Chapter 1: Contents Page
Other Complete Volumes of Tony’s Little Black Book can be found at.
- Jack O’Neill 2 (Stargate SG1)
- Evan Lorne - (Stargate Atlantis)
- Rick Grimes - (The Walking Dead)
- Greg House 2 (House M.D) - Festive Sequel - Time for a Wedding
- John Sheppard 2 (Stargate Atlantis)
- Jacob 'Jake' Stone (The Librarian)
- Sirius Black (Harry Potter) - Extended Version: Snapshots from a Magical Life
- FP Jones II (Riverdale)
- Dean Winchester - (Supernatural) Sequel - Special one in his life
- Jake Green - (Jericho)
- Mark Sloan - Grey's Anatomy
- Ronon Dex 2 - Stargate Atlantis - Sequel - GQ and Dreadlocks
- Ryan Hardy - (The Following) - Follow up to First Love Never Lasts
- Robert Chase - (House M.D)
- Rupert Giles (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) - Festive Sequel - Double Dates Interrupted
- John Reese (Persons of Interest)
- Tom Chandler (The Last Ship)
- Sam Seaborn (The West Wing)
- Jackson Oz (Zoo)
Names being considered:-
- Sam Winchester / Xander Harris
- Henry Fitzroy / Nick Burkhardt / Dale ‘Barbie’ Barbara / Kelly Severide 2/ Matt Casey
- Daniel Jackson 2 / Castiel / Jonathan Pine / Flynn Carsen / Ichabod Crane
- Prince Sean Renard / Blake Moran / Nolan Ross / Rodney Mckay 2 / Daryl Dixon
- Fox Mulder / Paul Davies / John 'Sheriff' Stilinksi 2 / Lucifer Morningstar 2 / Adult Stiles Stilinski
- Teal'c / Harold Finch / Eric Northman 2 / Spike / Angel / Rupert Giles / Walter Skinner
- Emily Thorne / Sameen Shaw / Nathan Stark 2 / Jack Carter 2 / Severus Snape / Remus Lupin
- Derek Shepherd / Owen Hunt / Avery Jackson / Eliot Spencer 2
Chapter 2: A tale of knowing your sharks from your snakes (Jack O’Neill)
A tale of knowing your sharks from your snakes (Jack O’Neill)
“Major-General” was certainly not how he expected his life to go. Hell, the fact that he was alive long enough to reach the age was a surprise for one. Oh, and the several black marks were the other surprise. Yet, here he was, Major General Jack O’Neill, newest Joint Chief.
He’d accepted the move to the Pentagon because a) he didn’t trust anyone else to run the Stargate program and b) to get as much distance between him and Sam. Things had not gone the way she wanted and she couldn’t handle what he’d told her after DADT’s repeal.
He was not the type to have a mid-life crisis, he’d saved the planet one too many times to freak out.
What he wasn’t too old to do was try and drown his sorrows in a whiskey that was almost as old as he was.
The bar was a classy one and only let the law and military types into its establishment. A new man walked in, wearing a tux with tie loose around his neck and a gold badge flipped over his waistband. Jack found himself enthralled by the glimpse of smooth tanned skin at the v of the open shirt, wanting to see just how far that tan went down the guy’s chest. He seemed weary for a guy in a tux this early in the evening though. Jack found his maudlin thoughts passing to curious ones involving mischievous green eyes. “Aren’t you a little over-dressed for a Fed?”
Jack needed to know if this was a baby political shark and someone he should avoid. His new bar buddy smirked at him.
“I just ducked out of an award evening, hence the penguin suit.”
Jack shrugged because that was as good a reason as any. “Don’t blame ya’. Jack.”
Tony took the proffered hand, shaking it and letting his hand linger for a fraction longer than a simple friendly greeting. “Tony.”
Jack looked back at the barkeep and put two fingers up, he slid the second glass over. “My gift for having to put up with the small sharks this evening.”
The Agent cocked his head to the side as if he was contemplating a great mystery. “So where do you fall on the small shark spectrum.”
“There is nothing small about me.” Jack responded with a wicked grin as he savoured the very fine whiskey.
Tony shivered at that tone. “I would hope not.”
“Besides, forget the sharks, it’s the snakes you need to watch out for.” O’Neill said and Tony didn’t disagree.
This evening was definitely ending better than it started. Still, Tony wasn’t in a hurry to speed this up, sometimes slower seductions were better. And Jack here was hitting every one of his likes all at once. He leaned in closer. “So what has you drowning your sorrows?”
“I let myself get promoted to a desk.”
Tony chuckled. “Well, I’m sorry to hear that ... So am I in the presence of a General or an Admiral, please say General.”
O’Neill smirked. “Major-General Jack O’Neill if we’re getting formal about it.”
Huh, so Tony was talking to the newest Joint-Chief. He was just relieved he wasn’t attached to the marines or navy as it might have made his day job more difficult. “Oh thank god. NCIS Very Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo. Oh, and I hope we don’t get formal as that would be a crying shame. “
“Why is that?”
Tony rose to the challenge, leaning close enough that you couldn't mistake his signal. “Well, you’re hot and single and I have a burning desire to help you get over your promotion.”
Jack was more than okay with that plan. He wasn’t stupid enough to reject the hot younger agent who liked him. “My hotel work for you?”
Tony threw back his whiskey. “Yes, Sir.”
“No rank in bed, I have no need to massage my ego.”
Tony hoped so - he was planning to massage something else entirely.
It turns out that Jack was as good as promised and used every bit of his soldier's stamina to take Tony apart piece by piece. Tony fell into an exhausted, sated sleep not long after two in the morning. Jack followed him into a slumber next to him, relaxing way more than he should next to his new lover. Looking at the peaceful man in his arms, Jack found himself hoping that this was not a one-time event. If it was, he could say that Tony had done exactly what he promised and helped him get over his promotion.
Sill, fate was not friends with Jack O’Neill and meant they wouldn’t get to have these conversations at a normal rate. The reason why? Well, just after three in the morning his hotel door was kicked in. With the first wood splintering, both men were up and rolling to the side of the bed. Interestingly, Tony went for a knife as Jack went for his gun.
Fucking Ba’al was there - the cockblock. O’Neill really hated this snake, he was going to make it his life's mission to kill every last freaking copy of the guy. The cockblock even managed to have a villain cliche monologue. “I have finally found you, O’Neill, now you’ve stopped hiding in that mountain of yours .”
Two things happened at once, Ba’al opened a jar and raised his hand with a goa’uld hand device aiming to incapacitate O’Neill. O’Neill shot the clone first right through the hand and then another straight between his eyes. He was turning, gun still raised to take care of the snake. He really hoped that Tony wasn’t about to get snaked as he really liked him.
The view he was treated to was spectacular.
Tony was crouched over the carcass of a dead snake. His knife was skewering the damn thing in half. Once he was sure it was dead, Tony stood up wiping the gore from his hands and was looking for something to clean his knife.
“Got a cloth to clean my knife?” Was the first thing Tony asked Jack.
“I’m falling in love.” Jack said and there wasn’t a hint of sarcasm. He was telling the truth, Tony was funny, great in the sack and killed snakes without worrying about silly things like clothes.
“Me skewering a freaky snake is all it takes and what the fuck is that thing? And the walking now dead cliche over there?” Tony asked, his inquisitive mind taking over now the threat was over.
Yeah, there was something not right there. Ba’al was not usually careless and wasn’t the type to let himself get shot. Jack knew why he hated Washington - it wasn’t the small sharks who thought they were vicious - It was the freaking Goa’uld you still had to watch out for.
“So you better put some clothes on before my people get here.” O’Neill said with reluctance because he was so enjoying the view right now. As he said it he was pressing his alarm to signal all clear but send a clean-up crew. It said something about his job that he had four types of alarms for different levels of FUBAR situations.
Tony smirked. “And you too, buddy, or is this a possessive thing? You don’t like people seeing my ass?”
Jack rolled his eyes but he shouldn’t start throwing out orders without pants on. “Nah, the caveman act is not as hot as you might think.”
Jack looked at the dead Ba’al and sighed because, he guessed, his theoretical coming out was about to be announced to the military anyhow. Oh well, he’d saved the planet so people could butt out of his bedroom. Jack asked Tony. “Is this going to cause problems for you at work?”
Tony shrugged because his mask at work was so good he doubted they would even believe the truthful story. “They will not believe that I spent the night with you. They will think I am lying about a bimbo I should be dating. What about you?”
Jack smirked. “I’ve saved the world, I’m entitled to sleep with whoever I like. If they don’t like it, fuck em, I will go back to my cabin in Montana.”
Tony had his suit pants on and had his white shirt on - if not buttoned. “Is it wrong that all I can think about is I deserve hot mountain rugged sex.”
“I can work with that,” Jack replied. He saw a light appear at the end of the hallway. “Well, here comes the cavalry ... How the fuck did Ba’al find me?”
Daniel stepped through the door and quickly categorised the scene. The younger male had clearly been enjoying his evening with Jack before Ba’al interrupted them. Good for Jack. “Hello, Jack so Ba’al annoyed you. Did you stab the symbiote?”
Jack shook his head. “Nope, that would be Tony here and before you say anything else. Tony needs to sign his NDA.”
Tony rolled his eyes and he knew what NDA stood for after a few of his operations crossed with the military. “And just how many non-disclosure agreements will I be signing?”
Jack smirked. “Enough to blow your mind.” Jack promised because who didn’t want to know that aliens were real.
Tony was distracted as he buttoned up the rest of his shirt, especially as a number of soldiers seemed to be coming into their expansive hotel room . “You already did that.”
Jack snickered. “I’m good but if I changed your worldview then your previous partners were doing it all wrong.”
Daniel interjected and pressed his radio. “Major Davies, we need a non-disclosure agreement at O’Neill’s hotel room.”
Tony knew that the bigger the NDA the bigger the rabbit hole he was about to descend down. The man beamed directly into O’Neill’s room. “Very Star Trek.” Tony said calmly looking at Jack. “Is this just an advanced tech thing or full on Alien thing?”
Even as he asked the question he was starting to sign every relevant page. He knew what the document amounted to - spill a secret and the government would make you disappear.
Davies took the completed forms and disappeared back to wherever he was stationed.
Daniel could honestly say he was lost for words. He’d briefed people on the stargate when they were exposed to the truth. He’d watched people lose their minds and freak out over the truth. Jack’s boyfriend just lounged back and asked was it a tech thing or alien thing? Well, it answered the question of whether they were suited or not.
Jack was laughing and looking way more relaxed than he had the last time Daniel had seen him. “You are something else.” He pointed at the dead symbiote. “Crazy snakes that I warned you about. They take over people and give them megalomaniac tendencies and a belief that they are one of the Egyptian gods. Major douchenozzles.”
Tony snorted. “So weird goatee is an enemy of yours?”
Jack nodded. “Is this putting you off a second date?”
Tony shook his head. “Nope, you will be more than okay with my normal run of the mill enemies. I have the worst luck, including and up to, serial-killers handcuffing me to them, catching an antibiotic-resistant pneumonic plague and a crazy-ass Mossad ninja who seems to want my ass.”
Jack’s response was reflexive. “Your ass is mine and I don’t share.”
Tony smirked stepping closer. “And here was you telling me that the caveman routine wasn’t hot.”
Daniel was shaking his head. “Can I go? Because this is going back to flirting and I do not need to see my best friend’s ass.”
Tony shook his head and deliberately didn’t look at Jack because there was a pull there and he didn't want the distraction. Jack looked at the hotel room which was a mess. “No Daniel, you can handle clean up here whilst I see Tony safe back to his place.”
Daniel quirked an eyebrow. “He stabbed a goa’uld with a knife and you’re worried for his safety?”
Jack sighed. “Danny, I am just trying to be a gentleman and don’t make me look bad.” He lowered his voice. “I really like this guy.”
Tony was snickering. “Come on , Romeo. I am guessing we will see my apartment, after all.”
Jack was exhausted and he decided to use his powers for a little bit of good. “You’re NCIS, right?”
Tony nodded. “That’s right.”
Jack was on the phone to Phillip Davenport. The great thing about the stars on his shoulder was he didn’t have to pay attention to niceties like - time considerations. “Hey Phillip, morning.”
Well, it was, Jack was trying to be polite. “One of your agents won’t be at the office tomorrow until midday. I hope you can smooth things with your director. He had a trying morning when one of my bad guys tried to kill him, don’t worry he killed it.”
Jack rolled his eyes. “It’s, DiNozzo, Phillip, and I promise to give him back, maybe.”
Tony is torn between amusement and fascination. “You are not going to give me back?”
Jack looked at his apartment and he could see masks and shields were not only part of his armour. This was a refined apartment, not the one that belonged to skirt-chasing wannabe frat boy. ”Do you want me to?”
Tony looked at Jack. “Not really no, which is crazy as we just met.”
Jack chuckled. “You’ll learn with the stargate that we roll with everything and seize each day.”
Tony thought about it and agreed. “You got me, let’s try and sleep.”
“Try and sleep?” O’Neill smirked and did his best Yoda impression.”There is no try, only do.”
Tony had a wicked smirk as he shed his clothes. “True, but there will be me and you in a bed, naked. I may get distracted.”
Jack could take that invitation. He was not trained to be a stupid man.
Things only got better and better the more they got to know each other. They lived to screw with people's perceptions and Tony caused quite a stir as Jack’s date to the Presidential Dinner. Jack, in turn, caused quite a stir when he came by the Naval Yard to pick him up for a dinner date - All because Ziva refused to accept the evidence in front of her, accusing Tony of setting up a practical joke to hide the fact that he loved her. Well, Jack told little Miss Mossad in no uncertain terms to wake up to reality and stay far, far away.
Tony’s only comment was. “I’m okay with the possessive routine after all.”
Jack’s response was a smirk and as they left NCIS he kept his hand in Tony’s back pocket. It turns out, neither were keen on giving the other back - so they kept each other.
Chapter 3: Time to Colonel up (Evan Lorne)
General Sheppard should not be enjoying his days quite as much as he was. McKay had caused a riot in the lab and then squashed it - causing three scientists to take up an hour of his time telling him how horrible his husband was and he should keep a better check on him.
Sheppard had stopped just listening at that point and spoke up. “I don’t have any intention of changing my husband in any shape way or form. Now, I may be a high-combat asset who would happily walk into a war zone. Hell, I live in one. What I’m not is stupid ... I have no intention of courting an argument with my husband because you have no character or spine. Go and consider if Atlantis is really where you want to be and let me know.”
Lorne walked in as they scurried away. “Are you breaking the scientists again?”
Sheppard pouted and it was not his fault they couldn’t handle him correcting their math. It was sloppy not to change the sign in the calculus equation. It could have caused the bomb to fail and if he’d missed his chance to blow up that Wraith hive he would have been most aggrieved. “If they don’t want to be shown up by a flyboy mad-haired pilot then they shouldn’t do sloppy math.”
Lorne shrugged. “If you like Sir, and what is our meeting about today?”
Sheppard had made sure his assistant scheduled a thirty-minute meeting with his military commander so that he could have a refuge of peace and quiet. It had been one of his demands before he’d accepted taking over as leader of Atlantis from Woolsey after the old man wanted to retire.
“You Lorne, it is about you.”
Now that startled his second. “What? Why?”
Sheppard rolled his eyes. “If I have to hear anyone else moon over the fact that my Military Commander is mooning over the Agent Afloat one more time ... I might actually shoot someone … or maybe even more than one person.”
Lorne chuckled hearing just how vexed the General was. He found himself asking. “Should I apologise?”
“To whom? Me or DiNozzo?” Sheppard countered, hoping Lorne saw sense. He was saying this because he wanted his friend to be happy and he hadn’t been since David chose to stay on Earth.
Lorne sighed. “I am not that bad.”
“Show me the message pad.” John ordered, knowing what he would see.
Lorne wanted to swear but this was his CO and he respected the man too much. “Happy?”
The pad spoke volumes, Lorne was a stunning artist and if he hadn’t chosen the air-force and duty he could have probably made a career as an artist. It showed DiNozzo laughing and somehow managed to capture the guy’s personality. No one who was living would say DiNozzo was ugly but Lorne managed to elevate him somehow.
“Go and ask the man on a date, Lorne. I can’t stand watching a grown colonel pine.”
Lorne was a smart man, and he’d lived in the Pegasus Galaxy too long to let something procrastinate. You never know what might be discovered the next day, or kill you the day after. He asked Atlantis where Tony was and she tugged him gently in the direction of the mess hall.
There was one secret that Lorne, Tony, and Sheppard already shared - Atlantis was a little more sentient than they reported. She adored all three of them but loved Tony’s open curiosity that the more military men had been trained out of over the course of their military service.
Tony was unaware of all this. He’d settled into Atlantis quickly, mainly because the city herself adored him. His bloodwork was one of the reasons he’d been pulled into the program instead of being sent out to the Seahawk - General O’Neill had sent him to another galaxy entirely and he loved every minute of it.
He could even handle the wannabe Marilyn Manson aliens that wanted to chow on him. He never expected to end up the deputy leader around this crazy beautiful city with insane marines and nutty scientists but let’s just say there wasn’t a damn thing that Gibbs could do where he would happily go back to being the SFA of the MCRT.
General Sheppard adored him as he handled administrative issues with ease. He could talk the talk and shoot the breeze with the soldiers but had enough smarts about him to keep up with the scientists.
Tony’s favourite person and new best friend was Dr. Rodney McKay. He was the biggest bastard in this galaxy and Tony adored it. Their opening meeting had cemented their friendship. McKay had taken one look and said,
“You, Italian Gigolo, better not be after my husband.”
Tony had smirked. “Not at all, I like to be the pretty one in my relationships, Dr. McKay. Plus, I would be stupid to try and steal the husband of a man who builds nukes for fun. I also prefer Tony to Italian Gigolo but whatever is easier for you to remember.”
Rodney looked him over one more time and declared. “We can be friends.”
That had been that, and Lorne and the others noticed one other amazing talent Tony had apart from Atlantis giving him shiny gifts. He could wrangle scientists without them even noticing it. So of course when Lorne wanted to have a serious conversation Tony could be found chatting to McKay. This wasn’t going to be painful at all if McKay was in a cranky mood - he hoped like crazy that he’d had his morning caffeine.
Lorne sucked in a breath. “Can I join you?”
McKay grinned. “Yes, you may as you are not stupid. So, how was your meeting? ”
Lorne was only too happy to take such an opening. “Well, the General spent the entire meeting bitching at me apparently on your behalf.”
Tony frowned because he didn’t know anything about an issue. “Why would General Sheppard be hounding Lorne, McKay?”
McKay was in his happy place - caffeinated up to his eyeballs. “I simply told John that I hated watching you two pine and since that ridiculous law has disappeared, you should just date and stop making my female scientists almost combust with their fantasies.”
Both men flushed but Tony wasn’t the type to take such a comment without responding. If he was, then he wouldn’t be friends with Rodney. “Hey, it is not my fault that we’re hot. You should give them more breaks so they can fulfill their own love lives.”
McKay snorted. “Yeah, that doesn’t work so well. Too many brains and no action. Plus, what happened to wanting to be the pretty one in the relationship?”
Tony rolled his eyes. “You are not subtle.”
McKay smirked. “I never pretended I was. Now, instead of bitching you two out for moving glacially slow, I have mysteries of the universe to unlock.”
Evan and Tony were left alone and the atmosphere should have been tense and awkward. Tony though just continued to sip his coffee. “Oh, you can meet me at my quarters at seven.”
Lorne knew better than to ignore orders. “Yes, Sir.”
Tony just raised an eyebrow as he got up to leave. “So that may just be a discovered kink of mine.” And sauntered away leaving Evan staring red-faced into his coffee cup.
Lorne disappeared before he could hear the gossip grow. What amused him more was the happy buzz he could feel in his head. It seemed Atlantis wanted him or was it Tony to be happy. It didn’t matter as he hoped they would be happy together.
He figured who better to ask about a perfect date spot than the city. What he got in return was a series of images and suggestion. It was a pretty spectacular view.
Date night planned and now he had to inform the new soldiers that they would need a weekly session with Ronon to make sure they didn’t end up as Wraithbait.
Tony was feeling nervous and excited all at once which was not his norm. John looked over his desk. “What is it?”
“Nothing, just thinking about tonight.” Tony answered distractedly.
“Lorne Colonel’d up and asked you.” Sheppard said in a way that suggested he knew the answer to his question.
“Yeah he did, and I have you and McKay to thank for that.”
Sheppard waved him off. “Nah, just don’t want to hear Rodney bitch about it anymore.”
Tony said nothing because he knew there was more to it than that. He was grateful and as such, he wouldn’t bust John’s working mask. “If you say so.”
John knew all the signs of excited energy and took pity on his expedition deputy. “Teyla, you in the mood to give Tony a Bantos lesson?”
Teyla’s voice came over the comm system. “I can be there in ten minutes.”
“You heard the woman. I wouldn’t be late.” John said he had all too often been on the end of Teyla’s bantos rods.
“Right.” Tony said and did move quickly to the training rooms. He picked up his training bag and headed for the changing rooms.
Tony had been a follower of Eskrima ever since joining the police force - when it was drilled into him that a gun should not be his only line of defence. Working and training with Gibbs simply continued that. He liked the discipline and the fact it encouraged him to use whatever came to hand. Plus, it followed through if he was using a knife.
Tony saw Teyla waiting for him and bowed formally. “Thank you.”
“You don’t need to thank me, Tony.” She said with her easy smile. Tony was guessing that someone had filled her in on why he was nervous which was ridiculous. He was a grown-ass man in the Pegasus Galaxy, he was the Deputy Expedition leader of the Stargate base and loved every day more than the last. It may have taken going to another galaxy but he finally had a home that he would fight to keep. So why was he nervous?
Oh yeah, he was going on a date.If only the people back at NCIS could see him now, they would be in for a shock. You see the difference is very simple, he cares about Lorne more than he knew.
If only the people back at NCIS could see him now, they would be in for a shock. You see the difference is very simple, he cares about Lorne more than he knew.
“You wish to talk, or spar?” Teyla asked him.
“I want to talk but we’ll spar instead.”
She laughed. “You sound like John when you say that.”
Tony chuckled. “It’s a man thing.”
That was the last spoken word as the pair moved through several practice drills that worked as a warm up for the pair. Others were always intrigued and a little bit jealous at how Tony wasn’t always ending up on his ass after only a minute. He still did, only for him, Teyla had to work for it and they both improved their skills as a result.
Ten minutes later, out of breath but feeling more settled. “I have a date.”
Teyla still looked as serene as she had at the start of their spar. “I assume it is with Colonel Lorne.”
“That’s right, he asked me at lunch.”
Teyla raised her sticks to signal the start of their next round and started to circle looking for an opening to exploit. “And you are worried?”
Tony shrugged but rose his sticks at the first parry. “Sure, I like him a lot. I want it to go well.”
Teyla whirled around to follow up her initial strike. “So it will surely if you both want it and will work for it.”
Tony chuckled even as he jumped over a swinging circular attack. “You make it sound so easy.”
Teyla smirked as she reversed her attack and caught his legs mid-jump. He fell to the floor in a heap. She was kind enough to offer him a hand up. “In my experience, men over complicate matters of the heart unnecessarily.”
Tony chuckled at the way she cut to the heart of the problem with such ease. “You may have a point. Okay, I get it. Can we just spar and practice?”
So they did and Tony left thirty minutes later, sweaty and in need of a shower. He was so focussed on his shower that he missed Lorne and Ronon coming into have their sparring practice.
“So you ready?”
Lorne was too busy watching Tony walk away and wishing he could help him get clean. “Huh?”
Ronon frowned not knowing Evan to be absent-minded. “You okay?”
Teyla smirked as she finished packing her own belongings. “He is distracted in the same way you are when Amelia trains.”
A dawning light goes off in Ronon’s eyes, he claps Lorne’s back. “Good, it’s about time you get a bedmate.”
Lorne took a deep breath. “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.” Because yes, he did want that but at Tony’s speed. “Please can we spar?”
“Sure thing, buddy.”
Lorne was punctual and outside Tony’s quarters at seven o’clock. “Evening. You ready?”
Tony’s smile grew wider seeing Evan at his door. Evan looked great in the black jeans and black shirt with just a flash of his neck showing. Tony felt himself wanting to explore further. He realised any nerves he had were silly, he wanted this date, so with a winning, smile he stepped outside. “I am so ready... Where are we going?”
Evan had a wicked smile. “A surprise that Atlantis has helped me with.”
Tony grinned. “Well, Ally does like me.”
“I know, it is greatly amusing to myself and the General how much. It’s driving the scientists crazy.”
And their conversation continued to flow as they moved through the corridors. Tony chose to ignore the sighs from the scientists as they passed. Evan grinned at one who was staring just a little too closely at Tony and stepped a little closer.
Tony’s shy smile let him know it was okay and Lorne didn’t hide his relieved grin. He took them to a pier with what he felt was the most spectacular view of the city. “Not bad, Lorne. Not bad.”
Lorne snickered. “Should I not bother with the meal then, if you’re already impressed.”
Tony smirked. “Hey, I deserve to be wooed.”
“Yes you do, and I will leave you in no doubt.” Lorne said with such an intense look that it sent a shiver down Tony’s spine.
The damndest thing was Lorne did exactly as he promised. It meant that any new arrivals on Atlantis were always unspeakably jealous of how in sync the leadership was and what great relationships they all had.
The latest argument revolved around who was the prettiest one out of Lorne and DiNozzo. The current voting was fifty-fifty much to John and Rodney’s delight.
Chapter 4: End of the World (Rick Grimes)
Tony DiNozzo had the worst luck in the world, or was it the best? In the years to come, he would never quite be able to figure that out. Rick Grimes felt much the same but he knew they both had two incredible strokes of luck.
Massive thanks to Edronhia who helped me to avoid a writing black-hole.
Tony DiNozzo had the worst luck in the world, or was it the best? In the years to come, he would never quite be able to figure that out. Rick Grimes felt much the same but he knew they both had two incredible strokes of luck.
- Rick was sent to Bethesda during his medical treatment
- Tony contracted an antibiotic-resistant form of the plague and was placed into a protective coma to help heal him.
It worked out well for Rick and Tony as despite all their troubles - they ended up facing it together.
Rick came to with a gasp and tried to sit up. Christ, what had happened to him and where the fuck was he?
He knew it was a hospital room but it wasn’t the usual Memorial where he usually went to when injured . This room, the machines beeping and he saw another male in the bed to the side of him. He was sleeping, his chest rising and falling in a way that suggested it was a normal sleep not that of a coma.
What was going on? Where were the nurses? The Doctors?
“HELLO!” Sadly, Rick managed less a shout and more a gasp. He didn’t think talking should hurt - his injury must have been worse than he suspected.
The man in the other bed woke with a relieved grin on his face, “Hey, starshine. Boy, we’ve missed out a lot while we had a long beauty sleep.”
Rick felt a little bit more relaxed at knowing he wasn’t completely alone. This situation was hinky in the extreme. “What? What happened?”
The other man looked pretty pale and seemed to struggle to find the words. “Well, according to your charts you were shot and the lung went bad. Congratulations, you now have healthier lungs than you did before you got shot. We both have and I kid you not, we have Dr. Brad Pitt to thank for still breathing. ”
Rick gratefully took the offered ice-chip. “And the bad news?”
“The world has gone to hell in a handbasket and the majority of the population are now zombies.” Rick’s face must have spoken volumes because the guy shrugged and carried on with his explanation.
“Yep, surprised me too when I woke up. We have some luck. We’re at a military hospital and I have reinforced the hospital ward but ... our rations are running out, as well as the electricity so I am so glad you’ve woken up from your beauty sleep now. Otherwise, we might have had an issue.”
Rick couldn’t process the news - it seemed to be out of a Hollywood script, there was no such thing as zombies... except where there was. He’d seen the news clippings and Tony let in a fraction of light and it was enough to see a horde that would occasionally pass through the ground s of the hospital .
Rick felt like he would have lost his mind if he’d woken up alone. Tony was a cute lifeline, and competent too. They made plans together, it was ironic that they were both law enforcement and they could no longer stay in the hospital that much was clear - otherwise the place that had healed them would become their doom.
“Where do we go?” Rick said, not knowing anything about the area.
Tony sighed because he didn’t think there was a right answer here. The only trouble was that failure now had the ultimate price - death by Zombie. He wouldn’t give in and he knew that much at least . “Doesn’t matter where... there are no safe zones so wherever we go at the very least we need supplies.”
Rick looked as hopeless. “I have to know what happened to Lori and Carl.”
Tony smiled because he wished he had a family to find. He didn’t but he was loyal and he would stay with Rick as it was as worthy a cause as any. “So we go to Atlanta.”
“Just like that?” Rick asked because he wasn’t naive.
Tony shook his head. “Well, we’re both stronger. We’ve got medication for both of us, thank god for readable medical notes . I need to make a stop at NCIS to check on what happened to my team. That’s a fifteen-minute drive ... my hope is we can stock up on weapons and fuel there and everything else we will need along the way.”
Rick could only smile with renewed hope. “We’ll face it together.”
The drive down to the Navy yard was in a word, horrific. The drive should have taken fifteen minutes but that was before the zombie apocalypse. There were too many cars in Washington littering the roads, so they were forced to walk. It was a wicked way to figure out that whilst they’d healed they were not at 100% fighting fitness.
Tony was smarter than this. “We need to walk, and make them think we’re one of them.”
“What do you suggest?” Rick asked intrigued by the idea.
They’d taken refuge in a building that used to sell insurance having been forced to abandon their jeep . Tony grimaced but was used to practicality winning out over sensibilities. In undercover, you did whatever you had to do to survive and now, he would do what was needed to survive the apocalypse. “The virus is transferred by ingesting the blood, like any blood disease.”
Rick nodded as they had read everything they could in the safe parts of the hospital, after all, knowledge was power. “Yeah, and our wounds have healed so we’re not at risk of infection through open wounds.”
Tony sighed. “So we take our jackets and dip them in zombie blood and walk right through them. They have no sight and their hearing is minimal so they must be identifying the living through their sense of smell.
Rick shrugged. “Let’s try it. We have little choice.”
And they managed to let a horde of zombies pass them by with this risky tactic . They were able to breathe but they didn’t want to draw any attention, they felt ridiculous mimicking their movements and sounds. But hey, whatever works and by some miracle - it worked.
NCIS had gone into emergency mode, Tony tested his code and he would never be so grateful for his high-security clearance as now as it still worked. The shutters released on the doorway and they braced themselves with an axe and a makeshift spear. The entrance was empty so no zombie guards and they closed it after they passed through, wanting the protection the shutters would afford them.
Rick whispered. “Which way?”
Tony took the same steps he’d taken thousands of times before. The hallways were eerily quiet and no one was around. Tony hated every second of it but they needed what NCIS could give them. Answers. Tony suspected the big towns would be a mess and if their shortish journey to NCIS proved anything it was the truth.
He hoped there would be a record of which plan the government enacted. He just hoped they enacted something or it would be simple chaos. Tony knew what he suspected but he hadn’t said it - because hope was a powerful tool.
The bullpen was still orange so some things never changed but it didn’t hide the zombie blood splattered on the walls. Tony had to love government paranoia - the world had gone to shit and what looked like a shootout in the bullpen but hey, there was a power.
His desk was clear and there were no bodies around his desk so that was a bonus. His password still worked, even better.
There was one video message cued for him to access the minute he log ged on to the system. That didn’t have to be in NCIS but Tony froze seeing who the video was from - Gibbs .
Gibbs’ face came on the screen. “Tony, if you get this. Get out into the countryside, quickly forget cars, you will be better off with a horse. You avoid the cities, the government had no plan for this. The virus ran too quick and the cities fell one by one. I left the papers for you should you ever awaken. I hated leaving you there without anyone to watch your six but I made it as safe as I could. You remember the rules I taught ya and don’t go anywhere without rule 9 times five. Minimum.”
There was a wry grin. “If not I will haunt ya ass and I will make sure Shannon and Kelly do too.”
Tony wiped a tear from his eye as he knew what this message was. Gibbs would not be the type to stay down and wait out a fight. He would have taken the fight to the enemy even if it was a ravenous zombie virus. Tony was one of the few to know about his first wife and daughter. “Rest in peace, boss. I hope you’re with your girls.”
Rick had stayed silent just hovering to his side, with a gun raised and primed for anything to attack them. He’d heard the message for what it was, a father saying goodbye in this crazy world. He didn’t know what to think, would Lori have been smart enough to stay away from Atlanta as it was the biggest closest city. Shane, his best friend, would have seen her safe. He hoped.
The message made them rethink their plans. “We need bags, guns and non-perishable food and then we make our way slower and by foot or horse.”
“This will take us weeks, are we prepared for that with supplies.” Rick asked, not worried but asking seriously.
Tony grinned. “Well, the kitchen here was well stocked. McGeek may have loved his computers but he had the latest map. We just need to snatch as many guns as we can and get to the horse yard.”
“I’m with you, Tony.” And that was the simple fact of it, Rick Grimes was with Tony DiNozzo until the end. Yes, he wanted to find Lori and Carl, but that wasn’t the man who’d stayed with him, who had a chance to leave him and waited. The man who was willing to go with him to Atlanta on the crazy chance that he might find his family.
Tony smiled. “So we’re off to find horses.”
“Not without scavenging the guns.” Rick reminded him.
Tony smirked. “I want knives too, they never run out of bullets, or make a sound.”
“Let’s get both.” Rick responded seeing a perfect compromise.
They were not stupid men though, they were relatively safe and they used the time to rest in MTAC, having swept the office for anyone who might be alive and secured the bullpen level. This would probably be their most secure place to sleep for quite a while.
They had to try two horse yards to strike lucky. In the second one, they struck gold, two beautiful mares who were not yet feral or infected. Boy, that had not been a fun discovery; that the disease could spread to animals.
Still, the men were alive, had transport with food, weapons and their drugs to last until they hit a small town. They wouldn’t risk the bigger towns, but they would try the closest small town where the population was under 2,000. Tony and he had circled and planned their route to try and take the least time, whilst avoiding the most densely populated areas.
They rode their horses long and hard but bunkered down when evening fell. They found a barn with easy exits but easy to secure and lay down on the hay. The stayed close together, knowing that if the temperature dropped they would have to use each other to stay warm. There was no heterosexual freak out as they’d admitted the first night that their Kinsey scale was a little fluid.
Rick didn’t understand what it was about darkness but it made it easier to talk. “You know, I am closer to you than I was my wife in the last six months. That last day she screamed at me, she wished I dropped dead. Hah, showed her. ”
Tony listened but said nothing, knowing Rick needed to talk. If this is what he needed to focus and Tony just had to listen, he could do that. “That’s her loss, Rick Grimes. You’re a pretty great guy.”
“You’re just saying that because I am the only person still alive around here.” He said with a self-deprecating voice.
Tony shook his head. “Don’t sell yourself short. I would have made a move on you if you weren’t conflicted about your marriage.”
Rick bit his lip and spoke the words he knew to be true. “I hope Lori is alive, she is the mother of my kid but it is Carl I need safe. He’s my son.”
Tony squeezed Rick’s hand, ignoring the feeling in his own heart. Now was not the time, he would not take advantage of a vulnerable man. “We’ll get your answers.”
There had been a close call in a town by Charlottesville nearly three weeks later. They’d braved the medium sized Target that could see them stock up on their medications and their food. It had been going so well, it turned out that pharmacist was still trying to serve customers even after his death. Rick was holding the zombie off as the gun had jammed. He couldn’t reach his knife. “TONY!”
Tony had been there and kicked the zombie off him and then dramatically skewered the zombie to the wall. He’d been frantic with worry pulling Rick up. “Are you hurt? Bit?”
Rick shook his head, words were taking a little bit longer. “No, you saved me.”
Tony didn’t think, he kissed Rick. Hard. Pouring all his relief into the kiss.
He could blame adrenaline and the like but Rick poured all of his emotions into that kiss in return . The gratitude, the relief and the affection for Tony into that one kiss. Day in day out, they worked together to stay alive and keep moving forward.
Their days didn’t change much but the touches, whilst not as sexual, didn’t stop. Tony had made a vow to move as fast or slow as Rick wanted.
Their excitement grew when they heard a group, who were definitely alive but Christ, they were loud. Tony and Rick shared a look that spoke volumes, it was like they wanted to make themselves zombie bait. They were arguing for Christ’s sake, loudly.
“Look, I just want to grab supplies, and it was not my idea to head into the city.”
Tony whispered. “We can stop them but then we have to defend them and apart from silent and broody, the others are walking, talking disasters.”
Rick heard what he was saying but he got a feeling that he knew Tony fairly well since he’d awoken from his coma. “Can you live with yourself if you leave them to be eaten?”
Tony sighed because Rick played hardball . “No, I can’t. If they get you killed, I am going to be pissed. ”
They chose to stop the cars by using their horses to get them to stop. A young teen popped his head out of his red car. “Hey, we need to get to the city. Don’t be dicks.”
Tony snorted. “A dick would let you go into the city that was overrun with zombies. You are not thinking clearly.”
“What choice do we have?” The grouchy big bear of a man asked. “We have mouths to feed.”
Tony rolled his eyes. “You look at a map, and you plan. You hit the small towns where the populations are less than a thousand.”
“Oh yeah?” A blonde woman said. “What makes you such an expert?”
Tony shrugged because there were no experts when it came to the apocalypse. They were those who adapted or those who died and he didn’t think there were too many in between scenarios - not from what they had seen. “Well, we awoke from medical comas in Bethesda and we’re still alive.”
“DC! How did you get so far?”
Tony patted his horse. “Bella here. I liberated her and she has seen me good and you know that strategy you sneered at? ... Well, that is what Rick and I have done and it has kept us alive.”
The teen boy, who they found out was called Glen was nonplussed. “Why would you come this way and not head for the wilderness of Canada.”
Rick was the one to speak. “My estranged wife, Lori, and our son, Carl, should be around here.”
The group all looked at each other. Tony was a trained investigator and so was Rick. Tony was the one to bark. “What? Speak up.”
Dale was the bravest of the group. “Well, there is a woman Lori Walsh, and her son with us. They’re with her husband though.”
Rick nearly fell off his horse. He wanted to snort because here he had been denying himself everything he wanted and Lori was apparently married to his best friend. Jesus Christ. He started laughing but it was dark and cynical.
“What is with crazy cakes?” The bear asked.
“Shut up, Merle.” The woman hissed, clearly uncomfortable around him.
Tony didn’t care about any of them, his only concern was Rick. “Hey, you said it yourself, you were looking for Carl. Fuck Shane and Lori, they can do what they want. We protect Carl that is the short and the end of it.”
Rick nodded, “My best friend though?”
Well, there was no accounting for taste but Tony didn’t say it. He was reminded back to their conversation a while ago in a barn where Rick admitted his marriage was over and now there could be no guilt.
Tony shrugged. “There is a bright side in this.”
Tony smirked. “Am I hotter than Lori?”
Rick snickered. “Oh yeah, you don’t have bitterness marring your face.”
Tony puffed up. “Well, there you are. We can have sex now without worrying about guilt and I can piss your ex off by being hotter than she is.”
Tony was right, Lori did lose her mind and did not accept that she had lost Rick. Tony was about to put her in her place when Carl did that - Rick’s son asked to live in their tent instead.
It did change quite a few things, Shane never got jealous and the group never went to the CDC in Atlanta. As a result, Shane never went nuts and Rick, whilst leading the group, never got drunk with power. If he ever got close, Tony would drag him off somewhere and he came back calmer and more rational.
Life wasn’t good - it couldn’t be - but the apocalypse ended up being survivable and relatively safe for them - which not many groups could boast.
Chapter 5: House trumps Gibbs (Greg House 2)
Brad Pitt looked at the patient lying before him and his frustration grew. Tony was perhaps his most memorable case during his medical career - and sadly a current patient again. The shooting had caught DiNozzo’s lung and he’d been contacted due to his special medical history. The trouble was - he couldn’t fix what was wrong and with his worsening condition he needed his proxy. Brad knew that there would be difficult decisions needing to be made and Tony needed someone to speak in his place. “Contact Gibbs, he needs to get here.”
His long time nurse and partner, Emma looked up. “Is this for proxy permission?”
Brad nodded, there must be something that could be done - the man had beat the plague, for christ’s sake, a shooting should not be his end. “Yeah, it’s time.”
Emma snorted. “It is not Gibbs you need but rather Dr. Gregory House.”
Now that got Brad’s attention. There would only be one reason for Tony to change his proxy from Gibbs, a significant other. “When did that happen?”
She smirked. “I have no idea but you get to break it to the agent who is wondering why he hasn’t had to sign forms.”
Pitt wanted to sigh but there was a bright side to this. As miserable as Gibbs could make people feel - House if his reputation was to be believed, was a thousand times better. This would more than likely end up like a clash of the Titans. He had a better idea, he would phone Dr. House first and let Gibbs know when House arrived.
Tony’s eyes fluttered open and he groaned as the pain hit him all at once. The bullet had passed through a lung - he could tell. It felt like every breath was just too much effort. An ice chip hovered in front of his lips, which he gratefully licked.
He knew that hand - it was lovers. He didn’t remember going to Princeton, wait this was Bethesda. Christ, where was Gibbs? He’d not introduced his boss and lover for good reason. He’d always figured it would be the equivalent of an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object.
Tony tested his voice. “I fucking hate being shot or I would sex you up stupid right now.”
House snorts and lies on the bed with him, now Tony is awake. “Not in the hospital, dear. Cuddy told us we should have some class even if this isn’t her dungeon.”
Tony grinned at House even if he felt as weak as a kitten. They had plenty of class. It had been a tactical move on his part when one of his female ducklings kept giving House long lingering looks. House said very little, he got his leg up on the bed and Tony just curled around him. The sad thing was the two them sleeping whilst one of them was injured was not a new trick.
Greg sighed, knowing Tony would ask that when really all his boyfriend needed was to sleep. “You got shot, it went bad, Pitt couldn’t find it. He almost contacted Gibbs but the awesome nurse let him know that I was the proxy! I waltzed in ... managed to act like a bigger bastard than your boss and ... figure out what was wrong with you.”
Tony had wide eyes by the end because that sounded quite a lot in what he had thought was a short amount of time. Only one look at Greg told him it might have been longer. “How long?”
Tony winced and not from his physical pain. “I’m sorry.”
House shushed him, he was just relieved that they could still talk to each other. They soon fell asleep and no one in the hospital was brave enough to wake up Doctor House, who had proved in short time there that his reputation was well deserved.
Dawn broke and Greg opened his eyes to a figure staring from the corner of the room. House sighed. “You know the whole Marine intimidation routine doesn’t work on me. My father tried it and it abysmally failed.”
“What does work?” Gibbs asked with open curiosity. He was aware that in medical terms, this man, despite his mysterious connection to Tony, had the power to evict him from the hospital.
House smirked, knowing his answer would annoy the agent. “You would have to ask Tony.”
“Why didn’t he tell us about you?” Gibbs asked as it was frustrating him the most out of everything.
House snickered, seeing that for all his famous instincts they had monumentally failed him when it came to his boyfriend. So he maintained the frustrating responses. “His response would be I stole him.”
The talking must have awoken Tony as he grumbled. “You stole me, and I stole you.”
House rolled his eyes at the glare from Gibbs. “I explained at the time I was borrowing you.”
Tony didn’t relinquish his hold on House and managed to let Gibbs know just how serious he was about his boyfriend. “Borrow implies you will give me back and what makes you think I will let that happen?”
House snorted fondly. “Geek.”
Tony carefully snuggled closer to Greg and sighed with relief when the pressure eased from his wound, he was too exhausted to stay awake any longer. “Your geek.”
“That’s right.” House agreed and stared directly at Gibbs as he replied. This wasn’t a pissing contest as there was no contest, a contest implied that both sides had an equal chance of winning. Gibbs had been too stupid to see what was right in front of his eyes. And Greg, well, he was only too happy to take advantage of the man’s stupidity.
Gibbs sighed and knew that he would not get any answers from the man until Tony was on the mend. He had a feeling that none of the team would do any better.
Abby was confused to see Gibbs. “Why aren’t you at the hospital?”
Gibbs snorted. “To answer that question you should probably ask Tony’s boyfriend.”
Abby whirled around from Major Mass Spec because she didn’t believe what was coming out of her silver fox’s mouth. “Our Tony?”
Gibbs nodded, still wondering how he'd missed it. The relationship he had observed wasn't new - that much was for sure. “Yeah, a Dr. Gregory House.”
Abby spat out her cafpow. “He is a legend.”
Gibbs shrugged as all he saw was a legendary arrogance. “Well, he’s Tony’s proxy. I left when they were snuggled together on a bed.”
The fact that it had made him think of Shannon was another reason he'd left. Abby’s mind was whirling, she was applying this new data to what she knew. “Gibbs, it must have happened during your siesta. There was an operation that the Director wanted Tony on but he refused point blank. He said he wouldn't betray someone special only he wouldn’t tell the team who.”
So there was the break in trust. Gibbs wanted to say something bitter but how could he? He knew things were wrong when he returned but he was too busy trying to get as many of his memories back as he could. Once they had, too much time has passed and Gibbs had kept ignoring the problem instead of dealing with it.
Abs had kept thinking about what Gibbs had said. She hadn’t spoken to Ziva and Tim as she knew how blind they were to any of Tony’s positive points. The room was quiet and there was a figure on the bed. She had to grin, realising that technically there were two figures on the bed, only they were so close as to be one.
“Hey, Tony, and his silver fox.”
“I like this one.” Greg said with a grin on his face.
Tony looked a little less like death warmed up. “Yeah, Abs is cool. Sit a while as long as you are the only one.”
She nodded. “So how did this happen?”
House chuckled. “It was at Princeton, there was a stupid city function and Tony was being a good little officer. I was so bored and he was too, I could tell. So I stole him but I was kind enough to let his boss know. I mean, I didn’t want to be accused of actual kidnapping.”
Abby snorted. “Oh, Tony would have been a willing captive I’m sure. You are brilliant and mean and Tony is a sucker for that.”
House smirked as this one seemed to know Tony better than the others . “You’d be right again.”
Tony nodded before adding . “Yeah, and I am done staying away.”
Abby gasped. “It’s that serious?”
Tony grinned even if it was weak. “If we were the type we’d marry.”
House frowned. “Who said I wouldn’t marry you?”
Tony was sure it was the excellent drugs he was currently enjoying. “It wasn’t a criticism, Greg.”
House rolled his eyes. “I know that but I would marry you in a heartbeat. You’re hot, have your own handcuffs and you don’t hate my snarkiness. Plus you have a very talented tongue and your personality isn’t too bad either.”
Tony grinned crookedly as whilst others may be horrified by the statement - he recognised it for a declaration of love. “You just want to see what Cuddy and Wilson will buy us as a wedding gift.”
“The idea is not without its appeal, I can’t deny it.”
Abby was watching the verbal tete-a-tete and was sure she missed some of it. “Did you just agree to get married?”
Tony looked at House and snickered. “Yeah, when I’m better. First, I have to find a job in Princeton.”
House raised an eyebrow at his now fiance. “No. First, you have to move your stuff, your ass and, God help me, your movies into my place.”
The wedding was another tale entirely, involving angry Ninjas meeting stubborn doctors and learning a mighty lesson. The ninja may be angry and stealthy but not as quick as a needle wielded with power. Cuddy should have been angry but covered for House and chalked it up as a wedding present on the grounds that she deserved it. Tony was pretty sure that the ensuing argument between her and Gibbs may have just started the courtship for the fifth Mrs. Gibbs, even if she isn’t a redhead. One thing was certain - between the dramas happening around them and with his adored and adoring husband by his side, the next phase of his life was definitely something Tony was looking forward to relishing every minute of.
Chapter 6: A Matter of the heart (John Sheppard 2)
The data burst had a startling piece of news. DADT, a long since antiquated policy in John’s eyes, was now over. He could hear Richard saying the words to him and he’d never believed it would happen whilst he served. He’d locked away his sexuality in a box at eighteen knowing that if he wanted to fly for the military, that was what he would have to do.
He’d played fast and loose with some of the rules and ignored orders when he thought it necessary to protect his men. And yet, he hadn’t broken that rule. He couldn’t. He’d wanted the skies and that was the price. Plus, he wasn’t naive. His looks had garnered attention all the way through boot camp so he worked hard on being a prickly, nasty bastard and to a certain extent, it had worked. If that failed, he played clueless, pretending he didn’t notice that he was being hit upon.
“Well, that’s been a long time coming.”
Woolsey nodded. “How do you wish to proceed?”
Sheppard thought about it for a second. “I’ll call a full battalion meeting and relay the message in full. Don’t worry Richard, I will relay just what will happen should my soldiers not be enlightened.”
“And what will happen?” Beckett asked, sounding a little concerned.
“Don’t worry, Doc. You won’t have to clean up. Chewie and I will just go on a hunt.”
“Can I join in?” DiNozzo asked. “I hate bigots as much as the next guy and a Marine did train me.”
Sheppard shrugged. “Well, it would be rude to deny you.”
Woolsey interrupted their little conversation. “And now can you tell me the serious plan?”
The look shared between DiNozzo, Ronon and John suggested that they already had their plan. However for the appearance of civility John offered an alternate solution. “I suggest we ask the the psychiatrist to deliver a series of mandatory sessions for all personnel on sensitivity and understanding.”
McKay chipped in. “I agree, I’ll make it mandatory for the scientists as well.”
“The medical staff will not be exempt.” Beckett promised. The man had come back and taken over as the Chief Medical Officer as Keller didn’t want the added stress of the role.
Woolsey looked pensive. “And if we have hate crimes?”
Sheppard smiled but McKay was the only one who knew that smile. It was the one usually reserved for the Genii. “Then they better get off Atlantis before I find them. I will take it personally.”
Ronon smirked, he had always liked the bloodthirsty part of his friend.
Rodney and John were at their favourite part of the city - the Pier. “So how do you feel now you can openly date?”
John spat his beer out. “Excuse me?”
Rodney rolled his eyes. “Don’t treat me like one of your grunts. I know you, you’re my best friend and I have seen the way you look at DiNozzo.”
“Everyone looks at DiNozzo’s ass, including you and you have Jennifer.”
McKay shrugged. “I have eyes and the man is like a great piece of art. Still, you have an advantage over the others who are staring at him with heart eyes.”
John still hadn’t confirmed or denied Rodney’s suspicion - old habits died hard. “What are you talking about?”
Rodney smirked as he sipped his beer. “He is looking back when you are not watching. Plus, come on, you two were practically flirting in the meeting this morning.”
John shook his head. “I have to watch out for my men, Rodney, and this is going to suck no matter how progressive it is. There are some who are not going to take this well. I already have permission to ship anyone out back to the SGC.”
Rodney frowned. “And then what happens to them?”
Sheppard smirked. “O’Neill mentioned that the McMurdo base needed its soldiers rotated.”
McKay chuckled because as much as O’Neill could frustrate him, he was a class act in certain cases. “I like the man’s style.”
“Don’t let Keller hear you saying that she can be very possessive of you, you know.” Sheppard teased his friend. He would support the relationship because as much as they appeared to be an odd couple for some - when it boiled down to it, she made Rodney happy for now and that was all that mattered.
McKay wasn’t the type to play around. “When will you let yourself be happy?”
“I am, Rodney, you worry too much.”
Rodney snorted and threw his can into the bag between them that now held all the empties and that seemed to be the end of the conversation for now.
Tony adored Atlantis and it was a mutual love affair. The city rolled over to do his bidding in ways that it would ignore anyone else including Colonel Sheppard. He wishes he hadn’t thought about the man. He was every dream of Tony’s rolled into one neat package. He really was too attractive for his own good.
The city kept nudging him to ask out the Colonel. He wondered if he shared the fact Ally was actually a giant yenta he could avoid a trip to Heightmeyer’s couch. He somehow doubted it.
One of the more surprising friendships for some was the one that sprang up between DiNozzo and Ronon. DiNozzo didn’t treat him like he was a walking talking weapon and Ronon didn’t immediately hit on him. It was refreshing. Although, there had been a hilarious conversation in the mess hall. It had gone like this ... “You’re hot so why aren’t you sleeping with someone?”
Tony blushing. “Thanks, big guy, but Amelia would kill both you and me if we tried.”
Ronon smirked suggestively. “It might be worth it ... or she could join us.”
Tony chuckled at the way two people close to them dropped their plates, obviously having been listening in. Tony and Ronon responded with identical classy suggestive smirks which had the scientists blushing deeper. “And anyway, I am too busy.”
Ronon’s look called bullshit . It didn’t help Tony’s case that as soon as Colonel Sheppard walked into the mess hall, he started to track his movements. “If you say so...”
Tony looked sheepish. “Let’s go spar.”
Ronon snorted. “It won’t help but why not.”
McKay looked at his distracted best friend. “You should man up and ask him out.”
John suddenly paid attention. “What?”
“The Agent you keep staring at.”
John huffed. “Let’s not start that one again, Rodney.”
Rodney rolled his eyes because generally, he may not pay attention to silly matters like who liked who but he had enough smarts to know that his best friend liked the new agent and seemed to be doing his best to stay aloof. “Okay, but if you want me to believe it then stop staring at his ass.”
John took his apple and sought refuge in his paperwork. Now Rodney knew there was something there - John never did his homework if he could help it. He sat down next to Teyla and Woolsey so he could have some intelligent conversation.
“What are we going to do about John moping for Agent Hotcakes?”
Teyla sipped her tea and quirked her eyebrow. “Excuse me?”
“John and DiNozzo. They are pining after each other ... and when I asked ... he said he had paperwork to do.”
Woolsey’s eyes widened. “You mean to say I might get my paperwork on time?”
McKay nodded. “Now do you see why I am concerned?”
Woolsey nodded but Teyla interrupted, acting as a voice of reason. “The two men will find their way to each other. I wouldn’t recommend interfering as rather than helping them achieve their desire you may cause them to pull apart further.”
McKay pouted knowing that when Teyla spoke words of wisdom they should not be ignored. They had a tendency to bite him on his ass, or she would manufacture a sparring practice and make him regret it personally. “I hate to see grown men mope.”
“They are smart men, they will figure it out.”
The look Woolsey and Rodney shared suggested they felt otherwise. It didn’t matter what they thought however, as there was someone else who wanted her two favoured people to see what they could be together.
Tony entered the transporters and even after having been in the city for a month it still made his inner sci-fi geek smile. Yet today he was dumped somewhere completely new, an older part of the city. “Ally darling, what am I doing here?”
He got a strange picture of a heart in his head. He and Ally communicated but it was through pictures. “What’s wrong with your heart, sweetheart?” Tony asked, concerned that there was something wrong with the beautiful city.
The next image was of his own visage. “My own heart?”
There was a burst of feeling, which Tony recognised as concern for him. It did warm his heart even if it was a city that was looking after his well-being better than his own parents. “I’m okay.”
There was now a mental equivalent of a shake of a head. He didn’t get into an argument because before he knew it there was now a second occupant in the lavish room.
“What the hell? DiNozzo, do you know what is going on?” Sheppard asked him.
Tony snorted. “Ask the city.”
Sheppard looked up at the ceiling and blushed. “My heart is just fine according to Beckett!”
Tony chuckled at the exasperated look on the Colonel’s face. It was endearing. “I don’t think she means physically. She showed me a picture of me and my heart as well, do you know why?”
“Because she is a bigger yenta than McKay, that’s why.”
Tony could admit to being a little confused. “I’m not following.”
Sheppard bit his lip. Why was it that a Genii invading force and taking them on single-handedly seemed easier than talking about his feelings. “I told McKay and he has been pestering me to act on it. It seems the city took a leaf out of McKay’s hands. I’m sorry.”
Tony was starting to see what was happening here. He hadn’t believed he would be in with a chance. The gossip on the city said that he was unattached and liked it that way. “Don’t be, you’d only be giving a guy hope.”
Tony spoke softly but made sure sincerity ran through his voice. He was well aware that he’d be chipping away at some pretty big barriers. “Yeah, I mean I like the guy. He’s pretty intelligent, a good leader works hard for everyone, I just wish he’d let someone look after him.”
Sheppard sucked in a breath. “I wasn’t allowed to let anyone look after me the way I want and now... I don’t know how.”
Tony hated the vulnerable look on John’s face and he couldn't imagine what it must have been like to repress a part of himself for so long - all so he could serve. “You know, you’re pretty BAMF and I can look after myself. What do you say - wanna try together?”
Sheppard nodded and Tony took that as permission to steal a kiss. It turned into a little more heated than a kiss but neither minded too much. They were just giddy on the first flush of romance.
“Is that trying?” John asked him, so much joy in his eyes that Tony wanted to see more of that look. It looked good on him.
Tony shook his head. “No, it’s a promise of so much more.”
Even the city glowed a little brighter for a second. “Colonel Sheppard, Agent DiNozzo, are you receiving?”
Sheppard touched his radio. “Yes, Radek, we hear you.”
“We need your help. The city just surged and it is an unexplained phenomenon.”
Tony collapsed against Sheppard, shaking from his laughter. Oh, it could be explainable but how best to say it. “It’s fine, Radek. Nothing to worry about.”
“No, no. It is very clear that all phenomena must be explained.”
Tony rolled his eyes and took a deep breath to get himself under control. “Radek, take me off the central line and listen to what I have to say.”
“Go ahead, Agent. You are now on a private line.”
Tony looked at John because this wasn’t just his life and whilst DADT had been repealed it wasn’t Tony’s secret to reveal without permission. He got a nod and a smile.
“I just kissed John and that was when the city brightened. Now, don’t say a word. Let me and the Colonel figure us out and then ... just think about how well you could sweep up in the betting rings that John and I don’t know about.”
John was now smirking at him. He liked this devious side of Tony. “You’re a genius.”
Tony had to grin. “Maybe, but don’t tell people that. So I say we make this date space and I am sure Atlantis will help, won’t you girl?”
They both got the mental equivalent of a huff, which they both took to mean, of course, don’t be stupid .
They both entered the transporter at the same time, with matching grins. Only, when they arrived at the gateroom - they had their game faces on. They would figure this out in their own time - together.
They didn’t get too much time to sneak around though, as a trip through the gate a month later had Rodney complaining. “Tell me again why you didn’t have to participate.”
Sheppard grinned. “I’m in love.”
Knowing that in saying that, it was both an explanation and a source of frustration.
When then sex ritual had come up the first thing that had come to his mind was - Tony. He didn’t want to betray him even if he knew that Tony would understand that it would have been necessary. His team had been held under armed guard and John had risen, not knowing that he’d already passed the test.
“Let the travellers go.”
Sheppard had stood up and shaken the village leads hand. “That was a test?”
“You’re heart is pure to the one you care for. We have no right to interfere.”
He could see Rodney suck in a breath, and he was sure that Teyla and Ronon were sharing matching grins. It was disconcerting. Right now, he didn’t care, he’d got the materials Atlantis needed and he wanted to get back to the city.
“Good to know, and if any of my people return will they be required to sit the test?” Sheppard asked thinking of the people in Atlantis, and already mentally creating a list of a team who would return.
“No, you are a leader.”
John nodded, made a polite goodbye and he was ushering his team back to the city. Of course, Rodney was not going to let this go. “So who is your heart pure for?”
Sheppard kept walking forward. The last month and a bit had been a massive change in his life but for the better. “You mean you don’t know?” And then stepped through the gate.
Rodney was slower when it came to matters of the heart but even he couldn't miss the look shared between John and Agent DiNozzo. “You and Agent Hotcakes got together?”
Now some may have been distracted or acted a little shocked at the casual outing of their relationship. Tony just sauntered down the stairs. “Well, who can blame me, you have met John, right?”
Sheppard smirked at him. “Now, Rodney and the rest of you - mission check up and then debrief so I can make it to my date tonight.”
Tony called out. “See you later, darling.”
Tony had chosen to move to Atlantis unwilling to be sent out to ship like a recalcitrant child. It had felt freeing to tell Vance to stick his job. Atlantis had been unexpected but a joy just to be around. He hadn’t expected John but he was glad that DADT had disappeared so he could find something he’d never expected - love.
He could talk about their trip back to Washington meeting a bitter MCRT and John schooling them all for having the temerity to be rude to Tony. He could - but honestly, what he remembered most about the visit was the proposal in the hotel room.
The MCRT was simply forgotten and all his focus was on the man next to him and the exciting future awaiting.
Chapter 7: The case of a new guardian (Jacob Stone)
NB: Christian Kane plays him - in the Librarians.
For those in Washington, there was a great question doing the rounds of the gossip mill. Just what on Earth had finally managed to get Tony DiNozzo to finally move away from NCIS? All had recognised his brilliance but none had managed to break his loyalty to his mentor - except now someone apparently had.
Only it was not someone, but something - the Library. When Tony had found out about magic and the constant battle to keep it out of the hands of bad legions, he had fan-boyed for a short second before engaging in a fight to protect a cute cowboy.
That was only the beginning.
Tony was in a bar trying to shake off his bad week. He noticed the cowboy as he walked through the door. He stood out amongst the power suits of Washington and Tony had to like a guy who was willing to walk his own path in life.
“You’re not from around here.”
Jacob smirked. “No, Sir, I am not. Oklahoma born and raised.”
“You’re a long way from home.” Tony observed.
The guy shrugged and raised his hand to shake it. “Jacob Stone.”
“Anthony DiNozzo Junior.”
Jacob grinned. “So what’s good on tap?”
Jacob had to smile at that because he preferred a good beer. “Now this is my kind of place.”
Tony smirked. “Sit a while.”
Jacob did just that. “So what do you do, Mr. DiNozzo?”
“It’s Agent DiNozzo but I prefer Tony, and I work for NCIS.”
Jacob smirked. “Exciting. I work as a librarian, nothing too exciting.”
Tony snorted and didn’t call him on the polite lie. “If you say so, Mr. Stone.”
Tony smirked. “Well, alright then.” Tony froze up seeing the group who entered the bar. They were clearly looking for someone. “You made any friends since coming to Washington?”
“No, no I have not. I am looking for Cassandra and Ezekiel who are my colleagues in fact. Why?”
Tony sighed and casually pulled his gun from his jacket, he was developing a fine sixth sense for trouble and he didn’t want to waste any seconds. “That group has your picture in their hands and I don’t think they are looking to find a cute drinking partner.”
“Ah man, I thought I left Ninja bar fights in Oklahoma, Baird is never going to let me go anywhere.” Jacob complained.
Tony had no idea what was going on but it looked like he would be defending the cute cowboy. “Now would be a good time to pick up a bar stool.”
“I know, don’t tell me how to handle a bar fight.”
The group finally spoke. “Tut, tut, Librarian - the Guardian let you go out all on your lonesome. Anything could happen.”
Tony stood up having finished his drink, he was going to be really annoyed if he’d lost his drink. “You know, I was enjoying a quiet drink with a new friend and you just had to disturb us. Makes a guy mad.”
“You know nothing about magic, mortal. So be quiet.”
Tony snorted. “Out of interest, Jake, how well does magic stop a bullet?”
“Depends on their power level, Dulac can stop you but he can’t stop a punch.” Jacob finished with a sly smirk.
Tony smiled but it was the one he’d learnt from Gibbs. “Good to know.” And raised his gun. “Now leave please, this is the one time I ask nicely.”
Strangely enough, they chose not to leave nicely and while Tony had come here looking to drown his sorrows, he’d ended up in a bar fight instead, with a laughing hollering cowboy. Tony probably shouldn’t be thinking this was the most fun he’d had in ages - but he was.
“Why won’t you just leave?” Tony said, not getting this group. They were clearly up to no good.
The sword was different but a sword was just a long knife and Tony was never without his. Tony teased his opponent. “You shouldn’t hold a big sword if you can’t use it.” The wild thrash was good for effect but lousy for actual fighting. The swing arc was so wide that Tony ducked under it and managed to gain an advantage.
“Retreat, he’s clearly a guardian too,” DuLac ordered.
Tony collapsed against the bar. “Bartender, another drink.”
Stone was laughing at his side, almost collapsed into it. “Wow, you sure know how to party.”
Tony snorted. “No, I am just thinking about how I explain this to my boss without using the word magic.”
Two people had entered and Jacob knew them and greeted them warmly by the names of Eve and Flynn. Tony was standing to the side debating if he could escape because as hot as the cowboy was - he had work tomorrow.
“Who is this, Jacob?” The blonde female asked, and her bearing was all military.
“Agent Anthony DiNozzo and more intriguingly, after our bar fight ... which I would like to add, was so not my fault, DuLac called him a guardian.”
Flynn, the male, looked around Tony and was intrigued. “A second guardian, huh? Well, I suppose that would be beneficial.”
Tony felt justified in shouting. “WHAT IS A GUARDIAN? AND MAGIC?”
Eve snorted. “Oh Agent, I was you two years ago. I have a suggestion for you ... come with us. Let us give you the sales pitch and then we will see what happens.”
Tony got the sales pitch and he was assigned as the second guardian to the satellite library of Alexandria, which was nuts to say, but oh well. He was learning to reevaluate what he considered normal and not so normal. That had been nearly two months ago and he hadn’t regretted it. He had a great job and his boyfriend was pretty cute even if he had a penchant for bar fights.
The door system to get to his job was handy to say the least, he didn’t know many who could say their closet door transported them to work. It was kind of perfect as well, considering the beating at his door. “Tony, open the damn door. Did I say you could leave? You have to speak to me some time.”
Well, that would be a red flag to more than just a bull. Gibbs might not know it but the world did not dance to his beat. He was an adult and could do whatever he damn well pleased. In stepping through the door, Tony greeted the caretaker of the library. “Morning Jenkins, are Cassie and Flynn staying out of trouble?”
Jenkins snorted. “They were talking science so I left it to them. Colonel Baird wanted to talk to you about leashing Stone.”
Tony had a wicked grin. “Now that’s not our thing, whatever she does with Flynn is their business. We don’t judge as long as all parties are consenting but I draw the line at animals.”
Jenkins was awesome and had more than a few secrets all on his lonesome. Tony already had a few ideas about who he might be but asking a guy if he was the basis of Merlin required you knowing a guy a bit. “You are a breath of fresh air and the loss of the librarians has decreased significantly now there are two guardians.”
There was a thump, a crash and a loud scream of both a male and a female variety. Jenkins just sighed. “I think you’re up, Guardian Two.”
Tony snickered, calling out. “Anyone injured?”
“Only my pride.” Jake called back.
Tony shouted back. “I’ll kiss it better. What about you, Cassie?”
“I don’t think Stone will like it if you kiss my boo-boo too.” Was what he got, as a reply that had Tony laughing. He’d finally got through the stacks to them both.
Tony helped Jake off the floor. “Maybe not, but we both would like to help you, my lady.”
Tony hadn’t understood what working in a true team environment would feel like. There was Flynn, the head librarian, and his Guardian, Eve. They’d changed the rules with magic seeping back into the world and employed three other amazing if very different characters.
Tony was beginning to understand Ezekiel and Cassie but the one he’d spend a lifetime understanding was Jake. He was fascinating, a true genius, who hid his genius for his family. He could speak about art and literature in a way that made you want to weep or go back to school and study harder.
“You should not be getting eaten by the books!?”
Jake shrugged like it was no big deal that a book had just tried to eat him. It was just another day at the library. “It’s our fault we forgot to feed it some meat earlier, so it went for my arm instead.”
Tony sighed. “Come on, cowboy. Let’s get you some first aid.”
Jacob kept hold of his hand as he pushed him to the foyer area. Tony called out. “Jenkins have you got anything for bite wounds.”
“You forget to feed Hannibal’s Diaries?”
Jacob rolled his eyes. “Yes, I forgot. It is not a big deal okay.”
Jenkins just huffed as he got out a small suture kit. “Tell that to your arm.”
Tony said nothing as he himself had had the lecture the week before when he’d ended up getting stabbed protecting Ezekiel and his damn wondering fingers. Luckily for him, Flynn had some pretty cool elixir that healed him right up. It was a wondrous thing too, the elixir, as it healed his lungs - fully. It didn’t differentiate between the stab wound damage and the plague damage. It was incredible but not something he could share with a medical professional who wasn’t in the know.
“Will he live?” Tony asked.
Jenkins rolled his eyes. “Yeah, the man who is smart enough to be four of the five leading art historians but forgets to feed a book ... will live. His arm will be no good so you should take him home for the day.”
Tony was more than okay with that instruction. “As he is technically Eve’s, can you tell her what you said?”
Jenkins snorted. “Yes, I will tell the big bad scary Colonel that I told you to take your boyfriend home.”
Tony stepped through the door which right now was his and tuned to his apartment. “Come on, Cowboy, go lie on the couch and I’ll make us some pasta.”
“What time is it, out of the library?”
Tony looked out his window. “Night time apparently. Sit, relax awhile.”
Jacob put his feet up. “Have they stopped banging on your door?”
Tony chuckled from the kitchen. “You’d think two months of no contact would give them a clue or something that I don’t want to talk to them.”
Jake snickered. “Darlin, some people are just slow on the uptake. I keep telling you this.”
Tony came back and put a plate of pasta in front of his lover. “You’re right. You okay managing to eat this?”
“Well, you didn’t make it spaghetti so I’ll be good.”
The evening was quiet and domestic and Tony shifted the plates into the dishwasher. The sounds of music washed through the apartment and they lay on the sofa, careful to mind Jake’s injury. Tony was almost drifting off when the banging at his door started again. He sighed, they were persistent.
Jacob was grumpy. “Call the cops on them.”
Tony snickered at the thought of them being led away in handcuffs. The only trouble there was he knew they wouldn’t go quietly. “Nah, it’s best to let them in ... I’m ready to say what I need them to know.”
“I got your back, Darlin.”
Tony knew that, intellectually and emotionally, and that was probably why he was ready to face the NCIS team. He reluctantly got up off the couch to open the door. He might not want to do this but he was going to enjoy their reactions when they got answers to questions they were going to ask.
Gibbs. McGee, Ziva, and Abby all fell through his door when it suddenly opened. Jacob sat on the couch perfectly silent and so blatantly judging them. It was glorious.
“Darlin, who are our guests?”
Tony had a blinding smile. “Well cowboy, this is Agents’ Gibbs and McGee, Officer Ziva David, and technician Abby Sciuto.”
“Your old workmates?” Jake said as if he didn’t already know the answer.
“These are the ones, now I know you might get the wrong impression with how they rudely tried to bash in my door.” Tony said in a voice that didn’t even try to hide how pissed he was.
“You got a promotion?” McGee said, disdainful at the very idea.
Tony smirked. “Yes I did McGee, and your congratulations are noted.”
“How?” Ziva asked.
Tony rolled his eyes. “Hey, don’t give me that look, Jake. You hid your doctorates for a while too.”
Abby frowned. “You have multiple doctorates?”
Tony had a sly smile knowing that their self-righteous storming over had been derailed with just a few simple sentences. “Who is that question at? Me or Jake?”
Abby cocked her head to the side. “Both of you I guess.”
“He has four at last count although, he is working on another. Me, I stopped at two, work became too hectic.” Tony confessed choosing to sit back down, leaning into Jacob’s good side and arm. He didn’t feel like standing at attention for these people any longer.
“I didn’t say you could quit and you didn’t say anything at all to me.” Gibbs said quietly.
Tony shrugged. “You came back from Mexico and made it abundantly clear what you thought of me, Gibbs. I am not a child, I won’t fight for scraps of approval.”
Ziva used her hands to encompass him and Jake. “And what is this?”
Tony rolled his eyes the immature display. “This is a person, who I happen to adore and we were having a lovely domestic evening before it was interrupted by people who claim to be family but seem to want to do nothing more than tear me down. So you know where the door is.”
He actually turned on the TV screen and then chose to ignore the NCIS crew until they left. It was cathartic in a way that he hadn’t realised he needed until after he had said his piece.
Tony’s life had changed drastically in the last few months since he’d learnt about magic but that wasn’t the real magic... No, that was right here with Jake, just enjoying some peace and quiet. It was a gift beyond compare and one that Tony would happily be a Guardian for.
Chapter 8: Snapshots of a Magical Life (Sirius Black)
Tony's life takes a drastic change after a family party on his mom's side ends badly.
Warnings - There is are off-screen deaths of a family by the Deatheaters. This is one of the more severe AU stories I have written and the world building in this will make for a lengthy story.
The snapshots of a Magical Life (Sirius Black)
Tony was staring at the ashes of what was his family home feeling very confused with the world. Bewildered didn’t even cover it, he’d gone to the local village with his Uncle because he was bored of the party. They kept talking funny and he was sure that some of them weren’t even talking in English.
Uncle Clive was the best, he’d stopped his boredom and took him for a treat in the village. They had the best candy there.
Uncle Clive was talking with some funny dudes. He knew that Daddy said that the English could be funny but this was weird even for that. They kept talking with weird words like Fuego, Mordesmorde and even Avada Kedavra.
The policemen asked his Uncle, “Who is this?”
Clive stood up, a hand on Tony’s shoulder. “He is my heir, Antonius Paddington.”
The others may have missed it but Clive had seen the magic sparks when Tony handled some of the magical artefacts in his home. It spoke of a magical ability that Clive knew he would enjoy nurturing.
Tony didn’t understand but he did feel something settle deep inside him. He knew that his Uncle had made a promise so good that he felt it in his bones. He didn’t know enough of the magical world to understand about unbreakable vows.
Fast forward a year or two and Tony was at Hogwarts. He’d learnt everything his Uncle had to teach him. Magic was like the best movies, only there were no props or special effects - it was all him. Tony’s family on his mother's side were deeply magical and had a magical legacy entrenched in the elements. It didn’t seem to matter that he was only magical on his mother’s side. Tony had breezed through his first six years playing chaser and completing his studies. He was glad to be a Ravenclaw, apparently he was all Hufflepuff but had too much of the Paddington blood to not seek revenge against those who wronged him.
No matter what some of the less enlightened members of his cohorts thought. “He may be pretty but he is tainted.” The blonde aristocratic voice declared managing to make his sneer audible.
Tony quirked an eyebrow. “Is that so, Lucius? You should discuss the matter with your father as he was seeking a betrothal contract between us. He felt that merger between the Paddington and Malfoy family was the right way forward..”
“That can’t be true, you filthy liar.”
Tony stepped forward, losing all of his loose, relaxed stance. “Oh, but it is. Thankfully, Lord Paddington sent a polite rejection ... However, ... if you keeping calling my Lord a liar, I will happily meet you on a duelling platform.” Tony finished, knowing that he was one of the fastest duellers in the year. He would be as his Uncle had employed Aurors to get him up to speed with protection. Uncle Clive’s idea of protection amounted to ensuring you could kill your attacker first.
“You would need a second.” Malfoy pressed, hoping that his family’s reputation would scare off anyone supporting Paddington.
Sirius Black had witnessed the last of the confrontation. He usually kept to his own House and the marauders but - an official reason to mess with Lucius Malfoy? Well, that was just golden. “He’s got one, who will yours be?”
Sirius snorted because Lestrange, whilst physically imposing, had yet to use his mind in a duel as it would be too taxing. “Well, I will be sure to remember to quiver in my boots, you may have to remind me though.”
“You’re a disgrace to your family, Black.”
Sirius jauntily called back. “And thank Merlin for that!”
Tony turned back. “You know you didn’t have to do that.”
Sirius bowed low and kissed Tony’s hand. “Oh, have to, no. Want to, well, that’s a different matter. I think I like you.”
Tony leant against a wall. Sirius Black liked him and he wasn’t sure if that was a good or a bad thing. He guessed that only time would tell.
Dumbledore called both Malfoy and Tony to his office. “Boys. I heard a report of an alarming nature.”
Tony smiled sweetly. “Sir, I can assure you that I said no to the betrothal contract.”
Malfoy rolled his eyes. “You should watch that attitude.”
“Why?” Tony challenged. “You think you are wizard enough to do something about it?”
Albus sighed, knowing then that the alarming reports of a peer’s duelling were in fact true. “You cannot be thinking of duelling, boys. What kind of example would you be setting?”
Tony smirked. “One that fear and gossip are not standard practice and should be challenged at all quarters.”
Dumbledore bowed his head and had to make a decision. “I will allow this to happen but I will be overseeing it and the rules will be adhered to, gentlemen.”
Tony frowned. “My uncle raised me to be an honourable man so I don’t like what you are implying.”
“No offense was meant, Mr. Paddington.”
Tony wasn’t convinced by the eye twinkle and grandfather routine. Uncle had asked to be kept updated on his activities in the school. It seemed that Uncle Clive didn’t trust the fact that the man held three rather key and influential roles in their society.
Black was waiting at the bottom of the staircase. “Hey, Sirius”
“Darlin, is the mean Slytherin trying to back out of the challenge?” Sirius taunted.
Tony shrugged. “Well, that remains to be seen. We should go and practice anyway.”
Sirius had a delightful grin, it reminded Tony of a mischievous puppy. He had no idea how apt that analogy was - yet. Sirius pulled him along. “Come on, this place is perfect.”
Tony was startled by Sirius grabbing his hand but let himself roll with the flow of magic. If his actual magic had jolted with the touching of their hands, well, that was between him and his magical core. Tony was dragged along to a fifth floor and the corridor didn’t look like much. “Why are we here, Sirius? Despite the rumours, I am not a sure thing in a broom cupboard.”
Sirius pouted. “Oh, if I wear you down I want more than a broom cupboard.”
Tony grinned. “I will bear that in mind. So, shall we spar?”
Sirius quirked. “I’m a Black, and as much as I disagree, I learnt my lessons early.”
Tony snorted. “I didn’t, I didn’t know I was magical until the death eaters wiped out my entire family apart from my Uncle Clive. Thankfully, I am assured I’m a great heir and a true Paddington for whatever that is worth.”
Sirius had a crooked grin. “It means that we will be outstanding together.”
Tony got the feeling that he wasn’t talking about the duel. In fact, it was confirmed an hour later when they collapsed on the floor panting.
“Now that was fun.” Tony confessed as his breathing evened out.
Tony looked over at Sirius who lay next to him with his hair wild and eyes bright, grinning just as much as he was. He finally got why people could fall in love at a glance. “You’re as vicious as you are stunning.”
“You will turn a boy’s head with comments like that.” Tony replied, falling back on sarcasm. It was his best defence and kept most people away from him.
Sirius rolled over so that he was close to Tony but not touching him, more of a tantalising tease. “Not a line, not with you. I don’t risk a duel with Malfoy for just anyone.”
Tony knew what his Uncle told him, to trust his instincts and his magic. It was telling him that the Black heir was serious in his regard for Tony. “Let’s duel Malfoy and if we win you can take me out to Hogsmeade.”
Sirius smirked, “But you are the one duelling.”
Tony snickered. “Well, I need to have some extra incentives.”
Sirius sealed the deal with a kiss. “Now that is how we will seal our deals from now on.”
“I can get behind that.”
And that was the start of a courtship that started with a duel, and a date and kept on going. Uncle Clive and Sirius’ grandfather, seeing which way the wind was blowing, made the betrothal contract between the couple. The fact that at the same time, his grandfather names Sirius as his official heir also managed to alienate his mother further was really an added bonus for both boys.
Tony’s emotions were so volatile that Dumbledore had blocked anyone from him. He was an elemental who’d been told his only remaining family member was dead. He was grieving, and at the same time, he was having the rich Paddington family magic landing on him all at once.
“Out the way.”
Dumbledore shook his head. “I can’t let you do that, Mr. Black.”
Sirius rolled his eyes. “Sir, with all due respect, that is my betrothed and I can help him.”
At any other time, Sirius might have enjoyed the look of shock - but now was not it. Tony needed him more than his need to be mischievous. He wrapped Tony up in a hug and let others disappear for a few minutes behind a protega nigrum shield. It was a Black family special shield, allowing for curses to pass through it from the caster but blocking everything short of a cruciatus or killing curse.
Tony whispered. “The dark wanker took my only remaining family.”
Sirius had to grin even as he hugged Tony because it was clear that this had not broken Sirius may not be too keen on his family, on the grounds they supported Voldemort, still there were some character traits that ran true like what to do when crossed. “So we make him regret all his life choices.”
Tony and Sirius had kept up their vow to be a thorn in the Dark Lord, more commonly known as the dark wanker around their Auror office. The only couple who truly succeeded in being a worse thorn in the Dark Lord’s side was James and Lily. And they’d only done that by having a prophecy child who was fated to finally destroy the bastard.
Sirius and Tony had been in their office. They’d found it ironic when Moody had paired the lords and husbands together. Apparently, Moody felt Tony was the only one capable of somewhat reining in Padfoot.
The call came in. “The Potter warding notice.”
Tony and Sirius shared a look. There was only one person who’d be stupid enough to attack the Potter hideout - Voldemort. Fucking dark wanker. Tony thought in a less than wizardly way. Oh well, Tony and Sirius had set the wards around James and Lily’s place and lethal was putting it mildly. It would have taken more than a few Deatheaters to break them down.
Their wands were in their hands and they were apparting through the ministry which they weren’t supposed to be able to do. It was not their fault that individually they were powerful but their marriage bond allowed them to pool their magic to make crazier stunts happen.
Moody’s voice was behind them - they didn’t care, this was their friend. The front door was blasted in, Tony cursed. “That fucking traitorous blasted rat.”
Sirius moaned and even though he was in his human form - he sounded more like a Grimm in that moment. James was in the hallway, his body lifeless, they knew the look all too well. He’d been caught by the worst of the unforgivables. There was a scream from the nursery area. “Harry.”
Tony and Sirius ran quicker than ever before. “Please be okay.”
The nursery looked like a burglar had ransacked it. Lily was dead as well and there was baby Harry tucked in her arms even as she fell. They saw the blood on his forehead.
Tony was the one to gently pry Harry out of Lily’s arms. They needed to look after their godson more than revenge. “Sirius, forget Peter. We will catch the little rat bastard. We need to focus on our godson now.”
Sirius took a deep breath. “You’re right, I’d hate to think what would have happened without you here.”
Tony kissed him lightly, careful not to squash little Harry. “Well, thankfully, we never have to worry about it. Let’s get out of here before I have to act like a pissy noble.”
Tony could play the part with ease and Sirius adored that Tony could have the Wizengamot on their tippy-toes dancing to his tune. The apparition of a new figure had Tony sighing. “Too late.”
Albus Dumbledore was moving forward toward them. “Now boys, give young Harry over.”
Tony smiled sweetly. “Over my dead body and no matter how much power you think you have ... well, even the Blacks won’t cross the Paddingtons.”
“He should be with his family.” Dumbledore tried to reason.
Tony never let go of Harry and trusted Sirius to have his back. “We’re his godfathers. Don’t fight this, Albus. Peter was the secret keeper and he betrayed them. We’re his godfathers, so upon the Potter’s deaths, should custody not transfer to Sirius and me, the Goblins will be releasing the documents to every major newspaper in Europe.”
Albus saw the Lord hiding behind the Auror. He realised that Clive Paddington had taught his heir every bit of his own ruthlessness. “Very well, but this boy will need to be protected.”
Tony rolled his eyes. “Then who better than two vicious Aurors, who also happen to be peers of the realm.”
Sirius held his breath as Tony did a slide-long apparition to Paddington Manor. It was unplottable, untraceable and had Goblin War Wards that Ragnok himself had created and cackled while he’d done it.
“This is going to be difficult, isn’t it.” Sirius said looking into those emerald green eyes.
Tony nodded. “Yep, but we will honour our promises and kill anyone who tries to harm a hair on our godson’s head.”
And boy did they. Harry never knew what sleeping in a cupboard was like. He’d never know harm at the hands of those who were supposed to care for him. What Harry knew was the fierce devotion and love heaped upon him by his two godfathers who were determined to raise him in accordance with their dead friends’ wishes.
So this just into expanded version - can be found here.
Chapter 9: Riverdale so long (FP Jones II)
The show is Riverdale and FP Jones is played by the delightful Skeet Ulrich - a bad boy biker type. Oh, and this fic can be wholly blamed on my muse wanting to see Tony on a motorbike.
FP Jones II - Riverdale so Long
Riverdale, of all the places he ended up back in, Tony had to return to Riverdale. He'd hated it when he'd been a kid and stuck at his father's brother, Cliff’s, place. Why his father was a DiNozzo and his Uncle was named Blossom, well, Tony never asked.
He’d left for college and hadn’t looked back, he found the place to be on the wrong side of Stepford Wives for his tastes. The Southside had been more fun but Uncle Cliff would have kittens if he ever went anywhere near there.
Tony returned today, twelve years later, at the request of a cousin but he'd always thought of Cheryl as his niece. It was nice that for once, Vance wasn't a dick about allowing him his leave immediately. How could he not? Cheryl was beside herself with the death of her twin.
The time for introspection was over as he’d pulled his Mustang up the Blossom’s drive.
His niece greeted him with a grand grin although he could see the strain of trying to be cheerful to him. “Hey, little one.”
“Everything is so wrong.” She said into his shoulder.
Tony’s heart went out to hear it and he stroked her back, hoping to offer at least some small comfort. “It will be for a while but you’re strong and I will help where I can. I know a thing or two about investigations.”
The sheriff, within two seconds, made Tony want to facepalm. To say he was clueless was an understatement. The kids at the local high school showed more about them. Tony (just barely) remembered to play nicely.
“So you have no evidence?”
The Sheriff shook his head. “The body was in some type of industrial freezer and stored for a week before being put in the water. Hard to make it look like a drowning with the bullet wound in the head.”
Tony sucked in a breath because Riverdale was not DC, Jason should have been safe. “Any motive?”
“Just the fact that your niece said he was planning to skip town with his girlfriend, a Walker.”
Tony raised an eyebrow at that. He’d not been to town for a few years but the idea of a Walker and a Blossom dating was as likely as Romeo and Juliet and a happy ending. “How the hell did that slip past Uncle Cliff?”
The Sheriff smirked. “I don’t know, one minute they’re in here complaining that he’s run away and taken his nana’s ring and then we’re declaring a missing person case. My money’s on a Serpent. It wouldn’t be the first time Cliff had got mixed up with them.”
It didn’t make sense.
“How would a maple syrup company need a biker crew to be enforcers? It’s not exactly a ruthless business.”
The Sheriff frowned. “What are you implying?”
Tony shrugged as he had no idea. “At this point when I am investigating, I think about all the questions I have then go about answering them. Where do the Serpents hang out?”
“You can’t go there, you reek of law enforcement!”
Tony smirked, “Oh, Sheriff. You don’t know me but undercover is my specialty.”
Tony could not believe what he was wearing but one did not go to a biker bar in a Zegna suit. So leather trousers and a white crisp shirt were the order of the day. He didn’t make eye contact with anyone, that wasn’t how it was going to work. He simply headed straight to the bar and ordered his beer. It took less than ten minutes for someone to try and make a name for themselves by harassing him.
“Hey! Who are you?”
Tony snorted, turning around on his stool. “Someone peaceful who just wants to drink.” His piece said, he turned back to his drink like the guy wasn’t worth a second glance.
A hand gripped his shoulder and Tony reacted on instinct, not allowing a threat to remain behind his back. The biker was taken down with a cops move and before he knew it, bad boy biker had his head on the bar. Tony leant down. “Now, I repeat. I just want a drink in peace. Do we have a problem?”
“I will kill you.”
Tony rolled his eyes. “You know it is a really stupid idea to threaten someone who is a Federal Agent. I just want a drink and to hide from my relatives who would never come anywhere near here.”
A voice chuckled and Tony wanted to shiver, it was sexy and he hadn’t even seen the body to match. He turned his head. “Is he yours?”
“Kind of. I’d prefer you didn’t hurt him even though he deserved it.” The biker leader replied.
Tony let the guy go. “Anthony DiNozzo.”
“Forsythe Pendleton Jones II. I prefer FP.”
Tony smirked but made no dig about the name. “I can understand that, so as long as you’re okay with me hiding from Uncle Cliff here, we’re cool.”
“You’re a Blossom?”
Tony shrugged as he’d shocked the guy. “Only by blood and not by choice.”
FP shrugged. “I can salute that.”
Tony sensed he was going to order a drink but thought better of it. There was a story there but not one for a first conversation. Tony was bold and as he slipped out of the bar, he used a pickpocket trick to slip his contact information into the other man’s jacket.
“Hey, you left this.”
Tony whirled around leaning back against his Mustang. “No, I left my details because I want a date. I figure if the idea doesn’t appeal, your man enough to say no.”
FP stalked closer. “What makes you think we’re compatible? You’re a northside boy, or is that the appeal?”
Tony leant in closing the personal space between them to zero. “I’m not looking for a cliche.” And he sealed it with a kiss. It was electric and Tony broke the kiss, licking his lips wanting more. One look at FP and he could tell he wanted it too. “Call me for a date place. I will let you pick so you feel comfortable.”
A day later, Tony was meeting FP in Pop’s diner which apparently was the only place to meet anyone in Riverdale. The leather trousers and biker jacket were replaced with jeans and flannel for FP and Tony was in trousers and a casual but smart shirt.
Tony stood up. “Hey, so we’re meeting incognito?”
FP shrugged and saw the darks looks being thrown in his direction. He ate them up after so long so with a wry grin. “I have a reputation to uphold.”
Tony hoped that his sexuality was flexible in that respect. “Is this your way of gently letting me down?”
FP shook his head as his grin turned sexy. “Not at all, I just don’t get why you would want a date with me?”
Tony shook his head hearing the self-loathing, he was no stranger to it himself. “You’re hot, mysterious, oh, and you have a bike.”
“I’m a mess.”
Tony sipped his milkshake. “A hot mess. I can deal with whatever you throw at me.”
FP let out a sigh of relief, believing that just might be true. He really hoped so because if Tony kissed him that way again, he wasn’t sure what he wouldn’t agree to.
It turned out that over the next month Tony proved just how ready he was to commit - helping FP with a murder arrest; dealing with his Uncle Cliff killing himself and the general craziness around Riverdale. Oh, and let’s not forget FP came with an adorably curious and inquisitive kid. Tony personally saw future cops, not journalists when it came to FP’s son, Jughead, and his girlfriend, Betty.
Jughead and Betty were at the diner with them. Tony being Tony took them to the diner for a celebratory ‘ you’re not going to be locked up party’.
JJughead was relaxing but anytime one of the Riverdale populous stared at the table they were given a fierce glare. “I hate this place.”
FP sighed because right now he couldn’t disagree. The time in the town jail had helped him get through the alcohol withdrawal but he couldn’t pretend he was pleased to see any of town’s faces.
Tony broached it carefully as this was huge. “Now listen, how would you feel coming back to DC? I won’t lie - it is very different from this town but FP, this place is toxic for you. Plus, I think it’ll be a good place for Jughead.”
FP looked to his son, he hadn’t always been a great Dad. A fact that he’d worked on improving, hoping he’d get the chance. He would have given up hope but Tony and Jughead kept visiting him. Tony had made sure he didn’t get railroaded and hadn’t let Cliff Blossom get close. FP decided to take a leap of faith. “Yeah, I think we can take a trip and see what happens.”
Jughead and Betty cheered, hugging each other. “We want to go to Georgetown.”
Tony smirked. “Well, I do know the area so let me show you around, providing your mom is okay with that, Betty.”
The bubbly blonde was grinning so wide. “Oh, I will make it okay.”
Tony still couldn't believe he'd convinced FP to move to DC full-time with him. The fact Jughead and his girlfriend were going to George Washington had helped. The fun part though for Tony was FP was helping him confound his team.
Like today. The case had wrapped and Tony was too tired to drive but he wanted his own bed and his lover. One message to FP had confirmed he was no longer teaching anyone how to ride their motorbikes and would collect him with his proper bike. The job FP had found for himself was a good fit, he was trained on motorcycles and they wanted him to teach others. The fact he was a ‘real’ biker appealed to many in the area.
Tony was just waiting for FP and Abby was bouncing up and down. “Come and drink with us, Tony. Please?”
Tony groaned at just the mere thought. “Abs, I want my bed, not alcohol.”
The roaring sound of the motorbike pulled up to the sidewalk distracted Abby for a second. In fact, Abby purred. “He is so sexy I'd take a ride on him anytime.”
The guy took off his helmet and the fantasy only improved. Tony grinned, knowing he was about to blow her mind. “Bye, Abs.”
She gasped, seeing Tony take the helmet then slide on the back of the bike and mold himself to the biker. Oh my, now that was a picture worth imagining.
McGee didn't believe Abby, there was no way that Tony was dating a bad boy biker. It just didn't fit his image. “You want me to believe that Tony is sleeping with a guy?”
Abby shrugged because she didn’t much care, she knew what she’d seen. “I know what I saw, Timmy.”
Lunchtime was a proper one for once, so Tony decided to stretch his legs. Tim and Ziva had seen the small smiles as he looked at his phone and got curious - so decided to follow him.
The coffee shop had some good food and Tony met a young blonde girl and her boyfriend, Tim was guessing. Ziva frowned. “Is it a daughter he didn’t know about?”
Tim shook his head. “He would have said and been way more freaked.”
As he said that, the roar of the bike could be heard in the square and Tim whispered. “Bad boy biker.”
Ziva frowned. “What?”
“Abby said he was dating a bad boy biker... I didn’t believe her.”
Ziva’s eyes rose to her eyebrows as the biker slid off his bike and strode over to Tony’s table. The kiss was just the right side of chaste for a public place - barely. It was clear that Tony was happy with his new paramour. “So he is gay ... no wonder he didn’t want me.”
Tim let his eyes go wide because there was no good answer to this. “Yeah, who gets to tell Gibbs.”
Ziva jumped when Tony’s voice jumped in.
“How about - no need as he already knows. You two have cases to follow up on so what are you doing here?”
Tim and Ziva actually blushed. “You, we, … ”
Tony smirked. “Abby told you I jumped on the back of a bad boy motorcycle yesterday and you didn’t believe her.”
“You’re Tony, the ladies man. I thought she was playing a joke.”
Tony traded heated looks with his biker, making the kids groan. “Dad, you promised no grossness with the boyfriend in front of me, and I promised to return the favour.”
The biker looked rueful. “I did, didn’t I. Well, Tony, shall we get out of here? We promised the kids we’d go that exhibition they want to see.”
Tony chuckled. “Don’t give me that, FP, you want to go too.”
The biker shrugged and with a roguish grin and wink. “I have a reputation to uphold.”
Ziva and Tim were thrown off their game but knew they could get Tony on one thing. “You have work this afternoon.”
Tony smirked back at them. “No McJealous and Ziva, I don’t. I booked it off for some family time. Bye for now.”
Tony threw the money down on the table. “Let’s go before the traffic picks up.”
Tony was happy and no matter what they said or did, it slid right off him, although Tim noticed after the sequel release of his book where Agent Tommy died - there were two bike chapters that kept driving past his house all night for a week. The local cops wouldn’t do anything for him - It took Tony to ask them for anything to get done. That burned Tim as he wanted to do it on his own. In truth though, what burned more was seeing the way Tony pulled away from all of them completely and left them to their own devices. He was happy with his family and they were no longer part of it.
They only had themselves to blame.
Chapter 10: Down in Jericho (Dean Winchester 2)
This is a follow up to the original short - Please note, canon from the pilot Supernatural is played with to fit this universe.
Tony still could not believe that he was taking a road trip with Dean and his brother, Sammy. He couldn’t help but call the law student that as he had the most adorable reaction to it. Plus, it made Dean smile when he did so that was a bonus.
One minute he was getting home exhausted from traveling back from Camp Pendleton - the next, he had a harried almost-brother-in-law asking for help tracking his boyfriend’s father. The crazy thing was that he and Dean were already going, having arranged for leave from work.
Correction, Dean was going to find his Dad, Tony was going to make sure that John Winchester couldn’t take any more of Dean’s soul or drag him back into the fold of vendetta 101. So far Dean was just focussing on the drive - which was going to take a while. Tony just kept imagining punching John in the face - it helped.
was being a typical little brother and being nosey. “So how did you meet?”
Tony smirked because that was the wrong question. “In a bar.”
Dean snorted at that response as it was more of a Gibbs’ response than that of Tony. Still, he could get the point Tony was making. “You gotta learn the right question, little brother, especially if you want to be a lawyer.”
Sam scowled but took on board what he said. He could admit that he’d been more than surprised to find Dean as a detective, living with a man. It was quite far removed from what he’d been like before he left. Sam could think of only women as being Dean’s targets. “Okay, was that a butt out or ask a smarter question?”
Dean smirked, looking back using the driving mirror in the car. “Ask smarter questions and it’s not like you couldn’t pick up a phone.”
Sam huffed. “Well, you left with just a note saying not to call unless we got our shit together and stopped our crazy arguments and vendettas. Dad didn’t listen and when I wanted to go to law school, it caused another fight.”
Dean sighed, knowing his father, he knew how this ended. “So Dad, being a stubborn marine, kept on hunting alone.”
Sam shrugged as there would have been no stopping the man even if they tried. “I was done putting my life on hold. I took your advice and carved out a life of my own.”
Dean grinned. “Best thing I’ve heard all day. So tell us what you know about Dad.”
Sam shrugged. “Not much, only what Bobby knew - which was there was something odd about a five-mile stretch outside Jericho. Dad went down to investigate and three weeks later we get that message, which is when I drove to find you.”
Tony had stayed quiet as he’d been reading through the case files. There were ten victims and if this was a serial killer, the victimology would suggest a female, looking at helping her fellow females by killing those who could harm other women emotionally.
“All males, all known to enjoy the company of women but in relationships.” Tony thought about it now from a supernatural perspective. “So who is the woman in white?”
Sammy looked in shock at Dean who was chuckling. “What? We met when a succubus made a play for me. He’s a Federal Agent - he did his research. Look at the evidence and it is a fair jump in logic”
Sam looked concerned. “A succubus doesn’t just make a play, so how did you escape?”
Tony turned his head back. “I was hotter and more inspirational, in more ways than one. She couldn't compete.”
Dean threw back his head with laughter as it wasn’t an idle boast. “He’s right, you know. Now the upside for you having two legitimate officers of the law means you won’t have to fake one.”
Tony nodded. “And the earlier victim was previously in the marines so I have the jurisdiction to poke around.”
From the back seat, Sam was the first one to see the sign proclaiming that Jericho was seven miles away. The sight of local cop cars surrounding an abandoned car made all three of them share looks. Dean was the one to say it. “Who wants to guess that a man is missing and won’t be found?”
Sam gave him a look. “Shall I drive around and pick you up?”
Dean and Tony shared a whole conversation with silent looks the way only in sync couples could. Dean finally nodded. “Yeah, see if you can find the room Dad no doubt holed up in.”
Sam nodded and took the keys off Dean. “Try not to start a fight.”
Dean frowned as Sammy started driving away. “Don’t scratch it.”
The local cops were still milling around the abandoned car and Tony and Dean stood back for a few seconds getting a feel for the local’s idea of what was going on. It didn’t take long for them to realise that they didn’t have a clue. It was understandable as they wouldn’t be looking for supernatural causes.
The Sheriff noticed them. “Can I help you?”
Tony stepped forward. “Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo. NCIS. This is my partner Detective Winchester. You have had another victim?” He phrased it as a question but knew the answer already.
The Sheriff was about to protest but realised he could do with the help as he had no idea how to explain this case. “We have no idea and no clues, apart from this one small stretch of road.”
Tony looked around the edges of the car. “Have you asked for a profile of the killer?”
The chief shook his head. “This is a small town, the budget won’t allow it.”
Tony shook his head. “Well, I looked at your reports and victimology and I can tell you a fair bit about your killer.”
“Will you brief the staff?”
Tony nodded. “Sure thing, we’ll get rooms in town and then debrief at the sheriff's office.”
Dean was bitching. “Why did I let him take my car?”
Tony snorted. “A moment of insanity?”
Dean scowled, ignoring his amused looks. “Stupid dad, and not taking back up, man I hate this place already.”
Tony snickered at his boyfriend’s bitching, he only got in this mood when he was seriously worried. “We’ll figure it out.” He tried to reassure Dean.
“Are you sure my crazy family won’t scare you away?” Dean asked him and Tony could hear the insecurity in his voice.
“Darlin, I fought a succubus for you, surely that tells you I’m in this for the long haul.”
Dean kissed him softly. “It does, you know.”
As Dean rested his forehead against Tony’s, he realised he’d never thought he’d be interrupted with his boyfriend at this age. “Sam, I say this with all the truth in my heart. You have the worst timing.”
Sam rolled his eyes and couldn’t look more like a baby brother if he tried. “Well, I found where Dad was staying and I think I may have a few clues.”
“Cool, let’s check it out.”
Dean looked around the room in disbelief at how stupid his father had been. There was researching the case and then there was trying to look like a serial killer. “Damn it. We’re so lucky no one has figured out he’s missing.”
Sam shrugged. “So he will look like a crazy supernatural kook.”
Dean shook his head. “Go on then, Tony, tell him.”
“Any agent or cop surveying this scene would think killer . He’s stalked the victims, then collected mementos and the supernatural element is fuelling his fantasies. That’s how I would see it.” Tony finished, thanking whatever deity that a Deputy hadn’t already seen this room.
The walls looked like a who’s who of potential killers if they were searching for a Supe. “Hey, look,
thought like I did ... Women in White and even found the name of our little lady.”
“Constance Welch.” Dean muttered the name out loud. There was no fear that by saying her name, he’d summon her close. After all, his Dad was a paranoid bastard and had warded his motel room to keep out the fiercest of demons.
Tony looked at the two brothers. “So, plan?”
Sam knew what the process involved. “Salt and burn the bones before she takes any more men.”
Tony liked the sound of that. “You do that and I’ll distract the cops at the station by giving them their profile of fair Constance. Just don’t die on me in the meantime.”
Dean kissed him lightly and let Tony know he was onto his plan. “Don’t punch my dad if you run into him.”
Tony didn’t make a promise he had no intention of keeping and Dean knew it. Dean sighed and tried another tactic, “Don’t punch Dad until I can see it.”
Tony smirked. “Now that I can promise.”
Sam had gasped in shock at the idea of someone punching his Dad. Tony though, he looked fierce and determined and totally in Dean’s corner. Sam was glad as no one had ever really been solely on Dean’s side since the fire that killed their mom when Dean was four. He was ashamed to admit that he hadn’t always been in his brother’s corner either but he would do better.
“Is he serious?”
Dean nodded because every word Tony had said was true. “Oh yeah, he has been for quite awhile. It was a meeting I was hoping to put off.”
Sam didn’t know what to say. “Huh. We need to find Constance Welch.”
Dean sighed. “Let’s start with the faithless bastard husband.”
Tony saw them pull a guy who looked distinctly recognisable. He groaned as there would be no way for him to punch the guy in the face. He was glad he’d hand-typed the profile for the Sheriff clearly stating that the killer was a female, late twenties - early thirties who was scorned by a man and as a result wanted to kill those she deems faithless and harmful to her fellow women.
The Sheriff read it. “Jesus, it sounds like Welch’s wife but she’s dead.”
Tony shrugged as he knew the Sheriff wasn’t wrong, sadly, he’d not be able to bring the dead killer to justice. Dean and Sam would be able to stop the killings.
“There are some wooded areas around here if she was from this town she’d know how to survive.”
The Sheriff rubbed his hands over his face. Christ, oh lord. This was going to be tough. “So it’s not the guy in lock up. We caught him messing around and he had some weird shit on him.”
Tony had to think about this carefully, he weighed up letting the man stay in jail with the disappointment on his son’s faces. “No, no he couldn't - probably just a fruitcake who wants to believe in the supernatural.”
The Sheriff looked like he wanted to keep him or protest. In the end, he sighed and rattled his keys as he opened the lock on the cell. “You’re free to go, Mr. Arnfarnan.”
Tony pretended to be surprised. “Huh. There was a Samuel Arnfarnan at the motel I checked into. Relation?”
The man shook his head. “No, Sir. Thanks.”
He said thanks but his tone implied that he’d rather go a few rounds of torture than admit that. Dean would say that nothing had changed on that front. Tony forced himself to stay silent as a way to keep this civil until they were away from prying eyes.
Out in the parking lot, Tony had his hand on his phone. “Are you done with the salt and burn?”
Tony huffed. “No, there wasn’t judgement but the cops are going to be looking for our Constance.”
John was listening in his own car, somehow this agent man knew what was going on and was close to Dean and Sam. He had no idea just how close Dean was to Tony. He had to make sure this man was safe, and not a demon.
Tony could guess at the man’s thought patterns and actually let John Winchester follow him. Only to expedite a reunion between father and sons so he could get back to DC before Gibbs had kittens.
He pulled into the parking lot of the Motel, watching the none too subtle car that had tailed him pull in moments later. Really, he was a Federal Agent and he thought these tactics would work?
Tony strolled into the motel room to see two bedraggled Winchesters. “Hey, honey. I’m home.”
Sam groaned not liking the gooey scene developing in front of him. Impressively, considering he was holding an ice-pack to the chest, he still managed to bitch. “I just had a ghost slam me into a wall. I do not need to see this.”
Tony, who had been pulled into a hug by Dean, turned his face to smirk at his all but brother-in-law. “You will be back with Jessica soon enough.”
Sam shrugged but the wince let Tony know how much pain he was in. “True but that is still my big brother.”
Dean rolled his eyes. “And don’t you forget it.”
The knock at the door disturbed the easy banter. Tony groaned knowing who it would be. “That will be your Dad, he trailed me from the station. It’s a bit rich considering I helped get him a release.”
Sam sighed. “Gratitude isn’t something John Winchester would ever recognise. You could save his life and he would have a go, saying it was his kill or something.”
Dean opened the door, “Hey, Dad.”
“He is a demon!” Was all he said before charging in no friendly greeting to his sons, or apology for freaking them out by going incommunicado.
Tony let John get into the room before he punched him in the face. The eldest Winchester went down, more from the shock than the initial punch.
Sam was in shock, Dean was laughing. “Now you’re never going to convince him that you’re not evil.”
Tony didn’t care too much. He’d vowed to do that for how badly the man had screwed with Dean’s head. All he offered in his defense was, “Hey, he deserved that for how he treated you growing up.”
Sam saw the unrepentant look on Tony’s face and knew that he wasn’t sorry. Sam snickered. “Man, I can’t wait for Thanksgiving.”
John started to come around. “Why are you talking to a demon like he is family?”
Dean stood up tall and proud, not taking any more crap from the man. “Hey, that's my boyfriend you’re talking about. And check the room, you paranoid jackass.”
John looked around the room and looked as sheepish as he ever could. The room was full of wardings for spirits and demons. He didn’t want to concede ground so demanded to know, “Why was he at the station then?”
Dean face-palmed. “Tony knows you are important to me and helped since I went with Sammy.”
Tony stood as silent as a sentinel, Gibbs would be so proud of him right now. When Winchester looked at him expectantly, Tony just smirked. “What he said.”
The crazy thing was - John disappeared from the motel room leaving his kids in the dust. Sam looked bewildered, whereas Dean just looked like he’d expected it. Tony patted Sam on the shoulder and ordered they go and eat their disappointment away.
John watched them from outside the diner. It was better this way, he could hunt the demon and his sons would be safe. The demon had taken too much away.
He should have known better - The best way to fight was as a team but that deserves its own story.
Chapter 11: Jacob Green
Warnings: The show, Jericho, deals with the nuclear bombing of 27 US cities and the aftermath. The NCIS team is implied to be dead but nothing is confirmed. If this is trigger please skip the chapter.
Jake could not believe he’d listened to Tony. Worse, he’d actually gone along with the plan. “This is stupid.”
Tony chuckled at the pout he could hear in his boyfriend’s voice. At their age, it was ridiculous, unless of course you loved the person and then you just found it ridiculously endearing. “Jakey, you just helped bring down Ravenwood, your family is not anywhere in their league.”
Jake was still pouting. “That’s what you think. Wait until you’ve met Johnston Green III and see if you still think that.”
Tony was taking a leg of the driving as Jake had been way too tense and wired to drive safely. He was doing this because he knew that Jake badly wanted to reconcile with his family. Still, he didn’t want to do it if Jake was getting so nervous he’d start having a panic attack. Tony was well aware that Jake had a few demons that could trigger PTSD - they’d discussed them. “Look, say the word and I turn this car right around to Topeka and I never mention it again.”
Jake smiled because he knew Tony would do just that. He knew that Tony wouldn’t even hold the waste of time against him. He really had struck lucky to find someone that cared for him unconditionally. “I’m nervous okay, and I don’t like the way your boss made us take so many weapons with us in the trunk. I don’t think even your badge will help us if we get stopped.”
Tony would have shrugged because that had been weird. Gibbs had, for once, not given him any shit for taking time off to go on this road trip with Jake. The only thing he had done was, after cowboy steaks, chucked a duffel bag full of weapons and demanded they take them to Lawrence.
“Phone your mom.” Tony nagged, knowing that Jake needed to hear her voice as it would soothe at least some of his worries.
Jake chuckled because Tony really did know how to help him settle his mind. “Okay.”
As he picked up the phone, he saw the ten-mile sign for his hometown. Well, this was it, the prodigal son was returning home.
The town was quaint and so different from DC that Tony found it refreshing. It was such a different pace of life. “Wow, no wonder you hate DC”
Jake gave him a look. “I don’t hate all of DC.”
Tony squeezed his knee. “Good, I don’t come to Kansas for just anyone.”
And that was when the blast shook the car, Tony saw the mushroom cloud over Denver and as the car spun he was pretty sure he saw one over Columbus too. His brain knew what he was seeing but he couldn’t believe it, two nuclear bombs had just detonated. And then everything went black for a few moments.
Tony woke first and his first thought was to check on Jake. “Jakey, you okay?”
Tony’s hands were checking Jake over. He looked okay for the most part but Tony knew some of the most dangerous injuries were the ones you couldn’t see. However looking at Jake, his eyes weren’t glassy and there were no lumps or bumps that signalled internal bleeding. His relief was palpable, he kissed Jake hard just revelling in the fact they were alive. “Thank god you’re okay.”
“I ache all over but we’re alive so I’ll take it.”
Tony couldn’t agree more. He hadn’t said it yet but now was the time. “I saw two mushroom clouds, one over Denver and one over Columbus.”
Jake paled. “Jesus, did your boss know?”
Tony shrugged as that thought had been rushing through his mind as well. Gibbs had been weird but Tony had put it down to his boss being a paranoid bastard. “I couldn’t say. Look, the world is crazy but we’re alive so let’s just get to Jericho and check in on your family. We’ll take stock there and figure out our next move together.”
“Together.” Jake vowed to him.
Their drive was silent and eerie. Spookier because of what they knew. It was going okay ... until the birds started falling out of the sky. Not just one of them but all of them. Tony pulled over to the side but the minute he stopped the car, the engine started to smoke. This was so not good.
They stayed in the car, clutching each other’s hands whilst it rained birds. It wasn’t out of fear but to more remind themselves that they were not alone. They were weighing the danger of staying in a car with a smoking engine with the chance of being hit by a radioactive bird. The truth was, neither of those options sounded appealing.
Jake let out a breath when it stopped. “What a day!”
Tony smiled. “And to think you thought talking to your Dad would be the most horrible part of your day.”
Jake laughed roughly at that because right now that did seem so stupid. “Yeah, we need to get out and walk. The town is about three miles out.”
Tony nodded because there was no other option. “We should get the bags and make tracks. We’ll take the guns and the little first aid kit. Also, and this is non-negotiable before we go anywhere we’re going to take a swig of iodine.”
Tony explained it. “Helps your body with low radiation doses, gonna taste like crap but we won’t die.”
Jake was okay with that. “In that case ... bottom’s up.”
Jake took the first swig before passing the bottle to his lover. “So we better make tracks as it’ll get dark soon and I don’t fancy being out of town when night falls in these circumstances.”
Tony nodded. “After you, Kansas.”
Jake rolled his eyes but smiled as he picked up his weapons bag. The world was going to shit but he still had Tony and he was going home - it could be worse. Jake shared some of the stories of his youth, he didn’t need to sanitize them with Tony as he already knew the worst things in his past. Tony was walking with Jake for about an hour before they heard it. “Mister. Mister. You gotta help us, she’s gonna die.”
Tony and Jake quickly followed over the ridge. Tony had gently eeked out the problem from the child; the school bus had crashed. The driver was apparently asleep according to their teacher who couldn’t walk but the little girl couldn’t breathe properly having hit her throat against the seat in the crash.
Jake saw something that concerned him, in the bush, there were the remains of a prison bus - he gently nudged Tony to let him see it too. His lover saw it and nodded. It was information to store but they’d deal with the current crisis first.
Tony knew how much Jake would freak around kids. “Hey, little guy. Where is the bus?”
The kid pointed at the bus that was smacked into the hillside. Tony sighed because this was going to be difficult to get moving. It was full of second graders by Tony’s estimate and a teacher. Tony took a full sweeping glance. “No surprise guests.”
Jake nodded hearing what Tony wasn’t saying. “I’ll do the first aid, you keep a lookout.”
They hadn’t reached the bus. “Are you sure?”
Jake wasn’t sure about anything. In fact, he hated the whole thing but he wouldn’t let his personal issues see a kid die. He just needed to keep his mind in the moment and hope he didn’t have a flashback to Iraq, which was easier said than done. “I have the greater first aid emergency training, it makes sense.”
Tony didn’t argue as his mind was already on the escaped prisoner bus. There was enough danger already out there without adding human danger to the mix. Jake entered and did a good job at calming the kids whilst Tony stood on the steps of the bus to make sure they didn’t get any rogue visitors.
The teacher looked pale and banged up herself. Her leg was definitely broken. Tony distracted her. “Hey, what’s your name?”
“Heather Graham, I teach the second grade.”
Tony smiled although it might have looked less intimidating if he didn’t have the shotgun in his hand. “Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo.”
“Oh, that explains the gun.” She said like it was an average thing. Tony got the impression that there wasn’t much that phased this woman. She came across as sweet but he could just tell she had a steel backbone.
“I need a straw, her breathing has stopped.” Jake shouted. “Ice - I need to keep the swelling down while I find a straw.”
Tony watched as the ice went to the back, everyone else seemed to slow their breathing down in response to the scene in front of them. He was watching Jake closer and could see his lover’s struggle for calm.
Tony had his own eureka moment. “Do you have tape? Sellotape.”
She nodded and handed it over not quite seeing how the tape and the horrific problem linked. Tony figured being kids on a school trip they had juice. “Right I need everyone to get their straws from the lunchbox drinks and pass them to me.”
Quietly, Tony propped the shotgun by the teacher. “If you see something outside, yell, don’t be brave.”
She nodded knowing there were things he wasn’t saying because he didn’t want to scare the children.
He took a deep breath. “MacGyver - eat your heart out.”
He’d fashioned a much wider tube by sticking all the tiny straws together and sharpening the edge so that it could pierce the skin. Once he was sure it would hold up, he made his way through the horde of children. “Hey, use this.”
Jake took it, grateful as it would do in a pinch. “I gotta do this.”
Tony squeezed his shoulder. “You got this and I will get the bus moving to get us back into town.”
Jake whispered. “Stay.”
Tony didn’t make a big deal out of it, that wasn’t how they worked. “You got it, babe, I’ll stay right here.”
The gurgling sound of rasping breath had never sounded so sweet as it did when the cute little blonde opened her eyes. “Hey Stacy, don’t talk. Just stay right where you are.” Jake ordered.
Tony was relieved the little girl was okay but that didn’t mean the situation wasn’t fraught. Dark was setting in, there was the escaped prisoner bus and the bombs to consider. As a result, Tony really wanted to be in Jericho yesterday. “Let’s get you lot home.”
The teacher, Heather, chuckled. “Home is nowhere close though, judging by your clothes and accent.”
Tony shrugged and with a wink. “Home is with this one.”
It had taken a quick tweak to the engine but soon enough the school bus was making steady progress toward the town. The children singing songs as a way to hide how scared they were. Tony’s smirk had grown, choosing to live in the moment . “Not the first time driving the bus?”
Jake smirked right back. “First time with permission.”
Tony sighed. “So this wasn’t quite how I envisaged meeting the Parents.”
Heather grinned as it was such a refreshingly normal worry, compared to their crazy day. “Rescuing a school bus full of kids will help.”
Tony shrugged. “Nah, that was Jake. I just provided the security.”
“Well, you do make an attractive couple, you're going to shock a lot of people, and those you don’t shock - Well, you will probably break their hearts.”
Tony had heard it before but he only had eyes for Jake. Jake with his desire to fight wrongs as the little guy and not take any crap, well, Tony could admit he’d been inspired and willing to change things in his own life.
And now, his love for Jake may have just saved both of their lives. He had no confirmation but he felt it in his gut that Washington was gone. He would face angry parents, small towns and whatever else life could throw at them - as long as he had Jake by his side he could cope with anything.
Chapter 12: Manhattan Fun and Games (Mark Sloan)
Tony was in New York and had come back to Manhattan as he hated Long Island with an abiding passion. He’d done his due diligence and watched as his father married wife number five. Tony was impressed - this one was marginally older than he was. Wife number four had been five years younger. That was just plain squicky in Tony’s mind.
“I need scotch, preferably older than I am.” Tony announced to the bartender who smirked right back at him.
A man chuckled beside him. “He’s smirking because I said the same thing to him.”
Tony turned around to see a cute guy. Wow, he was not too shabby at all. Rich too, so wouldn’t be after Tony’s money. It was a little sad that he had to consider that but once bitten, twice shy. It was a saying of his Uncle Clive’s but oh so true. Tony didn’t actually parade it around in Washington but he had enough money that in reality, he didn’t ever have to work again.
“Oh, well damn, let’s drink to bad weeks.” Tony offered.
The guy raised his glass. “Mark Sloan.”
Mark twisted his chair to move closer. “So why are people as hot as us having bad weeks?”
Tony had to choke at such a direct question. “Wow. Okay, since you asked, I will play. Daddy dearest has sunk his claws into his latest rich wife. I was demanded to attend the charade. Sorry, the wedding. And, he had the cheek to ask for my trust fund to support the beginning of their marriage.”
Mark winced. “Okay, that is rough. So mine is my best friend is one of the most successful, if not the most successful neurosurgeon in the world and yet he is neglecting his beautiful wife. She is so sad and keeps hinting at me comforting her. I can’t do it, Derek is my brother even if he is being an ass about it.”
Tony sighed because that was a sucky situation to be in. “You know nothing good comes out of that situation right?”
Mark chuckled darkly as that was an understatement. “Hence the drinking in a bar.”
Tony snorted. “I get that but there is a big plus. One is, it is really good expensive scotch and two, you met me.”
Mark raised his glass as that was oh so true. He’d been feeling in a funk only seeing the problems and not the potential solutions. “You’re not wrong.”
The drinks kept flowing and neither man when asked what they talked about later, would be able to recall. It was just so easy to talk to each other.
“Well, well, I wondered where you got to. Addison was worried.”
Tony frowned at hearing the new voice. “Is this Derek?”
Mark grinned, eyes glassy from the alcohol. “Yep, my brother from another mother.”
Tony rolled his eyes and teased his new friend. “You said that you could handle your scotch.”
Derek snorted. “Good stuff, nope, he’s a lightweight when it comes to that.”
Tony shrugged as that wasn’t his problem. Plus, Mark was only buzzed, not seriously drunk. “Back to mine or yours?”
Derek huffed. “Well, I know the way to Mark’s.”
Mark seemed delighted. “Perfect. You are so awesome Derek.”
Tony got the feeling Derek didn’t think so right now. Still, he didn’t care much at the moment. He’d come here to unwind and Mark had helped him do just that. He didn’t want to wave goodbye just yet.
The morning after, Tony awoke to a warm body next to him. He checked his clothing and noticed he was still fully clothed. That was different.
His new friend, Mark, was already awake and smirking at him. “Well, I think Derek disapproves of us.”
Tony sighed. “Hey, plenty of people disapprove of me. It has developed my ability to not give a shit. A perfect mask when working in law enforcement.”
Mark chuckled. “I’m working on it. You know what? You are a hell of a lot better than my shrink.”
Tony had a salacious grin as he turned to face him. “I am so much better. Let me prove it.”
Last night, after Derek had left tutting about making bad life choices, the two men had come to the agreement to wait until morning with clear heads. They were both hot and now sober and of sound minds - so decided to work up an appetite .
McGee looked at Tony confused. The SFA was in on time, which was rare when he returned back from leave. He looked content was about the best word for it. Ziva had tried a few barbed comments and they’d all rolled off Tony like they were water. He was completely unruffled. McGee wished he had that ability.
Ziva rolled her eyes. “To be this Zen you must have had a bowl in the hay.”
McGee perked up as he hadn’t thought about it that way. “At your father’s wedding?”
Tony smirked. “Boys and girls, you don’t really want to gossip about my love life ... you are always complaining that I share too freely. Well, now I am being sensitive to your requests.”
Wow. Silence. Tony was definitely going to treasure this moment for a long time. It was the perfect opportunity to get the SFA paperwork done for the month. The government did love its bureaucracy.
“You’re not going to tell us anything?” McGee asked.
Tony smiled. “Nope. I don’t feel like sharing. Senior got married. The end.”
Gibbs smirked, knowing something the others didn’t. This was an SFA who was genuinely besotted by someone. It was going to be an interesting few months. Washington was going to see another side to the mercurial SFA - a balanced one.
Vance looked at the logs in disbelief. There had been a change in DiNozzo but this was unparalleled. “How many cold cases?”
Gibbs smirked. “Five in the last week.”
Vance was doing the math. “You’ve had two hot cases that you’ve wrapped.”
“Correct.” Gibbs was waiting for him to realise it.
“These were DiNozzo’s code. You give the team separate cold cases to review.”
Gibbs nodded. “They have to be good to be on the MCRT so I won’t waste them looking at the same cases, Leon. It would be a waste.”
Vance choked on his toothpick. “So how the hell did DiNozzo solve five cold cases, practically one every three hours?”
Gibbs shrugged. “He met someone, I believe.”
“Where are they and how do I get them to DC?”
Gibbs shook his head and he was only making this suggestion to Vance as it was time for Tony to have his own team. He’d told his protege as much over dinner last night. “Why not send him to where the significant other is?”
“And where would that be?” Vance asked, having picked up on the lack of pronoun being used. Interesting - not that it mattered.
Vance thought about it. “You know the leader of the office for the Western Seaboard has resigned.”
Gibbs nodded. “I’m aware. Tony has the experience and the gravitas to lead - exactly what you need. Plus, if he’s close to his partner his mind won’t have split priorities. He is always professional in these cases so don’t think I’m saying otherwise. He deserves a shot at having a full life.”
What Gibbs wasn’t saying or cared to voice was that he didn’t want his protege to become like him fully - living only for work. He deserved to have a full relationship like he’d had with Shannon.
Mark had gone to Seattle on a wing and prayer. He was lucky that Tony was so understanding. Just like they’d predicted, Addison had cheated. Thankfully, his mind was so full of Tony that it hadn’t been him she’d seduced. Worse, it had been Derek’s intern, Randy. The irony of his name hadn’t been lost on him or Tony.
Derek had cut and run so fast. It got worse from there, Addison was depressed and upset her husband had disappeared. Mark tried to be understanding but it was a little difficult when she’d cheated rather than admitting she was unhappy.
It had taken six weeks before Addison had followed Derek to Seattle in a bid to win him back. Yep, that’s right, Derek apparently had some lusty blonde intern. He sighed as hearing all the rumours and gossip - well, he couldn’t help but think it would make a great tv show.
And now he was in the damn rainy city hoping to save his brother and friends’ marriage. Derek had seen him and been shocked. Mark had smirked. “What - you didn’t think I’d follow you? You’re my brother Derek, I just needed time to sell the practice and let my apartment.”
“What about Tony? “
Mark smirked. “We’re figuring it out. I’m lucky he’s understanding.”
Derek laughed, much to the surprise of the interns who’d tried to listen in. “You so are.”
The epic bromance of McSteamy and McDreamy was growing around the hospital. Meredith found it amusing as long as she was kept out of the gossip. A federal agent caught her attention, he was hot too and definitely needed a
. “Can I help you?”
“Yeah. I’m looking for Dr. Mark Sloan.”
Meredith smiled. “I can show you the way - he’s our new Head of Plastics.”
The guy seemed amused. “I’m aware.”
“Do I get a name when I have to introduce you?” Meredith asked him, curiosity getting the better of her.
“Mark knows my name.”
and mystery guy smirked
. “Oh, your Derek’s Intern aren’t you? Wow, I bet Addison had kittens seeing you.”
Meredith shrugged. “It was a memorable first meeting that’s for damn sure.”
The guy offered a small smirk and conciliatory offer. “I’m Mark’s.”
Meredith stared in shock because she knew what that sounded like. There was no room for interpretation there, the kiss Dr. Sloan pulled the Agent into, dealt with any lingering doubts. Wow, this pair was definitely going to break a few hearts. She needed to find Cristina to share the gossip with ... she would’ve said goodbye but they were too occupied with each other.
It was true what they said, the good men were married, gay or taken and she had the feeling that Dr. Sloan and his agent were about to become all three.
Chapter 13: SGA1 in Washington (Ronon Dex 2)
Tony was grinning at Ronon, his man was not comfortable in a suit. He may look fantastic in it but he was definitely not comfortable. Truth be told, Tony preferred Ronon in his favourite leather trousers. He tried to remind him of this fact. “Relax, Dreadlocks, we’ll be back home soon enough.”
He got a grunt in return but didn’t take it personally. He knew that Ronon was unfond of Earth and he could understand his issues. Earth was teeming with people, just like Sateda was before that final wraith attack. Still, it wasn’t just that, Tony knew that Ronon didn’t get, what was in Ronon’s mind, all the stupid rules. He didn’t either which was probably why he and Ronon worked so well together.
They were not alone as Ronon’s team was also present. The paperwork and reports did require a yearly meeting in Washington. The fact they’d be in Washington for mere forty-eight hours and would then be forced to spend three weeks on a tin can, sorry, the spaceship Daedalus, to return home seemed a little odd to him.
“I hate Washington.” Rodney declared as he sat ungracefully in his own chair. Tony was glad to have SGA1 with him, for backup.
Tony shrugged as he was indifferent to it, for better or worse this had been home for a while. He was just glad that Morrow had helped him see the wood from the trees and given him a better offer. He dreaded to think what might have happened if he’d stayed there after the Seahawk fiasco. “You get to use it, Rodney.” The look of horror on Rodney’s face suggested he doubted that but Tony was quick to finish. “I much prefer the base though, before you start to argue . ”
Sheppard smirked and raised his glass. “She is a beautiful place to live.” After all, Tony and John shared a very strong expression of the ATA gene and thus Atlantis doted on them. The other occupants in the city had come to accept the favouritism as they had little choice. “So. Whose meeting is next?”
Tony groaned as it reminded him, so far Rodney had completed his with the IOA and so had Sheppard. “It’s mine at Homeland with Director Morrow.”
Ronon frowned because he didn’t think Tony would have a problem with his boss. He seemed to respect the guy. “Why’s that an issue?”
Tony chuckled because he saw the defensive reaction, Ronon was ready to go to battle for him. “Not for the reasons you think. I have the worst luck and I just know I will run into my previous team.”
McKay didn’t like the idea of anyone trying to pick on one of his friends. The story of the MCRT and how Tony came to leave the team had come out during one of their team nights. He did remind Tony that he had true friends now. “They are beneath you - I mean they are stuck here.”
Tony knew it to be true and didn’t hide his smile. “Oh, I know. To be honest, I just don’t want the hassle. They can’t attack any part of my life - great job; great friends; great lover ... I really can’t complain.” It was amazing how much his life had changed in just two years.
McKay still was unhappy. He didn’t make many close friends so he was very protective of the ones who he could get along with. “What were the bobo and chuckles called on this team again?”
Tony knew that in his mind they would now forever be called Bobo and Chuckles. “Agent Timothy McGee and Agent Ziva David but I wouldn’t even know where they are now. We were split up and on separate teams before I left for the base.”
McKay and Sheppard shared a glance, Tony didn’t even want to guess but Ronon and Teyla seemed to agree with whatever their silent plan was. Tony never got a chance to find out as he and Ronon needed to make tracks for his meeting with Morrow.
Tony exited Morrow’s office and was grinning as he now had a whole evening free to take Ronon around the city before they were reporting back to the Pentagon for the air express trip up to the Daedalus for their trip home early tomorrow morning.
“You ready to blow this joint?” Tony asked his partner, joy at the fact he was free evident in his voice.
“You said no weapons.” Ronon was still vexed that he wasn’t allowed a blaster out of the mountain. How was he supposed to protect his team?
Anyone else may have been fooled by the innocent face, not Tony. “Cute. Let’s get out of here. Are we meeting the others or do we have the whole evening free?”
Ronon smirked because
he’d definitely planned. “Evening free.”
Tony sighed and for a second leaned against Ronon. He was taking just a few seconds to decide whether he was going to pretend like he’d never heard at all. He knew that there would be no good way to fake it and he was an undercover specialist. So he went for a better option, complete and utter professional detachment. “Agent McGee, what can I do for you?”
“You left!?” McGee all but screeched. His anger was purpling his face in a most unattractive way.
Tony snorted because he couldn’t see why there would be a shock at that idea. Oh wait, they probably expected him to stick around to be their verbal whipping boy. Well, not this one - Tony wanted Tim to understand that. “I sure did. There was no way I was going to be sent away like a naughty schoolboy for doing my job and following the orders of my Director .”
“What are you doing here?” Shock and confusion still reigned, he was definitely on the back foot following Tony’s diatribe.
Tony snorted - he didn’t know why his inner voice sounded like Rodney saying
It’s not nice to play with your food
but he was happy to go along with it. He knew that being deliberately vague would frustrate the hell out of his probie, which is exactly why he did it. “My job. Surely you heard I’d transferred to Homeland. I had a meeting with the boss.” Like it was the most obvious thing in the world.
Tony technically worked for HomeWorld Security but that could hardly be known to the wider public so for ease’s sake he reported to Morrow. “Aaaanywwwaaaay, bye McGee.”
Tony was two hundred percent already done with the conversation and it had only just begun. Tony looked at Ronon as they walked away, just knowing that his taciturn lover would have an opinion.
“You cared about McWeasel’s opinion?”
Tony actually laughed at the disdain in his lover’s voice. It was more than obvious he didn’t have a very positive opinion of McGee. Ronon always had been a good judge of character, it had been his years running from the Wraith which had honed those instincts. Tony did answer him honestly. “Yeah, looking back - not my finest moment but just remember it was what led me to you so I am over it.”
Ronon growled. “Only thing stopping me going on a hunting trip.”
Tony grinned at his boyfriend because he knew that was true. “Hey. I am alright. There is no need to defend my honour.”
Ronon shook his head. “There is every need - you are my one. You did the same for me.”
Tony opened his mouth to argue but promptly closed it, realising that yes, he was right, he had. He’d done the threat assessment when Ronon had been brought to Atlantis by Sheppard. He was so glad he’d listened to his gut because Ronon had ended up becoming the most important person in his life. “You’re right. Let’s get some food and head back to the hotel.”
Ronon perked up. “You mentioned Italian?” He would let Tony change the subject for now but he’d been serious.
Ton’s grin grew wider. “Oh yeah, let’s go Matteo's.”
They’d been at the restaurant for about thirty minutes when he spotted his former teammates enter the place. Tony just facepalmed, you would think people would take a hint. “You have got to be kidding me.”
“What is it?” Ronon asked, wondering what had set Tony off.
Tony huffed, aggravated at his time with Ronon being infringed upon. He’d wanted to show him this restaurant ever since they’d shared stories about their favourite cuisine. “Little McTattletale has brought back up to annoy us this time.”
Ronon surveyed what this backup amounted to and he wasn’t impressed The Genii posed more of a challenge. “Not impressed.”
Tony would dearly love to see Ziva’s face if she heard Ronon’s assessment that she didn’t even rate on the danger scale to him. He was almost certain it would bruise her fragile ego. He doubted it wouldn’t take long for it to become a reality though, as his old colleagues were making a beeline straight to their table.
Tony looked his lover straight in the eye. “No matter how rude or annoying they get, please don’t stab, shoot or knock them out.”
Ronon snorted. “No promises.”
Tony chuckled and braced himself as the group reached their table. “Did my ignoring you not give you a hint, McStubborn ?”
Tim looked uncomfortable. “Ziva and Abby demanded that we talk to you.”
Ronon just stared at the trio. “Are we supposed to care?”
Tony laughed and it was rich, revelling at the look of shock on their faces. It seemed they hadn’t picked up on the fact that they weren't the centre of the universe. “According to their idea of the world we should.”
“Who is this, Tony?” Ziva purred and Tony wanted to throw up at her trying that tone with him.
“My lover, Ronon.”
Wow. Pure silence. It was blessed and he didn't think he’d managed to shock all three of them silent at the same time. Ever.
“You left us, Tony.”
Tony shook his head. “No, Vance wanted to send me away to a boat and Morrow gave me a better offer. Why should I have stuck around?”
“Gibbs isn’t the same without you.” Abby said with a pout.
Tony huffed. “Abby, Gibbs is a grown ass man who does not need me to stand by his side for eternity. I have needs too.”
Ronon smirked at the annoying female. “Don’t worry - we care for him. Better than your team did.”
Ziva stood up, her ego obviously ruffled. Tony stepped up to this one. “Ziva, you try your Mossad ninja crap on Ronon you are going to come off second best. Now, I am not going to be reprimanded like a child. I won’t apologise for finding a life that is separate to NCIS as I love my life now and I didn’t speak to you lot as it was obvious to me that we’re not friends.”
Abby looked close to tears. “You were never this cold.”
Tony stood up and Ronon stayed in his personal space. He had to smile seeing Sheppard and the others in the entrance of the place. “There is nothing cold about me. Now if you'll excuse me, my friends have arrived and we’re having a night of liberty before returning to work. Bye-bye.”
And Tony walked out the door and forever out of their lives - he didn’t even look back. McGee had tried to hack Tony’s file to see what he was up to nowadays and after a four-star general had informed him of the consequences he wisely back off. The solve rate had dropped thirteen percent even with getting two new players into the team. It made no difference, the MCRT would never regain the agency high it had once enjoyed and it’s best investigator was now living a happy and fulfilling life in another galaxy.
Chapter 14: Being Older and Wiser (Ryan Hardy)
This is a chapter which is almost a direct follow up to a chapter in the Shades of Grey collection.
Warning: Previous relationship with Serial Killer, Related trauma from violence and kidnap.
This is a direct sequel to the short - First Love Never Lasts (Joe Carroll)
Ryan woke in the hospital and his first instinct was to check his chest. This time, there was no gaping wound, only a mess of hair. He found himself smiling. Tony was so brave. He’d actually kept Carroll on his toes long enough for Agent Gibbs to take him out.
He’d remembered each moment of being in that cabin. He had to thank Carroll for stripping Tony - it had been a wonderful distraction from fear of death. He’d spent so long using alcohol to chase away the demons of his past and Anthony DiNozzo had done it without trying.
He stroked the hair and Tony hummed awake slowly. “Hey, sleepyhead. How are you doing?”
Ryan grinned weakly. “Way better for you being here. For the record, I can do a much better date.”
Tony chuckled at the humour. “Oh, I know. You can prove it when you get out of here.”
Ryan didn’t understand the pull they had but he didn’t want to explain it. If he was being rational he might think they were moving too quickly but it wasn’t that at all. He’d understood it in the cabin when Carroll had both Tony and him at his mercy. Tony and he had both run and hidden from the past, but they hadn’t been living. Joe Carroll’s death had freed them of a spectre they hadn’t realised had been hanging over them.
Tony’s laughter floated through the room. “Sleep, Ryan. I’m not going anywhere. The new Director won’t let me work till I see a shrink so I think I’ll help with your recovery. I’m no nurse but I can play the part.”
Ryan groaned as parts of him stirred before he fell asleep once more. At least this time he fell asleep with a smile on his face.
Tony watched Ryan sleep once more and he couldn’t believe their luck. They’d survived Joe’s attention and that was more than most of his victims could claim. Tony was done letting Joe dictate any part of his life. The bastard was finally dead and could no longer hurt him or anyone else.
There a knock at the door and turning his head, he saw Gibbs in the doorway. “Hey, boss. Come on in.”
“How is he?”
Tony sighed because that was tricky. The hospital was treating him as Ryan’s partner and he hadn’t dissuaded them. “His heart got a pounding from the crap Joe and his goons used, plus you know - the being tied to a table.”
Gibbs stood there for a second. “And you?”
Tony looked up with a smile, weak due to tiredness but a true smile. “You know what? I feel relaxed and free, which is so odd. I just need Ryan to be okay. I can’t let Joe take anything else.”
Gibbs patted him on the back. “That’s the spirit. I’ll keep Todd and McGee away for the day but you’re going to have to consider what happens next.”
Tony sighed. “Oh yeah, they know about the masks. Damn.”
Gibbs smirked. “You’ll figure it out. Make sure you rest - it wasn’t too long ago you were in here.”
Tony nodded, knowing what Gibbs was trying to say without saying it. “I will be careful, boss, and thanks for getting the bastard.”
Todd and McGee stepped into the hospital room. It was odd, they weren’t here to check on the patient but rather his primary guest. Tony or was it Claude? This was still so confusing. McGee, in particular, was struggling to deal with the information overload. There was one minute and he thought Tony was a lazy SFA who got by on charm, the next minute he’d found out that Tony was actually Claude. Not to mention he was previously married to a man and a Professor, holding a Ph.D.!
“Hey, how are you?”
Tony looked up and shrugged. “Waiting on the crap to clear Ryan’s system.”
Kate observed the hands that were permanently linked. She quirked an eyebrow and Tony just smirked, neither confirming or denying her suspicions. “Good for you. I have to ask - is it Tony or Claude?”
She saw the question race through his mind, so many emotions usually kept hidden raced across his face. “Tony, I think, the only one who I can hear call me Claude, is Ryan.”
Kate smiled. “Well, we’re glad you are okay and I’ll be glad when you’re back to work. It’s weird right now. Haswari is being hunted by three teams. Although Director Morrow, before he left, ordered our team to stay away.”
Tony sucked in a breath and knew he needed to warn the junior agents. “Look, Gibbs gets these cases that he won’t shake and they can turn crazy. Be glad and review cold cases, I always find those satisfying.”
McGee huffed. “Why? They’re unsolved.”
Tony had a massive grin. “Exactly, McProbie , the lure of solving a mystery is vital to any investigator.”
Kate could see his passion and enthusiasm, she was just frustrated that he’d hid it from them. Why hadn’t she seen it? She was supposed to be a profiler. She didn’t get Tony and Ryan as she thought the spectre of Joe Carroll would stop them. Still, she couldn’t control them and this was something that they’d figure out on their own.
She tapped McGee’s shoulder. “Come on, McGee, time to go back to the office.”
“We just got here.” He said bewildered.
Kate glared. “And now we’re leaving, I will explain in the car.”
Ryan woke slowly, feeling much stronger and coherent. There was a head asleep on his chest. He didn’t push him off, he was sure that Claude was a dream. Still, Claude woke up, obviously detecting noise or his breathing changing. “Are you sure you’re not a dream, Claude?”
Claude shook his head. “No, I am not. Do you know you’re the only one I can stomach calling me by name? How crazy is that?”
Ryan looked sad for a second. “You get to be whoever you want to be.”
Claude smiled. “Oh, I am. And we’re going to be so much better together.”
Ryan couldn’t find himself disagreeing. He wasn’t disillusioned, he knew he was a functioning alcoholic and had nearly slipped into the not so functioning. Claude made him see that there was still so much he wanted to do. He was done avoiding life. “Agreed.”
Hardy fell asleep, although he felt better his body was still recovering both from the beating at the hands of Joe and what he’d put his body through.
It was a month since the incident that had seen Carroll die and Tony could have done without this little hoop to jump through even though it was a stipulation for returning to duty. He should have taken the FBI offer and gone to lecture at the academy like Ryan had. He hadn’t though, and now he was facing the NCIS psychiatrist. He had nothing against the profession, hell, he had a Ph.D. in psychology himself, which in part was the problem.
“So how do you feel?”
Tony rolled his eyes. “My former husband attacked us and kidnapped me but thankfully we’re alive and Gibbs made sure he was not. I can’t complain. Honestly, I feel free. Now can I go?”
She seemed surprised by his candour. Tony smirked because he would do what was needed to get the hell out of there. If he needed to lead them on a merry chase he would but the truth would see him free far quicker.
Tony shrugged. “I’ve been on several dates with Agent Hardy. We may not have had the best timing but it feels right.”
Her eyebrows shot up to the top of her head. “You mean to say you are going on a date with the man that caught Joe Carroll?”
Tony shrugged as she didn’t have the right perspective on it. “Why not? He is hot, cultured and adores sports. What’s not to like?”
She approached it tentatively, not realising that she was now on the backfoot. “Surely, it would be triggering?”
Tony shook his head. “Lady, I have been chained to a serial killer whilst working for NCIS, caught the plague and hidden my identity for five years. The dates are something I am quite looking forward to.”
She looked cautious but it was obvious that Tony could not be dissuaded so she settled for, “I hope it goes well.”
Tony was far more confident. “Oh, they are going great.”
Kate saw Tony come back from his appointment. “You okay?”
Tony nodded with a smirk. “Sure. The shrink is confused but I don’t care so there is that.”
McGee didn’t get it, you could tell as he wasn’t trying to hide it. “Why?”
Tony had a wicked grin. “She thinks it’s wrong that I’m dating Agent Hardy ... and I don’t care what she thinks. I wouldn’t have gone unless Shepard had demanded it.”
Kate smiled and showed her support for Tony. “Well, I think you two fit together.”
Tony nodded but changed the conversation, not wanting to talk about it anymore. He was relieved that some of his past was out but he was now finding his feet once more. After all, a few of his masks had been shattered and now he was building new ones. He couldn’t pretend he was a skirt chaser anymore, or that he was just a jock.
It didn’t matter. When he got off work he’d pick up Ryan from his last lecture and then go for a drive to his favourite place. It was out of Washington but not too far a drive. This was their fourth date and Tony knew he was in way too deep for the number of dates but it felt right.
Tony stood listening to the end of the lecture. He adored how passionate Ryan was for the technique and the nuances of the case. It made him have a small pang, as he did miss teaching. He wasn’t yet ready to return, he’d not yet managed to shake all the connotations of his former husband. He would though, in time.
“You ready to get out of here?”
Ryan hugged him, grinning. “Oh yeah, what you got in mind?”
Tony smirked. “It’s a surprise but you will love it.”
And what do you know? Tony was right - they’d taken his Mustang and drove it out of the city. This little restaurant was on the side of the interstate. It was perfect, quaint and Italian food reigned supreme.
The night ended way more fun and they knew that they were compatible on all levels. Tony walked into work whistling. Not even Gibbs’ bad mood put a dent in his high. McGee and Kate looked at him like he was a lunatic.
“Why are you smiling?”
Tony shrugged. “It’s a good day.”
They obviously didn’t agree.
All was going so well until those damn bastard crazy cult of killers kidnapped Ryan. They’d built up Joe like he was a fucking messiah - and snatched Ryan as he was going to be the sacrifice to bring him back.
Tony shuddered at just the thought. Ryan wasn’t going to die. He was so having words with the FBI - there was supposed to be security on the campus.
Fornell was apologising to Tony but Tony wasn’t listening. “Don’t worry. I will get him back.”
Tony looked back but his face was blank, he couldn’t let emotions interfere right now. “Channel a bigger bastard than any of those wannabe misfits could hope to be.”
Kate gasped. “Tony, you can’t.”
Tony snorted, and his voice even changed to the cold purr that Joe used so infamously. “Oh but I can, Caitlin.”
Oh wow, he even had the accent. Tony prayed that Ryan could forgive him for any potential flashbacks he may trigger. The trouble with predators was you needed a bigger predator - In Tony’s mind, he couldn’t think of anyone worse than Joe. If this would get Ryan back, he could play the role. He’d worry about the effect later on.
He was at the doors of the church the freaky cult had inhabited. “You need to wear a vest!”
Tony snorted. “Oh yes, nothing says psycho killer like wearing an FBI bulletproof vest?”
Fornell sighed. “If you die, Gibbs will never speak to me again.”
Tony chuckled because that wasn’t true. “He forgave you for marrying his wife. I think he’ll forgive you this.”
Fornell mattered. “Like wives ten a penny, kids not so much.”
Tony would file that away for later. Not so much now. He had to get his lover back - there was no way he was going to let Joe screw up his life from beyond the grave. The two idiots that opened the door screwed up their face. “Who are you?”
Tony smirked but he never let the smile reach his eyes. “Claude Mathews.”
Tony smirked. “I lie about a great many things but I know who I am. And you know what? Joe would hate what you’ve done in his name.”
The group was listening to him, spellbound. This was the problem with cults, they were full of sheep if Tony could sway them this might just go without bloodshed.
“How? We took the man who took him from us!”
Ah. Now Tony had found the supposed leader. “No, you took his nemesis. Joe considered Hardy, his Moriarty, his ultimate foe. He didn’t want him dead through cowardice. There is no honour in this kill.”
“You should want him dead more than anyone!”
Tony chuckled but it was oh so cold, and he watched several of these would be killers shiver. If Tony scared them then they were definitely in over their head. “No, this isn’t anything like the revenge I had planned. I wanted a knife fight to test our wits and see who was better.”
The leader saw a chance to wrest control back. “We’ll untie him and you can have your wish.”
“Put a knife in his hand. I want a fair fight.” Tony purred.
“Do it!” The leader ordered. He’d let Mathews take out Hardy and then kill him. No one would be able to deny his leadership then.
Tony had a manic grin. “I like this group and the ickle FBI thought I would plead for his life. Bless them.”
Hardy waited for himself to be untied. “So this is it, huh?”
Tony played it indifferent. “Well, how else would it play out. Double tap to the chest?”
Hardy was put on his feet and gripped the knife. They’d smacked him around but gone for sucker punches. The knife in his hand, he sighed. “So on three?”
The groups were around them in a circle but only two of them had guns. Tony grinned. “Sure, one, two ...”
They didn’t get to three. They both used their knives to take out the gunmen. They fell in shock and Tony sprang into action grabbing the gun, so did Ryan. The second they had the weapons. “Down on the ground. I said - down the ground.”
Most of the would-be cult killers dropped to the ground. The only one to stay on his feet was the leader. “Why?”
Tony grinned. “Didn’t you hear? Ryan’s my lover now, and he is even better than Joe. Did you really think I would let you kill him?”
“You’re one of us, you know you are.”
Tony rolled his eyes because he was most assuredly not a deranged psycho. It was bad enough channelling Joe for the last fifteen minutes. “No, I am an Agent first. So I repeat - down on the ground.”
“I will make you shoot me before I am taken alive.”
Tony took a disarming shot. He was going to make sure the idiot stood trial. “Sorry, I have a date tonight with the man I love and you were taking too long.”
Ryan chuckled as the FBI stormed the place. “I fucking love all of you, you crazy bastard.”
Tony huffed. “Says the man who keeps being kidnapped by psycho serial killers.”
Ryan didn’t care about the eyes on them, he pulled Tony close and kissed him soundly. “Yeah, but I did one smart thing,”
“And what’s that?”
“Fall in love with you.” He said softly enough that reached their ears only.
And that was the kicker - Tony had fallen in love. This time he was older and wiser, and he knew he’d picked the right partner.
Chapter 15: Delights of Speed Dating (Robert Chase)
Massive thanks as always to Edronhia, who helped me to Aussify this :)
He had a stupid number badge on his bloody jacket. Why in hell had he said he’d go along with this moronic plan? Oh yeah, he was here because House had dragged him. He still wasn’t sure why House supporting his mate, Dr. Wilson, meant he had to be here too. Personally, Chase just figured House wanted misery to have company.
He was stuck here, it didn’t mean he could he couldn’t complain. “This is stupid.”
“You would say that,” House remarked. “You’re pretty, women won’t care what comes out of your mouth.”
Chase pouted because that was unfair. He hated being judged for his looks. “Nah, women see more than that and I don’t think you did your research.”
“What makes you say that?” House asked, knowing something was greatly amusing his duckling.
Chase was grinning now, this was going to be great. He knew House wasn’t aware of what this place was, after all. He wished there was popcorn to go with his beer because this was going to be golden. “Well, you do know this is a mixed speed dating night, female or male choices?”
House groaned, understanding Chase’s amusement now. “Why can you not read, Jimmy?”
Chase noted that in reality, only Jimmy looked uncomfortable. Huh, interesting. He was feeling more confident about tonight. In truth, after Cameron, he’d prefered his dates to be of the male variety anyway. “Let’s make this more fun.” He finished with a wicked grin. It had been too long since he’d been able to let his larrikin side out to play. He loved a lot about Americans but to be honest, generally, their sense of humour was so linear and left a lot to be desired.
Now House had perked up once more with the promise of mischief. “And what do you suggest, my little wombat?”
Chase smirked. “We’ll each be a stereotype. Then see who gets the most numbers.”
House smirked. “Well, I will be a bastard, Jimmy here can be kind-hearted and you can be a pretty boy.”
Dr. Wilson groaned. “House - he didn’t say be yourself.”
Chase laughed into his beer. “Let’s just make the night go away. And man, Dr. Wilson I really hope you find someone so I don’t get dragged here on another evening.”
He’d agreed to be House’s assistant because the hospital upped his pay. He didn’t think in his contract there was a line about being pulled out of your evening plans to watch your boss and his best mate speed date.
The buzzer sounded. Chase played up the vacant, pretty boy act and he thought it was going well. So far, he’d been a model; an unemployed gamer; a mama’s boy; a fallen on hard times sugar baby. The list was endless and he was just letting his imagination reign free.
Until buzzer five when he sat down and his eyes were pinned by a green, amused gaze. Chase had never felt an immediate connection with anyone. This was crazy. He was a doctor, an immediate connection didn’t happen. It was just chemicals and neurons.
“You okay there?” Green eyes asked.
Chase nods and sighs. “Damn it, now I’m going to lose the bloody bet!”
Green eyes laughs, not at all upset by his comment. “Most numbers?”
Chase nods, chuckling ruefully. “See the guy with the cane, and the one on the next table?”
He gets a nod.
“Well, that’s my boss, Dr. House, and Dr; Wilson, his best friend.”
Green eyes shook his head in bemusement. “So you have a bastard boss who yanks your chain whenever he pleases. Sounds familiar, only mine is an investigator and is an ex-marine sniper.”
Chase cocks his head to the side. “Cop or Detective?”
Green eyes shrugs. “That is the sixty-four million dollar question.”
Chase chuckled. “I’m Robert Chase but find it out when people call me by my first name.” Again there was a wry grin. He sensed green eyes would understand given his own profession.
“Agent Anthony DiNozzo - Tony, and too bad. In my head, I was calling you cute doc.”
“Green eyes.” Chase retorted.
For once, Chase was only too happy to lose a bet. He didn’t have any interest in talking to anyone else. Nor, if he was honest, did he want Tony talking to anyone else. “Okay, let’s get out of here. First I need to settle a bet.”
Chase slapped down a hundred dollar bill in front of House. “I’m outta here. Night boss.”
House saw Tony standing in the background and he just smirked. “Have fun, my little wombat. I am so proud of you picking up strangers in a bar.”
Tony stepped forward. “Oh, you know what they say, Dr. House. You should talk to a cop if you are worried about a stranger. Bye for now.”
Chase grinned as Tony slipped a hand in his back pocket. “I did, didn’t I?”
House wanted to bash his head against a table - Jimmy better find someone to get him out of his funk. His chance to wind up Chase had disappeared. The lucky wombat had even scored - maybe he shouldn’t have been so mean to the hot cop. Oh, well. That ship had sailed.
Tony woke up to a blonde face grinning at him. A lazy smile crossed his own face. “You look way more relaxed than when you sat down at my table.”
Chase hummed as he kissed Tony back. “Oh, I am. I may even, thanks to you, go to work with a smile on my face.”
Tony smirked. “Oh, your boss will love that.”
Chase chuckled because he was picturing House’s face. “Yeah, I’m wondering if I can shock him silent. What are you planning today?”
Tony sat up, uncaring at the fact the sheet fell down. There was no point in being shy considering what they had got up to the night before. “Well, I have a meeting with an old friend. He wants to offer me a job and if so, then there will be big changes ahead.”
Chase perked up. He wanted to play it cool but he was glad to hear it. “So you’re not just disappearing back to DC?”
Tony shrugged. “That all depends on Anders.”
Chase raked his memory for an Anders. “Bloody hell! You mean Mayor Anders?”
Tony smirked but stood up, picking his suit up off the back of the door. “Yeah. He’s an old frat buddy of mine and he has a job he apparently only trusts me to do.”
Chase knew he probably should think more about this than he did. Still, it wasn’t rational but then again, love wasn’t rational. “If you finish before dinner, care to brave hospital canteen food and tell me all about it?”
Tony had changed rapidly, a skill born of being undercover. He stepped back towards the bed, he could tell as well that this wasn’t a one night stand. He wanted more, that was for damn sure. His suit was his favourite bit of armour. “Sure thing, what was your floor? I can come find you and help make your boss’ head explode.”
Chase had a wicked grin because there were so few people willing to stand up to House. He was always willing to deal in mischief. “I wouldn’t say no and I’m based in diagnostics.”
Tony decided to be impish. “Kiss for good luck.”
Chase stood up, careful not to crease the suit and gave him a light kiss. “You want the real one, go get your job, the one you want.”
House was annoyed. Thirteen and Taub were in awe - Chase was unruffled this morning. House had been at his worst and all his teasing was focussed on Chase. He’d stood tall and completely calm. It was most disconcerting - after all, only last week he’d punched House for a crack about Cameron.
House sighed. “Was he that good?”
“Oh, I have never had a complaint, Dr. House.” Tony purred leaning against the door. “You ready?”
Chase grinned seeing the jealous looks. He wasn’t sure if it was because of how good looking Tony was, or how good the food he was carrying smelled. “You decided you didn’t want canteen food?”
Tony huffed. “Please, I want you to enjoy what you eat so how about lasagne from Porcello’s’?”
Chase should have known Tony would be outrageous. “That sounds perfect and I get to pick our next date. “
House groaned because only pretty boy could go speed dating, find someone prettier and then actually find a lasting relationship.
Oh well, there was a bright side, he’d snap a candid shot of the couple and send it Cameron. House was sure she would be overjoyed to find out about Chase’s new lover.
Chapter 16: Boytoy fun and age gaps (Rupert Giles)
The age gap would be fourteen years in reality so too the actors ages to be the basis - rounded up slightly.
Tony was running, he was running in circles and not just literally. He loved running and he’d kept it up with the aim of increasing his lung function. It had been on the advice of Brad Pitt, his Doctor. Tony had gotten away from a heavy duty training regime since his football days. Still, asthma sufferers ran marathons and it really was a case of building up strength and stamina.
It had been suggested about six months ago and he was glad of it. He could think about all the things that bugged him at work. There was Ziva, it was mainly her, she had taken Kate’s place and it still bugged him. It wasn’t an ego thing, it was common sense. The woman was Mossad for crying out loud - she had no right to be handing American secrets.
Then there was the way Gibbs attitude toward him was changing. It was like the addition of Ziva had changed the hierarchy - and it was stopping him from doing his work.
He turned the block and as he kept a focus on his lungs, he pushed everything to the side. This road was a quick shortcut back to his apartment. He stopped short seeing a man going flying across the street.
“Stop. Federal Agent.”
The guy got up and was coughing obviously from the impact, as he slammed against the lamppost. “A gun will do you no good, Agent.”
Tony raced across the street, yes, he may have been tired from his five-mile run but adrenaline was a marvellous thing. “What will?”
“A wooden stake to the bitch’s heart.”
Tony chuckled because his silver fox was feisty. “You think she’s a vampire?”
Any other comments were stopped when Tony watched the woman’s face morph into a grotHalloweenloween mask. “Huh, I’d switch back to your other face, you will never get a drink with this face.”
“I am going to drain you dry.”
Tony saw the wooden crates by the side of the trash. He just needed one, he may hate Gibbs right now but he was thankful for what he was taught. “Cutie, get me the wood.”
Silver fox startled and threw it to him and the women seemed to realise he was serious. He parried her first attack. He had a grin on his face, he knew how to unbalance an opponent with snark. “Sweetheart, I don’t want a date. He is more my type.”
She sneered. “In that case, I will drain the Slayer’s Watcher and keep you as a pet.”
Tony was unruffled as he calculated the odds of his next attack working. As he was faced with the unbelievable - that yes, Vampires were real - he had to hope that a stake to the heart wasn’t a crock of shit. “Yeah, I already have one master and I don’t think he’d tolerate competition.”
Tony wondered what Gibbs would say if he knew he’d just been compared to a Vampire master - he’d probably get a kick out of it.
“I’m two hundred years old and you think he can compete.” She hissed.
Tony rolled his eyes. “Are we going to talk all day or fight?”
It just so happened it was fight. Tony got her with a smack straight to the chest - and poof, she was gone. “What the hell just happened?”
Silver fox looked bemused and was cleaning his glasses, “You are not related to a Buffy Summers are you? You have a remarkable predilection to joke at everything in the face of danger.”
“Would she be this slayer?” Tony asked, his mind making natural deductions for him.
Silver fox was staring at him in surprise, Tony shrugged it off. “What? Should I be freaking out? I’m Tony DiNozzo, NCIS.”
“Dr. Rupert Giles.” He paused. “You are taking this remarkably well.”
Tony smirked. “Not well, just know how to handle myself. My place is around the corner, you can freshen up and maybe I can get you a coffee.”
Buffy was curious. Her mentor was happy. She knew this type of happy - it was the ‘cookie’ type of happy. Her mind raced to think of just who might have made with the happies. She couldn’t think of a single woman who’d stuck around consistently to put that much of a smile on Giles’ face.
“Who is it?” She asked shrewdly.
Giles looked up from his desk, he hated Travers even more now that he was forced to run the council. “Who is whom, Buffy?” He would play clueless for as long as possible. He could guess what she was referring to but he’d rather liked having a secret just for him.
“The person putting a smile on your face.” Buffy said knowingly.
Giles sighed as he put his phone away. “What makes you think there is anyone? It is not like we have a lot of free time at the moment.” He added bemused.
She could nod to that as that was so true. Let’s just say she’d not had enough happies of her own. “I know that, G-Man, I run this place with you ... But you have a happy smile on your face. Face it, you’re getting some. You know the others will catch on.”
The old man smirked, letting slip a little. After all, Buffy was like his surrogate daughter. “It has yet to happen.”
She shrugged her shoulders because it was clear as day to her. “Look, all I want to know is are you happy?”
Giles cleaned his glasses, “Yes, inexplicably so.”
Buffy squealed with joy, jumping into the seat in front of his desk. “Tell me more.”
Giles knew there was no way he was going to be able to deny that pout. He had known Buffy for over ten years now and had yet to master it. “He is a Federal Agent, Buffy.”
Buffy smirked and for a moment looked a lot like Faith. “Gun kink?”
Giles had many thoughts race around his head. Tony was such a complicated and layered individual who was constantly surprising him. All he said to Buffy was. “All I will say is that he wears a shoulder holster.”
Buffy cooed and curiosity reigned supreme. She already had more questions. “Older or younger?”
“Why do you assume that he is not the same age?” He asked a little aggrieved but not too much as she wasn’t wrong.
Buffy just rolled her eyes, “You are being evasive so younger. Come on Giles, You know I will never judge an age gap, two of my boyfriends were over a century older.”
“Your word, not a comment.” He said resolute. He was more than capable of handling it but this weekend was rather important as he was going to propose to Tony, once he’d met the team. Tony knew already about the supernatural.
Buffy crossed a heart. “Promise.”
“Fifteen years younger.” Giles said quickly.
“Is there a picture of this boytoy?”
Giles smiled. “Better, turnaround and say hello to Anthony, Buffy.”
Buffy wanted to pout because she really needed to find a man of her own. This guy was yummy, it was like he’d walked off the pages of a photo shoot. “You’re the one putting a smile on my G-man’s face?”
Tony stepped forward to hug Giles, neither was keen on public displays of affection. The hug lingered though, as this was their first chance to meet face to face this month and it was the twenty-third of the month. “So glad to get here, work has been crazy.”
Buffy muttered, “amen.” This month had had a stupid amount of potential apocalypses. “You should take Giles out for lunch. I’ll keep the hordes from finding you.”
Tony startled. “Not to say I am not grateful but I know Rupert hates not spending time with his surrogate daughter. I won’t be offended if you come with us.”
Buffy knew right there and then that Tony was going to stick around. She hadn’t seen that look on Giles’ face since Ms. Calendar. “You don’t get to spend a lot of time together, I’m guessing. I can monopolize his time on a different day.”
Tony had a crooked grin. “I’m taking him to Carluccio’s so feel free to drop by if you change your mind or want to hide from the hordes .”
Buffy watched the two men walk away with a smile on her face. Damn it, even Giles had his love life in order - she really needed to get her act together. Maybe she would give that soldier a call again, Steve was cool, and had strength like her to burn.
Chapter 17: Bring the noise (John Reese)
Tony was caught and stuck in an abandoned hotel top floor room. The bastard goons had nabbed him when he was going back to John’s place. They also hadn’t left him alone during his unplanned stay with them. They were working him over with their fists and knuckle dusters. It was stupid though because he’d done his training and he’d long ago learned to disassociate himself from pain. Unfortunately, he’d had to deal with it too many times for him not to be well practised by now.
His kidnappers had made a fatal mistake though, they hadn’t incapacitated John. It was just a waiting game really and then a question of how big the show would be. Tony got his answer when an explosion rocked the hotel.
“What the fuck?” His shitty interrogator screamed.
Tony grinned through his bleeding lips. He gave his best non-committal answer. “Johnny’s coming!”
“There is no one person that can get through all of my men.” The leader pronounced. He sounded so sure and smug and Tony couldn't wait to watch his face as John brought him to his knees. In fact, Tony’s grin grew wider even though it hurt him. “You’ve not met my boyfriend. He’s kinda awesome at making noise ... and pain.”
“We’ll get him too.” The goon promised.
Tony chuckled and it was raspy, damn it, they must have got a hit on his lungs. Dr. Pitt was going to be cross with him but it was not like it was his fault. That is if he could survive John’s disappointed face.
shouted. “Well, get out there and take him out. He’s just one fucking man.”
Tony spat out some blood. “You know, Symmonds, you could confess and make this mess at least somewhat useful.”
“What the fuck would you know?” Symonds retorted with a sneer. And that was when Tony caught a clue. Oh, this was going to be sweet.
Tony snorted, choosing to wind him up. “Did you do your research?”
“You’re just the machine’s bit on the side.”
Tony laughed sarcastically at that comment because it did show that no, he didn’t know anything about him. “Yep. Sure I am.” And as much as Tony wanted to tell him, it would be the last thing he’d do. It was too dangerous to leave him alive once it was out.
The radio was filled with shouts from the men who were guarding the building. And by the sound of it, they were not lasting very long against John in a mood. Then again, to be fair to the men, not many people could last against John in a mood. John stormed through the door and Tony just let out a massive sigh of relief. “About time.”
John in full stride was so damn hot to watch. He never was explosive or full of artsy kung-fu moves. He just calmly and efficiently made sure his opponents were down on the floor. Tony was grateful for his arrival but it didn’t mean he was passive. He threw his wooden chair backwards, splintering it. And for his next trick; getting his arms in front of him. It was not his smoothest look but he could still wield a chair like a baseball bat.
When everyone was knocked out or cuffed, John finally greeted him with a kiss. Tony gratefully accepted and deepened said kiss. It was just a little awkward with the cuffs, he figured out a way by slipped his cuffed hands around John’s neck.
John gave him that soft smile, “Hey,” as he unhooked the cuffs and started to free Tony from them.
Tony didn’t mind teasing him now. “I don’t mind being your captive.”
“I know.” And John did. He wanted to explain what happened. “Sorry - traffic was bad on the freeway.”
Tony grinned. “That’s okay, babe, you’re here now though. Can I arrest them, please?”
John looked through Symmonds. John’s glare was impressive, it could cut through you. “I’d rather shoot them.”
Tony snorted. “Well, I’m not opposed to the idea but you know your boss gets upset with unnecessary violence.” It was the best way to allude to Harold without using his actual name.
Tony didn’t even have to guess why John had handcuffs. “I suppose so. Did you find his crooked friends?”
Tony had a smug smile. “You know how you complain that my shirts have too many buttons.”
Tony smirked, “Well, this one had a camera too, showed every one of Symmonds friends who came to visit.”
“That’s interesting. For what he’s done to Carter and Fusco ... they deserve it.”
Tony nodded because he couldn’t agree more. “And just think what will happen to crooked cops, who are also cop killers. Now there’s a mix that’s not going to end well.”
John had a matching smirk. “No, I don’t think it is.” There was a knock at the door and much to Symmonds disappointment it was not his cavalry but rather John’s friend - Detective Fusco.
“You have a special delivery for me.”
Tony stood to the side. “This piece of shit kidnapped me and threatened me, all to get at my boyfriend.”
“He kidnapped a Federal Agent?” Fusco said, playing along, pretending to be outraged.
Tony sighed. “He did and I don’t get it, I mean my boyfriend is a finance manager for god’s sake. What has he got to do with the police?”
John certainly did not look like one of his cover identities right now, which is what made the comment even funnier.
They watched as Fusco dragged Symmonds back in cuffs. It was a fitting end for a crooked bastard. Tony was starting to lean even heavier against John, he was tired and his beating was starting to take its toll on him.
John seeing this. “Come on, let’s get you checked out back at mine. You need rest.”
Tony huffed. “Rest was the last thing I wanted this weekend.”
John smirked. “Well, we have time.”
Sadly, there were no more fun times that weekend and Tony was making his way back to his day job. Vance was waiting for him the second he stepped off the elevator. “Congratulations on doing a damn fine job even when you’re on holiday.”
“Thank you, Director.” Tony managed to say without feeling like he was part of the twilight zone. He had a feeling that Finch was responsible for this - still, he wouldn’t complain.
“What did you do?” Ziva demanded to know.
Tony chuckled. “I just went to my lover’s place. Chill. He knows you’re a ninja assassin.”
“Your love, not a
nick on the bedstick?”
She asked in her snitty way.
Tony snorted. “It’s a notch on the bedpost, Ziva.”
“You’re not denying it.”
Tony grinned but stayed calm - he knew that this was way more fun. It also had the added bonus of annoying Ziva. He text John a quick message to say he was at the office and he should feel free to pick him up for lunch.
This was a red letter day - he was done hiding. Plus, he had the added image of imagining what John would do to Ziva if she pulled her Mossad shit. The thought was endlessly amusing.
For the record - it was even better than he imagined. That though, that happened on a different day.
Chapter 18: Sea is the Real Mistress (Capt Tom Chandler)
Tom Chandler is played by Eric Dane, and Mike Slattery - Adam Baldwin.
The premise of the last ship involves the world suffering a global virus catastrophe. If this is a trigger or the idea of mass-scale death is a potential trigger please avoid.
Tony DiNozzo never expected to be made an Agent Afloat of the Nathan James. In fact, he was initially down for the Seahawk. Tony smelled a rat and he was done being used by his bosses. The last time nearly saw his life end and he wasn’t about to not ask questions. This assignment had been changed by SecNav himself and even Vance didn’t know why.
This is how he ended up being in a meeting with SecNav and no one else. And he was still frustrated by vague answers. He was a man who liked a mystery but this was stupid.
“Why? Is the Captain on the up?” Tony asked boldly as he was so not a fan of walking into a situation blindly. He’d done that once with Shepard and gotten burned spectacularly. Once bitten, twice shy and all that.
Davenport shook his head, understanding the agent’s question and he wanted to dispel that idea. “No, Tom Chandler is one of our best and brightest. He runs a tight ship.”
Tony figured he could be forgiven his look of confusion. “Sir, it’s a relief to know you don’t agree with Director Vance’s opinion of me but I’m confused. You want me to stay frosty as there is a situation developing but you are not at liberty to say.”
Davenport smirked as even with his obtuse answers - DiNozzo had picked up on his exact request. “Exactly. Look, you are a smart man and a fantastic agent. Shepard put you in between a rock and a hard place and we both know that. Plus, when you get back we’re going to be talking about your new role. You’ve outgrown the MCRT and it is time for you to step from out of Gibbs’ shadow.”
Tony was powerless to say anything on top of that so he just shook hands with SecNav. “I thank you for your faith, Mister Secretary. I will see you in four months and I won’t let you down.”
Davenport watched the man go. “Godspeed.”
He hoped that he would be there when DiNozzo got back but he’d seen the projections of the viral outbreak and thought it overly optimistic. He knew the State Department had gotten their way with getting the two CDC scientists on board the Nathan James. He agreed with the mission to the Arctic because if this went sideways like he thought it might then at least he had one warship that would be ready to do battle.
Only he wasn’t sure what anyone could do against a virus that kills indiscriminately and that so far no one had been able to stop.
Mike Slattery was the best XO in the fleet and as a reward for good service had been offered his choice of assignments. He’d been tempted by the desk job in Miami but he couldn’t leave Tom alone. The man had just divorced his wife and was going to struggle with not being married. He knew his good friend could indeed survive without him but it was only a four-month tour and Mike figured he hadn’t been to the Arctic yet.
Only now he was thinking about the cold and the snow and the lack of anything but ice and water for miles around. It must have shown on his face as his old friend, and his Captain, reminded him.
“You could have gone to Miami.”
Mike shook his head and with a smirk added, “And miss out on all the snow?”
Tom noticed the grouchy scientists boarding his ship as well as his latest crew member, an agent afloat. “Ah. Our new recruit. Should be fun to see how the men react to an agent afloat.”
In truth, Tom had not reacted all too well himself but had been told by SecNav and SecDef not to make waves as he would be useful in the weeks to come. Of course, neither man chose to explain just how or why that might be.
Mike looked at the man coming up the gangway and he knew how much looks could be deceiving. He’d gone over DiNozzo’s service record and it was interesting seeing the person behind the record. “He is a tough son of a bitch.”
Tom grinned just knowing that his XO had also looked into their newest crew member. “He can shoot too, trained by LJ Gibbs himself.”
“No shit.” Mike looked at him with a curious look before explaining. “I just meant he survived the pneumonic plague.”
Tom cocked his head to the side, his appreciation was running a little more to the physical but he could now he was a free man. There was only one way to find some answers and that was to start talking to the man himself so he made a decision. “We’ll invite him to dinner.”
Mike got a glint in his eye as he carefully teased his friend. “Should I come?”
“And what is that supposed to mean?” Tom demanded.
Mike was the only one who could talk to him like that. And his old friend didn’t look cowed. “Just that you have a look like you want him to be dinner - or at least dessert.”
Tom rolled his eyes although, tellingly, he didn’t deny it. “I want to know why he is on my ship.”
Mike snorted. “That’s not all you want.”
Tony had gotten the lay of the land very quickly on board the Nathan James. He’d left the meeting with SecNav with the duty roster and their personnel files. He was there for a reason and if there was a problem he wanted to get a feel for the people.
Tony trusted his gut but information to back up his thoughts always helped. Plus, he had a feeling that whatever reason he was here - it was going to move quickly and he needed to be focussed to do so.
“Welcome aboard.” The Captain greeted him cordially.
Tony nodded, in thanks, knowing that he’d probably not been as keen a while ago upon hearing of his imminent arrival. Still, Tony knew how to play nice with the locals. “Great to be here even if I am about to freeze.”
Chandler smirked and Tony sighed internally because the Navy man was hitting just about every one of his kinks. This could be a long tour of duty. He kept reminding himself that SecNav had promised him his pick of assignments and that meant, finally, he could ask for Hawaii. The warmth and the land of Magnum PI appealed to him.
“Join me in my quarters for dinner? 1900 hours.” The Captain requested.
Tony nodded, knowing that whilst phrased as a request, one did not turn down the Captain of his own ship. “Happily. I’ll go stow my gear then get settled. See you at 1900.”
Mike was already there and snickering at Tom, he didn’t know it yet but he was smitten. He was acting the same way as he had before his first date with Darien. He did his best to be supportive in his own way. “Chill. It’s not like he can go anywhere - we’re not quite in the middle of the sea but we’re on the way.”
Tom just gave him a look as if to say
you’re not funny
. However, any further conversation was interrupted by the man of the hour, or at least the mystery. “Agent DiNozzo, welcome.”
The man blushed. “Please, call me Tony.”
All three of them sat at the table as one of the mess crew delivered their meals. “So how do you like the sea so far?” They’d both noticed their new agent stopping a few times during the course of the afternoon to gaze at the horizon with a contemplative look in his expression.
Tony got a faraway glint as he tried to put into words what he was feeling. “It’s something else, she’s like the ultimate mistress.”
Mike and Tom both laughed. Tom was the one to grin, feeling the easing of tension. Slattery tapped him on the back. “We’ll make a seaman out of you yet. We all love the sea but we know that if there is a fight, she will win every time.”
Tony found himself at a crossroads and took a gamble. “So I am going to be honest and say I have no clue why I am here. I was told to come here by SecNav but here is where it gets spooky.”
Mike groaned because there was an ill omen if ever he’d heard of. “We don’t like spooky. It upsets the running of a ship.”
Tom nodded, having similar superstitions and not to mention life experiences. “I’m with him, why?”
Tony shrugged as he had no idea how to answer but he did his best. “He told me I would be needed and I should stay observant. So why do I need to stay frosty for missile tests?” He didn’t bother to hide his confusion, he was hoping that by being transparent and honest, they might solve the mystery quicker.
Chandler had no idea but he resented the implication that SecNav thought there was a need for an Agent Afloat. “I don’t know. I run a tight ship.”
Tony nodded his agreement and moved quickly to alleviate that concern. “You do, and SecNav agrees. He wouldn’t tell me why I should be here. Just that it was on orders of the President that he wasn’t able to reveal the truth of the whole matter.”
Tom huffed. “Well, that isn’t annoyingly vague. I also have two scientists I’m babysitting. They obviously expect trouble or I wouldn’t have the Naval warfare unit, not that they’ve told me. I think our scientists are into something a bit more important than looking at birds.”
Tony started to make his connections like he would normally. He asked a question but he was pretty sure of the answer he was going to get. “When did you get confirmation they were coming?”
“Four days ago.”
Tony pursed his lips. “Want to bet when my assignment was changed from the Seahawk to here?”
Slattery sighed and put his cutlery down. “Four days?”
“Got it in one.”
Captain Chandler just sighed. “Well, that can’t be good. So what do you say to dinner tomorrow and we can discuss any new theories? I assume you are going to quietly investigate the reasons I have scientists aboard.”
Tony nodded. “Got it in one.”
Tony never thought about the fact that the XO begged off joining their dinners after the first week, or that the man might have an ulterior motive. To be honest, he enjoyed the dinners and the conversations with the Captain. Tom knew how to handle a conversation and Tony hadn’t smiled and laughed quite like this for a long time.
“So, anything I should be aware of?” Tom asked him.
Tony quirked an eyebrow. “Like you aren’t already aware of it?”
Chandler smirked. “You might surprise me.”
Tony’s mind went to a dirty place but he stayed professional. Just. “Well, your new Commander of your Naval Mountain Warfare unit is perhaps a little too close to the pretty comm officer.”
Tom snorted because he’d already clocked that one. It was quite cute that they thought they were being subtle. “If he isn’t then he hasn’t got the game his men brag about.”
Tony did laugh at that. “Agreed. Me, I think we’re in the Arctic and there is not a lot to do. I would rather people be finding a physical release then doing crazy shit.”
Chandler opened his bottle of beer. “Captain’s privilege.”
Tony nodded his thanks and figured he could do conversation. “So why this assignment for you? ... I mean, your record suggests you should be able to pick your assignment.”
Tom preened a little, he was only human after all. “Thanks but you already can guess.”
Tony shrugged but didn’t apologise. “Hey, it’s the job. I notice that there was a wedding ring and now there isn’t but the tan line remains. It tells me you’ve been to the Middle East on your last posting or at least somewhere with a lot of sun. It tells me you were married but not who or why you’re not now. That’s up to you to share when you’re ready.”
Tom nodded. “I appreciate that and it’s a common tale. I saw the sea more than my ex-wife and she got tired of that.”
Tom raised his glass and that was the end of it.
Tony watched Dr Scott as he continued his conversation with Slattery on golf. Tony knew there was more to the scientists being on board than just studying birds. It didn’t make sense. They wouldn’t need a warship guarding them if their mission was so simple.
“You interested in Scott?”
Tony rolled his eyes as he said boldly. “You know where my interest lies, or should I take your sudden non-appearance to mean you don’t like me, instead of you playing Yenta.”
Slattery snorted because that was why he liked DiNozzo - he was always a fan of straight speaking. “The only one who isn’t obvious is the Captain.”
Tony pouted because - truer words and all that. “Don’t remind me.”
Slattery clapped him on the back. “Buck up and if all else fails, you could just make a move.”
Tony blushed because, in his head, he was already making plans for doing just that. “Can we not talk about this in the middle of the Mess Hall? Actually. I have a better question - who is authorised to have communication equipment?”
“Comm Centre and authorised areas. Why?” Slattery asked, knowing that Tony was unlikely to ask the question without a reason.
Tony sighed but answered as he was right there. “Dr Scott has in her possession a sat phone, which I have heard her use. Odd considering we’re supposed to be in radio silence.”
Slattery rolled his eyes, “I’ll tell the Captain and no doubt he’ll demand answers from her.”
The XO was spot on, Tom had gone down and had that showdown and as a result, his mind was reeling. He couldn’t comprehend what he was being told. The world was sick and no one had a cure. It was like one of those crazy tv programme plots.
Tony had taken one look at him and dragged him back to his room. Tom was glad that he didn’t have duty until second shift. “Talk to me, Captain. You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
“You know the crew will talk if they see you dragging me to my quarters.”
Tony rolled his eyes because that was a weak response. “ Purlease , if they say anything. I will say I finally got have my wicked way with you. Besides, they don’t want to mix with me and your Captain. Now talk.”
“I know why we were sent here.”
Tony raised an eyebrow as a question. “What is it, Captain?”
“I think you should call me Tom for this conversation. It is that horrific.” The man confessed.
Tony sat down seeing just how devastated the man looked. This was a man who’d made war on behalf of the United States for years. If he was bewildered - then there was nothing good that could come from that conversation.
“Spit it out.”
Tom used the same words that had been given to him not thirty minutes before. “The world is sick, like pandemic levels.”
Tony sighed, no stranger thanks to his own run-in with the plague. “What stage? What’s the virus? And how many infected?”
Tom raised an eyebrow but the calm reaction, whilst not expected, was appreciated. He needed to get his own thoughts in order to deal with new orders and staffing issues. “You’re calm.”
Tony was anything but, but he’d lived through exposure to a terrifying highly fatal plague once already. “I know something about it having survived a bout of Y-Pestis.”
“How? You never said. Was it the antibiotics?” Tom asked, knowing that this virus couldn’t be cured with such a thing.
Tony shook his head. “Oh no, engineered strain to be resistant. Revenge by a biologist. I’m just one of the lucky 15%.” Tony then groaned as the puzzle pieces started to fall together. “SecNav knew. He all but implied there was something going on but he wasn’t allowed to say.”
“What gain is there in having us in the Arctic?” Chandler had to ask.
Tony shrugged. “The world’s going to go to hell in a handbasket quick. A virus won’t care about a country’s allegiances or enemies. It won’t care about race or creed - it will just kill indiscriminately. However, we’re in the Arctic for a reason. Dr Scott is not scouting on the ice for nothing.”
Chandler rolled his eyes. “Oh, I am more than aware. How do I fight the virus?”
Tony asked the only logical question. “So ... if you wanted to go to war - what would you do?”
Tony smirked, knowing this would be the easiest advice he could give. “So - go get some orders.”
Tom chuckled because it was really was that simple. He’d been overthinking it, the situation so foreign and like nothing he’d been trained for. Tony really was a gift from up on high - he hoped he got a chance to thank SecNav in person.
It was worse than they knew.
So many people dead, the functioning government of America and so many different countries were gone. They’d got through to someone only to find out the President was dead, the Speaker of the House was the new President. Only Tony could see she was sick as well so she wouldn't last long either.
By the end of it, the ship was in a brave new world. Dr Scott had indeed got the makings of a cure provided the ship could get her some very specialised equipment.
It soon became apparent that the seas were back to operating on mercenary rules. Well, that was too bad for anyone who wanted to attack the Nathan James. The Nathan James crew was the best and they had adapted to their new circumstances at least professionally, mentally was taking longer but the crew were supporting each other.
Tony had watched in awe at the way the crew hadn’t blinked at the Captain’s orders to stay at sea - to do anything at all costs to produce the cure.
It was a miracle, the holy grail. The idea that on their ship they may have the ability to end the whole pandemic. It had been a bonding and unifying force that kept the crew together.
The changes on board the ship were numerous. Captain Chandler had relaxed the fraternisation rules so that those not directly in a chain of command could have a relationship. He wasn’t a naive man. There were a lot of adults that for all and intent purposes could be the last people they knew. They were going to start forming connections - better they did it safely than feel like they would be prohibited.
Tony was talking to Tom, he helped to be a sounding board and a confidant. He wasn’t part of the ships rankings but had effectively been elected its sheriff. In fact, he’d heard a few of the crew refer to him as the Captain’s Sheriff.
Tony looked at the nervous Captain and frowned. There was nothing so far that he’d seen make Tom act so anxious. Not even when they’d shot the three Russian attack helicopters out the sky. “What’s the matter? Is Dr Scott okay? I thought she and Mike were on a date.”
Tom chuckled because that had been one of the odder pairings that had developed in the last two months but they worked. “Everyone is fine. I thought you might like a chance to unwind and enjoy the last bottle of good booze with me.”
Tom was off duty and the watch guard was their third in command. Tony wasn’t one to refuse good booze and sat beside him on the bed and they watched a football game.
Tony was relaxed as he could be in this new and dangerous world. He always felt safe on the Nathan James, no matter what had been thrown at them. Part of that was the man at his side, he’d never felt like this with anyone, not even with Gibbs.
“You know you’ve kept me sane these past few months.”
Tony frowned because it wasn’t he that had spoken those words. That was Tom. Could he feel the same way? This was a risk but if there was one thing that this new world had taught them - you had to chase what you wanted with both hands. Death was always around the corner these days.
“Funny I was thinking how glad I was to meet you.”
Tom faced him. “You sure? You seemed disgruntled not to be the on the Seahawk. You sure you didn’t want Captain Owens?”
Tony shook his head. “Nah, it’s not any Navy Captain. Just one.”
“Is that right?”
Tony leaned in closer. “Can I offer evidence?”
Tom’s face was so close he could feel the ghost of his breath. “Go right ahead.”
The kiss was everything they’d hoped and fantasised about. Tony only reluctantly broke the kiss when oxygen became an issue.
The world was still in chaos. They needed to find a cure but Tony knew they would. Tony had happily promised Tom that he would go with him back to the mainland at their first opportunity to find his children - it was what came after that would test them all.
Chapter 19: To have one's back (Sam Seaborn)
Tony had gone to a bar that catered to the rich, somewhere he knew he wouldn’t run into his ‘team’. He was miserable and felt that he deserved his weight in Scotch as old as he was. He’d kept his true wealth from his team as he hadn’t trusted them with the information.
The bar was a positive who’s who of the Washington movers and shakers. Tony had broken more than a few cases using the contacts he’d gained in having a membership here.
There was a lone figure at the end of the bar that Tony recognised from TV. “Wow. You look like you are having as bad a day as me. I must insist you have a proper drink.”
Seaborn looked at the bottle of scotch and whistled. “That is expensive to share with someone you don’t know.”
Tony snorted. “Hey, you’re probably the only other one here working for Uncle Sam, and you look miserable. You’d be doing me a favour.”
Sam took the glass, not being stupid. You don’t turn down a $150 glass of whiskey from a gorgeous man. “Well, if I am doing you a favour.”
Tony grinned. “You are. Agent Anthony DiNozzo.”
“Deputy Communications Director Sam Seaborn.” Sam returned the introduction, even though he was sure the agent recognised him.
“So care to tell me why you’re so miserable? Here, have another glass.”
Sam snorted. “Your suit is a bit highbrow for a bartender.”
Tony grinned. “Oh, I could play the part and I would have you eating out of my hand.”
Sam took another drink because, in all honesty, it wouldn’t take a lot to have him eating out of his hand anyway. CJ might kill him, though, if he wasn’t discreet. “My workers decided to cut me out of an important decision because they knew I would argue against it.”
Tony quirked his head to the side. “Were you right?”
Sam snorted but it was full of dark humour. “Oh, more than.”
Tony grinned and raised his glass. “Well fuck them on their high horse they rode off on. And to Gibbs who ran away to Mexico on his boat because he couldn’t manage a horse.”
Sam snickered. “To high horses.”
Tony grinned, and his grin turned sly. “Would the Press Secretary kill you if we went somewhere discreetly.”
Sam smirked. “Right now, I am thinking about me. They can clear up my mess if it becomes one. What about you?”
Tony shrugged. “I know how to avoid getting my face on cameras.”
Tony knew just what to say. “Is it sexy?”
Sam woke up the next morning next to someone and aching in all the right places. “Damn, I hit the jackpot.”
Tony opened an eye, just one, “Is that the best you can do, Mr Speechwriter?”
Sam snorted. “Go on, Mr Smooth. What would you say?”
Tony rolled them so he was on top. “I’d say you were as fine as the whiskey we were drinking last night.”
Sam chuckled at the line, it was a good one. “I gotta go clear up White House messes.”
Tony let him out of bed and enjoyed watching him pick his suit off the floor. “Won’t people say anything about you going in the same suit - and a wrinkled one at that?”
Sam shrugged, “Don’t have a choice.”
Tony took pity and pulled out a shirt. “At least take this?”
Sam's eyes bugged out at the label. “You’re just handing me your Versace shirt?”
Tony pecked him on the cheek as he passed to start the coffee maker. “All part of my master plan. You will have to return to give it back to me.”
Sam's eyes widened but the smile was one of delight. “You want to meet up again.”
Tony nodded, biting his lip but going with honesty. “I know that last night was the first time I’ve laughed in a while. I think we’re good together and should at least go on a second date.”
Sam was liking the idea more and more. “You won’t get pissy about my insane work schedule?”
Tony smirked. “Well, I can hardly argue about the President of the United States needing you. Besides, my schedule’s pretty insane too”
Sam smirked. “OK, and I won’t get pissy at you doing your duty.”
Tony stepped forward, sealing their deal with a kiss. “See, we’re already making progress.”
Sam bit his lip. “I will need to tell CJ about us, are you okay with that?”
Tony sat at his kitchen table. “Okay, she won’t share it until we’re ready?”
Sam nodded. “She’s a mother hen but she should be aware. She’ll stay quiet until it needs to come out.”
Tony chuckled. “I get to pull off my spy moves. This’ll be so cool.”
Sam looked at his watch. “I gotta jet. How do I get out of this place?”
Tony rolled his eyes. “It is a gated building but high security. So there is that. The lift will take you down to the lobby.”
In the bullpen, Tony was mentally plotting how he could murder his work colleagues. They tended to annoy him on a daily basis but with Gibbs’ disappearance they seemed to have reverted back to full-on schoolchildren and he was no teacher.
“What is your problem?”
Ziva sneered. “You are bossing us around like you are Gibbs.”
Tony snorted. “Are you serious? I am the leader of the MCRT and I can boss you around, or should I say lead you as that is in the job description. If you don’t like that ... find another team.”
She seemed shocked by his suggestion. “Ziva, I don’t think you understand me. I seek Justice on behalf of those who can’t ... If you get in my way of that aim, you’re no good to me.”
She looked shaken. “This is just an act. You are like PodTony. You will revert back to type soon enough.”
Tony thought about the magnificent night he’d spent with Sam the night before. If Ziva was shocked by him being serious, he was kind of wondering how she would react to knowing he liked guys just as much as women. “Not this time, my little ninja.”
Tony watched with a smirk as she stormed away. Balboa was standing next to him all of a sudden. “What was that about?”
“Daddy’s little girl finding out that she is not going to get everything her own way.”
Balboa snorted. “I don’t envy you your job right now, Gibbs bred two insubordinate little twerps. You need help, just ask.”
Tony smiled because it was good to know that he still had friends in the building. What with Gibbs leaving and the rest of the team going into mourning and ragging on him for not being Gibbs. “Thanks - you’re a gentleman, Rick. Don’t let anyone tell you any differently.”
Tony and Sam had been figuring out what was between them for a while. A month and there had been no Gibbs return and work was not improving but at least he could vent to Sam. Tony was always there for Sam to vent about whatever politician had upset him that day.
Tony would listen, hand him a glass of wine, and let him vent. They had to be careful and chose places that were unobtrusive. No visits to Sam’s place or public dinners for now. Tony had the benefit of living in a wealthy apartment complex with a lot of people. So even if Sam was spotted being a frequent visitor it would still take some narrowing down.
Tony never expected to see this Sam, he looked like a drowned rat and utterly defeated. Tony pulled him in and started to strip him of his wet clothes. Sam might not have his lung problems but it wouldn’t do him any good. “Babe. What’s up?”
Sam shuddered. “No matter what, I have always had faith and it has been broken. What do I do?” He put on the clothes handed to him.
Tony’s mind was racing because there must have been something big going down. He suddenly took a deep breath. “Can you tell me anything? You know I will understand if you can’t. I’m here no matter what.”
Sam smiled softly. “I know you are. I think I would have gone crazy this last month if I hadn’t met you.”
Tony pulled him in for a hug. “So would I. So what’s going on?”
Sam knew it would break in the morning and he trusted Tony to keep it a secret for the evening. “The President has had MS from before he took office.”
Sam snorted. “Yeah, don’t suppose you have some more of that excellent whiskey.”
Tony was always going to keep that brand of whiskey in the house. However, he was well aware that using alcohol was not a good idea. “I thought we agreed orgasms were better stress relief?”
Sam chuckled. “Yeah, we did. How do I write a speech for this?”
Tony took a moment to consider all the angles. He was an investigator. “Will this go to impeachment?”
Sam shrugged. “That will be up to others, I know I can write a fair few briefs that would sway most but I feel so betrayed and angry that I can’t think straight.’
Tony sighed. “You are coming to bed with me right now, you are going to sleep and you need to come to a decision.”
“And what is that?” Sam asked him curiously.
“Is he still ‘the man’ you believe can change things, or, are you going to accept one of those ridiculously good contracts the law firms ask of you.”
Sam snorted. “You’d end up being my kept man if I took one of those contracts.”
Tony snickered, even as they settled into bed. “What? I’m pretty enough but as I am independently wealthy ... we will just have to settle for being a devastatingly attractive couple that everyone will hate for breathing.”
Sam drifted off saying. “That doesn’t seem so bad.”
Tony snorted but did nothing more than turn the lights off and follow his partner into slumber.
Sam woke up slowly, and all the events of the day before hit him at once. Only this time, he could handle it with a strength he didn’t feel the day before. “I decided.”
Tony asked him, voice still full of sleep. “On what?”
Sam spoke with conviction. “He is still a good man. He did the wrong thing but he still can make a difference.”
Tony put paper and a pencil in front of him and got up to put a pot of coffee on. “So go into the White House with the speech in your hand. Don’t let them dismiss your feelings but help fix the mess. It is what we’re good at.”
Sam chuckled as truer words and all that. He hated the way the senior staff treated him like a child. It was ridiculous, just because he believed in doing the right thing it didn’t mean he was naive. He’d been a lawyer and a damn good one before he joined the campaign. “Thank you... for everything.”
Tony kissed his lips lightly but walked off to change. “Hey, you’re my partner. You come first that is just how I roll.”
Sam called out to him. “And I am damn lucky.”
Sam walked into the White House well aware that today was going to be a shit show, and a very long, hard day. What he also knew was he could make it through the day. Tony had reminded him that he could argue with the best of them and even if he was no longer working for Gage & Whitney, he was still their blue-eyed boy.
CJ looked at him warily. “Look, I know you’re mad.”
Sam quirked a sole eyebrow. “Mad? No, CJ, the answer was betrayed. We were lied to and kept from doing our jobs.”
She paled, thinking there was no way she could put Sam in front of a camera. “That was not the intention.”
Sam snorted. “You don’t sound like you believe it. Should you be going in front of the camera?”
CJ flushed, not used to being put under the microscope by Sam. “You going all lawyer on me, Sparky?”
Sam put the speech down on her desk. “Show that to Toby, if you’re lucky it will avoid impeachment hearings.”
CJ looked up in shock. “Why?”
Sam smirked. “Remember when you gave me shit about my life choices, asking why I would be willing to skulk in the dark?”
She nodded as that had been a memorable conversation that was for damn sure. “Yeah.”
Sam felt free. “Well, I went to Tony last night and he reminded me, that I have my own power and voice and I can do what I want with it.”
She read the first few paragraphs. They were spell-binding words. This was all Sam but brilliantly, he’d managed to rap it up in the cadences that Bartlett was known for. “This is some voice.”
Sam smiled briefly. “I’ll be in my office, can someone ask if I am still wanted as a member of the Senior Staff? Otherwise, I intend to become one half of a devastatingly but disgustingly wealthy power couple. So let me know if I should say yes to Powers & Boothe. Their offer was the best.”
It felt good. Sam didn’t hear Leo McGarry step out of the side room to CJ’s office.
“So that went well.”
CJ snorted and didn’t see a suitable retort. “Yeah, in who’s opinion? That boy is seriously pissed and not without reason although you should give that the President. I’d say give it Toby but he’d only mope.”
Leo took care to read the words and he was swayed by the conviction. “Wow. So who’s Tony?”
CJ smirked. “Feel free to ask Sam, I am not getting involved.”
Leo didn’t know whether to kiss or strangle this Tony. He’d helped Sam out of his funk but also lit a fire in his soul that the others would find difficult to squash.
Tony was home late, and Sam had a beer waiting and already had a meal ready for him. Tony, seeing it, smiled softly. “Wow, you are just perfect.”
Sam grinned crookedly. “I wanted to thank you with actions.”
Tony settled onto his chair. “You didn’t need to but I do appreciate it.”
Sam pulled the salmon out of the steamer and plated the veg he’d prepared. “So how was your day?”
“My boss approached me about an undercover operation.”
Sam put his fork down. “Oh, what did you say?”
Tony smiled softly. “That I thanked her for the opportunity but I had a special someone who meant more to me. I couldn’t pretend to be this Doctor’s boyfriend.”
Sam moved closer. “Well, your actual boyfriend is glad to hear it.”
Tony pulled him into a hug. There was still tension in him as he couldn’t shake the idea that there was something wrong. The way he’d been approached about the job, how she’d been outwardly calm but Tony could see the fury in her eyes. He was reaching out to a few contacts to see what the Benoit connection was to Shepard. It seemed their director had picked up a few things from Gibbs, including his Ahab impression.
Sam knew it. “You know I love snuggling with you but you are as stiff as a board. The offer you gave me is open to you.”
Tony snorted but he needed a sounding board. He wasn’t talking about cases per say and really, it was just his general suspicions. “The boss is trying to run this off books and that’s bad.”
Tony sucked in a breath. “We need the interagency cooperation. Say I have a CI who is vital and the FBI scoop him up, I am pissed and causing trouble.”
“So you think that might be the case?”
Tony shook his head. “No, I think it’s worse than that. I think she’s trying to run an unsanctioned operation and she wants to use a gullible bastard. All the actions recently make sense, she hasn’t allowed me to sanction Ziva or Tim. She’s wanted me to confide in her. It’s isolation 101.”
Sam was curious about something. “So why didn’t it work?”
Tony chuckled. “Well - you, the masters in psychology helped too and I’m too experienced not to know if an operation stinks.”
Sam couldn’t help but recognise the irony. “So just like me, you have two choices. Do you stay and deal with the issue at hand ... or walk away from something potentially dangerous. I may be staying but that doesn’t mean you have to as well.”
Tony had never thought about leaving as much as he had in the last few days. “If I stay ... I need proof, I need to be careful and I need to get in contact with Vance.”
Sam smiled softly as he heard the determination in his partner’s voice. “Sounds like you know the right path.”
Tony huffed. “Why can’t it be the easy path?”
Sam snickered. “Would we know what to do with easy?”
The answer had been no. Jenny, the bitch, had caught wind of his intentions so leaked his relationship with Sam. That had been the wrong move. Once she had the White
House’s attention it was game over.
The audit came down, with Vance ordered to conduct it. He was still in shock from all he’d heard. DiNozzo was the only one who’d come out of the fiasco looking like a professional.
So much so that when Vance took over, he made DiNozzo take the Assistant Director role that he’d vacated not too long ago.
Sam and Tony attended the first Washington party of the year and proved that they were just as they hoped - a devastatingly attractive couple that others hated. Not that they cared. Even with all the little ups and downs, their respective lives threw at them they knew that having each weathered their individual storms that they could weather anything life threw at them. Together.
Chapter 20: Animal Ways (Jackson Oz)
Jackson Oz is a character in the show Zoo, based on the book by James Patterson. It is a fantastic premise and well worth reading.
Warning: Implied character death off-screen in the final paragraph. Think “requiem” with no Tony around.
The animals, the fucking animals were going crazy and no one had an answer. Well, not a reasonable one. The experts all agree there must have been a mutation but they didn’t know what or how. It didn’t matter over the last few days, the big animal population had exploded and the teams were being called out over animal attacks.
Tony was grumbling at the screen showing a scientists interview. “Then maybe you should do a genetic screening and figure it out.”
McGee frowned, surprised by the insightful answer. “Since when do you throw those words around?”
Tony whirled around and seemed annoyed to have been caught. As a result, Tony went on the sarcastic offensive hoping to distract the junior agent. “Since forever, McClueless. What can I do for you?”
McGee was looking at him with a curious look on his face. “All teams have been attacked.”
Tony didn’t tense but he was on guard. “So?”
“Ours hasn’t been.” McGee reminded him.
Tony shrugged because sometimes they deserved luck to be on their side. “What can I say? Even the animals have recognised Gibbs is the ultimate Alpha Predator.”
It seemed like a reasonable explanation even as ridiculous as it sounded. Only he knew it wasn’t true as the teams had reported harassment on the way home. Tony hadn’t though, and it was starting to freak him out. He really wished Jackson was on this continent. In fact, he sent a message to his ex-boyfriend asking for contact.
Jackson was sitting on a crazy technology advanced plane and wondering how this was his life. He sat next to the others on his team and thought about all the things they needed to do in order to solve the riddle.
The message surprised him. Huh. How did Tony even get his number? They were flying to DC for some meeting they were ordered to have with the pharmaceutical company that was helping them, they’d let Pandora out of the box so they should help with the cleanup.
“Hey, Tony. It’s been a long time.”
Tony snorted because that was the understatement of the century. “Oh, you have some explaining to do. Wait a minute ... I need to go somewhere private.”
Jackson waited and was confused. They’d split up when they’d finished their post-grads due to conflicting career goals. It had been as amicable as break-up could be. “Christ ... It’s just like when we’re together.”
Tony snorted. “Quiet, Jackie, you I’m still pissed with, well, not you but definitely your father.”
Jackson winced, as it seemed wherever he went he was still apologising for his Dad. “Why?”
Tony sounded calm, but very pissed at the same time. It was impressively menacing for many but not a man that went toe-to-toe with lions. “Yeah, so wanna tell me what the fuck your Dad did to me and why the animals are leaving me alone?”
Now that had Jackson’s attention. “You’re sure.”
Tony sighed. “As of yesterday, our team was the only one not to have had an encounter. That changed yesterday where two of us were attacked but not me or my partner. The only difference is she has reported contact with animals travelling home.”
Jackson’s mind was racing because this was huge and may have some answers answer to what they needed to do in order to get the cure. “Tony - how pissed are you if I said I have a team I’d like to bring to you, you may just have a cure in whatever fucked up thing my Dad did. I will apologise into next century but you may be a very slim hope for us all.”
Tony sat down. “I asked Abs, our scientist to run a genetic screening for me. She doesn’t know it is mine.”
Oz sucked in a breath because he was the one of the very few who knew Toy had a genuine passion for genetics but it was a hobby for him as he wanted to help people. “What did it show, Tony? Come on, talk to me.”
Tony sighed because how the hell did you explain what he now knows. “Jack, you need to get here and explain why I have a third strand in my helix. She thinks it is a screwed up sample.” Jackson knew Tony well enough to know he wasn’t messing around.
It him all at once the implication, and he dropped his phone in shock for a second. “I’m here, Tony. I’m sorry, where are you?”
“We’re coming to you.” Jackson said, feeling like there just might be some hope. If Tony was able to repel the animals did that mean his Dad had done the same thing to him? It was worth exploring.
As soon as he finished his phone call, he hollered. “Abe, turn this plane around and Mitch, I need you to run a genetic screening on me.”
Their geneticist frowned as that seemed a little contrary to their original plan. “Why?”
Jackson sighed because Mitch could be as stubborn as Chloe when he wanted to be. Still, it was clear that just as competent as Chloe was when it came to gathering intelligence so was Mitch at finding out of the box cures. So Jackson decided to offer very little. “Confirm a theory I have and if so my family reunion is going to be a doozy.””
“Care to share?” Mitch paused.
Jackson shook his head because yes he did want to share but he couldn’t. “No. I don’t want to influence the result.”
Mitch looked his typical grouchy self. “That’s not vague at all.”
Jackson looked sheepish but did offer. “The Navy yard has an old friend who has an interesting lead for us.”
Abe, his best fried and fellow animal behaviour specialist, had to come to find him and knew him too well. “Who is the old friend?”
Jackson sucked in a breath because this was going to open up a can of worms. “Tony.”
Abe tilted his head to the side. “You talked to him.”
Jackson nodded and let some of his anger go. “It’s funny you know, when we were together we used to have a competition about whose father was the biggest bastard.”
“Tony’s was an abusive drunk but eventually cut him off which was the best thing ... mine was a controlling bastard, who could never shake off the accident on my mom and, if we’re right, is an even bigger bastard than I ever expected.”
An hour later and Jackson punched a wall. “You took the blood.”
Mitch growled. “I know that but this is just not normal.”
Jackson chuckled hollowly. “Yeah, if you don’t have a father called Robert Oz who seems to think he is a fucking god.”
Mitch and Jackson were the only ones in the room. “How did you know?”
“Tony did, he has the same issue.”
Mitch just sat back comprehending that fact. “So how did he think there might be something to look for?”
Jackson was glad it was just the two of them as he wasn’t ready to fully admit this yet. “The animals won’t attack him, in fact, he suggested they’re leaving him alone. He is the only one yet not to have faced any type of animal encounter.”
Mitch looked intrigued. “So why have they attacked you?”
Jackson shrugged. “Tony, despite what he likes people to think, is a big geek. We just need to steal him.”
Chloe stepped up. “So you want him seconded?”
Jackson nodded. “He’d be a great help, trained investigator with a background in biology and he went to military school.”
“You have an interesting choice in boyfriends.”
Jackson blushed. “Yeah, I did. Tony is someone I thought was out of my league and now I get to see him all over again and my dad seems to have screwed him up.”
Chloe shrugged. “The world might be ending so I would say sort your priorities.”
Jackson never thought he’d have a friend as close as Ab, it seemed as though Chloe was like the surrogate sister he never had.
Tony saw Jackson for the first time in ten years and he forgot masks and bullshit. Today’s world wasn’t one where it could be allowed. He was about to say something but instead, he hugged him. “Man, it’s good to see you.”
Jackson sunk into the hug, it was just like old times. “Hey, so think you can take some leave to help me save the world?”
Tony snorted. “You’re such a dick.”
Jackson knew both his team and Tony’s team were watching their interaction but right now he didn’t care. “Hey, you called me man, you must pining for me.”
Tony smirked. “Maybe I am, but I adore the way you can casually throw around grandiose statements like save the world ... You don’t look like a cheerleader.”
“Tony, you should introduce us.” Ziva said tartly.
Tony rolled his eyes, right now he had more to worry about than his team’s feelings. “So team, this is an old friend of mine, Dr Jackson Oz. I called him as I noticed something and I know he can help. And now I need to go talk to the director with Jackson - alone.”
Jackson looked at his own team who didn’t seem too happy with the idea. “We’ll be five minutes, make sure we’re ready to go.”
Tony looked at the Director and knew he had to say something. “I need to preferably be seconded to their team.”
Tony thought about it and hedged his bets. “The research they’ve conducted is something Jackson and I helped with when Dr Robert Oz was starting. They have a plan to save the animals.”
She quirked an eyebrow. “This have anything to do with the fact you are the only agent not to file an animal attack.”
Tony looked at her and changed tack. “Yes, probably. We have a theory but if we can work with it we might be able to reverse things.”
“Go. Take what you need. Go find a cure for us all.”
Jackson was grinning and so was Tony - they were about to embark on the ultimate mystery and puzzle and they were doing it together. Okay, so there were the other members of Jackson’s team but Tony and Jackson were together again.
Ziva was on his back as soon as he got back to his desk. He was taking his personal effects with him. “Why are you packing?”
Tony rolled his eyes. “Come on, little Ninja, you can figure out that clue.”
“You’re leaving.” McGee said in disbelief.
“Not permanently but there is a problem and this team is working on it - I can help so the Director has agreed to a secondment.”
Jackson snorted. “Do they know you?”
Tony shrugged. “In their defence I never let them see the real me.”
“Come on. You need to see the clues under a microscope, not a photo lens.”
Tony grinned crookedly. “Hey, it is just a matter of magnification.”
Ziva watched a bantering Tony leave the bullpen. Her anger multiplied, he had the luck of the devil. “Let’s find out who the hell Jackson Oz is and how he knows Tony. We need to have something for when Gibbs gets back.”
Only Gibbs never got back as he’d ended up in a block of water and he had no SFA to pull his ass out of the fire, or water in this case. Tony would only find out after he’d returned to Washington to a hero’s welcome having figured out the cure with the team. He was sad for his mentor but he was being pulled in a new direction now - and assumed the Deputy Director role of the newly formed IADG group.
Jackson found it hilarious that his big bad fiancé - now was forced to have protection on the orders of the President.