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Masks and Menace

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Tony's apartment townhouse was shared with one other person in Philadelphia. He had basically crafted his undercover identity using his own money. His handlers were not keen on it, but Tony had won the argument simply by saying the department budget wasn't taking the hit, and it was his life being risked.

The other tenant gave him good coverage with the Mob as they were less likely to drop in and pay him a 'visit' if there was a witness. 

Still, Don Macalusco hadn't taken Tony's betrayal well, as the skin knitting in his back could attest to that assumption. Tony didn't regret doing the undercover job. Better Tony did it than someone who might end up genuinely dead. 

It was just the Mob were so relentless in their need for revenge. It seemed taking a pound of flesh wasn't enough. Tony slammed his door open, looking for some family supplies deciding the gloves were now off. They had ruined his favourite shirt and not quit. 

"You're wearing Zegna." A feminine voice informed him, slightly breathy.

Tony groaned because now was not the time for Wednesday to talk to him. He had noticed the other tenant in the building, and when he'd finished with the Mob, he was going to ask her out. 

She was enchanting and unique; if the smells of poisons emanating from her floor suggested, she might be like him. 

Tony was tearing through his cupboard, looking for particular items. He estimated he had about ten minutes before the Macalusco family turned up to see if he was actually dead. In truth, he was done being polite - he'd let them have their 'pound' of flesh, but this wasn't fun, and he had things to do, so he couldn't continue to be chased.  

Of course, he shared none of these thoughts with the beautiful woman standing in his doorway. If she were from the Addams family he suspected, then even first conversations would be critical, "Yes, it helps me appear sophisticated and blend as a rich asshole."

She tilted her head to the side as if the idea was incomprehensible, "Why would you want to blend in?" 

Tony looked up from the mad concoction he was creating - this had been one of his better discoveries in his prank war against Crispin. "All the better to go hunting, don't you think, Wednesday?"

Tony was being coy, but he wouldn't pretend she was an average human, which would be insulting. Wednesday was an Addams, and that name was spoken of with great respect by Helena Paddington. 

 

~*~

 

Wednesday was intrigued; it showed on her face, and she asked with the most delightful evil smirk. "And who do you hunt?" 

Tony didn't blink, "Whoever deserves to face the wrath of a Paddington."

There was a look of dawning understanding, and now the interest was going both ways. "My grandmama says that your family taught her devilish ways of gaining revenge."

It wasn't said with judgement but rather a wistful curiosity of wanting to learn just how they'd come to have that reputation. 

"It is true we've made it an art form." Tony confessed, "I think it is the long history of the Paddingtons with a desire for each generation to one-up their ancestors."

It was also the first time his accent slipped from Long Island to British. 

"Don't underestimate sibling rivalry too." She replied, and her curiosity got the better of her. "What are you looking to gain revenge about?"

Tony figured she should have a heads up, even if his bosses might have a shit-fit with him. "Well, for perfectly law-abiding reasons ... I tricked a mob boss, and now he wants me dead."

She snorted, "He doesn't know I take it about your Paddington traits?" 

Tony shook his head. "The poison just made me feel preppy, and the stab wound is already healed, but I gotta send a message back, or he will never leave me alone." It sounded reasonable to their ears, but if any of his superiors heard this, they would have a heart attack. 

Wednesday thought about it, and she should leave the cute guy alone. He clearly was in the middle of serious business, but now she was glad she had interrupted. He was making a bomb from kitchen materials, and she could admire his resourcefulness. "If you add salt - It will have an implosive effect."

A crooked grin formed on his face, "That is hot, and why would you think that would bother me?"

She rolled her eyes but was willing to play the game. "Your badge would suggest that collateral damage might be a concern for you."

Tony sighed, "It should do, but right now, I just want Macalusco to leave me alone." You could sense he was weary of the whole thing, but it didn't mean he was defeated. 

The next question might seem like a non-sequitur, but if she was going to risk her heart, then Wednesday needed to know. "Can you speak Italian?" 

The salt was being added to the mixture, and it was gently simmering now instead of hissing. Tony could tell this would make a beautifully controlled boom, so he was willing to answer the odd question while scanning the street. "Fluently along with Spanish and Arabic."

This felt half like a date and half like an interrogation, and it continued. Wednesday asked him as he made a homemade version of a depth charge. "Why did you pick being a cop?" 

"The danger excites me," Tony remarked tongue-in-cheek.

She had a decision to make, one that could have life-long complications. Tony was cute, educated, and handled her family's little quirks. It seemed like her mind was made up, "Let me help. Us Addams know a trick or two that I can show you."

 

~*~

 

Salvatore Macalusco had been tricked, and that wasn't something he could allow to stand. Tony DeMarco was, in fact, a Fed and no one knew. Worst of all, the Narc didn't seem to die. 

They had poisoned and stabbed him, and the rat had walked away. His lieutenants had started to whisper about Rasputin, and comparisons could be drawn. 

"Junior, why is that man not dead?"

"I think he might have made a deal with the Devil Pops?" It was said half in jest, but there was no rational answer he could give. They had stabbed him and used arsenic in his peach cobbler, and neither had slowed him down. 

The Don asked in vague hope, "Do you think the cook got the recipe wrong?" 

Salvatore Jr shook his head, "Nah, she is excellent in her cooking and always gets her target. She just makes sure they enjoy their last meal."

He huffed, "Well, she failed this time. I mean, look at him. He is still alive!"

Junior snorted, but you couldn't help but admire the fact the man was running from them and still found time to flirt. "Well, he looks so upset he is flirting with a gothic chick. There is no way she is a Cop or even a Handler!"

The Don was inclined to believe his son as she didn't give off that vibe. They came knocking at the front door, seeing no reason to skulk like rats. "Oh, Tonio, we hadn't finished our conversation!"

The minute they opened the door, a blast went off, and both Mob members felt like they had lost the use of their limbs. It was an odd weapon, like a mix between a bomb and a stun grenade. It caused Salvatore and his son to collapse like puppets with strings cut.

Salvatore watched in disbelief as Tonio and the unknown woman stepped out of the shadows and clapped their hands with glee. Tonio whispered, "Going to have to remember salt."

Wednesday looked smug, "Good for more than just cooking and warding off evil spirits. What will we do with them?"

Tony manhandled them up and tied them each to a chair. He showed his training in that both arms were connected to visible parts of the chair. There was no way Salvatore or his son would be able to launch a sneak attack. 

"So let's talk." Tony declared as he buttoned up his suit and stood tall and proud in front of them.

Salvatore wasn't in the mood to talk, still seething in anger. "You betrayed me."

Tony shook his head and calmly refuted the claim. "I did a job because you had got careless."

Salvatore was incredulous, "So you are saying it is our fault?" 

Tony snorted because there was no other explanation. "You had the Major Crimes squad send in an Undercover Cop to bring you down. What do you think?" 

Junior hissed, "I think you are unnatural. Why aren't you dead?"

Tony rolled his eyes, "Don't hold it against me that you can't stab or poison someone properly."

Wednesday tutted, "It's not that difficult."

Tony knew from their earlier conversation and focused on the enchanting woman for a second. "Sibling arguments?"

She nodded in confirmation, "Yes, but what shall we do with them?"

Tony sighed because he weighed up in his mind what he wanted to do with what was the smart choice. "I want to see what my collection of poisons can do to make them disappear."

Her eyes twinkled, "That would be an agreeable first date."

Ah, sweet silence settled on the room. The Mob members had started to realise that they were in over their heads. 

Tony willingly played along, "And you know I have been so keen on that date and would hate to do anything to ruin it."

Wednesday tilted her head in a teasing manner. "And what is upsetting you about our plans?" 

"Our plans don't upset me. They excite me." Tony confessed, looking a little demented, "But my bosses expect me to deliver, Don Salvatore, on a plate."

"So it is a matter of incentive?" Wednesday half-asked, half-stated. 

Tony cackled, "Oh, you are devious. You are so right."

"Do we have to listen to your flirting?" 

Tony shrugged, "You could have left me alone rather than attacking my apartment." He wouldn't let them rewrite history to make themselves feel better. 

Wednesday also added, "They forgot when you seek vengeance, you should always dig two graves. We will happily fill their graves if they don't choose to forget their quest."

You couldn't argue with that logic or the calm delivery of the line. Tony grinned, "And you know I could probably frame the Fragelino line as the culprits."

"Ooo, a twofer is always efficient."

~*~

The father and son had to think on their feet about why they should live. Clearly, the balance of power was now with Tony and his accomplice. 

Salvatore tried to bargain, "If I go away, it will be a bloodbath." 

Tony snorted and waved him off dismissively, "And why would it bother me if Mob members get taken out? You would be doing the police a favour."

Junior was more intelligent and offered an appealing narrative. "You need a figure to arrest, but you also need us to maintain the power status quo, and I could do that."

Wednesday goaded, "So he is the smarter one."

Tony hummed as if he needed to think about it, "So say Pops goes away. Are you going to waste resources chasing me? I have to tell you it will not get you anywhere."

Junior shook his head, "I will put a contract out on you, but it only can be completed if you enter Phillidelphia."

Tony wasn't keen on sticking around and had already lined up a job in Baltimore. A contract written in such a way would save face for the family but stop him from dealing with annoyances. "I was going to leave the city by the end of this weekend anyway."

"Then we have an accord."

Tony called for the cops to arrest Don Salvatore and the son slipped off into the night. Tony would be relying on the Don's desire to get out and settle things with his son to keep him from talking out of turn. 

Failing that, he would poison his prison food. 

 

~*~

 

Wednesday looked around, "Where are you off to?"

"Baltimore, Philidelphia has too much sun for my liking," Tony explained. He was taking a punt, but he had lived the last year for other people, so he was being selfish for a hot minute. "Want to come with me?"

Wednesday smiled, a thin but happy one. "You are terribly demanding, and yet I find myself intrigued."

"Does your work require you to stay here?" Tony asked even as he offered a red wine that smoked with a few added ingredients.

"Well, we've destroyed this house, so we need to find another one."

Tony could see a rather extraordinary future. He certainly hoped they would move from housemates to partners and offered the crook in his arm. "Well, Mia Leonessa, I think we need to find an apartment or townhouse that suits both of our needs."

"This does not count as a first date," Wednesday replied, eyes narrowed.

Tony shook his head, "No, not at all. I have style and will woo you as an Addams and a woman deserves to be wooed."