Chapter 1: Contents Page
Other Volumes of Tony’s Little Black Book can be found at.
- Original Black Book
- Tony’s Little Black Book (Law and Spyzone)
- Tony’s Little Black Book (Night in front of the TV)
- Tony’s Little Black Book (Big Heroes)
- TLBB Christmas Holiday Special Collection
This is the fourth collection of Phase Two and new names and pairings will appear as they are completed. Each Volume will close out with 50 entries MAX - any pairing requests I would like to be added to the content page as it will make them easier to track.
- Malcolm Merlyn (Arrow TV) - Festive Sequel - Have a Merry Ninja Xmas
- Carter Verone (Fast and Furious Franchise)
- Raymond ‘Red’ Reddington 2 (The Blacklist)
- Owen Shaw (Fast and Furious 6)
- Richard Roper (Night Manager)
- Joe Carroll (The Following)
- Ra’s Al Ghul (Arrow TV)
- Loki (Marvel)
- Deckard Shaw (Fast and Furious 7)
- John Wick (John Wick Franchise)
- Manfred Bernardo (Midnight Texas)
Names being considered (no particular order-make no promises)
- Brian O’Conner
- Vincent Adler
- Captain Cold
- Trent Kort
- Ari Haswari
- Director Eli David
- The Joker
- Kol Mikaelson
- Elijah Mikaelson
- Klaus Mikaelson
- Slade Wilson
- Alec Trevelyan
- Gabrial Gray
- Lucas Hood
- Michael Schofield
- Dom Toretto
- Dr Hannibal Lecter D
- Boyd Crowder
- Soulless Sam Winchester
- Deanmon Winchester
Chapter 2: Love is a many a splendored thing... or so they say. (Malcolm Merlyn)
Love is a many a splendored thing... or so they say.
Tony wondered just what had happened. He remembered drowning in his own blood, so he was rather disorientated to wake up in a luxurious bed. He was saying this even with how he grew up. “What the fuck is going on?”
His Dad was by his bedside, which was freaky in itself. “Oh thank God, you’re okay, Junior.”
“What happened?” Tony repeated. Christ, he felt weak.
“You were stabbed and it was very bad, Junior.”
Tony did remember and he rubbed his chest. He’d been sold out by his boss, and Macaluso hadn’t liked it. He’d expressed his displeasure with a sword through Tony’s chest.
“How am I alive?”
His Dad looked shifty so Tony knew he was probably not going to like the answer. Still, the man finally answered. “I made a deal.”
Tony frowned as he was feeling stronger - mentally, at least. “Dad, I was stabbed through the lung. Divine intervention shouldn’t have saved me.” It was too much exertion and he started to cough.
A new voice broke in. “There is nothing divine about Ra’s Al Ghul or a resurrection pit.”
Tony paled as he knew that name - he’d worked in law enforcement long enough to know it was not a good name to know. After all, it was never good to hear the leader of the League of Assassins. “At what cost?”
Malcolm Merlyn was smirking, as it seemed DiNozzo Junior seemed to be as smart as he was pretty. “Your father traded his one favour but didn’t care about the consequence.”
Tony rolled his eyes. “Like once you know a secret, it can’t be undone. Or, like how I ended up in Malcolm Merlyn’s house? ”
Merlyn nodded, looking pleased. There was obviously more to this one than just potential arm-candy. “Senior, leave us now.”
Tony sat up, he hated feeling as weak as a kitten especially when he was in the presence of a lion. “So how screwed am I ?”
Merlyn had a wicked grin. “Well, as much as you want to be. There are choices you need to make.”
Merlyn sat on the bed. “Option one, you return to Nanda Parbat and take up your training as one of Ra’s Assassins.”
Tony sighed as that was just not how he was built. “And behind door two?”
Merlyn shrugged. “Well, I’m told by my group of friends that it is high time I marry again. Now, being my partner is not without its benefits. I have an understanding with Ra’s where he will leave you alone.”
Tony was pretty sure that he was being proposed to by a billionaire only it sounded like a business deal. Tony wasn’t stupid enough to go into any deal without asking about the small print. “So your husband, huh? What would you be expecting of me?”
Merlyn shrugged. “I need a distraction from others at parties and someone who can give my son, Tommy, some support because he won’t accept it from me since his mother died.”
Tony could see the pain in his eyes as he admitted that and it made him think he could do this. He wasn’t blind, Merlyn was hot even if his issues had issues. Tony distracted him slightly. “So arm-candy and be a mother-figure. You do realise that I have a brain and that I am not a woman.”
“You wouldn’t be half as attractive to me if you were.” Merlyn confessed.
Tony could see the humour in Merlyn’s eyes which found him warming up to his potential new husband - they just needed to settle a potential deal breaker - Tony would prefer being an assassin rather than whoring himself out. “And am I to warm your bed, too?”
Merlyn shook his head. “Our business deal will mean that we are strictly platonic partners. I have never paid to have company in my bed although I reserve the right to seduce you.”
Tony did agree which is why the next morning he’d awoken from restful sleep to find a young boy staring at him like he was a scientific curiosity. Tony was still sleepy so griped. “I am too pretty to stare at.”
The boy giggled at him. “I’m Tommy, and Father said you will be sticking around.”
Tony knew there and then that Merlyn , the sexy bastard, didn’t play fair - there was no way that he’d abandon this kid.
He sat up. “Yeah, I am. Is that okay?” Tony asked.
Tommy shrugged as he was not quite ready to believe that he wouldn’t be abandoned again. His Mom had died and his Dad had disappeared into his work. Mrs. Queen did her best but she was not what he needed. “I’m told you’re injured and have to stay in bed. So do you like movies?”
Tony loved movies and was relieved to have a movie marathon. They were watching the Star Wars marathon and Tony was explaining just how messed up the Skywalker family was to Tommy, who loved the fighters and fighting sequences too.
Merlyn had worked all day to close a business deal that would give them a component they needed to create a new patented product. He’d asked the help how Tony and his son were, only to get an answer that they were together in their guest’s room.
He walked into Tony’s room to find them both curled up together asleep and the Star Wars credits rolling. He turned the TV off and pulled the blanket over them.
He’d seen Tony as a convenient cover for his more nefarious plans but Merlyn should know that no plan ever survives into action without refinements.
And thus the two men settled into their lives together. It was an interesting and tempestuous time as the two men circled each other and learned how to live with one another.
Moira and Robert Queen were Malcolm’s closest friends and Tony felt skeevy in their presence. The man reeked of corruption and the woman, Moira, well, she was even worse. Tony might not be sleeping with Malcolm but if she looked at him with lust in her eyes one more time he was going to claw her eyes out.
“So Malcolm told us he was in love. We were quite surprised.” Moira remarked.
Tony could match polite aggression as well as anyone. “Oh, I would hope you would be happy for Malcolm and me.”
She flushed although even that was false. “Of course I am.”
Tony grinned moving closer into Malcolm’s side. “Well then, we accept your happiness.”
Her face suggested that she was anything but happy but Malcolm did not care. He was enjoying this more than he knew.
Moira decided on another line of thoughts. “So how did you meet?”
Tony decided to put her on the backfoot. “We met in Paris ... Malcolm told me that we were meant to be.” He had a sly grin as he looked at Malcolm. “He convinced me like he promised.”
“Oh, and what do you do?” She asked.
Tony smiled. “I am a doctoral student, I went back to school after I got shot.”
Malcolm chuckled. “What can I say, Moira? I lucked out. I found someone with beauty and brains.”
Moria just smiled. “You deserve to, Malcolm.”
It was left there but Tony was keeping a close eye on the pair of them. They left not too long after and Tony shuddered once they were alone. “They’re your friends?”
Malcolm smirked. “Why?”
Tony shivered. “Male Queen is corrupt and the woman is a bigger schemer than my father ... only I sense she is better at it.”
Malcolm actually chuckled as Tony wasn’t wrong . “Well you know what they say, keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”
Tony nodded as he did understand that and he’d learnt the lesson the hard way. “You need someone to watch your back with that pair, Malcolm, I mean it.”
Malcolm grinned with fondness. “And that is why I married you, you’re warming to me aren’t you.”
Tony grinned, “Maybe. Night, husband.” And waltzed up the stairs to his own room.
Malcolm watched as Tony’s ass swayed up the stairs. This was the longest seduction he’d ever engaged in and he found himself enjoying the chase. Malcolm knew the payoff would be pretty sweet and he was looking forward to it.
One evening, a month after their honeymoon, the three were sitting down to dinner. Tommy was having a great time regaling Tony about all the things he’d learnt about Football with his best friend, Oliver. He’d finished his dinner and he was still too excited. “So can I go and play? I’ve finished dinner.”
Tony shrugged. “Ask your father.”
Tommy turned around to his father. “Daddy is being weird, can I go and play with Oliver?”
Malcolm smirked seeing the stunned look on his husband’s face. “Sure thing, Champ.”
Turning to face Tony, “Has our son broken you, after everything else you’ve gone through?”
Tony shook his head, he’d not planned on a family. He wasn’t the man-candy as he started to refer to himself as the others believed. He knew of Malcolm’s ties to the League and that he wasn’t whiter than white when it came to his business practices. What Malcolm had become was family, alongside Tommy.
Tony would fight like hell to protect family and there was no way that his enemies would come after Malcolm or Tommy. Tony needed to be ready. “I want you to train me.”
Malcolm froze and put down his whiskey carefully. “The reason we married was so you didn’t have to... remember my promise - you didn’t have to.”
Tony shook his head. “That was then. You have enemies and I won’t let us be your weakness.”
Malcolm seeing the look in his husband’s eyes pulled him in for a fierce kiss. “You sure? You sound like you want the whole marriage, all inclusive.”
Tony reacted to the kiss pressing closer. “You bet I do. Besides, we’re too hot not to be sleeping together.”
And that was why Malcolm was a billionaire - he could play the long game. He knew that he would never get someone like Tony to bend their moral practices - unless it was their decision.
And just like in Tony’s movies, the only way to corrupt the hero towards the Darkside - was love.
Chapter 3: Warmer weather but Colder Hearts (Carter Verone)
Please note - in this chapter their are off-screen deaths of major characters.
The DEA agents were at their wit's end - they knew Verone was a crooked bastard, only they couldn’t prove it.
Agent Markham was the guy-in-charge, looking at his latest failed attempt at getting someone into Verone’s operation. Monica Fuentes was a perfect undercover specialist who should have carried out a honeypot job without any problems. He pinched his nose. “So what happened?”
She looked like she’d swallowed a lemon as she was forced to admit. “He is not into women right now?”
“Come again? Why?” Markham asked because he was really trying to understand this.
Fuentes sighed. “His last flavour of the month sold him out to the Police Department in order to avoid a speeding ticket in one of his cars.”
Markham couldn’t believe he was saying it. “So what you are telling me is I need to find a male undercover specialist who is good enough to entice a male suspect.”
Fuentes smirked. “Good luck finding one of them.”
Tony’s first day back in the office after recovering from the plague and he is already being called into the Director’s office. That had to be some type of record.
Kate and McGee looked concerned and Tony waved them off. “Don’t fret, I feel fine.”
He didn’t but he wasn’t going to admit that. So he paused on the landing for a moment and then walked into the office confidently, seizing the moment. “Madam Director, you wanted to see me - and congratulations on your promotion.”
“Thank you. Please, Agent DiNozzo, take a seat. “ She smiled warmly at him so he figured he wasn’t getting demoted. “There is a joint operation being proposed between NCIS and the DEA. You would be perfect in helping to take down Carter Verone but only if you feel up to it.”
Tony saw the photo and recognised the name, he was in the papers for some charity work. “Drugs or prostitution?”
Shepard was a little surprised at how quickly he arrived at the answer. Still, she answered, “Both and in ever bigger quantities.”
Tony nodded as he was aware that a nightclub was a perfect cover to launder money. There was something that was bugging him. “Why me? The report suggests that it’s a honeypot job? This guy screams Alpha Male.”
Shepard shrugged but did explain. “Verone has a preternatural ability to sniff out undercover agents. Oh, and his last girlfriend sold him out to the Miami Police Department only they couldn’t make it stick.”
Tony’s mind raced, yes, he was just recovered but this was his area. He could think of several angles and dismissed each one, especially if Verone had the training to spot UC’s. He arrived at one conclusion but this was going to be risky. If he was going to succeed - he was going to need to be dirty but clean. “I can do this, but god help me, I need the records to say you’ve fired me.”
Shepard was intrigued because she had not expected that response. She could admit that she was very curious about the Agent that Jethro was mentoring. “Why?”
Tony played it cool with a small smile. “Well, I am recovering but I need a beef with the authorities as some would say. You firing me on the weak grounds of incompetence so that you wouldn’t have to pay for my medical bills would be plausible and easy to sell. I can be angry at the authorities and that will give me the tentative road in with Verone.”
Shepard shook her head. “That is risky. He will suspect you immediately ... and what about your reputation afterward.”
Tony had a grin. “Well, yes, but I know how to play this, I’ve done it before Director. I went Mob hunting and survived. And, I would hope that you would rehabilitate it and explain why I have been playing it fast and loose for the next few months.”
Shepard sat back and thought about it. “Good luck, Agent DiNozzo - and this agency will have your back even if appearances can be deceiving. Go see Ms.Scutio to get yourself sorted, you may tell her - and only her - the truth and don’t worry, I will set up your cover and then inform the team at the same time as the rest of the office of your termination .”
Abby squeezed him tightly as soon as he walked through her lab doors. “You’re back.”
Tony winced, hating to be the bearer of bad news. “Not for long Abs, I’ve been tapped for an undercover operation and I need your help. You know there is no one I trust more with this.”
The mystery distracted her just like Tony knew it would. She bit her lip. “What do you need?”
Tony explained and Abby didn’t like it. “That means people will think you’re one of the bad guys...for real.”
Tony kissed her head, touched by the concern. “Wouldn’t be the first time. Last time sucked ... as it was such a cliche, gone native as part of the Italian Mob. Still, on the plus side, I managed to bring the whole family down.”
She sighed, knowing his mind was made up. She couldn’t believe he was using his own identity! Still, his mind was made up so better to help him and make sure the altered version of events held up to scrutiny. “I’ll do it, but you better come back to us in one piece, Tony. You are running out of lives.”
He kissed her head. “Of course I will Abby, NCIS is my family now,” Tony promised. He wasn’t in the habit of breaking his promises but unbeknownst to him, this isn’t one he would manage to keep.
Tony arrived in Miami and wasn’t lying when he thought Miami would be good for his lungs. He checked into the Plaza, thank god his background was independently wealthy. He wouldn’t catch Verone’s interest if he was thought to be a gold digger.
The club Verone owned was called The Pearl and Tony knew that would be where he was heading first to get the lay of the land. He arrived at midday as that was when it was more of a bar than a club. And .... if you happened to be a criminal, it was when you would more likely be up to no good.
The club was dark and the whiskey smooth. Tony wasn't stupid, he knocked one back for the observers around and then nursed his second.
Even looking exhausted, he was still gaining attention. Too bad it wasn't who he wanted. He played it cool and politely brushed off attention as if they were no more than dust on his shirt.
“Now that wasn't very nice of you. I think you might have made Hernandez cry.” An amused voice said to his side. Perfect. First contact.
Tony swung his chair around. “If he couldn't handle that then he had no business trying to entice me into his bed.”
“And what would that take, you know, for an interested party?”
Tony had a wicked smirk. “Well, I like my men like I like my coffee, dark and rich so I am not worried that they’ll steal mine.”
Verone raised his glass. “Amen to that, ...”
Tony leaned his head toward Verone. “So why would I garner the great Carter Verone’s interest?”
Verone smirked. “So you’ve heard about me? And your name?”
“Tony.” Tony had a coy smile. “Well, I decided to holiday here, while I reevaluated my life. I asked a few of the locals who was who, and your name one is spoken with awe and envy. The men want to be you, and the women want to sleep with you.”
Carter smirked. “Oh, I am an equal opportunities employer.”
“Here’s to appreciating beauty in all forms,” Tony agreed as he tipped back the rest of his drink. He got up from his chair. “Well, nice to meet you Mr. Verone, I’m off to the beach to soak up some sun.”
Tony got up and sauntered out as well as he could manage. He’d managed to make first contact and now he would leave him.
Tony got a weird junk email and it wouldn’t make any sense unless you were Abby or him. It was to say; bait was taken and someone was searching for his file as it was. Huh. Some people were easily amused.
He lay back on the towel and soaked up some sun. This assignment was going to be fraught with danger and so Tony was going to work on his tan while he had a chance. He’d worn trunks underneath his suit, and stripped. He’d lost some muscle definition because of his illness but he was still doing okay.
He lay back and let the sounds of the ocean calm him. The sunglasses and feigning sleep were a great way of ignoring tourists who kept trying to strike up a conversation.
“I thought you were on holiday, you won’t make friends if you don’t talk to people.”
Tony looked to Verone’s amused voice, and he liked a guy who could stand in a full suit in the blazing sun and look cool. “I have made a friend, you.”
Verone chuckled. “I might not be a friend you should make.”
Tony lowered his glasses. “I usually have exceptional taste in friends, bosses not so much.”
He finished with a wicked smile.
“Can I tempt you to lunch?” Carter asked.
Tony smirked. “I suspect you can tempt a great many people into doing what you want.”
Their date had gone well and a week later, Tony was hanging around The Pearl as Verone was obviously not bored of him. The server, Carly, was looking a little shaky and Tony picked up on it. He was waiting for Carter to finish up some business out back, it was not like he’d be trusted after just a week. He knew this, and Tony would suspect it would take a specific act to get Verone’s trusted bodyguard, Rico, to actually trust him.
Tony watched her move around the bar, she was walking as if she was carrying an injury and it was the type of injury you could only gain through roughhousing. Tony knew that Verone ran a stable of girls but from everything he’d seen, he ran them clean with strict rules. He was one of the rare pimps who understood timid and broken girls just don’t bring in the business. Tony’s second meeting at the club had been where Carter, as he insisted on being called, had been putting one of them in for rehab.
Tony knew they wouldn’t get Carter on prostitution - the girls all worked through the clubs and the extras would count as tips, Tony was almost certain of it. This didn’t explain today, Carly was a sweet thing and should not be shaking like a leaf. He was glad he still had his sunglasses on as they allowed him to observe without being seen to do so. She kept looking at the other side of the bar and Tony took a wild guess. “Hey, Carly. Girl, come sit by me, I want to catch up.”
She took the opening and it helped to know that as this was the boss’ new interest - he wasn’t going to be hitting on her. “Thanks, he was too much.”
Now Tony could see she was scared and that rankled him. He pulled her closer, let the idiot think Tony was trying to procure her services for the evening. Sure enough, he could see the sneers and anger. Wow, this guy was a seething mass of anger and insecurities which in Tony’s opinion was a terrible mix. He shared this theory with Carly and she giggled.
Angry insecure guy sprang up from his chair. Tony patted Carly’s knee and hoped to convey reassurance as best as he could.
Tony played it cool as a shadow loomed over them. All other activity had stopped from the few other people in the bar area. Oh well, it wouldn't be Tony embarrassed by this display.
“Can I help you, mate?” Tony asked affecting a slurred British accent for effect - all the better to be underestimated.
“Yeah, the bitch is mine. I paid her yesterday, and I ain’t done.”
Well, a statement like that just made Tony want to shoot the guy, too bad he wasn’t carrying a piece - he only had his knives. “That bitch happens to be a lovely woman with a name, you piece of trash.”
Oops - his accent gone and a long stare faced the angry insecure guy.
“You’re not drunk.”
Tony turned his chair around so he was between raging asshole and Carly. “And you’re a raging tiny dick of a guy who doesn’t know how to speak to women.” He widened his eyes in obvious fake surprise. “Sorry, I thought we were making obvious statements to each other.”
And that was enough to have the guy charge him. Too much anger and no technique meant angry insecure guy ended up slammed against the bar - hard. Tony wasn’t done, “You know, no means no and consent means full information going forward, even if you pay for it.”
“So what - she is a hooker.”
Tony sighed, raised the guy up and then slammed his head back against the table. “You are not hearing me, amigo. Are you?”
Verone was standing just to the side and Tony was going to see just what type of criminal lord he was. “Hey, Carter.” Tony said brightly as he was glad he was here.
“ Chulo .” Cool affectionate nickname meant he wasn’t in trouble for interfering. It was new too so that showed Tony must be doing something right.
Raging insecure guy was back to ranting. “I am going to kill you.”
Tony chuckled because, man, he would be seriously wealthy if he had a dollar for every empty threat he’d had made against him. “Yeah, yeah. I mean you might need some training. I will raise your threat with a promise . If you’re rough with another woman who isn’t aware of what you intend, paid for or not...”
Tony slammed his knife into the bar just by the dick’s face. “Then I am going to cut it off with this knife.”
Carter shivered and the guy knew he’d lost any chance. “Oh babe, you are looking ever more attractive by the second. And Peters, if Tony doesn’t get to you first, I will make it way worse.” and then Carter smiled but it lacked any warmth. “Oh, and I will get creative with it.”
Three weeks in and Tony had been convinced to move in with Carter on the grounds that the hotel room was wasteful, especially as it wasn’t being used.
This presented a problem for Tony as he couldn’t refuse but it meant that the op would essentially go 24/7 with no down time. He knew what type of man Carter Verone was with his lovers and possessive was a polite way of putting it. So far, Tony hadn’t slept with him as Carter was determined to woo him as he didn’t want yet another shallow encounter.
The damnedest thing was if Tony was being honest about it, it was working. He kept telling himself about the file and that he was a cop. It didn’t feel like that right now with no one backing him up, which was something he would be ripping someone a new asshole for - it was a serious breach of protocol. One of the main reasons was to remind the undercover agent of his roots and right now Tony was rootless - which wasn’t good. After all, you can’t expect an agent to live in the murky world and not lose sight of where the line is.
Carter watched Tony eat fruit in a way that would put a porn star to shame. “Are you enjoying that?”
Tony smirked. “Yes, dear, I am. Am I distracting you?”
Carter shook his head. “No Chulo, have fun and you may as well stay here and soak up the rays while I have work to do unless you are a racer.”
Tony shrugged. “I have the training to outrace cops ... that is it.”
Carter smirked. “Good to know and if I need you to do that for me?”
Tony let his sunglasses lower, so Carter could see his eyes. “And what will be my reward?”
“ Whatever you want.” Carter said with a look in his eyes that Tony couldn’t quantify. He didn’t know why that look made his heart race especially as it wasn’t fear that he was feeling.
Tony had a wicked smirk on his face. “You shouldn’t tease a man, it's not nice.”
“That is not a word used too often describe me, Chulo.”
Tony’s smirk got wider, if possible. “You know, I don’t think you would be half as much fun if you were.”
Carter stopped resisting the urge to kiss his boyfriend. Once he was done with this stupid drug dealer - he would stop messing about and take Tony to bed, like he should have done on the day they met.
Tony had his first encounter of being brought in as a suspected gone-native operative. It was the most terribly put together, reeking of desperation maneuver and instead of scaring Tony, it made him want to laugh in the director’s face.
He was pulled over for speeding when he hadn’t been going over the limit. So of course, when the cop got out - he slipped, fell, and managed to bust his tail light. Tony was apparently resisting arrest.
Tony wasn’t stupid, nor was he naive. He could guess the routine and had his phone switch from acting as a SatNav to recording the encounter. “Can I help you, officer?”
“You are under arrest, DiNozzo.”
The next thing Tony knew, he was being pulled out of his car. He hated not reacting but that would give their ridiculous claims credence. Wow, they really were crap at this. Tony calmly let himself be cuffed and had to love the new voice activated software on phones. “Hey, Siri - Send file cop alert to Carter.”
He’d done it before the file could be recorded.
“What? Not cop enough to save yourself? You need your crooked boyfriend to save you?”
Tony wanted to laugh in their faces at their hypocrisy. There was nothing crooked about him, in fact, when it came to places he’d worked - there’d been corruption around him but he’d always left - determined to seek justice without being a hypocrite. When it had been his partner, not just his boss, it had been too close and he’d left the Police for NCIS.
And yeah, Carter may be a crook but he was honest with him and there was so little of that in Tony’s life that he’d come to appreciate it more than he could put into words.
Tony wasn’t going to exchange words with the officers - there was no point. “Well, let’s get this over with.”
Detective Whitworth never had a chance to even talk to Tony as Verone’s lawyer was waiting for Tony and with the record of the encounter, it didn’t go anywhere. It couldn’t as it wouldn’t end well for the arresting officers as they were idiots. And even worse, the dumbass detective had painted a red target on his own back and would have Carter Verone gunning for him. The man didn’t like it when you crossed him but he was worse if you’d taken what he considered his.
Back in Washington, Jenny Shepard was reeling at what Agent Balboa was informing her. Her whole MCRT was virtually wiped out and the last was deep undercover - this was a disaster. How could Gibbs, a prized sniper himself, have walked straight into such a dangerous and obvious Killzone? How the hell had this happened?
Balboa was ashen. “Where is DiNozzo?”
Jenny had a decision to make and it was obvious that Balboa hadn’t believed the rumours spread about DiNozzo. “Undercover and unreachable. It would see him dead if you tried to contact him.”
“He can’t find out from the news. This was his team!”
Jenny hated it because it was more than likely this could blow his cover if he found out while in Verone’s company. If Tony then came back to Washington, he would start looking into his teammates’ deaths and she couldn’t let that happen. He was too good an investigator.
“We have no choice and can only pray that his reputation as the best UC agent is deserved.”
The news of a whole Federal team being brutally gunned down in Washington made it right across the US continent including Miami.
Tony was with Verone, only by now, he was thinking of him as Carter, even though he knew it was dangerous. His heart froze as the names were released - what the hell was going on?
Tony’s cool exterior was cracking and did as soon as their photos were shown.
Carter seized upon the change in behaviour. “Chulo, what is wrong?”
“That was my team! NCIS screwed me over but they were family. I want to find whoever killed them and gut them.” He was shaking with bottled up grief, this was his fault. He shouldn’t have left them.
Carter wiped away a stray tear. “Come on Chulo, let’s take you upstairs, I think you need to rest.”
As Tony let himself be led upstairs he heard Carter order. “Rico, find out who it was and why ... I want to be prepared.”
Rico nodded and walked away from the boss, knowing he would see Tony okay. He’d been leery of Tony at the beginning, so sure he was a narc but if he was - he was damn good. This incident though put it in perspective. Everyone had a limit, and if Tony was law enforcement, well, he wasn’t thinking like one anymore.
Tony let Carter strip him down to his boxers; this was too much, too intimate for an undercover operation. Oh, who was he kidding? Carter was more than a UC operation, he would figure out how to extricate Carter from the mess - and sort out Washington. He was emotionally drained and he couldn’t maintain his masks, which was scary in itself. He’d relied on masks for too long to be without them.
Carter pulled him into the bed and just hugged him. He didn’t speak, or demand that Tony speak - just showed him that he cared.
Tony had been feeling torn for so long but now he felt something snap within him, he couldn’t let the man do this any longer and not know the truth. He didn’t know what would happen but there had been too many lies from him to this man who had only ever been honest in return and if he didn’t say it now he would lose the nerve. The truth spilled from his lips as he faced Carter and he wanted to convey how conflicted he’d been feeling.
Carter didn’t crow, or cheer, or even get angry as now was not the time. Tony was emotional and as skittish as the man had ever been. “I know, Chulo. I’ve been waiting for you to choose a side.”
Tony choked on a sob. “You knew?”
Carter shrugged. “I suspected.”
The conversation was doing what he wanted anyway, distracting Tony from his grief. “Pick a side?”
Carter smirked. “Oh Chulo, the only difference between a cop and a criminal is the badge. You have a family here and you know that we will fight to protect each other.”
Tony let the idea settle in his being, this was a choice he had to make. He was turning his back on NCIS for Carter. Still, was it much of a choice anymore? The higher-ups had let his whole team be slaughtered and he wouldn’t work for anyone who didn’t value the lives of their workers. He was comparing the last four weeks in Miami with Carter, who looked after his women, and yes he moved drugs, but he had standards and a code of honour. Tony knew Carter looked after his workers and was only fierce when double-crossed. “I do know it, this is why I haven’t reported what I’ve seen. I kept making excuses on why I needed to wait.”
Carter had a wicked smirk, seeing the fire replacing the grief slowly. He knew Tony could be amazing at his side but he was a smart man. To gain someone like Tony, it needed to be their choice. It was a shame he was going to have to kill whoever slaughtered Tony’s old team - he really wanted to send them a fruit basket first or something. “Well, now you know why. We won’t say anything else today. Let’s just go to sleep and tomorrow we will hash it all out and make a plan.”
Tony woke up and sucked in a breath as the events of yesterday came tumbling back into his mind. Gibbs, McGee, and Kate were dead, even Abby had been shot and she never left NCIS. All of them had been taken out by a sniper - which was ridiculous as Gibbs should have easily been able to match wits with a sniper.
So what had gone drastically wrong?
Carter had been lying in bed and taken stock of what he’d found out. He and Tony were at a crossroads as both were now being honest with the other. He hoped Tony would choose to walk the path with him. “You feeling better?”
Tony nodded not moving from being curled into Carter’s side. “I haven’t changed my mind, I want to take out the bastard who hunted them down like dogs.”
Carter lifted Tony’s face so that he could see directly into his eyes. “If you do this, you won’t be an undercover operative anymore and there will be no turning back. You will be truly one of us! Can you live in the shades of grey where I do most of my business?”
Tony pulled Carter into a kiss. “You know what I’ve been thinking since I arrived in Miami? How many times I’ve been let down by corrupt coworkers and bosses and then I compared them to my time with you and I didn’t like what I noticed. You have never lied to me, unlike when I worked in the Police Department. You have never manipulated me, like my boss at NCIS. You’ve shown me another way that I’ve never even considered and then let me choose my own path - I don’t think you know how much that means to me.”
Carter was convinced that with Tony as his partner in work and play, he could rise to even greater levels. He really should send Jenny Shepard a bunch of flowers or something. Her willing blindness toward the David family caused her premier team to perish.
The killers did not survive Tony’s wrath more than a few weeks. Shepard didn’t survive the fallout with her job and as a result, she was killed a month later by La Grenouille, a French drug dealer, when she stuck her nose into one of his operations.
Jenny Shepard, through her ineptitude and willful blindness, caused more than a few headaches for many in law enforcement. If Carter Verone was bad before he met his husband, he only increased in power after he married. It was covered in the papers and hailed as a turning point - Carter and Tony were now LGBT activists and gave to many local interests and charities. Almost anyone who would have previously spoken out against gays clammed up overnight - anyone who suggested that they weren’t as good as they made themselves out to be was laughed out of Miami.
That was something Tony had taught Carter - to be left alone, you have to let the opinion of you be untouchable. Carter made himself appear the antithesis of a drug dealer and as such, it made it much more difficult to sell the accusations. As for Tony, well, his whole adult life had been focussed on the black-and-white of right-and-wrong as defined by the law - but ever since Carter had come into his life he’d learned to accept and find peace with all the different shades of grey there were. And he’d never been happier.
Chapter 4: Research is Key to longevity (Red Reddington 2)
Someone has dared to infect Red Reddington's hubby with the plague ... He is not amused.
Warnings - Character tortured-offscreen. Violence: Canon-level, chemical truth serums used
Author’s Note: This is a remix of one of my other works called Lifeline and Anchors however unlike in that story, this is unlikely to stay at a one shot. The story told predominately in Red's point of view.
Raymond Reddington had many names; Concierge of Crimes, Criminal, Master-Manipulator, Mentor, Father-Figure, Murderer, Hunter and many other less polite forms. He’d owned and perhaps earned every one of those names.
He wasn’t like many in this world, he knew that it wasn’t black or white. There was no such thing as good guys and bad guys or other such cliches, he would leave all those banal definitions to the movies and Hollywood and enjoy life with his husband while inhabiting the shades of grey that he found so fascinating.
None of those names mattered anymore. His whole movements and focus were narrowed down to the beeps of a machine and the steady tick of the heart monitor that was reminding him that his husband was still alive. Someone had attacked his husband in the worst possible way and he wanted to burn his enemies down to the ground.
He couldn’t though as he was stuck. He was in a room with blue lights surrounded by agents talking at him. Who was he? Why was he here? How did he know Tony? Why was he Tony’s medical proxy?
The woman left the room in a huff, threatening to get someone who would make him answer. She was cute if she thought there was anyone who could possibly do that. He was going to stay by his husband’s side until the end - whatever outcome that might be... only then would he settle for revenge. Never mind two graves, he’d rent a cemetery and bury anyone and everyone who’d played a part in this.
A new man entered the fray, ah the infamous Gibbs. This would be someone worth bandying words with. “Who are you?”
Ray quirked an eyebrow. “His husband. And you are?”
“His boss. Why didn’t he say you existed?” Gibbs questioned, not able to leave the interrogator at the door despite the situation. In a twisted way, Raymond could respect that - although it didn’t mean he was going to give Gibbs the answers he wanted.
“You could ask him if he was awake. Now, what are you doing to find his attacker?.”
“It was an anonymous letter. It’s being analysed.”
Reddington sneered, he’d thought Gibbs’ infamous gut would be smarter than that. He didn’t know what was coming at him and worse, it had got Tony injured and that was unforgivable in his book. As much as he would love to watch Ari Haswari wipe these idiots off the face of the earth - he knew it would make Tony sad.
“Then you aren’t aware that this was the opening salvo from Ari Haswari as he wants you dead but not before you suffer through losing everyone else first.” Information was his currency and Raymond Reddington was always well-equipped.
“How do you know that?”
Raymond smirked. “Kindly go and find those that hurt my husband rather than attempting your in-vain pissing contest.”
What Red hadn’t said was if he got to them first, there would be nothing left for Gibbs to arrest.
Tony woke up coughing and feeling like crap. He couldn’t recall ever feeling like this and that was saying something. He’d thought it was bad when the Mob had held him for 48 hours to express their displeasure at being deceived.
“I’m here Luv, do not talk. You need to focus on just breathing.”
Tony shook his head even though it sapped what little energy he had. He looked at Raymond and could see the worry there in his husband’s eyes - and that was a concern. There wasn’t much that could frighten Ray, it was a side-effect of where he did his business.
“What?” Tony gasped out even though it caused a coughing fit.
Raymond sighed. “Your protective nature will be your undoing, I have told you this. You took the envelope from your probie. There was a white powder in it, they tested it and it is a virulent form of Pneumonic plague.”
Ray knew Tony better than all the others who’d suggested they keep this from him. They were ridiculous and naive. Tony needed to know what was happening to him and make informed choices. He only got into trouble or did something rash when he was ill-informed or felt like control was being taken from him.
“Who?” Tony asked, knowing this was deliberate. There was a second level to the question in case there was anyone else in the room. Tony was silently asking if it was one of his enemies, one of Ray’s or one of the rare few that crossed over.
“I suspect the David family in Israel, Dembe is searching for answers for me.”
Tony fell asleep once again and Ray hated how weakly Tony was squeezing his hand. It showed the progression of this infernal disease. Tony was fit and strong, a carry over from his days as a football player at college so this must be strength sapping in the extreme.
Kate Todd had vowed to stay with her partner but she couldn’t. There was something about the man at his bedside that freaked her out. She didn’t doubt that he was exactly who he said - Tony’s husband. And wasn’t that a surprise?
No it wasn’t the fact Tony was gay that bothered her, it was the fact the man exuded a strength and poise that she’d only ever seen when the President sat down with dictators.
“He is hanging on.”
Raymond rolled his eyes. “He knows he can’t die on me. We made a promise to each other. Have you found your kind-eyed terrorist?”
She flushed, she hated the idea that it might be Haswari. If so, then she would be directly responsible for Tony’s predicament. “You can’t judge me.”
Red snorted. “Oh, my dear. I am the one who can, as Tony is lying in bed due to a criminal you had a chance of putting down.”
“That is not the way the law works.” Kate insisted. She was unsure about a great many things right now - but that she was certain of.
Reddington shook his head. “In the world you inhabit, that type of worldview will get you killed. Whilst you inhabit your little white hat world, your opponent will have killed you. They will use your precious rules against you.”
She flushed and shook her head, unwilling to believe that it was true. “You sound so sure.”
“If you were my enemy it is how I would cut you down.” He commented and it was all the more threatening for the fact that he said it while he wasn’t even paying attention to her. Like she didn’t even warrant watching out for. She left as she couldn’t stay in the same room as he was.
Tony had awoken for the last part and was giving him a look. Anyone who doubted they were married, would not be if they’d seen that look. It was pure spousal annoyance. Ray smirked at him. “Don’t give me that look, you’re fond of her ... not that I am sure why and she will end up dead with that attitude.”
Tony whispered. “Little sister.”
Red rolled his eyes. “It’s not like I am going to kill her, it is her attitude that will do that. She is too pure for your work.”
Tony couldn’t say much, his condition wouldn’t let him but his look spoke volumes. Red snorted. “Don’t look at me like that. Ari Haswari will be delivered to your office in a box.”
Tony weakly pointed at Red. Red knew what he meant. “How can I be the suspect when I haven’t left your side?”
Tony gripped his hand with as much strength as he could manage and Red gently raised his hand to kiss it. “I’m with you until you can walk out this hospital.”
Red shook his head at the protest. “The virus is no longer active ... I’m making sure you have the strength to recover.”
Tony hadn’t known that, so he had hope now. He didn’t want to leave yet and he knew that no one would be able to rein in Red in his grief if Tony died.
He had to live.
Dembe had done as ordered and tracked down Haswari. The insane man had confessed everything - he was working on so many different people’s orders it was a wonder that it had taken him so long to snap. The man was trying to work on orders from Mossad (his father), Hamas (his employer) and the FBI (his exit strategy).
The man resisted, which was futile. He had enough sodium pentothal inside him to make an elephant talk. “Files suggest that removing him removes Gibbs’ support base.”
Dembe could understand that reasoning. He had to ask this knowing that his boss would want the answers. “So why not kill him outright?”
The veins were almost popping as he strained to resist the question. “Needed him distracted, so I could put the other plans into action. He was too dangerous to keep at Gibbs’ side.”
Dembe got that, Red’s husband was always underestimated and Tony preferred it that way. “So where did the plague come into it?”
Haswari shrugged. “Hamas stole a few vials and they needed a test subject. DiNozzo’s file suggested physically fit so it would be a good test.”
Dembe nodded, not believing a word the man said but let it go for now. He had bigger issues. “You mentioned files, who compiled them and is there a leak at NCIS?”
“What does it matter? You know how it is, someone knows someone ... then they take advantage of a promotion. They ask for something innocuous and boom I have everything I need to take apart Agent Jethro Gibbs’ life. It was serendipitous, as Americans like to say.” Haswari replied with a smirk on his face.
Dembe said nothing in response but instead asked a new question. “So who know who? I want the name of the file creator. My employer, Mr. Reddington, will want to know.”
Now that got Haswari’s attention, you see the Concierge of Crime was known by everyone. He traded information on a whim, he shot people who didn’t play by his rules, and if you touched a minor ...
well, you prayed for death but you never got it.
“Why would he care? He has no interest in the Federal Authorities. It’s not like my sister is going to harm America, she just wants to serve Mossad through them.”
This part would be edited out of the recording but Raymond had been very clear. He wanted Ari Haswari to know why he was going to be delivered to NCIS with a few more puncture wounds in him. “It was giving Mr. Reddington’s husband the plague he objects to. You’ve been most helpful ... and now I will start to track down anyone who helped you.”
With the man’s usefulness at an end, for now, Dembe cold-cocked him so he slumped unconscious in the chair.
Jenny Shepard had taken charge at a most interesting time. A direct attack against the MCRT. Ziva, an old contact she’d made in Israel, had come with her to NCIS. As the SFA was injured or dying, the reports were unclear.
“Gibbs, you have a liaison to help you. This is Officer Ziva David, Mossad ... She can help.”
Gibbs couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “And how will Ms. David help me exactly. Does she know our terrorist?”
Ziva pursed her lips. “Quite well, or at least I used to. He was my brother before his allegiances became less clear.”
Gibbs was intrigued. “I don’t like this, it stinks but if you can get me close to Haswari, then welcome aboard.”
There was a commotion outside and Gibbs went to look at it. “Huh. Now there is something you don’t see every day.”
That something you don’t see every day was Ari Haswari - in a box, having been stuffed in it. The nice touch was the bow around the box, and the recording playing with Ari admitting to everything.
The questioning voice was garbled and synthesised but it was clear that both Jenny and their new liaison officer had a lot to answer for.
Tony was doing better, he had to be as he could now breathe without an instrument doing it for him. The best part was now that had happened, Red thought nothing of sleeping in the bed with him. Tony was unashamed to admit that right now, whilst sleep was a necessary and prudent course of action, he was more than a little terrified that he would go to sleep and then not wake back up.
He could sleep but it helped if he could curl into Raymond’s side. As much as the doctors were reluctant to allow it to happen, they couldn’t argue with the benefit and the results it yielded.
Gibbs found himself back in the room with Tony and his husband. There was something off about the man but Gibbs trusted Tony. He knew his SFA would not marry a bad man - his upbringing wouldn’t let him. “What’s your name again?”
“You mean to say you haven’t investigated?”
Gibbs shrugged. “Well, I know your name is Alan Shore, or at least that is what the records state. I just don’t see you as a lawyer.”
Raymond smirked because truth be told, he was rather good at it - and Alan was one of his fondest legends. The only one of the partners at the law firm to have the truth was his long term good friend, Denny Crane. “I’ll have you know that I am the scourge of most judges in and around the Boston area.”
Gibbs said nothing just stared at Tony in a way that Red was not too fond of. This was his husband after all. “Is there something I can help you with, Agent Gibbs? If there is to be an interrogation ... I would ask you to keep the noise down as Tony has only just gotten to sleep.”
“Did you have anything to do with Ari Haswari and the David family plans unravelling with NCIS?”
Raymond just looked at him. “In between calls to my law firm and playing worried husband and now teddy bear? Sadly, I would say I have yet to have the time to ruin anyone who hurt Tony. It was on my to-do list ... I will confess to that.”
Gibbs stared at him for a few seconds more before he charged away - not getting the answers he might want. Honestly, some men could be so ungrateful for gifts when they were bestowed upon them. Thanks to Red, the man still had most of his MCRT.
Gibbs was going to lose Tony as Red didn’t want his husband so far away. He was sure it was about time for Alan’s cop husband to come to Boston and they could be scandalous together. That was the success to a good secret identity - you needed it to be so separate from your real life that no one would ever believe the two people could be connected.
And it wasn’t like Red wouldn’t win this argument for once - Tony had caught the goddamn plague so he wasn’t letting him stay with NCIS any longer. He’d worry too much and that would be bad for both of them.
Gibbs had thought to wait for Tony to come back to NCIS. Only it never happened, there was too much upheaval. Jenny, his ex-flame, had set the record for the shortest time in the big chair at NCIS and he was tasked with helping Leon Vance steady the ship at the agency.
Tony had used the time to slip away and by time Gibbs got around to his apartment. It was all packed away like no one had ever been there. There was only a single crisp white piece of paper.
Thanks for everything, Boss. It was time to move on - don’t go hunting any whales, Captain. I won’t be there on your six.
Chapter 5: Change of Circumstances (Owen Shaw)
Tony was tired of running. He’d been burnt in Baltimore so badly that he couldn’t redeem his record. He had a choice, he could try and come in and risk being screwed over and sent to jail ... or adapt.
Tony never would look good in orange.
So he’d taken option two. He’d gone deeper underground and Antonio DeMarco was no longer a legend, it was him. He would live and breathe the character until it became more him than frat-boy DiNozzo ever was. Although, he was going to lessen off on some of the more psychotic elements he’d shown as a mob enforcer as that side of him was not something he wanted to be doing unless under extreme circumstances.
DeMarco moved from being a Mob enforcer into a mercenary for hire. Tony had used one of his hidden accounts to get his training up to scratch so that he could work as one. His travels and jobs saw him tour the world and for a while, he was in England.
The nightclub was teeming with bodies, which was perfect. Tony had too much energy and wanted to dance and even, if necessary, fuck his way to exhaustion.
He wasn’t worried about the people around him, the club catered for the underworld as they also, at times, just wanted to dance in peace. There were even rules; no business, just fun. If you broke that - you were kicked out and barred from ever returning and that would be a crying shame.
Tony slipped off the dance floor to grab an ale, as that was the in thing right now. He did like the ale in England at least. He threw his head back and drank several large gulps, not noticing that his top had crept up revealing a hint of the toned stomach beneath.
“You are new here.”
Tony turned around, placing the bottle on the side. “No, I’m a regular.”
The cute guy smirked at him and it promised filthy wicked things. He observed. “Not with that accent.”
Tony’s grin was all faux innocence as he switched to a crisp British Upper-class accent. “Oh, are you so sure of yourself?”
Owen chuckled at the sarcastic retort. “You would still be a long way from home.”
Tony smirked. “Maybe, maybe not. I’m Antonio.”
Owen kissed his hand with old-school style. “Owen.”
Tony quirked an eyebrow in a challenge. “So do you dance as well as you pick up accents?”
Owen tugged his hand, yanking him back to the dancefloor. “Better,” was the one-word assurance.
Tony’s dance partner knew what he was doing. Tony was along for the ride almost, it was the most alive he’d felt since Baltimore. He left Owen with a kiss to the cheek and left the club with a swagger to his hips. As much as he might want to have taken it further, he wasn’t naive. Owen was a dangerous man and one he wouldn’t get tangled with until he got more information.
A day later and Tony was getting a coffee from the place around the corner from his flat when he bumped into his dancer. “Hello again.” Tony somehow doubted this was coincidence but he didn’t mind as he’d done his research on Owen the evening before. He was a criminal, high-class thief and lethal-combat asset trained soldier with enhanced driving skills.
An interesting guy.
“Mr. Tonio.” Owen greeted him.
Tony smiled, all ease and confidence. He might have a bad boy stalker but he was no slouch when it came to protecting himself. “So formal and if you are going to call me that, it should be Mr. DeMarco.”
Owen showed intrigue and curiosity so openly on his face. DeMarco was the reason Braga wouldn’t go anywhere near Baltimore. He wasn’t scared of the ruling Mob family up there but he’d heard tales of their pet thug that made him wary to tread foot in the state. Owen, if he was an average person, may have found it difficult to reconcile the happy chap in front of him with the psycho from Baltimore. He wasn’t average, he knew all too well that the most sinister people hid their danger behind a smile. “You are a long way from Baltimore,” was his simple but telling reply.
Tony sighed because he didn’t think he’d ever be free of the blasted city. “The family and I had a parting of ways. The Don thought I should marry his daughter, and I disagreed on the grounds that I am gay.”
“That was some disagreement.” Owen observed with that marvellous British understatement.
Tony chuckled. “He didn’t take a hint so I made sure he realised it was a bad idea to follow me.”
Owen handed him a card, deciding bold was the way to go. “Come see me about a job.” Turning, he started toward the door.
Tony shouted after him. “I wanted a date!” He was under no illusions as to what Owen was but with all the bad boy qualities there were quite a few good ones peeking through too.
Owen whirled around on his feet and with a teasing grin. “Who says you can’t do both?”
Fast forward a year and it was well-known that Tonio was both Owen’s lover and his second in command. Moscow was their next job (in theory) and Tony was arguing with Owen. He was a smart guy though, and they were arguing in their bedroom. He wouldn’t do this in front of the team.
“Have you thought this through?”
Owen looked at him as if he’d suggested something crazy. Tony wasn’t going to be deterred. Yes, the payoff for this would be great but the risks were astronomically high.
“You worried about me?” Owen asked with typical bravado.
Tony sucked in a deep breath. “Darling, you’re not unbreakable. You’re damn good and I won’t deny that but you can be killed. You do this and you are going to have the US military, DSS and Interpol down your neck and that is a lot of heat for anyone to operate and then disappear.”
Owen snorted. “You did.”
Tony rolled his eyes. “I was a damn undercover operative who got burnt and found working the other side of the fence was more fun. Came with a hot lover too ... BUT it also means I know what I am talking about.”
Owen sat down on the edge of the bed. “You know the team works for the thrill of the chase.”
Tony chuckled as that was oh so true, they all did. The adrenaline high was like no other. He massaged Owen’s shoulders. “You’ll figure it out but you see, what I want is my hot lover to stay on the outside with me.”
Tony said nothing else and chose to distract Owen with other means. He had a plan, he was going to call in the big guns. He just needed to send a text message.
Tony was drinking in his favourite club when a hand dropped to his shoulder. He didn’t flinch or react outwardly. The glass in front of him let him see it was Deckard, Owen’s big brother. “Now what is a nice little psycho like you doing asking for my help?”
Tony huffed. “I don’t know why people keeping calling me that.”
Deckard smirked, knowing full well the man did. “No? Well, you know how it is. You do one job, leave one man alive to tell the tale. He retells it for drinks and by the end of the whispers you bathed the walls in blood and laughed in the pools of it coagulating at your feet.”
Tony shrugged because he wasn’t going to admit that he’d gone into the room, tranqued the men, called in some makeup artists. It was all very artsy but the photos were just so realistic. Deckard was right too, he’d gone back to the Don with the photos of his
and he’d been elevated into the inner circle overnight for his spectacular display of loyalty. Still, now that Tony was working with criminals, he chose to do nothing to dispel the rumour. His supposed psychopathy had worked in his favour on more than one occasion. He played it coy with Deckard. “It wasn’t nearly as vivid as that, or, I don’t recall it.”
“I’m sure you’re an innocent flower.” Came the amused reply.
Tony smile was all that was wholesome. “Yeah. So anyway, your brother is about to do something stupid and I could use the backup.”
“What’s the idiot wanting to do?”
Tony huffed. “Steal all the parts for an EMP. Ballsy. He’ll manage it, it’s what happens after that bothers me.”
Deckard sighed. “Get me a beer.”
Tony signalled for the barman to bring them two more. Deckard thought about it. “Who will they send?”
Tony shrugged. “Kort, my contact at the CIA, suggests Gibbs and he is apparently like a terminator with no weaknesses as he is a lone wolf.”
Deckard chuckled. “Well, let the fun and games begin.”
“You’re supposed to be on my side.” Tony protested.
Deckard smirked. “Oh, I am but this will cement your relationship which means mumsy will be off my back and I can continue to have my fun.”
“I hate you.” Tony pouted.
“Don’t talk to your brother-in-law like that, I will be the one to help you protect his sorry ass.”
Tony clinked their glasses together. “To family.”
And that was a vow they kept together. Owen was his everything - and when Owen got hurt he became something dangerous - the wild card . There was only one person who could keep him in check with Owen in the hospital, only trouble was, Deckard was right by his side playing cheerleader. Tony had never intended to go Darkside but circumstances changed all that, and he never regretted a single minute.
Chapter 6: Hidden facets (Richard Roper)
For the sake of this age gap between Tony and Richard has been extended to 15 years.
Jonathan Pine had a plan. At least, he thought it was full proof but now he was not so sure. He’d thought that that asking to be the Night Manager of a hotel in the ass end of the world where it was so cold no one sane wanted to be there was perfect. He could grieve and put behind him the death of his one-time lover. He could also handle the guilt of not having said no to MI6 who wanted to use his grief to chase down the catalyst.
Only it now seemed that it now seemed that he was going to come face to face with the man after all.
The Desk freaked out. “Sir, Richard Roper has phoned through. He will be landing in an hour with another party and has a list a mile wide.”
Jonathan sighed looking at the list of demands, there was a suite for the Ropers, then one next to him either side for the friends and workers. Finally, there was the other party who he wanted to be housed away from him. There was also a demand for all workers to go home and only the legendary, discrete Night Manager should remain.
He sighed. “This should be interesting.”
Jonathan watched the three choppers land on the multi helipads and saw the man himself slip out, quickly followed by a younger male with bright green eyes. The man was carrying a young child who he assumed was the son.
Pine knew the son’s mother had died in a car crash, a dark thought crossed his mind wondering if was an accident.
The young male grinned at Roper. “I will put Danny down for the night whilst you play businessman.”
“That playing is what keeps you in finery.” Roper shouted at his retreating back.
Pine chuckled internally - Not the Manny then.
Pine followed them to their room as it seemed Roper didn’t want to just let his boyfriend put the son down. The look in the billionaire’s eye was one of pure possessiveness and yet the younger man didn’t blink. It was like it wasn’t a big deal to him. How could anyone live with the monster willingly?
Only Pine didn’t know that it hadn’t started off as a love-affair but rather Tony’s father settling a business deal.
Roper pulled the lover into a filthy kiss, uncaring of the fact that he was still in the room. The love pulled away, “Don’t make the night manager uncomfortable, Richard.” He lightly chastised.
Roper had an unrepentant grin, letting Pine know that he didn’t care for his feelings. “Sorry, Darling. You’re just too irresistible, Tony.”
Pine saw the faint hint of a blush which made Tony look rather captivating. He judged the age gap to be somewhere around fifteen years but that was nothing new with the wealthy.
Tony pulled out of his grasp with an impish grin. “Well, I will leave you to business, don’t take all night. It’s cold.”
Roper huffed at his lover. “Do I look as if I need an incentive to be with you?”
Tony smirked at Roper as he sashayed into the bedroom, a suggestive grin on his face. And as a result, Pine was left alone with the billionaire. He longed for this Tony to come back and provide a buffer between them.
Roper sighed. “That one’s been trouble and mischief since I met him.”
Pine smiled cordially. “It is clear that you’re crazy for one another.”
Roper did grin at that. “This world is too big; too crazy to not share it with somebody. You should find a younger lover who makes you see the world through their eyes.”
“That’s good advice, Sir.” Jonathan gritted his teeth as he had done that, and she’d ended up dead, no thanks to the man in front of him. To Roper’s face, he said. “I will keep it in mind.”
Pine had wondered if the lover, Tony, was merely arm-candy but had his answer a few hours later. The business party wasn’t going so well and Roper was getting frustrated no matter how excellent the drinks Jonathon created. It got so bad, Roper snapped at his friend. “Corky, get Tony and tell him he is needed.”
The man looked devastated. “Boss, I can do this.”
“Evidently you can’t, now get Tony and then keep Danny safe.” Roper finished, with a hint of steel. The implication being he wasn’t going to like what happened if he tested him further.
The man, Corky, positively flounced out of the room. Pine could admit that he breathed easier. The man unsettled him as he kept looking at him like he was a piece of meat he wouldn’t mind too much eating.
The Saudi businessman looked confused. “I thought you wanted to do business?”
Roper smiled. “Oh, I do.”
“Which is why he called for me.”
Tony was back and Pine could admit that was quite the entrance into the room. He looked completely different now in a three-piece Zegna suit. He met the businessman, shaking his hands and spoke in flawless Arabic. “Sorry, this is supposed to be my day off to stay with my son.”
“You’re a good family man.”
Tony grinned. “Why else do we go into business? Now you need supplies and Mr. Roper has the means to provide you with the supplies. So let’s get down to business.”
It was a masterful performance, the other party stopped discussing plans in Arabic as now they knew there was someone who understood. Jonathan was certain they’d switched to Pashto.
The deal was ending which was good as Pine might just get to see his bed sometime soon which would be nice. There was something amiss, the others hadn’t caught it but Tony was on edge that much was obvious. He watched the handshake between Roper and the other businessman like a hawk.
As soon as they’d shook hands, Tony spoke. “You should be aware that should your associates make the move you’re planning, I will gut you where you stand.”
“My cousin is a member of the Royal Family they would seek retribution against you and yours.”
Tony just snickered as a cold grin settled on his face. “Oh, you’re misinformed. I am a childhood friend of the Crown Prince and should I breathe a word of how you wanted to break faith and then threatened me and mine, well, I wonder who the retribution will be sought against?”
The smirk on Roper’s face said he knew it wouldn’t be against him. Everyone else froze as a battle of wills ensued, Jonathan knew it would take only a spark to explode.
It ended when the Saudi businessmen chuckled ruefully and shook Roper’s hand. “You’re a lucky man.”
Roper smirked. “Oh, I know.”
It seemed, having been bested, the Saudi delegation decided to leave the hotel via chopper as soon as possible. The cheers of Roper’s entourage started not a second later.
Pine had stepped out onto the balcony to escape the noise and revelry inside.
“You know you are a man at war with yourself.”
Pine turned around to see Tony standing in front of him. He carried on smoking but answered honestly. “I’m aware but this place is great for introspection.”
Tony chuckled. “You couldn’t have done that somewhere warmer?”
“Too many people.”
Tony turned to him and his look was one of pure seriousness. “You know everyone is a mix of good and bad. You have to choose how much you can accept.”
Pine let the confusion show on his face because how did this young man know so much about him. “I’m not following.”
“Yes you are, you’re just uncomfortable.”
“You are not wrong there.” Pine admitted.
The man leant against the railing and started to speak. “You know before my father sold me as chattel, I summered with my mother’s family - The Paddington’s of Oxford. I stayed in contact and Cousin Crispin warned me that an Agent Burr has a vendetta against my husband. She is being watched closely and any operation she launches will be unsanctioned and unsupported by the British Government.”
Pine didn’t think his day could get any stranger - he was wrong. “What are you saying?”
Tony turned around, leaning against the railings. “Let me tell you a story. I was eighteen and my father, Mr. DiNozzo, used me as leverage for a business deal.”
Pine stayed silent, spellbound by a story he wanted to hear.
Tony continued. “My father was more con man than a businessman, he believed Richard was a business tycoon.”
Tony nodded his head. “He’s always been the Alpha male so I followed him to the Island. I expected to be dragged to his bed but I wasn’t. He asked me to translate and he exploited my knowledge of the Arab world I’d gained watching my father.”
“But you did go to his bed.” Jonathan noted. The how could you? Was left unsaid but plain in the tone of his voice.
Tony shrugged. “On my 21st no less, he wined me, dined me and took me to the Superbowl. It was a great day. He is ruthless but he looks after his family.”
Pine understood what the man was saying. A person’s circumstances spoke to their character. He couldn’t imagine being sold in an arranged marriage. It was positively archaic and yet here was Tony. He’d made the best of what he had, he could also see how Roper had succeeded. Roper offered Tony what he wanted - family.
Pine asked a question that he was curious about. “Would you have gutted him?”
Tony flipped the knife from a hidden sheath. “With this and yes.”
Pine shivered as he’d not thought the man would be the danger when he’d stepped off the chopper earlier that evening. “You’re scarier.”
Tony shrugged. “There is nothing more dangerous than a man who fights for his family, and come what may, Richard and Danny are mine. We chose each other and I won’t let anyone take them from me ... You should be careful - those cigarettes will shorten your life.”
With his piece said, Tony left him alone. Pine shivered because he understood what that meeting was about. Tony had engineered the whole thing to warn him away. The whole thing was a promise that should he take Agent Burr up on her offer - Pine’s life would shorten dramatically, never mind his smoking.
Pine understood Tony a little better, the world was not white or black, it was shades of grey. The young man had not been given many choices in his life - So he’d cut his cloth accordingly and built a life that he could live with. Pine wasn’t sure if he envied him or pitied him. What he did know was that he had no intention of crossing Tony DiNozzo.
Chapter 7: First Love never lasts (Joe Carroll)
Warnings and Background: The chapter contains canon-level violence and peril in lines with the show the Following. A show centered around a charismatic serial killer (Carroll played by James Purefoy) and the cult he creates to escape from his jail cell. Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) is the agent sent for as he was the one to catch him originally.
Blood, murder, violence, kidnapping are all part of this chapter.
Tony never spoke about why he’d left one particular police department. Sure, everyone knew about Philly and about Baltimore but no one ever found out about Virginia. There must have been a story to it but DiNozzo never said a word. There was a very good reason for it - He wanted to never think about his ex-husband ever again.
Tony was watching the breaking news on the screen and only his iron will prevented him from collapsing. No. It couldn’t be. There had to be a mistake. For Christ sake, what was security like if he could just walk out the front door! This was a travesty. He had to go, he had to get out of DC. Joe would make his way to the city to find him. He didn’t believe WitSec when they said they’d sufficiently hidden his identity.
“Tony!” Kate’s voice shouted.
He didn’t respond to the name as it wasn’t his real name. He was lost in his memories of what, at the time, he’d felt were his happiest memories.
“Claude? Where are you?”
Claude looked up and grinned. “In here, husband of mine.”
Claude had met Joe when they’d both been TA’s, granted in different departments, but they’d struck up a conversation and hadn’t looked back. “Oh, we have a guest?”
“This Agent Hardy, he is investigating those tragic murders.”
Tony paled as one of the victims had been in his class. Sweet girl and had a small crush on him, he’d let her down as gently as he could. “Well, you’re welcome to dinner and we’ll help as best as we can.
“Thank you, Professor Matthews.”
Tony smiled softly, the ink was barely dry on his Ph.D. and he was the youngest person to reach that level. He’d had an incentive, wanting to stay with Joe, and as he’d reached tenure he didn’t want there to be any appearance of impropriety. “You’re welcome. You’ve saved me from the insanity of grading.”
Hardy nodded and asked tentatively. “You’re very young for a professor?”
Claude laughed. “Thank you but a leg injury left me a lot of time to study and I put the time to good use.”
“Yeah, dates with me.” Joe interrupted.
Claude shivered, noting the possessive glint in his eye. He wanted Joe to know there was no threat from the eager agent. He gave his husband a crooked grin . “I was powerless to resist once you read poetry to me.”
Claude had become Anthony DiNozzo Jnr as a consequence of WitSec. They’d been shocked when he’d decided to join the academy with his new identity. For Tony it was simple, he didn’t want there to be any more campus murders simply because he’d been besotted with a lover.
There would be no more serious relationships after Joe - Tony had vowed to be a love ‘em and leave ’em type. There was less pain that way. Plus, a stupid part of his mind, no matter how much therapy he had, couldn’t shake the idea that Joe would find out about them and hurt his partners.
A voice called to him, another one from his past. “Claude, come on. You need to be on your feet.”
Tony groaned and saw the MCRT around him but with one other. “Ryan.”
Hardy looked worried and tired. Tony sighed because Joe had taken a few pieces from both of them. From Claude, Joe had taken mental and from Ryan Hardy, those pieces had been physical. “You heard the news?”
Tony/Claude nodded his head and man, that was starting to hurt his head. He’d worked hard to craft the uncaring person and one damn interview was tearing down his carefully constructed shields.
And then reality struck. “What the hell is going on? And what the hell did you just call my SFA?”
Tony chuckled weakly because man, this was going to destroy the team’s perceptions of him. “Can we take this to a conference room, please?”
Tony had made his way to the conference room while watching a freaked McGee and Todd whisper between each other. They were not at all subtle and Gibbs looked like he wanted to head slap everybody.
Hardy was standing to the side and Tony could see the years had been hard on the agent. He’d stopped Joe but he’d paid a heavy price for it. He felt bad, the man had saved his life but he couldn’t deal with any of it so he’d cut and run. “You ready?”
Tony shook his head. “Not even close but Joe has recruited a cult of freaky serial killer wannabes so I won’t have them unprepared.”
Hardy understood. “He will come after us both.”
Tony chuckled as that was a given. “Oh I know, but I am not that man anymore.” He was no longer a bookish academic. He’d changed his personality so much to try and forget that entire time period. He wouldn’t mind putting a bullet between Joe’s eyes for what the bastard had done those girls.
“Let’s get this show on the road.”
They were assaulted by several questions all at once. Tony rolled his eyes. “Okay, you understand what witness protection is, correct?”
Kate snorted. “We’re not dimwits.”
Tony bit his tongue, he was freaked about Joe, he didn’t need to be a complete bastard - even if he was presented with a perfect opening. “Right then, so there was an incident and I asked to go into WitSec. I picked a life that was as far removed from the one I’d lived. Plus, I’d joined the police as a way to thank Hardy here for saving my life. I’m a great believer in pay it forward.”
Gibbs could see a thousand questions on the lips of the others so he cut through it. “Tell them who you were, Tony.”
“I was Professor Claude Mathews, the youngest and recently married professor on the Virginia campus just before the Campus Murders started up.”
Kate gasped. “Joe Carroll was your husband?”
Tony shrugged because what was he supposed to say. “Yeah, I was young and dumb. Worse, I was in love. Now, do you understand my love ‘em and leave them attitude?”
Kate was stunned. She couldn’t imagine what he’d gone through. McGee though, showing less sense. “You were a professor?”
Tony rolled his eyes as typical McEgo - he’d only focussed on the facts that he’d wanted to hear. “Yep. How’s your worldview?”
It was a distraction for a mere second. Whilst he was focussing on his teammates' reactions to him being a lot smarter than he pretended - well, he could ignore the fact that Joe was in the big wide world perverting others to his twisted cause. “Christ, we need to find Sarah. He’ll go for her first.”
Hardy didn’t deny it as that was his assessment also. “I figure the FBI will come looking for us soon.”
Tony grimaced as he could honestly say that he’d liked only a small number of FBI agents over the years. Ryan was at the top of the list and he was a former agent. Joe had done more than murder those girls, he’d killed a promising career with his psychotic ways. “Joy of joys.”
Gibbs was shocked but he adapted, there was no other way. He was proud of the fact Tony hadn’t apologised for his past. Good. A man was judged by his actions and Tony’s spoke volumes.
“Now we know, is it Tony or Claude?”
Tony grinned. “I prefer Tony - helps me put distance between me and Virginia. Ryan is probably the only one I can stomach calling me Claude if I’m being honest.”
Gibbs wondered if Tony had considered why he didn’t mind Hardy calling him by his given name. There was chemistry between the pair, even tired and haunting. It wasn’t overt or sexual, it was in the little things - like how close they were standing. Yeah, Carroll was going to lose his mind if he saw them like this.
What it wouldn’t be hard to do was set a trap. He’d talked to Tony, this was only going to work though if they played it smart and kept those in the know to a bare minimum.
Tony growled at the injustice. “The bastard gutted her like she was nothing.”
Hardy was morose as well. Sarah had been his success in the otherwise crappy case. He’d lost his kidney and nearly been eviscerated but she’d lived and gone on to become a doctor. It was the win that stopped him going fully into the bottle. Now she was gone.
“We’ll get him.”
Tony sighed. “You saw the broadcast. His followers will keep killing until I offer myself. Christ, he always had a healthy ego but he talks like he’s a god now. The trouble is I am not willing to sacrifice myself to the mad bastard.”
Gibbs knocked on the door. “Good - you two are alone. So let’s sort out a plan to catch the bastard.”
Tony smiled and was glad that Gibbs had bullied his way on to the task force, ostensibly as his protection. “Please tell me you have your Remington.”
“Just need a target.”
Well, that wasn’t strictly true. They knew the target, they just had to find him. It wouldn’t be long until he’d reveal himself. It was like Tony had told the task force. Joe wasn’t the patient type - he’d strike quickly looking for the gratification. Sarah’s death had been about rectifying a mistake. The new story was focussing on revenge and reclaiming what he saw as his. So killing Ryan in front of Tony would be the finale of this adventure in Joe’s mind. He said as much.
There were times like now, he wished he wasn’t right. Too bad, he’d been spot on. Joe’s followers had attacked the headquarters of the taskforce for the serial killer cult. Joe’s acolytes had been brutal and unhinged, killing so many before knocking out himself and Ryan. Tony prayed that the agents survived the attack.
He’d awoken stripped to his boxers and tied to a chair. They were in a boathouse of some kind. Tony could hear the boat knocking against its mooring. When he looked out the window, he saw the lighthouse. Christ, this was a part of Joe’s book. It hadn’t been successful until after he’d been convicted.
What he saw when he looked around the dilapidated room scared him. Ryan was tied to the table and Joe, his husband was standing over him. Tony pleaded, willing to do anything not to have another death on his conscience because of his husband. “Joe - you don’t have to do this.”
“Oh lover, I do.” Joe purred. That voice, once so sensual and passionate that it would make Tony weak at the knees, now it just made him sick.
Tony strained against the chair he was tied to, wishing he could break free. “Why? You’ve got me. We can disappear.”
He’d play along until Abby could track him no matter if all he wanted to do was lose the contents of his stomach.
“You left me to rot, Claude!” Joe sneered. He obviously wasn’t convinced by Tony’s change of heart.
Tony glared. “What the hell was I supposed to do. You were put in jail for life!!!!!”
“You could have visited me. We took vows, you know.” Joe said with a smirk. It was a macabre tableau considering the knife that was hovering over Hardy’s chest, right over the scar from their previous encounter.
Tony choked back a hysterical laugh at the calm sass Joe was giving him. Tony couldn’t help but respond in kind. “I don’t think the for better or worse clause considered your husband was locked up for serial murders.”
“I was lonely inside.”
Tony couldn’t hold back his coughing fit any longer. The cold from the river bank and the damp weather playing havoc with his lungs. He gasped out. “Need water.”
Joe rushed to his side, holding the water carefully for him to sip from. This was harder than he thought. Tony flashed back to the times when Joe had looked after him when he was ill. Only now, the memory was tainted with blood.
“What is wrong with you, Claude?”
“I got the plague a month ago.” Tony whispered, weak from his coughing fit. He tried not to react to Joe stroking his cheek but it was instinct.
Joe smiled softly at him. If Tony didn’t know better, he would think Joe was still in love with him. Obsession wasn’t love though, it was just danger and trouble. “This is why you need me, lover. You get into too much trouble without me.”
Tony closed his eyes and leaned into the touch. If he closed his eyes, he could picture it was someone else. He had to be careful because he knew in his heart who he wanted it to be. He tried another argument. “Why can’t we leave the US? Let’s go back to the UK, I learnt the skills for us, no one would be able to find us. A fresh start for you and me, what do you say?”
Joe shook his head. “Not whilst he is alive.” He spat out, pointing with his knife to Hardy.
Tony’s heart started to accelerate. “Leave him, Joe. He doesn’t matter. We do.”
He hated the words and he wished he could show Ryan he didn’t mean them. Joe shook his head. “He needs to die, it is because of him that we were separated.”
Tony wanted to sass back about actually it was his craziness but resisted. He’d had his hands freed from the chair frame but still tied together. This was an improvement, however small. How was he going to keep Joe away from Ryan? The situation was on a tightrope and any wrong step could see him and Ryan dead.
Tony played the wildcard, surely Gibbs couldn’t be too much longer. “You left me alone, not Hardy. Your pretty girls meant more to you than me. You’re right I left, I was jealous because I didn’t feel like I was enough.”
Hardy’s eyes widened but caught Claude’s plan. Smart. He watched as Carroll almost recoiled at the change in Claude and very believable anger.
Joe whispered. “How could you think that?”
Tony snorted in disgust. “You went after young women and then slaughtered them. You said you didn’t have any problems with your sexuality.”
“It wasn’t about that!” Carroll shouted at him.
“Then what was it?” Tony shouted back. He’d had this festering in him all this time and now he actually wanted an answer. The fact it was a perfect distraction just made it sweeter. My god, a little domestic was what was going to get him out of this. If it was he would give his best shrewish wife impression
Tony hissed. “So we’re back to me not being enough.”
Joe shook his head. “No - this is Hardy making you feel this way.”
Tony rolled his eyes. “Oh hardly, he’s trussed up going nowhere with a gag in his mouth. This is all you, darling .”
Carroll was glaring. “I killed them because they were in the way of us.”
Tony chuckled darkly. “No, they weren’t. We were happy before you went into psycho mode. There was no threat to our marriage. I loved you, you were my world and I only ever saw you ... you bastard and you tore that down with your blood and knives.”
Damn. Tony should have been more careful, the use of language around an English professor should always be precise. “Love and hate are two sides of the same coin, Joe. You should know that - you taught it that semester. At the moment, you might be able to persuade me but if you kill Agent Hardy that chance is gone. I will never forgive you that ... I don’t want you killing in my name.”
Joe was in his personal space once again when Tony looked up and saw the glint. He took a deep breath and pushed his chair backward. Joe was left in the air and the bullet went straight through his heart. Bullseye. Gibbs had struck true and Tony had never been so glad for his mentor’s prowess with a sniper rifle.
Joe was a tough son of a bitch but even he would struggle to come back from a bullet to the heart.
Tony ignored the fact he had Joe resting on top of him right now. The help would be storming through the door - he looked at Ryan triumphantly. “We survived him, we beat him.”
Hardy nodded, closing his eyes, shock, and awe at the fact he was still alive. Claude was something else, he’d just gone toe to toe with his serial killer ex-husband and did it whilst tied up. He was falling for the former professor all over again.
Gibbs and the FBI lead agent stormed through the door together. Tony coughed. “Get this son of a bitch off me please.”
Gibbs pulled Joe off him and untied his hands. It was Tony that raced over to Ryan making sure he was okay. Ryan could barely wait for his hands to be freed. He was hugging Claude. “We beat him, didn’t we?”
Tony chuckled. “You bet your ass we did. Can’t come back from that or escape anything other than hell.”
Ryan was leaning into his shoulder, relief making the exhaustion return full. “You know, when we’ve decompressed, how about that date?”
Tony smiled softly. “You’re on.”
To others, it seemed crazy - the idea of Carroll’s ex-husband and the agent that had caught him marrying. Tony didn’t care and Ryan Hardy was as about as healthy as he could be. He was now the professor lecturing at the FBI on profiling. There was no great finale, even better for Tony the chapters of their book kept being written and Tony was going to make sure it was an epic saga.
Now with follow up Sequel - Being Older and Wiser (Ryan Hardy)
Chapter 8: Baby came via Ninjas (Ra's Al Ghul)
So this is more Arrow based Ra's and Nyssa ... but if you choose to imagine Movie verse then that is cool.
Oh, and timeline, canon etc are at my mercy in this fic or it woudn't work.
Ra’s Al Ghul was here on business, and it didn’t bode well for the other person. It was nothing personal but the man had broken faith with him. He was not the type to stay at the top of an organisation known as the League of Assassins and tolerate someone who would break a contract.
He would be the laughing stock of the community.
What he hadn’t predicted was the need to take little Nyssa with him on the mission. Sadly, her Nanny had been killed on a separate mission and he had yet to vet an appropriate replacement. As a result, she would stay with him in his eye line until he could. It was his way and considering his profession it was a sensible prudence.
What he hadn’t predicted was how quickly Merlyn would try to attack him - the damn man had stolen his Nyssa. Star City would be lucky if he didn’t raze it to the ground!
He gripped his sword tighter - Al Sāḥir’s mocking laughter still ringing in his voice. Ra’s would make sure his revenge was swift and brutal.
Tony DiNozzo was kicking around Star City on a semester break. He was about to enter his final year And he had a lot to think about because of his broken leg. He’d recovered but not to the point where he would be able to go pro. He was told to be grateful that he could walk on it but that wasn’t his main thought right now.
The scream of a child distracted him, two people were fighting and he didn’t know what their deal was - he was more concerned by the baby crawling around in the dirt, seemingly forgotten.
He didn’t think - he picked the child up and took her away from the scene. He had no way to get involved in the fight - even if he wanted to. He looked at the sweet child who grinned at him. He sighed because he wasn’t sure what to do next.
There were no signposts for you’ve rescued a child from fighting ninjas, so here is your ten step guide.
“You found little Nyssa!” A new ninja announced. Just how many were there around this city?
Tony held the baby closer to his body. “Yeah, I have. Now, what the hell is going on?”
“Her father will be most pleased.” The new Ninja intoned, looking decidedly relieved to have found the young child.
Tony was very close to freaking out. “And where the hell is her father? And why did he let her go in the first place?”
The Ninja person looked aggrieved but Tony felt it was more than justifiable considering the circumstances. Ninja Three held his hands out for the child. “Give me Nyssa, and I will return her to her father.”
Tony shook his head. “Hell no, I’ll keep hold of the princess. You can show me the way.”
The man-sized Tony up and Tony didn’t know what for. He was going to stand his ground though, and not let his precious bundle go to anyone less than her father. He knew that the father was probably shady as anything but everyone deserved to at least know their father. He knew criminals who were less disappointing than Senior and this man was at least searching for his daughter. He hadn’t forgotten her in a hotel room in Hawaii.
The Ninja kept his head low as he entered the room. Tony was impressed by the way he managed to keep his head bowed and walk. Tony had meant to ask the Ninja his name but forgot in the excitement.
“Ra’s, your child has been found!”
A new voice spoke and Tony could see the man. “You are responsible?”
Tony nodded, “Yes.”
The man was powerful, that much he could tell. There was a regal wealthy air to him as well - it was like his mom’s side of the family only more ingrained and that was impressive. After all, his mother’s side was an old blue-blood aristocratic English family.
The man moved toward him. “I thank you, Mr...?”
The man quirked a lip, amused by his evasion. “No last name?”
“DiNozzo. Is this a job interview? I feel like this is a test.” Tony remarked, feeling a little hunted and going with bold. He was trying to do a good deed and he had a feeling that he was going to pay for it.
The question was with what?
Tony wondered how he ever got here. Oh yeah, he rescued the little princess. His reward was to be whisked away to Nanda Parbat, well, it was less of a reward and more of an order. Still, Tony was the master of making the best of his circumstances.
Tony hadn’t understood how he’d ended up like some sort of Victorian Governess to a young girl with a detached widower father but he had. Only because this was modern day, he was no Mr Rochester and instead the Leader of the League of Assassins.
Tony had thought about escaping in the beginning but two things had stopped him. The first being that the city was stuck on a perilous mountain range and he was enough of a city boy to know that he wouldn’t survive. The second being, he couldn’t forget little Nyssa who he’d taken to calling Amira as a nickname, he dreaded to think how she would have been raised without least one positive influence toward her.
She was six now and Tony had long since given up the idea and instead, he had thrown himself over to being the best tutor he could be. Oh, and that included sword lessons, he wasn’t going to sit idly by after the first assassination attempt.
Today they were actually on the training mats doing various katas. He’d learnt them as a way to regain maximum control over his body after he’d arrived. It had been advice from Ra himself.
“Why doesn’t Daddy date?”
Tony was glad that he was used to hard questions or he might have fallen on his ass. He did see a few of their guards do a double take. He would so be having words with them about appropriate reactions in front of their leader. He could just imagine a reporter asking the Demon head himself about his lack of a love life.
Tony took a deep breath. “Finish your kata, Amira.”
What the pair hadn’t known was that Ra’s had, in fact, heard the question. It was a fair question for the young girl. He’d forgone the concubines, not wanting the complication of another child, not that he didn’t think Nyssa wasn’t a gift. Tony had been a mixed blessing all those years ago. He’d fiercely protected his youngest child and that wasn’t unnoticed. His looks and physique weren’t unnoticed either but firstly Ra’s had thrown himself into making sure his league was secure.
Only it had worked and now his mind wondered and often to dancing green eyes who protect his family fiercely. Feeling like there was no time like the present, he stepped out of the shadows.
“Papa.” She exclaimed, pleased to see him. She looked at him for a cue of what to do next. He was in an exuberant mood and held his arms out for a hug. He’d remembered the night where Tony had memorably had a go at him about showing affection toward his own children. The young man was the only one willing to argue against him.
He let Tony keep that fire because it kept him honest and Ra’s enjoyed how cute Tony looked fired up and passionate. He looked at the guards and with a swift wave of his hands, they disappeared back into the ether. After all, this was not a conversation he would be having in front of them, to begin with. “She is right.”
Tony frowned. “Hey now, that is between you and little Amira .”
Ra’s chuckled and Tony wished he hadn’t worn the simple white-shirt and training pants. They showed off all those wiry muscles and he’d always liked men with a little danger to them. Tony’s surprise grew with Ra’s next question of - “What if I said I wanted dinner with you, and Nyssa can leave early.”
Tony blushed. “I’d like that.”
Ra’s smiled, pleased. “Good, good. I’ll see you this evening in my quarters?”
“I’ll be there.” Tony promised.
Ra’s left their training mat and Tony asked quietly. “What just happened?”
“You agreed to a date with Daddy.”
Tony was a little dazed. He was 27 years old and had learned who he was, maybe not in the way he ever thought he would but life wasn’t clean. He’d chosen to protect Nyssa and yes, that had brought him into contact with the League of Assassins, but at least they lived by an honour code. If there was one thing he’d learned - it’s that real life was lived in shades of grey.
Tony had been by Ra’s side ever since that first date. The man had never taken him for granted and had wooed him with the best of them. Still, their day job interfered occasionally.
Like today for example, Ra’s is growling over breakfast. As they were still in their quarters, Tony smirked and with no small amount of sass added. “Now, I left you with no reason to be that grouchy.”
“Not you. Amira.”
Tony looked up from his papers, his written Arabic had caught up with his spoken command of the language. “What has she done?”
“Caught wind of Ari Haswari.”
Tony groaned because Nyssa was a perfect lieutenant of her father with very few weaknesses. Two in fact. Sara, her lover, and Ari Haswari who dared to hurt Sara. She’d sworn vengeance on him as a result so this wasn’t going to end well, or at least cleanly.
“Where is she?” Tony asked, already annoyed with the situation.
Ra’s looked at him with a smirk. “DC, I thought you said she needed to learn from her mistakes?”
Tony gave him a tart look. “Don’t sass me, Ra’s. I’m going to retrieve her and probably put a bullet in him for his tactics.”
Ra’s snorted, kissed his forehead. “Take the jet and don’t take too long, albadal .”
Tony huffed. “I am so not a wildcard.”
“Oh, you are.” Ra’s responded. “But only to someone who threatens Nyssa, or myself.”
Tony rolled his eyes. “It’s not my fault that the dark-archer didn’t get the message not to mess with you the first time.”
Ra’s chuckled as he walked down the passage. His lover had not just fought the man, he’d destroyed his life piece-by-piece. In fairness, when the authorities had dragged Merlyn away he’d demanded to know why he hadn’t deserved an honourable death.
Tony’s response as he stood by the DA had been in Arabic. Honour is only given to those who’d deserved it. He went in search of their intelligence wing. He needed to know why Haswari was in DC and which authorities might be in the mix. He hated messy situations.
Nyssa has been trailing Ari whilst he played his game of cat and mouse. She’d been amused by his little tête-à-tête with this Gibbs. He had the type of record that would impress her father.
The sister didn’t seem to know whether she was against or with her brother. Honestly, Nyssa couldn’t stand people who couldn’t pick a side in their mind - it was the definition of weakness.
“You know, Amira, your father and I had planned a week off.”
She snorted from her perch. “Then you shouldn’t have picked the Demon Head as a partner.”
Tony shrugged as it was an old argument. In the end, it had boiled down to the fact he was unwilling to leave her in the Den of Assassins and then he’d been seduced by ideas of family and more. “Don’t toy with your food.”
The grin she gave him was all her father. “But this Gibbs is really idiotic, how can he lead his team into a Killzone? He’s was a sniper for Ra’s sake.”
Tony didn’t disagree with her. “Yes but his team shouldn’t pay for his hubris. And since when has your father been a curse word?”
Her look suggested otherwise but she sighed. She could never rebel against Tony’s orders. “Fine.” Then with a wicked grin and a smirk added. “Father’s lieutenants don’t enjoy sparring with father as much as you do. The curse developed after two ended up in the pits.”
Tony sighed as he had heard about that but he’d been on a mission with Nyssa so hadn’t been back at the base. He’d given Ra’s shit about it in the privacy of their rooms. “Nyssa, finish this so we can go home.”
She huffed but the bolt from her arrow was true and pierced the would-be assassin's heart. He died with a look of shock on his face.
Gibbs tried to find Haswari’s killer but was never able to - something about a mythical league of assassins with codes of honour and a terrifying leader with a wildcard second. The tales were too fantastical and he had enough on his plate with Todd, Burley and now Ziva ‘bloody’ David.
And as for Tony - he wasn’t what he might have planned on being but he had a family and was as happy as he could be. Life wasn’t simple but you could make it as difficult or easy as you like.
Chapter 9: Manipulator V Chameleon (Loki)
Warning: Off-stage deaths of key characters! (Just not on an infinity war level of course.)
Manipulator v Chameleon
Tony had watched one too many movies where the hero ended up in slave clothes. There was one thing that never showed in the movies. No matter how slinky and sexy sheer clothes look - they are not practical.
It was just his luck that he’d been at the Pentagon when this God had attacked. Tony’s mind had managed to wrap around aliens far better than some. It was not that strange an idea to him - he’d always felt it pretty arrogant to think that humankind was the only sentient race in the entire universe.
The meeting had run long with SecNav and the alarms had blared. Tony and Gibbs had raced out of the room, weapons drawn. There was no other way to face a threat. They’d faced many things but horned cute aliens who could multiply themselves were something new and Tony’s knife had gone through one of the damn clones.
The alien had found his courage amusing and a stick with blue light was pressed against his chest. He’d seen this turn the others into useless minions. He felt nothing change in him. He was unaffected. He couldn’t show that though or he guessed he would be joining the list of the dead.
“You are such a pretty and deadly Pet. Come show me more of this delightful rock of yours.”
Tony put his best vacant smile on his face. “Yes, My Master.”
He didn’t know what honorific would appease the crazy bastard but Tony was only too happy to use his looks to gain an advantage.
“I will rule this rock!” His
was shouting to the crowd. Tony was not the only standing close to Loki, the other was the Hawk.
“You will all bow before us, pitiful humans. I will ensure your life has meaning.”
Tony didn’t get what the blue glow stick did but it appeared to make everyone subservient to the alien. He’d not been infected, only pretended that he had. He needed to stay close in order to find out what this god's plan was for Earth. Really it was a shame he was batshit crazy as he was smoking hot. Still, Tony had learned not to touch smoking hot crazy after the debacle with Ziva. The only way he could work this role was to play as vacant a person as possible.
The crowd were treated to a spectacle and made to see the awe and power of this new being they’d just met. He was powerful but Tony suspected that this Loki wouldn’t be the last.
Loki looked at his Left Hand. “Go, find me the cube.”
The agent nodded and the eerie blue glow entered his eyes as he spoke. Tony wanted to groan because there was no way for him to fake that. He would just have to make sure that he distracted Loki from that little fact. He didn’t have the equipment to fake that quirk.
Tony would give Loki one thing - he never lived in squalor. “Come here.”
Tony looked around and found that they were alone. Well, this could be uncomfortable or work in his favour. He took a deep breath and moved forward like his limbs were heavy. “Where did everyone go, my King?”
Loki looked around and smiled. Tony wondered if he knew that he would be able to persuade many people with nothing more than his smile. “They were surplus to requirements, my Beauty.”
Tony looked at the clothes and had to remember not to gulp. “Are they for me?”
Loki nodded holding them out. “You will look so much better in my threads than those boring clothes.” Loki’s hand was stroking his face.
Tony wondered if he knew he sounded like a controlling douchebag boyfriend. Sadly, Tony found himself smiling and playing his part. “Thank you, Sir.”
“You are meant to be in this role, the other one was keeping your talents away from your true purpose.” Loki assured him.
Tony inwardly smirked because the god of lies was more right than he knew. He was playing the role to gain intel and waited for any opportunities to arrive. “What is the next part of your glorious purpose?”
Tony dearly wished he wasn’t forced to say these lines. “Well, darling, you have a job to do for me and I need you to be strong.”
Tony pouted, that sounded like he wanted him to split off like Hawkeye. “What do you need to do?”
“Get to Stark Tower, and take Dr Selvig. He needs to build me something.”
Tony bit his lip laying it on thick but knowing it should work. “How long will you be gone?”
Loki kissed him, and Tony leaned into the kiss remembering he was supposed to be a willing supplicant. “Not so long, soon I will have fulfilled my bargain and I will show you my world.”
Tony wondered why on earth the crazy alien wanted him - but for now, he would take it for the win as it was more than likely the reason why he was still alive. He opened his eyes slowly. “I will do as you ask.”
Loki stroked the side of his face and looked him directly in the eyes. Tony projected nothing but calm resolve, keeping any thoughts from going active. If Loki could read his mind, all he would get was Tony thought he was hot and he was imagining him stripping. “Yes, you will. Soon, Pet.”
Tony wasn’t sure what was best - Pet or Beauty. He hoped his time in Loki’s entourage wasn’t long enough to figure out the answer or to gain a new nickname. Still, he would do as ordered if only so he could sabotage the plan somehow, once he got the plan. It wouldn’t be easy - the blue glow stick was turning everyone into a flying monkey.
Tony watched as the strange portal thing was being built. For a brief moment, he wished he could call Mcgeek so he could have at least some clue about what was being built. “Dr Selvig. What’s the problem?”
“We need the cube for the stabilising element. We need our glorious master to return with it. It won’t be stable without it.”
Tony rolled his eyes. “So misfire then?”
Selvig glared and Tony waved him off. “This will be magnificent.”
“If you say so.”
Selvig hissed. “You doubt our liege?”
Tony got up in his face. “I have done all our Lord has asked us, now shut up and get this working.”
As he said that, he slipped a piece of metal in his pocket. He hoped it was enough to disrupt the portal opening. He didn’t think that no matter how much he fluttered his lashes he would be able to stop an alien army slipping through an energy portal.
Loki stormed through the tower, he couldn’t believe those mortals had managed to ensnare his brother to help them. It made things more complicated. He just needed the stone, he could give it to Thanos and he would be free of his debt.
“Ah, Pet. You’re here. I hope you have been more successful and not failed me like the Hawk did.” Loki purred, his eyes dipping lower to the rest of his outfit.
Tony moved toward Loki with a smile. “We arrived and Selvig is making his portal. He just needs the cube to ensure that it will remain ... stable. That was it. It works at the moment but cuts out.”
“We need my army!” Loki hissed.
Tony just stood there, he wasn’t meant to have an answer. “You will fulfil your glorious destiny. You will find a way.”
“Yes, yes. I will.” Loki grinned and he pulled Tony close.
“Soon, the Chitauri army will lay waste to this pathetic city and our bargain will be ended.”
Tony didn’t try and break out of the hug even though he wanted to and affecting his best-confused face replied. “What bargain?”
Loki tilted his head. “Nothing for you to worry your pretty head over.”
Tony hated that he couldn’t be who he was as his response would have been decidedly different. “You are burdened. I want to ease it.” He said so earnestly.
Loki smiled softly. “You are just bowing to my whims.”
Tony shook his head. “No, I really do want to know.”
The conversation was interrupted as Loki could see the incoming red missile. He guessed they figured out some of his plans. “Sorry darling, this will have to wait. I have incoming - step to the side, please.”
Tony wondered why Loki seemed to care about his well-being. It didn’t fit. He considered humans to be ants, he’d said as much several times.
“I have an army, and you’re beneath me.”
“We have a Hulk.” Stark fired in what Tony was sure to be an immortal line. He wanted a gun or a knife or something so he felt less helpless. This sucked.
Stark pointing at Tony. “It seems you don’t mind some of us ants, if you’re updated
I dream of Jeannie
routine is anything to go by.”
Tony made a silent vow to get Stark back for that comment but now was not the time. Although this was building to a climax. He had to admit that he cheered when Hulk smacked Loki into the ground. He had that shit coming for what he’d done to New York and for this god-awful outfit.
“You don’t look so hot, My King.” Tony whispered.
Loki looked at him directly. “The portal needs to be started, tesseract or no tesseract. GO!.”
Stark shouted. “Don’t do it, Jeannie .”
Tony was really going to punch Stark. “Yes, Sir.”
Stark couldn’t grab him and keep an eye on Loki and Hulk and him. “I need reinforcements.”
Tony pressed the lever and the portal fizzled out. Tony managed to look disappointed even as Loki shouted. “NO! YOU FAILED ME, DR SELVIG.”
Stark was enjoying this immensely. “Hey, performance anxiety hits us all.”
Tony finally broke character. “Says the man who’s entire tower is a giant monument to his ego. The name on the side was a classy touch.”
“You’re not enthralled.” Loki said, almost a whisper but it was in shock. He could not have been deceived - he was the deceiver!
Tony shook his head, revelling in the fact he could show his personality. “Nope, and for the record that was an Armani suit that you thought boring.”
Stark was laughing. “Is the no portal your doing?”
Tony nodded and handed Stark a piece of metal. “I think this might have been important.”
Stark was laughing so hard he was bent over double. Hulk rumbled. “Tincan laugh.”
Tony nodded. “He is, big guy.”
The Hulk actually petted Tony’s head. He was okay with it. After all, Loki was still in a crater in the floor. “Pretty.”
Tony wanted to facepalm knowing that there was no way there was going to be able to change that nickname. “Thanks.” Really, if the Hulk wants to call you pretty - you accept the compliment gracefully.
He looked at the alien and there was a measure of pity there. After all, Tony was no stranger to family issues. “I want you to know, I don’t think it would ever have worked out. I mean, I am a Federal Agent and you’re a crazy alien god. We really are from two different worlds.”
His speech finished, he walked out of the room. He wanted normality but that was gone. Yesterday he’d been meeting SecNav, the next aliens were real and he’d watched his boss be mown down by a bullet.
The lift arrived and getting out of here sounded good. The superheroes were on their way - so mop up did not need him.
“Er, Agent DiNozzo. Director Fury is requesting you stay.”
Tony sighed because after his day - of course, the building talked. “Do you have a name?”
“Mr Stark called me JARVIS.”
Tony grinned. “Neat - and why does Director Fury want me?”
The voice that was patched through the speakers. “You just tricked the God of Lies, I want you working for me. There is a fight coming and your almost beau is just the tip of the iceberg.”
Tony wondered why his life was so strange. He’d never had a job offer whilst in an elevator but then again, he’d never been in Stark Tower. He seriously doubted he’d tricked the God of Lies. So it did beg the question of why did Loki let him get away with it?. “I get the feeling I won’t have a choice. Have you already taken care of the transfer paperwork?.”
Fury had a shit eating grin on his face. “I did. It needed to be done. I need a handler capable of handling the Avengers.”
“Fuck my life!” Tony said even as the elevator opened up. “Stark, please get me some proper clothes.”
The redhead, the Black Widow, handed him a shield body armour suit. “Courtesy of Fury.”
Tony nodded his thanks.
“Do you think you’ll be capable of holding me?” Loki said to the group, who was now in handcuffs.
Tony shrugged. “I try not to stay in touch with exes and you’re just not good for me.”
Stark handed him a cocktail. “We’re going for shawarma and you need to tell me just how you tricked the trickster.”
Tony sighed. “How are we dealing with the trickster?”
“I am taking him back to Asgard where we will be able to hold him. I apologise for any harm my brother caused.”
Tony shrugged him off. “You can make him buy me a new suit.”
“I will be seeing you soon, Pet.” Loki promised.
Tony shivered as he really hoped he didn't. He felt strong enough to be sassy considering he was in the middle of a band of superheroes. “An eternity would be too soon, Loki.”
Tony didn’t get his wish. He saw him much, much sooner than that - but that was a different story.
Chapter 10: Return of the Husband (Deckard Shaw)
Tony jumped hearing the voice as he closed his own front door. He rested his back against it, gathering himself for a moment. He’d dearly been hoping for a quiet evening but that plan was shot out of the window. Tony didn’t bother to hide his anger, after all, it was justified. “What the hell are you doing here, Deck?”
Shaw smirked at him, still a smug and confident git. It was annoying how hot Tony still found that combination.
“Ah babe, is that any way to talk to your husband?”
Tony groaned, sitting in front of him was the exact reason he’d told Director Sheppard to go to hell today. How was he supposed to accept a job where he was supposed to seduce his mark when the smug bastard in front of him still had his heart. “You said the certificate wasn’t legit!”
Deckard shrugged like it was a minor detail he’d gotten wrong. “I did but we were so good and you make it much easier to get into the States, Darlin’.”
Tony growled because he was still so impossible. “I think if I shoot you I will get away with it.”
“You say such sweet things to me, baby.”
Tony laughed despite himself. He did miss Deckard, they’d had a natural chemistry and he’d never been blind to the soldier’s charms. It was the leaving the services and becoming a mercenary for hire that he found harder to stomach. “I’ve missed you too, Deck.”
“How much?” His husband - and Tony was still wrapping his mind around that fact. He needed to know just if Deckard had managed to bury it in his files.
Tony raised an eyebrow but he was equal to Deck’s sass. It was one of the reasons they’d been able to work so well together. “Enough that I haven’t shot you and I just turned down a honeypot job.”
Tony huffed before turning away and heading to his kitchen. He figured he deserved a drink, thank god he had got his shopping the day before. Tony figured he’d go for the jugular. He’d been holding back his feelings at work thanks to Gibbs temper tantrum, and the resultant slide back into immaturity for the rest of his team. “You broke my heart, you bastard. The story I made up to explain you is you were my piano teacher. I call you Wendy when I retell the story.”
As Tony returned and passed him his own drink, Deckard smirked at him. “I recall you being the prettier one in the dress.”
Tony flushed at the direct hit. “That was for the case, you ass.”
Deckard’s smirk grew as he did remember the case fondly. He’d always been easygoing in regard to exploring his sexuality. “I said at the time I would support any and all kinks. I’ll try anything once to see if I like it.”
Tony did, in fact, remember that and he tried to harden his heart. He could already feel himself falling back into old patterns. He wondered what the others at NCIS would think if they saw him now. What would they think, that former specialist Deckard Shaw was the one guy he couldn’t say no to?
“What do you want, Deck? I am not going to ask again. I’ve already had a hell of a day.” Tony said, choosing to risk sitting on the sofa next to him. It was his house, that was the most comfortable spot, and he wasn’t going to let Deck’s sudden reappearance stop him.
“I need your help and connections.”
Tony snorted and let his sarcasm have free reign. “Hi, Honey. How are you doing? I heard you had the plague. I’m sure glad you’re fine.”
“Don’t be like that!” Deckard cajoled him. “I did check on you but being a wanted criminal, I had to be unobtrusive.”
“And whose fault is that you lunatic!” Tony shouted, trying not to screech.
Deckard’s smirk was back. “You’re so cute when you’re angry. You go all British.”
Tony was back to growling. “Talk and quit evading, Deckard. I am not above calling your mother. She is a lovely woman and we commiserate about how you treat me on a monthly basis.”
Deckard choked upon hearing mention of his mother. “You talked to mumsy?”
Tony was grinning now. It was so rare to see Deckard out of sorts. “She has the best sense of humour, and what do you know? I can say that I get on well with my mother-in-law.”
“I am not sure how I feel about that.”
Tony snickered. “Oh Sweetheart, a husband who leaves in the middle of the night with no word for five years gets to say
nothing at all
“Fair enough. Look, it’s Owen. He’s been hurt by Dominic Toretto and his band of merry men and I need to get him out of trouble. I have a plan and you are not going to like it but it’s my brother .”
Tony sighed because really, he could dial the clock back five years and nothing at all would change. “You know your stubbornness is not one of your more attractive qualities.”
“I have them then?” Deckard was flirting with him.
Tony wasn’t sure how to handle this. Today was too surreal as it was, and now he was adjusting to the fact that apparently, he was still married. “Don’t flirt. We’re married -
not liking the sarcasm he heard
. “What do you mean,
in that tone?”
Tony rolled his eyes because now was not the time for Deckard to play sensitive . “Well, sweetheart, I am not unaware of your skill sets. You’ll forgive me if I seek independent confirmation.”
“And how are you going to do that?” Deckard remarked, the challenge clear.
Tony smirked because he’d be damned if he’d let this one go. You did not let any true partner walk over you - he’d seen the damage of not establishing that quick enough at NCIS. He did answer though . “You’re not the only one with connections.”
Deckard leaned in closer
and Tony could smell his aftershave
. “And that is exactly what I’m banking on. It’s my baby brother.”
Tony wasn’t ready to deal with this at the moment.
He took a step to the side, letting his nose and senses clear. He needed space so he could keep some objectivity.
“Go into the spare room and get some sleep whilst I have a chance to think rationally.”
“Well, that’s no fun.”
Tony could not believe Deckard was actually pouting right now - but too bad. He was a grown man and current leader of the MCRT. He knew how to think with his brain and not his dick, no matter what some people’s opinion might be.
Tony thought his previous day might have been a dream but he woke up to the smell of eggs frying. He stumbled into the kitchen with a pair of boxers on at least. “You’re cooking?”
“I can shoot something from 2000 yards - making eggs isn’t beyond me.”
Tony snorted. “Don’t ever say that around Gibbs, he’ll pout as he thinks he is the ultimate sniper.”
Tony frowned. “Why are you adding beans to breakfast?”
“Don’t be so American, Darlin, I’m making you a proper British breakfast.”
Tony sat down at his breakfast island and ate the meal put in front of him. He knew if he was going to make a rational decision he needed all the information. He would get Deckard’s side of the story and then do some quiet digging into the events. “Tell me what you want to do and why.”
Deckard started to speak but Tony held his hand up. “Remember, Deck I want facts, not feelings.”
“I can’t do that, it’s Owen.”
Tony rolled his eyes. “I am not stupid. I’m aware of the familial bias but if I am going to put my job on the line, I need to know why.”
Deckard sighed and knew that Tony wasn’t going to stay this calm. “I did a deal with your government ... I do three jobs for them, and me and Owen are American citizens for real.”
Tony groaned because there was no doubt these tasks would be impossibly difficult. “What the hell did we agree to?” He didn’t notice his slip but his husband did.
“Ask the CIA?”
Tony bashed his head against the table. “I hate those fuckers. Why would you work for them? Is it to hurt me? It’s not like it's my fault I forgot our anniversary as you never told me we were still officially married.”
Deck snorted. “Don’t be a cliche. They have the power to see me and Owen free of our legal troubles and if I have to work for them -so be it. I was hoping you would be by my side. There is no one I trust more.”
Tony looked into Deckard’s eyes. He needed to figure out if this was another ploy or was Deckard telling him the truth. He’d longed to hear these words and that was what made them difficult to swallow. He was not used to getting what he wanted.
Tony had a serious choice to make - to follow his heart or to stay and be miserable at NCIS.
Chapter 11: To a Quick Death (John Wick)
Warnings:- Character Deaths, Stalking and description of a death (electrocution)
If any of these are triggers please avoid!
Oh, and not kind to the David family. Alternate title of this chapter: John wants the David Family to die.
Tony was at work after having returned from Israel and his little run-in with the David family. He should have known that the people at NCIS wouldn't have his back. There was only one small silver lining to the whole FUBAR mess with Rivkin; his husband was happy and had a little project, although whether this was going to be a good or bad thing remained to be seen.
The trouble was that Tony had not tried to dissuade him. Tony could hardly hide the fact that he’d come back from Israel in a worst state than he left for what was supposed to be an interview. When John asked who was responsible - Tony had no problem in telling him. His own anger at his treatment hadn’t calmed at all.
John’s fury had been palpable. Tony wasn’t blind, nor was he stupid. He’d gone into the relationship with his husband with his eyes wide open. As far as he was concerned everyone had a past and he was entitled to it. Tony cared more about actions and John had retired and buried his work gear in thick concrete.
He sat down in his chair and bit back a gasp as he knocked his arm. He knew he probably should have taken the extra week that his medical note would give him - but Tony was stubborn.
There was a voice that sounded suspiciously like John’s in his head saying. “I told you so.”
Tony needed to figure out how to sit at his desk comfortably with his cast sitting at an awkward angle.
As far as Tony could see, there was one blessing - and that was the fact he was alone in the office. Until Ziva stormed in, making a beeline straight for him. “Call him off!”
Tony looked up innocently, pretending not to know what she was talking about. He didn’t feel any sorrow there because she had injured his collarbone further and had received no sanction for it. It had been wiped under the carpet and as a result, when John had flipped - he had no recourse. Tony felt pissed that she was mad at him for surviving a self-defence fight with her crazy boyfriend.
“There is no one to call off. Are you feeling a little paranoid?” Tony asked with a smirk. After all, he was using the exact words against her that she’d used to him on the tarmac of the airport in Israel.
Ziva narrowed her eyes, it was clear she didn’t believe him. She stood resolute in front of him as if her mere presence would cause him to crumble. “There is a professional on my back.”
Tony rolled his eyes. “They can’t be very good if you’re still alive.”
They were at work and she was looking particularly harried. She mustn't have been thinking too clearly, or she would have confronted him somewhere there would be less likely observers. Wow, John must have done a real number on her if she was this freaked out and there was no violence, yet.
“You have something to do with this.” She hissed.
Tony rolled his eyes. “Ziva, my arm is in a cast thanks to your temper. What exactly is it you think I have done?”
She flounced off. Tony could have warned her that actions have consequences. He could have but Tony was realistic and knew that there was no way she would actually listen. He’d been many things but a fan of wasting his breath was not one of them.
Ziva saw the caller ID and answered with a sigh. After all, she may be mad but it was still her father. “Shalom, Father.”
Her father didn’t play, his tone was all business. “My daughter, you have a problem.”
Ziva frowned because she hadn’t done anything that would be even a borderline grey area for her since her return from Israel “With what? You have orchestrated Michael’s end.”
Her father replied. “Don’t be coy with me, Ziva. John Wick is asking about our family. It would appear that we have upset him.”
Ziva sneered even if her father couldn't see her. “So what? He is just a fae story”
A snort of disbelief followed. “He is no fairytale, daughter. Do you not know the legend of John Wick?”
Ziva never really cared for rumours or silly stories and she repeated that over the phone. She thought that she’d already made her feelings clear in that regard.
Her father just laughed at her fondly. “Oh, Ziva. Wick is a man of such focus, commitment, sheer will, that would make even the Kidon blink.”
Ziva thought he must be joking. “How?”
It was story time, it seemed. Her father took a deep breath. “He worked for a Russian Bratva captain, he was known as the boogeyman. His skill with death was unparalleled. Rumours then begin that he wants out. It was the age-old cliche. He’d fallen in love and he didn’t want to drag his partner into his mess.”
“If that is the case then she would be too soft for him. It is not a good fit.”
Eli didn’t want to get into a discussion regarding the suitability of partners. He just needed her to understand just what was at risk. “You don’t understand. The leader of the group gave him a task. It was considered an impossible task. The type you would set so they die trying, it was meant to be a message to anyone else in the group about what would happen should they get the idea to leave.”
“He didn’t die.”
Eli chuckled darkly. “No, he did not. In fact, the bodies he put in the ground laid the foundations for the man’s meteoric rise to control the Moscow area. After that, the Bratva Captain had no choice and allowed him to leave.”
Ziva groaned. “What was his partner’s name?”
“No one knows.”
Ziva had a stray thought - thinking could it be Tony. No, that couldn’t be right as he was the ultimate ladies man, right?
Wrong - however some lessons could only be learned with painful reminders.
“Johnathon, what a pleasure to see you at the Continental. What brings you back to us after so long?”
John smiled. “I need a suit for a trip to Israel. I want to surprise my husband.”
Winston smirked. “Ah, how is young Tony - still a dashing agent?”
John rolled his eyes. “He knew what I was when we married. He doesn't get to complain now.”
Winston nodded, knowing that there was no persuading him otherwise. Plus, if the pair’s marriage worked for them then there was no reason for him to throw stones. “Would your business trip to Israel be husband related?”
John Wick looked up from his shot. “Tell me, are there any active contracts on Eli David?”
Winston snorted. “Several but no one is crazy enough to cut their way through the Kidon that he would no doubt throw in front of himself.”
“I agree.” John remarked with a wry grin. “It would be an impossible task.”
Winston cocked his head to the side. “You would need to be impressively motivated in order to achieve that goal. What would drive a man to that?”
John stood up. “Well, I can’t speak for everyone but I just hope people stop messing with my goddamn husband.”
Ah, Winston had his answer. Love. It really did have the power to motivate John Wick to do incredible feats. He sent up a prayer for the people who had attacked Wick’s husband - they were going to need it.
The next day - Tony was being picked up from work and Ziva noticed the car. It rather stood out amongst the usual drab cars favoured by the agents or her own mini. The car was a classic 1969 Mustang GT.
McGee was standing next to her. “Who is that?”
McGee shrugged. “No idea, but they pick Tony up a lot. Guess he has a girlfriend he doesn’t want to share.”
Ziva’s look spoke volumes. She would get to the bottom of the riddle - she would run the number plate. She went back into the office to do it immediately. Her father’s warning was ringing in her ears. The plate flashed up as belonging to a Jonathon Paddington. Ziva frowned at the picture of the dark-haired man staring at him - there was a link. Paddington was the maiden name of Tony’s mother. So was he a cousin?
Back at their home, Tony was snuggling on his couch with his husband. Tony loved these small moments where neither talked because they didn’t need to. They just soaked up the simple intimacy of staying connected for no other reason than they wanted to. He knew John would be leaving on his trip to Israel as John wanted to discuss a few things with Eli David.
“I can’t stop you.” Tony said, not moving from his husband’s lap.
“No,” John replied softly. There was no point in lying as they would both know it, they had one rule and that was not to lie to each other. John though went in for the kill “You’re worth it even if you don’t think you are.”
Tony flushed because that was one of the things that you never got told about marriage. A true partner knows you inside and out. John knew his vulnerabilities because they were safe with him. “I’m working on believing it. I do around you.”
The bit where he finished it with something like it when he wasn’t - would be the problem.
John was stroking Tony’s hair, knowing that it often sent his hubby to sleep. He still hadn’t shaken off the injuries of the Rivkin/Trip to Israel debacle. “Eli is going to have an accident.”
Tony wanted to protest, the lawman in him should be screaming at John. It should. The problem was he was a human being. How many times had he been betrayed, ignored by his agency, attempted assassinations by other federal agencies be it physical or on his character? There is no way he was ready to betray his country but he was more than willing to call time on not looking after himself first. Tony’s only response as his eyes fluttered closed was, “I hear he is very clumsy.”
Eli David had never expected to live a long life. It was not on the cards with the life choices he’d made. He believed in Israel and wanted to see it protected from all threats. He’d just never believed that Agent Meatball would be the threat that ended his life.
He’d retreated to his country house, it was remote and the Kidon’s best guarded him. He was doing something he rarely let himself be - Introspective.
The bathroom was state of the art and he let himself unrobe and settle in the water. There was something that always would be cathartic about it.
The wine glass he took a sip of and there was a light sedative in it. “You know Eli, you really have let yourself go.”
The man smirked, ”In the flesh.”
The man smiled. “You nearly killed my husband through your orders. And I know your type, Eli. You would want revenge, the fact that he outwitted you and made you look foolish - twice would not sit well. If you were allowed to live, you would only take another chance to try to kill him.”
Eli growled. “You married DiNozzo?”
John nodded his head. He didn’t bother to explain his relationship, he’d never been fond of doing that to anyone. “Yes, and you know what? We keep discussing how clumsy you are. I mean, really Eli, leaving a radio on when it could electrocute you? I thought you were more sensible than that.”
And then the time for words was over, a radio that was on, with its sound turned down was thrown into the water. In between the current and the light sedative, the man never stood a chance.
Daddy down - just his little bitch to go. She was going to be more difficult than escaping from this remote ranch.
Ziva had come back to work after her bereavement leave but even Gibbs had noted she was jumpy as a cat on a hot tin roof.
“What’s got into her?”
Tony knew the answer but he could hardly explain that his husband was playing cat and mouse games with her. Oh, and John would be able to kill her, and still wanted to kill her, whenever he pleased. It was just death was quick and John didn’t want her to have that peace. “No idea, boss. You know you could ask her.”
Gibbs gave him a look that screamed - I already did that, genius.
Tony just snorted. “Look, I don’t talk to her unless it’s case related and there is no head slap in the world that can make me.”
Gibbs was about to say something but he noticed the defiance in his SFA’s voice and looked at him closer. This was one argument that if he started, he wouldn’t win - so he said nothing.
Tony had enacted a state of detente with Ziva. She was on the team but there was no situation in the world where he would go with her being his only back-up. He’d made that abundantly clear to Gibbs when they were on the plane back to the US from Israel. He’d barely been able to stop his whimpers of pain from her little stunt in front of Mossad.
Tim had looked up but quickly put his face back toward the monitor. There was no way he was getting involved in this fight.
Tony just wondered how long it would take for Ziva to say anything to him. Too bad that he wasn’t going to make it easy for her.
It took a whole day until they’d left the building and Tony was walking up to that now ever familiar
“Make him stop.”
Tony whirled around, trusting John to have his back. In fact, he had no doubt there was a weapon trained on her right now. “Make who stop?”
Tony laughed at her. “Why would I know him? Or for that matter, why would he come after you?”
Tony stepped away. “He has his own rules and he got out of the life, Ziva. I don’t think many criminals are going to thank you when word gets around.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
Tony smiled fondly and Ziva had never seen that look - ever. It was a look of a man in love. “He’d retired, Ziva, and now thanks to your actions, he is back in the game and he’s not shy in telling people why.”
Ziva paled and didn’t even think about telling Gibbs. At her core, she was Mossad and solved problems on her own. “Why not just kill me?”
“He would say it is because the dead don’t suffer.” And with that Tony turned his back.
The next day most of NCIS was shocked to find out that Ziva had chosen to return to Israel to refind her faith. All Tony thought was he owed John a spectacular evening for this little treat. He could go to work now and not worry about his life being in danger. Life was good.
Chapter 12: All Roads Lead to Midnight (Manfred Bernado)
Manfred is played by Francois Arnaud. The show is Midnight Texas (NBC) based off the Charlaine Harris.
People do not just end up in Midnight, Texas. It is not a tourist stop and there is nothing much there. A bar, a rundown hotel, a few residents. Oh and a ghost, psychic, witch and vampires.
Tony had floored his Mustang somewhere along Route 66. If you asked him, he would not be able to tell you how he ended up there. He was running on adrenaline, instincts and a nagging spirit. He was ducking from the law and the mafia all while trying not to bleed out. It was quite an ability he had - to piss off people on both sides of the law. He didn’t know why his bosses were upset with him but he was sure his partner had sold him out to cover his own corrupt ass. As soon as the dust settled and he knew which side was going to win he would figure out his next move.
However, Tony was smart enough not to stick around in the meantime. Oh, that and the helpful ghost that kept popping in unannounced to chat with him. It was tricky when he was in mixed company. Thankfully, while he was in his car alone it was a perfect time not to be overseen. It also meant though that he couldn’t escape the conversation.
The latest ghost was an old crone, Xylda, and she was persistent too. She kept insisting, “Go to Midnight.”
Tony sighed because that was all she’d said for the last 100 miles. He’d tried to be polite but he was injured, stressed and tired. “Don’t you have a grandson to annoy?”
She cackled at his vexed response as it was the first time he’d acknowledged her that day. She was smug but couldn’t help it. She was dead, she had little to amuse her these days. “Sure and he is in Midnight.”
Tony rolled his eyes because of course, he was - he should have expected that answer. “You are not subtle, woman.”
She huffed. “Subtlety is for the living.”
Tony sighed and some of his frustrations that he’d been bottling up leaked out. “Look, I was a good cop. I did my job and I did it well and now I have both the law and the mafia on my ass. You’re telling me that people in Midnight can help me? I just don’t see how.” Tony was a realist, it was how he’d survived this long.
She gave him a slight smile but did give him a few hints. “Well, as long as you recognise your old rules are out the window now.”
Tony hurled around a bend in the road. He grimaced as he really needed to find a place to rest and get the bullet out of his side. “Old rules, you mean the law?”
She snorted as if he’d said something really funny. “The human law means very little to the supernatural and that is what lives in Midnight. Be honest with yourself, young man, you are already accepting yourself.”
Tony gave a derisive snort. “I have been battling myself since I was twelve years old and you think just because I’m talking to ghosts now ... that I am all fixed?”
Xylda gave him a look as if he was a naughty child. “Sweetheart. You are a Paddington and that means something. You should also ditch and ignore your wastrel of a father.”
Tony snickered because he agreed with her on that bit. “Oh Xylda, that’s another thing I’ve been trying to do that since I was twelve.”
In Midnight, Manfred, Xylda’s grandson, was finally feeling like one of the populace. Fiji, the sweetness and light witch who had the power to turn someone into a desiccated corpse asked, “What is up with you?”
“My grandmother is quiet.” Manfred tried to explain, knowing it might sound odd. He was trying not to sound suspicious of his dead grandmother but in his defence - you shouldn’t trust her when she was quiet. It usually led to mayhem.
She frowned. “I’m not following - usually she annoys you with her chattiness.”
Manfred looked sheepish as it wasn’t the most charitable thing to say about a family member. “Oh, I love the peace but that means she has a project that’s keeping her busy.”
Fiji had assumed that living in Midnight; embracing her inner witch, and living with the other supernatural residents she’d have heard it all but this was a new one. “How does a dead psychic witch have a pet-project?”
Manfred groaned in the way only someone long-suffering could manage. “She nags people who can see her into accepting themselves.”
Fiji didn’t understand why that would be a bad thing. After all, her own aunt had done something similar for her before she’d passed on from this world, and her frown spoke volumes. “Okay.”
Manfred chuckled knowing Fiji was humouring him. “Relax, let’s go see the others and find out who is endangering us and our secrets today.”
She scowled. “You make us sound like a secretive cult.”
“Parallels could be drawn.” Manfred teased. He got a flower to the face in retort but it was worth it. He’d found his sense of humour since he’d stopped looking over his shoulder for Hightower and found people who knew he was legit and not crazy.
Tony’s introduction to Midnight was to collapse on the sidewalk with blood from a bullet wound leaking through his white shirt. He thought he heard a female shout “Lem” and “Fiji” but he had no idea who they were and how could they help him. His body had decided that it would go no further and he was forced to rely on the kindness of strangers like a southern heroine.
A day later and Tony woke up feeling decidedly refreshed for someone who should be dead. “Huh.”
The cackle to the side of him suggested that he hadn’t lost his ghostly stalker. “You made it.”
“Yes, I did, you crazy old woman.” Tony said, finding his voice easily enough.
The cute guy smirked and Tony sensed he was a fellow psychic. It was strange how easily the power was flowing through his veins now he’d accepted his heritage. Although cute guy had to spoil things by saying, “He’s got you pegged, Grandma.”
“You’re the grandson?”
Cute guy shrugged. “She won’t leave me alone either.”
She huffed but looked smug too. “You both did as I suggested though, didn’t you?”
The two men looked at each other and sighed because they were never going to hear the end of this. “You’re right. Now what?”
Xylda cocked her head to the side. “You know, the town’s just lost its sheriff.”
Tony smirked. “Sure but the law isn’t my friend right now.”
He hadn’t wanted to think too much on it but he’d been debating faking his death. The mafia and the authorities wouldn’t look for a dead guy. He’d dismissed it as either he needed to mix up a powerful sedative and he’d not wanted to risk it being wounded, or, he’d need to find a powerful witch that could make him a golem.
She may be dead but she hadn’t lost the art of the con. “You’re saying you have no backup identities? What are you waiting for? A rainy day? To be incarcerated?”
Manfred was glad that someone else was being treated to her full force. “She has a point.”
Tony sighed. “Yeah, don’t suppose you know a witch who can make a golem so I can fake my death?”
Manfred smirked. “I’m Manfred, by the way, and if I did? You would need to have a backup identity and that costs money.”
Tony chuckled, he may be injured but he wasn’t stupid. “Darlin, I just tricked the mafia ... you bet your ass I have a backup. Your grandma, as annoying as she is, is right. I’m a Paddington and it’s about time I accept that. I’m Tony Paddington, nice to meet ya.”
Manfred looked into the other room and got a nod. “I think you will like Midnight. We’re weird and we like it that way.”
Tony woke again to be faced with the senior people in the town. Or, he should say the supernatural folk in town. Tony could guess who this was from his chats with Xylda. She’d often waxed lyrical about helping a vampire on to an alternate diet that didn’t resemble ’Twilight’. The only thing Tony couldn’t figure out was how old he was - he had the mannerisms of old colonial but dressed more modern that he’d expect. Plus there was the whole disconcerting intense look and Tony he opened his mouth without thinking. “Just how old are you?”
The man smirked showing razor-sharp teeth but Tony knew the man was an emotional vampire. “As old as America is.”
A vague but telling answer. Tony knew this man was a protector with old school values. He’d caught on that this was a haven, something his heart longed to be part of. The lure of truly belonging somewhere was a dream he’d traced since he was twelve years old and never managed to grasp it.
Tony grinned. “Well, you don’t look a day over a hundred and you can still catch the charming ladies.”
The woman smirked at him. “So your lines are better than your ability to duck.”
Tony took the cup of hot coffee offered. “I ducked the bullet from the Don, and then one of my so-called cop friends put one in me. I got in my car and didn’t stop running until I reached Midnight.”
The vampire’s partner grinned. “We get that. Should I be worried about the mafia coming to town?”
Tony shrugged although he regretted using his muscles after a few seconds. “No idea, he didn’t like the fact that he called me son ... and I turned out to be Detective DiNozzo.”
“Lem called you a Paddington.” She half-asked.
Tony nodded and even in America the name would mean something in supernatural circles . “It’s my mother's name and yes, I inherited her skills.” He’d just not always used them. He was done playing games. Plus, if people were going to keep trying to kill him - he wasn’t going to hold back. He had no problem using all his skills to his advantage, much to the delight of his dead mentor.
Of course, his two new acquaintances had no idea about all of this. He saw
her lip quirk
before she teased him
. “Manfred said it would be good to split spirit duty.”
Tony played it coy because he could do more than that. Still, he wasn’t going to offer more information about himself until he learned a bit more about his neighbours. “I wouldn’t mind spending time with him.”
She cackled, delighted by the news . “I’ll help you, it might make little ole Creek back off.”
Lem rolled his eyes so this was clearly an old argument. “It would be one way. She is not that terrible.”
“She is distressingly boring,” was Olivia’s assessment. Tony got the sense that to most people when they were compared to this couple would appear ordinary and boring.
“I can promise to be entertaining,” Tony assured them. He just hoped he would get a chance to prove that he was more than just the drama in his life.
The vampire grinned. “You’re proposing using a golem to solve your problems.”
Tony sighed. “Well I have two sets of forces who are gunning for me and the only way they stop is with me dead. So I figure I would give them what they want.”
“You’re sneaky, I like you.”
Tony smirked, knowing instinctively that the woman was just as deadly, if not worse, than her paramour. You would expect it of Lem but not the woman. It was the perfect disguise and Tony was no stranger to the use of masks. “Thank you. I know the spellwork - mother left the books in my care. I just need a spellcaster to help balance the powers.”
In truth, Tony was being prudent - he knew the spells but he’d only recently started to use his powers actively and that meant he wanted to check with someone a little more seasoned.
It worked. Anthony DiNozzo was found with his throat slit out in the desert and Tony Paddington was elected the Sheriff of Midnight and its adjacent county.
Tony now understood that weird was relative. Lem was a vampire and his lover, Olivia, was a contract killer with a code. Fiji was a white witch and her love interest, Bobo, had turned his back on his White Supremacist upbringing. However, his favourite person was fellow psychic, Manfred.
Manfred didn’t judge him. He knew what it was like to live by nothing but the wits of your skin. “You okay, Sheriff?”
Tony nodded. “I’m okay, Manfred. Just wondering what’ll happen today.”
Tony didn’t want to tempt fate as last week, apart from faking his death, they’d also dealt with a vindictive siren who’d tried to ensnare the town. It had affected everyone but Tony and Olivia - they dispatched the wicked bitch straight back to hell.
“Well, I’m heading to Bobo’s.”
Tony sighed because that sounded great but he had to check on the Rev, who’d spent the night as a tiger. He didn’t like people fussing over him - and yet, he’d accepted Tony’s quiet need to check on him. The others had been surprised but accepted it, glad the Rev would let one of them look after him.
Tony still wondered how he’d accepted the role of Sheriff but it turned out the town needed one and he was willing to play the role. It also turned out the state was quite willing to let him take the role. Tony had basically been given his lawful roles but from different states. His cousin, Q, helped him backstop the identity and any number called to check up any facts would be routed through to him. Q was an excellent voice actor and it greatly amused him when he got to pull the wool over someone’s eyes, so everyone won.
Creek ran up to him. “There’s a creepy man in the diner and Olivia said you should make yourself scarce.”
Tony sighed because it was either a former supposed colleague or the Don looking for revenge. Tony couldn’t decide what would be the better option. Still, he figured hiding at Manfred’s would work. His place was crazy what with the portal to hell landing in the bedroom and the spirits would open the door for him.
It was nuts just how powerful the spirits are in Midnight but Tony would work with what he's got.
Tony collapsed on the bed, annoyed that he was reduced to hiding in a corner. He was a grown-ass man who was a good shot, there should be no reason for him to be like this. And yet, he was - hiding and hoping the bad man doesn’t get him.
Manfred opened the door looking around. “Tony?”
Manfred saw him collapsed on his bed. He took a second to appreciate the moment. “You know, I’ve been wanting you here for a while. Too bad it’s because you’re hiding from a mafia don.”
Tony may be hiding but he wasn’t capable of resisting an opportunity. “Darlin, I would have taken you to dinner the very first moment you let me.”
“How about we eat in?”
Tony was able to work with that. “Have you got anything in that I can use to rustle up food?”
Manfred nodded. “If you’re up to the challenge feel free to raid the refrigerator.”
Tony had always loved a challenge. He rose to the food one and the boys found out they had explosive chemistry both in and out of the bedroom. Any reticence about taking their relationship to the next level so quickly died as they pointed just how dangerous their lives were in town.
The Don was not going away. Olivia had to smirk at their newest town member. Tony hadn’t just tricked him, he’s managed to take his entire organisation away from him.
“No wonder he’s tenacious.”
Lem smirked as he sipped on a drink. It was for total effect but sometimes he liked to taste coffee and fine alcohol. “Tony is starting to strain at hiding.”
Olivia snorted. “That’s just because he’s a free-spirit and this will suck for him. I think something has to break ... I just hope it’s the Don rather than our Tony.”
Lem just sipped his drink. He didn’t want to point out that his usually rather suspicious and prickly lover had taken well to the two psychics. “We’ll see how things play out and lend a hand if needed.”
She grinned. “You betcha.”
Almost as if they were tempting fate Tony walked into the diner, crackling with energy. For the first time since he’d arrived, he felt dangerous. They knew he had power, they’d seen the lifelike golem he and Fiji had created. They’d never felt this edge to him, however. They took one look and guided him into the back room.
Olivia found herself reaching for a knife at what must be a threat. “Talk to me.”
“The Don has snatched Manfred.” Tony snorted. It was derisive showing just how annoyed he was. “He wants a meeting and if I agree Manny lives.”
Olivia went as cold as ice, slipping into her assassin persona. “What do you need?”
Tony smirked. “Oh, I will meet the Don but he is going to regret crossing me. He took his pound of flesh when he shot me. This cannot stand.”
“We got your back.”
Tony smiled but Lem, who was a vampire, had seen friendlier grins on some of his other acquaintances. “Thanks.”
Tony knew the Don’s rise to power had been bloody. He’d built his empire on the backs of victims both of innocents and his rivals.
The meeting was out in the desert. The bastard had chosen the spot where Tony had ‘supposedly’ died. You didn’t need to be the sharpest investigator to figure out the Don’s intended ending for this meeting.
Tony was going to enjoy this - he wouldn’t have done it but the bastard took Manny, who had played no part in this.
“Are you sure you want us to stay in the car?”
Tony softly nodded. “While I know you would gladly help me make mincemeat of the guy - this is going to be righteous and you could end up collateral with my plan. Some angry spirits will hurt everyone and not just their intended target.”
Olivia was kind of curious. “What are you planning?”
Tony smiled sweetly. “I am going to let Don’s victims decide his fate. I can’t see him living past today, to be honest.”
“Righteous and you just offer the spirits a chance of revenge.”
Tony nodded. “The Don is too slippery to see justice inside of a courtroom. He’s burned my life to the ground with his corruption. I figure I won’t be the only one.”
“Righteous indeed.” Lem agreed. There was a poetic justice to the idea that definitely appealed to his soul.
Manfred was hogtied to the car. Tony shuddered, seeing his new lover sitting so still. He had little choice but to be still with the highly sharpened knife perfectly poised to take advantage of even the smallest slip.
“You know, Salvatore, you’re a real piece of work.” Tony said in greeting.
The Don snickered. “You have the gall to say that to me? You came into my family, gained our trust and you were a narc! You’ve ruined everything and I think it is only fair I raze your life to the ground.”
Tony shrugged. “So what? It’s not my fault your sons were pathetic and you needed to look for outside talent. Remember, you were the one to call me son.”
Salvatore had a smirk. “That is because you reminded me of me.”
Tony back the retort, knowing one smart comment could see Manfred’s throat slit. He had to wait and keep his eye on the bigger prize. “Did I? How is that?”
“You’re ruthless, charming and seemed to slip into any situation. I should have known you were to be good to be true.”
Tony cocked his head to the side. “Those skills made me a good fit for undercover work. You shouldn’t feel too bad, you weren’t the first I tricked. Hell, my Dad made it an art form. I just chose a badge but hey, you took that from me.”
“You deserve so much more!”
Tony sighed. “Like what? You took my job from me when you’ve framed me, you put a bullet in me, hell, I had to leave my name behind!”
The Don tilted his head to the side. “About that - I saw the body and it was very convincing.”
“Thanks. It was some of my best work.” Tony replied sassily. The knife was moving and that was a good thing as it was away from Manfred. His aim of getting the anger of the Don towards him was working.
“How did you do it?”
Tony just loved when the bad guy gifted you with the perfect opening. It was like fate. “Well, I did something like this.” The latin tripped across his tongue. He’d practised it mentally the whole ride out to the meeting.
The spirits soon appeared, and there were hundreds. Tony looked smug. “I brought a few friends to say hello.”
“What are you?”
Tony shrugged and finally he got to say his piece. “I’m just the intermediary. They have unresolved issues, which I personally hope is dragging your ass straight to hell where it is so well deserved. Oh, and the word you’re looking for is psychic, the real kind not the fake-ass kind.”
The scream of the Don was probably heard all the way back in Midnight. The ground literally opened up to swallow Don Salvatore Mancuso.
Lem and Olivia made their way over now that the coast was clear, just like Tony had asked of them. She was the one to give the summary. “You weren’t wrong when you said righteously. That was pretty badass and you only used your voice.”
Tony chuckled even as he was pulling the rope off his lover. “Well, you have the market cornered for weapons expert so I need to up my game.”
“Well, you rescued your damsel-prince-in-distress. Now what?”
Tony looked at Manfred and saw a whole lot of fun in their future. Unspoken promises of just what they would do to each other flowed between them. “It’s a cliche but I figured trying to live a happy-midnight-ever-after.”
“What does that look like?” Olivia asked in curiousity.
Tony shrugged but his hand slipped into Manfred’s. “I have no idea but I can’t wait to find out.”
You should be careful what you wish for - as it involved a near end-of-days. Oh, and civilian out-of-towners buying the hotel.