Gastronome - Kort Version
Tony held Kelly’s hand. Shannon being older had run off ahead to the grocery store. Tony was pretty sure there was a cute boy at the checkout line that she wanted to flirt with.
He wasn’t worried. Everyone in town knew who they were and knew about Leroy Jethro Gibbs, his husband, who was deployed in Operation Desert Storm. Jethro was a local hero and the neighbors and townspeople helped Tony take care of Shannon and Kelly while Jethro was away.
Life was pretty good, budding teenage romance and hormones aside. He enjoyed cooking, having spent many years studying the history and rituals extensively. Some of his friends even considered him a gastronome.
He heard Shannon's scream and turned around to Kelly, urgently ordering, “Here sweetie. Go back and wait in the car for me. Lock the doors once you're inside and only open them for your sister or me. Ok?”
Kelly nodded, taking the car keys and hurrying away as fast as her little legs would carry her. Tony only paused long enough to make sure she made it to the car ok before he took off at a dead run towards where Shannon's scream come from. Skidding to a halt when he saw Shannon, Tony took stock of the situation.
Eyes glancing to the obvious bag of drugs on the floor, Tony immediately realized that the one holding his daughter at gunpoint had to be a drug dealer. The young man who looked scared out of his life and was hurriedly nodding to whatever the drug dealer said was probably the boy that Shannon wanted to flirt with. While he was currently a professor of film studies, he'd previously been a police officer before their first kid was born.
"Let her go," Tony ordered, wishing he still had his gun from the force.
"Not until the kid pays up."
"How much does he owe you?"
"More than you can pay," the drug dealer sneered.
Just then the kid decided to make a break for it, hoping that the drug dealer would be distracted. Before the kid made it to the end of the building, the drug dealer had aimed the gun at the kid and fired. He was dead before he hit the ground.
Shannon had taken advantage of the drug dealer's distraction to elbow him and escape his hold, just like her parents had taught her. Tony would be proud later, right now he was more worried about getting Shannon away from the drug dealer and making sure that he wouldn't be coming after them. Shoving Shannon behind him, Tony backed away from the drug dealer while pulling out his phone.
Knowing that he'd lost his chance to shoot them both the drug dealer turned and ran. Tony still called the police. There was a dead body, after all.
After he hung up with the police, Tony turned to Shannon and asked, "What happened?"
"I'm not really sure. I was running ahead to flirt with Joey at the checkout counter like I usually do, you know," Shannon paused to make sure that her dad knew who she was talking about.
Tony nodded as it dawned on him that the dead boy wasn't actually Joey. He'd met Joey a couple of times as Shannon always insisted on checking out in his lane if he was around. The kid had some similarities to Joey, but definitely wasn't him.
"Anyway before I could make it into the supermarket, I heard a loud bang. I figured one of the employees had dropped something and went to help. Only instead I found Joey's cousin being held at gunpoint by that guy and now he's dead." Shannon burst into tears, "How am I going to tell Joey?"
"Don't worry, sweetheart. One of the adults will tell Joey."
Shannon coughed as she tried to stop crying and continue her story, "Before I knew it the drug dealer had grabbed me and was using me to threaten Joey's cousin in to coughing up some money. Apparently Joey's cousin had been partaking of the guy's supply without paying for a while now and the guy was going to make an example of him. Then you showed up."
Tony nodded, "Ok, sweetheart. Do you want to go back to the car and stay with your sister while we wait for the police to show up?"
"Ok. I'll stay here until the police show up and then I'll join you guys. They police are going to want to talk to you."
When the police arrived, Tony quickly told them what he knew and gave them his contact information. He also told the police to work with NCIS since his husband was a deployed Marine. Tony called NCIS as well and they promised that as witnesses to a murder that they would make sure to send an agent out to watch the house and protect them.
Tony walked back to his car as he talked to the NCIS agent that he'd been handed over to. Seeing the state his girls were in he decided not to do the shopping that they'd been planning to do today. Instead, he asked if the agent coming over to their house could stop by and pick up the groceries that they had been planning to get.
He was given a number to text with the grocery list and told that they would bring the groceries with them when they arrived. Tony thanked the agent and hung up. Climbing into the car, he turned to the girls, "Are you ready to go home?"
They both nodded. They had had more than enough excitement for the day. Tony started the car and headed for home.
Meanwhile, Pedro Hernandez, the drug dealer was currently cursing the girl and her father. He didn't care that he had killed the kid, but he hadn't been able to get rid of the witnesses, so now the police would be after him. Normally, he didn't demand the cash himself and sent one of his underlings to do it, but he was in the area and he thought it would be a quick and easy pick up as the kid's parents were supposed to be loaded.
Of course, it had all gone downhill from there starting with the girl showing up. He should have shot the adult when he first showed up, then he would have been able to take the kids out at his leisure. He'd made a stupid mistake and now he'd have to clean up after himself.
Tony cursed when the police/NCIS investigation revealed that the drug dealer was actually Pedro Hernandez one of the biggest drug lords in the world. He apparently led a Mexican cartel. Of course, they wanted to know if he was willing to testify against the drug dealer and he agreed because he knew Shannon would never be safe if he didn't.
It was annoying having the agents around all the time, but he'd deal with anything to keep Shannon and Kelly safe. He wished Jethro was home, though. He always felt safer when his husband was around, despite being fully capable of defending himself.
The girls were getting restless too, so they decided to go for a drive. The agent insisted that they would be safer in the back, but Tony refused to live his life in fear and insisted on driving. Shannon, not to be outdone, insisted on riding up front with her father. That left Kelly and the agent in the back.
Both Tony and the agent noticed the vehicle following them and they exchanged nods. The girls were completely oblivious or at least they were until Tony engaged what they fondly called Papa Gibbs driving and started darting in and out between traffic.
“What’s going on?” Shannon asked.
“We’re being followed.” Tony answered half-heartedly as he focused his attention on the road. “Stay down.”
Shannon immediately sunk lower in her seat and Kelly copied her. That didn’t stop the bullets from flying through the windows. Tony swerved hard trying to get them to safety, but only ended up yanking the car across the road and rolling it a couple of times.
Ignoring his own injuries, Tony quickly scrambled out of the car urging Shannon out as well. As he turned to grab Kelly, the agent called out, "I’ve got her." Tony nodded not needing any encouragement to get out of there as fast as he could.
They were less than 10 minutes away when they heard a huge explosion. Shannon turned to look, but Tony urged her on. He didn’t know what the explosion was, but he was certain that whoever had shot at them would be making sure that they were dead.
The bullets whizzing past their head seemed to back up that belief. Tony had looked back once for Kelly, but he hadn’t seen her and had hoped that the agent really had her like he said he did. Exhausted beyond belief Tony and Shannon stopped at a little cabin in the woods for a breather.
“Are you alright?” A bald man with blue eyes stepped out of the cabin.
“Fine.” Tony eyed the man with concern. Something felt off about him and he wasn’t sure he could trust him.
“Can I offer you shelter?”
He seemed nice enough, but Tony didn’t know him and he wasn’t at all sure about joining the guy in his cabin with his daughter. Shannon took her cues from her father and stayed behind him letting him deal with the interloper. Tony badly wished he knew where Kelly was.
He’d feel so much better if he knew for sure that she was alright. The man had introduced himself as Kort and invited them in. Tony was still suspicious of him, especially when he asked if they were the witnesses for the case against Pedro Hernandez. Tony had grudgingly agreed that yes, they were.
Kort had then launched into a spiel about how NCIS had run into a long running CIA op and that now wasn’t the right time to testify against Pedro. The CIA was taking them into protective custody due to the dangerous nature of Pedro and would put them in witness protection until it was time for the trial. Despite NCIS thinking Pedro was the top guy, he was actually just the face of the cartel and not the actual leader.
The CIA wanted to get the actual leader before they started the trial. They’d cancelled the NCIS trial. However, Pedro was dangerous and would be after Shannon and Tony if they didn’t protect them, so Tony and Shannon needed to go into witness protection.
Tony, of course, immediately protested, “What about my husband and daughter, Kelly?”
“I’m afraid Agent Balboa did his best, but your daughter didn’t make it. Gunnery Sergeant Gibbs was killed making his way back to the states per Agent Balboa’s request due to Kelly’s death.”
“What?” Tony stared at Kort in shock and Shannon clutched at her father as tears streamed down her face.
“We will, of course, make sure you are able to attend their funerals before you go into witness protection.”
Kort took them to a safe house where they made the arrangements for the funeral. The CIA had forged autopsy documents and provided bodies close enough in looks to Kelly and Gibbs that Tony and Shannon never knew the difference. They buried who they thought were Kelly and Gibbs and headed into witness protection.
The whole thing seemed off to Tony, but he didn’t have the time to investigate and keeping Shannon safe was far more important. He just hoped that his trust wasn’t misplaced and that this whole thing wasn’t going to turn into a decision he regretted. He never imagined that they were lying to him about his husband and daughter.
Kort set them up with everything they needed to start a new life. Tony was now Timothy McGee, Peoria Detective and Shannon had been setup to finish out high school in Peoria before she transferred to Philadelphia for college. Tony worked 4 years at Peoria while Shannon finished out high school.
Tony transferred to Philadelphia to be closer to Shannon and worked at the Philadelphia police department for 4 years. When Shannon decided to go for a master’s degree at Philadelphia, Tony stayed another 2 years to be close to her. Shannon finally graduated with her master’s and got a job in Baltimore.
Tony followed her to Baltimore as well. He knew he was hovering and not letting her live her own life, but he couldn’t help it. He’d already lost his husband and his other daughter.
He couldn’t chance losing her too. He never expected that 6 years later, after Shannon had moved out and gotten her own place, he would tackle his husband and find out his other daughter Kelly was still alive and had been living with Gibbs this whole time.
Unbeknownst to Tony and Shannon, Kort had staged their death while they were living in the safe house. As such, even though Agent Balboa and Kelly had escaped the car, NCIS had quit looking for Shannon and Tony. Balboa met up with Mike Franks and they got in contact with Gibbs about his husband and daughter’s death.
Gibbs with the help of his superiors immediately made it back to the states to take care of his remaining daughter. It had been hard for him to take care of her alone. Mike Franks had helped by offering him a steady job at NCIS.
Still the long hours wore on him especially when the few hours he did make it home were spent taking care of Kelly and getting very little sleep. He missed Tony and Shannon something fiercely. The DNA had matched and they’d had bodies, though, so Gibbs had no reason not to believe that Tony and Shannon were really dead.
Or he hadn’t until he met the smart and shy Timothy McGee, aka Tony DiNozzo, when the man tackled him while he was undercover in Baltimore for a case. Timothy McGee didn’t act at all like the man he knew as his husband, but he would recognize his husband anywhere. While he was taking care of Kelly, he hadn’t participated in any undercover cases, but Kelly was now in college and didn’t need him dogging her every step.
Normally, NCIS didn’t look into money laundering unless it involved Navy sailors or Marines in some manner. Gibbs had taken the case purely because Kort had appeared mysteriously and informed him that he would find something important if he investigated this case. Gibbs didn’t really trust Kort.
Pedro Hernandez had mysteriously vanished after Shannon and Tony died even though NCIS insisted that the reason they had the two under protective watch was because they saw him kill someone. No one had been able to find Pedro afterwards though. It was like the man had vanished entirely.
Gibbs knew well that Kort played fast and loose with the law to suit him. He couldn’t help wondering what surprise Kort had left for him to handle in Baltimore. He never expected it to be his husband and daughter both of whom he believed to be dead.
They had to finish the money laundering case, but as soon as they did, Gibbs couldn’t help asking, “Come back to DC with me.”
They’d spent the previous night talking and had realized that Kort had set them both up. Tony had to admit the man had skills. He’d never have guessed that it wasn’t Gibbs and Kelly’s bodies that he buried.
For Kort to do a similar, but different thing with Tony and Shannon the man clearly had to be a mastermind. What his ultimate plan was, though, was anybody’s guess. Gibbs became obsessed with Kort and figuring out what he was up to.
They found out later that the CIA was finally ready to bring the true drug lord to trial and that was why Kort had pointed Gibbs at Tony. They hadn’t wanted either of them to find out the other was alive at the trial. That would make the kind of press that would leave people talking about this case for many years to come.
As the CIA had definitely done some shady things to make sure that everyone related to this case was actually caught, the less attention the case got the better. Tony and Shannon were called to testify in court shortly after they returned to DC with Gibbs. Gibbs and Kelly, of course, went with them to support them even though they hadn’t actually witnessed anything.
Tony and Shannon’s testimony was crucial in putting Pedro Hernandez away for years, but it wasn’t really a big part of the major court case against the big drug dealer. Still the CIA had enough evidence to guarantee that everyone who played a major part in the case was put away for years to come. Many of them wouldn’t get out of jail until after they were dead.
Tony thought that was the end of it. He thought that all of the shenanigans had only been about getting the true leader of the drug cartel. So he tried to move on with his life and joined Gibbs’ team at NCIS.
Gibbs wasn’t satisfied with that answer, but it took them many years before they figured out that Kort was actually using CIA ops to cover up his serial killer tendencies. EJ’s team had traced a serial killer along the coast and each and every one of the bodies tied back to Kort. When Gibbs and Tony realized this, they immediately exhumed the 4 bodies that had been used to fake their deaths 16+ years ago.
Ducky had done new autopsies. It was then that they realized that all 4 of them had been murdered in exactly the same way as the ones that EJ’s team knew about. Just how long had the CIA been covering up for Kort?
The media had dubbed the deaths to be by the port to port killer since they happened in multiple locations, but all near ports in general. Of course, the media didn’t know about the 4 bodies that they’d exhumed. Nor did NCIS plan to tell them.
The director at the time, Leon Vance, suggested to some of his contacts that they look into exactly what else the CIA had covered up. If they had one serial killer as an agent, they were bound to have covered up more crimes. NCIS managed to build a strong enough case that if it had gone to trial they were sure Kort would have been sentenced to life in jail.
Of course, no one could find him anymore. When the CIA cut him loose and hung him out to dry, Kort vanished. He’d always expected the CIA to turn on him and was prepared for that.
As far as the courts were concerned, Kort died shortly after the CIA dropped him as an agent. However, Gibbs wasn’t satisfied with that. Kort had managed to fake 4 people’s deaths for 16 years without anyone the wiser.
Gibbs was certain that Kort had faked his death. Proving that became Gibbs obsession. Tony and his girls tried to talk him out of it.
They tried to stop him from going overboard and obsessing, but he couldn’t stop. That man was still out there and he needed to pay for making him believe his husband and daughter were dead for 16 years. Tony felt betrayed by Kort as well, but he knew that the best revenge was to live a happy life with his husband and daughters.
If only he could get his husband to stop obsessing over Kort. Tony was pretty sure that Kort was long gone. He’d probably fled the country to some place that prohibited extradition.
Of course, no one knew what Kort’s true plan was. Why did he kill the people he did? Where was he now?
These were all questions that haunted Tony and Gibbs as they continued to work at NCIS. They handled the questions differently, but both were bothered by the same questions. What really happened to Kort?
Well Tony was right. Kort had escaped to Serbia, which fortunately did not have an extradition treaty with the US. Of course, they didn't realize this until they stumbled upon a case that involved someone else who escaped to Serbia to avoid extradition.
Tony caught sight of Kort, but before they could do anything Kort vanished. Gibbs was more determined than ever to get Kort out of Serbia, so that they could extradite him for his crimes. Of course, Kort wasn’t stupid and made sure their hands were tied and that there were no legal options open to them.
He didn’t count on Gibbs obsession allowing him to subvert the system in the form of a phone call to Mike Franks. Gibbs seemed to stop obsessing after that phone call and Tony and the girls breathed a sigh of relief hoping that this meant Gibbs will return to normal. Gibbs, however, wasn’t satisfied until Franks confirmed that yes he made sure it was really Kort and that the man was truly dead.
Gibbs breathed a sigh of relief and relaxed in the arms of his husband. The girls would come over the next weekend to celebrate. Tony, however, was still bothered.
They never did find out exactly why Kort did what he did. For that matter, was Kort really dead? These questions haunted Tony as he fell asleep in Gibbs’ arms, but by the time morning rolled around he’d forgotten all about them and was just happy to have his husband back and not revenge obsessed.