Title: Changes and Other Inconveniences
Chapter Wordcount: 4326
Pairings: temporary Tony/Jeanne, eventual Gibbs/DiNozzo.
Spoilers: Season 4 overall. In this chapter: Twisted Sister
Summary: Gibbs is back and that's only the start of Tony's problems.
Warnings: Language, Tony's libido and a little Ziva-bashing (it's only temporary).
The room was filled with fit, intelligent twenty something's, all of whom knew they were fit and intelligent. Of course, being part of the advanced investigative and crime scene analysis class would be enough to make even the most humble person feel at least a little smug. The class was one of FLETCs most popular, and also one of the most difficult to get into and being selected to take part in the programme was no small honour.
Excited tittering lanced through the room as the students wondered who their instructors would be. Maybe someone from the FBI? Or perhaps the NSA? The possibilities were endless and the mere thought of the many elite agencies their instructor could belong to was enough to fuel their imaginations for days. As it was they did not have to wait much longer as the door slid open and a tall, well dressed man walked in. His hair was neatly cut and brushed, his suit obviously designer and his eyes were a startling shade of green as they swept over the students. One girl sighed. More than a few boys scowled.
"Good morning," Tony smiled as he pushed down his nervousness and leant against the desk at the front of the room. "I am Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo, team lead for the MCRT at NCIS."
The class immediately sat up and paid closer attention. Civilians may never have heard of NCIS but, as the agency in charge of what was historically the country's first line of defence, it was one of the most sought after federal agencies after the FBI and NSA.
"First of all, let me congratulate you all on making this class," Tony smiled and remembered what Jenny had told him about the class he'd be teaching. "I've been told how difficult it is to get in here so...yeah, well done."
The students shifted and a few beamed but Tony's attention was drawn to the boy who raised his hand.
"Yes?" Tony let his voice trail off in question.
"Kyle Brown, sir," the boy answered. "Um, it sounds like you didn't attend this class?"
"No," Tony shook his head. "I did not."
"I thought it was a compulsory module for field agents," Another girl spoke up, getting a few nods of agreement.
"It probably is," Tony shrugged, "But I had six years of law enforcement experience , most of which were as a Detective, before coming to NCIS. I was no stranger to crime scenes. But moving on," Tony grinned at the class, "who can tell me..." the shrill sound of a ringing cell phone pierced through the room and Tony held up a hand in apology, "Excuse me for a moment," he told the class before flipping open his phone.
"Boss," Michelle Lee's slightly breathless voice filtered through his earpiece. "We got a case. A sailor was found dead at Waverly campus. I told dispatch that we're supposed to be off rotation but they wouldn't listen and I know that McGee's sick and you have this class but I didn't..."
"Whoa, slow down, my little padawan," Tony soothed as his lips pursed in a thought and he cast a contemplative glance towards the class. "Gear up and gas the truck, Michelle. I'll meet you at the University."
Another phone call and twenty minutes later, Tony was ushering a group of excited FLETC students toward body.
"You brought your FLETC class here?" Michelle paused and looked up from her sketch, surprise evident in her eyes.
"Yes, I did." Tony grinned, "I always thought learning should be a hands on experience." He winked at Michelle before turning to face the class.
"Okay," Tony raised his voice, garnering the attention of the assembled students. "Rule number one, under no circumstances are you allowed to move from your current positions. If I see you do anything other than breathe or talk, you flunk my class. Second, no touching! And I do mean, no touching. That extends to anything not on your immediate persons. Unless, of course, some of you are dating and want to hold hands or whatever kids do these days. Then that will be..."
Michelle cleared her throat and Tony trailed off, belatedly realising that he'd strayed from the point.
"Anyway," Tony said, ignoring the snickers from the students. "No moving, no touching and if you have any questions you can ask myself or Agent Lee,"
"I thought that investigative teams were four man cells, Sir," A brunette with narrow framed glasses spoke.
"They usually are," Tony nodded as prepared his camera. "My senior field agent is out sick and I still haven't filled the fourth spot so, for the moment, it's just the two of us. The Director will be sending over two agents from a team that's off rotation to help out, though. They should be here any minute."
As if on cue, Tony spotted two men hurrying towards them and immediately recognised them as Brian James and Morgan Harrison, Gibbs' probies. Huh, seemed like newbies were Jenny's latest charity project.
"Okay, everyone," Tony said as James and Harrison ducked under the crime scene tape. "Say hello to Agent's James and Harrison. Go easy on 'em, okay?"
"Agent DiNozzo?" Morgan Harrison spoke. "Agent Gibbs said to tell you that you need to get your own team and not steal his."
"I'm pretty sure he didn't actually mean for you to tell me that," Tony smirked. "Gibbs vents a lot, you may have noticed."
"What do you need us to do, Agent DiNozzo?" Bradley James asked hiding a smirk as Morgan shifted beside him.
"Okay, the first rule of working a crime scene," Tony said, raising his voice so that the class could hear him, "Use your initiative. What do you think you should be doing, James?"
"Um? Photo's?" James asked more than stated.
"Yeah," Tony's expression and tone of voice suggested that that was the obvious answer and Michelle ducked her head to hide her smile.
"Harrison," Tony turned to the other newbie, raising his eyes in question.
"Uh, I'll take the crime scene notes?" Morgan Harrison guessed.
"No," Tony immediately vetoed that idea. "I'll take the crime scene notes. You can get statements from the man who called this in."
"Okay," Harrison started to walk away but paused after a few steps, turning back to Tony with a sheepish smile on his face. "Who called this in again?"
"That would be him," Tony smirked, pointing over to a guy who was standing beside the crime scene tape, watching the cheerleaders who were practicing on the other side of the quad.
"Okay, on it sir!" Harrison practically saluted as he jogged towards the civilian and Michelle ducked her head to stifle a laugh that threatened to break free.
"Don't call me, Sir!" Tony called after the retreating Agent. "And that goes for you too," He added, turning to the students who were watching with ill-hidden amusement.
"Gibbs rubbing off on you, Agent DiNozzo?" a familiar, aged voice interrupted and, as one, the crowd of students turned to look as Ducky approached. "And what do we have here? I assume Director Sheppard is aware of this…gathering?"
"Of course she is," Tony scoffed. "In fact she wholly approves of hand-on learning."
"Really?" Jimmy grinned as he crouched beside Ducky. "You sure she's not just glad you didn't take the excuse to blow off the class?"
"There is that," Tony inclined his head in acknowledgement, surveying James from the corner of his eyes to make sure that the crime scene photos were being taken properly. So, when James turned to inspect the rest of the crime scene stepping behind some bushes to make sure he didn't miss anything before pausing, the line of his shoulders stiffening, Tony was quick to notice.
"Alright there, James?" Tony called.
"Uh, yes sir. I mean, Agent DiNozzo. Only…" He trailed off, glancing uncertainly over his shoulder at Tony.
"Spit it out, Rookie," Tony prodded, striding over to the younger man.
"I think I've found more bodies," James said. "Ten of them, to be exact."
The crowd of FLETC students perked up at that, an excited murmur running through them as they stood on the tips of their toes and strained to see past the bushes. Ducky tutted with disapproval and Tony raised an eyebrow as he levelled a look at the students.
"I'm glad that murder excites you," he said, voice smooth and unaffected but the reprimand was obvious. "But here's the conundrum…the bodies aren't human. They're goldfish."
The looks on the students faces were hilarious, an identical expression of open-mouthed disbelief echoing throughout the gathering. Tony smirked at them and returned to his notes, talking out loud as he pointed out various items of interest to the class. Inwardly he was waiting until he saw Jeanne that evening, she was going to get a kick out of hearing how Tony, of all people, had to play the stern tutor.
But tutor he did, explaining the process behind evidence gathering, how to take proper notes and asking the odd question to get the students thinking. Thus it was an incredibly giddy group that made its way back to FLETC headquarters, having been released from the crime scene. Naturally word got out and it was one very pleased NCIS Director that cornered Tony upon his return to the office.
"I hear that the field trip was a success," Jenny smiled at Tony as he dropped his backpack to the floor.
"Did you expect otherwise?" Tony smirked, wide and confident.
"No," Jenny shook her head, her smile turning a little fond before she looked back up at the agency's newest team lead. "But you did. You did an excellent job today, Tony and you made this agency proud. Congratulations."
"Uh, not that I'm not flattered Jenny but shouldn't you be saving the 'thank you' for after we've closed the case?" Tony asked, his eyebrows rising a little in surprise.
"No," Jenny smirked as she turned to leave. "You don't get a thank you for doing your job, DiNozzo."
"But I get one for babysitting?" Tony called after her but Jenny kept walking, smirking to herself when she heard him huff out a breath.
"Because that makes so much sense," Tony grumbled softly before turning to his makeshift team.
"James, Morgan, what are you two doing here?" He asked and the two men shifted before answering.
"Um, waiting for orders?" James asked instead of stated and Tony rolled his eyes. With that sort of attitude he could understand why Gibbs had nicknamed them Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dee.
"No you're not," Tony said. "You're going to go home and leave the investigating to the professionals. Also, a word of advice? Never tell Gibbs you're 'waiting for orders' unless you want to find yourself rooting through vomit and trashcans for the rest of your careers."
And with that Tony turned, motioning for Michelle to follow as he strode from the bullpen.
"What do you need, boss?" Michelle asked, tossing back the locks of hair that fell into her eyes as she hurried to keep pace with Tony.
"For you to go see what Abby's got," Tony replied, glancing down at her. "And Michelle, if she gives you a hard time you let me know okay?"
"Sure thing, boss," Michelle nodded and scurried off down a corridor. Tony let out a sigh as he made his way down to autopsy. Abby was one of the most kind-hearted people he knew but she was also easily excited and prone to lapses of judgement. He'd had too much experience seeing her make people dance to her tune to think that she wouldn't do the same to Michelle and Michelle had enough to deal with already. Being thrown onto the MCRT, into high pressure situations that were a bit over you head as well as being part of a team that was a man short was not the easiest way to be inducted into the Agency. If there was one thing Tony learnt from Gibbs it was that your team was your family and it was Tony's job to protect them. Sometimes even from each other.
Tim sighed and massaged his temples in an attempt to fend of the headache building behind his eyes. It was turning out to be a really messed up day. First his sister shows up in the middle of the night with blood on her clothes, claiming she killed somebody then, whilst McGee was retracing her steps, Sarah disappears and doesn't even have to courtesy to answer her damn phone! Another sigh escaped Tim and he slammed his phone down on the table after yet another unsuccessful attempt to contact Sarah.
Standing, he took the few steps from his lounge to his kitchen and filled a glass with water. Maybe he was taking the wrong approach. The moment he had realised that Sarah might be in trouble, Tim's first instinct had been to protect. Sarah was his little sister, the girl who lived to show him up. How was he supposed to do anything other than protect her? Nobody could ever accuse Tim of being a lousy brother and so he had fought the urge to call Gibbs and the bigger urge to call Tony. Gibbs had requested a different team and so McGee had lost the privilege of having the bastard in his corner but, even if they were all still one team, McGee still probably wouldn't have gone to Gibbs for help.
It wasn't that Tim didn't trust Gibbs. On the contrary he trusted him with his life. It was more the fact that Sarah could have been drugged and hallucinating and, in such a state, she could have done something that Gibbs would be unable to ignore. Tim, however, had no such reservations. Even if Sarah had done something regrettable, she was his sister and Tim would do everything in his power to protect her from the fallout. No, calling Gibbs was out of the question.
The real dilemma lay with Tony. Despite his easy going persona, Tony had an even straighter moral compass that Gibbs did. Everything Tim knew about him pointed towards keeping Sarah well and truly away from him but...but something was making him hesitate. It wasn't the fact that their team structure had only recently changed, it wasn't that Tim thought Tony would ignore the evidence if it pointed towards Sarah having mur...having done something regrettable. It was more the fact that Tim knew that Toy would have his back even if Sarah had landed herself in trouble...especially if Sarah were in trouble.
Where Gibbs had a black and white vision of crimes, Tony saw the shades of grey that came with humanity. He would find out the truth and, if the perpetrator were a victim themselves then Tony would do anything to help them, no matter who they were. That would only be doubly true for Sarah. How many times had Tim watched Tony comfort people who had struck out in self-defence, to make sure they weren't thrown in front of ruthless attorneys and prosecutors without back-up, without someone in their corner? The answer was too many times for him to believe keeping Tony out of the loop was a wise course of action.
Decision made, Tim scooped up his phone and keys and made his way out of his apartment. Tony should have been the first person he called and Tim was going to rectify that mistake straight away.
Tony stood at the outside the elevators on forensics, hidden from the view from the large glass doors, and tried to steel himself. Michelle had been playing go-between for him and Abby for far longer than she should have been and Tim had too much on his plate right now. He didn't need a hyper Goth with a thousand questions giving him more of a headache than he already had. So it was up to Tony to find out what Abby had learnt from their evidence. God. Where was a class of over-eager FLETC students to hide behind when you needed them?
Taking a deep breath, Tony pushed back his shoulder and schooled his expression into one of polite neutrality before turning the corner and pushing open the doors to forensics.
"Tony!" Abby squealed as he entered. She took a few, hurried steps forward before noticing the absence of his usual grin and faltering. "What's wrong? Are you still angry at me? Because I sent you those flowers, did you get them? And there was a note. Please tell me they didn't forget the note-"
"Abby," Tony cut smoothly into her monologue. "I got your note, and the flowers too. That's not why I'm here."
"It's not?" Abby asked, eyes wide and voice soft because Tony said he'd gotten the black roses she sent him so he must know she was sorry. He didn't look like he'd forgiven her though and Tony always forgave her.
"No," Tony shook his head and fought the urge to cave to her puppy dog eyes. If Abby couldn't understand what was wrong with her apology then she obviously needed a very big reality check.
"Did you get the call log from that cell phone we retrieved?"
"Yeah," Abby nodded and crossed to where the evidence from their current case was displayed. "There's like 15 missed calls. Somebody's really been trying to get a hold of this person. I can run the number?"
"Don't bother," Tony sighed. "It's McGee's."
"McGee's?" Abby's brow scrunched in confusion. "As in Timmy's? Why would he be calling your prime suspect?"
"Because," the clusterfuck that this day had turned into weighted heavily in Tony's voice, "Our prime suspect is Sarah McGee. Tim's sister."
"Oh," Abby blinked. For once, she was at a loss for words. "That's...not good."
"No," Tony agreed. "It's not good at all. Which is why we need to go through everything with a fine toothed comb. She's his sister Abby."
"Sure Tony," Abby nodded. "I can be precise. I can be so precise I'll practically recalibrate these machines. You can count on me. And my babies. You can count on us."
"Good," Tony nodded his acknowledgement and turned to leave before pausing. "And Abby? Don't tell the Director."
Abby mimed zipping her lips shut and the corners of Tony's lips twitched upwards before he left, the door to the lab slamming shut behind him. It wasn't a smile. Compared to his usual grins it wasn't even a hint of a smile but it was a reaction. It was a positive reaction and it went a long way towards telling Abby that Tony was still her friend. She just had to find the proper way to apologise. Black roses obviously weren't gonna cut it.
"No way! He wrote a book?" Michelle Lee's excited voice easily carried over from the elevators to where Gibbs was at his desk, reviewing his team's reports from their last case.
"Yep," the girl with her nodded.
"And the character's are called Tibbs, Tommy and Lisa?" Michelle asked, her incredulity obvious.
"Yeah. Subtle, isn't he?" the girl's eyebrows lifted in question even as a hint of something resembling exhaustion dulled her responses.
"Gossiping ladies?" A new voice cut in and Gibbs stifled a smirk at the way Tony stepped out from behind a corner just as the two girls turned to face him, making it look like he had been behind them all this time. Looked like DiNozzo had picked up a thing or two.
"I asked you to escort Sarah over here, Michelle," Tony continued. "I didn't mean for you two to become BFFs."
"Sarah was just telling me about the book McGee wrote, Boss," Michelle grinned up at Tony, unrepentant. "It's about LJ Tibbs and his team, Tommy and Lisa."
Tony regarded the two women for a moment before turning sharp green eyes on Tim who was looking a little uncomfortable.
"There is a story here," Tony slowly said. "And I'm sure it's a very good one, but it will have to wait. Tim, take Sarah down to Abby then go with Michelle to interview Jim Petty's girlfriend."
"Sure Tony," Tim sighed before putting a hand on the girl's back and leading her down to forensics. "C'mon Sarah."
As they disappeared from sight Tony took a breath and turned towards Gibbs, not showing the slightest bit of surprise when he found himself already under the older man's regard. Instead he walked easily over to his former boss and dropped into the chair in front of his desk.
"Don't you have work to do DiNozzo?" Gibbs snapped, irritated at having been caught looking.
"Yes," Tony nodded. "But first I need your help."
"Not your boss anymore, DiNozzo. I'm not here to hold your hand." Gibbs turned his attention back to the paperwork on his desk.
"What about Director Sheppard's hands?" Tony lifted both brows in question. "Any chance you could hold them?"
Gibbs glanced sharply up at that but didn't speak. Luckily, he didn't need to.
"Sarah McGee is our main suspect in a murder investigation." Tony said, cutting straight to the point. "The Director has been...around a lot lately and I was just wondering if there was any way you could...talk to her? Maybe request better agents that Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dee? It would help McGee focus a lot more if he didn't have to worry about the Director forcing our hand."
"You can't handle your team DiNozzo?" Gibbs asked.
Tony was silent for a moment, his expression giving away none of his thoughts and Gibbs was hit by the sudden memory of a blinding white grin and twinkling green eyes as Tony propped his feet on his desk and traded barbs with Kate.
"You know what," Tony said and he stood. "You're right. My team, my problem. Thanks for your time, Gibbs."
Before Gibbs could blink he was walking away, strides long and unhurried but still carrying him away from Gibbs at a remarkable pace.
"DiNozzo," Gibbs barked but it was too late, Tony had already disappeared.
Well damn, how was Gibbs supposed to know that Tony would take his words as refusal? Wasn't this the same guy that had worked under him for the last six years? Shouldn't DiNozzo know better? Sighing Gibbs threw done his pen and grabbed his coat. He needed coffee if he was gonna sweet-talk Jen for an afternoon.
It had been a hell of a long day. Tony pulled the cap off of a bottle of beer and sank down onto his sofa, sighing as he put his feet up on the table and reached for the remote. Jenny had been successfully kept out of the loop until the security guard and cheerleader had been brought in and Tony had left a massive thermos of coffee on Gibbs' desk. He was under no illusions as to whom he had to thank for the Director's uncharacteristic absence.
Sarah's name had been cleared and Tim had taken his sister home for a well deserved rest. Michelle had also finished her report quickly and efficiently and headed home, more than ready to avail of the off-time they were already supposed to be on. Tony had stayed behind long enough to look over their reports before also calling it a day. He was supposed to meet Jeanne tonight but had begged off, giving her the footnotes version of his day and she had been appropriately sympathetic. Seriously the woman was a godsend.
It was then that a knock on his door roused Tony from the half-asleep state of relaxation he'd fallen into and he grudgingly got up to answer it.
"Jeanne," Tony blinked when he saw the statuesque brunette. "What are you doing here?"
"Hello to you too, Tony," Jeanne grinned as she slipped past him and into the apartment. "I realise you're tired so since you couldn't make dinner so I decided to bring dinner to you," she held up a bottle of wine.
"Last I checked," Tony grinned and stepped closer, "alcohol did not pass as dinner."
"Oh you're talking about the main course?" Jeanne feigned surprise.
"Well, that..." She trailed off, fingers unknotting the belt that held her coat closed. The material slipped from her shoulders, exposing the very short, very tight, very low cut slip Jeanne wore underneath.
"Jeanne," Tony breathed and she stepped out of her heels and padded barefoot up to him.
"Agent DiNozzo," Jeanne's voice was a low purr and she looked up at him through her eyelashes. "I've been a bad girl."
"Is that so," Tony's eyes darkened as he fingered the hem of her slip before pushing the material upwards and grabbing her hips, pulling her against him. "Bad enough for handcuffs?"
"Oh most definitely," Jeanne groaned her agreement, letting her head fall backwards to expose more of her throat to Tony's wandering mouth and hooking her leg around his waist, grinding her hips against his.
Tony echoed the movement and let himself get lost in Jeanne, her soft sighs and softer skin helping him forget all about electric blue eyes and friends that didn't even tell him they had a sister. When another knock sounded on Tony's door, both he and Jeanne were too far gone to answer it.