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There’s Time to Change

For April 2021 Rough Trade Supernatural Romance challenge.

By: West Wind

Warnings: Violence-Canon-Level, Torture, Kidnapping, Discussion-Murder, Discussion-Sexual Abuse; Death – Minor Character

Genre: Paranormal, Crossover, Fix-it

Pairings: Tony DiNozzo/Peter Hale – Inspired by Emanations by penumbria

Fandoms: Teen Wolf & NCIS       

Rating: PG-13

Summary: Tony realizes the prisoner he escaped with is not his target and finds himself thrown into the deep end of hinky. Tony does what he does best and works the situation to his advantage and ends up with a new friend.

Author Notes: I was inspired to try this pairing by penumbria’s Emanations in April’s Rough Trade. It wasn’t a pairing I had seen before, and it made me go “hmmmm.”

Cannon divergent starting with NCIS S2 E10 “Chained” and pre-Hale Fire.

Story Banner

“She acts like summer and walks like rain

Reminds me that there’s a time to change, hey”

– Drops of Jupiter by Train
Story Cast
Act 1: Intro to the Supernatural
Act 1

Act 1: Intro to the Supernatural

Tony DiNozzo woke but kept his eyes shut as he eavesdropped on the conversation of the man who had somehow taken Jeffery White’s place on the prison transport. Terry Nolan looked a lot like White. That was the only reason Tony could figure the switch was not noticed before he and Terry escaped from the transport after Tony “killed” one of the guards when the other had a “heart attack.” 

Once Terry gave Tony his name, Tony knew the operation was SNAFU. He hunkered down into his current persona until he could get away or his team came for him. It looked like it would probably have to be the first because he was currently in a Cessna Denali flown by Terry’s brother and cousin across the country to California. So far, there had been no opportunity to get away safely, not even when they stopped to refuel.

Tony heard one of the three other men shifting in his chair behind the pilot seat.

“I can’t wait to teach the Argent bitch a lesson for messing up our hunts,” the cousin Curtis Nolan said, clearly eager.

“No rushing in,” Terry warned. “That’s what happened in Texas, and the prey got away.”

“We follow the plan,” Mark said from the pilot seat. 

“We don’t mess this one up. I owe her for getting me tossed in jail for what she did.” Terry emphasized his point with what sounded like a fist hitting his hand like a TV thug.

“That’s where I’ve planned for her to end up,” Mark said. 

Curtis huffed. “Her dad will just buy her freedom. Taking out her target and ruining her hunt like they have ours is the best we’ll get.”

Tony cataloged each name and fact as he tried to figure out what was going on here. He knew Mark was behind getting Terry on the transport from a conversation after they met up with Curtis and Mark. Mark had connections or bribed people who worked in the prison and/or the judicial system. Tony suspected both.

They were a bit too accepting of Tony despite the show he put on during their escape and his back-story of working for the mob. Tony expected more resistance about him coming. That set him on edge. They pulled him along like he was one of the good old boys on only Terry’s word and promised to show him something that would change his life.

Mark cut through his musings. “We’ll be landing soon. Buckle up!”

Curtis was the one to “wake” Tony for landing.

They landed in a small deserted airport. It contained a hanger and a runway. No one came to greet them when they exited the parked plane.

“What time is it here?” Tony wanted to know if it was business hours or not and to get his bearings after flying all night across several time zones.

“Eight twenty,” Mark answered. He indicated to the two parked SUVs. “James came through. Let’s get the gear transferred.”

Tony helped move the boxes of gear into the SUVs. He recognized the guns and ammo. That made sense for criminals to have. What did not make sense was the shock batons and heavy-duty electric fence charger he loaded into the back of an SUV. He was obviously missing a few major pieces to his current puzzle.

Terry shut the back of the SUV.

“Get in,” Terry said to Tony.

Tony got in the passenger side seat.

“Where are we going?” Tony asked.

“Beacon Hills, California,” Terry answered.

They were in the middle of nowhere. Tony studied the abandoned distillery while he unpacked the boxes under Mark’s direction. Mark worked on assembling a section of chain-link fence on a frame against one wall. He asked Tony to bring him various items while he worked. 

“What’s it for?” Tony ventured to ask.

“You won’t believe me until you see it,” Mark said and continued working. 

None of Tony’s attempts to ferret out the answer or engage Mark in conversation worked. The man was focused on his task and getting things set up for whatever he had planned. Mark was not sharing any of his plans with the unknown person included in the group. Tony applauded him for being so cautious but cursed that it kept him from getting information. 

When Mark wired the fence to a fence charger, Tony looked at the equipment with new eyes and came up with torture. They planned on torturing someone.

The sound of tires along the gravel drive drew both their attention. Mark stopped what he was doing and picked up a shotgun before walking to the door. The sound of slamming doors was followed by Curtis’ triumphant cry.

“We identified her target!”

Mark relaxed his stance but was still alert. He looked to his older brother to elaborate.

“We saw Peter Hale in town. He’s the alpha’s younger brother. He’s in his late twenties. The rest of the unattached family are teens, so he is most likely her target to get the inside scoop.”

“No guarantee she wouldn’t go for someone attached,” Mark said.

Terry shook his head. “No, greater chance of getting caught by the girlfriend.”

“Or boyfriend,” Curtis added. 

“Unattached is her smarter option.”

“Any sign of her?” Mark asked. “Jerry didn’t tell me where they were staying.”

Curtis and Terry brought in several bags of fast food and a cooler with water bottles on ice.

“No, but I saw a guy I know who worked for them in the past. He appeared to be headed out of town,” Terry said.

Tony accepted the bag of food from Curtis and happily filled his empty stomach. He discreetly kept a watch on them while eating. They settled around the table Tony was at and ate their food.

“She could be settling in for a longer operation than an in and out job,” Mark said. “I’ve heard whispers of her doing so in the past and bringing the hired help in or using local help when it was time to wipe them out.”

Curtis looked up from his food. “She bragged that she trapped and burnt one pack in their home and no one suspected any wrongdoing to me during a night of us drinking and having sex. Man, is she a wild ride.” 

Terry snorted. Mark groaned. Tony figured he would learn more by letting the three fall into normal conversation routines and forget a stranger was listening in.

“I don’t want to hear about your sex life!” Mark tossed a balled-up sandwich wrapper at Curtis. “What did you learn?”

Terry gave them the run down, and they plotted how to capture their person of interest. Tony made a few suggestions. However, he was told they were good ideas but would not work in this case. They promised he would understand once they showed and explained things to him. There was a gleeful expectancy about them when they said it. Tony added it and the odd terminology they used to the growing list of odd things about his situation. 

Tony was behind the wheel of the SUV with Curtis, while the Nolan brothers were in the other forcing a beautiful sports car off the road. It hurt to see the work of art brutally attacked and spin out into the side ditch.

“Yes!” cried Curtis. “Now the fun begins. Stop ten feet from them and stay in the car. Run him over if he tries to run!” 

He cackled and jumped out as soon as Tony stopped. In one hand was a handgun and in the other a crackling shock baton. 

“I don’t remember going down any rabbit holes,” Tony muttered and then jumped when Hale sprang feet into the air and had a lot more facial hair. “Holy shit! It’s Werewolf of London.”

Peter turned his attention to Tony’s SUV and got a taser in the back from Mark. The three men used Peter’s incapacitation to attack him with shock batons until he crumbled to the ground. Tony was surprised he was still alive after such brutal attacks.

Terry called Tony over.

“What the hell was that?” Tony demanded as he approached with caution.

“Werewolf,” Terry said.

Curtis and Mark were tying Peter up with an odd rope and putting him in the back of Terry’s SUV.

“Vile creatures that need to be controlled and taken out before they harm innocent people.” Terry clasped Tony on the shoulder. “Tell ya everything when we get back and he’s secured.”

“Shit! I think it’s more like stepping through the looking glass and into the Queen of Heart’s lawn party,” Tony thought as he walked back to the SUV and a bouncing Curtis.

“We told ya you wouldn’t believe it without seeing it,” Curtis said.


Tony was flabbergasted, and he let it show. News of supernatural creatures deserved flabbergasted looks from any persona he was playing. Terry and crew had given Tony the “Intro to the Supernatural 101.”

“So they are stronger and faster than us, heal like Wolverine, and have sharp claws and fangs,” Tony summarized what they told him. “But electricity slows or stops their healing, and wolfsbane can kill them.”

“Yep,” Curtis said.

“You and your family go out and hunt them,” Tony said. “How did you get into that?”

Tony’s mind was spinning while still plotting possible moves to keep him safe and the best way to get out of the situation. The story they were feeding him was so clearly slanted, but he knew he had to appear to buy it hook line and sinker. He had to be one of them.

“Our family has been hunters for generations on both sides,” Curtis answered eagerly. “It’s a calling going all the way back to Europe.”

“Each of the big-name hunter families has a story,” Terry said. “Argents go back to taking out a beast terrorizing French villages.” There was an obvious chip on his shoulder about the Argents.

“We don’t have anything that grandiose,” Mark added while checking over and resetting the equipment they had used. “Just local peasant-hunters that came across supernatural monsters and protected their own. They got together with others that did the same.”

Tony looked at Peter attached to the chain-linked fence with “just the right current” going through it to keep him weak and from escaping according to Mark. Tony had fought to not throw up when told that. The surety Mark said it implied that there were experiments at some point to get that information. 

“How many of them are out there?” Tony asked. “How many hunters are there keeping them at bay?”

“Don’t know. There are some well-known packs out there, but the small ones can hide until they lose control,” Terry said.

“That’s when we step in,” Curtis said. “We’re like the Justice League.”

The brothers rolled their eyes, probably having heard the comparison before.

“I would have thought you were more like the Winchesters in Supernatural,” Tony said. 

Curtis’ eyes lit up at the comparison. 

“So what’s the next step? What should I be looking out for or doing to help?” Tony asked, with the conviction of a man swayed to a cause.

“First, Mark and Curtis will go back to town and get dinner and try to find Kate. I’ll set the mountain ash barrier around the building to keep other beasts away and set a few surprises if they do get near. Can’t have them taking our prize away.”

“Of course not,” Tony said, sounding supportive but was truly squashing down on his sarcasm and disgust.

Tony’s attention was grabbed by the slight movement of Peter’s head. He could swear the unconscious man was watching him. Maybe he was playing opossum. It would be the smart thing to do in this situation.

“I’ll keep an eye on sleeping beauty then and yell if he twitches,” Tony said.

Terry clapped Tony’s shoulder.

“Sounds good.”

They all headed to their tasks. Mark and Curtis took off. Terry carried a box of items outside while Tony pretended to inspect the guns until he was sure Terry was busy. Then Tony walked closer to Peter and the fence. Peter was injured, but there was a visible improvement – if slight in the injuries. 

Tony examined the way the wires were attached to the fence while keeping his distance. He pondered ways to sabotage the system without it being noticed. If he did, he would need Peter’s cooperation until the right opening presented itself.

“You’re not a hunter and don’t want to be one,” Peter said just loud enough for Tony to hear.

Tony moved to stand in front of Peter and studied him. Peter was watching him through barely open eyes and still hung on the fence like he was unconscious. 

“What makes you say that?” Tony asked. His focus was now fully on Peter.

Peter’s attention strayed for a moment, then he stood up and avoided as much contact with the fence as he could manage. He slowly looked Tony up and down.

“I have my ways,” he said and smirked.

“I’m sure you do,” Tony said. 

“Who are you?” Peter asked.

“Just a guy who found himself in an unexpected situation,” Tony said. “Can you slow your healing without being electrocuted?”

Peter studied Tony’s face before offering, “Answer for an answer. I’ll be nice and give you the first one. – Yes, I can.”

Tony was amazed that despite being tortured, Peter could fill his words with innuendo.

“Who are you?” Peter asked again.

“Well, take a bit of The Defiant Ones and mix with a bit of Miss Congeniality and you would be close,” Tony said.

Peter’s grin grew at the veiled answer. 

“Undercover jailbreak,” Peter said.

Tony was impressed and let it show at Peter’s quickness at putting the pieces together and the knowledge base it suggested. 

“Why do you think I’m not a hunter?”

“I share traits with Jack Byrnes,” Peter answered. There was mischief dancing in his eyes.

Tony had to think about that a bit before following the crumbs. In Meet the Parents when asked if her father hooked all her boyfriends to the lie detector, Pam answered, “Well, he doesn’t need a machine. He’s a human lie detector.” 

That had Tony asking himself, how could Peter be a human lie detector? Sure he could read body language and all that. However, Tony was confident in his undercover skills to hide such tells, and Peter was at the other side of the building, making it harder to take the needed observations. So how? 

Tony snapped his fingers and pointed at Peter. 

“The Sentinel… the TV series not the 1977 movie.”

Peter’s eyes lit up with delight at the sentence.

“This is all new to you,” Peter said. “You appear to be taking it well.”

“I would like to think I’m John Putman rather than Preacher Dan in this situation,” Tony said. He returned to studying the electric fence setup.

“Interesting choice of the non-Hammer portrayal of vampires with Curse of the Undead,” Peter said.

Tony could not keep a small grin from his face at meeting someone who got his references without them needing to be explained. It was refreshing despite the situation they were in.

“Not everything people believe and try to convince you of is true.” 

Tony glanced back to see how that shot was received. Peter nodded. Message received and understood. Tony’s hints of John Putnam, who helped buy time for non-hostile aliens to make repairs and escape in It Came from Outer Space, and the Curse of the Undead vampire not being a traditional vampire in today’s mythology, who was a vampire for committing the sin of suicide, pointed to Tony being on Peter’s side in this situation.


That word brought more relief to Tony than he expected it would. He had a partner in this escape plan.

“Oh, I don’t know if I want to be Steve McQueen or Dustin Hoffman in this scenario,” Tony said.

Tony changed the wiring on the set-up, so everything appeared to be attached and the fence charger reading did not change. Peter’s body relaxed when the electricity was cut off from the fence. Tony glanced at the door, trying to gauge how much time he had before Terry’s return.

Peter noticed. “He’s still setting things up on the backside of the building.”

Tony was impressed by the preciseness of the intel. 

“How long until you’re back to full strength?” Tony asked.

“I’ll have what I need when I need it,” Peter indirectly answered.

Tony could understand not wanting to give away a weakness to a temporary ally and did not push.

“We could try running now… but it doesn’t feel like the right time,” Tony tentatively said.

Peter nodded in acceptance which surprised Tony.

“There’s more going on. To stop it, we need to wait,” Peter said.

Tony gave a relieved sigh. “Exactly. Can you keep your actions explainable for a standard report?”

“Depends what you have in mind.” 

Peter waggled his eyebrows at Tony. Tony huffed good-naturedly.

“Not sure yet,” Tony admitted. “I’m playing it by ear.”

“I’m game.”


Peter cocked his head and looked toward the back of the building.

“He’s done and returning.”

Tony nodded and returned to his place at the table with the weapons. Peter returned to his unconscious appearance. Tony turned his attention to Terry when he entered.

“He hasn’t moved. Is that normal?” Tony asked.

Terry shrugged it off.

“Yeah, we gave him quite a beat down.”

Tony was disgusted by the pride Terry exuded at that, but he pushed it down and made sure his masks were in place. He still had a part to play.

Tony and Terry waited for the others to return. As time ticked by, Terry became more agitated. Tony picked up a gun and started for the door.

“Where are you going?” Terry asked.

“Walk the perimeter,” Tony answered. “Something’s got you on edge. I’d rather be out there watching for what’s coming than be in here.” 

“Good idea. However, you don’t know what to watch out for, and it’ll be dark soon. I’ll go,” Terry said. “Keep an eye on him.” He jerked his thumb over his shoulder toward Peter.

Tony held up his hands in surrender. “Sure, sure.”

Terry left the building. Peter’s head snapped up as soon as it was clear.

“Nice,” Peter said.

Tony innocently held his hands out and shrugged. He then grinned at Peter. He grabbed the handcuff keys and crossed the room to Peter. 

“Our time is running out.” Tony unlocked the cuffs. “We need the other two back before we make our move.”

“Why?” Peter asked. The question was not accusatory. It only sought an explanation to understand.

Tony paced and gathered his thoughts. Peter rubbed at his freed wrists.

“If all three aren’t taken in at the same time, the chances of the others getting away and talking to their contacts before we catch them are high. That will be bad,” Tony tried to explain his gut feelings on the situation.

“That’s important why?” Peter asked.

Tony rubbed at his cheek and decided it was time to put some of his cards on the table.

“They messed up a federal operation. An investigation will occur to find out how it happened. If the other two get away, they could warn their contacts or those they paid off beforehand to cover their tracks or flee.” Tony paced. “That doesn’t keep them from trying this plan again.” He shook his head. “They need to be taken in and on the down-low so the corruption can be rooted out.” Tony turned to face Peter. “And if we do this right, you are just a victim and nothing about the supernatural has to be addressed even covertly.”

“How do you plan….” Peter said. He turned and huffed. “Talia, don’t do anything yet. – I’m the one inside and knows what’s going on. Just trust my judgment for once!”

Tony gave him a questioning look. Peter mouthed “sister.” 

“There’s a ring of ash around the building. You will just get yourself shot if you try anything at the moment,” Peter warned. “We have a plan. – An ally.” Peter looked agitated and annoyed. “It’s more complicated than that!” Peter looked at Tony for help.

“Ms. Hale,” Tony said, then raised a questioning eyebrow to Peter. He nodded it was an acceptable form of address. “I’m a federal agent. If you rush in right now, you will become involved in the follow-up investigation whether you want to or not,” Tony said to the wall Peter was facing. “I have a plan to extract us from the situation and capture those involved for interference in a federal operation. Please be patient and give us the time we need.”

Tony looked to Peter for her response.

“She’s agreed,” Peter said.

Tony paused with a thought. 

“Could we explain her calling my agency and requesting back-up?” he whispered as he pondered. Tony shook his head, realizing it would not work. He would have to wait until he had the Nolans secured before calling even if it would take longer.

“No,” Peter answered, confirming his thoughts. “Talia said they are on their way back.”

Peter took his position on the fence and arraigned the cuffs to look secure. Tony walked closer to the door. He heard the SUV pull up and the doors close. Terry greeted them. He could just see the three gather together.

“Did you find her?” Terry asked.

“No trace of her,” Mark answered.

“Are you sure she’s here?” Terry asked.

“Yes. Jerry was foolish enough to post pictures of Beacon Hills on his LiveJournal. She was in the background of three of them.”

“I don’t want to stay here too long,” Terry said. “Between the Hale pack coming after their missing wolf and the cops figuring out what we did and coming after us, I don’t want to tempt fate.”

“What should we do then?” Curtis asked.

“Kill him now,” Mark answered. “We get out of the country. Once we’re safe, I’ll contact Jerry to pass on a message to her.”

Tony looked to Peter. Their eyes met, and he knew they were on the same page. Tony moved to the table. He slipped a taser in his jacket pocket and a baton up his sleeve. Peter winked at him as he secured his purloined items.

“On my mark,” Tony whispered.

Peter nodded.

“Hey, he’s awake!” Tony yelled.

The Nolans all entered the building like excited puppies.

“Just in time,” Curtis said.

Tony followed them to Peter, making sure he was between Curtis and Mark. Peter glared at them and said nothing. 

Terry stepped forward and drew his gun. “Say goodbye.”

Tony was moving before Terry finished talking. He shot the taser leads into Mark and triggered it while snapping the shock baton out. He dropped the taser and used both hands as he struck Curtis in the stomach with the baton. They both dropped to the floor. When he was sure they were down, he checked on Terry. 

Peter had knocked the gun out of his hand and had him in a choke-hold. Peter released his hold and let Terry fall to the ground. Tony tossed Peter handcuffs before securing his prisoners. Tony found Mark’s cellphone in his pocket and used it to call in.

He debated who to call. He could not call Gibbs into this clusterfuck. That would be like inviting a bull into a china shop. This was something that required the Director’s oversight. He dialed Director Marrow’s number and prepared to get chewed out for calling him at home in the middle of his night.

Marrow had agreed with Tony’s assessment of the situation and the importance of a restrictive status on the knowledge of Nolans’ capture. Marrow had arranged for an investigation team to come and collect them without alerting the local authorities while Tony was on the phone. Unfortunately, it would take them a few hours to get to his location because of the top-secret nature of the operation now was.

He did learn that his team had solved the case. Jeffery White was found dead, but Abby found a fingerprint that led them to his accomplice, who led them to the antiques. That was solved, but Gibbs was now on the warpath to find out where Tony was.

Tony slipped the phone into his pocket. He visually checked the bound hunters who were still out. 

“How do we remove this barrier?” Tony asked Peter.

They went outside. Peter walked then stopped. Tony took several steps past him before stopping and turning back around. Peter pushed his hand against something Tony could not see.

“It’s here,” Peter said.

Tony extended his hand and did not encounter any resistance. He grabbed Peter’s hand but could not move it closer.

“Weird,” Tony said. “What do I need to do?”

“Scrape your foot across the ground,” said a female voice behind him.

Tony jumped at the unexpected voice. Peter laughed at him. Tony gave in to his childishness and stuck his tongue out at Peter. 

He did as instructed and rubbed at the dirt between him and Peter. Peter stepped forward across where the invisible line had been.

“Talia,” Peter said and inclined his head to her.

She placed her hand on the back of his neck and pulled him into a hug.

“Glad you’re safe,” she said.

Peter stiffly returned the hug then pulled away.

“Thanks to Tony.”

Talia’s attention turned to him.

“Who are they and what did they want?” she asked.

Tony told her what he had learned and asked about Kate Argent being in town. Talia shook her head.

“An Argent would not be in town without telling me. They have a code,” Talia insisted.

Behind her, Peter rolled his eyes and disagreed with her. Tony did not push further on the topic. Instead, he explained what would probably happen once NCIS arrived on the scene and that they would want to talk to her when they brought Peter home. She agreed to feign ignorance of anything that happened at the distillery tonight when the agents contacted her.

Talia turned to Peter. “Have you heard of a Nolan hunting family before?”

“No. They said they had a long history of hunting but had humble beginnings,” Peter said. “If they were hired as foot soldiers of the bigger names, their name might never come up.”

Talia hummed then nodded in acceptance of Peter’s reasoning.

“How long until your team gets here?” Talia asked.

Tony pulled out the borrowed phone and checked the time. “Another hour at least.”

“We should deactivate the traps he set before your team gets here,” Peter said. “I can make a guess where they all are.”

Talia pulled Peter into another hug and whispered, “be safe,” before heading home. They set to work deactivated traps to keep the NCIS team safe. Tony used that time to interrogate Peter about werewolves, pack dynamics, and the supernatural world he had found himself in the middle of.

It was the middle of the night when the caravan of vehicles pulled up to the distillery. A blond woman was the first out. She briefly spoke to the others before walking to Tony and Peter that were waiting by the door. She held up her badge for inspection.

“Special Agent Adalinda Landon.”

“Special Agent Tony DiNozzo, but unfortunately, my credentials are back in DC.”

Tony took her offered hand in greeting.

“Understandable. The Director explained we have a hot one on our hands. Anything I should know before sending the team in?”

“I could see them trying for an insanity plea, so don’t trust they believe any wild tales they spin,” Tony said.

“I never do,” she assured. She ordered a group to secure the prisoners and take them back to base for interrogation. “We’ll need to interview each of you separately,” she looked to Tony, “as you are aware.”

He nodded. 

“Any issues doing that here while the team investigates and cleans up the scene?”

They both assured her they did not have any problems with it.

“Great! I would like to start with you, Mr. Hale. I have recording equipment in my car. I would like to conduct the interview there if you don’t have any issue with it.”

“I would never refuse to spend time with a beautiful lady,” Peter said.

Tony admired Landon’s professional response and handling of the situation. She escorted Peter to the SUV, explaining the procedure as they went. Once the two were in the car, Tony turned his attention to the team retrieving the prisoners. 

The Nolans were awake and struggled as they were loaded into the prisoner transport van. He was relieved when the door shut and it drove away. That was one less complication he had to deal with.

The remaining agents went to work processing the distillery with an efficiency Tony appreciated. 

“Your turn,” Peter said, pulling him from his observations with a hand on his shoulder.

“Thanks,” Tony said and took his turn with Special Agent Landon.

Tony woke up curled against Peter’s very warm side in the back of Landon’s SUV. The blanket he had initially curled up under had slid down to his lap.

“We’re done and going to take Mr. Hale home,” Landon said from her position in the front seat. “I’ve called ahead to let them know of our early morning arrival.”

Peter was awake when Tony shifted over. Tony looked out the window. There was no sign that they had been there, not even the SUVs they drove from the airport.

“What time is it?” Tony asked, rubbing sleep from his eyes.

“Five AM,” Landon answered. 

Landon started the vehicle and headed out. Peter directed her to the main road. 

“What are you?” Peter asked, surprising Tony.

Landon let out a soft chuckle. “I’m surprised you noticed I’m supernatural.”

“It pays to notice things,” Peter said.

Landon reached up and adjusted the rear-view mirror to meet Peter’s eyes.

“I’ll tell you but would appreciate it if you keep it to yourself.”

Peter’s eyes focus on the rear-view mirror. 

“You have my word as long as it does not harm my pack.”

Landon gave a sharp nod of acceptance.

“Kholkikos drakon.”

Peter, who faced off against a man who wanted to take his life, looked shocked.

“I thought they were myths.”

“We still exist, but the hunters did come close to wiping us out. We had to change how we carried out our mandate to survive.”

Tony was lost, but it was obvious it meant something to Peter, who suddenly looked thoughtful.

“What are Kholkikos drakon?” Tony asked.

“Protector dragons,” Peter answered. “Greek myths – the serpent that guarded the golden fleece or the Garden of the Hesperides… whose name was Landon.” 

“So they say,” Landon said, mirth in her tone. It was the first not strictly professional thing Tony had witnessed her do. 

“Why is a protector dragon here?” Peter cautiously asked. 

“Doing my job.”

“Which job?”

“Both.” She sighed. “We don’t have time to go into the history of my people and how we operate in today’s world. I protect the supernatural beings who are part of the navy. There are those “in the know” in charge who I report to.”

“Director Marrow,” Tony said, taking a logical guess.

“He is one. He knows Beacon Hills has supernatural ties and that is why he sent my team out. There will be no mention of the bullets being laced with wolfsbane in any reports. If the hunters even mention the supernatural, it will be written off as them trying to appear insane, just as Agent DiNozzo suggested upon our meeting.”

Peter settled back into his chair. Tony could see the gears turning. He wondered where it would lead. 

They pull up to a large house in the middle of the woods. Talia opened the door when they knocked. The sounds of people moving around getting ready drifted out. Landon introduced her and Tony and asked to speak to her about what happened to Peter.

“What happened to Uncle Peter?” asked a teenage girl standing on the stairway.

“Not now, Laura,” Talia ordered.

Laura looked put out but let it drop.

“Come on, Derek. We need to go to make it in time for your morning practice.”

She grabbed the arm of the teenage boy hidden behind her. She pulled him down the stairs and out the door. Derek looked up and accidentally met Tony’s eyes as they passed. Tony could see a story of pain, shame, and fear in them and the teen’s body language. That was a mystery for another time.

“My office is this way.”

They spend less than an hour talking with Talia. During that time, she did not pick up on what Peter had after meeting Landon. If she did, she did not let on. From what Tony had learned from Peter, an alpha should be concerned with an unannounced supernatural being in their territory. 

Although Landon had called ahead even if she did not tell the alpha she was a supernatural being. Maybe that was enough to appease the pack leader. It was clear Landon would not be staying in the area and was not a threat. 

“Something to ask Peter later,” Tony thought. “If I ever talk to Peter again after this.” 

The idea of not talking to his recent partner in crime hurt. There was a connection. They worked well together, and Tony liked the guy even if there was an edge of manipulativeness underneath. 

It did not come out fully during their time together, but it was something Tony was finely attuned to. He could see the threads of it. Based on their conversations after getting free, it was used for mischievousness, mostly in Peter’s youth, or against the pack enemies and not for strictly personal gain like Tony’s father. 

The meeting concluded with none of them hinted at anything supernatural throughout it. The mundane version of facts was espoused by all. 

Tony saw Peter’s eyes dancing with glee when he met Tony’s eyes through the entire meeting with the secret knowledge they shared – at the trick they were pulling on his sister. Tony could not help but return the look and revel in the shared experience.

Talia and Peter escorted them to the door.

“Thank you for saving me,” Peter said and shook Tony’s hand before they left.

Once he was in the SUV, Tony opened his hand to read the slip of paper Peter covertly passed to him. Landon glanced over.

“What’d he give you?”

“His phone number,” Tony said.

Landon laughed. “Good luck with that.”

Tony’s stomach chose that moment to protest not getting dinner or breakfast yet before he came up with a response.

“Coffee shop or someplace else before we leave town?” she asked.

“A coffee shop will do,” Tony answered. 

It did not take them long to find a local coffee shop once they entered Beacon Hills proper. They stood in line, both quiet and taking in the atmosphere. 

“Kate,” called the barista.

It caught Tony’s attention because of his teammate and what he just went through. A long-haired, self-assured, blond collected the drink. She grinned predatorily and headed to the door. Through the window, Tony caught a glimpse of Derek Hale. He turned to Landon, who was watching the woman as well.

“Your phone?” Tony asked.

She handed him the standard NCIS issued flip phone without hesitation. He accessed the camera while walking to the door. He started snapping pictures while pretending to place a call. He stepped out the door and managed to get a couple of the two together. There was nothing inappropriate between them, but it was obvious the boy was besotted by her. 

Tony returned to Landon and handed her the phone.

“They didn’t know her type at all,” Tony said.

“So it seems,” Landon agreed.

Tom Marrow was on the MTAC screen of Landon’s NCIS office listening to Tony’s verbal report – the report that would not make it on paper. The only other person in the room was Agent Landon.

“Sir, I know it’s not an NCIS matter, but the Nolans were not wrong about Kate being there to hunt,” Tony said. “I feel we should follow up on this.”

“I understand your desire to protect a young boy from a predator, but it isn’t our jurisdiction.” He held up a hand to stop Tony’s protest. “It does not mean nothing will be done. I have already looped in the appropriate people. A team is on its way to investigate Miss Argent.”

“Shouldn’t we tell the Hales?” Tony said.

Marrow shook his head. “No, and you will not tell them either.”

Tony reluctantly accepted the order.

“They want to run the operation as a sting, but I do have their promise to act before the teen gets in too deep.”

Tony was not happy with that but did understand not wanting to give the game away.

“She has to be caught red-handed to even have a chance for the hunter families to believe she’s guilty,” Adalinda explained.

“Unfortunately to some, that won’t even matter,” Tom added. “I promise to keep an eye on things and you in the loop.”

“I appreciate it,” Tony said.

“You can’t go in there!” was heard from the now open door.

“Watch me,” declared Gibbs, storming into MTAC and bringing an early close to Tony’s debrief.

End Act 1

Act 2: Investigating the Argents
Act 2

Act 2: Investigating the Argents

Tony knocked on Tom Marrow’s door, thankful he had been called at the end of the day after wrapping up their last case. 

It had been three weeks since Tony’s kidnapping. On Marrow’s orders, he had been working with the team investigating the Nolan mess in between MCRT cases. Gibbs had not been happy, but Tom made sure Gibbs understood the importance of the case and Tony’s involvement in it. It had not kept Gibbs from being short with him and giving him more than his share of the crap jobs, much to his co-workers’ amusement. It gave Tony a headache just thinking about the hoops he had jumped because of it. 

“Come in,” Tom called.

He entered and shut the door behind him. Tom moved from behind his desk and over to the table. He motioned for Tony to sit. He did.

“Thanks for coming,” Tom said.

“No problem. Everything is tied up from our last case.”

“Good work on that.” Tom slid the folder he had carried with him over to Tony. “I have good news.”

He opened the folder and skimmed the contents.

“As you can see, they arrested those involved in the SNAFU of the White job. The network we uncovered was not large but had fingers in places it shouldn’t. The team was very appreciative of our help and the insight you provided.”

“I didn’t do much,” Tony said.

“I’ve been assured that it was your insight that led them to the money trail. Everything unraveled from there. Good work, Tony.”

“Thanks, sir.”

“Would you contact Mr. Hale and update him on the case?”

“Yeah, no problem. What about the Kate and Derek situation?”

Tom folded his hands on the table.

“They have bugged her phone after tracking her number down through Jerry Fredricks. They are still watching her. She’s got a job teaching at the school. We think that’s how she came in contact with Derek.”

“They can’t arrest her yet?” Tony asked.

“Unfortunately, no. She’s good. She’s not raising any flags and keeps their interactions this side of appropriate when out and about. They are keeping a close eye on Derek when he’s with her. They will know when she plans to make her move and set up beforehand to stop her.”

“I hope so.”

“I have another special project for you,” Tom said.

Tony set up straighter in his chair.

“The Homeland team working in Beacon Hills heard about your success in seeing things others missed or overlooked and asked for you to look into Ms. Argent’s past. According to the Nolan reports, this is probably not the first time she’s targeted and taken out a whole pack. Finding them is the challenge. I want you to pull Peter and Adalinda in as resources for this. They will more likely have heard of any shifter family that suddenly disappeared.”

“Yes, sir. Can I tell Peter about Kate being in Beacon Hills? He has been keeping an eye out for her but hasn’t put much effort into it, yet. Honestly, that’s him being patient when there’s a threat to his pack. He’s been good about not pressing me for information since I told him I wasn’t allowed to tell him yet.”

Tom sighed and contemplated the request.

“Only if he promises to stay out of the team’s way… on second thought, I’ll let them know he’s being told about Kate. They may be able to use him to run interference or get places that they might stand out in. Read him in.”

“Thanks,” Tony said.

Tony had the headset connected to his phone and called Peter. He slipped the phone into his pocket and pulled out ingredients for dinner. Talking to Peter had become part of Tony’s post-case wind-down. 

He originally called Peter within the first week to give him an update on the Nolan investigation and see what other supernatural information he could get out of him. That drifted to them discussing movie themes and other shared interests.

“Hi, Tony,” Peter answered.

“Hey, Peter. I got good news for you today.” Tony washed the vegetables.


“They wrapped up the investigation on the Nolans and arrested all involved. Their trials won’t be for a while, but there’s no way they won’t go to jail with several charges against them.”

“Good riddins,” Peter said. “What are you making?”

“Soup – vegetable and beef. Nothing complicated.”

“How was your day? Any new cases?”

Tony pulled out his cutting board and sliced two carrots.

“Yes, but not a standard one. Marrow wants me to follow up on another lead from the Nolans. Before they captured you, Curtis said Kate bragged about taking out a shifter family and no one knew.”

There was silence on the other end of the phone. Usually when they talked, Tony could hear Peter moving around and doing things. Tony stopped cutting.

“Peter? Are you OK?”

“She took out an entire family?”

He did not sound good. Tony mentally cursed for not thinking how the news would affect Peter. He put his knife down.

“We need to Skype for this. Are you someplace you can Skype without being overheard?”

“Yes,” Peter answered.

Tony went to his laptop and opened the program. They were soon connected and could see each other. Tony looked into the camera.

“There’s more to the story than I was able to tell you until now, as you know.”

“She’s in Beacon Hills,” Peter said, sure of that fact. “She’s targeting my family.”

“Yes.” Tony held up a hand asking for patience. “There is a team watching her and tracking everything she does. Unfortunately, they want to catch her red-handed. They have her phone tapped and the places she normally spends time bugged. They will not let her carry out her plan, but they must have enough on her to put her away otherwise she will just come back and try again.”

Peter’s eyes were glowing at the news.

“If they don’t take care of her, I will,” Tony said, surprising himself with the promise.

Peter took a few deep breaths. His eyes returned to their human appearance.

“Director Marrow wants me to gather intel and proof of her having done this before. He suggested you and Agent Landon as sources for any missing supernatural families for me to dig into.”

Peter looked thoughtful.

“There are a few families that I can think of that we haven’t heard from in a while. But that’s not unusual. I’ll make some calls and get back to you on that.” Peter looked at Tony through the screen. “They thought I was her target,” Peter said, putting it together now he had more of the pieces. “I’m not her target, am I?”

“No. You can’t go after her, but Marrow is going to talk to the team monitoring her about including you.”

Peter stilled and considered the offer.

“Just think you will be in the know on something that Talia isn’t aware of.”

“She refuses to be aware of,” Peter countered.

Tony inclined his head and agreed that Talia was short-sighted by not checking out a possible threat just because she did not think it was there. She should at least investigate the possibility – do a threat analysis. Peter had been trying to do it without drawing Talia’s attention. It was a frequent topic of their phone conversations.

“So think about it. Stay out of their way until they contact you, please.”

“Who is her target? Is it one of the pack or someone close to us?” Peter looked thoughtful then angry. “Derek! Where is she?” he growled and flashed his eyes.

“No,” Tony said.

“I’ll just follow Derek…”

And possibly ruin the operation was not said.

“You don’t want her to get away or to hurt Derek by her hand or yours.”

“I could kill her when he’s not around, make it look like an animal attack.”

“Then the hunters would come down on you and your pack,” Tony countered.

Peter huffed but gave in to Tony’s logic.

“It will be more satisfying to help put her in a cage and ruin her reputation.”

“Dead enemies don’t come back.”

Tony snorted. “Weren’t you telling me last week about resurrection rituals?”

Peter huffed. “That’s why you burn the bodies and scatter the ashes.”

“Do you think her family would do that? My guess is they won’t.” Tony picked up his laptop and returned to the kitchen to continue making a late dinner. “Now tell me about what inane things the partners at your law firm had you doing as the junior assistant while I make dinner.”

Tony set up his laptop and opened Skype. He worked on making cookies while he waited for Peter to call. He had everything mixed by the time he did.

“Stress baking again or Valentine gifts?” Peter asked. 

“Stress baking.”

“The old lady three doors down will pinch your cheeks again when you give them to her.”

“I know, but she always appreciates them,” Tony said. “It’s too late to stress-play my piano.”

“Bad few days?”

“I got called a gigolo by Ducky’s memory-challenged mother and threatened to be disemboweled with the knife she keeps in her brassiere.”

There was no sound coming from the computer, but when he looked, he could see Peter laughing. It was funny with a bit of time between now and the events.

“Done?” he asked when Peter’s attention returned to him.

“Yes,” Peter said, obviously still finding it funny.

“She had me moving furniture around the house all day, and have you ever tried herding corgis! It was enough to make me go postal, I swear. Although, the best part was when Kate came to take over and Mrs. Mallard demanded to see Kate’s knickers… because… you can tell a woman’s intentions by her knickers.”

They both were laughing this time.

“She’s not wrong,” Peter said.

Tony scooped cookie dough onto the lined pan.

“Some days Kate gets under my skin with her “I’m the expert” attitude. However, she did apologize for not posting two people on a protection detail with two people needing protection.”

“Did something happen?”

“Yeah, Ducky was kidnapped when she was distracted with his mother wandering into the backyard in the middle of the night.”

Tony put the filled sheet into the oven and worked on filling the second.

“Intentional distraction?”

“Suspect so, but the guy responsible for the kidnapping killed himself rather than going back to jail.” Tony added another spoonful of dough to the pan and looked up. “I think that family was just as crazy as some of the hunter families.”

Peter raised an eyebrow.

“Family of morticians…”

“No need to say anything else,” Peter said.

“How’s the family?”

“Derek is ticked at me for picking him up from school today,” Peter said.

“They have you running interference now?”

“At times. It keeps her access to him short where and when they can’t get too involved.”

“It doesn’t take long to get off,” Tony said.

“Not Kate’s style. I’ve seen the profile they have on her. She would want to drag it out and revel in her power over him. She seems to have backed off a bit since I took a more hands-on interest in my niece and nephew.”

“It hasn’t scared her off?”

“Too confident. If she managed to pull off even half of the cases you are investigating, she thinks she’s invincible. She probably could be if not for you getting involved.”

“That’s only because of the Nolans.”

Peter shivered. “God, I hate having to even think they did something good for me.”

“So Kate thinks she can do anything and get away with it, and that lets you run interference. Any idea when she will move?”

“Not yet, but we suspect soon.”

Tony exchanged the sheets. He let the cookies cool on the sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to the cooling rack.

“Adalinda gave me a few more leads. I’m getting to the point I need to visit the towns and talk to the local supernaturals.”

“They won’t talk to you,” Peter said.

Tony sighed. “I suspected that. I’ll talk to Tom about it and keep investigating the other leads. It sounds like you are enjoying working with the Homeland team. Better than being a layer?”

“Yes. They listen to me even if I’m younger than them.”

“Do you have to stay in Beacon Hills to be part of the pack?” Tony asked.

He focused on the screen. Peter gave a so-so motion with his hand.

“There are cases for pack members not living with the pack, but it’s usually for things like college. I have heard of other exceptions. It’s down to the alpha.”

Tony rotated the pans to the next step in the process while he tried to find the right words.

“I understand pack and pack bonds are important,” Tony slowly said. “What do you do when they are stifling you or bringing more harm to you than help?” Tony turned back to the computer. He placed his hands on the countertop and leaned toward the screen. “You have great potential that is being choked out by the weeds of your family’s view of you and the wider world. One day you will break no matter how much you love them. I don’t want your life to become The Shining or… or… Clue.”

“Really, Clue?”

The Breakfast Club had a decent ending and didn’t fit my point.”

“I get your point, and I’ll think about it. It may require changing packs. You, on the other hand, are stuck in the middle of The Shawshank Redemption, and I don’t know if you will escape” Peter said. 


“You are in a place that you don’t deserve. You are mistreated by your boss.”

Tony tried to interrupt, but Peter pressed on.

“You are never going to move forward while working for Gibbs. He won’t let you. He will never leave, and he will want to keep you where you are.”

Tony felt gutted by the statement. Gibbs was there when Tony needed to get out of a bad situation. He had taken him under his wing – he mentored him.


“What were your career plans before NCIS?”

Tony paused to consider it.

“When I worked for the police, I wanted to make sergeant or lieutenant. I thought getting into one of the specialty departments or a task force would be interesting.” 

“Where can you go now for advancement?”

“A team lead would be the next step up.” Tony thought about leading a team. He could take over one in DC, but how would Kate or Tim affect him trying to be a serious leader when they only saw him as a clown. That could undermine him.

“Do you want a team?”

“Maybe. I thought I would take over MCRT when Gibbs retired… but who knows when that will be.” 

“You’ve been there almost five years. How long do agents usually stay in your position? How long can you stay there before management thinks you have no ambition?”

“But my team…”

Peter sighed. “I get it. They are your pack, and you feel like you’re letting them down. As you were reminding me, the pack’s interest is not always what is best for the individual. Don’t let your loyalty blind you to their faults. 

“Tony, if the alpha is bad, we overthrow the alpha. If a pack is bad, we seek a new one. Don’t stay if it’s not good for you. You deserve better.” 

Tony pulled the last tray out of the oven. He ran a hand down his face as he returned to the heavy conversation that was challenging both of their personal views on their families and themselves.

“We suck at light unwinding conversation,” Tony said. “I need a drink and a movie.” 

Tony pulled out a bottle of wine and opened it.

“How about something light and fun like The Godfather or Psycho,” Peter said.

Tony poured the wine into the glass. He lifted it to the smirking Peter on the screen.

“Sounds about right for the night,” Tony said, full of sarcasm.

Tony answered his phone.


“My sister’s driving me crazy!”

It was less than a month since their conversation where Tony was trying to make Peter realize his pack was holding him back, and Peter returned the favor. They had touched on it since then but not so pointedly.

“It seems to be a theme of my life today.” Tony settled onto his couch to listen to Peter’s bitch session.


“Ducky was acting all parental-mediator between Kate and me today.”

“What did you do to Kate?”

“Me! What makes you think I did anything?”

“You two act like siblings and enjoy pushing each other’s buttons.”

Tony shrugged even though Peter could not see it.

“I may have eaten her sandwich. And Tim is still complaining about the poison ivy he got last week on the case. I told you about that, right?” Tony heard Peter’s positive vocalization. “They never take anything I say seriously.”

“You do realize that’s because you never show them the serious side of you,” Peter said. “You joke and play the clown to help ease the stress caused by your boss’ gruff nature and the horrors your job exposes you to. When was the last time you let a mask or two down in front of them?”

Tony leaned his head on the back of his couch and thought about Peter’s words.

“Probably never for those two,” he admitted. “I first met Kate on a case and she was so judgmental and accused all men of being pigs. I played the playboy because it got to her. Now, that seems to be all she sees even when I’m not trying.”

“Therefore, you play to her expectations because why try to prove her wrong,” Peter said. “I’ve heard the same from some corners of the pack. Talia doesn’t fully trust me so why should they trust me.”

“And you troll them by dancing on the edge of being a teenage delinquent,” Tony said, filling in from the stories Peter shared of his childhood.

“I properly horrified some of the great aunts,” Peter said proudly.

“Family is hard and at times cruel.” Tony shifted to stretch out on the couch. “Hell, the case we wrapped up, the girl set up her navy sister’s death to implicate her boss so she could get out from under his thumb. On top of that, their father was dying – within hours of dying. We didn’t tell him his remaining daughter was the reason the older one was dead.”

“That sucks.”

“Yeah, it does. Are you still enjoying working with the Homeland team?”

“I am. I’m learning a lot as well.”

“More beyond the power games of the pack or being an alpha?”

“I know. You have convinced me,” Peter said. “There are more ways to gain power and respect than the ‘little world’ I had confined myself to.”

“Supernaturals aren’t the only ones to do it. We are shaped by our surroundings and experiences. It’s hard to see beyond them. I know, as a kid, I could only hope for a day to be free of Senior’s control. I think even now, he affects how I see and interact with the world.”


“Yes, you are right that I have daddy issues. I admit it. Admitting it does not mean I can change my reactions overnight.”

“Just like it’s taking me a while to accept the world beyond the supernatural.”

Tony chuckled. “What a pair we make. Did Adalinda have any suggestions for possible careers for you?”

“She gave me some ideas based on how her people operate. They intentionally work their way into positions of peacekeepers or political power to safeguard the supernatural. There are not many of them, so they pick their area of influence carefully.”

“Sounds like food for thought,” Tony said. “Time for a lighter topic. What have the little ankle-biters of your family been up to recently?”


“I had an interesting visitor while you were in Paraguay with Kate,” Peter said when Tony answered.


“Your director. He had a job offer for me.”

“At NCIS?”

“No – not directly. He wants me to accompany you in visiting the cities of Argent’s crimes. He took your request to heart and acted on it. Of course, I also learned that his aunt was an emissary to a pack and told him stories of the supernatural growing up.”

“That’s how he knows about it. I couldn’t get the answer out of him, but not having the freedom to openly talk about it when we do talk, kind of hinders such sharing.” Tony sat down on the park bench. “So, I need to put together an itinerary.”

“Yeah. Tom said he would give you the details when he’s back tomorrow. “He wants to use you going on vacation as the reason for your absence.”

“The best way to keep my team from snooping. I’ll have to tell them at least one place we will be. When will this happen?”

“I’m to meet you at the first stop in a week.”

Tony thought about the list of cities, which were priorities, and what would be a valid vacation spot for him. Florida was the logical starting point and informed his partner.

Tony walked through the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport with his carry-on on his way to car-rental. He was shoulder-checked from out of the blue.

“Going my way?” Peter asked with all the class of a cheesy pickup line.

Tony tuned for a clear view of Peter with his rolling bag at his side. He made sure to exaggerate his assessment of the other man.

“Depends, where are you headed?” 

“Wherever you are going, sweetheart.”

Tony’s face squished up at the endearment.

“Darling, pudding, snookums?” Peter said.

“Ug, stop!”

Tony walked away. Peter was beside him in moments.

“I’ve got the rental booked,” Peter said. “I wanted something sporty but didn’t think it would portray the right image for this.”

“As much as I love a good sports car, you are correct. Lead the way.”

Tony followed Peter to the car rental kiosk. It took only minutes for him to have the keys in hand and them on their way.

“We have hotel reservations in Panama City for now. Spend the night here since the day is mostly gone, and head to Wewahitchka in the morning.”

“Sounds good. Which hotel?” Peter asked.

Tony gave him the name and location. 

“What did you end up telling your co-workers about your trip?”

“Oh, you will like this. Our last case gave me the perfect cover. Kate and I were interviewing a prisoner who’s a member of the same fraternity as me. We got to talking about college spring breaks in Florida, to Kate’s great annoyance and disgust. I reminisce about my college days, and therefore, I decided to live my glory days with my frat brothers in Florida for spring break.”

“Then we should go out drinking so you have “stories” to share when you get back,” Peter said.

“Not too much before interviewing.”

“Tomorrow night, depending on how things go in Wewahitchka.” 

Tony made reservations at a higher-end hotel in hopes of fewer college kids in the halls than there would be in the lower-priced hotels. He booked only one room, knowing Peter, the wolf, would feel better having a known quantity at his back in unfamiliar territory. 

They settled in and selected beds. Tony pulled out his file folders and handed Peter the one on the Colber family. They were an extended family of twelve that lived on the edge of the Apalachicola National Forest. 

Peter read through the reports and Tony’s notes. 

“Their house burned with them in it. Mountain ash around the house to keep werewolves in or something in the smoke incapacitated them. The fire investigator ruled it accidental.” Peter looked at Tony. “Is that feasible based on the evidence?”

“Not according to the three experts I showed the pictures to,” Tony said. “It’s been three years. Any chance of any mountain ash used would still be there? We can’t use it in court, but it would verify foul play.”

“Do we really need it verified?”

“Every little bit helps fill in the picture.”

Peter continued to flip through the file.

“No survivors,” Peter said.

Tony hummed. Peter turned his attention on him and wordlessly demanded the information he was withholding.

“Tammy, who was ten at the time, was staying at a friend’s house.”

Peter waved the folder.

“That wasn’t in the report.”

“It’s not. In fact, she has a death certificate. Died in the fire.”

“But you discovered she didn’t?”

“Yeah. The paperwork was odd. I went digging and discovered Tam Davidson, who appeared six months after the fire. What would happen to the lone pack survivor if she was a werewolf?”

“She would become the alpha. There’s a good chance it would be too much for such a young child, but if she lives, then she managed. Six months would give her time to adapt and learn to control it.” Peter tapped his index finger to his lips. “She may have had help.”

“Someone else from the pack?” 

Peter tilted his hand in a so-so gesture.

“Packs have emissaries – usually a magic-user. The exact duties of an emissary vary from pack to pack and the type of magic user the emissary is. If they had an emissary who was not a druid and more hands-on… and on the ball and not killed to get through any protections on the house… such an emissary could have helped her through the transition and aid in learning control of her new powers.“

“Your emissary isn’t like that,” Tony said based on Peter’s tone.

“No. He’s a druid. They are all about some nebulous balance. He’s very hands-off. None but Talia, maybe Laura, are supposed to know who he is.”

Tony smirked. “But you do.”

Peter was mock-offended. “Of course I do. What sort of information broker would I be if I didn’t.”

“So you’re an information broker now?” Tony arched an eyebrow judging Peter.

“Among other things,” Peter answered with a flash of fang.

Tony laughed at him briefly before drawing them back to the case.

“Who is she living with?” Peter asked.

“The family she was spending the night with. They claimed she was a recently orphaned cousin who came to live with them.”

Peter put the folder on the desk.

“She could have been. It could be a human born to the pack but didn’t live with them. It could still be the emissary. It could be both. Not the first time an emissary married in or was born to the pack.”

Tony jotted notes down on his notepad.

“Good to know. What would be the best approach?”

They ran through scenario possibilities and the best approach for them to take in each before turning in for the night.

Tony turned off the recorder after his last question.

“Will this help catch her?” Tam, now thirteen, asked.

“It will aid in putting her away for a very long time when she is caught,” Tony said.

Tam was listening to his heartbeat for any sign of a lie or deception. Tony knew it would be absent because he was sure of her capture. Every bit of evidence he could collect against her would be another nail in her coffin.

“Thank you for your time, Alpha Davidson.” Tony pulled out one of his NCIS cards and wrote his personal phone number on the back before handing it to her. “If you ever run into something like that again, call me. I might not be able to help in person, but I can try finding someone who can help.”

She took the card and looked wide-eyed at the number.

“Thank you,” she whispered and almost choked on the words.

Tony’s heart went out to the young girl now responsible for the small pack of mostly distant human family members.

“I wish you and your pack health and prosperity,” Tony said and bowed at the waist as Peter had instructed him.

Peter mirrored the action.

Tam smiled at Tony with great appreciation in her moist eyes.

“And may you,” her eyes darted to Peter, “and yours journey safely and find welcome and gladness at its end.”

“Thank you. Have a good day,” Tony said.

Helen Davidson, Tam’s third cousin and pack emissary, escorted them to the door. She rested her hand on the door but did not open it.

“Will you let us know what happens?” Helen asked.

“I will let you know something when it happens,” Tony said. “I can’t promise to tell you details, but I can let you know what is public knowledge.”

Helen nodded and appeared to understand.

“Thank you for the hope of avenging our fallen.”

“Our pleasure,” Peter said.

They exited and headed back to Panama City. Tony sank into the passenger seat and ran his fingers through his hair with a long exhale to ease the built-up tension.

“Argent’s a serial killer.” Tony waved his hand in the air. “I suspected based on my investigations, but hearing Tam’s story leaves no doubt. I bet we will find the same MO at the other places. Are the rest of her family as psycho as she is?”

Peter’s hands tightened and loosened on the wheel as he processed the testimony and what it implied could have happened to his family if the situation was different.

“Derek’s not the first teen she targeted,” Peter growled low and threateningly.

Tony automatically reached over and rested his hand on Peter’s arm.

“We are going to stop her. If they aren’t looking into the rest of the family, I will insist on it.”

Peter pushed the anger away and pulled calm around him.

“Homeland has another team investigating the other Argent members based on my recommendation and testimony Landon’s cousin got Curtis to spill.”

“Definitely the weak link of the trio. Open the door for him to brag, and he will walk right through.” Tony pulled his cell out and opened it. “I’m going to give Marrow an update and ask him to pass it onto the Beacon team.”

“Good idea.”

Peter and Tony sat in a booth of a bar near their hotel. College students were mostly partying in the bar area.

“Fond memories,” Tony muttered.

Peter wrinkled his nose at the antics of youth. “Never saw the appeal. Of course, I can’t get drunk on what this place sells.”

Tony waggled his eyebrows. “Which means someplace sells stuff that will.”

Peter lifted his glass, acknowledging the well-deducted fact. Then he used it to gesture to the room around them.

“Is this really what you want to still be showing the world?”

Tony took a drink of his beer. His eyes darted around at the antics that most people his age were beginning to consider childish and stopped on Peter.

“I think… I hold on to those times because it was the first time I was out from Senior’s thumb and free of his expectations of being Addie to his Lawrence Jamieson ambitions.”

“You’re mixing movies,” Peter said. “Lawrence isn’t Addie’s dad in Paper Moon?”

“Senior would never see himself as such a simple con-man as Moses Pray. He sees himself more like the sophisticated con-man from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. I never played along when he did think to pull me into his schemes. So he sent me away to school until I could be more useful.”

“I suspected as much, but you had never laid it out until now.”

Tony rubbed at his face. He was tired, and the Kate Argent situation was pushing several of his buttons.

“You’re right. I hide behind too many masks, and it’s time I stop.”

“Masks are needed, but if you wear them all the time, you risk losing yourself.”

“Or maybe you never truly know yourself.”

 “Are you ready to discover the true Tony DiNozzo and share him with at least one person?”

“Are you ready to do the same with Peter Hale?”

Peter chuckled and extended his hand across the table.

“Hi, I’m Peter Hale, a man out to outshine his sister, who wants people to acknowledge his worth, and a desire to protect his family.” 

Tony took the hand. “Nice to meet you. I’m Tony DiNozzo, a man scarred by his absentee father, a chameleon of blending in with the people around him for survival, and a desire to be what my father isn’t.”

They shook then grinned conspiratorially at each other.

“Likewise. I believe none of that was new to either of us, which means we are already making progress.”

They get distracted by their dinners being served. The conversation turned to less emotional topics. When they got up to leave, Peter slipped his hand into Tony’s to lead him through the crowds. 

Peter’s hand was warm and more comforting than Tony expected. He looked at Peter’s back and wondered what else could grow between them other than the close friendship they had found.

They passed a wall of pictures. Tony pulled Peter back when he caught sight of a familiar face. Peter turned a questioning look at him, but it melted away when he got a look at the Cheshire grin Tony gave him. He pointed at the wall.

“That’s Kate… my Kate in a wet T-shirt contest. Miss goody Catholic girl two shoes doing something wild and crazy… priceless.”

Tony pulled out his phone and snapped a photo of it before they left.

They returned to their room, and Peter still had Tony’s hand in his. He lifted the hand and placed a kiss on the back of it. Tony met Peter’s eyes which were on him, asking if this was all right the entire time. 

Tony bit his lower lip and considered the question. Getting involved with a man was not an issue for him personally. The news of him dating a guy getting out to his co-workers and peers could be bad in his career. However, was this something he wanted to let slip through his fingers? Tony gave Peter a nod.

Peter wrapped his arm around Tony’s waist and pulled him close. The kiss moved from his knuckles to his lips.

They were soft, tender, welcoming kisses. Tony melted into them and Peter’s warm and strong body. They exchanged several kisses before Peter pulled back and searched Tony’s face.

“I want more than a one-night fling or friends with benefits,” Peter said.

Tony let out a slow breath to gather his wits to him.

“Yeah, um… me too.” Tony let his arms settle loosely around Peter’s hips. “I hadn’t let myself even think… even consider our relationship taking this turn.”


“No!” Tony insisted. “Unexpected and possible complications to watch out for.”

“Funny, I wanted to take you for a ride since you freed me.” Peter nipped at Tony’s neck. Tony tipped his head back in response. “I didn’t want you as mine until months of talking with you.”

Tony did not miss the possessive growl on the word “mine.” Peter worked his way to Tony’s ear and whispered dirty things that had him dragging Peter to the bed and caused Peter to chuckle low and sexy.

McLane, Mississippi, was a very small town on the decline. However, once they accepted Peter and Tony’s reason for being there, they were very happy to share the story of the blond stranger who came to town and targeted the rebellious teenage werewolf. Kate tempted Rachel with stories of the big city and promises to take her away from this backwater town.

Kate did not even try to hide what she was doing from the townsfolk. When the pack died in a house fire, they tried to challenge the accidental verdict, but no one from the big city would listen to them.

Tony recorded all their statements and made copies of any evidence they had for his files. None of the residents knew if Kate made any sexual advances toward Rachel. 

Back in their hotel, Tony had the collected information spread out on the second bed. He paced around, looking at it.

“I’m sure this is her first kill. It’s the earliest of the six I can tie her to. She would have been seventeen. Old enough to go out on her own.”

“If she was really on her own. Another family member could have been with her. It’s a small isolated town. It would be a perfect proving ground.” Peter did not look happy at what he was saying. Tony could not refute his logic.

“It could also be part of the reason for a female target vs male…”

“Or that was the easiest target.”

Tony nodded in agreement. He picked up the list of family names.

“No male teenagers in the pack,” he said. “I assume teenage rebellion is the same no matter the species?”

“Definitely,” Peter said. “A smart alpha lets them run with it but also knows when to reign them in depending on personalities.”

“No different than humans.”

“Humans don’t have the power to enforce their orders with only a verbal command.”

“I still think that borders on removing a person’s free will.” 

Tony stepped next to Peter and wrapped his arms around him.

“A strong will can resist,” Peter said.

“Like the Imperius Curse.” Tony leaned down and kissed Peter.

Peter chuckled before joining in.


They were almost a week into their two-week investigation road trip and headed to Perryville, Arkansas, when they got the call that Kate was gearing up for her move. The Homeland task force wanted Peter back ASAP to be their contact with the pack.

They headed for the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport in Little Rock and were on their way to California. By that evening they, were in Beacon Hills and conversing with the task force. 

Peter managed to convince Talia to meet him in town. Tony and Charles, the leader of the task force, laid all the facts out for her – Kate’s past kills and MO. They eventually convinced her with pictures of Kate standing too close to Derek and frozen in an intimate caress of his cheek.

Late Friday afternoon, Peter led Tony and several Homeland Security agents into the Hale house through the secret passages. Talia met them in the basement. The sound and smell of other people in the house brought several of the family down.

Talia called them to order and let Charles explain the threat and the plan to stop it. Tony watched Talia position herself behind Derek.

“No, she wouldn’t do that!” Derek yelled and jumped up.

Talia put both hands on his shoulder and pushed him back into his seat. He obeyed her silent command but was not happy about it. She proceeded to take his phone from him. He folded his arms across his chest and pouted as only a teen can. Charles ignored the interruption and proceeded to explain the plan.

Tony stepped sideways to be closer to Peter’s side. He tapped his arm and then indicated Derek. He mouthed the words, “Plan F.”

Peter made a curt nod of agreement. They had talked about how Derek would react to learning his crush was only using him. He was the fly caught in the femme fatale’s web. He would need to be here when she attacked, unfortunately. He needed to witness it with his own eyes or ears to believe the truth. They also needed to keep him under watch so he did not contact her and that was why Talia took his phone.

By nine everything was set. Cameras had been placed so those in the basement could see what was going on and to record the events as evidence. The majority of the Hales had been evacuated and moved to a safe house in the next town. Talia, Peter, Derek, and Laura were the only Hale pack members still in the house. Everyone was in tack gear. Close to twenty agents were hidden in the woods waiting for their signal to move in.

As time ticked by, the anticipation grew. Unfortunately, for some so did their fear and agitation. Laura stalked up to the ash barrier Derek was enclosed in.

“This is all your fault,” she softly hissed at him, but it was still audible by even the humans in the room.

Tony stepped between her and her brother. He looked her in the eyes.

“That is victim-blaming and wrong. She could have as easily targeted you. Now step off your high horse and either support your brother or shut up. We don’t have time for shows of senseless posturing.”

Laura shifted. Tony calmly stepped back across the ash line without disturbing it and let her smash into the barrier.

“Laura!” yelled Talia. The I expected better from you was heavily implied in that one word.

Laura wilted under the red-eyed glare.

“Sit and stay there unless we need to evacuate.”

“Thanks,” Derek muttered.

Tony took a seat beside Derek on the couch, making sure his body language was open and unthreatening. 

“Will you listen to some advice?” Tony asked.

Derek shrugged but did not refuse. 

“Do you know what Gilda, Basic Instinct, and Original Sin have in common?”

Derek turned to look at Tony. There was confusion, but he eventually blurted out, “They’re all movies.”

“True, but they are all movies of the femme fatale genera. Do you know why that is a common theme in movies and literature?”


“Just like con-man, femme fatales know how to manipulate their mark. They make us believe and trust them so they can get what they want. Often even when revealed, the mark won’t believe it.”

“I’m a werewolf. I can hear lies.” Derek looked pleadingly at Tony.

“The best con-men mislead with twisted truths.”

“She just placed mountain ash across the emergency exits,” Charles said upon receiving the report from the sentries. “She’s on her way here.” All of their attention turned to the wall of monitors they set up.

On-screen, Kate ordered two men with gas canisters to move around the house while she set more ash lines. The three gathered in front of the house. 

“Prepare to die you filthy beasts,” Kate loudly calls to the house.

She ignited a torch with a lighter. Before she could throw it, the Homeland agents burst out of the house, guns raised and pointed at the three.

“Federal Agents. Put your weapons down!”

Kate just laughed. She threw her head back and laughed. The sound of guns cocking behind her brought it to an end. Her two accomplices had their hands on their heads and were on their knees. Kate looked around but did not seem cowered. 

She let the torch and lighter fall to the ground. Then she pulled a handgun. Several gunshots barked out. Blood soaked the front of her shirt, and there was a small hole in the middle of her head.

That was not how Tony thought this would end, but he was not surprised. Derek gasped beside him. Tony wrapped an arm around Derek’s shoulder and pulled him against him. The teen broke down and sobbed into Tony’s shoulder.

The night’s portion of the operation was swiftly wrapped up. One of the agents broke the ash line. Talia was on the couch pulling Derek to her as soon as she could get to him. Tony slipped away to Peter’s side. They exited the house for a bit of privacy from werewolf ears.

“Therapy will help him if he will go,” Tony said.

“I’ll bring it up when the time is right. Come here.” 

Peter opened his arms and Tony stepped in. They stood in the dark shadow of one of the trees taking comfort in the embrace and happy everyone important was alive.”

End Act 2

Act 3" Ari's Games
Act 3

Act 3: Ari’s Games

Tony sat behind his desk after his two-week “vacation.” He was early, wanting to get settled in and things sorted before the others got there.

“Nice vacation, DiNozzo?” Gibbs asked as he passed.

“It was good.” 

The last week was just as much vacation as work. He helped the Homeland team some but spent most of his time with Peter and his family. The family took the opportunity to interrogate him since he and Peter were now dating. By the end, all the kids were calling him Uncle Tony, despite the newness of his and Peter’s romantic relationship. 

“Just good. You don’t sound too convinced.”

Tony clicked through his new emails.

“Some life truths hit me in the face.”

“Any of these truths keep you from focusing on your job?”

“No, Boss.”

They worked in silence. Gibbs left on a coffee run an hour later, so he was absent when Kate came in.

“Hey, Tony. Welcome back. How was Florida?”

“Good. Full of college students.”

Kate snorted. “Isn’t that why you went – to relive the good old days with your frat brothers.”

Tony fought the urge to let the playboy mask come up and throw out an innuendo-filled comment. He refrained and took a slow breath before responding.

“Not all old memories age well.”

Kate dropped into her chair with a smug look on her face.

“Ha! So you admit partying is a waste of time.”

Tony looked up and solemnly contemplated Kate.

“We all do things that we may question or regret when older. Didn’t you do anything wild and crazy when in college? Maybe something like… a wet t-shirt contest?” 

Tony made sure to keep a serious straight face while Kate sputtered and tried to figure out what he knew.

“Why… why did you pick that?”

Tony shrugged and focused mostly on his computer work. 

“Bar I went to had a wall of photos of past wet t-shirt winners. That’s all.”

Kate froze.

“Oh… well that does seem like something one might regret later in life.”

“Humm… especially with evidence posted for who knows how long for any friends or family to see.”

Kate scrambled for her keyboard. Tony hid his smirk behind his monitors. The hint of blackmail was so much better than actual blackmail. It was Peter’s influence, Tony was sure.

Tony called Peter on his drive home. The “Conspiracy Theory” case only took a few days to wrap up, but Tony felt exhausted.

“Hi, love. How has your day been?” Peter asked.

“Long and I just want to crash. I’m happy to hear your voice. I forgot to tell you yesterday when we talked, but I was hug-attacked and felt up by a nymphomaniac in an asylum yesterday. On the plus side, I have enjoyed watching Kate fret and try to figure out if I saw her photo in the bar.”

“She hasn’t asked you yet?”

“Not directly. She did ask where I went in Florida. I overheard her making a call to the bar asking about the photo.”

“What are you going to do when she does ask?”

“I’ll admit to seeing it, but I don’t think I’ll tell her I took a photo of it. I’ll save that for something very special – if ever.” 

“What happened to the nymphomaniac?”

“We arrested her for the murder of the petty officer. It was a live version of Gaslight with our petty officer as Paula, the nymphomaniac as Gregory, and embezzled funds as the hidden valuables. Unfortunately, our Paula didn’t live to confront her tormentor.”

“Your team got justice for ‘Paula,’ which is the best outcome in this case.  And since the nympho is in jail, I don’t have to kill her for touching what’s mine.”

“Don’t tease about things like that. Federal Agent here. I don’t want to have to testify against you.”

“I won’t tell you any of my plans so you have plausible deniability.”

“Ha, ha, ha… How are things on your end?”

Peter sighed. “Derek’s been hiding in his room or the woods. I went out and sat with him for a while. I did apologize for what happened to Paige.”

“Did you explain why you thought turning her was better?”

“Yeah. I told him about Amanda and her reaction to learning about werewolves.”

Late one night, Peter told Tony his first girlfriend’s reaction was to leave the state when she learned Peter was a werewolf. That led to him giving Derek bad advice and causing the death of an innocent girl and Derek’s gold eyes. 

“How did he react?”

“Better than expected, but he’s still avoiding everyone.” 

“Want me to call him?”

“That would be good. Right now you are the one person he trusts the most.”

Tony sat down with his personal laptop and initiated a skype call to Peter. Derek was the one who answered. It was over a month since Argent’s attack. Derek was getting better, but he continued to mope a lot.

“Can I come live with you?” Derek asked, catching Tony off guard.

“What happened?”

Derek muttered something indistinguishable and followed up with, “I don’t want to be here right now.”

Peter walked into frame behind Derek. He rested his hand on his shoulder.

“I caught Laura giving him a hard time again,” Peter said. “And Gerald came to town raising a fuss.”

“And now everyone at school knows I was being used!” Derek dropped his head to the table so Tony only saw the top of his head.

Peter rolled his eyes and mouthed “teenager.”

“Maybe you can come to visit once school’s out,” Tony offered. “That’s what – a few weeks away?”

“Too long.”

“Go finish your homework while I talk to my boyfriend.” Peter nudged Derek.

Derek reluctantly left but was still within hearing distance. There was nowhere in Peter’s apartment beyond the range for a werewolf if they wanted to listen in. Peter took the empty seat.

“So Gerald Argent… what happened?”

“He rolled into town, hunters in tow. He refused to believe what happened and accused us and Derek publicly of killing his daughter.  He said that Derek was the reason she was dead.”

“Public? How public?”

“He approached Derek on school grounds.  Figure it was an intimidation tactic and the beginnings of a smear campaign. He may have been hoping for Derek to lose control for a “valid” reason to attack us even.”

“Charles and his team are still there, right?”

“Yes. They moved in and took him into custody with the same efficiency as they took out Kate. They don’t have as clear of a case for him as they did his daughter, but there is definitely creative accounting going on with Argent Arms that he’s responsible for. If they can’t prove he was involved in someone’s murder, they can prove he’s guilty of embezzlement.” 

“Hopefully, they can tie it to something else illegal.”

“I’m sure bribery….” Peter just had a moment of insight, Tony could tell by the look on his face. “I’m sure the investigators in the McLane fire had been bribed. Where do you think the money came from?” 

Tony grinned.

“Argent Arms is a good guess.”

“My thoughts exactly. I’ll mention it to Charles tomorrow in case they aren’t already following that lead. If it’s true for one case, it’s probably true of others.” Peter waved his hand in the air. “On to other things. Did the petty officer get the Silver Star?”

Tony smiled at the one positive outcome of their last case.

“Yeah, he did.”

“So he didn’t kill the girl.”

“No, and no one was willing to look beyond him to find the real killer because they had the narrative already written and accepted as gospel with him the prime candidate. It was so frustrating dealing with them blocking us at every turn.”

“Who did it?”

“The step-father.” Tony gestured not to ask any further on that. He did not want to go into the reasons, especially with Derek there.

Peter got the message and changed the topic.

Tony cursed the playful mood he had been in when the SWAK envelope came through. On the plus side, it was just him and Kate who were quarantined in Bethesda awaiting test results instead of the whole floor. 

The nurse was trying to escort Kate out of the quarantine enclosure. Kate was refusing and insisting she needed to stay with Tony. Tony appreciated the sentiment but also realized the implications. That was when Dr. Pitt stepped in and insisted she leave.

Tony let his eyes drift shut. He was feeling tired. His hand was lifted and wrapped in warmth. He cracked his eyes open and managed a smile.

“Peter. How?”

Peter brushed back Tony’s damp hair.

“Tom called me and arranged transport as soon as it happened. Talia had to order Derek to stay home.”

Tony’s laugh turned into a cough. The look in Peter’s eyes broke his heart.

“I can find an alpha to turn you?” Peter offered. 

Tony shook his head. “Won’t out you with a miraculous recovery.”

“I don’t care. You are more important.”

“Wouldn’t be your pack with a DC alpha.”

Peter sagged against the bed. He cupped Tony’s cheek and stroked it with his thumb.

“I should have insisted Talia come, but I didn’t realize how bad you are. Tom called and all I could think about was getting to your side.”

Tony squeezed Peter’s hand. The pain he felt began to ease. He looked down at their joined hands to see black lines moving over Peter’s skin.


Peter leaned forward and placed a kiss on his forehead.

“I’ll become an alpha for you then.”

“No time. Just stay with me.”

“As you wish.”

Tony loved this man. If he made it through this, he was going to make this work between them and screw his career. Maybe he will become a film professor or something.

The next voice Tony recognized through his sleep haze was Gibbs ordering him not to die before he drifted back to sleep. When he did wake up, Gibbs was sitting where Peter had been, and Dr. Pitt was standing by the bed. Tony wondered if Peter had been a fever-induced hallucination. 

Dr. Pitt gave Tony the rundown on his situation. He managed to force Gibbs out, a herculean task, to let Tony rest. As soon as they were gone, Peter slipped back in.

“I thought I imagined you.”

 “I’m here in the flesh. I already told the family you made it.”

Having people that cared if he lived or died felt good. Tony held his hand out to Peter. Peter took it and kissed Tony on the lips this time.

“I’m glad you’re here. I want you to be with me no matter where we are.”

Peter smiled. “Are you proposing?”

Tony snorted. He looked around and smiled. “Yeah, I am. Sorry, it’s not a more romantic setting.”

“Having you alive is all I need.”

Tony and Peter were curled up on his couch watching a movie when Peter’s cell phone rang. Tony grabbed the remote to pause the movie while Peter answered the call.

“Hello.” Peter mouthed “Derek” to him. “You did? What did your mom have to say about it? Send me the details, and we’ll pick you up. Bye.”

Peter shook his head. “Good thing we moved your twin into the extra room when we replaced it. Derek has booked a flight here for tomorrow.”

“He has been insistent about coming when school let out.”

“Today was the last day.”

“Is it that bad?” Tony asked.

Peter hesitated, obviously weighing the situation. “Depends on the metrics. Right now, he is super sensitive. Things that he would usually ignore are like irritating grains of sand in his clothing. Laura isn’t helping.”

“Still? Why will she not let it go?”

 Peter snuggled against Tony’s side.

“My suspicion… based on the day’s scheduled events, there was a good possibility of her surviving and becoming the alpha during a tragedy if Homeland had not stepped in. It scared her when she realized that. Being the presumptive alpha heir is all great when it can lord over everyone, but to have the fate of the entire pack so openly depending on the alpha’s choice was too much reality all at once.”

Tony slid his fingers through Peter’s to interlock them.

“So she’s hiding her head in the sand and trying too hard to make things go back the way they were or blame the easy target for her new perspective.”

“In a nutshell.”

“What’s Talia going to do about it? She can’t let this go on without fracturing pack dynamics – right?”

Peter lifted their hands and kissed Tony’s knuckles. 

“Correct. I’ve mentioned it to her. She said something about that wasn’t what the emissary recommended…”

“Screw your emissary. Where was he when Kate was stalking Derek?” Tony huffed. “Does Derek coming here change anything?”

“I hope she will see it as a wake-up call. She has several options. She can temporarily suspend Laura from the line of succession until she proves herself worthy or can remove her permanently and name a new successor.”

Tony wrinkled his nose at that opinion.  “Maybe too extreme.”

“At this point, yes.  There are several options in between.  I’ve always said she should teach all her children about being an alpha.”

“Why didn’t she?  Only teaching one is like having all your eggs in one basket.  What do you do when the basket gets squashed?”

“My point exactly.  I hope our recent experience will help drive it home.” Peter rested his head against Tony. “Talia was the oldest.  She didn’t like that dad gave me the alpha lessons too when I was to be her beta.  I think she saw it as a threat to her position as heir instead of security for the pack.”

“Her fix was to prevent any obvious competition for her heir.” Tony shook his head.

Peter shifted so he was under Tony’s arm and wrapped his arms around Tony’s waist.

“And now she has to admit she was wrong because that is what her changing course now will say to the pack.”

“There’s nothing wrong with being wrong. It happens. It’s how you handle it that is important.”

Peter chuckled. “I know that, but that can be hard for some people to understand.”

Tony lifted the remote and started the movie again.

“I need to go back to work,” Tony told Peter.

“It’s too early for you to go back to work!”

Tony’s brow scrunched as he struggled to explain something he was not even sure of.

“I feel I need to be there soon.”

“Magic or premonition?” Derek asked from his spot, reading comic books on the couch.

Peter moved back and studied Tony.

“Have you had these feelings before?”

Tony slowly answered, “Maybe.”

“What happened?”

“They were usually right, but I just figured I was unconsciously picking up on clues like body language.”

Peter stroked his chin. 

“You do have the most interesting luck, from the stories you told. It could be either. You should call Tom and get his opinion on it.”

Two hours later Tom Marrow and Richard Hall were sitting at Tony’s table listening to him try to explain his “feeling.” Richard had Tony hold several items but gave no clue if any of them produced good or bad results. 

“There’s something,” Richard said. “It’s too early to tell what.”

“What?” Tony asked. 

“You have always had a small seed of precog power active. A lot of people do. It is now beginning to grow because of your exposure to the supernatural. Such powers can be just what they seem, but they could also grow and result in other powers, like a witch, or an enchanter, or a spark. There is no way of knowing until it fully matures.”

“Could such a seed be used to make people trust you unknowingly?” Tony asked.

“Oh, most definitely,” Richard answered.

Tony let his head fall to the table. “We must never introduce my father to the supernatural world.”

“These things do run in families. You think your father has a seed of power?” Richard asked.

“It would explain how he continues to con people and not be in jail. It baffles me how they don’t see through him.”

“That is probably your powers protecting you,” Richard said.

Peter stepped in to control the conversation. “We wait and see what Tony will grow into. But, that does not answer the issue with him feeling he needs to return to work before he’s ready. What do we do about that?” 

“Does it need to be you or would someone else at work suffice?” Tom asked.

Tony thought about that. He thought about others working with his team but none felt right.


“If I were to go with him?” Peter offered.

Tony pointed at him, getting a clear feeling on that. “Yes!”

Tom tapped his finger on the table several times.

“I may have an idea. – I bring Peter in as an observer from another department, who is there to get a feel for what working for NCIS is like. I assign him to MCRT so he will have to go out with you on standard cases.”

“I can keep an eye on Tony and be there for pain management as needed,” Peter said.

“Sounds good,” Tony said.

Tony was at his desk when Tom shows up and introduces Peter to the team. Gibbs was not pleased to have a tag-along but followed orders.

Kate had barely started her interrogation of Peter when she got a call.

“Two dead sailors,” she told Gibbs.

The team fell in line and headed out. 

Tony finished talking with the state cop about the vehicle plates with Peter at his side. Kate and Gibbs were already working the crime scene. Tony started down the slope while reporting on the state trooper’s findings. Peter grabbed the back of his jacket to keep him from falling.

“Careful,” Peter said.

They joined Kate while Gibbs headed back to the road. Peter stiffened beside Tony.

“I smell explosives,” Peter muttered close to Tony’s ear. 

Tony forced himself to not respond and focus on Kate and the missing hands. They brainstormed about why the hands were taken while Peter examined the car and slowly walked around it.

“You’ve been different since you came back from vacation,” Kate commented.

“A friend reminded me it’s not healthy to hide behind masks all the time,” Tony said.

Kate looked shocked.

“You don’t have masks.  You’re like an open book.”

Tony chuckled under his breath.  There was a snort from Peter’s direction as well.

“Kate, Kate, Kate, I have so many masks that I had to question if I knew who Tony DiNozzo really is,” he said.

Kate’s brows wrinkled in disbelief. “So you are saying you acting like the class clown is all an act?”

“It’s part of who I am, but I play it up at work.”

Kate turned to face him. “Why would you do that?”

Tony rubbed at the side of his head.  “Kate, what happens to people who are in very stressful situations and under intense pressure for long periods without a way to blow off steam?”

“They lash out,” she slowly said.

“And who would they lash out at?”

“Family… co-workers…”

“Now for the grand slam, in a stressful work environment where people’s lives depend on your job, would lashing out at your co-workers be beneficial?”

“No.” Kate drew out her answer.  The wheels were turning. “You are saying you act like a clown to keep us from devolving into fistfights and screaming matches?”

Tony smiled then looked down. “Snake.”


“Snake,” Tony repeated and pointed to it wrapped around her leg. It made a good distraction from whatever Peter was doing and a way out of the conversation.

“Is it poisonous?” she asked.

“No.” Tony moved forward and scooped it up in time for Tim to join them.

“Cool a corn snake. Can I hold it?” Tim asked.

Tony was willing to let him, but Kate was now impatient and insisted they get back to work.  She handed Tim the keys with an order to check the trunk. Peter stood up.

“I wouldn’t do that,” Peter said before Tim could get to the trunk.

“Why?” Tim asked, confused.

“There’s a bomb on the underside of the car, and it looks like it’s connected to the trunk.”

Tim quickly stepped back. 

“Everyone back to the road until we get the bomb squad here,” Tony ordered. He wrapped the snake around his neck until he could relocate it away from their crime scene.

Gibbs saw them all return and marched over to see what was going on.

“There’s a bomb, Boss,” Tim said.

Peter rattled off the specks of what he had seen attached to the bottom of the car.

“Call the bomb squad.”

“Already done, Boss,” Tony said.

“Then start combing up here for any evidence!”

They fanned out. Tony managed to get Kate to go with Tim while he and Peter went the other direction.

“There’s someone out there watching us,” Peter softly said.

“Which way?”

“Toward the ridge. Try to keep objects between you and that position.”

They stayed under the cover of the tree line.  Tony released the snake before the bomb squad arrived, and everyone headed back to the trucks with the new team’s arrival.

Peter placed a hand on Tony’s elbow.  “I’ll be back in ten.” 

Tony nodded. Peter used the distraction to slip off to find their watcher.  Tony stayed on the edge of the area to not draw attention to their missing observer.  Tony knew Peter would be fine, but he was relieved when Peter made it back and his absence was not noticed.

“He’s gone,” Peter tapped his nose, “but I’ll know him if I meet him.”

“Good. We avoided getting blown up.”

“Was this why you had to come back?” Peter asked.

Tony took a moment to assess what his gut was telling him. “Yes, but things are still in play and I am, or probably we are, needed here. Our watcher will be back.”

The watcher did return and revealed himself to Gibbs at a coffee shop and tried to blow him up – again.  Now the team knew Ari was back, and Peter verified that Ari was the same person who had been at the murder scene.  The reason for what was happening was as murky as ever, but the team chipped away at it late into the night.  

It was not until the next day when Tony’s team was in a race against time to keep the missile from hitting a group of civilians welcoming their navy family members home that things came to a head. Once all of the terrorists were taken out, Gibbs shot the computer controlling the missile ending the threat.

They had missed taking out one terrorist. That one tried to shoot Gibbs from the cover of the rooftop stairway door, but Kate saw and threw her body between Gibbs and the shooter, taking the bullet.

Tony was scared she had been killed and hoped her vest took the shot. He rushed to her side and rolled her over. Gibbs was right there with him.  They were both relieved to see the bullet lodged in her vest and to find her alive. 

The adrenaline spike was beginning to fade when another shot hit several feet wide of where they were standing. They all moved for cover. Gibbs was the first one to figure out where the shot had come from. They waited, but no other shot came.

They worked their way off the roof, offering the smallest and fastest moving targets they could. Tim joined them once they were on the ground.

“I’ve called it in,” Tim said.

“We have other issues, probie,” Tony said. “A snipper tried to take one of us out.”

Tim’s eyes widened, and he sputtered before Gibbs spoke over him.

“That building.”

They moved to it in search of their shooter. When they got to the roof, they found Ari knocked out and zip-tied. The gun was on the ground beside him. 

“Someone got here before us, Boss,” Tony said. He suspected he knew who that person was despite their observer being left behind due to the unknown situation they were headed into.

“I see that, DiNozzo.”

Gibbs stepped around the unconscious Ari and looked out over the ledge. Tony did not know if he should commend or scold Gibbs for not kicking Ari when he had the chance.  It could have been “accidental.” Accidental was not Gibbs style.  He would want Ari to know Gibbs kicked him.  

“Was he targeting you?” Kate asked Gibbs.

“It could have been any of us,” Gibbs admitted. “Get the scene processed. DiNozzo, call for prisoner transport.”

“On it, Boss. I’ll call for evidence pick-up as well.”

 After a long soak and werewolf pain drain, Tony sat between the two Hales watching a movie and feeling much better.

“The feeling gone?” Derek asked.

Tony rubbed at his chest. “Yes, it is.”


Tony held Peter’s hand and ran his thumb across the knuckles.

“Thanks for the save today,” Tony said. “How did you know he was there?”

“Derek and I tracked him, and I snuck up behind him.”

“He was so focused on his target that he didn’t notice Uncle Peter behind him,” Derek said.

“Remember that.” Peter reached around Tony and playfully cuffed Derek on the head. “Don’t get so focused that you aren’t paying attention to what’s happening around you.”

“Yes, Uncle Peter,” Derek said with a laugh.

“Do you know who his target was?” Tony asked.

“No.  All three of you were standing close together. I would have had to look down the rifle to know which one for sure. I didn’t have time for that. He was in the process of pulling the trigger when I knocked him out.”

“Hence the missed shot,” Tony said.

A knock at the door surprised Tony but not the other two.

“It’s Tom,” Peter said when he got up to answer the door.

Tom followed Peter in and took the offered seat. Tony had already paused the movie and turned off the TV.

“Two home visits in a week,” Tony said, fishing for a clue to what was going on.

“I have an offer for both you and Peter,” Tom said, getting to the point. “Tony, I know you didn’t want to leave the MCRT when offers were made in the past, but I think you will be interested in this offer.”

Tony nodded his willingness to entertain the offer. Tom leaned forward over clasped hand.

“I am taking the position of Assistant Director of Homeland Security.”

Suddenly Homeland’s quick involvement in the Argent situations made a lot more sense. This was a while in the making. Marrow must have been close to finalizing the job before Tony was kidnapped.

“One of my goals is to get Homeland to have a department that addresses the hunters and supernatural issues,” Tom said.

“The Men in Black?” Derek asked.

“As good a description as any,” Tom said. 

“On what grounds?” Tony asked.

“The grounds that hunters are a threat to Homeland Security and American citizens and interests. What if an enemy convinced a group of hunters that an important American asset was a supernatural creature and needed to be taken out? The hunters already work mostly under the radar. We might not get intel in time to stop them.”

“It wouldn’t take much to convince some hunters,” Peter added.

“They are wildcards killing taxpayers and damaging infrastructure. Hunters don’t police their own like they are supposed to and leave destruction in their wake. The supernaturals have the deck stacked against them.”

“Nice sales pitch for Congress,” Tony said.

“Thanks. What it comes down to is the hunters need to be policed to keep them in line; the supernaturals need someone they can trust to be fair and impartial in providing justice and adding stability to the community.”

“How would your department do that?”

“That is still in discussion. There are a lot of ideas that appeal to the alphabet agencies.”

“Lie detecting werewolves?” Tony said.

“Yes. Every agency has had brushes with the supernatural. Those cases get assigned to specific agents. The supernatural world is not as well hidden as they would like to think. What I am proposing is a department in charge of creating policies, practices, and chain of commands when dealing with supernatural individuals instead of the hodgepodge thing we have now.”

“Would this include government-run supernatural jails?” Peter asked.

“Not decided yet. A lot of that will be up to the first director of the department.” 

“What are the current proposed goals?” Tony asked.

“I want to see teams made up of a mix of humans and supernatural beings. I would like to bring some of Landon’s people on board. Or at least as liaisons or consultants.”

“A good source for information,” Peter said.

“Identify hunter families and track their activity. Look for patterns of tragic family deaths. Deal with supernaturals who are on the wrong side of the laws. There are a handful of supernatural assassins for hire out there that evade capture. Like I said before, set policies and practices for working with the supernatural world.”

“It would be the equivalent of the FBI for the supernatural world,” Peter said.

“Yes, and maybe more. This is only the first step.”

“The positions you want us for?” Tony asked.

“Director and Assistant Director,” Tom said.

Tony was shocked. That was quite a jump from Senior Supervisory Agent.

“Any preference for who is in what position?” Peter asked. He had a calculating look in his eyes.

“Tony has the experience in law enforcement and as a federal agent that is expected for a director. However, having a werewolf as the director sends a positive statement to the supernatural community. I can spin it either way. Tony would be easier for the existing management structure to accept.”

Peter looked at Tony thoughtfully.

“What about Co-Directors? One mostly human and the other supernatural on equal footing. It would send the message you are wanting.”


“Peter and I are together – romantically. Will that cause any issues with the supernatural or the Homeland side?”

“Congratulations,” Tom said. “That may make things easier. Mated pairs leading a pack is common.”

“It would be familiar and help put the supernaturals at ease,” Peter finished.

Tom’s eyes shifted to Derek sitting and quietly listening to them talk. 

“After the Argent mess, they are ready to greenlight the department. I doubt they will bat an eye at your relationship, especially if it’s not flaunted in their faces.”

“At least something good may come of that mess with the Argents,” Derek muttered. 

“My hopes,” Tom replied.

Tony looked to Peter. With one look, he knew they were in agreement.

“Yes,” Tony said. 

This was their way to make the supernatural world better. This was their calling.  It was time they made a change.


Epilogue – Ten Years Later

Derek walked through the halls of the Agency of Paranormal Disputes or Agency of Political Disputes – DC headquarters, depending on if the person knew about the supernatural world. Everyone referred to it as APD. 

He had several files to give to his Uncle Tony before leaving for the day. Derek was proud of the agency Tony and Peter had created. It had changed the supernatural world for the better.

“Derek!” called Stiles Stilinski as he jogged through the hall to meet him. “Glad I caught you. I’m working on the tenth-anniversary celebration plans and want your input. I thought a timeline or list of all the big achievements like reaching out to local law enforcement in areas with supernaturals….”

“I think that one is only important to you.”

“Of course it is. When Tony came to town to bring the sheriff’s department into the know and educate them how to do things was world-changing! Rocked my world.” Stiles mimed his mind being blown. 

“I remember. I was there,” Derek said in a deadpan. He moved down the hall, knowing Stiles would follow without prompting when he was like this. “You spazzed for two days over it. Pestered Cora with questions until she threatened to bite you if you didn’t leave her alone.”

Stiles ran his fingers through his hair and laughed. “I forgot about that. But, it’s not like she doesn’t threaten to bite me every time I annoy her.”


“The opening of each office across the country is a must.”

Derek nodded his head in agreement.

“What about when Peter became an alpha when he broke the ash line to save Tony in their first year?”

Derek had to think about that. He wanted to say no because it was Peter’s personal business, but having an alpha running the agency was a benefit none of them had expected. 

The agency became a pack under Peter. None of the werewolves gave up their home pack. They just obeyed Peter in anything regarding work like they would their main alpha. It was a new pack dynamic that everyone eventually adjusted to.

Once alphas realized they would not lose their betas when they came to DC for training, they all wanted one of their pack to take the training and be part of the new agency. Granted, the hope was that the pack member would eventually return to be part of the local APD branch. Tony and Peter did try to station people close to their homes, but only after the agent proved their worth. 

Derek was the exception.  He was still part of his mother’s pack despite living in DC since he graduated high school.  That was probably because his mom did not want to let him go fully.  He thought of Peter as his primary alpha and his mother secondary.   

He was part of Peter’s pack. He felt that way since his first trip to DC. When Peter became an Alpha, Derek felt the link between them change and was not surprised by it. Peter and Tony’s was more home to him than Beacon Hills. 

They all still had ties to the Beacon Hill Hale pack and were welcome on their return visits to California.  Unfortunately, he still did not get on well with Laura.  That caused tension in the family. 

Laura saw him as the reason for all that was wrong in her world because Mom decided to train all three of them to be alphas and would choose the best suited when the time came. All the power she grew up throwing around was suddenly gone. 

Ten years later, she still didn’t get that she brought it on herself by not changing her attitude and accepting her fears. Derek hoped Mom would choose Cora when the time came. She was the most level head out of all of them. 

“Maybe,” Derek answered Stiles’ question. “Check with Peter.”

Stiles made notes in his notebook.

“How about them taking out Deucalion’s pack of alphas or the magic users cleansing the Nemeton and sending the Nogitsune back to where it belonged?”

One of the benefits of the agency’s creation was the amount of knowledge they collected on the supernatural and the database they created. That helped them quickly identify, assess, and best deal with threats. There were now several covens under the APD banner who were magical troubleshooters. It also made their archives a place many wanted to visit.

“Yes.” Derek entered the elevator. Stiles followed.

“The 2011 Hunter Treaty and ratification of the code of conduct is a must.”

Derek hummed his agreement. That was worth celebrating. It took a lot of blood, sweat, and many hunters prosecuted for murder for it to be implemented.

“What about when Europe reached out wanting help creating their own version of APD in 2013?” 


The elevator rose then stopped on the sixth floor. Derek got off and headed for the Directors’ office.

“I would need to include when other countries asked the same, and probably when each signed the mutual aid agreements. Maybe I should color code them. How about when they got married?”

“No, and not when they adopted any of their children either.”

Stiles held his hand out in placation. “Ok. Nothing purely personal. Got it.”

Derek knocked twice on the door and entered. Tony looked up at their entrance and smiled.

“Files for you.” Derek placed the items in Tony’s “IN” box.

“The Kelpie rebellion of 2014?” Stiles asked, looking at his paper.

“No, and it was hardly a rebellion,” Derek answered. “Only you call it that.”

Tony raised a questioning eyebrow.

“I’ll have to check the records for other…” Stiles realized where they were. “Hi, Tony.”

“Hi, Stiles. What are you working on?” Tony asked.

“Things for the ten-year anniversary celebration. Intern grunt work.” Stiles looked back to Derek. “You done?”

“Yes,” Derek answered but wondered if he should have lied.

Stiles grabbed his arm and pulled him to the door. “You are going to dinner with me and a few of the junior agents. It’s for your own good. Cora’s orders. I’ll see you tomorrow morning for spark lessons, Uncle Tony.” 

Stiles waved to Tony over his shoulder and pulled Derek down the hall.

The End


6 thoughts on “There’s Time to Change

  1. I was reminded of this today on Crossroads and came for a reread.

    I enjoyed the pairing of Peter and Tony and love the overall fix-it for Teen Wolf. Your epilogue featuring Agent Derek and Intern Stles was a great peek at what everyone had been up to over the last few years – Thank you!


  2. This was great!
    Usually I only read Sterek fics but well… I have to admit that this one intrigued me from the get-go. I love fics where Tony shows himself to be really awesome, and the idea of him and Peter… would have never thought that pairing, but once I saw it they fit so well! Totally love the fic and the epilogue!


    1. Thank you. It was fun to write, to figure out how to blend the two fandoms together, and to bring out the best in Tony and Peter. I had not thought of pairing them together either until I saw penumbria try it in a Rough Trade challenge. It made me head tilt at first and then curious about how they would work together.


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