Chapter 1: Take me for who I am?
Chapter 1: Take me for who I am!
“You have a mob boss who writes to you?” Dave asked in confusion.
Tony had shot into his life like a shooting star and still made it burn just as bright. They’d been together for two years and seen some exciting years together, but he was so so glad that Tony had taken Morrow’s offer rather than get embroiled in the Sheppard affair.
“Yes, I have a mob father as I call him,” Tony replied with a shrug because he couldn’t change it, and in truth, while his feelings towards Salvatore Mancuso were complicated - he was rather fond of the others. He wasn’t too upset by the adult adoption even if it was heavy-handed. It was just that it was just as dangerous for the mob family to have a federal agent for a son, as it was for Tony to have extended family that were also the Mob.
“Salvatore Mancuso, decided after I put him in jail that I would make an excellent heir,” Tony smirked at the astounded look on his lover’s face, but Tony had made peace with the adoption 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, so you put Salvatore Mancuso away, and he adopts you?”
He wasn’t stupid, but it was mind-boggling to comprehend because undercover agents who tangle with the Mob end up one of two ways - Dead or in Witness Protection.
Tony shrugged because, to be honest, it was a little crazy. The trouble was they’d made agreements in the family at the time, and no one had broken them. The second sad truth the of the matter was he liked the Mancuso’s a hell of a lot more than he did his biological father. “Is this a deal-breaker for you?” He bit his lip, slightly nervous because he didn’t just love Dave - Tony 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. “If you can handle my psycho’s becoming an issue once in a while.”
Tony snorted. “I’ve already been chained to a serial killer for the last twenty-four hours of his life. I can deal.”
Dave kissed his cheek. “Then we make a great team who can watch each other’s back and ass.”
Tony sighed in relief because this had been bothering him, and he was never quite sure how to raise it. He relaxed into Dave’s arms, having let go of some of his nerves. “It is not funny. He adopted me after I put him in jail. I have no idea how he managed to convince a judge to do it. I think your friends at the FBI encourage it, as they were hoping he would spill secrets to me.”
“Does he?” Dave asked, more out of curiosity than a need to help his agency.
Tony shook his head. “At the moment, he will write and ask me have I gone home as Alona misses me. Oh, and to put in writing that he believes I really should stop my rebellion and take over the family.”
Dave was putting his thoughts in order, but he wouldn’t blame Tony for avoiding that conversation. “I don’t recall you ever going to Philly in the time I have known you.”
Tony snorted because he’d avoided the entire State since the trial. “I am considered the missing heir. It is how the family have left it, but I worry about what would happen if I returned.” He looked up, coquettishly into Dave’s eyes. “So how do you feel about being a Mob consort?”
“I don’t look good in a dress.”
Tony kissed the sass off his lips. “I don’t want you in a dress. I much prefer you in your pinstripe suit.”
Tony bit his lip. “There are some in your agency who kind of hate me. I can’t decide if they think I am Mob or at least a mole.”
“So that explains Sacks warning,” Rossi remarked about the one time Tony had come to Quantico for a meeting. They’d had a ridiculous conversation about twisted loyalties, and Dave had sent him packing with his tail between his legs.
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 him.
Tony chuckled at the image. “If you want to flambe Sacks at any time then feel free, just record it so I can thank you later.”
Dave rolled his eyes at the comment because it went without saying. He knew Tony too well, so he could sense there was more to the letter. “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.”
“It didn’t?” Dave queried. He wasn’t too sure if that was a good thing or a bad one.
Tony chuckled because it would have been so much easier if had. “No, he doesn’t mind. In fact, according to Salvatore, 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 because that exasperation was going to be a familiar feeling if they ever went to Philly. “As far as father is concerned, the way I’ve spoken about my feelings for you leave him in no doubt. He wants to know when we’re getting married, and should decide a date so he can arrange things.”
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,” Dave promised him. He had loved Tony’s spirit, his loyalty and entire personality.
Tony was feeling a little sleepy, and Dave’s hand in his hair had lulled him to sleep. However, even tired, he still knew his movies, “You know what I am just glad that you take me for who I am.”
Chapter 2: Having Such a Nice Day!
Chapter 2: Having such a Nice Day
Six months later, and not much had changed for Tony and Dave except for the fact Tony now wore an engagement ring around his neck. The couple weren't naive, nor were they hiding their sexuality, but both had enemies, and they would tell people in their own sweet time.
It seemed that peaceful time was at an end.
JJ was briefing them on a case that had come to them from Philadelphia of all places. It made Dave think of Tony, and then he heard Mob link and his mind start to race.
"Why has this come to us? And not Organised Crime?" Reid asked Hotchner, which was a logical question. If there was a mob link, then odds were it would go to organised crimes, and they were rabid in protecting their cases.
"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. "They think there might be a serial killer targeting them."
Derek looked over the photos and used his own time in police departments to assess the crime scene photos, and they had none of the usual markers. "This isn't a turf war shooting or retaliation executions. Why are they sure the Mob is involved?"
Dave pinched his nose, and he knew the answer to the question before he even asked it, but wanted the confirmation. "Which family are the victims connected to?"
"The Mancuso family," Hotched answered, so it confirmed Dave's fears. He guessed his chance at avoiding the In-Laws was no over.
JJ knew none of his musings of course and carried on explaining to the team the pertinent facts she'd dug up. "The Don is in jail, the heir apparent is not willing, so it is being left to the less able little brother."
Dave snorted because the gossip on the family was badly out of date. "Not quite right. " He would know considering he had an inside source. The whole team looked at him, but he returned the stares evenly, "I need to make a call."
"Rossi?" Hotch queried his actions with just one word.
Dave shook his head because he wasn't some naive agent. He would tell his story when he was ready, and even more so considering this wasn't his story to discuss. He was going to owe Tony hugely for this case because Dave would be making him face his greatest struggle. -family. If Tony had a hot situation, then this might all be for nought anyway. "Let me get you some possible answers, and 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. "More so, if the Don is sitting in jail."
Dave pressed one on his speed dial. He knew that Tony would answer if it were at all possible. He should have known as it took less than five seconds for him to answer.
Some couples have sweet nicknames and cliched greetings, so what did Dave get from Tony?
"You better be okay!"
Dave chuckled as it was always one of Tony's gripes about how he only got calls when he was injured. "Relax sweetheart. I have a problem, and you are not going to like it, but I am in one piece."
Tony took a deep breath but was willing to play along. "What will I not like, Dave?"
"I have a new case."
Tony huffed down the phone, but he could guess. "The only way I would care is if it was in Philidelphia."
Dave let out a strangled laugh. "It is worse than that, I have bodies Tony, and they are all related to the Mancuso's."
Tony audibly groaned. "I'm coming to you. I take it you are still in Quantico."
Dave rolled his eyes. "You are saying that like you don't already know, Mr Assistant Director."
Tony snickered because there were some benefits to being part of Homeland Security. "See you soon, Darlin."
Dave walked back into the conference room to hear Emily declare that the family wouldn't talk to them. She was right in nearly 99.9% of cases, but he had the exception to the rule. He knew this when he lost his secret, as he explained to them all. "There is one Fed the Mancuso's will talk to, and he is on his way."
The whole table looked at each other to see if they knew what was going on. The team didn't know what miracle Dave had pulled out of the bag. Hotchner trusted him though and knew the best thing they could do was educate themselves on what they did know about the Mancuso family. "JJ, talk us through what details we do have right now."
"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 on the briefing slides. "This is his wife Alona, who has stayed by him through thick and thin. He is serving 15 years for various charges relating to organised crimes."
"Did the undercover agent go into WITSEC?" Morgan asked, knowing that if they'd survived the case, then it would be necessary. He would hate to live life, assuming that the next thing would be a bullet with his name on it.
They heard Penny's keys furiously clack away to get information. It was due to these fast-moving situations she was always on hand to dig up any pertinent information "The name's redacted for obvious reasons, so I can't say."
"Okay, so what do we know about the Mancuso children?" Reid asked, trying to get a grasp of the potential victimology. If the family was the target, then there might be a simple motive for the killer. In reality, the odds were this was a case of revenge, but not all stressors or killers conform to facts.
"We know that there is a daughter, Francine Mancuso. She is a lawyer, but she didn't get to practice law before her father's sentencing." Hotch explained to the group. What he didn't say was she was likely the consigliere for the family. She was smart enough to have so far avoided being linked to the family operations.
Prentiss was the one to ask because understanding the leader of these outfits was often critical in predicting how they might react during the crisis. It was one of the lessons her mother taught her about diplomacy, but it was still right in other situations. "What about the current head of the operation?"
JJ changed the slide, "This is Johnny Mancuso, and he is also in your files. He is the younger son, who is overseeing operations right now as far as Intel from Organised Crimes can tell."
Derek noticed the way they were going through the siblings, and there was an evident gap in their information. "So where is the elder son?"
Dave offered a little more information and wondered who would connect the dots quickest. "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 was the quickest of them. "You said a Federal Agent was on the way and now you are saying he is also the eldest son. How can that be?"
She also wanted to know just how the man had managed to operate in a Federal Agency if he had those familial connections.
Dave stood up and took over the briefing as out of the whole room. He could say he knew their subject, intimately even although he would let them figure out that part on their own. It did them good to figure out mysteries. "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 of the Undercover Agent 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 of the record. "It was an adult adoption, Hotch." Dave felt it pertinent to remind his old friend. He didn't want the team believing Tony was crooked before they got to judge him on his actions, not the gossip of others.
Reid showing how quick he was, at calculations pointed out, "Wait this is after Mancuso gets sentenced for his crimes."
Dave snickered at the shock on his team's faces as he nodded. It was fun to be on the other side of that revelation. "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."
Morgan shook his head in disbelief but couldn't deny what was in front of him in black and white. "That is crazy."
Dave chuckled because he'd had six months to get used to the very odd and twisted family dynamics between Tony and his adoptive family.
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."
"Assistant Director DiNzozo, thank you for coming to our assistance today." Hotch started formally.
"Well, I was having such a nice day until Dave told me someone is offing the family. So, what do I need to know to help?"
That shut the whole table up and quelled any doubts. After all, if Tony were in contact with the family, then he wouldn't need to know any details - he would have them at his fingertips.
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 could see how Dave wanted to play this, and he could roll with it. It would be interesting to see how quickly the BAU figured out just how close their relationship was, in reality. He scrutinised the pictures, and his gut churned because he recognised every single face, so this killer was targeting the family.
While that might help, it wasn't perfect. The Mancuso's family was the largest family organisation in the wider Pennsylvania area. Tony knew he was talking out loud, but he didn't care. It was his process when he needed to pull together disparate bits of information. "Okay, so Jenkins was a low-level enforcer, and it has been a while, but he wouldn't have got any further in the family."
Hotch asked in fascination. "Why? Too stupid, or too rash?"
The briefing was a rare opportunity for an FBI agent because they didn't have many who understood the real dynamics of the Mob and were willing to talk to them.
Tony thought about his reply because it might be necessary for the case. "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." It was a dangerous mix, no matter the profession, but for a criminal outfit, it could be deadly.
Tony was looking at the wall of pictures once more. All the names and victims were side-by-side on the wall, and Tony ran the names and roles through his mind. He sighed because damn it, he figured out the link. "Damn it. The old man is going to get his wish."
"What have you figured out, Tony? Don't be shy, speak to me, Tesoro " 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 always refused. I have always resisted knowing the conflict of interests, but now I have no choice. I have to go back to Philly because he will burn the world to the ground if anything happens to mamma."
Chapter 3: Can Never Go Back Home?
Chapter 3: Can Never go Back Home?
The team shivered at the thought of the potential damage a mob boss could do if they were hell-bent on revenge. After all, you didn't need to be an FBI agent to know it was never going to end well. It didn't matter whether he was in jail - If Salvatore Mancuso put his mind to it, then he could still cause chaos.
Hotch took control of the meeting once more as this needed to be dealt with swiftly. He was impressed by how quickly DiNozzo had managed to put together the information from just the photos. What it told Aaron was that his reputation of being one hell of an investigator was accurate. He needed the team to understand these dynamics though and asked DiNozzo, "Why are you so sure that is Alona Mancuso is the final intended victim?"
"They've all worked as part of her guard. You literally have one person from each year," DiNozzo explained.
Tony knew in his gut that he was right. He was going to call Francine and warn her as he trusted her to keep a level head, Johnny would just fly off the handle. He was so scared to go home, as he didn't trust his actions, but he refused to see Alona hurt from his inaction and unwillingness to confront his tangled emotions.
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 well aware of that fact, but their desire to break up any mob family could be useful. The FBI didn't trust the Mob, but Tony could exploit the point in his favour. "But Detective Morgan, don't you want a surveillance unit outside the mansion to see how it connects to the recent killings? You reckon one of the main family is cleaning out their competition. If you get one of them, you just might be able to shut the whole family down."
JJ spoke up, clearing her throat. It was sneaky, but she could make it work. "I can spin that."
Tony grinned crookedly. "I have no doubt you can, Agent Jarreau. I often wished to have someone of your skill when I used to work for Gibbs at NCIS."
Dave was tongue-in-cheek, as he pointedly reminded his lover. "She is a married woman."
"You're not jealous, are you Dave? You know who I want to be married to, don't you?" Tony replied with a soft smile that was full of adoration. He figured if he was working this case with the team they may as well get all of the surprises out of the way before they landed in Philadelphia.
The BAU members often considered themselves to be intelligent, adaptable and able to roll with even the strangest facts they find out. They had to be considering their day job was to understand the behaviours of the most shocking serial killers and attempt to track them down. And yet several members were simply dumbfounded by this whole briefing, and none of them had known Rossi was even dating.
"I do, but we still haven't set a date," Dave replied, but he let his affection for Tony 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. Emily was the one to whisper, "So little Johnny isn't trusted."
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 and wanted to ensure Dave knew he had no problem with his relationship. "You always did have an exotic taste in dangerous partners."
"Oh, Hotch. I have a ring on my neck, just like he does. As far as I am concerned, he is going to be the first and only husband of mine." Dave confided.
Hotch smirked because unlike the others, he had seen Dave in love before, and this was so much more. "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 analysis of his love life because the Mob was quite the hurdle for some. It was clear that Tony was incredibly fond of Alona Mancuso even if he was unwilling to admit it. "Yeah, I struck gold with Tony, and I know it. I just hope he comes through this unscathed."
Ready or not, Tony was going to Philadelphia, but at least he was travelling in style. The BAU team plane was luxurious, and Tony could appreciate the amenities. He whistled, seeing the comfortable couch and praised the team. "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 with me. I have seen your setup in your office."
Tony grinned wickedly because his office was a ' boys and toys' love affair, and if McGee ever got to see his office, he would freak out. Still, Tony was unrepentant about his office as he fought off terrorists, "You got a plane, I get sweet toys to fight terrorism."
Garcia was on speakerphone and perked up in interest. "How sweet, Sir?"
Tony chuckled, "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. If Morgan did have a problem, then he should do something like ask the bubbly blonde out.
Tony's mind was going to back to his biggest problem - It might be his adoptive family, one that he fought with wanting, but they were in trouble. He had to go and help, but that brought its own worries because this was going to either make or break his relationship with Dave. If this case did break his relationship with Dave, then 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 team and Tony had touched down in Philly. The time for talking was over, and now it would be time for Tony to face his past. The team were staring at Tony, knowing that this wouldn't be easy for the man. They hadn't known him for long, but he appeared calm and collected like it was a regular day.
Tony shrugged as he put his sunglasses over his eyes. "Huh, nice weather."
Reid interjected. "It is sunny in Philadelphia on average 207 days of the year, which is two more than the US average."
Tony chuckled, "Is that so?"
Reid was about to say more, but Hotch cut him off. "No more facts please, Reid. I want us to get ahead of this situation."
Morgan asked, "How do you want to play this, Hotch?"
Aaron had heard DiNozzo set up a meeting at the prison and knew that time dwelling on seeing the father figure would only make matters worse. "We're going to the station and set up our local hub. While Rossi will be going with DiNozzo to the prison to interview Mancuso."
It made sense as none of them would get anything from the incarcerated Don - the only one who would get anything from his was DiNozzo. The only question that remained to get an answer was what it would cost the Homeland Agent?
Tony accepted the splitting of the roles and was grateful to have Dave by his side, which was a nice touch by Hotchner. "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 local PD. They are surprised by our overture but absolutely willing for some federal cooperation if it takes a serial killer of their streets."
"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, DiNozzo?" Morgan asked before they stepped into their SUV. The team looked at Morgan, but he didn't back down. "What's your take on what is going on? You know better than we will, and none of us wants to step on a landmine."
"I'm hoping this is one of two scenarios," Tony started to explain. "The first is one of the family probably 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. It will be their way of showing they deserve a big seat at the table."
"Which is bloody stupid," Dave remarked. "Why would you trust someone who is showing his lack of loyalty to prove it?"
Tony smirked before adding wryly. "Well, you pick some for brawn and others for brains when it comes to fleshing out your workforce."
JJ got it quicker than the others. "And some of the brawn have more ambition than sense." She didn't know if it would be a blessing or a curse to be stupid.
Tony grinned, "In one."
Derek was slightly unnerved and also fascinated to get such an insight into a Mob family. He also didn't like the sound of a stupid serial killer as they tended to end in spree killings. "What's the other option?"
"Someone outside the family has decided that little Johnny is too stupid to run things after all, and now wants the big prize. They're indirectly attacking Alona Mancuso as a message that the family is too weak to run things. 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.
Prentiss spoke up, "Pain? That speaks of more motivation than just aiming to get the top spot?"
Tony snorted, "You should know that the mob families still have petty jealousy and rivalries between each other. The only trouble is they don't tend to settle their issues in such a civilised manner."
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. I am going to have to be Antoni Mancuso here, or we will get nothing." He paused, "It means I will connect with you through conference calls etcetera, but I can hardly waltz into the police station."
The tone he said that statement with 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.
Rossi was standing next to him, showing the team that he trusted DiNozzo. Hotchner hoped his instincts were right, "Good luck, stay safe and stay in touch."
DiNozzo opened the door. "We will, and please remember that not everything you hear about me is correct."
Hotchner prayed that whoever was stupid enough to target the Mancuso family didn't cause DiNozzo to lose sight of that line that kept him an agent, and not a criminal. You see, personally, Hotch was more worried about what DiNozzo would do than Salvatore Mancuso.
Chapter 4: Words and Threats
Chapter 4: Words and Threats
Tony had agreed with Hotchner in that they needed to go to the prison, sooner rather than later because the more accurate information they gathered quickly - The quicker they could get ahold of the situation, and the faster Tony could go home to DC.
He knew this in his heart, and yet he was finding it difficult to get out from behind the wheel of their rental car now they were at the prison. He took a deep breath and reminded himself that he was an assistant director who dealt with shit on a regular basis. Dave was the one to break him out of his thoughts with much-needed humour.
"You take me to all the best places." Dave teased him looking up at the front of the prison.
It was the perfect thing to say, and Tony smirked at him. "You interviewed Bundy, and now I get you access to a Mob boss, and you complain. You know they are notoriously close-lipped, I thought this would be a great gift for a profiler."
It was under normal circumstances, but other profilers wouldn't have to worry about their connection, "I would feel so much better if I didn't know it was a meet the In-Law situation."
"On the bright side, he is in prison, so his capacity to cause chaos is limited." Tony attempted to reassure Dave.
Dave glared, "If I get one horse head in my bed."
Tony groaned with annoyance because if he had a dollar for every time, he heard that crap the would be a billionaire. He started to rant because that movie while a cinematic masterpiece gave an unrealistic idea of what life was like in the mob. "Come on. You're not funny. It was a great movie, but this is real life."
Tony saw Dave's grin and knew his fiance was looking for that reaction. He knew Tony needed a distraction so he could get his head in the game and provided one. It was this type of silent support that made Tony adore Dave even more.
"You've got this, Tony, and I trust you whatever games you have to play," Dave promised his fiance. He wanted Tony to know that he had his full support so he could focus on the task at hand.
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. "Once more unto the breach."
For some, it might be considered overdramatic, but when their adoptive father was an infamous mob boss, it was just prudent.
The Warden stood waiting outside the doors, his arms folded across his chest as if he disapproved of the whole world. Tony didn't know why, but you could always tell the Warden before they ever introduced themselves.
"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, but yet smug at the time. Tony knew if he ever needed to have a serious conversation, he would probably hate the guy.
"I am sorry to say that you have wasted a journey. Salvatore Mancuso has refused to speak to any type of law enforcement officer."
Tony wasn't disappointed and kept calm even at the smug comment from the Warden. It helped when he knew the Warden was wrong and instead asked the man. "I would be grateful if you could tell Mr Mancuso that Tony is here to see him. I think you will find I am the exception."
The Warden was confused and wary of him. "I can admire confidence, Assitant Director DiNozzo, and so I will try and gain his cooperation. I ask that you please sign in and leave your guns with the front desk. I will have an officer escort you to the interview room."
Sure enough, an officer appeared, who looked confused and wary of Tony. He did explain to the couple, "He is willing to talk to you, and even said it with a grin."
Tony heard the question not asked, so he chose not to answer it. He prompted the officer, "I take it you are supposed to show us the way?"
The officer blushed at the subtle rebuke. "Yes, sorry Sirs. If you've checked your weapons, then I will take you directly there."
Tony nodded as it wasn't like it was either his or Dave's first time doing a prison interview. It turns out the one interview room was in the middle of the building, so if you wanted to complete an interview, then you had to walk through a prison block. In this case, the prison block was the one with the lifers, and they heard all the prisoner's smart comments as they walked through the narrow corridor. Tony and his looks were a big hit with all the caged prisoners, and the comments were getting increasingly lewd.
Dave decided to shut them up with two sentences. He knew it would work, and all he did was whisper into Tony's ear, but loud enough for the closest prisoner to hear "Wow, they're brave to say those things against a Mancuso. I thought you had a reputation in this state?"
There was a silence that rippled out from the couple as the gossip spread that Mancuso's eldest was back. The guard who was too far ahead to hear Dave's comment looked back in confusion. "What just happened?"
Tony shrugged, playing clueless. "No idea. Shall we?"
The radio sputtered to life, reminding the officer that the two men were here to interview Salvatore Mancuso. If you combined the interview with the silence, it freaked the guard out even more. "Who are you?"
"You saw the badge, correct?" Tony asked with a challenge.
The guard had no desire to stay in the room, and opened the door for the two agents but refused to go in. "He will be secured, and I will be just outside."
Rossi looked at his lover and snorted in disbelief. In his opinion, the officer was a little soft to be working with these types of prisoners if they had upset him. "You freaked him out."
Tony wasn't impressed either and retorted, "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. He looked larger than life, and entirely at ease in the orange jumpsuit.
Tony had a wicked grin and was determined to show no emotions that Salvatore could use against him. He wasn't worried about his safety per se, but he knew that Salvatore had a particular vision of the future, and so far, Tony wasn't conforming. "Hey, Pops. It must be a full moon as you got your wish I am here."
The guard blanched, and Tony did not doubt that the guard would soon be scurrying back to the Warden with that little tidbit of information. He would no doubt be trying to find out just who he'd let into his prison, and wouldn't he be confused when Tony checked out.
"And who is this?" Salvatore demanded to know from his son. He offered Dave a disdainful glare, "You know I don't like the Feeb's, Tonio."
"You know exactly who this is," Tony replied, rolling his eyes at Salvatore's attempts to intimidate them. "You know I have a fiance so don't get shocked now. You should be happy for me, father about me wanting to settle down."
"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 having sworn that it would never happen.
Tony shrugged 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, your fun isn't on my priority list right now. I want to make sure mamma is safe as I believe there is a threat against her. So I am going to ask you once are there 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. Although if you knew him well, you would see the discomfort in his eyes. Tony knew just how much Salvatore loved his wife so he wouldn't play too many games.
Tony shook his head at the attempt to deflect him. "You don't get to play games with me. Her guards are getting offed in historical order, and Organised Crime doesn't care. I do. Let me do my job, Papa ."
Salvatore played it cool, "You catch terrorists Tonio, you should leave the other stuff to your fiance."
Tony took a deep breath and offered the carrot that he knew would ensnare his father. "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?" Salvatore challenged him right back with a smirk of a man who knows victory is on the horizon.
Tony leaned forward more than willing to go toe to toe with his father and match him. "You want me to run the family. You've not made this a secret with anyone. You know this situation is probably your best shot, so I ask you again. Who is coming after the family?"
Salvatore looked so pleased with himself, so Tony knew he must have seen something that he wanted. "If I said Bernetti's son reached an unfortunate end last week in prison here."
Tony groaned because if that was the case, then this had all the makings of a turf war. If it were a Turf war with a blood debt angle, then it would be messy. "Why does Bernetti think this?"
"I couldn't say, Tonio, but I know Bernetti Snr was a suitor for my fair Alona's hand, and he is also under the impression that I ordered his son's death over an insult."
Tony stood up and pinched his nose because he had the beginnings of a headache. He'd be required to play a much more delicate game if this was an avenging mob than he wanted to play. "How can you cause so much trouble locked up?"
Salvatore shrugged. "I have no idea what you mean? I honoured the deal we made son."
Dave wondered just what deal had Tony struck with Mancuso senior, but he'd never pressed before, knowing this was a difficult topic for his lover. If he were looking for answers, then he wasn't going to get them now as the Mancuso redirected the questioning, "So when is the wedding?"
Tony sighed because he knew what this would get twisted around to and he was so not ready to have that conversation. "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 remarked in a quiet but menacing tone.
Tony was not sure of a lot of things right now, but the one thing he didn't doubt in his life was Dave. He showed that confidence to his father, "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."
The door opened, but instead of the freaked out officer from earlier, it was the Warden looking angry at Tony, accusing him. "You lied to me."
Tony glared at the presumptuous declaration. He wasn't in the mood to bandy words with a sycophant considering what he was dealing with at the moment. He stood tall, "I resent the hell out of that. I am exactly who I said, and that badge is legit. It is only Salvatore who calls me his heir and you should know I am the reason he is sitting there. So please don't throw around baseless accusations."
"Warden, don't be rude to Tonio." Salvatore glared. "He has a job to do, and I can respect ruthlessness." He smirked in satisfaction seeing the warden gulp, but then his attention turned back to Tony. "You keep my Alona safe."
Tony nodded and had a genuine grin. "That is one thing we can agree on."
Dave was trying to imagine just what Alona Mancuso was like in both looks and temperament because she must be one hell of a woman to have ensnared the heart of a Mob Boss and the loyalty of his fiance.
Chapter 5: Who the Hell is He?
Chapter 5: Who the hell is he?
Tony left the interview room, his mind racing with his next steps. It was like he feared, he was going to have to step back into the shoes of Antoni Mancuso - Mafia Prince. He hoped he could keep Dave by his side, as it would be a pointed reminder of what he could lose.
The Warden was scurrying to catch up with the couple. "You said you were Homeland Security?" It was less a statement and more an unspoken accusation.
The tone though pissed Tony off, and he whirled around to face the man once they were through the prison block. "I didn't say I was anything Warden. I am the Assistant Director of Homeland Security with a focus on the Middle East. So, before we go any further with your damaged sensibilities, I am going to save you time. I was undercover and did my duty."
"But you call him father?" He said it like the two should be mutually exclusive, and his world order was crumbling before his eyes. "How can you respect the man enough to call him your dad?"
The judgement was positively rolling off the Warden, and Tony wasn't impressed. The man did not get to sit and judge him without having lived his life. Tony felt it was his duty to at least remind the man that not everything was black and white. "You don't understand a lot of things Warden, and despite being a real piece of work. He loves his family with all that he is, and he proved it by accepting his sentence. Oh, and here is food for thought Salvatore Mancuso is a better man than the man who is my biological father. Now, if you will excuse us, we have a killer to catch."
"This is not over," the Warden promised.
Tony snorted because it was apparent to him that the Warden hadn't listened to a word that he had said. "Yeah, good luck with that, see if you can get a court order to impel me to come back."
Dave had said nothing, knowing that if Tony wanted the support, he would give him a sign. "Are you ready to get out of here?"
Tony nodded and offered a weak smile, "Yeah, let's go get our weapons and get out of here."
The pair had waited until they got to their car to phone Hotchner and inform them of what he'd learned. They wanted to give the team a possible suspect list, or at least a way to narrow the field.
Dave had waited until after the phone call had ended, to ask Tony the pressing question. "Do you believe Bernetti is good for this? You may have been out of state, but I know you. You would have kept up with the comings and goings if only to protect Alona."
Tony couldn't deny it. "I check in with her once a month, but it would be difficult to say if this is Bernetti 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. He'd not been sure about how Tony felt until yesterday. "You haven't come back to Philly for a reason."
Tony tried to explain it in a way that made sense. "Yeah, that is because I was a risk to Alona and Francine because they still wanted me as part of the family even after the trial. Therein lay the problem though because they don't need the heat of a Federal Agent for a family member. I would be a weakness or an excuse to attack the family if it came out properly."
Dave noted that all of Tony's thoughts centred around the family's feelings and not his own. The hints Tony had given about his childhood made him feel homicidal on a good day, but it had set up a pattern of trying to please those who Tony viewed as family.
"I can't help but notice that you didn'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."
He had been the one to see Salvatore put behind bars. It had been the best option at the time. He knew it had saved lives and all, but it didn't mean he wanted to do with little Johnny's glares of betrayal at the time.
Dave spoke up quietly. "You know if you want to talk to them after all this, we can deal with it together."
Tony was driving, or he would have made a bigger deal of it. He still had to check he'd heard correctly, "You're telling me as an FBI agent you would be willing to go to Sunday dinner with the mob? You don't think your section chief might have an issue with that dinner?"
Dave snorted at the sarcasm, and he was aware that Tony only got defensive when it mattered. Tony was right in that it would cause some friction for him at work, but he'd already retired once, and he would do it again for a just cause. He didn't want Tony to be in any doubt about he felt, "You know I don't need this job."
Tony shook his head because Rossi didn't need the job, but it was great for him at the same time - it was the trade-off. "It is bad enough that some of your friends like to give me grief over my adopted family. I can't imagine what they would be like if you chose to retire once more because of them."
In fairness, Tony had got less grief from the FBI when he moved over to Homeland security, but it wasn't perfect. He could tell that some believed an apple didn't fall far from its tree, and it didn't seem to matter that Tony got adopted into the family.
Dave got a message, and he grimaced but knew he needed to warn Tony, "You should know that Fornell moved Sacks to Organised Crimes, and I checked he is in the area."
Tony groaned because he wasn't sure who that was punishing. It was perhaps the worst timing of any reassignment, "What so he can harass me more?"
Dave smirked, but he knew Tony would manage Sacks just like he had in Washington. "You know I am a pro at avoiding questions too."
"I know it's why we work so well," Tony replied with a smirk. The conversation may be over for now, but he got the message - Dave was with him and would support him. Trust was such a powerful thing that Tony promised himself that he would do nothing to break Dave's trust.
It seemed the phone call with Tony and Dave delayed an angry phone call from the Warden of the prison. If Hotch had known who was on the line, he would have probably kept Rossi on the line for longer.
Hotch loathed sycophants, almost as much, as people who believed they had more authority than they did. "I'm sorry Warden but can you succinctly explain just what your problem is with my agent?"
"You need to get DiNozzo back here so he can answer some questions we have."
Hotch smirked at Morgan who was also listening on speakerphone. "I'm sorry Warden, my agent is SSA David Rossi. I have no jurisdiction over Assistant Director DiNozzo as he is a Homeland Agent. Furthermore, I have no intention of angering an agent who is helping us gain cooperation in a serial killer case."
"I see I shall be taking this up with your superiors."
Hotch snorted. "If you want to take it up with DiNozzo's superior then that would be Deputy Director Morrow. I do believe that he has a senate meeting right now, as it is on C-Span so you may need to wait."
Derek shook his head in disbelief as the call finished. He had listened along, but he still couldn't believe that he had heard it. "Did he really expect you to order DiNozzo back to the prison?"
Hotch nodded, "Yes, I often order Assistant Director of Homeland Security back to prisons to clarify some things."
Derek's face spoke volumes for him, "What had him so upset? Did I miss anything before it went on speaker?"
Hotch offered dryly, "I think it might have been the fact he didn't know who DiNozzo was until they'd sat down with Mancuso Senior."
Morgan had reread the file about the undercover operation that DiNozzo had pulled on the plane journey down. It had been a stunning idea that an agent had not only survived but was still beloved? "You know by rights DiNozzo should be dead for betraying the family."
"He puts the Don in prison and gets adopted," Hotchner repeats, shaking his head because the notion was ludicrous and he would never have believed it if someone told it to him as a story - it sounded more like Holywood movie than life.
Derek looked at the file and snorted as he checked Salvatore's words on the matter. "He appreciates his son's pragmatism."
Hotch snorted, "That is what we now call sending someone to jail?"
Derek shrugged because he was guessing there was a hell of a lot more to that story. "I don't think DiNozzo cares as he is still breathing, even if he has to use a different surname."
As it was only them in the room, Hotch shared his other observation. "It is a good thing DiNozzo 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 obviously mussed something, and it was one of the reasons he'd reread the files. "What do you mean ruthlessness?"
Hotch shared what had caused him to switch the phone call to speaker in the first place. "According to the Warden, all it took for the worst prison block to go silent was hearing DiNozzo's adopted name."
Derek could imagine that DiNozzo had been a big hit if Pene's appreciative comments were anything to go by on the plane. "So Rossi didn't like the prisoner's hitting on his man."
Hotch smirked. "You know Rossi ... He is protective of anyone he deems to be his family. It is making the worst prisoners go quiet that intrigued me."
Derek shrugged because he knew the theory behind undercover, but he hadn't been forced to do anything serious in DiNozzo's calibre. "You know as well as I do how to build a legend for your undercover persona to be successful."
Hotch had to point out, "The trouble with legends is that 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."
Hotch asked the most pertinent question, "But what will he do if he doesn't like the answers?
Chapter 6: In from the cold
Chapter 6: In from the Cold
There is an old saying that no matter happens you can always go home. Tony snorted at the thought because it was bullshit. He looked up at the mansion, and he didn't much want to get out of the driving seat.
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. If he didn't move, then the threats would remain, and his tortured thoughts would be for nought. "Come and meet one special lady."
Tony rolled the car forward so that he could access the gated part. He knew the two guards would step 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 Mamma, Tonio is here."
The two guards blanched and one radio call later and Tony has parked up in the spaces reserved for high family. He had his moments of self-doubt on the street, and so he stepped out of the car ready to face the challenges before him.
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. It was more than evident that Tony considered her to be his little sister and the reunion under any circumstance would have been considered sweet.
Sweet moment over though as she pulled back, and smacked Tony in the shoulder, "Why didn't you call me when the Feebs tried to arrest you? Your stubbornness could have seen you end up next to Papa."
Tony clutched his shoulder, feigning a grave injury. "Yeah, I am in trouble, and I ask for a consigliere? I am pretty, but I am not stupid."
She snorted at that comment and let her brother have it both barrels. "Oh, Tonio, you're both. The Feebs arrest you, so you take one as your fiance. It's like you enjoy trouble."
Tony scowled because wow, that was a lot of judgement and he hadn't even made it up the steps. He needed the family to understand that Dave was here to stay because he wanted to focus on their trouble, not worry about having to protect Dave from their good intentions. "Hey, he is hot, Italian, can shoot and doesn't put up with my crap."
Dave shrugged at the comment because he couldn't deny it. "It's true."
Tony had to point out. "He interviewed Bundy, so I think he can handle Papa."
Francine giggled because Tony didn't see it yet, but she would let him figure it out. It was how her Papa explained why he loved their mother to anyone who asked him why he loved his wife. The energy between the couple also reminded Francine of their parents, so she offered her tentative approval. She would see what mamma made of this Feeb. "Well, he hasn't run for the hills, and you've taken him to see Papa. So as long as he doesn't break your heart, we're good."
Tony frowned at the tone. "Is that judgement I am hearing about visiting father?"
She shook her head because she wasn't judging, but she was confused. Tony had stayed away as his job mattered to him and swore that he would not visit their father so long as he was inside. She reminded him, "You swore that you wouldn't see him while he was inside."
Tony was well aware of what he'd promised, but circumstances changed. "Yeah but that is before it came to my attention that someone is targeting the family."
Tony didn't say that he figured even locked up - Salvatore would know what was going on the city. It was the type of conversation that could wait until they moved inside the mansion where there were no bugs or surveillance. If Tony had been in a vindictive mood, he would have waved at the surveillance van by the FBI. He thought that organised crimes might be more successful if they managed to vary their playbook a little - they were painfully predictable.
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, and murmuring in quiet 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, and he is mine."
She looked at him, or Dave thought it would be more accurate to say through him. She gripped Tony's arms and asked him, "Is he loyal?"
Tony nodded without hesitation because he trusted Dave with his heart and had learned to guard it at an early age. He knew how to explain it in a way that would translate into her world. "Yes, he would have given his organisation hell when they tried to arrest me."
She chuckled and patted his cheek. "Good. So what brings you home apart from introducing your fiance to me?"
Tony rolled his eyes because Alona could be stubborn if she wanted. "You know why I am here, mamma. You see, Dave has a book of victims that he showed me, and they all have one thing in common. You, and that doesn't sit right with me mamma."
She sighed and beckoned them to the kitchen table. She had always wanted Tony to come back to the fold, but she hadn't wanted it this way. Still, she knew him better than he realised and knew he would dig his heels in so it would be better to help. "You had all better sit down as we have much to discuss."
So Tony, Dave and Francine all sat down and waited for Alona to finish pottering about with cups and kettles. She slid drinks over to all three of them and wanted to remind her eldest son. "I can handle myself, Tonio. Your father made sure of that."
Tony snorted because he was well aware of what she could do when provoked. He didn't doubt it, but he also knew this wasn't as simple as everyone believed and didn't want to see her harmed through complacency. "Bernetti thinks papa is responsible for Eduardo's death."
"Is he?" She asked carefully. She knew that Tony's fiance was an active FBI agent so it would be telling how her son answered.
Tony shrugged because he hadn't asked. "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, but let us talk of lighter things while we drink tea. You too, Francie."
And that was how Dave found himself sitting down and having tea and biscuits with the mob. He wondered how he could explain this to Hotch without it sounding so surreal.
Of course, there was one FBI agent who right now was frothing at the mouth with anger. He had got the reports back from hi surveillance agents, and he'd seen red. It had taken a few phone calls for Sacks to find where the BAU had camped out, and he found himself storming into their offices. "You want to explain why one of your agents is going to tea with the fucking mob?"
"He is discussing an active case." Hotch offered as if it should be obvious. His tone also would have suggested to most intelligent people that they should mind how they speak to him.
Sacks sneered, not impressed with the answer. "So why is he with the Mancuso heir if he is discussing a case? What type of ship do you run with the BAU?"
Aaron was well aware of the animosity that this Agent had towards DiNozzo, and he wasn't in the mood to pander to Sacks ego. "You know OC handed us this case in DC. It was so fortunate that Agent Rossi was able to utilise his connection with Assistant Director DiNozzo to get vital information. We will be able to crack this case and get a killer off the street."
"DiNozzo is the fucking heir. You should start with him."
Hotch played it deadpan. "He can't possibly be the killer since he was in DC at the time of the murders. I also struggle to see how he could be an effective heir considering he's not returned to Philadelphia since Salvatore Mancuso was sentenced."
"And why is that?" Sacks goaded. "Why would an honourable agent choose to keep his association with the fucking mob?"
Morgan sneered, absolutely loathing this guy's attitude. "Why don't you go and ask him? If you can get through the gates to the family home. We have an actual killer to get off the streets."
Sacks flushed at the implication that he wasn't looking for justice and stormed off. Hotch shook his head in disappointment at the agent's attitude. He loved what he did, and knew the FBI did vital work, but it was guys like Sacks that hurt their ability to act. "Remind me when I get back to DC to do something about that agent."
Morgan nodded. "I will help in any I can. I wonder how Prentiss and Reid are getting on?"
Tony was sipping his hot drink at the kitchen table, and it was just like old times. Sadly, even the line of questioning wasn't new, only the occupants around the table. He had indulged in small talk for long enough and asked his adoptive mother, "So, Bernetti, what do I need to know?"
"Nothing as a good Federal Agent," Francine replied, too coy for her own good. The pointed look at Dave suggested she still wasn't comfortable talking shop in front of him. Tony was proud because he also didn't want to be put in an awkward position.
Tony rolled his eyes at the sarcasm. He usually adored her wit, but now was not the time. He casually pointed out the severity of the issue. "Francine, all I know is all of mama's guards are getting picked off one by one. I want to stop the bastard before they get to her."
Alona sneered because she hated cowards who couldn't be bothered to attack her head-on. "They're welcome to try." She wasn't inclined to violence, but that didn't mean she wasn't willing to defend herself. There have been times in the past where enemies of the family have considered her the soft target. The enemies of the family made that mistake only once, but people always seemed to forget.
Tony smirked, knowing what she was capable of, but he would rather she didn't have to do something drastic. "Let's try fixing this without you having to make a mess of your kitchen."
Dave knew he was missing something but couldn't help himself commenting. "It is a lovely kitchen."
Tony grinned and changed the subject. "Oh mamma you should see our kitchen, we have all the toys and gadgets, but at least we knew how to use them."
"Do you cook your rigatoni con polpette for him?" Alona asked her eldest son out of curiosity. It would tell her everything she needed to know about how much Tony adored his fiance. It was a dish he said that required his heart to be made right, so if he didn't love the person - then it wouldn't taste right.
Dave nodded, "Yes, it's my favourite dish of Tonio's. He makes it whenever I have had a bad day."
Dave knew there was something significant about the dish considering the looks both women shot Tony. He had never seen Tony blush like that, but it was charming.
Tony wasn't shy, but Dave had unwittingly just told his mother that he was the only one for him. He needed a distraction, and he had the perfect one because he had noticed a significant gap at the table, "Where is Johnny?"
Alona sighed because that was a different problem to the one targeting them. "He is doing something, but he is irrational at the moment."
Tony winced as that wasn't a great reaction if an external threat was targeting the family. "How so?"
Francine answered him honestly, "He is paranoid, knowing that someone is trying to end us. He is talking about big action." She showed how weary she was of the argument, which suggested it was a common one.
Tony pinched his nose in frustration because he was still too rash. He wanted to focus on the threats, not worry about Johnny getting arrested. "Mama, call him home, and keep him busy."
"What are you going to do?"
The plan was forming in his mind, and it would be the best way to reconcile both parts of him. Tony stood up, buttoned up his suit and let them know the barest hint of a plan. "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. He groaned, "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 so far. It just left the irrational brother-in-law. As long as he didn't mess up their plan, all would be fine.
Chapter 7: What you think you know?
Chapter 7: What you think you know?
Johnnie Mancuso was scared and pissed. It was not a great combination, and even he knew that 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. He heard his phone ring but trusted his bodyguard to answer it for him.
Ramone answered but was soon shouting, "Boss, it's for you."
Johnnie 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."
Much to the relief of the guy on the floor - that did it. His mamma 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 and tried to answer breezily, "Hey Mama, what is the matter?"
"Come home now." She ordered brusquely.
"Why?" He was on alert as 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. He was racking his memory for what he might have done to upset her, but he was drawing a blank. He wasn't stupid though, "Get me home quick time."
Tony grinned at his adoptive mother because she always had a deft way of handling them all, and their massive personalities and Tony included himself on that list. "Thanks, Mamma, and stay safe."
"Says the man about to start a pissing contest with the Bernetti's." She finished with a frown. She didn't like the fact Tony was finally home, and already he was heading straight into danger for them. She had dreamed about her family being under one roof for so long, but she didn't want it to happen this way.
Tony must have known about her morose thoughts because he kissed her cheek, "Hey, it will be fine, and I am taking an FBI agent to the meeting. He will look after me as he has a vested interest."
She shook her head in bemusement because only Tony could be so bold. "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."
It was soon after that he and Dave took their leave as they had other plans they needed to put in motion.
Tony walked down the steps to Agent Sacks of all people trying to harass their security guards. They were looking increasingly irritated with the man, and that didn't bode well. Tony directed the guards with a soft voice, "Let me handle, Agent Sacks, go back to your post."
The guards looked relieved to be allowed to go back to their post. Tony sighed as he turned his head to the source of the irritation, "You know, Slacks . You have the worst timing in the world. I do not need to deal with your inferiority complex right now."
"So you can explain why a Federal Agent is having dinner with the mob?" The accusation was rife in his tone.
Tony snorted because clearly, the idiot had skipped a few classes going through the academy. It was ironic because he'd always been worried about how his familial connection would cause him trouble. It made him ashamed, and on reflection that pissed him off. That ended today. "You miss the point, Agent Sacks. I don't have to, you stupid bastard. You know 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 when the BAU took the case. I was just a good son. You can talk to me when you become a good agent. You should remember I outrank you now, and when I get back to Washington, I will show you what that means because your pettiness is impeding your ability to do your job ."
Rossi grinned at the tirade. It was perfect and to the point, and even better he'd recorded it in case Sacks tried to twist it. There wasn't a single thing said that Sacks could use against Tony. Of course, Dave couldn't resist sticking the boot in with the agent. "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 because in his experience that was the worst type of agent, and he didn't need that complication. "We better keep a log of every interaction the team or we have with him. I suspect we're going to need it."
Rossi knew it was the smart move. "I will get Garcia on it."
Tony was drumming his fingers against the wheel as he ran ideas through his mind. He needed to play this right, and he could play it big and flashy, like Johnny, but that wouldn't set the right tone. It had to be subtle because that would cause their opponent more palpitations, and it came to him. He turned to his lover and grinned. "Let's go eat."
Dave didn't know the area well enough to understand how this would help their plan. He 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 developers, import and export magnates, so some are criminal, and some are in politics."
"And a few are both," Dave finished.
"Yep," Tony replied with a smirk. There was no point in denying it as they both knew it was true. It was just the way the system worked.
Dave snorted, "It is a good job I dressed for the occasion."
Tony rolled his eyes because both of them wouldn't be caught dead in anything less than a designer suit. It was a luxury, yes, but one that they both indulged in.
Tony waltzed up to the podium, where people would wait to be seated. "I want the Mancuso table, please."
The head waiter looked up in alarm, "And your name?"
Tony introduced them, setting their tone for the whole visit. "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, and he aimed to reassure the guy. "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, and no one's food should be disturbed."
They sat 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 in play.
Dave saw Tony relax and checked if his guess was right, "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 if 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 hang themselves."
Tony had a crooked grin and didn't bother to defend them. "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 returned home like requested by his mother, but he couldn't speak with how angry he felt. "Tonio is home."
Alona nodded, even as she pulled her youngest into a hug. She was relieved that he was okay considering he'd gone cruising for a fight. "Yes, he is. 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 and smacked him across the back of the head. "What? You have managed so well until that point."
That burned more than anything.
Johnny wasn't unaware, and he knew people considered him to be the understudy, so he did everything he could to be worthy of running things. Sure, he might be a hot head sometimes, but he was doing his best. What bothered the fuck out of him was that he stayed unlike Tonio and yet he was the one scalded like a naughty child. "So big brother, the Homeland Agent, will fix everything?"
Francine strolled into the kitchen and rolled her eyes. She expected Johnny would be difficult and want to help her mother break through his stubborn skull. "You know green is so not your colour, little brother."
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 because they should be enough. "I thought it was because he didn't want 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." Johnny insisted. He'd been so pissed to find out that Tonio was a Fed, and worst of all, even though he'd put their father in jail he was still considered a loyal son.
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." He didn't understand why he seemed to be the only one bothered by that fact. It was madness, not even his father would hear a bad word against Tony.
Alona shrugged because it wasn't as black and white as her son believed. She could see that if they didn't share some of the details, it could cause deeper fractions. "He did, and he made sure your father would see the light of day instead of ending up dead. It was an agreement they both came up with that kept everyone in one piece."
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's strong business tactics."
Francine giggled, as she remembered that week and it was a bit more than strong tactics. Wait, come to think of it she'd been shipped off to her aunt's the day before. "All I know is that 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, but he was picking up some clues. "The Frangellino's wanted to kill Dad?"
Alona could acknowledge the truth. "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.
Francine sighed. "They came to send a message, didn't they?"
Johnny was so confused, and he knew his whole opinion about Tony was slowly being destroyed. 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, and her kids were wary of that grin, and rightfully so, "I woke up that day and decided I just hated the table, the carpet and the walls needed a complete change."
"What are you not telling us?" Johnny desperately wanted to know as many details as he could.
"Everything," Alona assured him.
Chapter 8: Right Weapon for a Job
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.
Chapter 9: A Matter of Press Coverage
Allusions to homophobia
Chapter 9: All a Matter of Press Coverage
Tony knew Franco wasn't the one who was killing his adoptive family - he didn't have the guts or the ambition to do it. He would be too scared, looking over his shoulder for the bullet for tempting fate. He would be looking over his shoulder now he knew Tony was in town, but Tony was hoping his sense of self-preservation would work in his favour.
It had been a hell of a day, and while the BAU team would be checking into an FBI approved rooms that wouldn't be a good idea for Tony and Dave. He knew the team mattered to Dave, but their role was going to be different in this one. Tony didn't want to say they were undercover, but it was a close thing. Tony figured it would be best to offer his thoughts and then they could make a choice together. "So we have two choices tonight if we're maintaining appearances."
"What are you thinking?" Dave carefully asked because he was hoping there was an option where he wasn't sleeping with people who hated his guts on account of his job.
Tony had churned the ideas through his mind, and the best options he could see were somewhat simple, but he wanted Dave to feel included. "As far as I can see, we have two options. One is we go home and take my room, or our second option is Antoni Mancuso checks into the Ritz-Carlton with his 'friend' or whatever assumption choose to make about our relationship."
Dave knew what he meant because for all their jokes - if they checked into the Ritz, then Tony was as good as declaring him his consort. "We'll go with the Ritz," he added, "I don't think I am quite ready to sleep under the same roof as the In-Laws just yet. Let them have some time to adapt to the fact we're together."
Tony kissed him softly over the table, confirming people's suspicions. "I love you."
Dave pulled him in close for a full-body hug having got up from the table. He whispered, "You are a good man."
"I try to be," Tony replied just as softly.
In the Philadelphia precinct, the news of Tony's reappearance was filtering back up to the police department.
"Where the hell did they drag the butcher up from?"
Sergeant Michaels head shot up in surprise. He knew of only one person who earned that nickname, and he was the only one to know the true identity of the 'butcher. If he was right, then his respect for the BAU team had just gone up. He carefully asked the gossiping detective a question to check, "So did you hear why Mancuso's boy is back in town?"
That got a shrug, "No clue. Antonio Mancuso was spotted in town having food with a new man. You know I never got that vibe from him?"
Michaels was well aware that some people still held less than liberal views about the world. He wasn't one of them, but he wasn't too stupid to challenge it head on, he chose to remark pointedly. "You know what? Feel free to tell Antoni Mancuso who he should take to his bed."
"End up on his kitchen table?" The detective shuddered. "No thanks, I ain't stupid Sarge." The man had a dawning light. "Do you think he is the one messing with the family, after all, you have to wonder where they stashed him?"
Michaels shook his head because he knew exactly where he'd been hiding. "No, I don't. What I do think is you need to get all your ears on the ground. If that boy is back in town, it is because the family is under a serious threat and we don't want to see what will happen if he decides to take that threat out. Do we?"
The whole team shivered because they'd never known the man, he'd risen through the ranks and for some murky reason, he'd disappeared. There were so many rumours around the elder son of Salvatore Mancuso, and some were outlandish, while others had a vague ring of truth. A few said that he was an orphan moulded into a killing machine by Mancuso. The more jealous would say he was an ambitious street rat who was a spy sent in to destroy the family from inside. There was more than one rumour about him taking out the Frangelino family outfit and then choosing to take out the Don because he was mad at having to do it.
If DiNozzo was back in town, then he needed to know so he could make sure he stayed safe. There was one unusual thing about the undercover operation that had served them well but made it more dangerous. DiNozzo had been a new transfer into the city when he was picked for the case. He hadn't even sat a day behind a desk, and it was deliberate because then the Mancuso spies wouldn't be able to break his cover and put him at risk. He didn't say anything about this yet to the detective he just ended the conversation by saying. "You know what? I think I need to check in with the Fed's."
"Where the hell did you drag DiNozzo up from?" The Sergeant demanded to know.
The Unit Chief looked away from their working board. He may have asked in a carefully measured way, but you could tell he was fishing. "How do you know we have him with us?"
Michaels snorted but did share the pertinent information with the team. "I ran that boy when he was under the first time." He added a wry tone, "I didn't realise he would end up getting adopted by the family mind you."
The pretty brunette woman pressed. "How did you know DiNozzo was in town, Sergeant Michaels?"
"One of my Detectives was worried that the butcher was in town." Michaels explained, "You should know the city as a whole don't know DiNozzo was undercover. It helped make his cover more authentic."
"He has the nickname the butcher?" The professor looking one looked up alarmed.
Michaels winced because he could see how it might be a bad thing. "Yeah, look it is not as bad as it sounds. If you need any help agents, my men are at your disposal. You should know that I have asked them to work their informants."
Hotchner could appreciate the offer and know the practice of tit for tat. If the man were responsible for keeping the city safe, then information would be vital in his efforts. "Agent DiNozzo has managed to ascertain that the Bernetti family might be behind the attacks against the Mancuso family."
Michaels groaned because he didn't have the energy for a full-scale mob turf war. "Is DiNozzo dealing with it?"
Hotchner answered, "He has made contact and is working on a plan."
"Then I am not too worried, like I said SSA Hotchner, if you need support then let me know."
Tony waltzed into the Ritz and demanded the best suite. He threw down a passport for ID instead of his badge, and Rossi guessed it was in his adoptive name. It did seem to have the magic touch because the staff nearly tripped over themselves to be helpful.
The room was plush, and Dave took in the suite and its amenities. He smirked, "Well, Morgan and the others will be jealous."
Tony shrugged, no stranger to government-funded accommodation. "We deserve luxury, and they'll get over it." If they said anything, Tony would be happy to point out that he was paying for this room out of his own funds.
Rossi lay back on the comfy bed and luxuriated in the sensations. "I don't know these sheets are silk."
Tony smirked because it was like Dave was hoping to wind him up. He played it cool, "You say that like our sheets back home aren't silk."
Dave pulled Tony down onto the bed with him as he hadn't taken the bait. "Let's just lie here for a moment."
Tony knew what the sneaky man was doing, but he was powerless to resist. "Okay, but if I fall asleep, you have to be my pillow."
Rossi snorted. "Aren't I always?"
"I'm sorry you got dragged into my tangled mess."
Rossi sighed at the apologetic tone. "You should know that when I said yes, I meant to everything the highs and lows, and everything in between."
Tony hugged him tighter. "I didn't have a family growing up. You know this and RIMA was great at discipline, not so much for affection but the Mancuso's accepted me warts and all."
Dave got the impression he meant badge and all. He found himself growling at the vague mention of Tony's biological father, "I still don't mind going to find DiNozzo senior."
Tony chuckled, "Relax, he is not worth the effort. He tried to disown me at 12, and I repaid the favour. He is dead to me, and I sense if I made it an issue, he would be for real. I don't need that as he is no longer in my life."
"I can sense your affection for Alona, and it is a two-way street."
Tony smiled softly but was honest because Dave deserved the absolute truth. "She loved me even when I didn't feel like I could be loved. She didn't hate me when the truth came out."
"You all keep alluding to the kitchen?" Dave gently pressed.
Tony knew this was in his reports and was a part of the file on record although only in vague terms. His actions were deemed to be in self-defence of himself, and Alona Mancuso so he had seen no comeback, especially as it had also been the night that he 'caught' Salvatore Mancuso. "I had saved Alona from a stupid mugger, and it was what caught her attention. She saw a lonely kid who needed attention. I was young and so dumb. I thought I could just do the job and move on, but she cared for me, and it got much murkier."
"Undercover lives in shades of grey," Dave replied as he wasn't ignorant of the way things worked. "Do you want to tell me what happened that night."
Tony closed his eyes and spoke from memory. "It was the dead night when the Frangelinio's attacked. Father had attacked two of their drug dens to put the heat on them. I only found this out afterwards, but they wanted mamma and sent their worst henchmen to get her."
"You stopped them," Dave said, guessing how this went.
Tony snorted, "Alona shot the two that breached the doors. It shocked the hell out of them, but she couldn't handle close-quarter fighting, and I wasn't willing to see her snatched or worse. I grabbed two kitchen knives, and I defended her and myself. It might not have been the most standard procedural thing, but it earned me the nickname the butcher."
Dave chuckled, "You the butcher? More like Top Chef."
Tony smirked, but a stern look fell across his face, "Just remember that when you hear things about me."
Dave rolled his eyes. "I know you, and I trust you even when you don't trust yourself."
Tony could do only one thing for such a swell of support, and that was to flip over and kiss the hell out of his fiance. He was so glad that he had said yes to that first date. "I love you."
"Good, then we're even."
Tony bent down to kiss him more. "We'll see about that."
Agent Sacks was not having such a pleasant evening. He had been chewed out by the Deputy Director of the FBI, and then almost straight after he was chewed out by the Deputy Director of Homeland Security.
Sacks couldn't believe that they didn't see what he did. He wasn't harassing a good man, or condemning a man for his connections. In Sack's mind, and he did not doubt that Anthony Dominic Mancuso was dirty - he wasn't Agent DiNozzo, that was just a cover.
He would prove them all wrong. He just needed to get the proof, and he was going straight to the horse's mouth to get it. If there were anyone who would be willing to spill the dirt, it would be Salvatore Mancuso. After all, he would be looking for revenge for being out in jail, and Sacks was only too happy to exploit that fact.
Chapter 10: A Noble and Honest Man
Chapter 10: A Noble and Honest Man
Tony had relaxed enough to consider the next parts of the plan. If Dave was staying by his side, then he needed to be legitimised in the eyes of the Mob. "We need to get your tech wizard on the phone."
Dave figured they should kill two birds with one stone and do a conference call.
Hotch answered, "How are things going?"
Tony took a deep breath and explained, "I've ordered Johnny back home as he is too unpredictable for his own good. The family know they are the target so have hunkered down in the mansion. The working theory is this the Bernetti family's doing for an attack on their son, who was killed last week at the prison."
Prentiss was the one to finish the thought. "The same prison where Salvatore Mancuso is currently residing."
Tony confirmed. "That is correct, and when he offered his theory, he was smart enough to offer the theory without confirming or deny his guilt."
Hotch could guess that DiNozzo didn't press whether for cooperation or a desire not to know the answer was unclear. As far as he was concerned, their case was the serial killer targeting the family, and now thanks to DiNozzo, they had a lead. "What else have you accomplished today?"
"We've checked in at the Ritz, and I used my adoptive name. Oh, I got criticised for returning home and expecting to be able to take over the top spot when eating at the Mirage."
Morgan snorted because no one liked power being snatched away by someone, especially when it was almost in their grasp. "Busy day, who didn't like you waltzing back into town?"
"His name is Franco DeMarini, he used to work for the Frangelino family but would have had to find a new employer when I put the family out of business."
"Could he be the one attacking the family, especially if he has had prior run-ins with the family?"
Tony knew it was a fair question, "No, Dr Reid. I can understand the reasoning but two problems, one he is a coward and two, he would attack me if he was looking for revenge."
JJ thought that was an interesting distinction. "Could the attacks being directed at your adoptive mother prove that it was him? You have quite a reputation in town, and even an enemy might choose not to attack you directly."
Tony snorted at the delicate phrasing and could see why she went in front of the cameras. Tony offered only, "It is unlikely as it was my defence of Alona Mancuso that earned me the nickname, so it would be a foolish man who came at me through my adoptive mother."
Hotch had listened to the information, and it reaffirmed everything he thought of DiNozzo. "Garcia, I need you to get me a rundown of every known associate of the Bernetti family, and look for the usual markers of who might be capable of this crime."
"Will do boss man, should be with you in half an hour. Is there anything else?"
Tony was the one to speak up, "Yeah, I need your technical wizardry to make Dave look like he would be a worthy mob consort."
There was silence in the BAU room as they dearly wished to tease their teammate, but the situation was too dangerous.
Garcia was for once at a loss, "How would I do that?"
Tony chuckled, "Let's see the family made it known I had been sent to Sicily. The inference was I was probably guilty of serious crimes, and so needed to lie low out of the country. I need Dave to have links to the Sicilian Mob, a small fake record for intimidation, violence and the like."
Garcia chuckled at the irony as her usual job was to find someones criminal record, not create one. "Sure thing, I will send you a record of your fake record ASAP."
Dave snorted. "Thanks, Garcia."
The Warden was getting heartily sick of people requesting to see Salvatore Mancuso because it would only feed the man's healthy ego. The prisoner was also the source of most of his aggravation this month.
"You aren't his son, so I doubt he will see you." The Warden remarked.
"Yes, I am well aware that I am not Agent DiNozzo." Sacks replied with a sneer. "However, I do seek to see the man face justice for his crimes, so I want to interview Salvatore Mancuso."
The Warden snorted. "The only thing you are going to achieve is potentially being fitted for concrete boots if Mancuso thinks you are threatening his son. He is very proud of his son's achievements and desire to keep America safe."
"You can't believe he is okay with DiNozzo working for a Federal Agency?" Sacks replied, aghast at the notion. There was no way any self-respecting Don would have tolerated the disrespect of giving evidence against them.
The Warden shrugged his shoulders because he wasn't in the mood to attempt to cure stupidity. He had done his civic duty in warning the agent. "I heard it from his own mouth. He respects his son and his ruthless efficiency at achieving his aims."
"And that doesn't concern you?" Sacks pressed, wondering just how far the mania had spread. It was like DiNozzo had weaved a spell over everyone in this whole area.
The Warden gave him a sceptical look. "The ear-bashing I got from my boss, who got his own ear-bashing from the Deputy Director of Homeland Security means I have no opinions on the matter. My focus is on running an efficient prison, and if I prove to be inefficient at that ... my position will be under review."
They sounded like words from his boss, and Sacks realised there was no ally here. He had to see if he could get at least something from that visit.
Salvatore was ready to reject the interview out of hand but at the last minute asked, "What's the agent's name?"
"An Agent Sacks from the FBI." The Warden explained, not trusting his officer to do the job.
Salvatore recognised the name as the bastard who had tried to arrest his Tonio on spurious grounds. He was going to enjoy toying with this idiot, and he had so little to amuse him these days.
Then a thought struck him, and it could be beneficial to both of them. "Do you know this is your lucky day ... Let me tell you about my plan."
The Warden was horrified to find himself agreeing, but it was elegant in its simplicity.
Sacks smirked when he heard the notoriously close-lipped man had agreed to see him. It should have been his first warning sign. Sacks sat down at the table with his notepad ready to take whatever information he could get.
The door opened, and the infamous Mob Don strolled in as if he was having a day at the park. Sacks could help the comparisons between his suave charm and that of DiNozzo, which was ridiculous considering the relationship between the pair was adoptive. Mancuso didn't seem to care about being shackled to the desk as a prisoner. It was evident in his mind's eye that he was free.
Sacks hated the way he reacted so negatively. "Hello, Mr Mancuso."
"Hello, Agents Sacks. What can I do for you today?" He asked cordially in return which was promising.
"You can tell me why your son has finally come home from DC?"
Salvatore snorted, "You should know we have a strained relationship on account of him seeing me in jail. I know his mother has more luck with him, and in fact, she might even be able to tell you where he might be."
"You cannot play innocent or dumb with me." Sacks replied, just barely hiding his sneer.
Salvatore smirk grew wider. "I have no need. You do a great job for me. Tell me, why would I cooperate with someone who has shown a blatant prejudice towards my son?"
Sacks lost his patience, "It is the fact you can sit there and call him a son that I have a problem with him."
Salvatore quirked an eyebrow. "I fail to see why he found the evidence that saw me sentenced to jail. What can you have a complaint about?"
Sacks rolled his eyes, "It is a fact you didn't want him dead for the betrayal?"
Salvatore smirked. "You know, for an FBI agent, you seem to think we run things like we're a Hollywood movie. You should know killing should be a last resort. It is just too costly for the business, and we're not animals, you know."
"That makes no sense."
Salvatore outright laughed in his face, and it was justified in the face of such a naive statement. "I have no intention of spelling it out for you Agent Sacks. I am just trying to gain a picture of how much trouble you intend to cause my son."
Sacks was on guard now, showing he wasn't wholly stupid. "Is that a threat?"
Salvatore just glared, "Does it have to be?"
Sacks backed down because even he knew that in jail, this man could be dangerous. "You and yours will get what is coming to them I will see to that, that is a promise."
Salvatore watched him storm out. He was calm as he could be because he'd gotten exactly the reaction he was looking for and it was work to his advantage.
The Warden came in looking just as pleased. The head of the prison wasn't stupid. He had pissed off some major players, and this could be something that would put him in the good books. "You did it."
Salvatore rolled his eyes, "He was painfully predictable. I don't know about you, but I think someone at the FBI could benefit from hearing that tape before a tragedy happens."
The Warden smirked, "I will see to it, you will get the pass for the Wedding."
Salvatore smirked, "Pleasure doing business with you."
It was true what they say that no one sets out to be a villain; it was all in a person's mind eye. For example, Sacks believed he was righteous and true in his belief that DiNozzo had tricked the agencies. Franco DeMarini believed that Antonio Mancuso deserved to pay for his actions that night nearly a decade ago, where he had watched him cut through the Frangelino attack squad. Guiseppi Bernetti wasn't a bad man, his son had been killed and he sought vengeance against the perpetrators.
He was seeking to make Salvatore Mancuso feel a fraction of his pain, and he wanted to make it hurt. He hadn't begun to devise all the ways he could destroy the man.
His Consigliere slipped into his study, "We have a problem."
"Unless you are telling me that Salvatore Mancuso's head is on a spike, we don't have a problem," Bernetti replied without looking up from his business papers.
The man dipped his head. "No, but we have heard reports that Antonio Mancuso is back on the scene."
Guiseppi leaned back in the chair and contemplated the new player and how he would fit into his plans. It led to a complication. The eldest son was known to be charming and cunning. He was also considered a psychopathic wildcard depending on who you ask. "So they've brought the butcher back home. So the old man is worried if he has brought his pet thug home. I should imagine the FBI will be crawling all over his reappearance."
The Consigliere nodded because it went without saying, and the local task force leader for Organized Crime was known to be a zealot. "What orders shall I enact?"
Bernetti considered the angles, and before he made any orders, he wanted to check. "How do we know he is back?"
"He has checked into the Ritz and is in the company of a man who we have limited information but has links to the Sicilian Mafioso."
If Mancuso were keeping someone's company, then they would likely fall into one of two category's. "Is he a bodyguard or consort?"
The Consigliere shrugged. "No one knows."
Guiseppi growled because he was getting tired of the lack of information. "Find out! First, though we are going out. Get my guards."
"And where are you going?" The Consigliere asked used to the mood swings.
"To the Ritz for dinner."
The Consigliere didn't outwardly groan because he liked his face and limbs to be in their current positions, but it was a near thing - there was no way this was going to end well.
Chapter 11: Poison in the Ice
Chapter 11: Poison in the Ice?
Dave and Tony were eating once more in the restaurant of the hotel they were staying at for now. If they were going to reel in the threat, they needed to be visible, but they were smart enough to control the setting. On the whole, gangs didn't have shootouts in restaurants as it was too high profile. They expected two different visitors to appear during their meal; one would be Francine and the other Agent Prentiss.
Francine quickly joined them at the table. She kissed Tony on the cheek and not yet having the familiarity chose to air-kiss Dave. She looked at her big brother and decided to let him know how she felt about everything as she now understood so much more. "You are too stubborn for your own good but if we want you then fuck the authorities." She turned to look at Dave and shrugged unapologetically. "No offence."
Dave smirked, seeing the awestruck look on his partner's face. He would leave her to be as fiery and fierce as her heart's content if she could make Tony smile. "None taken."
Tony chuckled but was pleased to see Francine was accepting Dave in her unique way. He had to ask, knowing he might not like the answer. "How is everyone back home?"
Francine shrugged because the family was doing as well as they could under the circumstances. It wasn't like they enjoyed having a serial killer hunting them, but what they wouldn't do - is give in to hysteria. She had a small grin as managed to at least give Tony a head's up. "Mamma broke Johnny telling her some of the details about that night."
Tony didn't quite manage to school his face quick enough, but he was used to little Johnny's cold shoulder. All he knew was Tony had seen Salvatore sentenced and then refused to stick around. "That wasn't a great day for anyone involved. I am just glad I managed to get you both out of state." It had been one less thing for him to worry about wasn't said but easily could be inferred.
Francine's grin turned wicked as she sipped her soda that had just arrived. "I don't know I liked the way mamma said she just had a burning desire to redecorate."
Tony groaned because it was like she was aiming to cause rumours. Tony knew the value of gossip, but also the danger if the tales got too big. It was simply a case of the bigger the legend, the more likely someone would want to come along and challenge it. "It's why she needed to redecorated that saw you sent away."
Dave nearly choked on his drink at the flippant comment. It was more than evident to him that night had affected Tony deeply. Still, if Tony wanted to play it cooly, he would match his fiance. "Well, when you get the urge to change things up, you just have to do it."
Francine rolled her eyes at the sass but did let Tonio know the crux of their younger brother's issue. "Yeah, well Johnny never stopped to think about why you stayed away. He thinks you are ashamed of him and us."
Tony groaned. "It was never like that."
She gave him a droll look, "You and I both know it. I never could figure out how you got father to go along with it all."
"I presented a picture, and it was one he couldn't stand, so he agreed with my plan. It helped that I took down most of the Frangelino family on the same night, so he was still agreeable."
She shook her head in disbelief because it was so bold and ruthless she could see why he adopted Tony. He was so much like their father it was uncanny - the only difference was Tonio had chosen the law, whereas their father had chosen family. "You were always terrifyingly efficient."
"Does that mean you don't think I am stupid any longer?" Tony asked, but his tone suggested he knew better.
She shook her head, "Oh, you should know that father is very pleased with himself about something that he did today." She sighed, "He was vague, but whatever it was hasn't added time to his sentence."
Tony snickered, "If it doesn't involve a body count, then I am pleased for him."
Francine giggled because she knew this revelation might shock, but was kind enough to wait until neither was drinking or eating. "He said that he helped the warden out today."
Tony shuddered because this was like a bizarro land. Salvatore Mancuso did not offer favours, and if he did something, you could bet it would benefit him. "Why would he do that?"
Dave was curious because although the man's reach is limited in prison - he didn't doubt his potential to cause chaos. He could see one angle that might be something a man like Mancuso might help the Warden. "Did a certain agent visit the prison?"
She finished her drink, and she was reluctantly impressed. "Your man is a smart one ... I am not sure you can handle him, big brother."
Tony now understood that you never got away with anything, and that was the curse of having siblings. "Behave Francine."
"Oh, I am, and who is the cute brunette heading like an intercept missile this way," Francine asked, and Tony knew that tone. He couldn't exactly say that she couldn't flirt with an FBI agent as he was already engaged. He was many things, but he tried not to be a hypocrite as a rule.
Tony just gave her a look, almost pleading with his eyes for her to behave. "She is your counterpart for Dave."
Her eyes widened because Tony did have a knack for gaining support from unusual places. She couldn't believe that Tony was saying that he had the assistance of an FBI team, including his fiancé. It was her experience that the FBI lived to cause her family grief, not support them.
Emily could see there was already a guest at the table and was guessing this was the daughter. She didn't change her approach well aware that there were too many eyes on the pair as it was and she wouldn't do anything to endanger Rossi. She was giving the impression that she was the personal executive. It was amazing what an image change you could engender simply by slipping you or hair up in a pony detail.
"Boss, the papers you requested." She then handed over a file. The top of the file looked like contracts, but underneath it was detailed profiles of all the major players in the Bernetti outfit based on the current information held in the bureau database.
Dave briefly scanned them and saw the name attached to the top. He wasn't the expert at this game like his fiancé, but he was smart enough to be able to follow along. "Lauren, this is Tonio's little sister, Francine."
Prentiss nodded her head and offered a small smile. "Nice to meet you, Ms Mancuso. Sir, you should know Mr Bernetti has just entered the lobby."
Tony had a crooked grin and knew that Dave would tease the Prentiss later, "Excellent news, he's taken the bait. You two should get out of here though as this is bound to be unpleasant."
Francine checked the knives on the table and showed she cared in her version of caring, asking, "Do you need an extra steak knife?"
Tony huffed because he expected that question from Johnny, not Francine. "I got this little sis, and I promise that Dave and I will be okay for evening drinks with mamma."
She huffed, "You better."
Dave and Tony watched Francine and Emily disappear together. Dave asked Tony, "Should we be worried about that."
Tony shook his head, "Nah If they get into any trouble, you know that they won't leave any evidence."
It wasn't a comforting notion, but it was honest. Dave rolled his eyes, "I love that is where your mind went." He saw Guiseppe Bernetti step into the restaurant. "Game time."
Across town, Hotchner was trying to figure out what was going on because he hadn't expected this outcome. He looked at the tape in his hand. "What is this? And why is it being handed to me?"
The warden looked down at his feet. He didn't want to be profiled for his reasoning as it wasn't altruistic. It was just good politics. "An FBI agent came to talk to Salvatore Mancuso this morning, and I think someone should hear what was in that meeting."
Aaron knew from their latest check-in that Rossi and DiNozzo had gone nowhere near the prison. "Who would be stupid enough to try and get something from Mancuso?"
The Warden sighed. "An Agent Sacks, the trouble I have is that he is a team lead of organised crime so thought it would be better to be handled by the DC team visiting."
The worst part of it was that he was right. Hotchner was mentally running through a list of orders he would need to give depending on what he heard on that tape.
Reid was the one to ask, "What was the purpose of the interview?"
The warden snorted and showed his genuine opinion of the Sacks. "The idiot seemed to think he would give the boy up so that he could get revenge."
Morgan started laughing and then paused, "Wait, you're serious?"
"It is on the tape."
Hotchner could confess that ruining the idiot's life was on his to-do list, but this was just too easy. "I was going to deal with him when we got back to Washington."
"Glad to make your life easier." He then fled, you didn't need to be a profiler to know that he wasn't comfortable in their presence.
JJ placed the disk into her laptop, and the audio played clearly. The cadence and tone suggested that Mancuso was large and in charge. It was evident that his time in prison hadn't altered his attitude.
"Who would we send this to in Washington?"
"It would be Agent Fornell, who according to the records, was the one to send him here," Reid spoke up from his laptop. "It seems this was Agent Sack's last chance."
"I'd say he blew that chance." JJ pointed out. "What is his problem?"
Derek shrugged, "My guess, jealousy."
It was the ugliest of emotions and a path that once taken, led to unforeseen consequences.
Chapter 12: Dinner is Served
Chapter 12: Dinner is Served
Emily left the restaurant and didn't immediately detach from her new 'friend.' After all, Francine Mancuso could be a target if this Bernetti was behind the attacks. Emily risked grabbing her arm, "So I am not familia, but Dave is mine, so please let me help."
Francine stopped pacing, and even angry, she could see the benefit of the offer. She tried to look contrite, but that wasn't easy as she was too used to getting her own way. "Okay, sorry old habits die hard."
Emily chuckled, seeing the realisation sink in that she wasn't the enemy. She reinforced it with a gentle reminder, "We're not all Agent Sacks."
Francine snorted because he was one of a kind. "Yeah, he is a douchecanoe and needs to leave Tonio alone. It is bastards like him that make Tonio ashamed to come home." She replied heatedly.
Emily put her hand on Francine's shoulder and spoke from her heart. "I can say from experience our team judge a person for their actions, not their name."
Francine smirked because this might even be fun. "Call your boss, I will let mama, and Johnny know to hunker down. I don't like this one bit, and I know Tonio can look after himself."
Emily got it, "He is your brother, and you worry," even as she said it. She was on the phone to Hotch. "We have some unfriendly company at the Ritz."
She was clear enough to be understood without giving a hint of her true allegiance to anyone who was listening to them.
Hotch demanded to know. "Who?"
"Looked like Guiseppi and his Consigliere wanted to have a chat to our guy and his lover," Emily replied, and Francine confirmed it with a nod.
"Do they need back-up?" Morgan asked, ready it seemed to assist.
Emily risked a glance back and replied, humour in her voice. "Well, if Bernetti gets any closer I think Rossi might suspect he is making moves on his man."
"So DiNozzo is looking for a reason to book him?"
"Game Time," Dave whispered.
Tony smirked knowing that he probably shouldn't enjoy this but as long as it was bloodless - He would enjoy the hell out of it. The servers not noticing the tension delivered their main course to their table. It was great timing, as it gave him a legitimate reason to hold his steak knife. "Oh, look at that Darlin, Dinner is served."
Tony watched as Giuseppe Bernetti made a beeline for their table. He shook his head in sadness at just how obvious he was in his goals. It was too obvious, and it was clear that he lacked the subtly to be a genuinely great Don. It was the reason he hadn't managed to take the top spot from his little brother in Tony and Salvatore's absence. To be a legendary Head of the family, you had to know how to manage people, which was blending fear and subtle charm in equal measure to make a successful Don. Tony could do it, and Salvatore was still able to even from behind bars.
Tony could tell that the man storming over to greet them, liked to put all his effort into being the most feared person in any room. It was a form of leadership that could only be effective for a short run, as eventually, someone scarier would come along, or people's fear overcame their concern. He was easy to profile, and therefore easy to manage.
Tony looked up from his steak and spoke first like it was his right, "Hello, Mr Bernetti. How is your day going?"
He spoke as if they were old friends and not from rival families. He saw the flare of Bernetti's nose at the perceived disrespect. It was like reeling a fish in on a hook, and it was almost embarrassing about how easy it was to bait him.
"Why have you come home?" Bernetti demanded to know. He tried to loom over them in a poor attempt at intimidation and Tony would rate it a mere two on the Gibbs scale. The fact neither man reacted would annoy Bernetti further because there was nothing worse than disinterest to a power move.
Tony tilted his head in curiosity. "Have you started a joint venture with my family in my absence?"
"You know I would never work with your crooked father." Bernetti sneered like he was offended at the mere suggestion.
Tony rolled his eyes. "Funny. He is in jail, so what has that got to do with anything?" Tony challenged playing it coy. You would be amazed at how much you could gain by playing it stupid. It had worked well in the past for him. Tony would use anything in his repertoire, including his looks to his advantage. He wasn't cocky here, and he was more than aware this was the main suspect for the threats against his adoptive family.
"You have no idea what is going on. You are just a blunt instrument." Bernetti remarked, shaking his head in disbelief.
Tony's smile turned to ice, and he stopped pretending he was so vacant. "I don't have blunt instruments. They don't suit my needs."
Rossi grinned at his lover as he sipped his wine as both had watched Bernetti flinch at the reference to his reputation with knives. Still, it was like the idea hadn't fully registered considering he kept on talking.
Bernetti kept trying to goad him, "So you have nothing to say to me?"
Tony shook his head. "No, I am home as I wanted to introduce David to my mother. Why? Should I be worried about something."
"You can't be this stupid!"
Tony fluttered his eyelashes. "Papa said I didn't have to think, just react." He sighed. "The trouble is the last time I did that Francine got mad at me and sent me away to cool off."
"So you're their last gasp move."
Tony put down his cutlery, but if you'd watched him properly - he had palmed the steak knife. "I am not the last gasp of anything, but the Mancuso's are not in the habit of talking to their inferiors and my fiance, and I were enjoying our meal." It seemed the hint of his real personality had missed Bernetti with how condescending the man was to him.
The tone was still there, as Bernetti kept on, "Come now, don't be rude. I wanted to find out how your mother is faring?"
Tony smiled softly and knew the perfect response to that one. "Happier and safer now that I am home."
So finally his words had hit their mark with the glare, "You should be careful who you threaten you, stupid boy."
The tension ratcheted up in the room, but Tony stood up ready to meet the challenge and just hoping he would finally threaten him. "You know what Guiseppe I'm not a boy, nor am I stupid but I repeat you've interrupted my meal."
Dave stood up, "Come on, Tesoro. I have gone off my food."
Tony hoped that Guiseppe was stupid enough to follow them.
Fornell looked at the report that had been flagged to him by the BAU leader. It was the first thing that caught his attention as their day to day work didn't tend to cross paths. He knew the name Mancuso as it crossed his path with his favourite Homeland Agent. DiNozzo leaving NCIS was for the best as things had imploded pretty spectacularly after he had left.
He groaned in frustration seeing Sack's name linked to the report. He looked at the time, and it was definitely too early for this much stress. He shouted to his Junior Agent, "Guess I am going to Philadelphia. Get me the SAC in charge. I need him to put an agent on ice."
Fornell snorted at his Junior Agent's question because he really didn't have time to explain it. "I need to stop one of our agents being killed by the Mob for hurting the feelings of the Assistant Director at Homeland Security."
"There is so much I want to know."
Fornell snorted because it was a fair point to make. He would have been begging for the details if he hadn't known them. He was in a good mood this morning thanks to caffeine. "You get the plane ride to ask your questions."
He was going to send Sacks to Alaska at this rate.
The hallway was the perfect place for an ambush or the best way to spring a trap. Tony had scouted the layout of the hotel, and it was an ideal place to arrest someone. He also had scouted it out as the kitchen access meant it was the best place to move someone to a car without being seen.
Bernetti shouted at their back, "I should kill you where you stand, and then where would your arrogant family stand. Do you think it would finish your old man off, as the news of my son did to me?"
Tony whirled around and let the old bastard have it both barrels. "I know your type Guiseppe, and you don't like to get your hands dirty. Oh, and your Consigliere looks like he can't even lift paper, let alone a gun."
Dave smirked at the pair. "But you know what you did say the magic words for us. Giuseppe Bernetti you're under arrest."
As soon as he'd said the words, Tony and Dave had their guns trained in textbook stances on their opponents.
"For what?" Bernetti growled.
Rossi stepped forward with his cuff's visible, and Tony's gun was still unwaveringly trained on the pair. It was more than evident that if they made an aggressive move, then Tony was ready to shoot them. "You threatened a Federal Agent."
Bernetti sneered at Rossi. "You think this little psychopath is an Agent?"
Tony swooshed his hip to let the badge on his waist flash. "Assistant Director of Homeland Security. You can see why I am out of state. I am the prodigal son for more than one reason." He explained with a shit-eating grin. It was nice to say he was both family and an agent.
The Consigliere gasped in shock because this had been kept stupidly quiet. The idea of a Mancuso being able to get Federal support - was not planned for by Bernetti. "Am I being arrested?"
Tony shrugged, " I am hoping you are smart enough to go for a walk and answer a few questions."
Bernetti was hissing like he was a cat instead of a human. "You won't get away with this!"
Tony snorted at the sheer stupidity of the statement and relished saying, "You are the one who threatened to kill me in front of my FBI fiancee. It is not my fault you are stupid."
The rant that line started was epic, but Tony just couldn't resist.
Chapter 13: Tear it all Down
Chapter 13: Tear it down
Tony and Dave managed to slip into the Police Station through the back entrance as it had fewer eyes on it. It was ironic, a change in stance and their badges on show, and no one would have blinked an eye at them. It was a little trickier considering Bernetti was cuffed and being hustled forward between them. Still, all saw them and dismissed them as Federal Agents who had been too dumb and chose to arrest one of the leading Don's of the city.
Tony had nearly managed to go unnoticed, but there was one detective who recognised him. It was the same detective who had been telling tall tales about the Butcher, and he was so confused at what he witnessed. His Police Sergeant clapped him on the shoulder and whispered in his ear, "Not a word, Daniels, and I will explain the best story that Hollywood will never have."
"And if anyone recognises him?" Daniels whispered back with urgency in his voice, and not a little surprise.
Michael's smirked at the shock, and this was probably a better lesson than one he could have given about taking information at face value. "Then you have no idea how they can confuse Antonio Mancuso with Assistant Director DiNozzo of Homeland Security."
He was pale as he realised his boss was deadly serious, "Yes, Sarge." There was a pause. "Seriously?"
Michael's nodded in reply, but he couldn't hide his smirk. "Look on the bright side. It seems Bernetti has slipped up, and if you're fortunate, I might let you watch the tapes of the interrogation."
There was one place down the road from the police precinct where they had no idea or clue of what was going on. That didn't mean the FBI Office was without its own drama. After all, when one of the more prominent agents in DC comes down thanks to a complaint, it genuinely leads to intrigue.
Fornell was too tired and cranky for intrigue and walked straight into the office demanding to know. "Agent Sacks. Where the hell is he?"
"Sir?" His former protege asked in confusion, stepping away from his cubicle. There was no reason for his former mentor to be in this city. "Why are you here?"
"I am wondering if you have a death wish, or are you just plain stupid?" Fornell didn't bother to moderate his tone.
Sacks flushed feeling like a probie just of the academy. He didn't appreciate being belittled, especially considering he had already faced exile from DC. "Are you here on a case?"
Fornell rolled his eyes before explaining sarcastically. "Oh, I am here to take you to a tailor ... You have a fitting for concrete boots at two this afternoon."
Sacks had a sinking feeling because he just knew the Mancuso family were about to haunt him. "Look if this is about me visiting Salvatore Mancuso ... I thought I should try and gain valued intel."
Fornell snorted, "If that is what you call intel-gathering, then you learned nothing from me and that I find distressing."
"He chose to speak to the BAU!" He tried weakly to justify his choice, but it wasn't convincing to his own ears.
Fornell sneered in contempt. "No, he chose to speak to his adopted son. You know the kid he adopted after he sent him down."
"And you don't find that suspicious?" Sacks fired back.
Fornell had known it was more than likely an issue of jealousy, but he couldn't believe Sacks was so obvious about his dislike. "I like AD DiNozzo and respect the work he did at both NCIS and Homeland. He is one hell of an agent and managed to survive Gibbs for as long he did."
"He is the heir."
Fornell frowned because it wasn't reasoning, it was blind rhetoric. "Are you hearing what you are saying? He has been in DC working at Homeland. He hasn't got time to run a family, you paranoid idiot."
"What are you going to do?"
Fornell looked at his phone and grinned seeing the flash message. "I am going to give you a training exercise. Your actions in the next 48 hours will see you in Alaska to cool off or out of the agency."
There wasn't much he could say here, and he knew it. He followed behind his former boss and hoped he could save his job. He wondered what he was going to learn.
"So, what is this? A Joke." Bernetti asked as he pushed onto the chair.
Rossi snorted because he was pretty dense for someone near the top of the food chain. "No this is an interview with SSA Rossi, FBI and AD DiNozzo from Homeland Security."
Bernetti glared at Tony. "You are Salvatore's boy. You should be sitting on this side of the table."
Tony smirked because if Bernetti was already unsettled, then this wouldn't be too difficult, "There was no question there but since you are in a chatty mood. Let's dance, and you shouldn't believe everything you here. It's already got you in trouble."
The lawyer spoke up. "Yeah, we should be talking about entrapment, and why you are insisting on this farce."
Tony frowned and put the most innocent look he could manage. "There is no face here, and you know it. You see I was having dinner with my fiance and your client in your presence I might add, chose to interrupt us. He didn't just interrupt our date because he chose to make death threats. It was so stupid considering I have only come to the city as I was concerned about the health of my adoptive family."
"You cannot be family to the Mancuso's and be a Federal Agent." The lawyer exclaimed, horrified by the sheer notion of it.
"Why not?" Rossi challenged making it seem like such a stupid statement by his sheer tone.
"They are mutually exclusive!"
Tony shook his head. "I'm learning that is not the case, but what I am interested in is what feelings your clients have towards the Mancuso family as they seem particularly vehement."
Rossi piped in. "I recall him saying that he should kill you where you stand to hurt Salvatore Mancuso like he is hurting."
Tony smirked as Bernetti was a million miles away from achieving that goal and they both knew it. "Yeah, it's funny how some plans go so drastically wrong."
"Have they?" Bernetti fired back.
Tony stood up, to emphasise that he could as he wasn't shackled and learned into Bernetti's ear. "I'm still alive, and I just need a target."
"You're threatening my client."
Tony stood up, affecting a confused look on his face. "I am not sure what you mean. I am pointing out that I know he's too much of a coward actually to get his hands dirty. He would pay someone to do it for him, and if he were a smart man, he would give me their name."
"You've not offered an incentive." The lawyer tried to leverage.
Tony's cold glare landed on the lawyer. "Then you weren't listening."
The precision of language is something Tony had mastered growing up. He could change a person's whole perception with syntax or a change of accent.
"You are definitely threatening my client!"
Tony sat back down, smug and in control. Dave had seen the exact same manoeuvre done by Salvatore a few days ago. "Not at all, I am speaking his language while remembering I need to keep my badge or my fiance would be upset with me."
"This is a farce of an interview." The lawyer sneered not to used to such contempt.
Tony cackled. "No, it is too subtle for your ears, and perhaps you should be quiet and let the boss talk."
"That is what I pay him for."
Tony snorted at that because he knew better. "If you are letting your consigliere talking for you ... I should let you go, and the other families will finish you off for being weak. I figure if I do that the Mancuso's will be safe without payment forthcoming and Dave and I can go back home."
Silence reigned supreme.
The observation room was cramped as hell as the BAU members and Michaels, and the one detective had squeezed into the room.
Morgan snorted at the subtle threat he'd just heard. He would give DiNozzo credit because it was pure gold. It was clearly a threat, and yet not one DiNozzo could see a reprimanded for his comments. He couldn't believe how easily Rossi and DiNozzo were leading this guy by the nose. It was evident at least to his team that the death of his son for whatever reason in prison had been his stressor.
Michaels just shook his head. "The boy always had a way with words. He got a whole family of the Mob to adopt him with his charm."
The detective whispered. "He is scary."
The Sergeant rolled his eyes, "Well, he would hardly be a kitten and adopted by the Mancuso's."
JJ snorted. "They adopted him even after he sent the old man down."
Michaels rolled his eyes. "Yeah, according to the Old Don, he could respect that level of ruthlessness. He was just pissed that his son skipped town straight after and wasn't willing to take the reigns."
A new voice spoke. "That is because DiNozzo couldn't reconcile the two parts of himself. He then mentored under one of the biggest bastards in DC before taking all of it to rock out at Homeland."
Hotchner smiled, "Hello, Agent Fornell, and I am glad to see you got my report."
Sack's scowled but didn't reply because he was watching the interview unfold.
Bernetti smirked deciding he didn't want to string this out. It was wasn't his first choice plan, but it would serve the same purpose. "You should go home, Tonio."
DiNozzo's frame changed, reacting to the change in Bernetti. He grew serious from his previous jovial nature. "Is that right?"
"Yeah, everything begins and ends in family, isn't that right?"
Tony leaned forward. "You're still a coward, not willing to get your hands dirty. You know one will respect this vengeance."
"I am not interested in how this plays out with the other families. I just want Salvatore to pay." Bernetti confessed.
"Are you saying you have a plan in action?" Rossi spoke up.
Tony's mind was racing to connect the dots. Bernetti was the type to go big or go home, so if Bernetti had come after him. He would have someone go after the others. "Who did you buy off?"
"I am not in the habit of bribing individuals."
Tony sneered at the line because there wasn't a single person in the room who believed it and that included the lawyer. "You and I both know you've paid one of the guards wages."
Bernetti shrugged. "I have no idea what you mean."
Tony stood up and looked at the mirror. "We need to go now."
Bernetti might not have said it, but he told Tony everything he needed to know. The attack on the mansion was happening any moment - It was why the bastard was happy to string them along. He didn't care that there were a whole bunch of witnesses to his promise to Bernetti.
"If anything has happened to my family, Bernetti. I will let you learn which rumour about me is true."
Chapter 14: Stay out of the Kitchen
Warning: Mentions of violence against someone who is restrained.
Stay Out of the Kitchen
Emily pulled the car up to gates of the mansion. She had insisted that she would drop Francine Mancuso back at her house considering what they had just witnessed at the restaurant.
The journey had been fascinating as she had never experienced anyone who hadn't immediately judged her due to her family name. She didn't know how much it bothered her until she had something to contrast against it. She found herself saying, "Thank you."
"For the lift?" Prentiss queried with a smirk. "You're welcome."
Francine had to smile at the cheek, and that was another thing that she was surprised by today. She always assumed that FBI agents had their humour removed in the academy. "Yeah, I think this is the first time an agent has offered to drive me home."
Emily snickered, seeing the funny side of her statement. "You should make your big brother do it more then if you can pry him away from his case files."
"I am thinking about it." Francine trailed off, and she was frowning looking at the guard station. There should never be a time in the day where she wouldn't see at least one guard monitoring the perimeter. She didn't even think about her actions. Francine called her older brother, "Tonio, you need to come home now there something is wrong."
" I know we're on our way. Stay safe, Fran, and listen to Agent Prentiss."
She huffed, "I am not a damsel in distress."
Tony chuckled, but he was already slipping into work mode, "I know that better than most, but I need you without suspicion of guilt to keep my ass out of jail."
Wow, that told her everything she needed to know because she could hear the other voices of agents around him. She could tell they were in motion by the sounds of the engine, so back up wasn't too far away. She had to be patient even if it was the last thing she wanted to be right now.
Prentiss could tell something was wrong, "Can I speak to them?"
Francine nodded, shook up by the attack on what should have been a fortress. She opened the door and saw no guard, which made her start cursing. "I'm gonna string the rat up by his toes." She could get the gun in the safe, which meant it wasn't a total loss.
Prentiss stepped inside the guard station with her. "Normally, I would tell you to put that down."
Francine snorted. "What about if I promise only to shoot the bad guys?"
Prentiss looked at her watch, knowing they had only to wait a few minutes for reinforcements. "When we breach I give you full permission to shoot anyone without a badge who tries to get in here. Just aim to disarm not outright kill."
Francine had a mean grin. "Oh, I want them to live otherwise how will I dedicate my life into making them all regret their life choices."
In the Police Van, the BAU and two Philly Cops were getting an education like you wouldn't believe.
"Should you be spilling family secrets?"
Tony snorted because all he wanted from this night was for his family to survive. He would make sure they knew everything he had said so they could plan accordingly. "Right now the family is under attack. If they have a problem with it, I will deal with it when everyone is safe." The tone suggested that there wouldn't be a problem and to be fair, having seen his showdown with Bernetti they believed it.
A phone call interrupted him, and it confirmed what he already knew - the mansion was under attack. He didn't know if Johnny and Alona were in the house but knowing his luck they would be.
"Who are friendlies?" Morgan asked more for their tagalongs.
"Francine is outside with Agent Prentiss and two potentially in the mansion. Alona Mancuso and her son, Johnny." Tony replied, trying to maintain a professional distance, but it wasn't going to be hard.
JJ decided to address the elephant in the room. "You need to make sure you have a camera on."
Tony looked at JJ but didn't argue with her. "I know where the line is Agent Jareau."
"I know but should their lawyers or an investigation aim to cause you trouble it will be recorded. It will make any argument mute before they can open their mouths." She explained her logic, and it was sound reasoning.
Hotch shrugged. "It wouldn't hurt because right or wrong you know someone will cause you problems, probably Bernetti."
Tony had plans for that bastard, and it might even work for a Christmas present for Salvatore if he traded a possible favour or two. "You're right I will bow to a lawyer's wisdom."
Morgan sighed as he examined the plans because the sightlines into the mansion as one might expect sucked. It was great to defend, but not if you wanted to breach to rescue people. "So who is going to ring the doorbell?"
Tony pulled out a key from his wallet and with a smirk informed them. "Why the hell would I need to invite my friends around to my home?"
Hotch knew this case was going to give the prosecutors a headache, but in all reality, there were unlikely to take anyone alive who would see prosecution. These type of attackers were not the type of perpetrator who would accept being taken by the police force - they would definitely be the type to choose suicide by cop. "You take the front door and sweep forward. We will go from the back and sweep inward and meet in the middle."
Tony always went to dark humour when it was needed. There may have been more than one question asked in that enquiry, but he was curious to see how Hotchner would answer. He wasn't unaware of the awkward position the BAU Leader was in with this whole case. "You wouldn't want to keep me out of the kitchen now, would you?
Hotch smirked but showed he wasn't worried about any potential blowback. "If you need to be there, I am sure you will make your way there. Try not to lose your gun this time."
The look Tony gave the BAU leader told him everything. He hadn't lost anything, but he wouldn't risk everything on a whim. He would do what was necessary, but he wouldn't lose his head. He wouldn't as that was a path that led to madness and losing Dave, which wasn't something he was willing to consider.
It was telling how bad things were that the three SUV could pull up at the front of the mansion without being challenged. It bothered the hell out of Tony as he couldn't ever recall a trip to the estate where it was empty. He let out a sigh of relief, seeing it wasn't wholly empty as he saw his little sister in the booth. It seemed like her trip to the restaurant might have spared her a lot of pain.
Tony spared one second to hug Francine and make sure she stayed safe and well hunkered in the guard station. "You got a gun?"
She held it up with a wicked smirk and a roll of her eyes. "Agent Prentiss gave me a gift, and it goes with my outfit. Don't worry big brother, you know me, I will stay safe."
Tony huffed because now was so not the time to be sassy. "Stay down, Franny and no matter what you hear. I need you to be safe."
Francine rolled her eyes. "Go and do what you have to do." She added a bit in Italian about making the family proud, but she said it low enough that no one would have been able to hear it.
Tony nodded and didn't make any promises, but he would seek justice for whatever had happened to his family.
He opened the door quietly and already knew more than he cared to from the sounds. He could hear the grunts of pain from Johnny. His guess was two goons were working him over to send a message. He had to stow his anger and used signals to let Derek and Dave know where it was coming from and looked to plan the next move. He got nods in return. He didn't like it, but Morgan would take the lead in the breach, it would be better for all involved if he didn't make the first shot. As a consequence of Dave being his fiance, it would be better for him not to be in a 'grey' area either in that regard.
Morgan heard the click on his radio saying Hotch was ready and that meant time to breach.
Tony opened the door ready for Derek and Dave, and he had to push all emotions to the side. They had strung Johnny up like he was a rag doll. The cowards had made sure he couldn't fight back.
Morgan shouted, "FBI. Down on the ground, hands behind your head."
Tony and Dave had their weapons poised ready to shoot, and sure enough, the perps fired but didn't last long. The last one couldn't as he was behind Johnny from behind his brother. The bastard assessed the situation and held a knife to Johnny's throat.
Tony sighed. "How much did Bernetti pay you?"
Derek whistled as if he was impressed, but frowned and asked something as if it bothered him. "Was that upfront?"
"You agents don't get how our world works."
Tony snickered because this guy was a few fries short of a happy meal . He nodded sympathetically, "You're right. He is too law-abiding; it is what makes him a good FBI agent."
Morgan guessed where Tony was going with this avenue. "What makes you a good Mancuso?"
Tony smirked, but the smile never reached his eyes. "Ensuring that no enemy is left to attack my family, and I am not in the mood to string this out. Johnny is tough, so if you don't put that knife down. I am going to shoot you through Johnny. Sure Johnny will be pissed but you. Well, you will be alive and in prison but unable to defend yourself and I will make sure you are in a cell next to my father."
Rossi smirked. "You have the pull being the Assistant Director at Homeland. I doubt you will have to burn through any favours."
The last perp put his hands up, having weighed his options. He wasn't going to die for any job, and he had enough money to bribe his way out of most positions. He needed leverage, and that wouldn't happen if he put himself on the wrong side of the Mancuso's. He would dearly love to know how they managed to align themselves with the FBI and not end up in cuffs with him.
Johnny Mancuso may have been worked over, but he wasn't down for the count. "Tonio, Mamma needs you."
Tony looked to Morgan and Rossi and got nods in return. They could handle this scene, and any hesitation by Tony disappeared when he heard the scream of Alona in the kitchen.
15: Kitchen Delight
Tony heard the scream and his feet were moving without conscious thought toward the kitchen. He had to squash his emotions down and remind himself to think before he acted. Tony couldn't go in the emotional as it would only lead to bloodshed and tears. He wasn't just Agent DiNozzo or the Butcher. He was so much more, but above all, he was Alona Mancuso's son, and he wouldn't let anyone harm a hair on her head.
He took in all the commotion in the kitchen. He could see that some of the attackers were cuffed, but the main grandstanding was happening in the corner. Hotchner was standing with Fornell aiming their weapons at the person holding his mother hostage. She was the mother of his heart, and he would hide from the fact no longer.
Tony stormed in and made his natural authority felt. He cackled, seeing just who was holding his mother hostage because this was just too perfect. It was all too easy to appear unconcerned by the turn of events because the man was an idiot. Tony purred, "Oh, this is just too perfect. Hello Franco, fancy seeing you here."
"What the fuck is the butcher doing here?" Franco asked alarmed, he was supposed to be out eating and Bernetti was going to take care of him. He'd specifically said he wanted that honour himself as far as Franco remembered.
Tony smirked, adding silkily. "I heard a party was going down and I wanted an invite. I have dealt with the clusterfuck in the living room, so now you have my undivided attention."
Hotchner could use this and built it into the narrative he was already weaving. The Unsub was unsettled just by DiNozzo's presence, and It helped to know the assailant's name, "Franco, I can only control the situation so far."
Tony snorted and paid no attention to the agents in the room. He put his full attention on Franco, "The last time someone was stupid enough to threaten my mother in this room. You know what happened Franco. You've heard the stories, and I don't think you have the stones to upset me."
It was all the more chilling for the even calm delivery of his little speech. Tony may have his focus on what was in front of him, but he didn't miss the shivers in his peripheral vision.
Hotchner saw the sweat roll down Franco's forehead. He needed to press on this small advantage, "Have you thought this through?"
The Unsub tried to put a brave face on it, "It is not like he can shoot me in front of a room full of federal agents!"
Tony's grin was manic, and in his hands, once more he had a knife, and in the other a gun. It was like he was ready to reenact that night from nearly a decade ago. "You haven't told him the best bit, Agent Hotchner?"
"No, Sir," Hotch replied.
Franco paled and asked Tony the obvious question, but it was clear that he was dreading the answer to the question. "Why would they call you, Sir?"
Tony stood up tall and proudly introduced himself. "You should know the brilliant woman in front of you, honours me by calling me son, but I go by another name at work."
"What is it?" The question came out haltingly like he was dreading knowing the answer.
"Assistant Director Anthony DiNozzo, Homeland Security."
Franco looked at the droplets of blood on the woman's neck. He was regretting that stunt He stuttered out, "No, I have no choice. If I let her go, you will kill me."
Alona sneered and didn't look scared despite the knife at his neck. "You must think my Tonio is stupid."
Tony smirked at the fire shown. He sighed and pretended to be sad, "No, Mamma. They all think I am some deranged psychopath."
Franco shouted, "You have a nickname of the butcher, and unlike your friends, I know how it was earned!"
Tony shook his head. "Who will believe a piece of scum who likes to hold old ladies hostage?"
It was so simple and effective to take away every avenue of hope.
"You have everyone fooled!"
Tony shrugged but went for the metaphorical kill. "Look if I were anything like the rumours, I would take this kitchen knife ... Stake you to the floor and then use the rest of the block to make you regret every drop of blood you have caused my sweet mother to drop." He paused there and let the words sink in. He painted quite a scenario for the agents, but his look told Franco that he was ready to do just as he promised.
Hotchner hummed, and then offered a hypothetical suggestion. "I suppose we could leave... I mean this is Mob business, and at the bureau, we do have a policy of none-interference."
Tony looked delighted by the idea. "You could do that, and I promise I will take care of business."
"No death, Tonio," Alona spoke up. "I have no desire to redecorate my kitchen."
Tony bowed his head. "Mamma, the loco man, has a knife to your neck and I intend to deal with it one way or another." He finished in a definitive tone.
She looked Tony in the eye, and her age was irrelevant compared to the fierceness of her soul. "Death will be too quick clearly there needs to be a living reminder."
Tony could kiss Alona because she was giving him a way to save face with both warring sides of his soul. He knew in his heart if she had wanted Franco dead, he would have done it. "I hope he hasn't got any blood on your shoes, as they are Chanel."
Alona looked serene. "No, no blood ... At least not yet."
Tony saw the stomp coming, and self-defence manoeuvre was quick even at her age. Her heel jammed into his feet caused him to bend over, and she added an elbow for good measure. Tony was shooting as soon as there was a sliver of an open shot. She ran straight into his arms, and he hugged her immediately. "It's okay mamma, Johnny is okay, and Franny is outside."
"Grazie o Dio." She whispered into his shoulder.
Tony handed his weapon to Reid. "It's a clean shot, I took a disarming shot, but it is better to be safe than sorry."
Hotchner could see Rossi hovering in the doorway. He looked happy to see the pair hugging and even Sacks looked pleased by the outcome. Rossi explained, "We have reinforcements outside the door, and the perimeter is secure."
Tony reluctantly let go of his adoptive mother and bent over a bleeding Franco. "Who killed the family because it wasn't you?"
Franco sneered, coughing in pain. "Why should I tell you? You just shot me!"
Tony chuckled because it was so simple. "You can tell me and get medical relief, or I drive you to the hospital, and I will take the circular route."
The look around the room let Franco know he had zero support in the kitchen. He hoped he wasn't signing his death warrant by confessing. "It was random assassins."
Reid pointed out. "It would explain the wildly varying MO's."
Tony shook his head in disbelief. "That would have cost him a pretty penny."
"I am sure Garcia will find the trail." Reid offered, assured of his teammate's skill with computers.
Alona pulled Tony to her side once more. She knew that look, Salvatore had a similar look when feeling homicidal, and he wanted to distract him. "Where are the rest of my children?"
Johnny bellowed in pain, but it was clear he had no intention of going anywhere until he had seen his mother. She chuckled at the curses because it told her while he might be in pain - he wasn't too bad. She walked into the entrance of the living area, "I have never let you use that language in my house, Johnathon Salvatore Mancuso ."
Johnny visibly breathed easier. "You're okay."
Tony snorted because even if they hadn't arrived, he wouldn't have bet against his mother. "Yes, she is little brother. Now go the fuck to the emergency room, and I will oversee clean up here."
Johnny lay back, wincing at the movement. "Okay, so drugs sound really good right now."
Tony watched as Alona and Johnny got escorted into an ambulance with Dave and Morgan going with them. He was surprised to see Francine staying with him. "Why aren't you going with them?"
She snorted because she was going to be having words with her brother about self-preservation. "You seriously think I am leaving you alone when you have openly hostile Federal members in the house with you?"
Tony snickered and pulled her in for a hug. "Love you too, Franny. We need to give statements and then make sure we close up the house."
She looked at the devastated room. "Why is it always the kitchen?"
Tony shrugged because, for all his understanding of criminals, some things remain a mystery. "Who knows? You know mamma will be delighted to have a chance to renovate it to her whims."
"She doesn't need an excuse." Francine pointed out, and Tony didn't disagree.
Sacks stood in front of him, and Tony braced himself for another onslaught of abuse. He was hoping the man wouldn't be stupid with Fornell next to him, but it hadn't stopped him a few years ago.
"You didn't kill him."
Tony snorted. "No, Agent Sacks. I would have done my best to avoid it even if Alona hadn't requested it. I will forever seek justice, and no matter what my background is ... When I swear an oath, I mean it with every fibre of my soul."
Sacks held out his hand tentatively, wanting to convey that he finally understood what Tony had been saying. "Good luck. Agent Fornell is shipping me off to Alaska, so I doubt we will see each other again. Could you let your father know that for me?"
Tony chuckled and chose to be the bigger person and took the hand. "Sure thing, Agent Sacks."
Francine rolled her eyes as the Agent left the kitchen and exited out the front of the house. She asked snidely, "Are you going to make nice with everyone?"
Tony rolled his eyes at his sister's tone. "Is it my fault the family name is terrifying for most people?"
Fornell just gave him a look because that was a question that most sane people wouldn't answer. "You forget, Tony that I knew you as DiNozzo and you were pretty fearsome."
Tony knew that he was talking about how he refused to accept things at NCIS like a good little boy. "Don't spill all my secrets."
Fornell snorted and informed Tony about his plan moving forward. "What are you talking about, I will have so much fun with this whole affair? I am going back to DC to torture Gibbs with this whole case file."
Tony grinned, hearing the relish in his old friend's voice. "Have fun, and I will send your wedding invite in the post."
Francine just tilted her head to the side. "He doesn't care, does he?"
Tony shook his head. "I have no idea how to explain the tangled history of Gibbs and Fornell and how I was one of the pieces that ended up being fought over in their friendly rivalry."
"You have odd friends." Francine declared as if it wasn't obvious.
Tony snorted, feeling exhaustion starting to creep into his bones, "And an odd family, but I love you all the same."
He was engulfed in a hug, and she whispered into his shoulder. "Glad you realised it."
Tony wasn't going to escape, and in reality, he didn't want to escape any longer. He finally had everything he wanted, family, a lover and friend who accepted him no holds barred.
The fighting was all said and done, but they still needed to make sure Franco and Bernetti got sentenced. He also wanted to get married without it turning into a red wedding, which was a legitimate concern at one point.
There will be at least two out-takes in this story - One being the sentencing and one being the Wedding. I just have to decide where I will attach to the main story or add and turn into a mini-series.
Thank you for everyone who had read, kudos'ed or reviewed this story.
Chapter 16: Outtake 1: Sentencing
Aaron informed the team. "Rossi will not be with us for the next few days, and will only be available for extreme emergencies."
Dave shrugged at the looks that garnered as he wasn't known for taking is holiday time. "It is sentencing time, and Tony wants to be in the area in case of reprisals. He is hoping to keep it in agencies hands rather than turning into a blood feud."
Hotch sipped his coffee. "I will pray for you."
Rossi snorted because he was pragmatic about his soon to be In-Laws. "I am not worried, their reputation is as fierce as ever, and the idea of them being legitimised because Tony is part of the family is making them more fearsome, not less."
Hotch smirked because that wasn't what the textbooks suggest. He wouldn't have believed it himself if it hadn't been for the serial killer case that had seen the team introduced to Dave's fiance. "How confused are organised crime right now?"
Rossi sneered at the mention of the other department. He wasn't too fond of how many seemed to think the world was so black and white. "No idea, but it isn't my problem unless the section-chief orders me to make nice."
Morgan snickered. "Not even Strauss is willing to cross your man."
Hotch looked directly at Rossi. "You need back up then you should let us know, but I suspect you will be fine."
Dave knew the legend fiance had in the city, and even knowing he was considered to be law enforcement - It had just made him more dangerous. "I think you will be okay."
Tony and Dave were staying at the mansion while in Philly. It didn't matter about appearances any longer, and Tony wanted to quash any theoretical reprisals.
"Why can't I wear make-up?" Francine demanded to know. She hated having to keep her make-up muted, but she could do it if it helped convict those bastards.
Tony rolled his eyes because this wasn't the first time they had this argument. "It's an impact thing, trust me."
It was her turn to roll her eyes because that went without saying. "I'm not wearing it, am I?"
Tony hugged her, "Love you too, now come on."
"You know something about today." She replied astutely. She had been trying to figure it out since breakfast, and it finally struck her.
Tony shook his head, "Not at all. Right now, the case is being decided by a jury of our peers."
Francine wasn't having any of it. "Nah, you've got that look that I swear you learned off Papa. It is the one where you have done something devious, but you know you can't get in trouble for it, so you're really pleased with yourself."
Tony smirked. "You know if that was the case, then I wouldn't ruin the reveal by jinxing anything. Now, let's make sure Johnny behaves, and this will be an excellent day."
Francine was mournful, "You need to share your secret of getting mamma to like your fiance."
Tony frowned because that sounded like she was serious about someone. He was more than aware that Francine could take care of herself, but their mother was a good judge of character. "You know what? If they can pass a background check, I will throw my support behind you both."
She punched his shoulder. "You're not funny."
Alona looked at her eldest son as the sentence was readout. She knew he was protective, but this surprised her, not for the action but for what it indicated about Tonio and her husband.
"You're okay with this?" She whispered because it wouldn't have happened without his interference, she was guessing.
Tony smiled softly at his mother, seeing her concern for him. "Why, wouldn't I be?"
She was so pleased, more than by the guilty verdict, "I didn't realise you had made peace with your father."
Tony patted her hand as he hooked it into his arm. "We've come to an understanding, and this wasn't without conditions."
She could admit to being a curious one, and Tonio must have understood her inquisitive look as he explained.
"If Papa wants to keep his day-pass, then they have to both be okay and in one peace by the time I get married."
She outright cacked because this would be beautiful to see in action. What would you do if you had the object of your revenge in your hands but had to 'outwardly' behave? "You're a mean one, Tonio. I have taught you well."
Tony snickered because everyone believed that Salvatore was the more vindictive one in the marriage, and he knew how wrong that assumption was in reality. "I will take that compliment any day of the week. Now I do believe Dave, and I are taking you all out for lunch before we have to head back to DC."
Johnny scowled, "Do you have to leave so soon?"
Tony shrugged, and couldn't help but be pleased that his little brother was sad he was leaving instead of cursing his name. "Normally no, but we've booked time for the wedding next month and terrorists, and serial killers don't work around our schedules."
The prison name was familiar to both Bernetti and Franco. As they were getting off the prison bus, the Warden was already there, ready to greet them. "Gentleman welcome to your new digs. You shall be here for a very long time. I could explain the rules, but if you were the type to follow them. He paused for dramatic effect and to offer a smug smile, "Well, you wouldn't be here."
Franco could see he was looking at him and Bernetti in particular. He didn't like the way he'd been sent to the same place as his former boss. It felt vindictive. It wasn't Franco's fault that he'd been arrested as that had happened before he launched his attack on the mansion, but it was like he still got the blame.
He'd phased out of the introduction but started to concentrate as the Warden dismissed them with a casual, "Officer Genrick will escort you to your bunks."
The cell was small and seemed sparser than the other cells. This could not be right! It was like they didn't know who he was and how he should be treated.
Bernetti was hissing in outrage before he could think, "This is outrageous."
Genrick sneered at him with evident disgust, and it was a reminder of his new position in life. If he were in any doubt, then the officer's words would have quashed them. "What did you think we would treat you like a Mob boss? You ain't even the most powerful one in this bloc. You will earn your rights like every other newbie if you don't end up dead from your mouth."
He set himself on the bunk. He supposed he should be grateful that for now, he was on his own. He didn't trust the guard, but at least he would have time to collect his thoughts and make a tentative plan.
Franco had been told to pause outside two cells down. Genrick bashed on the door. "Your son wanted to give you an early Christmas present."
Franco frowned hearing that comment. " Son . How can I be a gift?"
Genrick chuckled because he'd read the details in the Chronicle so knew this newbie was in for an uncomfortable time. "Meet your new cellie."
Franco paled, the greeting dying on his lips. He turned back to the officer, "This is not right. Come on. There must be rules against this type of torture!"
Salvatore grinned, but he could have given Hannibal Lecter a run for his money with how demented he looked. "There should be rules about putting knives up to women's throats too, but you broke that one."
"Your son has already damaged my shoulder." Franco tried to argue back, feeling the ghost of the bullet even now.
Salvatore smiled genially to the officer. "Oh, Officer Genrick, I know you are a busy man. I am happy to explain the rules to my new cellmate."
Genrick smirked but reminded him. "No mess, now Mr Mancuso. You and the Warden are such good friends I would hate for that to change."
Salvatore smiled and offered the only reassurance he could manage. "Tonio's wedding is in a month, so you have at least that much of a grace period."
Genrick snorted. "I am sure you are devious enough to still have fun."
Salvatore smirked at the officer. "I am taking it as a challenge to refine my revenge, but I won't damage the new understanding between Tonio and myself."
Genrick nodded and thanked god for the renewed relationship because the man was still dangerous but had curbed some of his wilder antics.
Chapter 17: Outtake 2: Invited to the big day?
"So what had you dashing from our drinks last week?" Gibbs asked not even bothering to look up from his boat. He didn't need to as the aftershave Fornell wore was distinctive enough and could override the smell of sawdust.
Fornell watched as Gibbs continued to sand his boat, but wasn't surprised by the lack of attention. It was probably some misguided promise to Diane that kept him coming back some weeks. The man had sunk deeper into his apathy and grief since Tony had left the agency. He didn't see the point in being coy with the details, but he wasn't going to hand over everything he knew immediately. "I had a case of agent stupidity that I was asked to deal with in Philadelphia."
"What did you do?" Gibbs asked, finally putting the sandpaper down and pouring a glass of his favourite spirit to hand to his old friend.
Fornell snorted but accepted the drink of moonshine. He could admit that he enjoyed making Sack's move, but had been surprised that he wasn't making it permanent. He would have, but the man had finally come to the realisation that DiNozzo was not the big bad wolf hiding in sheep's clothing. "I sent Sacks to Alaska."
Gibbs snorted, "Now there is a name I haven't heard in a while."
Fornell smirked and kept on sipping his drink. He asked what he knew was a loaded question, but he was too interested in seeing the reaction. "Yeah, I know. Do you know how your boy is doing?"
Gibbs could have denied the question, but while he might be stubborn, he tried not to be obtuse on top. "Tony hasn't been my boy in a long time." He kept his face shuttered so you couldn't guess what he was thinking but that in itself was an answer.
"And who's fault would that be?" Fornell challenged him. When Tony had left NCIS, it was safe to say that things had ended badly. Gibbs had clung onto his role but had been forced to rebuild his team from the ground up.
Gibbs shrugged because he was a great believer in that you lived life, the good and the bad, and once you made a decision, you had to live with the consequences. He tried to keep any bitterness out of his voice. "He's gone to Homeland and is now Morrow's blue-eyed boy."
Fornell shrugged because it was widely acknowledged that DiNozzo's star was once more in the ascendancy now he had stepped out of Gibbs's shadow. Fornell didn't pull any punches, "He's happy if you care to know, and still gives organised crimes kittens, but they can't deny whose side he is on any longer."
"How would you know?" Gibbs asked dismissively. It wasn't like Fornell and DiNozzo were close when he worked at NCIS, so he doubted they would be close now that he was at Homeland.
"The Sacks issue involved the Mancuso family," Fornell replied, knowing it would strike a nerve. In truth, he was hoping he could use this whole affair to jolt his friend back to reality.
Gibbs sneered, "There is no way that DiNozzo went down to Philly voluntarily."
It had been one of the most intriguing aspects to his protege, but Tony had always been adamant that he wouldn't go to Philly. It wasn't for reasons that others would have assumed, but it was a temptation that Tony would have struggled to resist, and he wanted to keep his career.
Fornell smirked, "You would be wrong. It turns out his adoptive mother will mean he would make nice with the devil himself if it ensured her safety."
"That was stupid to make such an attachment known, especially with mob families," Gibbs replied, thinking about how badly Shannon and Kelly still affected him now.
Fornell had to love the way he was preaching on things he had a passing understanding about, and yet Tony lived it. "You do know that DiNozzo is the Mancuso Butcher , right?"
Gibbs snorted because Tony had admitted to the nickname in their first year working together, but he'd dismissed it considering Tony was a giant golden retriever in human form. "Fancy footwork to gain him credit and an in with the family."
Fornell couldn't hold back his laughter. "Wow, you are so far off base. Did you ever read his file?"
Gibbs shook his head and felt like he needed to offer a reason. "He was too good as showing his boss an image that he wanted to project."
Fornell was snickering because wow, Tony had played him so thoroughly. "Yeah, something you brought hook, line and sinker."
Gibbs glared at Fornell because it was evident that his friend was dying to tell him something and was just stringing this out, and he was done playing. "You may as well tell me. I can tell you are dying to tell me everything."
Fornell was back to teasing him, "I think you mistake me for my gossiping daughter."
Gibbs snorted but could tell he was taking the wrong approach himself and pulled back on the sarcasm. "You know you are a gossipy drunk."
"And you're a morose one." Fornell finished if they were doing the introspective spiel.
"Why are we friends?" Gibbs asked with a wry tone.
Fornell shrugged because it was a question he asked himself at least once a month. "I think you need someone who doesn't want to shoot you on sight."
"Are you saying DiNozzo is one of them?" Gibbs asked sharply because he knew their friendship had ended over the Ari and Jenny debacle, but he didn't think it was that bad.
Tobias shook his head because he knew that Tony didn't much care anymore, which was perhaps more damning. "Not Tony, but I would stay clear of the Mancuso family and SSA Agent Rossi."
Gibbs wasn't getting it. "Why would a profiler care about DiNozzo?"
Fornell rolled his eyes. "Well, in that case, I will spell it out for you... When two people love each other very much. They may choose to take vows and show their commitment to each in others. Do you remember that routine? You've done it a few times so I assume you can remember?"
"I am not going senile."
Fornell couldn't resist, "I noticed you never said anything about old?"
Gibbs didn't try and lie to himself if he could help it. "So you're telling me that Tony is getting married to a guy?"
Fornell smirked. "You know what they fit, and he didn't blink about Tony's mob affiliation and considering their little trip solved a serial killer case and took down a mob family ... The FBI is also happy with their relationship considering their results. It will be an interesting wedding day considering the whole of the BAU, and I are invited to the big day alongside the adopted family."
It was a little harder to deny the truth of it when other agents had been invited. "Good for DiNozzo, I wish I could see McGee and Ziva's face when they find out."
Fornell wasn't going to say anything because he was not going to touch that verbal landmine. Although a thought struck him about an ideal gift because Gibbs wasn't wrong - it would make an awesome video. He was well aware of the legendary tech skills of the BAU analyst. He would head and see the vivacious woman and get a head start on a rather excellent but unique gift for the happy couple.