"What's wrong with you?" Gibbs asked.

Where do I start? Tony almost said.

He truly said, "I don't know what you mean, Boss."

They were in a car, a vehicle that veered to the right as they traveled to an airport, or a hospital. For once, he hoped a hospital. Ziva and McGee needed medical attention, and attention was the last thing Tony needed. Ziva sat across from McGee, as far away from Tony as possible. Gibbs sat next to Ziva, across from Tony. Political seating arrangements. Women. He couldn't live with them. What's she then, that says I play the villain?

"You aren't talking," said Gibbs.

Tony smiled, lips cracking. "You saying I talk too much?"

"You have to ask?" Gibbs took a drag from his paper coffee cup. Where did he get coffee in the desert? Sahara, sahara.

"That hurts, Boss."

"He has been drugged with Sodium thiopental." She still didn't use contractions.

Tony saw Gibbs reevaluating their conversation. That hurts, Boss.

He remembered his training. Sodium thiopental. Barbiturate general anesthetic. Decreases higher cortical brain functioning. Because a lie is more complex than a truth. Who said Tony was simple? Stupid? Slow? He wasn't slow. He was a Physical Education major. But Saleem Ulman wasn't playing. We play, we die: Ig-rhyme, umi-rhyme. He was a Phys. Ed. major, but he understood English, Russian. No, he was in Africa. Or was it Aleppo? That in Aleppo once.

Sodium thiopental is also used in psychiatry. Narcosynthesis. Narcoanalysis. Ig-rhyme. umi-rhyme. Desensitization. Recollection of suppressed memories. Anesthetic. Tony didn't feel anything anymore anyway.

The drug can also cause airway obstruction, hypotension, and apnea. Side effects include emergence delirium, prolonged somnolence, and nausea. Our team leader is the fearless Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs. Former Gunnery Sergeant Marine sniper, Coffee aficionado, and functional mute. Tony was jealous. Airway obstruction, functional mute. Dumb.

The hangover effects of the drug may last up to thirty-six hours. Would coffee cure it? Coffee aficionado, and functional mute. Tony's inhibitors were inhibited, and he was having a hard time not saying all of this out loud. Demand me nothing. What you know, you know. From this time forth, I never will speak word.

Tony looked at his teammates, but no one was saying anything. Ziva had a reason to ignore him, and McGee was on someone's cell phone with Abby, or someone.

Gibbs was watching Tony, but his mouth was shut. Functional mute. Tony was tired of interrogations. Gibbs truly knew that.

"Thanks, Boss," Tony said quietly.

"You don't have to ask."