A/N: I've said this before, and I will say it again, my best ideas come to me while I'm in the shower. This was one of them.
I am trying my hand at a case-fic that has quite serious repercussions with a certain Senior Field Agent, who's already got a problem on his hands. The main thing I am aiming for is for it to be in-character and interesting, but first chapters are not always something to go on for the rest of the story. Enjoy :)
Disclaimer: I do not own NCIS, sadly.
It was an ordinary day fall day to everyone at NCIS. As its elevator doors groaned as they opened for another day, the stained orange walls and everyone behind them screamed ordinary. And on this ordinary day the bullpen fell quiet, and two sets of curious eyes were set upon the man whose very wit and humour this mediocre morning was lacking: Tony DiNozzo.
"Why are you guys looking at me like that?" he asked his teammates, as if silence was something to be expected from him, him, of all people.
"You are quiet," Ziva David replied, twirling a pencil between her fingers thoughtfully. Tony knew she was trying to read him, it was what she did. Most would call it caring, but he felt he didn't really need anyone inside his head.
"I'm fine," he muttered in reply, pulling open his desk drawer and grabbing a key, to which he opened the bottom drawer of the locked filing cabinet beside him. He flicked to the very back file, and pulled out a white envelope. He flopped back into his chair and stared at it for a moment, then slipped it into the inside pocket of his jacket.
Timothy McGee shot a look over at Ziva from the other side of the bullpen, and she knew exactly what he was trying to say. This was not Tony. He did not have strange envelopes locked away. He was not quiet, and he certainly did not keep secrets. If he had something to tell, he would usually brag about it.
Growing more confused at her partner's behaviour by the minute, Ziva rose from her chair and sauntered over to his desk.
"Was mud wrestling not as amusing as usual, Tony?" she queried, tilting her head and ever so slightly pouting her lip, the way she did when she was trying to get information out of him.
"What're ya talking about? It was great, it was…" he trailed off. "I heard McGee talked to his dad!" he suddenly thought. Ziva turned around and smiled at her friend, while Tony mouthed 'sorry'.
"Well done, McGee. Did you work things out?" Ziva asked. Though while interested in McGee's father-son reunion, she was only turning her full attention away from Tony because she knew how much he wanted her to. He was worrying about something, and he would come out with it when he was ready to, with a little help of course.
"Yeah, he came over for dinner, we talked," McGee answered, a small smile on his pale face. "Turns out he's been trying to get in touch with Sarah too, but he's havin' a little less luck with her. They got along even worse than he did with me."
"Well good for you, McGee," Tony said in a loud voice.
"Hey, what about your father, Tony, I heard you two were keeping in touch," McGee said, his somewhat amateur gut telling him that DiNozzo Sr. was the source of Tony's bad mood. It wouldn't be a first time.
"He's fine, you know, himself," the older agent answered, shrugging.
Ziva watched him carefully. Tony Sr. wasn't the problem, but something was.
"Grab your gear, we got a—" Gibbs said as he swiftly entered the bullpen, coffee in hand.
"Dead marine," McGee and Ziva answered in unison.
"Catch phrase getting a little old for ya?" Gibbs asked in his usual intimidating manner. The two agents faltered and proceeded to grab their packs, along with Tony, who said nothing. McGee watched as Gibbs' expression turned into a slight frown. Even he had noticed. Because somewhere along the line, they had all expected him to jump in with a good number of suggestions for catch phrases.
Local LEOs had taped off the crime scene and were taking crime scene photos.
"Special Agent Gibbs, NCIS," Gibbs introduced himself to the middle-aged man who appeared to be in charge, his three agents behind him. "This is McGee, DiNozzo and Special Agent David." Ziva couldn't help but smile at her new title.
"Detective Brent Thornton, Maryland PD," the man replied, shaking Gibbs' hand. He was just short of Gibbs' height with red cheeks and was probably on the heavier side. "NCIS, huh? I was wondering when you were gonna show up."
"Well, we're here now, whaddaya got?" Gibbs asked.
Detective Thornton turned to lead them through the crime scene, which appeared to be in the living room of the victim's house, where a body lay in one of the chairs. "Victim's Petty Officer Leonard Morrison, found this morning."
"Who found him?" Gibbs asked.
"One of the neighbours," Thornton replied, removing his cap to scratch at his balding head. "Claimed he wanted to borrow a power sander. My men are getting his statement now. The wife and ten year old daughter are at the wife's mother's place."
"We'll need a copy of the statement."
"You got it," Thornton said, patting Gibbs on the shoulder, placing his hat back on his head and leaving the room, passing Ducky and Palmer on his way out.
"What a fine morning," the Scotsman commented. "I suppose not so much for this fellow."
Ducky let out a short grunt as he kneeled beside the deceased body and Team Gibbs set of to process the evidence.
"Well, it seems to me that this fellow's cause of death was a gunshot to the chest, at close range," Ducky said, then lifting up the victim's hands. "There aren't any defensive wounds."
"He knew his killer," Gibbs concluded.
"That would appear to be the case," Ducky replied. "Of course, we'll know more when we get him back."
"Seems like a pretty boring way to do things," Jimmy said, thinking aloud again.
"What do you mean, Mr Palmer?"
"Well, gunshot at close range, no signs of a scuffle, no defensive wounds…it seems to me that whoever killed him just walked in here and shot him while he was just watching TV. Pretty boring way to do things, if you ask me."
Ducky frowned quizzically. "Say that again, Mr Palmer."
"What, it's a boring way to do things?"
"No, look at his eyes. They're open, facing towards the television."
"Someone whacked him while he was watching TV?" Tony asked, turning to face the ME and his assistant with the camera in his hands.
"That isn't the way I would put it but yes," Ducky answered. "Since no attention was given to the killer, perhaps he was expecting company."
"Got a time of death, Duck?" Gibbs asked, and Ducky turned to Jimmy, who examined the temperature.
"0500 hours," Jimmy answered, a little proudly.
On the other side of the room, Tony bent to pull a sheet of paper up from the carpet.
"What is it?" Ziva asked, peering over his shoulder.
"It's a painting," he said softly. 'By Casey' was written in the top right-hand corner, along with the date, the eighth of May, and at the bottom of the painting, the title of, 'My Family'.
It was a classic children's painting: sun in the corner, big blue sky, and green grass with a big house in the middle. Next to the house were three figures. One was what looked to be a dog, with 'Oscar' written underneath, a tall woman captioned 'Mommy' and a small figure that said 'Casey'. Daddy wasn't in the picture. Ziva looked at Tony in surprise, but he turned away from her, holding the painting at arm's length. "Bag it," he ordered, and went back to his pictures.
Ziva knew one thing: this was certainly ten times worse than the Brenda Bitner incident. Because she was sure, that from behind that camera, she saw Tony's eyes tear up just a little.
A/N: There is more coming soon, I promise. This case is just starting to get personal. This won't be too long, but I don't know if I can give you a number yet. Reviews are love :)