Title: Slow Burn

Story: NCIS crossover with a book (to be revealed in future chapters); AU for both

Rating: T/Gen

Summary: McGee's heritage catches up with him, and DiNozzo is caught in the crossfire.

Set in: mid season 6

Disclaimer: Don't own, just playing, yadda yadda.

McGee parked his Porsche in the small empty lot and exited the vehicle, pulling up the collar of his wool coat against the chill night air. He locked the door before carefully making his way up the path to the overlook. When he reached the top he paused and turned his gaze upward, taking in the world around him. The full moon was barely visible behind gathering storm clouds, and the rush of water below was the only hint of the majestic scenery which would have been visible in the daytime. The anxiety that always accompanied these trips began to recede slightly as he enjoyed the peace and solitude this place offered. His peace was short-lived, however, as a voice emerged from the silence.

"'The ducks in St James's Park are so used to being fed bread by secret agents meeting clandestinely that they have developed their own Pavlovian reaction. Put a St James's Park duck in a laboratory cage and show it a picture of two men - one usually wearing a coat with a fur collar, the other something somber with a scarf - and it'll look up expectantly.'"

Startled, McGee turned toward the speaker and managed a chuckle as he recognized the quote.

"I never took you for a reader, Trent, especially not that particular book."

"Social commentary and witty satire? What's not to like? Besides, it helps to pass the time on long flights," admitted Kort with a sardonic grin. "You must admit, that particular passage fits these meetings of ours, does it not?"

McGee shrugged in agreement. "Whenever you're ready to change the venue, just let me know."

Kort chuckled. "Luckily that does not appear to be necessary, at least not this time." He sighed. "Enough small-talk. Too damn cold, anyway." He reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a small item. McGee held out a similar item for exchange.

"Anything interesting?" asked Kort as he exchanged with McGee and placed the new item in a pocket that was hidden in the inner lining of his coat.

"Nope. It's been pretty quiet recently." McGee placed his new item in a small water-proof pouch that was attached to a cord around his neck and tucked the pouch out of sight.

"Yeah, let's hope it stays that way." He turned to leave, paused, and turned back to McGee. "Maybe it's the calm before the storm."

McGee felt a chill down his spine. He knew what just such a storm would bring if it was allowed to arrive unchecked.

"I'm more worried about the storm approaching tonight: first major snowfall of the season."

"Then you had better get your ass home, Tim. I don't think Porsches are all that practical for winter driving."

"Thanks for your concern, but I think I'll be OK." McGee had no intention of telling Kort that he had another meeting planned for tonight, one that would take place not far from where they were now.

Kort smirked and nodded. "Until next time, McGee." He turned again and made his way back down the path, disappearing into the darkness.

McGee checked his watch and decided he could wait a few more minutes before returning to his car. He leaned against the railing and closed his eyes, pondering the events that had led him here and garnered him this particular assignment. The worst part was keeping the secret from his team. He hated lying to Gibbs, especially when he had worked so hard for his team leader, but it was to keep the rest of the team safe. McGee lived in constant fear that one of them would find out about this assignment, and unwittingly put themselves in danger, especially DiNozzo. The older agent had been relentless lately, and McGee had barely managed to evade him this evening.

A gust of wind brought a deep chill, despite his heavy coat, and he decided that is was time to leave. He would still have plenty of time to reach his next destination. He started down the path, carefully making his way to his car and glimpsed the first snowflakes drifting past his field of vision. He glanced around to make sure he was alone, and bent down to work the lock. He was interrupted by a familiar voice.

"Going somewhere, Probie?"

McGee spun around to find DiNozzo standing behind him, the expression on his face far from friendly.

"T-tony? W-what are you doing here?" McGee felt a flash of fear as DiNozzo raised his gun and aimed it at McGee's chest. The ice in DiNozzo's voice was colder than the night air when he finally spoke.

"I think I should be asking you that same question…"

A/N: The book that Kort quotes is Good Omens, by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. I highly recommend it. It's not the same book that is used as the crossover in this story, though.

So...what do you think? Reviews are appreciated.

P.S. My muse apparently has the attention span of a hummingbird sipping espresso, and insisted I write this before returning to work on my other NCIS stories. More to come on those this weekend.