Queen for a Day

Chapter One

Friday, and it was Halloween. It had been a long day, made even longer by Tony's obvious funk, but fortunately the team was off for the weekend. Banding together in the way they always did when a member was hurting, they had all accompanied Tony out for drinks and attempted to lift his spirits with all sorts of idle chatter. Just now, Ducky was telling a meandering tale about some long ago Halloween case.

"The cause of death was exsanguination, resulting from a wound to the neck, but the entire body had been ravaged as well", he said then appeared to go off on a tangent. "As a medical examiner, one doesn't see many canine attacks, since they are rarely fatal but..."

"Ducky", Ziva interrupted, "What do dogs have to do with the story?"

"Oh, yes, well, this particular corpse appeared to have been attacked by a dog but when I tested the wounds I found human saliva. The local LEO's brought in a man who had been found in a fugue state wandering near the crime scene covered in blood. That blood turned out to be the victim's, and the saliva belonged to the suspect."

"Case closed", said Gibbs, "What's the point, Duck."

"The point, Jethro, is that I was never able to figure out what made the wounds. They didn't match the suspect's teeth. He confessed, you know, but claimed he had turned into a werewolf before committing the crime. Impossible, obviously, but..."

"Lots of strange things can happen on Halloween" Abby contributed. "It's a night when this world intersects with the nether world and spirits are free to roam. There's no question supernatural things can happen. Everyone in law enforcement has their wild and unexplained stories about it. Maybe your murderer really was a werewolf for one night."

Gibbs had never ceased to be amazed by how Abby's brilliant scientific mind could also wrap itself around some highly unusual ideas. Voodoo, crop circles, and now werewolves and Halloween. He didn't have time to ponder this further though, since he had noticed that Tony was still uncommunicative and depressed. He had spent the entire time staring into a succession of drinks and none of his teammates' banter had roused him to respond.

Right from the beginning, Gibbs had felt a special connection with Tony. Over the years, these feelings had deepened and grown. Gibbs didn't know if it was Tony's mix of vulnerability and bravado, or just his startling good looks, but for a long time now Gibbs had wanted more. These days, just the sight of Tony in his favorite shoulder holster could send him into a frenzy of desire. There had been times that he was sure Tony had similar feelings, and even a few occasions when Gibbs had come close to broaching the subject, but that had all ended with Jeanne. Tony's undercover assignment turned into a real love affair and even after it ended, badly, the lingering repercussions had effectively extinguished Gibbs' hopes. In fact, Gibbs was pretty sure that Jeanne was the source of Tony's current mood. It was just over a year since she had left and that anniversary was what had set Tony off. Tony needed to talk and, despite the fact that it would be torture for him, Gibbs knew that he was the best person for the job.

A quick look and gesture was all that was necessary for Gibbs to tell the others that it was time to leave. One by one they made their goodbyes and headed home until only Gibbs and Tony remained at the bar.

"You want to talk about it?" asked Gibbs.

" No."

"Well that drink you're staring at isn't going to give you any good advice so maybe you should try me. It's Jeanne isn't it?"

"No ... yes, I guess so." Tony finally raised his eyes to meet Gibbs' searching stare. "Have you ever had a dry spell, Boss?" he asked.

"Dry spell?"

"With women."

Gibbs' first thought was only since I met you but instead he said, "We all do, Tony."

"Ever since Jeanne, I can't ... I mean ... I meet someone and it all seems to be going well but when the moment comes ... I just can't ...," Tony's voice trailed off. "I don't see how anyone can help me with that," he concluded.

Gibbs felt his heart, and other parts, swell at Tony's words. Was this the opening he had been waiting for? He quickly dismissed the thought. He was far too scrupulous to take advantage of Tony's current emotional fragility even if he was sure he could solve his problem. "It just takes time," he said.

"A year isn't enough?" Tony scoffed. "There's obviously something wrong with me."

God no, there's absolutely nothing wrong with you thought Gibbs but he said, "It's not a matter of months or years, when the right situation comes along you won't have a problem." And hopefully I can be part of that situation. "There's nothing wrong with you, and even if there was drinking isn't going to solve anything. You've had so much now that even if Angelina Jolie walked through that door, you couldn't get it up."

Tony gave a faint, dismissive laugh but he finally looked a little less morose.

"Tony, go home. I'll call you a cab."

Tony nodded and Gibbs pulled out his phone to make the call. Oh well, he thought, it won't be tonight but maybe, just maybe, I still have a chance.