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Take Me for Who I am!

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Dave and Tony were tucking into their meal back at the restaurant and keeping up a casual conversation. It was not quite a performance. The idea was for him to show his face again, and let the other players know he was on the scene. Dave couldn't help but remark. "If looks could kill we'd be testing your luck."

Tony didn't get into that debate because it wasn't an argument he could win. He rolled his eyes because it wasn't the first time they'd had the conversation. He did reply, "I don't try to tempt my luck, you know, it just sort of happens."

"I much prefer you at Homeland." Dave didn't bother to pretend otherwise but kept that comment low enough that only Tony would be able to hear it. All Dave knew was he had yet to get a call from the hospital for an emergency, and he hoped it stayed that way. He was aware that he was the last emergency case, having caught a bullet in the arm. It was just Dave's injuries tended not to push his luck. 

"Yeah. Who knew hunting terrorists would be safer?" Tony replied with a grin. He was keeping the mood light, as he wanted to project an air of calm confidence. It would bother the others since it wouldn't have gone unnoticed that his adoptive family was under attack. He kept scanning the room to see who was glaring, who was speculative and who looked at them homicidally.

Dave snorted at his lover's flippant comment, "Let's not tempt fate before we get back to DC."

Tony smirked because he wasn't in the mood to tempt fate as things were on a tightrope already. "I am not tempting fate. We do our jobs, and we let the dust settle where it falls." It sounded so simple, and yet they both knew it would be anything but simple - still, they could hope. 

Their conversation was interrupted by a dark shadow looming over them.  "You got a lotta nerve coming here."

Tony looked up, and the expression on his face was pure ice. Dave knew he was witnessing the mafioso prince in action. It was more than evident that Tony recognised the guy given his reaction. "And why is that, Franco?" 

The man standing in front of them had worked for the Frangelino's so there was no love lost there as far as Tony was concerned. He still hadn't forgiven them for what they had planned to do to Alona. Tony may have seen the family outfit taken down at the same time as Salvatore, but it still felt hollow. Of course, Tony didn't let any of this show on his face, he kept a friendly grin on his face, "I just wanted a nice meal with my friend here. The only one souring things this afternoon is you."

Dave didn't know the guy in particular, but he screamed cliched Mob member. It was a little sad for someone to be dressing like they were part of the Godfather, but not everyone could have sartorial elegance.

It seemed Franco didn't take the hint and continued to interrupt their lunch, "You disappeared from the State. You let your little brother run things, and you think we're just going to let you swan back in and take over?"

Tony chuckled at the showboating attempt and threw down his napkin. "You know, this is all fascinating, but you are ruining my food, and that is just rude. It is not your business, but I was attending to family interests outside of the State. So unless you are the one stupid enough to threaten my family, you have nothing to fear from me." Tony leaned forward as if he was offering a juicy secret. "You know, Franco, I would have stayed away as I was dealing with the families foreign interests, but you know how I react to threats against my family." Tony finished silkily, and there was an impressive amount of threat laced into his words. 

The man sneered because he knew better than the others. He shook his head in disbelief, "And to think everyone believes it is Johnny, who is the little psycho in your family. They have no idea just who they are talking to."

Tony said nothing in response, just raised one eyebrow in a challenge. The man stormed off, and Tony returned to his food. "Well, at least the brash idiot will help do our job for us.  Small mercies. "

Dave snorted, seeing the irony and sneakiness in his fiance's plan. "You just used a criminal to spread the news of your return."

Tony chucked. "Oh yeah, and as I have made it clear that I might disappear if I find the threat against my family. We may find that some of the other families will help us with the case."

Dave had to wonder just what legend Tony built in this State if just the idea of him sticking around would make criminals give up their brethren. It must be pretty bad as on the whole, the rule of omerta was standard operating practice. He wanted to be clear on Tony's plan, not wanting to make an offhand comment. "You suggested you've been out of the State. Why"

"Now why would a family choose to hide their son out of the country?" Tony remarked, letting Dave in on the simplicity of the plan. 

There was only one reason a family would pay to sneak a member out of State or even the country, and that was to avoid a murder charge. It was such an elegant way to use people's assumptions against them. It also suggested if Tony had now reappeared the family wanted someone, who was ruthless and capable of murder to protect them. It might make the person targeting them think twice, or get bolder. 


Alona was cleaning the kitchen even though it was near midnight when Francine walked back in. It was late, so she assumed everyone was in bed where she should be. "Why are you not sleeping, mamma?"

She chuckled at her daughter's pointed tone. "For the same reason as you expect."

Francine flopped against the table, showing that she was at least tired. "I can't believe he is in the state."

Alona grinned. "And he was in the same room as your father no less, which I thought would never happen before hell froze over."

"It was a day of miracles," Francine remarked with a giggle of her own. 

Alona slid a drink of cocoa over to her daughter. "What's on your mind, sweetheart?"

"Why now?" Francine asked, and it was such a loaded question covering so many aspects. She wasn't sure if she was asking, why had Tonio returned? Did she most want to know, why had Tonio betrayed their father? Or, why did their father adopt him afterwards? 

The irony was the one question she didn't need answering was how was he still trusted? Tonio for all his faults was honest and sincere to his beliefs. 

Alona knew each of the questions Francine wanted to ask would be valid but so complicated at the same time. She knew though that the time for secrets were over, and if Tonio were back in Philadelphia, the some would need to be told for everyone's sake. "I will confess this now, but I have spoken with Tonio on the phone since he left regularly. He checks in on us all, but he has stayed away physically."

"Why?" Francine pressed. She had never doubted that Tonio adored her. She got a gift delivered faithfully on her birthday, but he seemed to hate the family's actions so stayed away. 

Alona knew it needed to be said and hoped he would forgive her. "Your brother came to us in unfortunate circumstances."

Francine rolled her eyes. "That is one way to describe an undercover agent."

Alona shrugged. "It was warranted, your father as his power increased got brash and too bold. The police felt they had to act and sent Tonio to get the information."

Francine remembered hearing about the first Frangelino attack and guessed it was linked to that night. There was only one way she could see Tonio not ending up with a contract against his life. He would have had to have protected the family in a big way. "Tonio protected you, didn't he?" 

Alona's mind flashed back to that night, and she could still remember the flash of events like it was yesterday. "Frangelino decided that he was going to take your father's heart. He sent a team to take me by force."

Alona knew what that would have entailed if the bastard had been successful. She was not a naive woman and had made sure she could keep her family safe. She saw her daughter shiver, as she also knew what might have happened.

"What happened that night mamma?"

Her daughter had asked at the perfect time because it was a story that should be told only under cover of darkness. "They waited until around this time in the day and bribed one of the guards. They tried a blitz attack, and I put a bullet in the first two that breached the door, but they attacked from all angles." Alona replied, shivering at just the memory. 

"Tonio, came rushing in and attacked the invaders." Francine guessed. She had heard rumours of Tonio being dangerous and psycho, but no one was ever willing to share stories. It seemed no one wanted to be part of his body count for talking out of turn.

"Yes, he put himself in front of me and the attackers with only two knives in his hands," Alona answered honestly. 

"Why didn't he shoot them?" Francine asked, wondering about his choice of weapon.

Alona smirked because even smart people still believe TV is real. "You don't bring a knife to a gunfight. If you are in close quarters like a kitchen, then a knife will win every time."

Francine knew her mother was fierce and could look after herself. It was her mama who had insisted on the self-defence lessons for her when she was a child. It was Tonio who had asked that she learn how to shoot - This though was on a whole other level. "Good to know."

Alona smirked as she sipped her own drink. "You're thinking too loud."

Francine snorted because she knew now why her mamma would not hear a bad word said against Tonio. At least now she knew why, but it didn't stop her other question. "I always wondered why our father allowed himself to go to jail."

Alona sighed because that had been a difficult time. "It was the only way to save his life, and it was because I was selfish."

Francine chuckled because there was the only way she could see it happen. He would do anything for her mama. "You said you would rather he be locked up, than dead."

Alona nodded and let her love shine through. "Your father is many things, but he is a good husband."

Francine finished the last of her drink off. "Come on we need our sleep if we are going to get Johnny to talk to Tony and avoid the psycho targeting our family."

Alona hugged her daughter, glad she'd raised such an amazing daughter. She shared her hope, "I'm hoping Tonio catches the psycho, and that will help him reconcile with your brother."

It was not the worst plan.