Author's note part one: Hi guys! Sorry I've been away so long. I'm probably only back now for this one, not terribly long, story. When I finished the last Supernatural fanfiction story I was working on, I noted that something had happened that was going to prevent me from playing with fanfiction too much. At the time I couldn't say what that was. I can now, and I'll have more on that at the end of this chapter.
As for this story, it's set vaguely in the current season for both shows, so expect spoilers for everything that's aired to date. I'm not going to go too far off the rails as far as what's happened on the shows, but I'm still calling this AU because in this universe NCIS now knows about (and accepts) the supernatural.
I've been watching some of NCIS: New Orleans and enjoying it, so I thought I'd mix them in a bit. If you haven't been watching it, I'll try to be clear enough with the characters and setting that you'll still be able to follow.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy!
Death Cab For Cutie
Chapter One: Kansas
In the satellite images, the path down from the highway showed as a pale, white line. In person, the turnoff was almost impossible to see. If they hadn't known it was there, the two men in the dark blue rental sedan would have driven right by. It led to a bare, empty parking area, tucked below the highway. The dirty, pink/brown concrete and rusted iron facade of an old power plant loomed overhead.
They were on the outskirts of Lebanon, Kansas, with a busy, modern city just a few blocks away. Here, though, the world seemed deserted. The highway above them was not heavily trafficked and in the winter, even temperate as it had been, there were no sounds of insects nor birdsong to break the silence.
NCIS senior field agent Anthony DiNozzo climbed out from behind the wheel and paused, one foot still in the car and his arm braced on the top of the door, to look around. The parking area was slightly muddy, hard-packed earth lightly scattered with gravel. Dead, yellow weeds climbed the embankments and an iron door, set in a concrete wall in the earth at the bottom of a short flight of steps, looked more like a mausoleum than anything.
"No sign of the Impala," he said.
Timothy McGee, exiting the other side of the car, was looking down at his phone.
"They're in the area, or at least Sam was. Abby found him on the security video at a grocery store five blocks away less than two hours ago."
The two men circled the car and approached the door.
"You know, Tim," Tony said, his voice serious, "I just wanted to tell you how impressed I am with how well you've adapted to learning that the supernatural is real."
McGee shot him an annoyed glance. "There's no such thing as supernatural," he declared.
Tony stopped in his tracks and turned to his friend, but McGee waved off his objections and continued.
"There's no such thing as supernatural. I will use the term for want of a better word for these things, and because we all understand what we mean when we use it. But there is nothing that is truly supernatural, i.e. outside nature. The fact that we now have irrefutable proof of-"
"The supernatural," Tony prompted, earning a glare.
"-it just means that there are natural laws we don't understand yet and that the universe is more vast and complex than we had ever imagined. It does not invalidate science. It just means we need to re-think our scientific assumptions. Being able to change your theories to allow for new data is and always has been one of the founding principals of science itself. The reality of these...things, that changes nothing."
"Whatever teddy bear helps you sleep at night," Tony said, and led the way down the steps to the door.
Over a year had passed since they'd caught the Winchesters, believed to be serial killers and believed to be dead. NCIS had been instrumental in exhonorating them, thinking them to be well-meaning but misguided fanatics of a strange religion who had stumbled into conflict with high-tech terrorists. It wasn't until after the brothers had disappeared back into the wilds of the Midwest that Abby discovered a series of books called Supernatural, also known as the Winchester Gospels. In the aftermath of reading them and verifying that everything in the books had actually happened, apparently at the same time it was being written, even McGee had been forced to adjust his world view.
Tony raised his fist and pounded on the metal. He could feel the vibrations through his hand, but heard no sound. He wondered if the soundproofing was physical or accomplished with a spell of some sort.
McGee tugged at his sleeve and nodded up at the corner of the door. A modern security camera was set into the old wall.
Tony gave the camera his trademark smile and a moment later the door swung silently open and big Sam Winchester filled the entryway. Tony studied him. He wore a long-sleeved henley and his dark hair was longer than Tony remembered. He looked exhausted and worried but hard, determined.
He looked from one man to the other, concerned, as if he could read their minds.
Tony was at least 75% certain that he could not.
"Agents. This is...unexpected. To what do we owe the pleasure?"
"We need to talk," Tony said. "May we come in?"
Sam stepped back and they went past him, onto a circular balcony that looked out over the first rooms of the Men of Letters' bunker. Tony didn't have to exaggerate his reaction.
"Oh, wow! It really is the Batcave!"
McGee, beside him, was looking over the antique computers and electronic equipment. "This is amazing! You know who should see this? Abby! Abby would love this!"
Footsteps sounded in the depth of the building and Dean Winchester appeared from one of the doorways.
"Sam? Are you talking to...oh." He went still, studied the agents. Tony could see caution in his body language, and resignation and despair. He straightened his shoulders and put on the ghost of a smile but it wasn't fooling anyone. If Sam looked tired and worried, Dean looked wrecked. He'd lost weight. His eyes were haunted.
"Fellas," he said. "So, ah, should I ask how you found us?"
Tony went on down the staircase, aware of the others following as he took the battered paperback from his inner pocket and waved it at the elder Winchester.
"Well, it helped that your biographer practically gave us your address."
"Seriously," McGee said. "You should get this woman-Becky?-to edit a little more thoroughly. For your own safety. I mean, okay, most people don't have satellite surveillance and access to local security cameras, but still..."
Tony went up to Dean without fear, took his arm and turned it over. "So, is the mark as lurid in real life as it is on the book cover?"
"What did you want?" Sam asked, his voice like granite.
Tony answered without turning, keeping his eyes on Dean. "Two things," he said. He held up one finger. "One, we'd like you to come to New Orleans with us and help us with a missing persons case that may be work of a vengeful spirit. Two," he added a second finger, "there are some things about Claire's friend Randy that you should know."
"If you know about the mark and you know about Randy," Dean said, his voice ragged, "then you know it's not safe for me to go to New Orleans or anywhere else."
"I don't know how much you remember about the massacre," McGee said. "The book suggests that you basically blacked out when the mark took over and the next thing you knew everyone in the room but you was dead. Was that how it happened?"
Dean shrugged, looked away and wouldn't meet anyone's eye. "I guess."
"Do you remember the part where you begged them to stop but they knocked you down and attacked you?"
"They attacked him?" Sam asked, voice cautious. "So it was self defense."
"The FBI investigation did a reconstruction of the fight. It backs up the account in the book. It was self defense."
Dean snorted, derisive. "Randy wasn't self defense. Poor bastard was tied up."
"Yeah," Tony said. "Well, I don't think you need to feel too bad about Randy." He put the book back in his pocket and wandered around the room, touching things, marvelling. "Do you know why the loan shark guys were after him?"
"He didn't have their money?"
"Obviously. But the reason he didn't have their money was because his latest business deal fell through. See, he'd lured in this 17-year-old runaway and he'd already sold her to a rich, South American business man, but she got picked up and put back in a group home before he could deliver and get paid."
The Winchesters both froze.
"I'm sorry?" Sam said. "Sold her? As in...human trafficking? You're talking about Claire, right?"
"His computer's been a gold mine," McGee said. "The FBI thought they'd hit the jackpot with the other dead guys. Running their DNA and fingerprints through the national database, they've solved something like fourteen homicides, twice that many assaults, sexual assaults, one guy was a serial rapist. Then they started going through Randy's computer."
"And he was going to sell Claire to be somebody's sex slave?"
"Yeah, she was a lot older than his usual targets." Tony tossed the observation over his shoulder, wandering deeper into the bunker. The next room was a magnificent library. The senior field agent dropped into a chair at one of the tables and waited for the others to join him.
Dean Winchester looked like he was about to fall down.
The other three men came in behind him and took seats. "He wasn't usually the one who procured the victims," McGee was saying. "He was normally involved with smuggling them through customs, into and out of the country. With the information on his hard drive, federal agencies are looking to break up a child pornography ring that involves over 300 people in 27 different countries. Working with Interpol and foreign police agencies, they've already rescued dozens of endangered children."
"It's great that you're rescuing the kids," Dean said, "but that doesn't excuse-"
"Oh, for the love of Pete, don't be a drama queen," Tony said, cutting him off.
Dean's eyes widened. "What?"
"If some moron went in the cage with a rabid tiger and poked it until it tore them to pieces, would that be the tiger's fault? You were affected by an outside influence. Non compos mentos. Some bad people died. Some innocent kids got rescued from hell on earth as a result. No jury on the planet would convict you and maybe, just maybe, God isn't quite as gone as you all think he is."
Dean was staring at him, gaze level and eyes narrowed.
Sam tilted his head, allowed a trace of amusement to slip through. "Well, you know, you are-"
"Can it, Princess," Dean told him shortly. "I have been dealing with your hormones since you hit puberty and, believe me, you have no room to talk." He switched his attention back to the NCIS agents. "And, whatever the truth is about Randy and his scuzzy friends, that still doesn't mean I won't lose it and attack someone else. It's not a risk worth taking."
"We won't let you get surrounded and attacked by douche bags. I promise. We'll keep you under surveillance at all times. You'll just be there as consultants."
"Why do you even need us?" Sam asked. "I thought the military was going to put together their own team of hunters. Seal Team 666? Or something?"
"Well, we at NCIS," Tony indicated himself and McGee, "don't have the security clearance to know about that, although a little bird did tell us that that project got delayed because their training officer is now a...domesticated werewolf?"
"Anyway, the point is that in order for this case to even get to them we'd have to go through regular channels, which means that by the time someone who knows about the supernatural sees it a lot of people who don't will have seen it as well."
"You don't want that to happen. Why? What's going on?"
Tony leaned back in his chair, put his hands behind his head and got comfortable. "It all started, so far as NCIS is concerned, a couple of weeks ago, late one night, on a narrow, little lane just off Bourbon Street..."
Author's note #2: Well, that's it for the first chapter. I'm looking at this being five or six chapters, tops, as I'm almost literally stealing the time to write it.
As I mentioned at the beginning of the story, when I said last spring that I was going to have to stop writing fanfiction for the time being I couldn't say why, but now I can. Many of you assumed something bad had happened, but actually it was just the opposite.
After dreaming of writing professionally all my life and actively working towards it for years, I finally got an offer from a publisher. My agent spent the next few months on contract negotiations and in August I signed a three-book deal with Midnight Ink, a small publisher in Minnesota that specializes in mystery and suspense. As I write this, my first book, Death and the Redheaded Woman, is coming out in less than a week. (In fact, part of the reason I'm writing this now is because I need something to distract myself before I become a *complete* basket case!)
I know this is a fanfiction site and you don't come on here to hear about other things, but if anyone's interested I've updated my user profile and included my real name and a link to my website.
Thanks again for reading and I'll try to have the second chapter up in a day or two.