Disclaimer: They're not mine, I'm just playing.

This takes place very soon after season 4's "Twisted Sister."


"Probie." Tony was sitting at his desk, grinning across the bullpen at his partner, who was rolling his eyes. "Prooooobie. ProbieProbie—."

"What Tony? What?" Tim growled and turned away from what he was typing.


Tim calmly turned back to his keyboard, ignoring his grinning partner.

"What'cha working on? Another book?"

"No." Tim said.

"You can call your next one, The Astonishing Adventures of Agent Tommy. I give you permission. Since, you know, you based all your characters on us anyway."

"I didn't base anything on you guys." Tim muttered.

"I, "Ziva said from her desk, "do not think Agent Tommy is an interesting enough character to carry his own story."

Tony glared at her for the subtle insult.

"Gear up." Gibbs rounded the corner of the bullpen and reached for his gun drawer.

"Got a body, boss?" McGee said cheerfully, eager to get away from his desk and out on the field where Tony, hopefully, would leave him alone about his books. Ever since that awful case where Sarah was suspected of murdering a sailor, Tony had been hassling him about his writing career.

Gibbs looked at him with an odd expression.

"Yeah, McGee, but don't let something like that spoil your chipper mood."

"I didn't mean it like—."

"Dead marine in a Woodbridge home. Staff Sergeant Dean Bradbury. His wife says he just appears to have dropped dead on their bed." Gibbs led the way to the elevator and his team hurried after him, but not before McGee saw Tony slip a copy of Deep Six: The Continuing Adventures of L.J. Tibbs into his backpack. The senior agent snickered and McGee had the feeling this would be a long day.

Tony whistled as they pulled up to a decadent Woodbridge mansion. A small brick turret poked out from the back of the two-story house with a three-car garage. A curving set of cobblestone steps led up to the double green front doors. Lush landscaping graced the front lawn where an in-ground sprinkler system watered the grass.

"How's a Staff Sergeant able to live in a place like this?" Tony asked.

"Good question. Let's find out."

Gibbs knocked on one of the green front doors, flashing his badge when a sniffling brunette-haired woman opened it. A sodden tissue was pressed to her face.

"Ms. Bradbury? I'm Special Agent Gibbs." He said. "These are Special Agents DiNozzo, McGee, and David."

More badges and IDs were flipped open and closed and Ms. Harriet Bradbury turned away. "Come in." She said, wiping the Kleenex across her nose. Gibbs sent Tim and Tony up to the bedroom to look at the body. Harriet offered Gibbs and Ziva a seat on the long comfy couch in the high-ceilinged living room.

"Can you tell us what happened?" Ziva asked quietly.

"I j-just…I came home from shopping, and he was dead!" She moaned. "I thought he was sleeping at first…so I went over to-to him and talked to him, and shook his sh-shoulder. He didn't move, so I called the police, and…" More tears poured from her eyes and Gibbs patiently passed her the tissue box.

Tim snapped a few photos of Staff Sergeant Bradbury, flat on his back on the couple's Queen sized four-poster bed. His black running shorts and white Tshirt didn't yield any bloodstains or other injuries. No look of pain soured his face, and his eyes were closed as if he was sleeping.

"He looks so peaceful." Tim mused, taking another picture. Tony looked away from his print-dusting and glanced at the corpse's face.

"For a stone-cold dead guy, yeah, Eddie McPoe."

"We'll know that for sure when I take his liver temperature, dear boy." Ducky wandered through the doorway with Jimmy Palmer schlepping bags and a gurney behind him.

"Hey Ducky." Tim mumbled.

"Hello lads. Who do we have here?"

Tony explained what they knew so far about the Bradburys.

"Hm," Ducky leaned over the corpse and checked for any obvious injury. "Well, the best thing for you would be to get to my autopsy table so we can find out what has happened, Staff Sergeant. Jimmy, liver probe, please."

"Bradbury, eh?" Tony said into Tim's ear as Gibbs and Ziva came into the room. "You have something in common with Ray, Timmy. Both of you write about stuff that's supposedly completely fictional…though didn't he base a lot of his things in reality too?"

"Stop!" Tim said. A silence fell over the room like a blanket and everyone turned to stare at the pair. Tim gulped, not having realized how loudly he'd spoken. "Sorry." He muttered to the stricken room.

"Tim," Gibbs said in a low voice. He stared at Tony, having no doubt he was the cause of the quiet agent's outburst. "Ride back with Ducky."

"Yes, boss." Tim passed his camera to Ziva and grabbed a couple heavy bags from Jimmy, following the medical examiners and the corpse down the stairs of the big house.

Gibbs stared at Tony for a few more moments, then strode over and slapped him smartly on the head.

Tony grunted, but didn't protest much.

"You've given McGee enough crap about his books." Gibbs said in a low tone. "Knock it off and focus on the case, DiNozzo."

"Yes, boss."

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