"Ziva, next time I get accused of murder, I'm just going to confess. I don't care if it's a housewife who I have no connection with, or that Santa Claus on 7th street that gives me the stink eye every year. I'm just going to say I did it."

Ziva hugged him.

"If you confess, I'll say I was an accomplice. I helped you plan the entire thing."

Tony smiled.

"Are you going home?"

"I'm going to look over a few things. You have a good night though."

She looked hesitant to leave him, but she eventually wished him a good night and headed home.


Gibbs had seen the exchange. As soon as Tony pulled out the first stack of files he knew what he was doing. He was reviewing all of the arrests that led to convictions. He wanted to make sure he hadn't screwed up anything else while Gibbs was gone. Gibbs could see past Tony's slacker façade to now he was a dedicated agent. The only problem was he knew DiNozzo was hard on himself when it came to mistakes; more times than not he was too hard on himself.

Tony and Gibbs had done this dance before. Gibbs knew he would either have to wait for Tony to crash or forcibly extract him from his own personal hell.

After Paula Cassidy died Tony worked over time checking and double checking all the files that pertained both to her and her agents. He wanted to make sure nothing was over looked. He needed to know there wasn't another criminal out there who had connections to her death. Gibbs watched him from a distance that day. Checking in on him every few hours and waiting…waiting for Tony's body to give into exhaustion and crash where he sat. Gibbs would move his sluggish agent to Abby's futon and Abby knew to work quietly around him until he had what Gibbs deemed enough sleep.

Other times Tony was a danger to himself. In those times Gibbs had to intervene more quickly. The day that he had to shoot Jeffery White Tony spent a meticulous amount of time on his report before leaving the building. When Gibbs left an hour later, he saw Tony's car still in the parking garage. He searched for his agent and found him at the NCIS gym. Tony was repeatedly kicking a boxing bag barefooted. Gibbs saw that his hands were bruised and his knuckles were bleeding. Two of DiNozzo's fingers were at an angle they shouldn't have been. That's all Gibbs needed to see to understand why his agent was kicking the bag instead of boxing with it.

Tony stopped as soon as Gibbs entered his line of sight. In the time it took to get him from the gym to the locker room Tony's feet had swelled up bad enough that his shoes would not go back on. He helped his agent, who was now hobbling, into his own car.

"I have some icepacks at my place," was the only warning the young agent got that let him know he was not going to see his apartment that evening.


"Are you just going to stand there, or are you going to help me?" Tony asked without looking at Gibbs.

It was still too early to tell if Tony was going to be harmful to himself or not. At this point all Gibbs could do was sit down and look through some of his files.

"I'll say I sold you the weapon," Gibbs said.

"What?"

"If you confess and Ziva claims to be your accomplice, then I'll be the one who sold you guys the weapons."

Tony smiled, "make probie your contact and we can start our own agency inside a prison."

Both men smirked.

It was still too early to tell if he should let Tony crash, or if he would force the young man to get some rest. Either way there was one thing he knew for sure…Tony wasn't going to be alone.