A/N: Hello my lovely readers :-D here is the promised one-shot covering a bit more of Tony's time in the Retreat. If you haven't read my first story "The Darkness Within" then I suggest you do so now... go on...we'll wait for you... if you have read the other, why not grab a cuppa/beverage of choice?
Done? Good, now you know about my Alternate Universe with Were!Gibbs and Were!Tony then you will hopefully enjoy this too
Thanks again to my wonderfully quick Beta, Alder... I worship thee muchly my dear.
Disclaimer: I own none of NCIS, the story, Rhiannon and Lore are mine though *grrr* :-p
The large brown wolf crashed through the underbrush, panting heavily. Just ahead of him a jackrabbit was frantically fleeing, only evading the large carnivore due to its small size, which gave it easy passage through the scrub. A hundred or so feet back an equally large silver timber wolf and a smaller red-brown wolf followed the brown one. They had a less complicated task, simply running along the path he had cleared for them.
Gibbs smiled as he ran, his silvery fur gleaming in the autumn light. He loped along with Rhi as Tony blundered on ahead, the new Bane-Wolf still had problems controlling his beast when out on a run and the rabbit that bounded up almost beneath his feet had been too much temptation. The two followers soon sped up though as they heard a started cry and sudden silence which was then broken by a pathetic whimper.
Tony had been having the time of his life, the scents of the forest and prey intermingling, information flowing from every direction. The slightly gritty yet soft feeling of the mulch beneath his pounding paws, the sensation of his claws digging in for grip in the spongy floor covering. Suddenly the rabbit - that was almost within his grasp - took a flying leap, clearing about fifteen to twenty feet and thus avoiding a small gulley all but hidden by the undergrowth. The were-wolf scrambled madly, trying to get the purchase needed to save himself from the fall. With a wild yelp he tumbled down to the bottom of the pit, landing in a crumpled heap of fur, mulch and insects.
He moved, attempting to untangle his gangly limbs and went to stand, only to fall again as his left front leg buckled under him, sharp pain radiating up the entire foreleg. Tony started whimpering as he eyed up the steep walls and tried to figure out how to get out on three legs.
Rhi and Gibbs arrived at the gully and approached cautiously. They could see huge gouges in the forest floor where DiNozzo had attempted to avoid the drop. The pair peered over the edge and were relieved to see the third member of their pack seemingly intact.
"Tony, you alright?" the Alpha called telepathically.
"I think so Boss...my leg hurts a bit though...wrist...ah, what do I call it as a wolf? This bit." Tony waved the offending limb gently. "Dunno if I can climb out, can't put much weight on it."
The younger animal looked embarrassed, his ears drooped and whiskers hanging, with his carefully held paw he looked truly pathetic. Gibbs looked around carefully before hopping down to the wounded youngster and, leading him to one end of the gully, the older wolf helped him climb out at a slightly shallower point. It took them a long time to get back to the cabin, Tony couldn't bear any weight on his damaged leg - but there was no way he was willing to walk back naked and barefoot in human form.
Once back at their temporary home the wolves shifted, showered and changed. Gibbs then examined Tony's injured wrist, ignoring the younger agent's insistence that it was 'fine' and he didn't need the splint that Gibbs was currently taping into place. The supervisory agent had diagnosed a fairly severe sprain - luckily, with his new Lycan physiology, the injury would soon heal. Three days total rest would do the trick. However those three days would seem like an eternity for the unhappy and hyperactive agent and the two True-Born charged with his training.
"DiNozzo, sit down and just read the damn book," Gibbs growled, his tone dangerous and inhuman.
"But Boss," Tony whined. "It's really boring, why do I need to know this stuff?"
"Because, Cub, I told you so. It is a requirement of the Council's training and you would normally have been taught this before turning Bane. Now, I am ordering you…as your Alpha I might add…to sit down and finish reading about the origins of Bane-Wolves…I'll quiz you on it after dinner." The older agent went back to reading his book, completely ignoring the sighs and groans from the other man. How he wished he had a new boat to work on right now…
Tony gave up voicing his displeasure, when Gibbs went Alpha there was no changing his mind. They were four weeks into their stay at the cabin and Tony was really feeling the isolation, as a naturally gregarious person he missed the people of the city as well as his friends and work-mates. With a muffled curse he turned back to the slim volume Gibbs had given him.
"History of the Bane-Wolf within Clan Society," he muttered. "How thrilling."
The Bane-Born wolf is a controversial issue amongst the Clan. Many packs have outlawed the practice in recent years though official Council policy is that they may still be created after a thorough screening process.
Bane-Wolves are those who are created and not born among us. As long as four thousand years ago the Order of the Lycus Mystica had methods of turning humans into were-wolves. For millennia this power was used however the Shamans wished, forming thousands of Bane-Wolves. As with all powerful groups the Order was divided into those who used their powers to protect and aid the Clan, and those who used their powers only to help themselves.
At many points in history it was considered desirable by the noblemen to have Lycan Guards, and Dark Shamans would use prisoners to create them. This was a direct result of the Monkshood potion. The nobleman would force-feed it to his new guards, thus turning them into mindless slaves, unable to disobey their Master. Dark Shamans would also have their own guard of Bane-Wolves. The Monkshood potion has little effect on True-Born wolves or Bane-Wolves who have been transformed for over five years.
In modern times Bane-Wolves are much less common. The Council holds all rights as to whether a person may partake in the ritual. In all cases the prospective Bane must:
Prepare for their transformation with years of study
Be sponsored by a pack willing to take responsibility for their actions and wellbeing.
Be sanctioned by the Council.
Prove themselves worthy to the Council
Prove themselves a valuable addition to the pack
All candidates must live with a pack and study Clan Lore for a minimum of two years prior to transformation. The sponsor pack may petition the Council at that time for a transformation order. If granted the Council will assign the candidate to a registered Shaman who may perform the ritual. During this time the entire pack will support the newcomer through the process, which may prove quite traumatic. ~
Tony snorted, after his experience this seemed somewhat of an understatement. None of his introduction to the world of were-wolves had even approached the careful planning and forethought required by the literature.
~ After the transformation has been successful the newly created Bane must go into seclusion with their pack. This may be for a period of two to five years, depending on the degree of control the Bane-Born can exert over their inner beast. This also depends greatly on the level of bond between the Bane and their pack, particularly the Alpha. The stronger the bond the quicker control may be achieved. ~
The young Bane smiled, apparently he was a long way ahead of the learning curve then. They only had another week before his initial test to decide whether he was to live or die.
~ All Bane-Wolves created without knowledge or sanction of the Council are to be put to death immediately. The Shaman that created the unsanctioned Bane will be executed by fire. No human is to be turned without consent and due consideration. The process cannot be reversed so it must be carefully planned with a full and supportive pack ready to guide the newcomer. Individual petition may be put to the Council in the case of unwilling transformation. ~
"Well," Tony thought, "That sums up my situation quite well."
~ The Clan comes first, any True or Bane-Born wolf that threatens the safety and secrecy of our people will have their details given to a registered bounty hunter within the Clan. It is then at the hunter's discretion as to what level of containment is required. The only way to stop a hunt is to petition the relevant Council. ~
DiNozzo growled and slammed the book shut, it seemed even the darn book was against him now. After grabbing a soda from the fridge he turned to another section in the book, maybe the section on 'Pack Etiquette' would be more fun... Rolling his eyes, he went back to his studies.
~ Etiquette is a vital part of interaction within a pack. All members should know their rank and abide by their social rules. The positions within a pack are as follows:
Alpha: Absolute ruler of the pack. All other members must pay due respect and follow the Alpha's instructions to the letter. Lower ranking Lycans must avoid confrontation and submit.
Beta: Second in command, receives the same courtesies as the Alpha.
Delta: Third ranking, these are the security force of the pack.
Median: The Median are the majority of pack members, they have low to middle rank.
Omega: These are the lowest ranking members. All other pack members may give orders to the Omegas and expect displays of submission and respect.
All Bane-Wolves start out at the Omega position. Rank may not increase until after the probationary period is completed. Once a Lycan is a full member of the pack they may enhance their rank through means of achieving distinction for their actions. This includes succeeding in their chosen field, protecting the pack and beating a higher-ranking wolf in competition. ~
Gibbs looked up as he heard the young Bane-Wolf snarl at the book. He could guess at the section Tony was reading. The younger man had never had much truck with conventions of etiquette, even within the human world. For him to treat someone with respect, they had to earn it. Gibbs smiled, thinking back to that first case in Baltimore, even when the silver-haired agent had used his full Alpha intimidation the younger man had just come straight back with a snappy reply and a cheerful demeanour. He was always polite, but Gibbs could easily foresee some high-ranking wolves getting insulted by him in the not too distant future. Hopefully the Council would grant a short probationary period and allow him to start climbing through the ranks, DiNozzo was as natural a Beta as he had ever seen.
Tony resisted the urge to throw the offending article in the fire, he knew that would upset Gibbs and that was a really bad idea right now. His earlier whining about the studies had already put him on warning, and he didn't want to find out what punishment would be for another temper-tantrum. Instead he went to the kitchen and started preparing a meal, he had had enough with studying for the day.
The evening was spent listening to stories from Rhi's childhood - she used stories of growing up in a human town in England to help Tony prepare for the return to civilisation. Here in the woods there was little to offend or distract his heightened senses.
Tony sighed again. He had procrastinated all that he could but Rhiannon had led him to the desk and sat him down with the notebook and the hateful text once more. Even his best puppy-dog eyes and pouted lip had no effect on her hardened heart.
Lycans have a recorded history of four thousand three hundred years. They originated in Israel under the tribe of Benjamin. The true story has been lost to time, the only remnants are hints in ancient texts such as the book of Genesis Ch: 49-v: 27 'Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil.' There are also early texts referring to shape-shifters in Indian and Chinese mythology, though they do not specifically refer to wolves.
The current Clan structure has been recorded since the mid twelfth century. This is when the Council system was established, rather than the Feudal system that had been in place. Prior to the coalition movement each individual clan of three to six packs would defend a territory, under the new order each country elected a Council of the highest ranking Alphas and a selection of Beta, Delta and Median to serve them. There is no Omega representation on the Council.
Each Council is responsible for the actions of the Lycans and Shamans in their country. There are also Grand Councils which coordinate the efforts of Councils in the same region. Currently there are over a hundred Councils in existence:
Grand Council Europe – England, Germany, France, Italy, Spain etc
Grand Council Africa – All African Councils coalesced in 1773
Grand Council Americas – United States of America, Canada, Mexico, South America (United in 1500's under Spanish Invasion)
Grand Council Middle East – No longer in existence, scattered factions remain
Grand Council Asia – India, Australia and New Zealand have Councils, there are no recorded Lycans in the Oriental countries.
All Lycans must notify the nearest Council if relocating to that country. Negotiations may be required and some Councils require newcomers be adopted by a local pack.
During the fifteenth through eighteenth centuries Lycans were hunted almost to extinction by humans. The Clan learnt to live amongst humans and disguise themselves for continued survival. This is when the increase in Bane-Born occurred, as True-Born fell in love with humans.
Initially there was much stigma carried by the Bane-Wolves and they were never ranked above Omega. Bane was also an almost unforgivable insult amongst the True-Born. They only became truly accepted after the Clan required many Bane-Wolves to be born to save our kind from extinction after the Great Purge of the human world. ~
Tony continued reading on the intricacies of the 'Purging' for a while. It included the famous Witch Trials and as far as he could tell, several villages burned down across Europe during the 'plague' had actually been were-wolf populations. Yawning, he closed the book and went to his room for a nap; he was still sleeping an awful lot...even without shifting every day.
Gibbs growled low as he watched his charge bounce around the room. Tony felt better and was therefore being a holy terror. The older man had checked the injured wrist and although almost healed he wasn't going to allow the young agent to shift just yet. The changes wrought on the body through the shift would aggravate the injury and could in fact make it worse. It took three glares, a snapped comment and a rather firm head-slap to get the excitable young man to settle back down for his last day of confinement. It was after lunch before he finally succeeded.
This is a term applied to members of the Lycus Mystica. There are five types of Shaman, though individuals can master more than one of the skill sets.
Healer: Uses herbs and secret knowledge to heal the sick.
Spirit Walker: Communicates with the spirit world.
Evocator: Foretells the future. Guides the Clan and avoids danger.
Alchemist: Uses chemistry to manipulate the world around them.
Death Walker: Also known as a Dark Shaman. They cause death and suffering through any means.
Until the Coalition the Lycus Mystica were actually an independent group. They lived in their own enclaves, only seeing the Lycans when requested. Very few outsiders ever enter the Order, they are raised within it and roles and skills passed down through families over many generations. Membership is so controlled that the high status families still use arranged marriages to keep the bloodlines true and clear of Lower Bloods. Thanks to select breeding and their manipulations of their world the Mystica members had achieved an average lifespan of one hundred and forty-eight years. Their existence has been as closely guarded as that of the Lycan Clan. ~
Tony whistled, he hadn't realised just how powerful the Shamans were. Gerard had stumbled upon a guide-book lost when a minor family of the Order had died out, and the Frenchman had managed to teach himself some of their more basic alchemical concepts. Unfortunately for Tony, he had managed to perfect the transformation recipe. Though on second thoughts, since Lepatier's other victims had all died, the young man considered living with his new abilities a far better option.
"Boss, I can't take any more today...can we watch a movie? Watch clouds go by? See who can hold their breath the longest? Heck...I'd even risk the wrath caused by Monopoly right now..." he begged.
"Fine, pick a movie that I won't kill you for and I'll get the beer." Gibbs ruffled Tony's hair on the way past, much to the younger man's disgust.
The silver-haired agent smiled tolerantly as he got the drinks and called Rhi in from where she was photographing plants outside. Tony had never coped well with forced inaction and the last two-and-a-bit days had been torture for him. Since he had made an effort to study his reading material, Gibbs was happy enough to let him have a reward.
"How the heck did you pass your classes in college DiNozzo?" he asked in a gruff, yet slightly amused tone.
"Well you see Boss..." Tony smiled wide. "Back then I didn't have the ability to turn into a wolf which is like the coolest thing ever...that and most of my teachers were far more receptive to the DiNozzo charm."
"You slept your way through university?!" Rhi exclaimed in horror.
"Nah," the younger man laughed at her expression. "They just let me get away with more...plus I pulled a lot of last minute all nighters...anyway, this stuff is really boring when out there smells so great."
Gibbs laughed outright as they sat back to watch 'In Harms Way'. They were all sprawled on the large leather sofa, the room warmed by a log fire, and cosy as dusk started to fall outside.
"You'll like this one Boss, John Wayne, Kirk Douglas, the Navy...it's one of the classics...you know, there's this one bit where..."
Jethro and Rhi just looked at each other and rolled their eyes, smiling, before speaking in unison.
"Shut up Tony and watch the movie!"
A/N#2: Forgot to say, am writing "Wild in the City" as we speak/read... whatever... once I have a few chapters pre-written and beta'd I shall start posting... so Friday maybe.
PS Reviews make me happy as Plot Bunnies need them as an essential part of their diet ;-)