one better. Come on, sweetheart.”
Bond linked their arms and knew that if he didn’t succeed M would definitely kill him with his next stunt. It was amazing to realise that he could operate in sync with someone he’d just met. If you wanted to distract people, you needed to shock them. Bond had to return to the table like it was on his own terms and for his own reasons.
Paddington was willing to play eye-candy and would no doubt shock Le-Chiffre. James looked smug as he sat down and Tony kissed him as he sat down. It sold the story that he had nipped off for a quickie rather than deal with poison Le-Chiffre had dosed him with. When James looked over the table smugly informing Le-Chiffre. “You know how it is, the other half wanted to murder me for taking a drink from another woman.”
Le-Chiffre sneered. “I wouldn’t know.”
James smirked. “I wouldn’t trade my lover for anything. Now, where were we?”
Tony stood to the side playing attentive lover and silent guard. It was perfect now he had an excuse to be in the area. The blonde who had done the poisoning stormed off looking furious at her foiled plan. Tony got a message from his Nana - ditch Lynd.
Bond and Le-Chiffre were the last two in the game. You could cut the tension with a knife and Tony was well aware that Le-Chiffre would love to do exactly that to Bond if it would get him his money.
The last hand was being played and Tony pulled James into a searing kiss. “Come on, baby. Let’s celebrate.”
He used the shock and distraction to slip out the side door holding Bond’s hand. He ran straight into the Hotel Manager. “Ah, Gustav. I require a favour.” He flashed his phone with a picture of Vesper Lynd. “This woman is my wife, and she is looking for me. She wants an excuse to divorce me. Please keep her in the hotel whilst I make a good getaway.”
“Of course, Lord Paddington. You know we look after our treasured guests.” He assured Tony.
Tony just gave a small grin and raced out the door. They took to the streets and walked slowly so as not to stand out from the crowd.
Bond was starting to come down from the massive adrenaline high. “You know, I think this has been the first time I have ever been the mistress.”
Tony snorted. “Don’t kid yourself, sweetheart. You know it’s been on more than one occasion. Now, new orders from M, ditch the brunette.”
“Well, you’re a definite improvement.”
Tony rolled his eyes. “That is hardly a compliment, Bond. I didn’t poison you, and made sure you escaped the terrorist’s hands. She hardly set me a high bar.”
Bond shook his head. “First of all, call me James.” He walked closer. “And you helped me escape, never breaking cover, using your wits and little violence showing your competence. I think that it is highly sexy.”
“You’re just trying to sweet talk me.” Tony said, although tellingly, he didn’t step back.
“Yes.” James agreed. “Is it working?”
Tony opened the door to the safe house. “Yes, it is.”
In the coming years, M was never sure if she was glad to have introduced Tony to his husband or not. They did, however, make an unstoppable team who faced every challenge head-on. In some ways she should be grateful, as thanks to Mossad and Bond, Tony finally chose to work fully for the family business but that story was in one file at the bottom of her desk, never to see the light of day.
Chapter 10: Invisible Groom (Jack Carter 3)
The invisible groom
Tony was soon to be married and that was a statement he assumed he would never utter. He wasn’t worried about the upcoming ceremony because he was ready to commit to Jack in front of everyone in Eureka. He was just weary as no disaster had happened this week.
His breakfast was made for him like clockwork. There were definite perks to moving to Eureka and the house rocked. He wasn’t going to get to eat in peace though as he was interrupted by a question.
“Don’t you want to invite anyone from before?”
Tony had to chuckle as Zoe was taking organising the ceremony very seriously. It had caused contention as she’d wanted nothing to do with her mother’s own second wedding. “Honestly? Only Gibbs but that would take a serious talk and we’re allergic to them. I worked and lived in DC but I wasn’t enjoying myself ... not as I do here.”
She had a crooked grin. “It is pretty awesome.”
“It’s not a bad way to live." Tony remarked, "Can you imagine any of your friends from LA if they knew about SARAH?”
Zoe giggled. “I can imagine the rich kids all demanding they got their own.”
"I am not for sale"
The two chuckled before answering. “We know SARAH.”
She frowned. “Where’s Dad? He was supposed to drop me at Vincent’s.” At least, she was sure that was the plan they’d gone with the night before. It may be the weekend but her Dad and Tony’s job would not end with the working week.
Tony shrugged. “Jo called him saying it was an emergency. I can drop you there and grab a vinspresso before heading into GD.”
She nodded, pleased for the lift. “I am still trying to convince Dad that I can have the SMART car.”
Tony chuckled because driving was not quite the same in Eureka. “Careful, you want to make sure it is a road-legal car out of Eureka.”
She rolled her eyes as she wanted to go to college and get her degree in medicine or robotics. She still couldn’t decide on her path but as her Dad had pointed out. She still had a year to decide - and a lot of brainiacs she could quiz and possibly take extra tuition from as she decided.
Her mother had had the shock of her life receiving her report card from Eureka, as she finally started to put the right amount of effort in. It was one of the pitfalls of going to school with geniuses - you had to compete to keep up. There was one thing that Zoe was in life and that was competitive.
She had to ask the one question that was bugging her about the wedding. “Are you sure your okay with Mom being there?”
Tony had to smile because he could tell she didn’t want him to be uncomfortable. He had to smirk though because he was okay with it. “Yeah, Zo, I am. It’s petty but I won.”
Zoe had to grin at that comment. “She is bringing Lucas.” They got it was her way of saying she’d moved on but Zoe was not a fan of her mother’s new partner. She considered Tony her Stepdad but she couldn’t stand Lucas.
Tony shrugged. “I’m hotter, smarter and I have a gun.”
“You know, it is comments like that, that make me adore you.” Zoe replied with her own smirk. She had to play nice as the Sheriff’s daughter but that didn’t mean she could stop all sarcasm.
Tony chuckled and pulled her into a hug. “It is what every step parent prays for a good relationship with their kid.”
“Oh, we’ll take on Eureka like we always do.”
They were going to be testing that very soon.
“I am supposed to be getting married tomorrow!”
“We know Carter.” Allison tried to soothe him.
After all, everyone knew about the wedding as it was all the town could talk about right now. Nathan had learned how to be friends with Jack - Tony helped.
“Look DiNozzo adores you and will want you to be alive.” Nathan reminded him,
Jack could have shown how forlorn he was but no one could see his face! “I know but I’m scared Nathan, and I saw what happened to the other guy.”
Allison looked sad, “We know this will continue until full-body immersion.”
“It is what happens after that bothers me,” Jack remarked voice strained. After all, as calm as the others tried to keep him. It was still the image of the dead body through the invisibility goggles that shocked him.
Nathan looked torn. “I want to go with Henry and get started on organising the working party we’ve assembled to figure this out.”
Jack’s bandaged head nodded. “Go.”
Allison looked toward Jack. “Is there anything you need?”
“Yeah, Tony and Zo’.”
She understood the need, knowing if the situation was reversed the first thing she would ask about was her son. “You better not be saying goodbye Carter, this town loves you.”
He chuckled. “Yeah, and it has got under my skin but I know the odds so I want my daughter and my man.”
Tony’s office was actually in GD and he’d been in conference calls with the DOD all morning. He’d received the message to head to the infirmary.
Tony’s heart plummeted because the only reason he would be called there was if Jack was injured. He hoped he was wrong but in his heart - he knew he wasn’t. The end bed was sectioned off from the view of others.
“Oh, Jack. What happened?”
Jack tried to grin but it wouldn’t have been seen through the bandages that were covering his face. “You know I thought a tux would be so least season for a wedding.”
Tony snorted but could hear the worry in his voice. “You know I insist you wear a tux, and you are visible for the ceremony. How can I make everyone especially your ex-wife jealous if they can’t see you in it?”
Jack chuckled weakly. “I just hope I am still breathing. Where is Zoe?”
Tony answered. “I phoned Jo, she is bringing Zoe to us for the sake of speed.”
It did always work a treat and thankfully being the daughter of the Sheriff meant no one started rumours if you got pulled out of class. Jack didn’t touch Tony even though he desperately wanted to ... “I can’t even touch you both as the last thing I want to do is infect you with the microbes.”
Tony’s mind was racing and analysing the problem. It was more than obvious that time was of the essence - and why he had no doubt that Henry, Nathan and Allison were working the science. It never hurt to come at a problem from multiple angles. He’d seen Jack do it multiple times since coming to town. “How do you think you were infected?”
“Well, I fell over the doc’s body yesterday when searching for him. He was invisible so I tripped over him and didn’t see him.”
Tony remembered Jack telling him the night before as it had freaked him out. He’d gotten used to crazy science but occasionally one of the cases would go too far and freak him out.
“Okay but invisibility has been banned as a research avenue so he wouldn’t have done it to himself unless he had an off switch. He was smart enough not to want to kill himself ... Right?”
Jack shrugged. “You know the eggheads, science first ... reality second.”
Tony snorted because he could hardly argue with the observation it was the truth after all. “Okay, but you were at home yesterday with no ill effects. So what have you else have you done today ... that might have triggered this response.”
“Well, Currie’s laundry exploded? I got covered in cleaning solution... which was dusty.”
Tony quirked an eyebrow, and his gut was telling him it was important. “Does she make her own cleaning agent?”
Allison answered. “Yeah, she is working on cleaning up environmental disasters. She was originally brought to Eureka to work on the invisibility project.”
Tony just gave her a look. “So her cleaning project and the doc’s invisibility extra-curricular research reacted badly ... She might be able to help.”
Allison nodded in agreement. “I will call her in. We’re doing everything we can.”
Tony nodded that he understood. “I get that I do but this isn’t something I can arrest and this is my fiance.”
Zoe broke up the tense silence racing over to the bed. “Dad, what happened?”
Tony pulled her into a hug. “Hey Zo’, so it looks like your Dad ran into some trouble.”
Zoe groaned. “How bad?”
Tony didn’t see the point in pulling punches. “Bad, kiddo but if you keep an eye on him. I can go and pick up someone who might be able to help.”
She looked shaky but spoke up. “Go.”
Tony shouted, "I will get Dr Currie."
Allison's only comment was, "Hurry."
Tony walked through the shop. "Doc?!"
She walked through to the front of the shop. "I thought you collected your Tuxedo's yesterday."
Tony just sighed. "Yeah about the wedding it is under threat as Jack is currently disappearing from everyone's sight. I wish I meant that figuratively."
She alarmed, "Oh god someone was working on invisibility, weren't they?"
Tony winced, "It is the working theory."
Callie’s mind was whirling. “Jack got dosed with my cleaning power too. This is bad.”
Tony didn’t want to lose his temper but it was a near thing. “Yeah. Very. I need you to come with me to GD and help the team.”
She immediately grabbed her coat and closed down the power. “Of course, I am right behind you.”
Zoe was at the infirmary still and trying to distract her father. “How did you and Tony meet?”
Jack chuckled at the memory. “I had planned a second honeymoon trip with your mother and then, of course, the divorce happened.”
“You went to Italy, didn’t you? Alone.”
Jack nodded. “I did, and I thought I would be sad and pathetic and nurse my heart but I ran into this angry man who was berating a would-be thief he’d stopped.
Zoe snorted. “It was the law bit that attracted you, wasn’t it?”
Jack shook his head. “No the passion, looks and attitude.” There was more to it than that but this was still his daughter. He could hardly say to her that Tony on that day was wearing the most obscene jeans and an open shirt. He’d been divorced and heartbroken not dead. The irony was the holiday fling carried on and got so serious that they found themselves both moving together to Eureka.
Zoe giggled. “There is so much more to your story than that.”
Jack snorted. “Yeah, there is Zo’ but not stuff I should share with my daughter.”
She shuddered. “Okay, fair point.” She could guess from his tone what he was talking about and she wanted him distracted but not to the point of her being revulsed.
“You know Ma, is getting into town tomorrow?”
Jack groaned. “Now she is a reason to stay invisible.”
Zoe snorted well aware that there was no love lost between her parents. She was glad her Dad had found Tony, she couldn’t really find it in her to care about her mom’s partner as he was such a personality vacuum.
“I don’t want to see you get sick.”
Jack couldn’t admire the irony. “Right now, you won’t see anything.”
“And that is what scares me, Daddy.”
Jack longed to hug his kid, but on the rare chance that he could transfer this to his kid. He would stay clear even if he would like nothing more than to engulf his daughter in a hug. Yet another thing they shared was the ability to read someone.
Zoe had a weak smile. “I will wait to hug you once I can see you and watch Tony squeeze the life out of ya for scaring the shit out of us.”
“Language.” He said with an exasperated tone that only a parent could manage.
Zoe had a smug smile. “FYI. You know that is not half as intimidating without the glare to back it up.”
Jack groaned. “You are enjoying this.”
She shook her head because that couldn’t be further from the truth. “Not at all, just seeing the silver lining in this mess.”
There was little he could argue you with her on that respect. He was starting to think this might the experiment that finally finished him off.
“Oh, you are not dying today. We’re getting married tomorrow.”
Jack and Zoe both turned toward the voice. Jack shouldn’t have doubted his fiance because in strode Tony with a soaking wet bandage. “Hey, Darlin. I need to change your bandages and I think it will do wonders for your skin.”
Zoe grinned knowing that the town had done it once again. She looked at her father. "I will just wait outside. Don’t Die.”
“I’ll do my best.” Jack assured her.
Tony snorted. "I will resurrect you to kick your ass if I have to."
To Tony, Jack had never looked hotter walking toward him as they prepared to say I do. It was also fun watching the envious ex realise all the things she’d thrown away ...
Too bad, Tony wasn’t giving up his family for anything.
Chapter 11: Presents for Me and You (Jack O'Neill 5)
Warning: Ziva is being a class-A bitch in this and deliberately outs a character out of spite. If this is a trigger please avoid.
Ziva was still pissed with Tony, after the whole Rivkin thing and that was obvious. She seemed to think that Tony was infatuated with her and when he trashed that idea. She seemed to be even more upset.
He couldn’t think crazy - so he gave up trying. He was so close to asking his lover - if he would intercede but the idea bothered him. He should be able to deal with one crazy ex-Mossad agent.
“I passed by your flat yesterday and you weren’t there.” She commented idly.
Tony loved the way Gibbs and McNosey oh so subtly stopped typing. “I see. I might have been out running.”
She shook her head. “I asked the old lady who lives next to you. She said you had moved out with your sugar-daddy.”
Wow, she was super-pissed if she thought she was outing him though she would be sorely disappointed. There was a vindictive part of him that hoped they searched for his home address. It was obscured as part of National Security - a side-effect of the fact his lover was the Deputy Joint-Chief.
“He’s not my Sugar Daddy but yes we’ve moved in together. I’m so grateful you let me tell the team on my own terms.” Tony replied sarcastically.
“The team shouldn’t have secrets.”
Tony snorted. “Who actually believes that? You ready to spill your Mossad ones. I know I am not ready to spill my undercover ones. Try not to sound so naive, it’s embarrassing for you.”
She flushed in anger, so he’d hit a direct score. “You make us believe you are a womaniser and you’re gay.”
“No, the word is bisexual.”
Gibbs cut into the argument seeing only one way it would be heading. “You’ve moved?”
Tony nodded. “You should be pleased Boss, I am less than ten minutes from here.”
That was not a location and it was obvious to all of them. “And is HR aware?”
Tony nodded and with a shit-eating grin because he was so done with this day. “Yep, but you should know they can’t divulge it thanks to the sugar daddy’s day job. Oh and McNosey , you get one warning from me.”
“The contents of my file our now coded above top-secret. You look to hack them for idle curiosity... You can end up in Gitmo.”
McGee was going to deny it but he could see the truth of it in Tony’s eyes. “Okay.”
Gibbs wasn’t done. “What the hell is that supposed to mean?”
Tony looked at his phone and he picked up his jacket. He needed to find out the hell Jack’s cryptic message meant. “You can figure it out. I’m going home.”
“We’re not done.”
Gibbs might not be but Tony was done with bullshit. “We are, and if you don’t like it. I will say yes to the next offer Morrow makes.”
Tony was finding his ability to put up with bullshit was getting less and less.
The Townhouse in Georgetown was a great purchase and one he didn’t regret. He had chosen to make it his home when he got serious with Jack. There was a certain status expected of Four-Star Generals, after all.
When he opened the door he looked at Jack and frowned. It had not been his plan. He had planned a much more enthusiastic greeting but that was nixed by the plaster cast and crutch on his leg.
He was at a loss of how it could have happened. “What the hell happened to you?”
“I got into a fight with a bike and lost.” Jack groused clearly unimpressed.
“You what?” Tony didn’t like being repetitive but he was stuck on the fact Jack had broken his leg considering he was a black-ops operative. Of course, his brain and worry kicked in and he was guiding Jack back towards their comfy, plush couch that they’d picked out.
Once Tony was content that his lover wasn’t in pain. He snuggled into his side and whispered into Jack’s chest. “Now please tell me what happened.”
Jack sighed but knew Tony would only worry. “So I am tearing a new one-off my executive secretary as I walk to the Hill. This cyclist isn’t looking where he is going.”
“How does that end with you in a cast?” Tony asked.
Jack sighed because he couldn’t believe it either. “It wasn’t a graceful crash for any of us but I am a man on a mission. So I shook it off, carried on to my meeting in front of Senate committee. There was this douchebag Senator who thought he could cut funding for my programme.”
Tony knew that had been the aim of Jack’s day. He had literally written it on their calendar in the kitchen - ruin douchebag senator. It had been there for a week.
He had still yet to hear how Jack ended in a cast. “You went to the Senate Committee and ended up in a cast. They are not that vicious, are they?”
Jack just gave him a droll look. “No, in fact, when I stood up and they noticed the blood they looked rather sick.”
“You didn’t think to check?”
Jack just glared. “You know I stood up and the pain was manageable so I thought nothing of it.”
Tony just groaned at that but he had zero room to judge and wasn’t willing to be a hypocrite. “So you had a compound fracture?”
Tony hated this part of his job because he should have been with Jack in the hospital. “Did Dr Lam deal with you?”
Jack shook his head. “No, it was too visible. This injury has to heal normally.”
“That sucks. I had such fun plans for this weekend planned.” Tony remarked with a coy smirk.
“You know you’re a terrible human being.”
Tony smirk grew wider. “You know what ... You love me so don’t even start.”
Jack sighed but couldn’t deny the truth. “Yeah, I do. Sorry, I ruined the plans.”
Tony shrugged it off. “No worries, I am adaptable. It’s one of the things you like along with my flexibility.
Jack was honest. “If you’re hungry, we can eat but I kind of want to just hide in bed.”
Tony adored the man, and he was astounded that Jack was willing to show vulnerability with him. He didn’t have to be the man with a plan, or the four-star general, who was forced to save the planet - If Jack said it, he wasn’t exaggerating.
Tony was in bed and with Jack’s foot in a cast, he let Jack get comfortable. “You know you need to be more comfortable.”
“You’re in bed with me. What more do I need?”
Tony chuckled at the line. “You’re just so smooth.”
Jack smirked. “You know it.”
“I am so glad I crashed that date, you know,” Tony confessed.
Jack snorted because that date had been memorable. “It ended way better than it started.”
“Two dead trust agents is just my way of flirting,” Tony replied sarcastically.
“It ensnared me.”
Tony carefully slid over, so Jack was left with a lap of him. “And what are you going to do about it?”
Jack may have been injured but he was the General in the Air Force. He pushed Tony up and he answered in more than one way. “I problem-solve.”
Jack woke up sated and relaxed but he was done denying what he wanted. “So if I said let’s get married what would you say?”
Tony froze for a second but then relaxed into the touches. “I’d say name a time and place but you better have a ring, flyboy.”
“I’m rethinking this whole thing.” Jack teased but even as he said it. He slipped the ring off his dog tags. “I’ve been thinking about asking for a while now but knowing it would bring scrutiny on you that you might not want.”
Tony snorted. “You’re going to be my husband, I’m guessing as your husband I will be required a few functions. I may be able to pull off undercover but I am not going to wear a dress. It isn’t on either of our kink lists.”
Jack slid the ring on to Tony’s hand even as he pulled him into another possessive kiss. “You know the President may ask for the honour of doing the wedding?”
“I can think of worst things,” Tony said airily. He was sure he would freak out later, but right now, he was high on the fact he was an engaged man. “I will ask for only one engagement gift ... get rid of Ziva.”
Oh wow, this was going to be fun and the way Jack saw it - it was a gift for both of them.
Chapter 12: Make or Break them? (Dave Rossi 4)
Dave was listening as Tony explained who the letter was from in disbelief. “You have a mob boss who writes to you?”
Tony smirked knowing how it sounded but he’d made peace with it after he joined NCIS. “There is more than one reason I joined Homeland and didn’t follow you to the FBI.”
Dave shook his head as he tried to get his head around the idea of the fact his lover was penpals with the infamous Mob boss. “Wait, Salvatore Mancuso, as in the one you put away?”
Tony shrugged because, to be honest, he’d made peace with it. “Is this a deal-breaker for you?” He bit his lip, slightly nervous because he didn't just love Dave - he would go as far as saying he adored Dave.
“No, I work to track serial killers so I can handle a little mob-related drama.” He pulled Tony into his arms, sensing the distress in his younger lover.
Tony sighed. “It is not funny. He adopts me after I put him in jail. I have no idea how he manages to convince a judge to do it. Your friends encourage it, as they hope he will spill secrets to me.”
Tony shook his head. “At the moment, he asks for updates on Alona and asks me to take over the family. How do you feel about being a Mob consort.”
“So that explains Sacks warning.” Rossi remarked about the one time Tony had come to Quantico for a meeting.
Tony was never going to be impressed by Sacks and wasn't shy in sharing his opinion. “That idiot couldn’t find his way out of a paper bag. He has one leg, and some false evidence and tries to arrest me citing my familial connection as a reason.”
“You know if we’d been together at that time I would have flambeed him for his arrogance and stupidity.” Dave assured Tony. He could see the way his partner was tensing up and wanted to show him that this wasn’t a dealbreaker like he feared.
Tony chuckled at the image. “If you want to flambe Sacks at any time then feel free.”
Dave rolled his eyes. “You seem disappointed with the letter. Why?”
Tony groaned. “You know I thought if the whole Federal Agent part didn’t put him off, being gay would.”
Tony chuckled because it would have been so much easier if had. “No, he doesn’t mind. In fact, now I am ready to settle down and start a family I will make a much better prospect for the head of the family.”
“We’re not even married?”
Tony snickered. “In his mind, apparently the way I’ve spoken about my feelings for you means its a case of when, and not if.”
Rossi just kissed him quiet. “You know what, I will put my foot down on this ... I am not getting married in prison so the father-on-law can be part of the congregation.”
Tony smacked his shoulder. “You’re not funny.”
“No, but I am adaptable.”
Rossi had put the idea to the back of his mind, weeks ago but now there was trouble on the horizon. Their current case seemed to involve the mob in and around the Philly area.
“Why has this come to us? And not Organised Crime?” Spencer asked Hotchner and it let Dave get his thoughts in order.
“It was their case but they can’t make heads nor tails of it. The bodies are stacking up and they just want the case solved.” Hotch explained to his team.
Derek looked over the photos. “This isn’t turf war shooting, or retaliation executions so why are they sure the mob is involved?”
Dave pinched his nose. “Which family are the victims connected to?”
“The Mancuso family. The Don is in jail, the heir apparent is not willing so it is being left to the less able little brother.” JJ summarised from what she had managed to dig up since Hotch had asked her to prepare the briefing material.
Dave groaned. “I need to make a call.”
Dave shook his head. “Let me get you some possible answers, then we can start to solve this.”
“There is no way that the family will talk to a Fed.” Emily pointed out, the traditional families still put stock in the rule of omerta.
Dave snorted because that might be the case for nearly 99.9% of the cases but he had the exception to the rule. “There is one they will talk to and I need to go and phone him, so if you will excuse me.”
The whole table looked at each other to see if they knew what was going on. They had nothing, so Hotchner figured the best thing they could do was educate themselves on what they did know about the Mancuso family.
“Salvatore Mancuso was the Head of the Family until an undercover operation by the Philidelphia PD managed to take him down.” JJ showed them a picture. “This is his wife Alona, who has stayed by him through thick and thin.”
“Did the undercover agent go into WITSEC?” Morgan asked, knowing that if they’d survived the case. It would be necessary. He would hate to live life assuming that the next thing would be a bullet.
They heard Penny’s keys furiously clack away to get information. “The name is redacted for obvious reasons.”
“Okay, so what do we know about the Mancuso children?” Reid asked trying to get a grasp of the victimology.
“We know that there is Francine Mancuso, she is a lawyer but that was after her father was sent down.” Hotch offered. What he didn't say was she was likely the consigliere but was smart enough to have been so far truly linked to the family operations.
Prentiss was the one to ask, "What about the current head of the operation?"
“There is Johnny Mancuso, he is in your files. This is the younger son, who is overseeing operations right now.” Aaron explained to the group.
“So where is the elder son?”
Dave had returned back to the room. “On his way, and before he gets here let’s settle a few things as he is doing this as a favour to me.”
“I am so confused,” Prentiss said, because how would Dave know the elder son? and who exactly could it be?
Dave took over the briefing as out of the whole room he could definitely say he knew their subject, intimately even. Although he would let them figure out that part on their own. It did them good not to be told everything. “Pull up a photo of Anthony D DiNozzo, Assistant Director of the Homeland Security.”
JJ and Pene' grinned. “He’s cute but how does he relate to the case.”
Dave didn’t growl as he was secure in his relationship, and it would be funnier when they figured it out. “The redacted name you’re looking for is him. If he is in Philly, he is known as Antoni Mancuso, the reluctant heir.”
They soon flashed up the file. “It was an adult adoption, Hotch. Wait this is after Mancuso is sent down for his crimes.”
Dave snickered. “Do not get DiNozzo started on the whole thing. Just know that a judge was bribed and his birth certificate was sorted without his knowledge.”
“That is crazy.”
The door opened and Tony was already here, he was wearing his Homeland badge clear and visible. “I have come to consider crazy to be relative when it comes to my life. Agent Rossi is correct though on the particulars ... Sadly, I will say that Salvatore is actually an improvement on my biological father.”
That shut the whole table up and Dave decided to get the conversation rolling once more. The last thing he wanted was to drag Tony into this any more than needed but people were dying and badly.
“Garcia, can you show the photos and names to DiNozzo please?”
Tony caught the use of his surname and smirked for a micro-second. He’d guessed have Dave wanted to play this and could roll with it. “Okay, so Jenkins was a low-level enforcer and it has been a while but he wouldn’t have got any further.”
Hotch asked. “Why? Too stupid, or too rash?”
Tony thought about his reply. “I once told him he couldn’t run with the big boys because I couldn’t stand a person who was both an idiot and a loud-mouth.”
All the names and victims were side-by-side on the wall and
Tony ran the names through his mind and sighed wearily. “Damn it, the old man is going to get his wish.”
“What have you figured out, Tony?” Dave asked with worry. He stopped caring about hiding their relationship knowing that there was very little that could freak out his lover.
Tony looked forlorn. “I have to go and save Alona. It’s ironic, father has tried for years to get me back to Philly and I have always resisted. He will burn the world to the ground if anything happens to mamma.”
Hotch took control quickly astounded how anyone could pull the information together this quickly. “Why are you so sure that is Mrs Mancuso who is the intended victim?”
“They’ve all worked as part of her guard, you literally have one person from each year.” Tony explained and he knew in his heart he was right. He was going to call Francine as he trusted her to keep a level head, Johnny would just fly off the handle.
Morgan was the one to say what they were all thinking. “There is no way the FBI will authorise a protective guard for one of the Mob?”
Tony smirked because it could be played both ways. “But Detective Morgan, don’t you want a surveillance unit there to see how it connects to the recent killings? You reckon one of the main family is cleaning out their competition.”
JJ spoke up. “I can spin that.”
Tony grinned crookedly. “I have no doubt you can Agent Jarreau. I wished often to have someone of your skill when I used to work for Gibbs.”
Dave was tongue-in-cheek. “She is a married woman.”
“You’re not jealous are you, Dave? You know who I want to be married to, don’t you?”
The BAU members often considered themselves to be clever, adaptable and able to roll with even the strangest facts they find out. They had to be considerin their day job was to understand the behaviours of the most abhorrent serial killers and attempt to track them down. And yet several members were simply dumbfounded by this whole briefing.
“I do, but you still haven’t asked a question,” Dave replied but he let his love show on his face.
Tony was mentally preparing for what this mission would take from him. “Oh, I am just waiting for the right time. Don’t rush me. I better call Francine.”
The team noticed the way he chose to phone the lawyer of the outfit and not the supposed head.
Hotch watched as Assistant Director DiNozzo had a rapid conversation in Italian over the other side of the room. He turned to face his old friend. “You always did have an exotic taste in dangerous partners.”
“Oh, Hotch. I have a ring in my pocket. As far as I am concerned he is going to be the first and only husband of mine.” Dave confided.
Hotch snorted. “Well, if the family don’t scare you off then I suspect you will have a happy life. You couldn’t have found a better person who knows the responsibilities of the job.”
Rossi snorted at the inventive threat. It was clear that Tony was incredibly fond of Alona Mancuso even if he was unwilling to admit it. “Yeah, I struck gold with him and I know it. I just hope he comes through this unscathed.”
Philly didn’t break them, it made them as a couple. However, no one in Organised Crimes could get a detailed report as the case get classified by Homeland Security. Also, when they tried to get more details from the BAU - they were always unhelpful.
Chapter 13: Show a Man a Good Time (Aaron Hotchner 4)
Timeline what Timeline?
Roughly set separated but divorcing Hotchners, and Season 3 Episode 14: Damaged is used as part of the fic.
NCIS Canon: Post Kate's death but during Ziva's settling in period.
Hotch was considering the irony of everything going on right now.
“The Serial Killer, Chester Hardwicke has honoured our request for an interview.”
“Oh, what fun.” Hotch remarked. He still had the very shrill conversation with Haley bouncing around his skull from earlier that day.
JJ had a wry smile as there day to day lives could be considered macabre. “He had one request.”
“And what was that?” Hotch asked carefully. He wasn’t in the mood to pander to the whims of a serial killer. It might be his day job but there were days where you just wanted to hole up in your office to do paperwork.
“He wants the arresting Detective to also be part of the interview,” JJ replied.
“And who might that be?”
She grinned. “He is now a Federal Agent for NCIS, Anthony DiNozzo. Do you know him?”
Hotch could have replied biblically but he was too professional for that, and this was going to annoy the hell out of Haley. She had hated the fact he’d fallen into a relationship after she wanted the divorce. He’d had a hell of a fight with her this morning and it had ended with the line from him about, at least he’d waited for their separation to sleep with someone.
It was not what he wanted to say because for better or worse, Haley was the mother of his child and they’d loved each other enough to marry one another. It was just she could handle being a lawyer’s wife, she couldn’t handle being an FBI agents wife. “I’ll make the call and head to the prison.”
“So you do know him?” She asked with a smirk.
Hotch looked indulgent. “I know a lot of people, JJ.”
It wasn’t an answer, and she had been around the team too long to know that a none-answer was as good as a solid reply.
This would be one of the easier requests, and Tony should jump at the chance of getting out of headquarters with him. He hated being around the new liaison officer and was deciding how to take appropriate action.
“Hi, this is Unit Chief Hotchner with the BAU. I would like to speak to the Director.”
It took very little persuasion for Director Shepard to ‘second’ Tony to the BAU. Oh well, that was amateurish and he would let Fornell know. This was something they could exploit and with how unhappy Tony was, now would be the time to see him jump ship.
Tony walked into the BAU not an hour later, with his badge visible. “Hi, I'm looking for the Section Chief. He is expecting me.”
A bubbly blonde. “Oh my, Derek my sweet man. I think you have competition.”
Tony was aware of who was around and knew the flirting to be harmless. “No competition, I am just on loan.”
Garcia smirked. “Well, god bless you, Agent DiNozzo and thank you for brightening up my day. And if you’re looking for the boss man, he is up there.”
Tony grinned. “Thank you, Ms Gracia. You are too kind.”
She gasped. “How do you know my name?”
Tony smirked. “You’ll find out,” and walked up the steps to Hotch’s office. He knocked on the door and waited.
Tony slipped inside and closed the door. “You know when I said you need to take me on a date. I meant somewhere classy, not a prison to interview a psycho serial killer.”
Hotch smirked. “I thought you wanted to spend time with me.”
“Is this so I don’t have to put up with your harpy of an estranged wife?” Tony asked because that had so not been the way he’d been planning to spend this morning.
“I thought you wanted to get out of your office for a while,” Hotch remarked innocently.
“You know I do, the Mossad Agent keeps sniffing around me like I might want what she has to offer,” Tony replied, in an oh so tired voice. To tell the truth, he would go to interview a hundred serial killers than spend an hour in the office with her smug attitude.
“She is too late,” Hotch replied with a hint of possessiveness in his voice. He’d lost a lot in the past year but he was willing to fight for this new thing with Tony. It was probably yet another thing that annoyed Haley that he wasn’t willing to fight for her, but he was willing to defend Tony’s position in his life.
Gibbs had got into the office. “Where is DiNozzo?”
Ziva looked up. “I have no idea. Should he not already be here?”
“Yes, he should, hence the question.”
Gibbs got no further in his interrogation. “Bossman, you gotta have a word with Madam witch ... She has sent Tony to the FBI and that is not right.”
Gibbs pinched his nose and dearly wished he had a whole carafe of coffee right now. It was bad that he was an agent down, and now Jenny thought it was time to take his SFA away? It was like she didn’t want him to solve cases. “Excuse me.”
He demanded to know what Jenny was thinking.
“We have just buried a member, and you think now is the time to loan my SFA out?” Gibbs shouted.
She put her pen down. “A request came from the FBI, and Ziva could do with some support integrating. She is too used to Mossad procedures.”
“Then she is shit out of luck because you have just sent the training officer of the team away. I want a TAD SFA and it better be a good one. I am supposed to be solving crimes not dealing with agents who can’t figure out their ass from their elbows.”
Meanwhile Tony was once more neck-deep in his case notes. “This whole thing doesn’t make sense. I got him on playing words games with him in the original interview.”
Hotch looked through the prosecuting side. “You presented an air-tight case. In fact, the State Attorney wanted to give you a medal.”
Tony remembered the case, he was just refreshing his memory of the finer details. “Something about this stinks.”
Hotch agreed with Tony. “I know but this could be an intriguing file to add to the database.”
Tony huffed out loud because seeing that zeal in his lover’s eyes - He knew he’d go there in a heartbeat. “Fine but we’re going on a real vacation, with a beach and somewhere nice for Jack to have a play club so we can have a few hours.”
And that was what Hotch adored about Tony, he assumed that Jack was part of the Hotch package. “Deal.”
JJ and Garcia were catching up. “Hi, Mrs Hotchner. No, he is not here, he is at a prison conducting an interview.”
“You can tell him that if he wants me to sign the papers, he can bring them around just make sure his boytoy stays out of sight.”
She dearly wanted to ask about the ‘boytoy’ but for once the media expert was at a loss for words. “I will pass the message along.”
“What was that about?” Garcia asked.
JJ was honest. “I have no idea.”
The prison was a set-up and the vicious bastard looked so proud. Hardwicke was leaning against the wall and informed them. “There will be 13 minutes before a guard comes here. It took me less than five to do that.”
Tony wasn’t impressed with the intimidation attempt. “Why would we need weapons?”
“Well, there is no way they will execute me next week if I’ve killed two FBI agents.” He smugly informed them.
Tony looked at Hotch and they were in agreement. If the bastard wanted to pretend that he was the Alpha Male, they would match him. They took off their suit jackets and ties, undoing their top buttons.
Tony was the one to start the goading. “Why would we need a weapon to deal with you?”
“You have too many rules,” Hardwicke replied, telling Tony he was relying on them playing by all the rules.
Hotch looked so hot as he stared the killer down. “I am not a tiny female, you take a swing at either of us. We will retaliate, and this what you’ve always feared isn’t it?”
Tony was able to match Aaron, toe-to-toe. “Be fair, Hotch. He probably likes an easy fight.”
And the two men crowded the killer, closing in from either side of the table. If he had been planning this - he hadn’t thought it through.
Hotch stared the killer in the eyes and baited him. “Go on, take a chance. It might change my opinion of you.”
Hardwicke sneered. “What? I am always going to be a vicious killer in your eyes.”
Hotch chuckled but it was derisive in tone. “You’re not a vicious killer or whatever you tell yourself to massage your ego. You’ve only ever killed easy targets. You’ve always wondered if one day there might be a knock at the door and someone like us is at the door.”
Tony stood easy and tall, ready to avoid a strike and deliver his own in return. The killer was in such a staring match with Hotch that he seized his opportunity. He took the bastard down with a cop move, slamming his head into the table, and putting pressure on the shoulder joint. The irony being their last interview had ended the same way.
He’d pinned him by the shoulder and put pressure on the joint. If Hardwicke tried to move, the shoulder would be dislocated. Tony looked up unruffled. “Sorry I didn’t know if he wanted to kiss you or kill you. And well, I wasn’t going to let either option happen.”
“Serial killers aren’t attractive to me.” Hotch replied as if the very idea would be disturbing, even though they both knew there was a sect of society that did find these people attractive.
Tony smirked. “Good job I catch them then isn’t it.”
“This is puke making.”
Tony hadn’t forgotten about Hardwicke. “Look if you didn’t want to listen to me flirt. You shouldn’t have tried to lure us here to try and kill us. It was a pathetic attempt really, you should be ashamed of yourself.”
“He has low standards.”
A guard burst in. “Everything okay here?”
Tony looked up as if everything was normal. “Mr Harwicke seemed to be under the impression that he could kill us to avoid his date next week.”
The guard snorted. “Is that so? Come on, lets get you back to your cell.”
They waited until the serial killer was gone back to his cell before they looked at each other and started to laugh. Tony was the one to say it. “You sure know how to show a man a good time.”
“Nothing but the best for you,” Hotch replied sassily.
Tony shook his head and sighed. “Let’s get out of here. I know my townhouse is free of craziness.”
“You gotta deal.”
Tony was sort of right - Gibbs burst in, in the morning and got an eyeful of two naked agents, who had been interrupted mid-coitus pointing guns at him. That wasn’t a pun but they all promised to never share that story.
Chapter 14: Plans: Good and Bad (Aaron Hotchner 5)
Aaron had decided to crash with Tony that night as his lover had made a persuasive argument. They had not been too bothered by the whole escapade at the prison. The sad fact of the matter was - It wasn’t the first time either of them had been threatened by a psycho.
This one just had too high an opinion of himself and his weak plan had crumbled. “Look, let’s stay at mine, I have the walk-in shower. We can wipe the grime of the prison off us and then we can sleep. Full warning, I fully plan to wake up early and do all the nasty things that I planned to do to you tonight if we weren’t going to suffer an adrenaline crash.”
“You’ve sold me.” He looked at his phone and there were five more messages from Haley.
He wanted to deal with this in the car. He didn’t know what it was important to him but it felt right. “This is going to be fun.” He dialled the number.
“What do you need, Haley?” Aaron asked and put it on speaker. He wanted Tony to know that he was serious about him and that he had nothing to worry about
“I want you to sign the divorce papers uncontested so this can be done.” She explained with no other words. She had tried so many games and they’d all failed and she was just tired. She just wanted to move on and try happiness.
“Okay,” Hotch replied, as it was what he wanted but only on one condition. “But the custody agreement will also be signed uncontested.”
She growled. “Your work is dangerous Aaron, you can’t guarantee you’ll be there.”
Aaron looked at Tony, and mouthed ‘can I?’
Tony nodded and knew what he was promising with this but there was no way he wouldn’t support Aaron.
Aaron knew this was probably going to start another row. “Between, Tony and I, we will make sure there is a safe guardian for Jack on my days. You know with us both being Federal Workers that we can’t be anything but safe.”
“So it’s serious then?” She asked softly.
“We’d been separated five months, Haley. You couldn’t expect me to be a monk.”
He could have been nasty but today with their afternoon with Hardwicke had soured him towards that idea. He realised that actually what he wanted more than anything was a chance to pursue Tony honestly and without cloak and dagger routines.
“I will sign it drop it at the office.” She assured him.
The call had been tense and Tony was glad they could crawl into his townhouse. “You’re so lucky that you’re adorable.”
Aaron snorted because there day had been crazy. “You’re right I am.”
Tony offered one of his rare blinding smiles and Aaron was so glad that Haley had set him free to explore a relationship with Tony. It was ironic she had asked for the divorce but seemed to get vindictive only after he’d chosen to pursue a new relationship.
Gibbs may have given Ziva a chance on the team but what he wasn’t willing was to do was bury his head in the sand. She was too much an operative and too much of Jenny’s puppet. She was meant to be directing the agency and not micromanaging his team.
“I need DiNozzo back, yesterday.”
Jenny looked up from her paperwork. “What’s the rush?”
“You take the natural investigator off my team, who helps me keep the solve rate sky high ... and you wonder what my issue is?”
“You are saying that it is DiNozzo?”
Gibbs rolled his eyes. “I have no idea why everyone seems to think I keep him around for light entertainment. He is not there to up the cuteness factor, Jenny, for crying out loud. He is the best young agent that I have ever seen, he pulls together the most tenuous threads and finds the answers.”
She was stunned. “I was under the impression that he was skating by on his charms.”
Gibbs tilted his head to the side and asked carefully. “Who exactly gave you that impression”
Jenny played it coy which was useless with him. “What do you mean?”
“You gave a performance evaluation for an agent who has just come back from medical leave. So if you believe he has skated by on his charms then someone gave you that impression and it wasn't his team leader.”
She froze, “I don’t have to tell you anything.”
“Jenny, if you want me to lead my team then butt out. I have been doing this job for too long to need micro-managing. If you want to do that, then you will drive away good agents.”
The bit left unsaid was he would be one of them. “Are you saying you would leave?”
Gibbs rolled his eyes. “You’ve missed the point and you are better than judging an agent by the rumour mill. Think about all the rumours we have suffered over the years.”
She sorted. “Yeah, but we were going undercover.”
Gibbs knew then that Ziva was responsible because she had no access to his file so she wouldn’t have known about Tony’s bouts undercover.
“Then you should read a file, not use Mossad’s clouded judgements.”
Jenny narrowed her eyes. “You agreed to have her on your team.”
“I did but that is before she has spent the last two days trying to poison me towards my SFA. She has the subtly of a brick, Jen and if I am saying it you know there is a problem.”
Jenny sighed and she knew it was a dirty tactic. “I want her to escape her father’s schemes, Jethro. She has never known anything other than Mossad tactics.”
Gibbs shrugged. “If she was open to learning it would be fine. She is not interested and I am not interested in keeping a destabilising agent around.”
Jenny sighed, knowing that Gibbs in this mood would be harder to manage. “I will talk to her.”
“You do that.”
Gibbs was heading into work when he saw Tony’s Mustang. He stopped by the Townhouse, forgetting for a second that this was Tony’s favoured property. He used two places in DC, his official NCIS address and this place. Tony’s mother had left him this townhouse and he refused to sell it under any circumstances.
The door was locked but Gibbs could hear the raised voices. Tony may have been loaned to the FBI but he was still one of Gibbs’ team.
The lock was easy to pick and the noises were coming from up ahead. It sounded like a fight had broken out in Tony’s room. He advanced carefully, weapon raised prepared to fire if necessary.
He burst through the door to quite the sight . Two guns and two excited agents were staring back at him. There could be no doubt what he’d interrupted. If it was a fight, it was of a carnal action.
Gibbs being Gibbs and not able to resist. “What exactly are you firing?”
Tony groaned because of course, this is the time Gibbs finds a sense of humour. “Gibbs, why you gotta be a cockblock. Get out of here and make some coffee and we can have a proper chat.
Hotch had found the bedspread first and waited until Gibbs was out of the room before he secured your weapon. He couldn’t help but remind some of Tony’s words from the night before, in a wry tone. “Come to your place, it will be relaxing.”
Tony whimpered. “This is not funny. First your crazy ex and then my boss. Who have we upset up there?”
Aaron took a deep breath and pulled on his legendary reserves of cool, calm. He was going to need it to because he was well-aware how much Tony cared for Gibbs. This was practically for Hotch a meet-the-in-laws situation. “So that was a great first meeting.” He observed.
Tony giggled, although it came out slightly strangled. “If it is any comfort, he will be impressed that you went for a gun before your clothes.”
“So cool and calm, normal breakfast?” Aaron asked checking how they were going to play this morning. It was important to him that they were on the same page.
Tony nodded. “I told you I could deal with Haley and all her drama but your side of the deal was to handle Gibbs.”
Hotch kissed him to seal the deal, “Let’s get out there and secure his silence on this morning.”
They got it - Instead, they plotted how to deal with Sheppard and Ziva. It was practically a family-bonding morning and it set a tone for Gibbs’ relationship to the point Jack loved to brag about his grandpa.
Chapter 15: Meet the father-In-Law (Dave Rossi 5)
In which Dave gets to meet his future father-in-law.
Sequel to Make or Break or Them?
The BAU team plane was luxurious and Tony was appreciating the amenities. He whistled seeing the comfortable couch. “This is a nice setup.”
Rossi rolled his eyes, even as he made room to let Tony sit next to him. The BAU was his team, and family so it wasn’t like they would care if he offered some tactile support to Tony. “Don’t start I have seen your set up.”
Tony grinned wickedly. “You got a plane, I get sweet toys to fight terrorism.”
Garcia was on the conference call. “How sweet?”
“Oh, I couldn’t possibly say. Dave would never forgive me if I seduced you to Homeland with my technology.”
Tony saw the way Morgan scowled at the word seduce. It was ridiculous as the whole team knew he was with Dave and came with the added baggage of a Mob family. It was an adoptive family, one that he fought with wanting but they were in trouble and Tony couldn’t help it. He had to go and help. This was going to either make or break his relationship with Dave. If it was broken because of this - whoever was killing his family better hope they die in the process.
There was a reason why he was Salvatore Mancuso’s preferred heir.
The plane had touched down in Philly and the team were staring at Tony knowing that this wouldn’t be easy for the man. Aaron took the chance to leave the team orders, “So we’re going to the station and you and Dave will be going to the prison to interview Mancuso.”
It made sense as none of them would get anything from the incarcerated Don - the only one was Tony. The only question was what would it cost the Homeland Agent?
Tony accepted the splitting of the roles and was grateful to have Dave by his side. “Yep, I am going to have fun. Fair warning the FBI around here will probably hate me.”
Hotch smirked because Dave had already briefed him on Tony’s complicated relationship with the wider FBI. “We’re not working with the FBI office we’ve asked to work with the PD.”
“That works, I left here on fairly good terms, granted that was before I got adopted,” Tony replied. He wasn’t too sure how that reception would be now that he was widely known to be part of the family even if he was never in the state.
“What do we need to know?” Morgan asked before they stepped into their SUV.
“This is one of two scenarios,” Tony started to explain. “The first is one of the family, a lowly lieutenant is trying to show off that he can handle the big leagues and is stepping on the bones of others to prove his worth.”
“Which is bloody stupid,” Dave remarked.
Tony smirked before adding wryly. “Well, you pick some for brawn and others for brains.”
JJ got it quicker than the others. “And some of the brawn have more than ambition than sense.”
Tony grinned, “In one.”
Derek was slightly unnerved and also fascinated to get such an insight into a Mob family. “What’s the other option?”
“Someone outside the family has decided that little Johnny is too stupid to run things after all and wants the big prize. They’re indirectly attacking Alona Mancuso as a message that the family is too weak. It will end when they feel enough pain has been caused to get their prize.” It was difficult to talk so dispassionately about a woman he had a great deal of fondness for even if he struggled to reconcile his relationship with her husband.
Hotchner was the one to ask the difficult question. “And how do you fit into this whole equation?”
Tony smirked. “Didn’t you hear? The Wildcard is home and is in no mood for games or death.”
The tone he said it made the majority of the BAU members shiver. They were starting to see just why the imprisoned Don might believe he would make a good head of the family. It was clear that DiNozzo knew the law, and had a firm sense of the right and wrong but he was loyal and charming and those qualities in the right mix could be dangerous.
“You take me to all the best places.” Dave teased as they parked up outside the maximum-security prison.
Tony snickered. “You interviewed Bundy and now I get you access to a Mob boss and you complain. You know they are notoriously close-lipped.”
“I would feel so much better if I didn’t know it was a meet the In-Law situation,” Dave remarked.
“On the bright side, he is in prison so his capacity to cause chaos is limited.” Tony attempted to reassure Dave.
“If I get one horse head in my bed.”
Tony groaned. “Come on, you’re not funny. It was a great movie but this is real life.”
Dave loved seeing his reaction, the fire in his lover was what he wanted to see. He wasn’t quite sure how Tony was going to play this meeting but it was going to be fascinating nonetheless. “You’ve got this Tony, and I trust you whatever games you have to play.”
Tony managed a weak smile and he didn’t know how much he needed to hear those words until they were said. The warden was heading towards them so the chance to prepare was over - it was game time.
The Warden stood waiting outside the doors. “I understand you’ve requested an interview with Salvatore Mancuso.”
Tony nodded and made the introductions. “That’s correct, I am Assistant Director of Homeland Security, Anthony DiNozzo, and this is FBI Special Agent, Dave Rossi, of the BAU.”
The warden looked contrite. “I am sorry to say that you have wasted a journey. He has refused to speak to any type of law enforcement officer.”
Tony wasn’t disappointed and kept calm. He replied in a sure tone. “I would be grateful if you could tell him, Tony is here to see him.”
The warden was confused and wary of him. “I can admire confidence. I will try, please sign in and leave your guns with the front desk. I will have an officer escort you.”
The interview room was through the one prison block, and they heard the prisoner’s smart comments. Tony and his looks were a big hit but Dave couldn’t help but ask his lover quietly knowing the closest prisoners would here. “Wow, they’re brave to say those things against a Mancuso.”
There was a silence that rippled out from the couple, the guard who was too far ahead looked back in confusion. “What just happened?”
Tony shrugged, playing clueless. “No idea.”
The radio sputtered to life saying that Salvatore had agreed to the interview. This freaked the guard out. “Who are you?”
“You saw the badge, correct?” Tony asked with a challenge.
The guard had no desire to stay in the room. “He will be secured and I will be just outside.”
Rossi looked at his lover. “You freaked him out.”
Tony wasn’t impressed. “Then he is in the wrong business.”
Rossi couldn’t disagree and as he’d been the one to shut the prisoners up he didn’t want to be a hypocrite. “You might be right.”
“Well, well, look what the cat dragged in.” Salvatore Mancuso remarked as he walked through the door.
Tony had a wicked grin and was determined to show no emotions that could be used against him. “Hey, Pops. It must be a full moon as you got your wish.”
The guard blanched and Tony had no doubt that the guard would soon be scurrying back to the warden with that little tidbit.
“And who is this?” Salvatore demanded to know. “You know I don’t like the Feeb’s, Tonio.”
“You know exactly who this is,” Tony replied. He rolled his eyes. “You know I have a fiance so don’t get shocked now.”
“Are you going to spoil all my fun?” Salvatore huffed. As he settled back in his chair for what was no doubt going to be an enlightening conversation. It must be good if his eldest son was sitting in front of him.
Tony snorted at that question because, yeah, he kind of was going to spoil his fun. He was in no mood to match wits with his adoptive father. “Funnily enough, right now, I want to make sure mamma is safe. So any enemies I should know about.”
“You said you didn’t want to lead the family.” Salvatore pointed out, calmly as if this was just a casual chat over a cup of coffee.
Tony shook his head. “You don’t get to play games. Her guards are being killed and Organised Crime doesn’t care. I do . Let me do my job.”
“You catch terrorists Tonio .”
Tony took a deep breath. “Listen, someone is terrorising the family and Johnny doesn’t have the brains for this ... and Francine can’t lawyer her way out of this. You should be seizing at the opportunity of me getting involved.”
“And why is that?”
Tony leaned forward. “You want me running the family. This is probably your best shot so I ask you again ... Who is coming after the family?”
Salvatore chuckled and just looked so pleased with himself. He must have seen something that he wanted. “If I said Bernetti’s son reached an unfortunate end last week here.”
“I couldn’t say, Tonio, but I know his father was a suitor for my fair Alona’s hand and he is also under the impression that I ordered his son’s death.”
Tony stood up and pinched his nose. This wasn’t his preferred option because it was going to require a much more delicate game than he had wanted to play. “How can you cause so much trouble locked up?”
Salvatore shrugged. “I have no idea what you mean? When is the wedding?” He tried to deflect the conversation, hoping that this time is not the only time he saw Tony.
Tony sighed. “We haven’t set a date. We have to stop a turf war your tantrum has put into motion.”
“I do hope your fiance can cope with your family,” Salvatore asked in a quiet but menacing tone.
Tony was not sure of a lot right now but he wasn’t doubting Dave. “You know what I am not worried about Dave breaking my heart. So lay off the threats, father. I have to go make sure Mamma is safe.”
Dave knocked on the door. “We’re ready to go.”
It was the warden. “You lied.”
Tony glared. “I resent the hell out of that, I am exactly who I said. It is only Salvatore who calls me his heir. You should know I am the reason he is sitting there.”
“Warden, don’t be rude to Tonio.” Salvatore glared. “He has a job to do, and I can respect ruthlessness.”
“You keep my Alona safe,” Salvatore ordered.
Tony smirked. “That is one thing we can agree on.”
It looked like Dave had met the future father-in-law and now he was going to get the joy of meeting a woman who’d ensnared the heart of a Mob Boss and the loyalty of his fiance. She must be one hell of a woman.
Chapter 16: Meet the Future Mother-In-Law (David Rossi 6)
As soon as they had left the prison, they'd phoned Hotchner to tell him what they'd learned.
Dave had waited until after the phone call had ended, to ask Tony the pressing question. "Do you believe Bernetti is good for this?"
Tony shrugged, "It is difficult to say without seeing Alona."
Dave sighed as that was a perfect segway into his next question, "And are you ready to see her?"
Tony chuckled darkly at what should be an easy question to answer, and yet there was no easy answer, "Sure, I adore her."
Rossi wasn't buying what Tony was selling. There was a reason Tony hadn't returned to the city despite his love for the Mancuso's. "You haven't come back to Philly for a reason."
Tony tried to explain it, "Yeah, that is because I was a risk to Alona and Francine." They didn't need the heat of a Federal Agent for a family member, even if they didn't hate him.
Dave had to point out, "You don't add Johnny or Salvatore into the list of your worries."
Tony snickered at the thought of needing to guard them. "You know they are big enough and bad enough to take care of themselves."
Dave spoke up quietly. "You know if you want to talk to them after all this, we can deal with it."
Tony was driving, or he would have made a bigger deal of it. "You're telling me as an FBI agent you would be willing to go to Sunday Dinner with the mob?"
Dave snorted at the sarcasm, and he was aware that Tony only got defensive when it mattered. "You know I don't need this job."
Tony shook his head. "It is bad enough that some of your friends like to give me grief over my adopted family." It had stopped somewhat with his move to Homeland security.
Dave wanted to remind Tony, "You should know that Fornell moved Sacks to Organised Crimes."
Tony groaned because he wasn't sure who that was punishing. "What so he can harass me more?"
Dave smirked, "You know I am a pro at avoiding questions too."
"I know it's why we work so well," Tony replied with a smirk.
Hotchner got off the phone with the prison warden. He loathed sycophants, almost as much, as people who believed they had more authority than they did.
Morgan looked at his Unit Chief. "What did he want?"
"I am apparently meant to order the Assistant Director of Homeland Security back to his prison to clarify some things."
Derek's face spoke volumes for him, "Wow, and what had him so upset?"
"I think it might have been the fact he didn't know who DiNozzo was until they'd sat down."
Morgan had reread the file about the undercover operation once he'd learnt it was Tony. "You know by rights DiNozzo should be dead."
"He puts the Don in prison and gets adopted," Hotchner repeats, shaking his head. He'd listened but not really believed it until they'd arrived in the city.
Derek looked at the file. "He appreciates his son's pragmatism."
Hotch snorted, "That is what we now call sending someone to jail?"
Derek shrugged. "I don't think DiNozzo cares as he is still breathing."
As it was only them in the room, Hotch shared his other observation. "It is a good thing he is so entrenched in the law."
"Why do you say that?" Derek asked with curiosity in his voice.
"He would make one of the worst types of Mafia Leaders," Hotch confessed. "He has the looks, charms and ruthlessness in equal measures."
Derek wasn't a boy scout, but he was missing something. "What do you mean ruthlessness?"
"His name whispered at the prison saw the cell-block go quiet."
Derek whistled in surprise. "You know as well as I do how to build a legend."
"The trouble with legends in they grow in your absence."
"You say that like a bad thing," Derek offered a new perspective. "If people have been telling tales, it will make it easier for him to get answers."
They say you can always go home. Tony looked at the mansion and wondered if it was true. Dave poked his side, "You know there are no answers in the car."
Tony grinned at his lover, recognising the comment to be a kick up the butt. Dave was right, they'd get nowhere sitting in the car. "Come and meet one special lady."
He pulled the car up on to the drive and two guards stepped forward at the gate. "No visitors."
Tony didn't look amused and fired back in rapid Italian. "Good job, I am not a visitor then. Tell Mama, Tonio is here."
The two guards blanched and one radio call later and Tony is parked up. As soon as Tony was out of the car, a woman raced into his arms, but she was too young to be Alona Mancuso. Dave wasn't jealous as he knew this must be Francine Mancuso.
She smacked Tony's shoulder, "Why didn't you call me when the Feebs tried to arrest you?"
Tony clutched his shoulder. "Yeah, I am in trouble, and I ask for a consigliere? I am pretty, but I am not stupid."
She snorted at that comment. "You're both. The Feebs arrest you, so you take one as your fiance."
Tony scowled. "Hey, he is hot, Italian, can shoot and doesn't put up with my crap."
Francine giggled because Tony didn't see it yet. She would let him figure it out - It was how her papa explained why he loved their mother. "Well, he hasn't run for the hills, and you've taken him to see papa."
Tony frowned. "Is that judgement I am hearing?"
She shook her head. "You swore that you wouldn't see him while he was inside."
Tony was well aware of what he'd promised, but circumstance change. "Yeah but that is before it came to my attention that someone is targeting the family."
The conversation moved inside, where there were no bugs or surveillance. If Tony had been in a vindictive mood, he would have waved at the surveillance van."
Inside the house, a stunning older woman was standing at the end of the hallway. Tony didn't think twice about it, he ran to hug her, pulling her off her feet. He was murmuring in quite Italian about being sorry and promising to fix this.
Dave watched Tony gently put the smaller woman back on her feet and introduced him. "Hey, Mama, this is Dave, he is mine."
She looked at him, or Dave thought it would be more accurate to say through him. She gripped Tony's arms, "Is he loyal?"
Tony nodded. "Yes, he gave his organisation hell when they tried to arrest me."
She chuckled. "Good. So what brings you home apart from your fiance?"
Tony rolled his eyes because Alona could be stubborn if she wanted. "You know why I am here, Mama. Dave has a book of victims, and they all have one thing in common."
She sighed. "I can handle myself, Tonio. Your father made sure of that."
Tony shook his head. "Bernetti thinks papa is responsible for Eduardo's death."
"Is he?" She asked carefully.
Tony shrugged. "That is between you and Papa." He wanted to make sure she understood his aims. "I just want to make sure you're safe and stop this becoming a turf war."
She patted his arm. "It is good you're home. Let us all have some tea. You too, Francie."
Sacks stormed into the office that the BAU had taken over. "You want to explain why you're agent is going to tea with the fucking mob."
"He is discussing an active case." Hotch offered as if it should be obvious.
Sacks sneered. "So why is he with the Mancuso heir?"
Aaron was well aware of the anonymity. "You know OC handed us this case in DC. Agent Rossi, aware of the connection, sought the help of Assistant Director DiNozzo."
"He is the fucking heir."
Hotch played it deadpan. "I was under the impression that he's not returned to Phillidelphia since Salvatore Mancuso was sentenced."
"And why is that?"
Morgan sneered. "Why don't you go and ask him? If you can get through the gates. We have an actual killer to get off the streets."
Sacks flushed at the implication and stormed off. Hotch shook his head in disappointment, "Remind me when I get back to DC to do something about that agent."
Tony sat down at the kitchen table, and it was just like old times. "So, Bernetti, what do I need to know?"
"Nothing as a good Federal Agent," Francine replied too coy for her own good.
Tony shook his head. "Francine, all I know is all of mama's guards are being picked off. I want to stop the bastard before they get to her."
Alona sneered. "They're welcome to try."
Tony smirked, knowing what she was capable of, "Let's try this going down without you making a mess of your kitchen."
Dave knew he was missing something but stayed quiet for now. He noticed that only Francine and Alona were present.
Tony wasn't as shy, "Where is Johnny?"
Alona shrugged. "He is doing something but is irrational at the moment."
Tony winced as that wasn't good. "How so?"
Francine answered him honestly, "He is paranoid, knowing that someone is trying to end us. He is talking about big action."
Tony pinched his nose in frustration because he was still too rash. "Mama, call him home, and keep him busy."
"What are you going to do?"
Tony stood up, buttoned up his suit. "I'm going to get Bernetti to threaten me and arrest him. We know whoever comes to get him is more than likely our killer."
Rossi chuckled at the simplicity of the plan, even if there was risk involved. "You're going to be bait."
Tony nodded. "Are you regretting saying yes to my proposal?"
"Nope, should I be?"
Tony leaned into to kiss his cheek. "Let's go and bag us a Mob Leader."
Rossi had met most of the family, and he could handle this ... It just left the irrational brother-in-law. As long as he didn't mess up their plan, all would be fine.
Chapter 17: Crashing Dinners (Jack O'Neill 6)
Prequel for Presents for Me and You
Jack was so damn bored. So bored. He couldn’t think of a word in the English language that could convey how bored he was. He’d been convinced by Danny to go on a date. It was either that or listen to his daydreams about the space-pirate, so it was an easy choice to make.
This is how he got to this point, sitting in a fancy restaurant and desperately wishing for an invasion or minor crisis. Well, anything really to get the hell out of this date, it was that bad.
The Senator was up and coming on the Hill, but she was cute and had nothing to do with the military budget, so Jack had thought she was a safe date. She was a safe date, but also so damn boring.
The bar was one where you had to be both rich or connected to get in. Their main meal had been served, and two new people had entered. Jack tracked their movements because they felt off to him. He didn’t get it though as security should have scanned them - so who were they?
Tony was on a mic, but it wouldn’t matter. The club was too exclusive so no one else from the team was allowed through the door.
The general who their Intel suggested might be the subject of the kidnapping just looked like he was having the worst date ever. The woman had gone to the bathroom, and he’d had made one brief call. “Save me.” Tony wondered if he made that type of request very often.
Poor guy, if he wasn’t on the clock Tony would have probably struck up a flirtation with him. Then again, seeing the two guys walking down the stairs - It looked like it was game time.
“Showtime. Can you ID the last two entrants?”
The barman frowned, “What was that Anthony?”
Tony shook his head, even as he heard the conversation on the radio. “They call him, Anthony. He doesn’t let Gibbs call him that.”
Ziva snorted. “It’s the rich, they do things their own way.”
Wow, that sounded like jealousy, and Tony was guessing it was the first time McGee considered what his wealth meant.
The two in the van slipped his mind as assessed the situation. He stood up, and calmly walked towards the general’s table, and slipped his knife into his pocket. It looked like the bastards were going for a close kill. Brave. Tony had seen what little he could have the man’s service jacket, and he wouldn’t want to try.
The General had caught on that something was up, but Tony saw the wince on his face. The General had no doubt made the same assessment at the fact it was a packed club. Tony let his badge slip into view for a fraction of a second. It was just long enough that he would be identified as a friend.
Tony grabbed the arms of the one guy and angled his knife into the side of the assassin. “Careful, that is pressed against your brachial artery. You will be dead in less than ninety seconds if my finger slips.”
The General grinned even as he punched out his assassin. “Son, you’re not cute enough to be that close.”
Tony watched as the senator downed her drink in one. “Sorry for disturbing your dinner date, Sir.”
Jack shook his head. “Nonsense, and you get a pass from me, on account of saving my ass.”
“I don’t know, you did okay,” Tony replied with a smirk.
“Too many civilians.”
Tony snorted because he knew what the general meant was too many witnesses. As both of their suspects were in zip-ties, he turned to the senator, who'd returned. “I am so sorry madam senator, I saw a threat against the General.”
“I am glad you were here to help, Agent.”
She picked up her bag, “I think this is a sign that we shouldn’t take this further.”
Jack probably should have said more, but he was thankful for the save. He would phone her tomorrow and leave things on a better note. For now, his attention turned back to the agent who came to his aid. “Is it standard procedure to threaten people with a knife?”
Tony shrugged. “Let me guess, you object that its a marine knife?”
Jack shook his head. “No, I was thinking, I need an agent, and I think I might steal you.”
Tony smirked, “You shouldn’t say such things to a guy. You will turn his head.”
The General grinned right back at him. “Let’s get out of here, I know your people, NCIS, started this, but we’re taking it.”
Gibbs had tried to stop it, but Tony found that Jack was a force of nature and within the hour Tony had had a crash course in aliens, signed the biggest NDA he'd ever seen, and was about to start to interrogate two Trust agents.
Tony was too suspicious. He’d looked at another Colonel he’d been introduced too, “How long have I have been on your radar?”
Mitchell snorted. “I have no idea but Morrow was mentioned.”
That told Tony everything. “Okay, so are you joining me in the room, or watching with the others, Colonel Mitchell?”
Mitchell thought about it. “I will stay in the room, just in case.”
Tony could have said a few things, but his training and experience didn’t cover aliens, so he would welcome the company. “Sure. After you.”
Tony sat down and went through the standard parts of the interrogation. He introduced himself and Colonel Mitchell and then got down to business. “So why did you want the General?”
The assassin shrugged. “We don’t know, we’re soldiers.”
“And who are your masters?” Tony asked, quick as a flash, and watched as a look of annoyance flashed across his face. He sat back, smug, “What? Did that hurt your feelings?”
Mitchell could join in, having spent time in the Lucian Alliance. “You're wasting your time, Agent DiNozzo. If they were of high rank they would know at least some details, so I'm guessing we've got the cannon fodder.”
“You stupid Flyboys don’t know anything.”
Tony huffed. “Stupid too, you know I’m an Agent, and you have given me nothing that I can convince the generals that you shouldn’t be dropped in a black hole.”
“You believe in truth and justice, not this.”
Tony snorted because why did the bad guys always appeal to their better nature, hoping to use it against them. “You picked the wrong programme. The US laws don’t cover this, you picked the wrong general to fuck with.”
Jack was watching from above, and he was liking Tony more and more. He was quick, decisive, gorgeous and a little bit badass. The fact he could look after himself made him more attractive.
Danny, his best friend, knew him too well. “You like him.”
“Have you asked out the space-pirate yet?”
“Vala and I, are going on a date. How about you and the agent?”
Jack pursed his lips, “I was on a date. He crashed it to help me stop two assassins. He threatened the mean trust agent with a marine knife for me.”
“You find that attractive?”
Jack frowned, he didn’t think there was anything wrong in what he said. “Well, yeah. You do know me.”
Tony had finished gleaning all the information he could from Tweedledee and Tweedledum. “So here is the actionable evidence that can help you.”
The General of the base looked annoyed. “You think it is okay they’re dead?”
Tony frowned. “Sorry, there was me thinking they were guilty of treason and attempted murder.”
Jack stood up. “They were, ignore Hank. So not only did your honeyed words end up killing them you got me actionable Intel to go after the rest of the group.”
Tony, knowing that Jack was the head of the programme relaxed. “Do I get a reward?”
Jack smirked, “We’ll think of something.”
Something turned into date after date.
Tony didn’t realise that he had been spending so much time with Jack until Mrs Jenkins stopped him. “Have you finally ditched the sugar daddy?”
Tony could admit that words he never expected to hear from his octogenarian neighbour, and those were up there. “You mean Jack?”
“Yes, you are too good-looking to need to date older men like that.”
Tony had a wicked grin, “But Jack knows how to look after me, Mrs Jenkins. There can be a lot said for experience.”
She gasped. “Young man!”
Tony chuckled. “Good night, Mrs Jenkins.”
The fact their schedules were crazy meant trying to find time together was getting stupid. It was a strain too for both of them as they'd greatly enjoyed their time together.
Well, Jack was done playing, and he had a plan. He handed Tony a key with his whiskey and sat down next to him to make his case. “Move in with me. We have the townhouse, and it will be ours, Georgetown is the perfect compromise.”
Tony looked at his pouting lover, and he thought about his shit-tastic day. Gibbs was at his bastard best, trying to prove why he should be the big man in charge. “Okay.”
Tony nodded finding the idea was sitting just right. “Your job means our address has to be classified, right?”
“It does, is that a bad thing?”
Tony shook his head. “Why would it be a bad thing?”
Jack snorted. “You are hoping to confuse your workmates?”
Tony shook his head. “Nope, I am looking forward to some peace and quiet.”
Jack winced. “I don’t have the best luck if you’re expecting quiet.”
Tony shook his head. “Not in that way,” he pulled Jack in by his tie, “This, us. Where we can shut the door to the world is what I want. And, you know not to have Mrs Jenkins ask me why I can’t find some nice girl.”
“She needs to mind her own business.”
Tony slid onto his lap, finding it wasn't close enough. “You know she is like eighty years old, and she is not who I am interested in. She thanks you for your service every time she sees you.”
“Yeah but thinks I treat you like a gigolo.” Jack reminds him. It had bothered him until Tony had put the conversation to bed by saying he was old enough to know his own mind.
Tony kissed him deeply, “Darlin, I will be your Italian Gigolo whenever you want, but I only give private dancers to hot Generals who give me keys for our place.”
Jack responded. “That’s a good thing because I kinda love you.”
Tony had never thought he would hear those words said with genuine affection. Sure, he had heard the words before, but only to control him. “Good thing too, as I kind of love you too.”
And that was how the couple moved in together and took great delight in hiding their relationship from supposed superstar investigators.
Chapter 18: Poor Little Brother (David Rossi 7)
Johnnie Mancuso was scared and pissed. It was not a good combination, so he had taken his two trusted lieutenants and gone cruising for a fight. He’d found one, but it wasn’t like there had been much provocation.
Ramone shouted, “Boss, you’re wanted on the phone.”
He didn’t stop kicking the little shit, who insulted his family’s name. “I’m busy.”
It didn’t seem to matter, Ramone was smart enough to appear contrite as he added, “Your mama said stop being a little shit and show her some respect.”
That did it. His mama wasn’t the type of person he could afford to upset. She was always creative and vicious in her revenge. It was impressive as she rarely raised her hand in violence. She thought the right word at the right time was far more effective in cutting down an opponent. He immediately took the phone, “Hey Mama, what is the matter?”
“Come home, now.” She ordered brusquely.
“Why?” He was on alert, she rarely made demands of them unless there was some danger to the family.
“I asked,” was her reply.
And then she ended the call. He hissed because it was like she didn’t care that he was de facto head of the family.
Tony grinned at his adoptive mother because she always had a deft way of handling them all, and their big personalities - He wasn’t excluded from that list.
“Thanks, Mamma, and stay safe.”
“Says the man about to start a pissing contest with the Bertinelli’s.” She finished with a frown. She didn’t like the fact Tony was home, and already he was heading straight into danger. This was not how she wanted the family to be reunited.
Tony kissed her cheek, “Hey, it will be fine and I am taking an FBI agent to the meeting. He will look after me.”
She shook her head in amusement. “Only you would take a fiance in the FBI.”
Tony shrugged. “I couldn’t resist and he is good to me, Mamma. You will see.”
She patted his cheek, “Go, and do what you must, but you better stay safe.”
Tony bowed his head in acknowledgement. “If anything goes wrong, you better call me.”
Tony walked down the steps to Agent Sacks of all people trying to harass their Security guard. “Let me handle, Agent Sacks, go back to your post.”
The guards looked relieved to be allowed to go back to their post. “You know, Slacks. You have the worst timing in the world. I do not need to deal with your inferiority complex.”
“So you can explain why a Federal Agent is having dinner with the mob?”
Tony snorted. “You miss the point, I don’t have to, you stupid bastard. This is my adoptive family’s home. I went to talk with my mother, who is justifiably upset as several of her friends have been murdered, and no one until yesterday seemed to care. I was just being a good son. You can talk to me when you become a good agent. You should remember I outrank you and when I get back to Washington, I will show you what that means your pettiness is impeding you doing your job.”
Rossi grinned at the tirade. It was perfect and to the point, and even better if it was recorded, there wasn’t a single thing that could be used against Tony. “Wow, and that will be added to the complaint that Unit Chief Hotchner will add against you.”
Sacks stormed off, and Tony watched, confused and slightly bewildered. “Do you think he has had a mental break?”
Rossi shook his head. “No, he is just delusional and worst of all, self-righteous.”
Tony groaned, and that was all he needed. “We better keep a log of every interaction we or the team have with him.”
Rossi knew it was the smart move. “I will get Garcia on it.”
Tony was drumming his fingers against the wheel. He needed to play this right, and he could play it big and flashy, like Johnny, but that wouldn’t set the right tone.
Dave shrugged, guessing this would be about more than good food. “Are you taking me to a mob place?”
Tony shook his head. “No, I am taking you to the place where the rich and connected eat in Philly. It could be Senators, politicians, property develops, import and export magnates, so some are criminal, and some are in politics.”
“And a few are both,” Dave finished.
Dave snorted, “It is a good job that I’m dressed for the occasion.”
Tony waltzed up to the podium, “I want the Mancuso table please.”
The head waiter looked up in alarm, “And your name?”
“Antonio Mancuso and this is my guest. Please make sure we are not disturbed.”
“Sir you should know that several of your family’s less friendly acquaintances are eating here.” He said it in such a tone that he prayed that there wouldn’t be a shoot out.
“That’s okay, I am counting on it,” Tony explained. “However, I can promise not to make a mess in your club.”
“You’re just so civilised,” Dave remarked.
Tony smirked. “You know me, I like to be polite.”
They say down for a meal and watched to see who stared. For the most part, it would be idle gossips and curiosity. However, it paid that both of them had extensive profiling skills for assessing threats.
Tony had a message from Francine saying that Johnny was home, so that was one less chess piece to worry about.
Dave saw Tony relax, “Johnny home?”
Tony nodded, “Yes, so that means we can act without worrying about collateral.”
Dave had to ask, “So how are you explaining me being with you?”
Tony frowned. “Let’s see you are my lover, and fiance. So what needs explaining?”
“And when one of them makes me out to be a Fed?”
Tony shrugged, “They will probably assume that we’re crooked. It’s too bad what assumptions people make, and they tend to get indiscreet when they think they are amidst friends.”
Dave shook his head, part in horror, and part bemusement. “So say nothing and let them hand themselves.”
“You will be surprised how effectively it works.”
Dave just sipped his water, “I’m disappointed in the criminals.”
Tony chuckled, “I frequently am, but it makes them easier to catch.”
Johnny Mancuso couldn't speak with how angry he felt. “Tonio is home.”
Alona nodded, “Yes, the deaths in the family have crossed his path in DC.”
“So what? He just waltzes home and starts giving the orders?” He asked petulantly.
His mother glared at him, “You have managed so well until that point.”
“So big brother, the Homeland Agent, will fix everything?”
Francine rolled her eyes, “You know green is so not your colour.”
Alona nodded in agreement, “She is right, Johnny. We all need help sometimes, and you know it. Tonio stays away because he doesn’t want to bring trouble to the family considering his job.”
Johnny was sulking, "I thought it was because he didn't the embarrassment of being related to us."
Alona saw the real issue, "Tonio has a war in his heart, his love of family, and his love of justice."
"We should be enough."
Alona kissed his head. "You know we need to show him we care, and that we support him. He never knew what family meant before us."
"He still put Papa in prison." Alona shrugged. "He did, and he made sure your father would see the light of day instead of ending up dead."
Francine and Johnny shared a look because they hadn't heard this part of the story. "Why would Papa have ended up dead?"
Alona made some tea because she liked the distraction of the ritual. "You know how your father got these ideas. Well, the Frangelino's objected to your father strong business tactics."
Francine giggled, remembering that day. "You, and Tony, made such a mess in this kitchen that day."
"It was nothing they didn't deserve," she replied tartly. "And your father agreed to Tony's solution."
Johnny didn't get it. "The Frangellino's wanted to kill Dad?"
Alona shrugged. "One of your father's messages was extreme, and Frangellino felt attacking the house was smart but Stefan Frangelino had vowed not to rest until your father was dead, but only after he had lost everything he cared about."
"How did we not know?" Johnny asked, trying to understand.
"Your brother had organised for you and Francine to take trips out of state," Alona explained.
Johnny was so confused, and he knew his whole opinion was being turned on its head. He'd always blamed Tony for breaking up their family, and now he learned that he'd done his best to save it. "How much of a mess?"
Alona smirked, "I woke up that day and decided I just hated the table, the carpet and the walls needed a complete change."
If Johnny was confused now - it was nothing compared to watching Tony orchestrate the downfall of the Bertinelli's, and using the law to do his dirty work. Johnny didn't know if he was proud of his big brother, or disappointed by the lack of action. He learned that sometimes a scalpel was more effective than a hammer in terms of approach.