Warnings: supernatural, little bit of humor.
Disclaimer. If I owned the NCIS characters, Tony would wear considerably less clothing, so I'm only borrowing them, and I promise to return them in minty fresh condition when I'm finished.
Notes: Inspired somewhat by the story Issums Bunny on http/ncis. Thanks to Quislet for chapter title suggestions
"How bad it is, really?" Gibbs asked Ducky in a hushed tone as they sat beside Tony's hospital bed.
Ducky looked up from where he had been examining Tony's chart. "His right wrist is broken in two places. He has several deep lacerations, and he's lost a lot of blood. The I.V. is antibiotics to ward off potential infections, and of course they're worried about potential exposure to Rabies. But all in all, his condition is not considered serious, and they'll be releasing him in a day or two."
Gibbs ran his hand through his hair, "The Doc told me this already. You know that's not what I'm worried about. What about...the other thing?"
Ducky looked at him carefully. "Jethro, I know that my knowledge and experience is both vast and wide ranging, but I'm really not an expert on Lycanthrophy."
Twenty-four hours earlier, Gibbs hadn't believed in werewolves. He had believed in a Navy Lieutenant murdering his wife, with what looked like the aid of a trained attack dog. He had believed that the tracks around the cabin in the woods where he and Tony had traced the Lieutenant had come from that animal. He had believed that the cloudy night would provide enough cover from the full moon so that they could approach the cabin unnoticed.
He hadn't believed that a man could transform himself into a wolf, even as he launched himself at Tony. He also hadn't believed that anyone or anything could survive a whole clip of bullets being emptied into them.
But all these things had happened. Gibbs and Tony had been approaching the cabin, weapons drawn, when Lieutenant Collins had appeared in the doorway. Gibbs had ordered him to kneel on the ground with his hands up. Collins had appeared to be complying when the clouds had suddenly cleared and the light of the full moon shone down on him. It had been like watching a horror movie. Collins had screamed once and then had launched himself towards Tony who had been marginally closer than Gibbs.
Tony might have had a chance to fire, but for the slight distraction of seeing Collins morph into a wolf before his eyes, and by the time he had adjusted to the scenario, he was flat on his back with Collins's fangs sinking into his wrist.
Gibbs had shot the beast over and over, but it hadn't seemed to make a difference until the clouds once again shadowed the moon. As if it had been a signal, Collins let go of Tony and howled at the sky before bounding away.
"Wha...what the hell was that?" Tony gasped, his voice a mixture of shock and pain as Gibbs crouched down beside him.
"I have no idea."
Technically that wasn't true. Gibbs had seen enough movies in his life to recognize a werewolf when it jumped up and bit him, or rather bit DiNozzo. But even faced with the evidence of his own eyes and Tony's injuries, he was still finding it hard to accept. Aware that he was unlikely to be taken seriously if he told the true story, Gibbs instead let people think that Collins had set his dog on them when they approached the cabin and used the attack as cover for his escape. The lack of a dead dog was explained by Gibbs saying he hadn't been able to shoot it for fear of hitting Tony and had instead fired into the air to scare it away. For now that seemed to satisfy Kate and McGee, who had joined them at the hospital.
Gibbs sent them away quickly to try and find out where Collins was likely to head next, and then called in the one person he knew he could trust not to send for the men in white coats once he started talking about werewolves.
"You may not be an expert in Lycanthrophy, Duck," said Gibbs, wearily, "But you know more about myths and legends than anybody I know. So tell me, assuming for the sake of argument that I wasn't having some sort of crazy hallucination, just what are Tony's chances of turning into a wolf like Collins did?"
Ducky sighed, "It's difficult to say, Jethro. The rate of infection from a werewolf bite hasn't exactly been studied in any depth. The fact that the wound was irrigated and disinfected less than an hour after being inflicted could well reduce the chances of infection. I really couldn't speculate. Tony could be infected, or his body might somehow be able to fight it off. There are so many myths and stories about werewolves, many of which contradict each other. Some cultures believe that the werewolf is completely ruled by the moon, that they will change automatically once the full moon has risen. Others believe that a werewolf can change their shape at will, but will change involuntarily when the moon shines upon them."
"That would fit in with what happened tonight," said Gibbs. "Collins was human to start with, even though the moon was well risen."
Ducky continued as if Gibbs hadn't said a word, "And then there's speculation as to whether the werewolf is in control of his own actions or simply ruled by his animal instincts. There is one major consistency however."
"Oh yeah, and what's that?"
"That a person who has been bitten by a werewolf, if they're infected, will turn for the first time at the next full moon."
"Guess that gives me twenty-eight days then." Tony's voice was weak but coherent.
"Twenty-eight days for what, Tony?" asked Gibbs. He hadn't expected Tony to wake until morning what with all the drugs he'd been pumped full of.
"To find some silver bullets and make sure I don't hurt anybody."
"Don't even think about it DiNozzo," snapped Gibbs. "We don't even know if you're going to turn into a werewolf, and if you do...well we'll just have to figure out a way to keep you from hurting anybody while you're Changed, is that clear?"
"Yeah...yes Boss," Tony was barely able to keep his eyes open.
"Besides, Anthony," said Ducky, reassuringly. "Even if you do turn into a werewolf, and mind you, it's by no means certain. There's still the strong possibility that you will be in control of your actions. Some cultures believe that the person you are in life dictates your behavior once changed. You my boy would never knowingly cause harm to an innocent person, and I'm sure that should you Change, then the same will be true."
"Thanks Ducky." This time Tony's eyes closed and didn't open again.
Ducky checked Tony's pulse in response to Gibbs's worried expression. "He's sleeping Jethro, and so should you be."
"Ducky, what you said to Tony just now, do you really think that's what's going to happen?"
Ducky sighed, "I wish I knew Jethro, I wish I knew."
The next four weeks passed quickly. Too quickly for Gibbs's liking. The search for Collins had hit a dead end, and Gibbs was afraid that only the next full moon would provide a lead. He was hoping that the lead would not take the form of another dead body.
Tony meanwhile had been released from the hospital after a few days. He still had a cast on his wrist, but otherwise bore no signs of his attack. Physically that is. Gibbs knew him well enough to see that behind the teasing and the joking Tony was worried about what the next full moon would bring.
Gibbs was worried as well. He had pumped Ducky for all the information the older man had on werewolves, determined to find some way to fix things, but to no avail. And every day was a day closer to the full moon. Gibbs was torn between wishing it would never arrive, and wanting it to arrive quickly so that at least they would know what they were dealing with.
"We should hope for the best, Jethro," said Ducky, "But prepare for the worst."
To that end, Gibbs had spent a weekend working on his basement. The boat was pushed into a corner, and Gibbs placed a mattress on the floor against the wall. In that wall he attached a solid set of chains complete with shackles and a collar. He had also managed to obtain a few clips of silver bullets.
The night of the full moon, Tony and Ducky were at Gibbs house before sunset. Gibbs had put Kate and McGee on call that night, telling them that he had a suspicion that Collins would surface again and he wanted them to be ready. Neither had been told of what Tony was going to face that night, although Gibbs was sure that Abby suspected something. He knew he should have asked somebody else where to get a good strong set of chains.
In response to Abby's question as to why he needed them, Gibbs had snapped at her, "Because I want to chain DiNozzo in my basement, okay?" For once, Abby hadn't persisted in questioning him and for that Gibbs was grateful. Granted, Abby was likely to find the whole situation if not believable, then certainly not outside the realms of possibility. But Gibbs just felt that the less people that knew about Tony's situation the better...especially if it was going to be necessary to take drastic measures to rectify it.
"Guess we'd better get set up," said Tony, trying to force a smile and failing miserably. His cast had been removed a few days earlier and now both hands were clenched into fists.
"I'm sure it will be all right, Anthony," said Ducky, reassuringly. "And if not, then rest assured that I have taken some...precautions." He indicated a small box that he had placed on the table earlier. "That contains some of the strongest and fastest acting animal sedatives known to man. If necessary, I intend to drug you to the gills to prevent you from harming yourself or others."
Tony kicked at the mattress on the floor. "You could've picked a softer one, Boss," he said.
"Think yourself lucky I didn't just get a bale of straw," snapped Gibbs, trying not to show the concern he was feeling.
"Boss," said Tony. "Before you chain me up...I want you to promise me something..."
"What is it, DiNozzo?"
Tony swallowed hard before replying, "If I do go all wolf man...don't let me hurt anybody, please. Put me down if you have to, whatever it takes, but I don't want to end up a murderer. Promise me that."
"I promise, Tony. Now take your clothes off."
"What!" Tony backed away.
"You saw how big a wolf Collins turned into? You Change while you're wearing those clothes I'll be picking up pieces of cotton for a week, and you'll have to go home in the morning buck naked." Gibbs picked up a blanket from his workbench. "This will keep you warm until the moon rises."
"Well when you put it like that..."
A few minutes later, a blanket wrapped Tony was sitting on the mattress as Gibbs attached the shackles to his wrists and ankles. He had allowed enough slack so that Tony could sit or lie comfortably on the mattress, but not enough for him to get anywhere near the stairs.
Gibbs could feel Tony shivering slightly as he clasped the collar around his neck and locked it securely. "Hey, look at me, DiNozzo," he said. Tony turned his eyes on Gibbs. "You are going to get through this, okay? Whatever you turn in to, however much or little control you have over your actions, I promised you I wouldn't let you harm anyone...and that includes yourself. If I have to, I'll keep you chained up like this every month during the full moon to make sure you're safe. Ducky can diagnose you with something to make sure you're not on duty during full moons. This is going to be okay, understand?"
Tony nodded, unwilling to trust his voice to speak.
Gibbs checked his watch. "Okay, moonrise isn't for another hour or so. Get some rest if you can, this may be a long night."
Gibbs sat on the stairs and waited. His gun - loaded with silver bullets - was resting on his lap. Upstairs, Ducky was waiting in the hallway, another gun by his side. This one was loaded with anesthetic darts. Ducky had wanted to wait with them in the basement, but Gibbs hadn't wanted to have Ducky watching if it came to the point of having to shoot Tony, or whatever Tony was going to Change in to. The way Gibbs figured it, if he couldn't kill a were-Tony with the silver bullets, then he might at least slow him enough for Ducky to use the sleep darts on him. And while they would certainly not kill him, they should at least knock him out long enough for Ducky to finish him off with the remainder of the silver bullets.
Gibbs checked his watch for the tenth time in five minutes. It was just about time. As he looked up, he could see Tony suddenly tense in his position on the mattress. Gibbs put his hand on the gun and waited.
Upstairs, Ducky too waited for the moon to rise. He knew that the odds were sadly stacked against Tony remaining in his own form this night. He could only hope that the young man would retain enough of his human sentience while in animal form so that he would not be a danger to the people around him. But if it should come to that, Ducky was prepared to do what was necessary.
He had discussed the matter privately with Jethro. If Tony Changed and they weren't able to control him, then it was quite possible that they might have to kill him. It wasn't something that Ducky wanted to have to do, but it was a contingency that he felt should be prepared for, and Ducky didn't want to have to wait to plan a cover up until Tony's body was cooling at his feet. Things like faking autopsy reports and tox screens couldn't be done on the spur of the moment.
But the alternative, that of letting a Changed Tony kill with impunity was not an option. Tony himself would not want it that way, but Ducky prayed that it wouldn't come to that.
Ducky rose to his feet as he heard movement on the basement staircase. No gunshots. That could be a good thing, if it meant that either Tony hadn't changed, or he had changed and kept his human awareness. Or it could be a bad thing, if he had Changed and managed to overpower Jethro before he could fire a shot. Either way, Ducky knew that he would soon find out the answer. He kept his hand on the dart gun as he watched the door to the basement.
"You can come down now."
Ducky almost sighed with relief. If Gibbs wanted him in the basement then it must be safe. He quickly turned the key and pulled the door open, moving carefully down the stairs, but still keeping the dart gun handy, just in case.
Ducky blinked, as his eyes grew accustomed to the light in the basement. He could see Gibbs crouched beside the mattress, his body blocking the view of the occupant. "Jethro, is he...what is he?" He took a few more steps down as Gibbs stood up.
"Say hello to were-Tony," said Gibbs, turning around to face Ducky.
"Miaow!" said the cat in Gibbs's arms.