So sorry for the very long haitus, but this story is officially off it, even if I have a couple side projects I'm working on. I've been working on this chapter basically all afternoon and I've just finished it, mostly because I keep getting distracted.
Hanson swallowed nervously. "What do you mean, Jenk?"
"Detention? Really, Hanson, I thought you'd learned by now not to get into too much trouble!"
"Jenko, it's not even my fault! We were in gym class playing soccer. I kicked the ball and it accidentally hit the sub in the nose."
"Were you aiming for the sub?"
"How many times do I have to tell you not to call me Captain?" Jenko snapped.
Hanson opened his mouth for a furious retort, but Judy stepped forward before he could say anything. The female officer said, "Hey, why don't we all just calm down? Jenk, Hanson explained to you why he was in Detention in the first place. Hanson, you don't need to be so defensive."
Tom—not to mention Harry and Doug—just stared at her. Doug voiced the question that was all three guys' minds: "Are you sure you've never been to a shrink?"
"Oh, can it, Penhall." Judy turned away, but not before Tom caught the smile tugging at the corners of her mouth. Jealousy reared its ugly head, but he forced it down. He wondered, Why am I even feeling this way? It's not like there's anything between me and Judy, right?
Wrong, a little voice replied.
Oh, great. Now I start hearing voices. What's next—a straitjacket?
GET OUT OF MY HEAD!
Thankfully, the voice left. Only then did Tom realize that Jenko was looking at him like he was waiting for an answer. The rookie said, "What?"
"I, uh, wanted to apologize, Hanson. And there's something I haven't told you guys yet."
The entire team was at attention at once, scrabbling for their seats at the long table they used for meetings. All four of them turned their expectant gazes to their captain, who sighed and ran a hand through his stringy black hair before saying, "Hanson, another agency has put two of its agents undercover to help out with our second case."
"What?!" Tom practically shrieked in what he later would swear was a manly voice.
"Remember when I told you that the Williams case wasn't our jurisdiction, Hanson?"
"Oh, yeah. Right. You never answered me when I asked whose jurisdiction it was, Jenk."
Jenko hesitated. "This case belongs to NCIS."
"Huh?" Doug and Harry asked at the same time.
"It stands for Naval Criminal Investigative Service," Jenko explained.
"Great," Tom muttered. "Navy cops."
"Federal agents," Jenko corrected.
"Whatever." Tom rose from his seat, snagged an apple from the basket of fruit in the middle of the table, and left. Right now, he just wanted to go home, relax, watch a movie or two. Certainly not think about the new case, or how he was going to catch the suspect on his original murder/rape, or the fact there were probably two NCIS agents in town.
Of course, he ended up thinking about it anyway. So he wasn't all that surprised to find himself heading back to the high school around ten thirty at night.
Somehow, he didn't expect to find someone else there.
"Tony, I can't believe I let you talk me into doing this," Ziva hissed, glancing around before she followed him into the deserted school.
"Come on, Ziva. We needed to look at the crime scene anyway."
Ziva pulled a face at him then walked straight past him, taking the lead. DiNozzo took a moment just to watch her stride, the sway of her hips—she was going to be the death of him one day, because he was sure she knew just what she did to him—and allowed himself a brief fantasy.
Tony shook himself out of his thoughts and jogged after her. "The body was found in the auditorium, right?"
"Backstage," Ziva confirmed, already heading in the direction of the theatre. Tony, not wanting to risk anything happening to his little DiNozzo makers, kept on her three. He glanced around the dark auditorium, waiting for his eyes to adjust. When they did, he walked down the far left aisle and through the black curtain that lead backstage.
Ziva suddenly froze and whipped around, her eyes scanning the entire backstage area.
"What is it?" Tony asked, alert at once.
"I heard something."
"And what do your astute, ninja Mossad senses tell you it is?" Tony couldn't keep the playful, teasing note from his voice.
Tony caught sight of a dark figure darting into the shop from the corner of his eye. It looked vaguely familiar . . .
Ziva darted after the figure, unsheathing a knife from her boot—all on the run. Tony was actually impressed. He certainly couldn't do that, and everyone knew McGee couldn't. Gibbs was probably the only one in the team besides Ziva who could draw a weapon on the run. She yelled, "Federal agent! Freeze!"
DiNozzo groaned inwardly. Great job blowing our cover, Zi.
The figure Ziva was chasing instantly stopped in his tracks—but since he'd reached a dead end and the shop wasn't all that big anyway and filled with all sorts of set pieces from past plays, it wasn't hard to do so. Tony skidded to a halt next to Ziva, panting, and froze when he saw it was Tom Bower. "You!"
"Yeah, me," Tom replied. "What are you guys doing here?"
"Looking for whoever might have killed Laura Williams," Tony said. He winced when Ziva elbowed him in the gut. "I mean, uh—"
"What are you doing here?" Ziva demanded, fingering her knife almost lovingly.
"Same thing you are," Tom said. "You're federal agents, right? Well"—he reached into his jeans pocket and pulled out his ID, flashed his badge—"I'm a cop."
Whoa, Tony thought. I sure wasn't expecting that.