Author's Note: A few warnings before we start: This is AU, but I have tried to keep everyone as in character as possible. If you absolutely hate AU, this story is definitely not for you. I wanted to explore the limits of Gibbs' and Tony's father/son relationship, and this is the only way I could figure out to do it. Even with the supernatural twist, this is primarily a father/son, hurt/comfort, angsty story, very similar to others I have written—it just includes some blood, fangs, and few extra abilities our boys wouldn't otherwise possess! There is also some bad language, violence, and non-con, but this is not slash.
The story is twenty-five chapters and an epilogue. I wanted to see if I could write something really long, and that was a challenge of its own. I'll post every few days as I usually do.
I'm not sure if there is any interest at all in this type of work, so if you enjoy it let me know. Unfortunately, I'm a bit like Tony and have an insecure ego that needs reassurance every now and then, so a pat on the head or a cyber cookie would go a long way to alleviate some of my nervousness :). I do have a facebook page under Iheart Tony, but it's a sad and pathetic little thing; I'm going to get to work on it now that this story is pretty much finished. Feel free to check me out there!
Thanks, and let the fun begin!
Evil is a point of view. God kills indiscriminately and so shall we. For no creatures under God are as we are, none so like him as ourselves.
Lestat, Interview with a Vampire
Long, thin fingers reached out and touched the sleeping man's cheek with such a light caress that he didn't wake, only let out a soft huff of air and shifted into a new position; his long legs stretched out against the sheets, one knee bent, an arm thrown behind his head, and the other resting against his flat stomach.
Light from the moon filtered through the window, casting shadows across the handsome features of the man, highlighting his chiseled jawline and broad chest. "You are as beautiful as I imagined," the uninvited guest whispered, drawing in a deep breath. He savored the sweet, spicy scent that filled his senses and had him reeling with desire.
He licked his rosy lips and ran his tongue across the sharpened points of his fangs. He wanted to pull this man close, expose the long line of his neck, and drink from the delicious bouquet that he hadn't tasted in so long. The flavor would have grown stronger over the years, taking on a richer essence now that his victim was a full grown man instead of a child. He had dreamed about this moment for years.
As he leaned forward, drawing closer to the expanse of delicious flesh sprawled before him, another aroma caught his attention—someone else had drank from this boy, recently and often. It was a familiar odor, one that he hadn't recognized in centuries, but a scent he would never forget.
His golden eyes darkened and he sniffed deeply to be sure; there was no mistaking the unique smell. How had this happened? Of all the people in the world, how had this young man found that particular individual?
Sitting back, he looked around the small yet neatly appointed bedroom. He picked up the leather wallet lying on the nightstand and flipped it open, immediately finding a shield and identification announcing the man's employment as a federal agent with NCIS. Exchanging the wallet for a cell phone, he pushed several buttons and checked the recent calls, one name standing out among all the others confirming his suspicions.
"Well, is that not a coincidence," the man whispered into the dark. This turn of events changed everything. Bending down, he brushed his lips across the man's forehead before turning to leave; it took a great deal of willpower to walk away without drinking, but he had developed incredible self-control over his many years on earth.
He would be back, and the boy would ultimately belong to him. However, there were some other matters he would address first.
Starting with destroying Leroy Jethro Gibbs.
(One Week Later)
"Exsanguination," Ducky stated, a dour expression on his face. "If I had to make an early prognosis as to the cause of our petty officer's demise, I would guess exsanguination."
Ziva frowned. "I am not familiar with that word, Dr. Mallard. Would you care to explain?" She raised the camera and took another photo of the young man, barely out of his teens, who was lying face up on the steps leading into his barracks. The area had been cordoned off; Tony bent down a few feet away scouring the ground for any physical evidence, McGee recorded measurements in his PDA, and Gibbs looked over Ducky's shoulder.
It was the lead agent who answered her question. "It means all the blood has been drained from his body." Gibbs did not look pleased, but then again, when the situation involved a murder, he never did.
Ziva's frown deepened. "That does not make any sense. The body shows no signs of trauma. How would the blood have been removed?"
Ducky pursed his lips and glanced up at Gibbs, whose face had taken on a predictably unreadable expression. "I suppose that is what I will have to find out, my dear," the ME replied stiffly.
McGee stopped recording and gazed at the body along with the others. "It is strange, Ducky. There isn't a drop of blood around him; where could it all go?"
"I have a guess," Jimmy Palmer inserted, wincing when the gurney he was pushing clattered against the bottom of the steps. They all paused to look at him. He swallowed uncomfortably, as if he hadn't expected them to actually listen.
"Well, go on Jimmy. Make your guess," Gibbs said, prompting the young man to speak up. Jimmy had the distinct feeling he was being used to make a point.
Jimmy cleared his throat. "I was just thinking, you know, the only thing that could drain the blood from a body and not leave any behind-that would have to be a vampire, right?"
"That's a scientific hypothesis if I ever heard one, Palmer," Tony commented blithely, walking over to stand next to Ziva. "I'm surprised you haven't suggested we investigate Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster. Maybe it was the Mothman."
"Oh, come on Tony! You were all thinking it; I just had the guts to say it out loud! Do you have a better explanation?" Jimmy defended his idea.
No one spoke, since there wasn't an obvious reason for the state of the deceased and the thought had entered all their minds on some level.
Tony cleared his throat, breaking the tension. "Palmer, I can tell you why it wasn't a vampire, because they don't exist. Maybe it was a psychotic medical student who snapped under the pressure of working for a belligerent boss and a perfectionist medical examiner with a penchant for long-winded stories." Tony stared at Jimmy with mock accusation.
"Not funny, Tony." Jimmy folded his arms and sulked.
"Don't worry, Palmer, Tony has a thing about vampires." McGee tried not to smirk in his partner's direction and failed.
"No, I don't, McGee. Since vampires aren't real, it's impossible to have a thing about them," Tony deflected, sealing an evidence bag and looking affronted.
"Is Tony afraid of vampires?" Ziva asked, eyebrows quirked and tone condescending. She smirked at DiNozzo openly.
"It's his bête noire. He used to have nightmares about vampires when he was a kid," McGee continued to explain helpfully.
"Kate told you about that? She never could keep a secret," Tony complained. His face held the faraway look it always got when he mentioned his fallen teammate. "The point is that all this talk about vampires is keeping us from figuring out what really happened. Maybe we should get back to work."
"For once, DiNozzo's right," Gibbs agreed. "Stop talking and finish processing so Ducky can get this body to autopsy." His no nonsense glare sent them all scurrying back to what they had been doing.
Dr. Mallard paused as Jimmy leaned over the pale corpse. "It is a fascinating word, exsanguination," Ducky explained to his assistant. "One of my favorites. It is derived from the Latin exsanguinatus. Quite an unusual way to die, don't you think, Mr. Palmer?"
"Absolutely. I'm interested to find out what your autopsy reveals. Do you think we might have a killer who's pretending to be a vampire?" Palmer asked, his bright eyes sparkling with barely contained excitement.
"Anything is possible, my boy, anything is possible. Let's get this poor chap out of here and continue our speculating once we have more information." They began the process of moving the no longer pliant body onto the gurney.
Ziva jogged to catch up with Tony, who was walking toward the truck. "I am sorry for teasing you about your phobia, Tony. We all have something we fear, no matter how irrational it might be."
"Thanks, Ziva. And what might your phobia be? We can guess that McGee's is talking to a girl in person and not on the internet, and Gibbs' is technology. So what is Ziva David's bête noire? What does our highly trained assassin detest or avoid?" He laughed softly. "I think I know."
She stopped and narrowed her eyes playfully. "You do? I would like to hear your guess, since I am sure it is totally and completely wrong."
Leaning close, Tony purred into her ear. "Your bête noire is losing control, my lovely ninja. You are afraid of any situation not totally in your command." He straightened and looked at her smugly. "The fact I'm unpredictable is what makes you so uncomfortable around me."
Ziva met his gaze with a small smile before pulling away from him, laughing. "As usual you are incorrect. You are absolutely predictable. You can always be counted on to flirt, make crude jokes, procrastinate paperwork, and follow Gibbs like a puppy. Nothing about you makes me uncomfortable. Except maybe being stuck in a car with you on a stakeout, when you can be less than mannerly."
Tony put away the few evidence bags he had collected and leaned against the back of the truck. "Even now, you're trying to be in control by telling me how wrong I am, effectively proving my point. It's ok. We all have something we fear Ziva, no matter how irrational it might be." His green eyes flashed triumphantly.
She started to continue her protest, but Gibbs stepped up behind her. "Are you two done?"
"Yeah, boss, we're all wrapped up," Tony answered immediately.
"Then get back to the car."
Ziva and Tony followed the lead agent as he strode away. "We are not finished with this conversation," the Israeli whispered, while Tony grinned. He had definitely found Ziva David's bête noire.
"So what's my bête noire, Tony?" McGee asked, walking behind the senior field agent into Abby's lab.
Tony rolled his eyes. "Live girls as opposed to the virtual reality kind," Tony said smoothly, deciding not to prolong telling McGee the truth.
"That is so not fair, Tony! You know that isn't true! Maybe a few years ago, but I've had a lot of dates recently." Tim tried not to stare at the real live girl who was, in his opinion, proof of the incorrectness of Tony's statement and was standing at her computer terminal looking incredibly pretty in platform boots, a miniskirt, and a tight t-shirt. The two perfect ponytails perched high atop her head were just the right touch to make McGee's heart skip a beat.
Abby grinned but refused to look away from the screen that had her attention. "He's right, Timmy. That is so your bête noire. You do much better when you can hide behind your technologically enhanced persona."
McGee gaped like he had been punched in the gut. "I can't believe you agree with him Abby! I've dated a lot of girls—women—and I resent the implication that I'm not comfortable with them."
Abby giggled and scooted over to give him a peck on the cheek, which completely threw the younger agent off kilter. "Don't get so upset, McGee. No one is questioning your manhood, just pointing out that you get a little bit shy sometimes. It's no biggie. Just like if Tony here had to spend the day with a real live vampire he'd probably pee in his Calvin Klein's."
Tony grinned wickedly. "You're assuming I wear any."
Abby smirked appreciatively. "You are so bad, Tony. But I like it."
He leaned over her shoulder and looked at the computer, tilting his head while he tried to figure out what she was reading. "Got anything for us, Abs?"
"Not much," she answered, back to business. "Ducky's still working on the autopsy, but it sounds like our Petty Officer was drained of every drop of blood in his body. Not a happy way to go." She suddenly sounded dark and serious. "I've searched his uniform and can't find a single fingerprint, a stray hair, a piece of lint, nothing. Whoever the killer is, he didn't leave anything behind to reveal his identity."
Tony propped himself on the table and crossed his arms. "That's strange, to kill someone in such an open place and leave behind no physical or trace evidence. We couldn't find anyone at the base who saw or heard anything. No one even knows why he was outside or where he'd been that night."
"Do you have any theories about how he lost all his blood?" McGee asked.
Abby pursed her lips and glanced down at her shoes, uncharacteristically quiet. "No, Tim, I have no idea. But I have a feeling this isn't the last one of these murders we're going to see."
Tony's eyes creased a little. "You got a gut feeling about this Abs?"
Without warning, the Goth stepped over and hugged him, resting her head on Tony's shoulder. "Yeah, a really bad feeling. I just…." She hesitated to go on. Tony cast a questioning gaze at McGee, who was watching her closely. Abby pulled back and turned toward her computer again. "I'm being silly. Everything's going to be fine; Gibbs will make sure of that."
McGee placed a hand on her shoulder. "Are you sure there isn't something you want to tell us?" he asked.
"No!" she answered. "You know how I am with these kinds of cases. I mean, come on, our best suspect right now is probably a vampire! Of course I'm overreacting. Now you two scoot off and let me get back to work. I'm going to analyze the petty officer's hair and see if I can find out anything from that. I'll call if something turns up." She ushered the agents out of her lab.
In the elevator, McGee turned to Tony. "That was weird. What do you think is going on?"
Tony shook his head. "I don't have a clue. Knowing Abby it could be anything. We'd better keep an eye on her."
"Yeah," McGee agreed. "This is just the kind of case that will have Abby obsessed. You know she's practically an expert on vampires, right?"
"It's Abby. She dresses like she's on her way to a séance every day. I'm sure she loves the undead."
"No, Tony, I mean a serious expert. She has dozens of books on the topic, and I'm not talking about Dracula and Interview with the Vampire. These are highly documented research books. I think she even went on a trip to Europe once to study their possible origins."
"So she's some kind of vampire scholar?" Tony shook his head. "I guess that doesn't really surprise me. I hope she doesn't let it affect her work on the case." The elevator doors opened. "I've done my own vampire research. I've seen Bram Stoker's Dracula at least five times."
Tim grinned. "My favorite is Fright Night."
"Oh, good choice, Timmy. That's a 1980's classic."
Making their way back to their desks, Tony checked his watch. He hoped Gibbs wouldn't keep them too late this evening.
"Do you have important plans tonight, Tony? I see you keep looking at the time." Ziva folded her hands under her chin and stared at him across her desk.
Tony took a seat and turned on his computer. He needed to call the base and have any security camera footage sent over so they could check for signs of the petty officer's actions the night before. "Yes, Ziva, as a matter of fact I do have plans. I met a very nice girl at the gym and we have a date for dinner and a movie tonight. Do you approve?" He met her gaze, waiting for a reaction.
"The gym? I do not know what should surprise me more, that you are working out or that you are hooking up there. Actually, you probably go to the gym so you can hook up."
Tony pushed himself back in his chair. "I actually enjoy both activities, so this is a win-win for me, Ziva. I like to keep all my body parts toned and ready for action."
"Too much information, DiNozzo," Gibbs interjected, walking into the bullpen, coffee in hand. "Especially since the body part you seem to work out the most is your mouth. If you have any hope of getting home in time for your hot date, you better get me some information on petty officer….."
"Green," McGee supplied. "Dustin Green. He was twenty years old with a clean record and good reviews. None of the people I talked to seemed to think he had an enemy in the world. I'll check his cell phone record; see if there was any unusual activity."
Ziva spoke up next. "I'll pull up his personal background and start contacting his family. Maybe they know something his friends don't."
Gibbs looked at DiNozzo. "I'm calling the base to get any security footage sent over now, boss. Maybe we can figure out his movements last night."
The lead agent lifted an eyebrow. "Maybe we can figure out his movements?"
Tony gave a nervous laugh. After all these years working together, Gibbs could still pull his chain. "Of course not maybe, we will definitely figure out his movements, boss. No problem. I'll have it for you, uh, soon."
"No later than tomorrow morning. See, I still have to call about the tapes…."
"You've got two hours."
"Two hours? I might not even be able to get a call through….."
Gibbs just stared.
"Two hours, boss. You got it."
Gibbs smiled, indicating their efforts were now acceptable. "I'm going down to talk to Ducky. I'll want an update when I get back."
Once he was alone, Gibbs sagged against the elevator wall. He'd been holding it together since they found the body. On the outside he was as calm and collected as ever; on the inside he was vacillating between rage and an emotion he was unaccustomed to facing-fear. There was only one explanation for the condition of Petty Officer Green, and he, better than anyone, knew what it was.
Even though they had been outside, the smells at the crime scene were strong. He immediately sensed that another had been there before him and had touched the body when it was still a living man. It was an aroma he knew all too well, someone he hadn't seen or spoken to in a lifetime.
Stepping into autopsy, Gibbs met Ducky's pale blue eyes, wanting an answer he was prepared not to receive.
The ME bit his lip when he saw the agent. "I'm sorry, Jethro," Ducky said finally. "I see the suspicions in your eyes and I'm afraid I will have to confirm them. There is no other way to explain what has happened to this poor young man. I have found no physical sign of the blood being removed from the body, but," he pointed at the man's neck, which had been opened up by the doctor, "in dissecting the layers of skin I've discovered the usual puncture marks we would expect to see. The killer has sealed them from exterior view with…um….our particular method of doing so."
"He was left for me to find, Ducky. Whoever did this knew I'd be called to investigate."
"Yes, Gibbs, you're more than likely correct. The question is, what do we do now?"
Gibbs took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. "I wish I damn well knew."
The team had done everything they could for the day. Tony had acquired the security tapes, but they had only shown Petty Officer Green going toward the barracks after dinner and nothing else. McGee had found nothing unusual in the cell phone and financial records. Ziva had determined that Green was the son of a Gunnery Sergeant stationed in Iraq. His father had been notified and was returning that night.
The lack of information was odd, leaving them all at a loss as to their next move. Tony walked casually over to McGee's desk and squatted by the younger man. "Does Gibbs seem distracted to you?"
McGee flattened his lips and flicked a glance at the lead agent, who was staring into space, not bothering to look at his computer or the papers piled in front of him. He had been gazing at nothing for over an hour.
"He does seem kind of lost in thought. Do you think something is going on?"
Tony bit his lip. "I don't know, but I don't like it. He spent an awfully long time with Ducky in autopsy to come up with nothing."
Gibbs turned his head toward the whispering agents, who immediately stopped talking. The floor was quiet, everyone else having gone home for the evening. Gibbs stared at his team, deciding it was time to show pity and send them home. A few hours sleep should be enough to have them ready to go again in the morning. It wasn't like they were going to solve this case anyway. Tony stood and walked to his desk, sitting back down.
The senior field agent had nearly fidgeted a hole in his chair, between pecking on his computer, running a hand through his hair, and stealing glances at his watch. Ziva was spending more time watching her partner, obviously enjoying his state of mild anxiety, than getting any of her own work done. McGee was studiously tracking phone calls and financials, but hadn't come up with anything fresh since mid-afternoon.
"Hot date, DiNozzo?" Gibbs questioned, breaking the silence.
Tony looked up, glad that his boss had come out of his trance, even if it was to harass him. Negative attention was better than no attention at all. "Only the hottest, Gibbs. Super-hot. Victoria's Secret model hot."
"Don't let her keep you up too late; I expect you ready to work tomorrow. Pack it up," Gibbs said curtly to them all. "We'll start again at 0700."
Tony heaved a sigh of relief and grabbed his backpack, hurtling up from his seat and bounding toward the elevator. "See you in the morning, boss," he called, not waiting for a reply before hopping in between the silver doors and smiling brightly as they slid shut.
McGee lowered his head into his hands. "If he gets lucky tonight, we won't hear the end of it all day tomorrow."
Ziva barked out a laugh and collected her things. "Knowing Tony, we won't hear the end of it for a week."
Gibbs didn't respond at all, but continued to dwell on the dead petty officer and exactly what message his old enemies were trying to send him.
Dinner had been ninety minutes of oyster-fueled foreplay. The movie they watched was one Tony would have never selected on his own, especially under the circumstances, but he wasn't about to argue over the chick-flick choice and had made it through the showing of Eclipse. Finally, he and his date found their way back to his apartment where the suggestive glances and light touches from the course of the night quickly changed into heavy panting and roaming hands.
The woman was beautiful and aggressive. She pushed him through the living room, pulling off his shirt and by the time they were in his bedroom she was tugging at his belt and popping open the button of his jeans. It had been a long time since he had been with someone this frenzied, and even though the maturing portion of his brain tried to warn him this level of casual sex might not be a good idea, the rest of his body was so alive with sensation that he chose to ignore the faint voice of reason.
While he removed his pants and socks, his date—Maria, lovely name—stripped bare in a quick but teasingly sensual display worthy of an erotic dancer. Tony grabbed her thin arms and dipped his head to capture her lips in a hard kiss, but she was having no part of his assertion of dominance. Instead, he found himself pushed back onto the bed and she was descending on him; soft lips and warm caresses driving him mad with her undeniable lust. He lost himself in her need for him, as she suckled her way down the curve of his neck, pausing for a long second to tease the vein in his throat with her tongue, then gliding away to nip and bite his chest.
As she traveled further south, Tony moaned, unable to hide his pleasure at the anticipation of her destination. She licked a line from his navel to the top of his hips, and he shifted slightly when her warm breath hit the top of his cock; but her generous lips never enclosed on him and he ached with longing. The thought didn't last long, as her tongue found a new area to tease, and he sighed when she kissed the tender area at the crease of his inner thigh.
"You are so good," he whispered, his voice ragged and low.
He thought he could hear her smile in the darkness. "You have no idea," she agreed, baring her teeth and biting hard through his sensitive flesh.
"Fuck!" Tony yelled, as pain washed over him and he reached out to grab her, unable to find a part of her body to hold on to. This isn't right, she needs to stop. But it was a fleeting thought, swept away with the flick of her talented tongue, and Tony was lost in a blur of swirling images, soft touches, and his own muffled moaning.
Candlelight flickered through the room. He watched from the bed as his mother—tall, beautiful, honey-colored hair flowing down her back—lit the last one and turned to face him. She smiled, her full lips turning up, but her emerald green eyes remained shadowed and sad.
"There is nothing to fear, little one. Tonight we are meeting an old friend."
Tony curled up under the covers of his canopy covered bed, trying not to let the paintings on his walls scare him. The weak light from the candles made the artwork writhe and move in a way that convinced the five-year old little boy they were real, and the disjointed people within them would soon step out and murder them all.
His mother could see the panic on his cherubic face and sat next to him on the bed, brushing a hand across his cheek. "Nothing will harm you, my son. You are special, and I want the others to know it, too. One day, you will take your rightful place among them, Anthony. It is your destiny."
"He is beautiful, Fransesca." The voice behind his mother was sweet and sinister at the same time. The man stepped forward, allowing Tony to see his face through the shadows. His hair was long and blonde, and when he smiled, Tony whined and reached for his mother's hand. His mother didn't seem to notice as he clutched at her, mesmerized by the sharp white fangs that framed the stranger's perfect teeth.
"Momma, please, make him go," Tony begged quietly, not sure what was happening.
"Shhh, Anthony. Trust me, I am ensuring your future. This is for the best."
As the man leaned toward him, Tony tried not to cry, but he couldn't stop the wetness that leaked down his face as the man's hot breath touched his neck.
The piercing pain tore a shrill scream from his throat….
"No!" Tony yelled and sat up, blearily looking around before slamming his hand down on the blaring alarm clock. It took a few seconds for him to realize that he was naked and in his own bed, alone. Maria was gone, and he couldn't remember much about their encounter beyond her harsh kisses and pushing him down on the bed. It had been intense and exciting, but for some reason he had no recollection beyond blurry images of lips, tongues, and teeth.
"Damn," he said out loud, running a hand through his hair at the slight wooziness filling his brain. Maybe he was getting too old for this kind of rough sex.
Regardless, the alarm was a reminder that he had to be at work early, and Gibbs wouldn't be happy if he was late. Tony tossed his legs over the edge of the bed, ready to head into the bathroom for a shower. His leg ached at the movement, and he lifted it to see where exactly the pain was coming from.
"Must have been a hell of a night," he mumbled, staring at the bruise spreading across his inner thigh. There were faint abrasions mixed in with the black and blue area. "I just wish I could remember it."
He reached out and brushed a finger across what looked disturbingly like a bite mark, grunting when he discovered how much it actually hurt.
He wasn't sure if a call to Maria was on the agenda for later in the day or not; he didn't like the fact she had decided to leave such a brazen mark on his body. Sometimes the beautiful ones were also the craziest. Ignoring the pulling from the bruise he raced into the shower, since he had no intention of starting the morning by pissing off Gibbs.
While standing under the hot stream of water, the dream came back into his consciousness and he wondered what had brought it on. He had been having the same dream off and on for years, but it had been a long time since the last one. This was the first occurrence since he had joined NCIS. The face of the man-he shuddered at the thought. Seeing it so many times, even if it was in his sleep, had imprinted the visage in his mind, and even now, as a forty year old man, it scared him slightly.
This was the basis of his bête noire, something he would never share with Ziva, McGee, or even Abby. Hundreds of times he'd dreamed of his mother and this man in such vivid detail the events almost seemed like a memory. All the talk of vampires had brought it back into his psyche, which was not something he wanted to deal with.
They needed to get this case settled, and fast, so he could put all of this back into its tidy box and shut it away again. He had never understood the dreams, nightmares really, and his mother's presence in them was all the more disconcerting. It wasn't like he had a lot of good memories of his childhood anyway; these dreams were just icing on the cake. Never once had he spoken of them to anyone, not even in all the years his father had forced him to see a therapist after his mother's death. They were too intense, too personal, too real.
Bete noire indeed.