A/N: Annual SPN Halloween fic took a bit of a turn on me this year, straight into an NCIS crossover. This does reference previous crossover of mine, Out for Blood, so reading that would be helpful. Also, I just started this last week, I'm pokey, and so it's not 100% finished yet. I wanted to get the beginning posted before All Hallow's Eve, though! Maybe it'll spur me to hurry up and finish.
Deja Vu All Over Again
Some things couldn't be forgotten. So much had happened between then and now, and truthfully, NCIS Special Agent Tony DiNozzo had spent a lot of time trying to not think about it, reshaping it in his brain until it was a more palatable memory the same way he sometimes romanticized nearly dying from plague. As he almost lost his balance while skidding to a stop in the middle of a dark, damp alley, his memories took over. Suddenly, it seemed as if it had happened only yesterday and it was crystal. The cage, the too-sharp incisors, the blood and torture. He heard McGee huffing and puffing toward him from about a mile and a half away, skinnier than he'd been four years ago but still uncomfortable running in dress shoes. Tony was torn. He could use the backup. He also didn't want the backup, because no, no, Tim couldn't know what he knew. Not ever.
"This isn't your guy," the hulk of a man said, in a voice that made it clear even if it was Tony's guy (and it was), it wasn't. "Back away."
"These aren't the droids I'm looking for?" Tony said, giving himself a mental kick as soon as the shaky words were out of his mouth. Why did he sound so small and winded? Oh. Yeah. "I think you're wrong about that. I'm a federal agent. NCIS. Let him go."
"That's not going to happen."
His sidearm felt heavy in his grasp, unwieldy. He aimed it, because there wasn't anything else to do. The man, who seemed almost inhumanly large the more Tony looked at him, had their suspect in a firm grip, one hand wrapped around the guy's neck so tight his eyes were practically bugging out. It was an odd stance, the suspect held at arm's length and on his tiptoes, which left the mystery man wide open. Tony could take him with one easy shot. His palms felt sweaty. He didn't recognize this new man, not on any level he'd call tangible. He remembered a large shadowy figure (vampires, blood, death) and in his gut knew this was the same large shadowy figure, only now when Tony wasn't half dead, he seemed even bigger, stronger.
"I'm NCIS," Tony said, then scowled for being stupid and redundant. Way to play poker,DiNozzo. "Let the law do its job or I will fire my weapon. Are you hearing me?"
At the mention of the law, mystery gigantor snorted. Something like laughter followed, but it sent such a chill up Tony's spine he wouldn't ever in a million years call it mirthful, if he was ever asked about it. No one would ask. Why would they? That feeling, old memories stirring cold in his belly, it was telling him this standoff wasn't winnable. Time must be warping; it seemed like he'd stood there for hours and his arm was growing heavy. And still, McGee's footfalls were too close and too far.
"Soon, very soon, there'll only be one law. Mine. And under my law, this fella here is a good friend of mine with whom I need to have a chat. We went to high school together, didn't we Sid?"
Sid didn't answer. Sid didn't even look like he was breathing. Shit. Shit. This was not good. Sid's left arm twitched a little like he was trying to lift it. Okay, good. There was still a chance, unless that was only a reflexive action from a corpse. Ducky would know. Ducky might tell him, later, once this was all over and Sid was in the morgue, as long as Tony wasn't in the morgue himself in which case it would be Gibbs Ducky told. It had been seconds since he skidded to a halt, but felt a lifetime. He wasn't certain he was going to survive this if Bigfoot didn't want him to, despite being the one holding a weapon.
Tony couldn't figure out what precisely was pinging his alarms about the man, besides the obvious quiet brutality of his chokehold on Sid and coldness in his eyes. Something beyond that was downright sinister, almost inhuman. It wouldn't be the first time, but it wasn't right. His memories didn't jive with what was standing before him, staring with its head tilted in curiosity.
"Ah. He remembers you too, but you were never part of the grand design. You get a free pass for now. Just wait," the guy said. "You can burn with the rest of the world. It's going to be magnificent."
Gooseflesh broke across Tony's arms, and the nape of his neck. The threat was, as threats went, vague and more than a little ludicrous. What was troubling was that not only did he believe it, he believed it deeply though he had no idea what it meant. It was clear the guy wasn't going to relent just because Tony wanted him to. He had to take the shot, now. He braced himself to see and hear the body slump to the pavement. McGee shouted his name as his finger squeezed the trigger, and he turned reflexively. Had the shot happened, it would have gone wild.
But it didn't. Recovered from his momentary distraction, Tony glared at his gun with betrayal. Of all the times to … it was no ordinary malfunction. A large hand was wrapped around the barrel. Tony had a fantastical notion that the mere contact of that hand had halted the gun's mechanisms. Before he could register anything else, he saw a face extremely close to his but up a few inches, all hard and angular.
"I'm not a monster. To tell you the truth it'd be a lot of fun, but I'm not going to hurt you," the man said. "Go to sleep."
A cold touch on his forehead, and then Tony was engulfed by darkness.
When he came to his senses, feeling as if he'd had a long night's sleep, it occurred to him before he opened his eyes something wasn't quite right. He wasn't at home. The bed was uncomfortable and the sheets smelled of bleach and definitely weren't his thousand thread-count Egyptian cotton. Behind the bleach smell, there was coffee and also the faint sound of paper. Pages turning. He cracked his left eye open, because that was the side the sounds were coming from. Gibbs sat next to him, reading glasses perched on the end of his nose. The room they were in was white. Huh. Waking up in a hospital bed with Gibbs as his lone visitor wasn't the kind of déjà vu he enjoyed.
Before he could make a sound, Gibbs snapped his head up and snapped his whole body to attention. Tony opened both eyes. It was a rare moment to catch Gibbs looking like that, vaguely alarmed and unruffled, and he wasn't sure if he should be glad he was with it enough to recognize that or wish he wasn't with it enough.
"Tony," Gibbs said, firm and yet somehow soft. "Welcome back."
"Uh oh," Tony croaked back. "You only call me Tony when it's bad."
"It's not bad." Gibbs gave a half smile, which was not all that encouraging. Neither was what was, for Gibbs, rambling. "Don't worry, you're okay. You're going to be okay. I should let the doctor know you're awake."
"No, not …" Maybe a doctor would be good, but Tony had questions before he was poked and prodded. He blinked a few times, lifted his fingers off the bed, a tad alarmed when it was difficult to do. "Tell me what happened?"
Gibbs hesitated, also something he simply didn't do. Gibbs didn't hedge, on anything. It wasn't good when someone as stalwart and steady as Gibbs started contradicting his own personality.
"McGee found you passed out in the alley after trying to catch a perp." Gibbs frowned and leaned close. "You don't remember?"
Tony closed his eyes tight and tried to. The last thing he remembered was swiping McGee's phone to download Sir Mix-a-Lot's Baby Got Back as his ringtone for calls coming from Ziva. Two birds with one stone pranks were the best kind. From what little he knew about his current medical condition, that could have been his last act on Earth, and he felt mildly bad about it. He felt more amused, though.
"No, I don't remember," he said. "Guy got away, I take it? If I didn't catch him by the time McGee caught up, I mean."
Gibbs cringed, inasmuch as Gibbs could, which was no outward appearance of emotion to anyone who didn't know him the way Tony did. On the whole, this conversation wasn't a good one to be having after waking in a hospital bed with no memory.
"No, he didn't exactly get away. I'll give you the full report … after the doctors clear you. Sit tight."
Where was he going to go? The more the cobwebs of sleep cleared from his brain, the more Tony realized his limbs felt weak and he was still kind of exhausted. Not knowing what had happened to him started making him more nervous, and so did the fact Gibbs apparently didn't want to give him the answers he wanted. He didn't want anyone to think Gibbs had imagined him awake, so he tried really hard to keep his eyes open. Hospitals had never been high on his list of places to visit, but ever since Jeanne, he hated them even more. It wasn't logical, but life rarely was. He wanted someone to tell him what was going on, but all he got was fragments of speech talking above and about him, not to him. Hence the hospital hate.
He gleaned enough to know he'd been unconscious for nearly two days, and that the doctors hadn't had any real idea why. It was extremely unsettling, made him on edge and keyed up. Tony endured the exam as well as he could, until one of the nurses reached toward his face. Intense panic robbed him of rationality. A voice in his head said, "I'm not a monster" in a way that sounded pretty damned monstrous, deep and cold. He jerked and rolled, was prevented from falling off the bed by multiple hands and arms and he had no idea why he was having this reaction.
"Hey." Gibbs. "Hey, DiNozzo."
Tony calmed externally, but his insides felt like they were soup being stirred, liquid and wrong. If he didn't remember, he shouldn't be reacting this way. He flipped (or was flipped) onto his back, where he had a great view of the ceiling. Gibbs' face appeared above, eyebrows scrunched together. Anger or concern, or both, it didn't matter. It made Tony feel a little better, settled him. He realized the medical staff had vacated the room, leaving him and Gibbs alone. That wouldn't last long. If he knew his team, they'd be on their way from the office where they'd been pretending not to care. He hoped, anyway. Sometimes he misgauged.
"Sorry, Boss," he said.
Now he wasn't in flight or flight mode, Tony felt stupid for his strange reaction to non-threatening things. No one liked to look a fool in front of his boss, even someone who made playing the fool a pastime. And most bosses weren't as, well, most bosses weren't Leroy Jethro Gibbs.
"Want to tell me what that was?"
Gibbs said it like an order, not a query, which for some reason made Tony regret that he didn't have a clue in a different way than if he were alone and couldn't remember.
"I don't know. I'm not sure anyway, but maybe it'll come to me." That was spoken like a query, a difference in tone between him and Gibbs not lost on him. "I was out for two days."
"Completely unresponsive. Not asleep, not a head injury, not a coma."
"You're a bona fide medical mystery, DiNozzo."
Teasing was good. It made him feel like maybe he was okay. Tony would love to know what had landed him in a not-coma, but overall it felt more important to know Gibbs wasn't worried that he was on death's door or something.
"You know me. I like to excel at whatever I do," Tony said with a fake smile, then he dropped it and chewed on the inside corner of his mouth. "You said the guy didn't get away."
"Yeah, about that. You were alone in the alley. There was no sign of Wesen, not even a trail to follow." Gibbs sat slowly, a knee popped. "We found him yesterday, halfway across town from where you and McGee had him nearly cornered and more than a little dead."
Oh. Tony thought he remembered being close behind good ol' Sid. He remembered the feeling of pride at being able to outpace McGee was sharp and exhilarating.
"What does that mean, more than a little dead?"
"His brain was liquefied. Ducky said it's been quite awhile since he's seen anything like it." Gibbs sorta-smiled. "Again, there was no usable evidence left behind. Abby's at her wit's end."
Sounded like … like a monster had gotten Sid. Tony shivered. He'd seen more than his fair share of monsters in his life, in human form and not. He wondered if maybe he'd seen one in that alley and survived through luck or grace. There was a face, but he didn't know whose or what it meant, if anything. Cold eyes, strong jaw, perfectly shaped but ridiculous sideburns. The image alone made him feel like someone had run an ice cube down his spine. He turned his attention to Gibbs, not sure what he was going to say, but he knew he had to say something. It was important, even if he didn't know how or why. He was saved by the appearance of two figures in the doorway.
"Tony," they both said at once, and then gave each other awkward glances.
"McGeek. Ziva," Tony said, as he tried to stuff the unease and whatever it meant into a dark corner. He had an overwhelming feeling that was for the best. "Come on in."
"It is good to see you awake," Ziva said, precise and crisp, which some might take as void of emotion. Her eyes were what gave her away. "Even though it's also been nice to have so much quiet in the office."
"Yeah, we've been getting a lot of work done."
The atmosphere in the room was light and conversation, for the moment, stayed on Tony's relative health. He laughed and nodded and kept up with the verbal sparring in all the right places, but his heart wasn't one hundred percent in it. Of course, Gibbs was onto him, watched him with those hawk eyes of his. Tony spared the boss a glance and a headshake to show he was fine. He was, it was just he was a little frustrated and confused. Maybe if he could just get his brain working he'd remember more than vague feelings. Though the conversation (concern masked as barbs) was steady, Tony's eyes started crossing about fifteen minutes in. Apparently, being in a non-coma was taxing. Gibbs noticed that, too, and stood.
"That's our cue," McGee said.
"It is getting late, and we still have a killer to find." Ziva nudged McGee. "And a report to make to Abby."
"Hey, say hi to Abs for me," Tony said.
"She's very determined to find some miracle scrap of evidence, or she'd be here right now," McGee said. "You know Abby and puzzles."
That Tony did. If anyone could figure out what had happened without being an eyewitness to it, it was Abby. It spoke volumes that she chose lab over hospital visit. Tony wasn't sure what it was saying, like he wasn't sure about anything. Tomorrow, everything would be much clearer tomorrow. He barely registered Ziva and McGee exiting the room, while Gibbs lingered behind.
"You going to be all right?" Gibbs asked.
"I think so. I'm wiped," Tony said with a yawn to accentuate it. "Need to sleep, just for a bit."
The problem was, when he closed his eyes to make the point stick, all he could see was that face. Everything rolled over him in waves, all of a sudden. Sid held by the throat by a large hand, a conversation that took forever and lasted less than a minute. A man he recognized yet had never seen before, at least he didn't think so. The gun that wouldn't fire. Pointer and middle fingers icy on his forehead. Nothingness.
"It wasn't human, was it?"
Gibbs' voice was soft, but since he'd been deep in his own head it made Tony start. He half sat up, and bucked slightly when firm pressure kept him in place. If he wasn't careful, he was going to develop a reputation as a frightened rabbit. At least Gibbs was the only witness; Tony was sure no word of this would leave the room. Especially not if monsters were involved. He'd like to go back, and pretend it all away again. Maybe this time wouldn't be like the last, except it kind of already had been. He'd been touched by something not of their world before. He knew what it was like. Besides, the touch he'd gotten had come from a man who, according to reports, had died years ago.
"He was human the first time we met him," Tony said after a moment. "But, no. Whatever he is now, I don't think it's human."
Truthfully, Tony had never met Sam Winchester. Truthfully, he never wanted to again.
Somewhere along the way home from a long day of chasing down bad guys, Tony had developed a hankering for phở gà. The long day was only part of it. The flu shot he had to get every year because he was high risk always left him feeling achy and slightly ill. He could live without the flu symptoms, but he supposed flu was better than plague. And nothing healed the flu like chicken soup, after all. Made perfect sense to him, not that there was ever a wrong time for phở.
"Order number four fifty two, for DiNozzo," the bored-looking teen behind the counter called out and made a show of searching for the right person.
Tony was the only one waiting for take-out. He was also a frequent patron and was sure the kid knew who he was on sight. Everyone was a smartass these days. He'd have more grounds to gripe if his whole persona hadn't been crafted to rely on smartassery. He grabbed the brown paper bag off the counter, opened it to make sure it was right and breathed in the strong, savory smell. His stomach growled.
"Thanks," he said. "Have a nice night."
The street was relatively quiet, a couple walking the opposite way on the other side of the street, no heavy vehicle traffic. It was pretty late, and though the city never slept completely, residential pockets like the one he lived in were fairly sedate. Maybe Tony acted the playboy, but he enjoyed the lackluster quality to his neighborhood. To tell the truth, it never hurt his luck with the ladies. Well, the ones that he didn't exaggerate to make himself look good. Women wanted a man who at least appeared stable, and nothing said stable like a nice place filled with nice things in a nice neighborhood. There was always room for naughty, but nice was what everyone thought they wanted. He smiled to himself and fumbled for the keys.
That was when he heard it, a squeal of tires and then a scream. In the otherwise silent night, the sounds were disparate and loud. Instinct had him pivoting toward the sounds, switching his takeout back to his left hand and reaching for his gun with his right. Tony didn't have much of a chance. A fast moving body plowed into him from the left, sending him ass over teakettle. His phở landed with a splat. After that, everything seemed to move in slow motion. Behind the guy who'd knocked him down came another figure.
A very large, unfortunately familiar figure. Tony froze. He completely locked up for what was probably a second but felt like ten minutes. He was suddenly five months ago, in a dark alley with a non-human human-looking thing starting him down. Déjà vu all over again, he thought, and, not this time. He didn't know the odds of him running into a supposedly dead guy who was a little less in the human department than he should be; they had to be astronomical. He watched the hulking figure of Sam Winchester take down the first guy with a flying tackle, and was spurred into action. Tony scrambled to his knees and took aim. He couldn't afford to hesitate this time. He was witnessing an assault, or worse.
"Hey, freeze," he said. "I'm a federal agent. Let that man go."
The man Tony was attempting to save twisted in Winchester's grip, and that was when he realized that guy wasn't human either. Jesus, Mary and Joseph. He thought maybe he was hallucinating, or someone was messing with his head. He didn't know anyone who'd mess with this kind of shit.
"I'm afraid we can't do that," said a deep, commanding voice, right up close to his left ear.
Tony spun, startled. He caught a bare glimpse of an older man, hairless except for two giant, bushy eyebrows and then an elbow jammed into his right eye socket. He went down in a fiery haze of pain, clutched at his face. His gun clattered along the sidewalk and his ears rung in a way that made everything sound like he was at the end of a long tunnel. He didn't pass out, though.
"Shoot him or something, Samuel. No witnesses," Sam Winchester said.
Sam, Sammy, Samuel.
"Get that thing in the van. And I am not shooting him. He's a federal agent, and he's a human being," Samuel said. "Jesus Christ, kid, sometimes I wonder about you."
Tony pulled his hands away, squinted through teary eyes at the man standing above him. Samuel, the elder and follically-challenged, leaned toward him with an angry scowl on his face.
"This isn't what you think. We're the good guys," he said, then stood up. "Sorry about this."
There came a jab to his left thigh, and nearly instantly, things started to swirl. The last thing Tony thought before succumbing to whatever drug had been pumped into him was that Gibbs was going to have his head for letting this happen to him again.