I am so so so sorry about the delays… gah so much for good intentions eh?
Here's the next chapter, next will be up as *soon* as I can, there is no way this will be abandoned I promise.
Thanks go to my ever tolerant and super duper Beta, Alder is the best and everyone should send *her* cookies – the amount of work she does to make this readable… you would not believe!
Disclaimer – still not mine apart from my OC's of course and I *think* you'd have noticed the were-wolf thing in the show… or would you…?
Tony paced anxiously between his and Tim's desks as he waited for the younger agent to arrive. They had until three in the afternoon to have every eventuality covered and ready to present to the Director. Ziva was going to be out of action for quite a while yet and Gibbs would be desk duty only for at least the next week, two if Ducky had any say in the matter, so they had drawn up duty rosters for working with Cassie Yates and her Vice team. They had worked together in the past and knew that the other team were very efficient and reliable for undercover backup and Cassie herself was amazing undercover. That would prove valuable for giving the two men a contact with NCIS as they would be going in deep with no direct line of communication with anyone at work.
This was another thing that had Tony on edge - he would have no direct contact with his Pack, though he could possibly arrange the occasional meeting with Den. Heck, at over six feet, heavily muscled and his arms and chest heavily tattooed, the older Bane fit into the gang stereotype quite well. His natural ability to adapt to his surroundings and to intimidate would allow him to blend into Tony and Tim's temporary new neighbourhood. The young Were made a mental note about seeing if they could rent Den an apartment in the same building. If nothing else at least then they could communicate telepathically.
This was going to be an intense test of his control, he would be around people that made no attempt to mask their emotions and they would be almost certainly volatile and negative in their energy - he wouldn't have his pack to ground him and he would have his green partner to look out for as well as the usual stress of deep undercover. Although Tim was no longer a probie when it came to general field work he had never had to go undercover and become an entirely different person for what could be weeks.
Tim came in and they were soon sharing a desk, heads close together and talking in hushed tones. Gibbs would be in before much longer, he had to meet with Ducky first, and would want to go over the plan with them before they took it to Vance. The two young agents had already found suitable accommodation that suited their backgrounds as working class cousins; it was low rent but fully serviceable, within easy reach of several amenities and in slight disrepair. This would give Tim a lot of access for wiring the place up for surveillance without causing any noticeable damage. It was on the third floor with no elevator and only a narrow staircase and a fire escape so easily defensible but also easy to escape if necessary - it even had roof access.
Tony had scoped out the pound and found several possible cars, all slightly beat up but with tuned engines, seized in drug busts. They had the looks to fit in but the power for either a chase or escape – whichever was needed. A couple of them would work along with a beat up van for the surveillance team, there was another apartment available to rent across the street that overlooked theirs that would be ideal as the surveillance team 'base'. The entire area had a lot of transient residents so a number of people moving in and out at once would raise no suspicions, especially since the owner of one of the Italian restaurants in the area owed Tony a favour back from his Baltimore days and was willing to play 'Uncle Sal' to the boys.
Salvatore Minnelli had a small place on the edge of a poor but respectable community made up primarily of Italian-Americans. In recent years the neighbouring areas had become somewhat less pleasant but Sal was still happy there. Years before he had owned an even smaller cafe in Baltimore and his parents ran the D.C. one. One night as he was about to empty the register, a man broke into his Baltimore cafe and held him at gunpoint. He was rescued by the then Detective DiNozzo and had promptly declared the young man his saviour, proceeding to adopt Tony into his large and exuberant family. Sal had kept in touch and when he had taken over his parent's place after their retirement he made sure that Tony came over at least two or three times a year for food and company. He had no children of his own and was happy to use Tony as the target of all his matchmaking attempts.
It made it fair easier for the two agents to be accepted into a new neighbourhood if they had 'relatives' in the area, and with Sal and his enormous family all already used to Sal and his habit of adopting waifs and strays into the fold there would be little difficulty getting them 'in'. Sal even offered to let them do some menial work for him, it offered a low income and gave them a reason for looking for quick and easy cash.
"Tony, why is Mr Minnelli doing so much to help us? Are you sure we can trust him?" Tim asked. He was slightly suspicious of the helpful older man.
"Of course we can trust him Tim. What people don't realise is Nonno Minnelli had passed on his desire to serve and a large portion of his family were NYPD, past and present. Nonno moved here to open the restaurant as Maria was from D.C. and when he left the force they wanted out of New York," Tony grinned, "Sal was always more into food, far more like his Mamma so he set up in Baltimore and came home when they retired."
Tim looked dazed, he was overwhelmed by the size and complexity of the traditional Italian-American family but could see how it would serve them well. Being 'several generations down the line' he and Tony could get away with their less-than-Mediterranean looks, though Tony at least had the tan and could pull off an authentic accent as well as being semi-fluent in Italian. Tim was desperately learning as much as he could in a short period, focussing on insults and jokes.
"At least we already have the annoying big brother and brainy little brother dynamic," Tim thought to himself, smirking, no-one would doubt they were related – hopefully they would accept the 'half-brothers' part for the lack of physical similarities.
Gibbs swirled his coffee cup and glared at the contents. He was furious at himself for getting injured and not being able to help Tony in the field on this op. He had contacted Cassie Yates and thoroughly informed her of what he'd do if her team failed to protect his agents - as far as she was concerned he was still just worried about Tony going into the field without his team for the first time since his torture.
Although the Alpha trusted his pack member implicitly he worried that the Council may not be so understanding. The agreement was Tony had to live with Gibbs until they said otherwise. It could be years before they allowed him to live by himself, however, they had also agreed that he would have full freedom to continue his job as usual with Gibbs' supervision. This was giving him a headache.
Tony crept into Ducky's office. The elderly ME had silently nodded towards the door when the younger man had come looking for his boss and Alpha. As he slipped into the room he saw Gibbs run a hand across his brow, pausing to pinch the bridge of his nose, a sure sign of a migraine developing.
"Umn… Boss?" the young Bane murmured, recognising the signs. He stepped further into the room, helped himself to the Tylenol and got a glass of water, passing them both to Gibbs without saying anything further.
The Alpha took the tablets and swallowed them, grimacing as he did so. He realised that it was better to accept the medication than have his subordinate pull out the big guns and fetch the ME, Ducky would probably insist the injured man went home to 'rest' – not something he was willing to risk.
"What's wrong Tony?" he asked, leaning back and closing his eyes as he waited for the medication to kick in.
"Boss, what are we going to do about the Council if I go undercover?" Tony's brow wrinkled as he paced anxiously. "It's only been a few months, no way will they let me live away from the pack. I…I've had an idea but I'm not sure…"
"Go on," Gibbs smiled inwardly, glad to see that his faith in his lead agent wasn't unfounded. He had been prepared to call him to a meeting to discuss this particular problem but the younger man had beaten him to it.
"Well, the apartment block me and McGee have got lined up – there's another vacant apartment in it. I was thinking Den could move in? He'd be directly below me and the Probie, we can 'talk' telepathically whenever we need to at that range and it would be easy for us to befriend the new guy if he moved in after us. That area has a high turnover rate of tenants so it wouldn't be suspicious. Den would have to stay out of the case but – well, maybe the council would be happy with that level of supervision?" Tony rubbed his neck as he paced, anxiety pouring off him. He couldn't believe how much planning he'd done before remembering the council and their mandates about his life, especially after he'd specifically thought about it earlier then managed to forget with the shear amount of preparation needed.
Gibbs nodded slowly. It was a well thought out solution and would in theory keep the council happy. He knew perfectly well that Den had the presence and ability to become an Alpha in his own right if he so chose but was happier in a lower role in the Pack. If the huge Bane could live in the same building as Tony then it would provide a layer of protection and also give the young Were a valuable ally should he struggle with his – condition – in the situation he would be facing.
"I'll call Den and Jeni, get it cleared. It makes sense though, with his size and those tats, Den won't stick out in that part of town and McGee doesn't know him so won't react suspiciously." Gibbs gave one of his rare smiles, allowing the younger man to see and sense the pride he felt.
Several days later Tony hugged Rhi and threw his tatty holdall into the trunk of his cover car. They were cleared for the op and thanks to the work already done they were ready to go. He was joining Tim with only their undercover gear and meeting at an NCIS safe house to perform the final mission checks with Gibbs, Cassie and Director Vance. Abby would be there to double check the equipment.
The surveillance team had gotten into an apartment a block over from Tim and Tony's new home and were also ready. The only delay from the previous week had been spreading out the various people moving into the neighbourhood, as even with the high turnaround it was best to play it safe.
It also allowed 'Uncle Sal' to spread the word that his 'no-good nephews' were coming to town and he hoped to be able to straighten them out.
Letting out a deep huff as he got out the car at the safe house, Tony winced – he was going to have to be extra careful about his sub-vocalisations whilst living with McGee. This was going to be a true test of his abilities to control his wolf. He could only hope that the trust put in him by his pack, by Jeni and by Den would be valid and that he could get through the next days or weeks without incident.