A/N: Hello and salutations.
Here is the first chapter of my new fic. Now due to unforeseen craziness in R/L I haven't pre-written anywhere *near* as much as I had hoped so only one chapter per day at *most* I am afraid, but I shall do my best!
For anyone who hasn't read my previous fics The Darkness Within and Lessons I suggest that you do, a) because this is wildly AU and they contain the basic premise for this universe, this can be read as a standalone story but you will be confused by several references and b) I gotta plug my own work, right ;-p (joke... don't flame roast me!)
My wond-tabulous beta Alder is once again turning my gibberish into readable story so I suggest you all worship her muchly.
Disclaimer: None of NCIS is mine, this whacked out lil Universe and my OC's are mine though :-) – after the stupidly long authors note...enjoy!
Tony strolled into the bullpen and deposited coffees on his team mates' desks. It was now April and life was good - the team had only been back on active cases for the last fortnight due to the Lepatier case dragging out. Gibbs and Tony had ended up spending three weeks in Europe being interviewed by various agencies and the entire team had been through more reviews and debriefings than seemed possible.
Gibbs looked up at the younger agent, smiling when he saw the other man's good mood. It had taken a long time for DiNozzo to return to his normal gregarious self. The Alpha had watched his new pack member struggle to adapt to his new abilities ever since the kidnapping in late October. Although the initial training had gone amazingly smoothly, the integration to human society had proven problematic.
The young Bane-Wolf had initially been overwhelmed by the myriad of scents, sounds and feelings that overlaid the human world. The problem was especially obvious in the city where so many people occupied a relatively small area, the emotions washing over the were-wolf constantly, waves clashing and combining, confusing his senses until he mastered the art of filtering them out like background noise, only focussing on the ones he wanted to.
Gibbs answered his phone then hung up and started gathering his gun, badge and cell. He tossed the car keys to Tony and headed towards the elevator.
"Grab your gear, got a live one."
The agents scrambled after him, all well-versed in their roles after many years of practice. They met up at the crime scene with the van and car and stood putting on bullet-proof vests while the police officer on the scene briefed them to the situation.
"Marine Sergeant Howell has taken his wife and eight-year-old daughter hostage. We don't know what set him off but he's been shouting and smashing things up good. Agent Gibbs, if you can't talk him down soon...well, we gotta get his wife and little girl outta there," the grizzled officer said.
Gibbs nodded grimly, he hated it when they were called in on cases like this. Previously good men snapped for some reason and caused harm - though they were once regarded as heroes they were now just criminals, jailed by the people they had fought to protect. It was always worse when there were children involved, they should never have to see their parents turn into monsters like this. Most likely Howell would be diagnosed as having delayed PTSD and be shipped off to a secure facility. That was if they could talk him down without hurting anyone.
"DiNozzo, David...round back... I want you to get visuals on the mother and daughter. McGee, I need phone records, a line into the house and anything else you can find on this man's history." Gibbs snapped out orders even as he moved into a position where he could observe the front of the property.
"Yes Boss," was said in unison as the rest of the team went to their tasks.
Tony and Ziva headed across a couple of properties before coming around the back, staying low and hidden. Ziva watched Tony, impressed at his stealth. Apparently his time in the country with Gibbs had given him chance to improve his wilderness skills, although he had been reasonable before, now he moved with absolute confidence and self-awareness.
The two agents cautiously approached the rear of the house. Luckily there were several shrubs around the border of the lawn, so they could get close to the house without being seen by anyone inside. Tony gave the ex-Mossad officer a boost into the branches of a sturdy oak tree so she could look through the upstairs windows whilst he looked in on the ground floor. Ziva soon saw the little girl sitting on her bed, playing with dollies on her frilly pink, princess quilt. Downstairs Tony could see the Sergeant pacing anxiously in the family room, the body of his wife lying on the rug, her sightless eyes staring into oblivion.
Retreating further up the garden to avoid detection, Tony and Ziva updated the rest of their team on the situation inside. Sergeant Howell had apparently snapped his wife's neck, judging by the unnatural angle of her head and the lack of visible blood at the scene. This escalated the situation - from the way the daughter had been playing in her room it did not seem possible that she knew what had happened to her mother. It was only a matter of time before she went looking for her parents and discovered just how much her father had changed.
"DiNozzo, Ziva... do not engage the Sergeant in close quarters for any reason. That is a direct order, David. McGee pulled up his service history and he is one of the top hand-to-hand experts we have in the Corps. If you have to take him down, shoot to kill. Understood?" Gibbs warned before they signed off again.
"Understood Gibbs," Ziva replied as she headed to the perimeter fence to grab some gear.
"Yes Boss, no hitting the big scary man, got it," Tony joked, heading back to the house.
"DiNozzo," his Alpha growled. "Do not push it, he's too much, even for you."
"Yes Boss, seriously...I get it," his pack member replied, his tone slightly more respectful.
Ziva collected a rifle from one of the police officers and set up in the garden - if necessary she would take the shot to save the young girl. Tony managed to get right up to the house and position himself by the partly open French window. They waited patiently whilst Gibbs tried to calm the Marine down. Everyone was concentrating on the Sergeant, even the police officer assigned to watch the daughter. Howell was shouting down the phone at Gibbs when the little blonde girl entered the family room and saw her mother laying there. An ear piercing scream was soon heard.
"Mommy! Mommy! Wake up, Mommy...Daddy, what's wrong with Mommy? She won't wake up," the little girl sobbed, running towards her father.
Howell, deep in some horrific memory, whirled around and saw the child running towards him. He raised the gun and swung to aim at her, not seeing his own precious child but something evil. Tony didn't stop to think, he hadn't got a clear shot at the delusional Marine so he flung the French window fully open and hurtled into the room. The explosion of movement distracted Howell long enough for Tony to throw himself between him and his daughter before the trigger was fully depressed. Another childish scream pierced the air as the Bane-Wolf enveloped the child in his arms, shielding her from the deafening gun blast.
"Tony!" Ziva cried, trying to lower herself from the tree, unable to align her sights on Howell due to Tony's position.
"DiNozzo...damnit Tony, answer me!" Gibbs growled into his radio, heading for the house at full sprint.
Gibbs opened the door in time to hear the broken sobs of a small child - he headed towards them only to hear another gunshot and the silence that followed.
A/N #2: I shamelessly beg for the reviews, they make me happy and they form one of the essential food groups for plot bunnies :-p don't worry though, the story gets posted either way... helpful criticism and ideas always welcome but please avoid flames... they singe the bunnies fur.