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Chapter Seven: Everything Comes Together
Tony was in his office with Alec putting up new information on his window on the investigation into The Calling. Another feature he liked in the glass walls of his office was that they could be used to display information they had stored digitally., He was busy putting up their case details so that he would have easier access. He’d been a Supervisory Senior Agent for three months, and they had the case on The Calling for the same amount of time. He felt like there was something big (or small but vital) that they were missing, and was hoping that putting all the info up like this would help.
“Alec, what was that alias you found that we think is the leader? I don’t see that in the notes. Can you add it to your case file?”
“Bloody paperwork,” Alec grumbled and Tony turned his head to flash an amused smile over his shoulder. The team seemed to be gelling even better than he originally anticipated, and he was a little afraid to admit how much he really liked the British spy. There was just something about the rogue that called to him. It was like that first time he laid eyes on the family estate and he’d felt like the building was calling his name.
That first day when he had come down from MTAC and shook Alec’s hand, Tony felt like he had finally come to some kind of ending. Like, some search he’d been undertaking for ages was finally over. It didn’t take much more than that goddamned smile of Alec’s for him to know what it was.
It was the same one that kept getting the man out of trouble because it made him weak in the knees. There had been a lot of shagging going on between the two of them. Tony was concerned at the beginning and admitted his attraction to the liaison to Vance immediately. Fortunately, his boss assured him that because of how the position was set up, it was a completely different situation from when Ziva had been on the DC team.
Alec was less of a team member and more of a SIS agent who had a desk in Tony’s building. While he did have very minimal access to their systems, as Tony ended up having to SIS, it was mostly only to add things to case notes and view information related to NCIS cases that he was assigned to. Plus, every key stroke he made was, with his knowledge, monitored. Tony’s access to SIS was mostly the same. He ended up being listed as a liaison to SIS and mostly used his access to file case-related information, and view records that Ashcroft assigned to him. Everything he did was monitored by both Tanner and Q, which he not only liked but requested. Tony wanted no questions of his actions in SIS systems and knew that Alec felt the same with NCIS.
The thing that he liked, loved his mind whispered at him, about Alec was the fact that they did more than just fuck each other’s brains out. There was time spent watching sports, taking TJ around London, and even visiting the family manor. Edward thought the whole thing was equally hilarious and disturbing. TJ thought the Brit was the best thing since sliced bread and had taken great pleasure in introducing him to his Nonna, Nonno, and the various Aunties and Uncles. Despite the fact that Alec insisted he wasn’t good with kids, it hadn’t taken long for him to become wrapped around the little boy’s finger.
Seeing the update to the file by Alec, Tony quickly added it to the display and then moved back to sit on the couch next to the SIS agent and study the displayed evidence. “Even looking at all that up there, I feel like we don’t have shit,” Tony admitted, and next to him, Alec just grunted.
“I’d bloody love to disagree with you, Love, but I am afraid that I cannot. We have a decent amount of information, but… there’s just some little piece missing. I wish I knew what it was. Let’s talk it out from the beginning. I don’t know how it will help, but it feels like the thing to do.”
Nodding, Tony cleared his head, or tried to at least, of the information pertaining to the case, and read aloud the data on the window in front of him outlining what they knew of the man who led The Calling.
An hour later, they had nearly talked out everything, when Emily came walking in as if she was a woman on a mission. The two men stopped talking and watched as she walked to the window. It appeared as if she was staring at the personal information they knew about the man, which wasn’t much. They knew his gender was male. They knew that he talked with an English accent, and guessed that he was either born in England or had spent a large portion of his life there. They knew that he used an alias of Dullahan.
Tony had researched the word and found out that it was a type of Unseelie Fairy, who sounded like the headless horseman story that he was familiar with. The creature was a headless man or woman who rode around on a black horse carrying its head. Personally, Tony was a bigger fan of Ichabod than the Headless Horseman, so he didn’t really get it. Who would want to be related to some dead dude who rode around on a horse missing his skull?
After several long moments, Emily turned and looked at the two men as she pointed to the nickname. “Why is that up there?”
“Because it’s one of the bloody few things we have been able to find out for sure about this actual leader of The Calling,” Alec explained.
“Where did you get it?” Emily pushed further, and Tony was beginning to wonder if she knew something they didn’t.
“Alec and Penny both got the information from separate sources of theirs that they have used in the past. Q then had one of his Double Oh’s float it around to one of his CIs and got the same information back. Why? What do you know?”
Emily studied the two men, and then without speaking went over and shut the door to the office, and tapped the window twice to make the glass white, but the information still visible.
“Your Aunt Isabella and Uncle Clive had an Irish nanny. She was the only nanny the Paddingtons had ever had that didn’t come from the family that yours comes from, Boss. Q hated her, so she was dismissed not too long after he was born, but Crispin adored her. She spent hours telling him tales of monsters and Celtic Gods and such.
“There was a King named Tighermas, who ruled Ireland about 1500 years ago. The king worshiped a God named Crom Dubh. One of the theories was that Dullahan is the embodiment of this God. According to Q and your Aunt Isabella, the story of Dullahan was Crispin’s favorite, even when he was a smaller child, and he would tell her as a child he would grow up to be Dullahan. He even has a tattoo of the Unseelie Fairy on the back of his right shoulder. This is not a coincidence, Tony.”
Tony could hear Emily continuing to speak, but his mind tuned her out as it focused on the information they knew. They had found out about two weeks after he started the investigation again, that The Calling was targeting the SIS Quartermaster. The theory was that he was picked for his position, and they didn’t actually know who he was. He now knew that was wrong. Crispin was targeting both Tony and his own brother. The two family members that he hated the most. He wondered if it was ever about Gibbs, or if making Tony feel his loss was always his end goal.
“Alec, get your fucking ass over to SIS and don’t fucking let Ashcroft out of your sight. I don’t give a fuck who orders you otherwise. Call James. Make sure that he knows as well. He already got to Gibbs on my watch. He sure as fuck is not getting to Ashcroft too.”
Alec just nodded shortly before running from the room, as Tony continued to stare at the damning evidence, that all made so much more sense.
“Emily, you are now in charge of the investigation into The Calling. I am stepping back from it to prevent any conflict of interest claims. Catch this fucker. I will be up in MTAC filling Vance in.”
Fortunately, his SFA just nodded and laid a hand on his shoulder before leaving the room. All he could think was that his family was never going to forgive him.
Two weeks later, the investigation was over, and Crispin was dead. Tony was sitting in a car being driven to the manor by Edward so he could inform his family of what happened. He hadn’t slept in more than 48 hours, but things had happened fast, and there just hadn’t been time. He was afraid that it would be a lot longer before he was able to rest his mind. They would have left a couple hours earlier, but Tony had to wait for Duke to return so that he could talk to the man.
Emily had called soon after the shot was taken to tell him that Duke had been forced to kill him and that he was sure Tony would never forgive him. Apparently, Crispin was sure that he would become this Headless Unseelie Fairy somehow if he were killed, and had forced their hands. Tony wasn’t sure how they all missed it that Crispin was obviously completely off his rocker, but he knew from experience that some people hid their crazy well.
Even though he wasn’t the one to take the shot, Tony felt like Crispin’s blood was all over his hands. Ashcroft had asked him to stop his brother, but despite what Edward insisted, he just couldn’t believe that he was going to forgive this. He had to stand by his agent though. From everything Emily told him, it was a righteous shot and Duke was left with no other choice. Tony just didn’t know what he’d do when he lost everything again.
Once they had a suspect, the rest of the pieces fell into place. Tony had Alec, Duke and the Double Oh go back to their CI’s with Crispin’s picture to see if it matched. They had run all of his cousin’s travel information against the terror acts that they knew were attributed to The Calling. They also discovered that since Daniel Budd’s death, Crispin’s travel itinerary matched almost perfectly. The idiot had actually been going to the sites of the attacks personally to make sure that things went off without a hitch.
“We’re here, Tonio,” Edward offered softly, and Tony forced himself back to the present. Turning his head, he saw that they were parked in front of the manor with his Aunt Isabella and Uncle George waiting out front for them.
Taking a deep breath, he got out and slowly moved toward the obviously distraught woman who was also moving toward him. The two of them met where the steps met the driveway, putting Isabella almost on Tony’s height. He was waiting for the slap to hit his face.
Instead, she threw her arms around him and hugged him right.
“I’m so sorry you had to do that, Anthony,” she whimpered. Her voice shaking with the emotion. “I can’t believe that I raised a boy who could turn out so evil. What did I do? How could I…”
“No,” Tony interrupted softly but firmly. “This isn’t on you, Auntie. This is all him. Ashcroft is an amazing, loving, caring man, and you raised him too. Some people just… seem to be born that way. I know it isn’t a popular theory, but in my experience, some are just bad from the start. Jesus, I’m so fucking sorry, Aunt Bella.”
The older woman just shook her head before cupping his cheek, as her eyes filled with tears, again. Before she could break apart once more, Edward rescued him by gently pulling her into his side and leading her back into the home.
Tony though remained standing where he was until George came down to stand in front of him. “You did us proud, Anthony DiNozzo, Jr. You did us proud.”
When the family elder put his arms around him, and the tears began to run down Tony’s cheeks, he blamed the exhaustion for crying on another family member’s shoulder.