Sticks and Stones

by Eligent

A/N: This is my first venture into this fandom, or the first that I've posted anyway. I, of course, own nothing and am making no money out of this. And it's only fair to warn you: I'm not English speaking, so there will be mistakes. I usually do okay, though. Enjoy!

It was Monday morning and Tony was involved in his favorite Monday morning pastime; giving Ziva more details than she'd ever wanted to know about his weekend love life. Leaning back in his chair, his hands interlaced behind his head and feet balancing on his desk he was already on his Sunday night companion.

"…she had this small annoying, yappy dog, with pink bows and everything, and every time we even got close to the bedroom it would start squealing." Tony's face clearly showed his disgust with the very existence of such animals.

"Squealing?" Ziva questioned, standing in front of her desk, her butt resting lightly on its surface, her arms crossed over her chest.

"I refuse to call that sound barking. Barking is what Dobermans and German Shepherds do. That dog was squealing."

"So… you didn't get lucky?" Ziva asked, her forehead creasing in confusion.

"Ziva, Ziva, Ziva…" Tony said with a delighted smile on his face. "The bedroom isn't the only room in a house."

She glared at him as Gibbs breezed by them, clutching his coffee cup. "Feet off the table, DiNozzo. This is not a frat house." He hit the feet with a file he was carrying, making Tony jump and take them down so fast he almost overbalanced and had to grab the desk to stop himself from toppling over.

"And would it kill you to actually start working when you come to work?" Gibbs said, moving towards his desk.

Tony gave Ziva a 'Gibbs is particularly grumpy today' grimace.

"Didn't your mom tell you that your face could get stuck like that?" Gibbs said, his back still to the pair.

Tony schooled his face into neutral. "McGee's late, boss," he said, trying to deflect the attention.

"No, he isn't," Gibbs denied.

"He isn't?" Tony looked surprised.

"Are you an investigator or not, DiNozzo?" Gibbs growled, staring at him.

Ziva, always eager to upstage Tony, immediately stood up straight and observed, "His computer is on and his backpack is here. I saw it when I came in this morning. He's somewhere in the building."

Tony looked over to McGee's desk, and sure thing, a discreet screensaver was running on the screen, what little he could see of it from his angle, and an errant strap showed that there was indeed a backpack stashed under the desk.

"Oh," was all he could think to say, before a smug grin settled on his face. "But he's not here, so he's late for…"

He was interrupted by the ding of the elevator and the arrival of McGee. He completely forgot what he had been planning to say and instead he exclaimed, "What the hell happened to you, Probie?"

Ziva and Gibbs also looked up and were treated to the sight of McGee with his right arm in a sling and angry red scrapes and scratches covering the right side of his face.

"Nothing," McGee replied, his eyes averted from his teammates as he walked passed them.

"Are you okay?" Ziva asked, scanning him from head to toe, taking in the slightly stiff walk and the ramrod straight back.

"I'm fine," McGee said, bending down with a grimace and pulling his backpack one-handedly up on the desk.

"Come on, McGee. Tell us what happened." Tony had moved up to McGee's desk and was twisting around him in dizzying motions to get a good look at his damaged face from all possible angles.

McGee let him look as he opened the zipper on the backpack and started rifling through its content.

"It's nothing, Tony, really."

"Yeah, right," Tony snorted, when Gibbs came up to the pair.

"Should you be here?" he asked with his eyes narrowed suspiciously, at the same time as McGee pulled a folded paper out of the backpack.

"Desk duty only for two weeks, boss."

Gibbs unfolded the paper and grunted in confirmation, returning to his own desk.

"Come on, Probie. Is it a sports injury? Did your computer blow up? Cut yourself shaving? What happened?" Tony stretched out a finger, trying to poke at McGee's cheek, but McGee evaded the movement.

"Let it be, Tony." McGee said tiredly. "It doesn't concern you. It happened on my own time and has nothing to do with work."

"Ah," Tony said knowingly. "So it happened during sex." He sounded very confident about his conclusion.

"It did not happen during sex. I haven't had time for sex this weekend," McGee said through clenched teeth, his patience with Tony running thinner that usual.

"Oh… touchy," Tony stage whispered to Ziva, but she ignored him.

"McGee?" she said carefully, coming up to the two men.

"What?" he snapped at her.

"You're bleeding."

McGee blinked dumbly at her a couple of times, having expected more questions. Ziva came up to him and pulled the lapel on his jacket back. A small blood stain was slowly growing on the front of his white shirt.

"Oh…" McGee said dumbfounded. "I must have pulled a stitch."

"Get down to Ducky," Gibbs ordered.

"Um… I think I'd rather go to a doctor…" McGee began.

"Timothy," a British voice exclaimed, coming from the direction of the back elevators. "I'm hurt. True, my living patients are few and far between, but I should think I'm quite capable of repairing a broken stitch." Ducky was now standing if front of McGee, who was blushing furiously.

"I… I didn't mean it like that, Ducky. No disrespect, honestly. I just thought that, well, it's kind of private and… well…"

"There must have been a woman involved then, right?" Tony said, grinning. "A lovers' quarrel gone bad?"

McGee turned to him, stabbing at him with his index finger. "Tony, so help me, if you don't back off, I'm gonna… I'm gonna…"

"You're gonna what, Probie?" Tony asked. Smiling widely he put his arms out, presenting himself as a target. "Shoot me?"

"I'll key your car," McGee said with his most menacing voice.

Tony's face fell. "You wouldn't." He turned to Ziva. "He wouldn't, would he?"

"I'll lend him my keys," she replied calmly.

"McGee, go with Ducky. DiNozzo, butt out." Gibbs had had enough. "And try to get a little actual work done for a change."

"Boss…" Tony looked hurt.

"Come along then, Timothy," Ducky said, putting the file he had come up with on Gibbs' desk. "We'll have you spick and span in no time."

McGee reluctantly trailed after him, his eyes shooting daggers at Tony.

Gibbs got to enjoy a few minutes of blessed silence until the shrill ringing of his telephone shattered it.

"Gibbs." His answer was curt as always.

"Hey, Gibbs. I've got something I think you need to see." Abby sounded unnaturally subdued and… was it nervousness?

"On my way." He slammed the phone down and stalked off without a word.

He was joined in the elevator by Mark Quinn, the leader of NCIS's second best investigation team. Quinn was a tall man in his forties with a range of facial expressions equally as small as Gibbs'. They nodded at each other.

Gibbs noted that Quinn made no attempt to push any button once Gibbs had chosen his destination. "Abby?" he asked, a little annoyed when Quinn nodded curtly. Gibbs hoped Abby's information for him was more important. He didn't want to hang around and listen to someone else's case.

Quinn harbored the same hope.

They entered Abby's dominion, and when she upon seeing them immediately turned down the volume on the CD player, Gibbs knew it was bad.

"Hi boys," she said cheerily, her eyes shifting between the two imposing men before her. "I've got the ballistic report on your double homicide from Saturday, Quinn, but I thought it was best if Gibbs heard it too."

"Shouldn't that have been my decision?" Quinn growled at her.

"Just thought I'd save you the time and trouble, Marky," she answered, not the least bit intimidated. She was probably the only one in the world who could call him 'Marky', without going home with her head in a paper bag.

"Okay," she said, clapping her hands together in a rather giddy expression. "Four bullets were recovered, right? Two from each victim. My tests confirm that they are all from the same nine millimeter Sig Sauer. The gun was easily traceable as it's in our system. You ready?"

"Abby, just show us," Gibbs said.

"Okay." She lifted the remote that turned on the plasma screen on the wall, but stopped before actually turning it on. "I should warn you, you're not gonna like it."

"Today, Abby." No one had ever accused Gibbs of being a patient man.

"Okay." She stopped herself in mid-motion again. "Maybe I should hold your hand."


"Okay, okay." She pushed the on-button, and a familiar face appeared on the screen. "The gun is McGee's."

Gibbs pivoted on his heels and practically ran out of the lab.

"It was reported stolen on Saturday," Abby called after him. Not sure if he'd heard her or not she turned to Quinn and shrugged. Quinn looked like he was ready to bolt after Gibbs, so Abby put her hand on his arm to keep his attention.

"I've got your fibers, fingerprints and GSR analyzed too. You want to hear it?"