I'm back! Soooo glad! It seems like I haven't had any time to write and when I did I wasn't in the mood. I have been thinking about this one for a while though so I hope I can write it up to my expectations.
Although I am a McGee girl to my very core, when I was outlining this I was surprised with how much Tony drama there was, there will also be a lot of brotherly love (I'm trying to combat the stories where they pretty much hate each other).
Enjoy and thanks for reading!
"I am not, Tony!"
"Except that you are, McGeek."
"Can you not address my by some semblance of my name? Why is that so hard for you?" McGee snapped.
"Well excuse me, McGrumpy. Your name has many variations and you knew that as soon as you joined the team."
"What are you talking about?"
"It was in the fine print. "Agent DiNozzo may add, alter, abuse, change and otherwise mock my name in any way he sees fit because I am his Pro-oh-oh-bie"." Tony said drawing it out.
Tim stared at his partner with his mouth open. He closed it shaking his head.
"I don't know why I even try."
"Because you're not a quitter. You are however losing your technical edge."
Tim threw up his hands in exasperation. "I am not, Tony, why would you say that?"
"It took you like 3 hours to hack that one database. Sloppy. You use to could do that in like thirty minutes."
"It was heavily encrypted." Tim retorted between gritted teeth.
"Blah, blah, blah, techno babble, blah."
"I'd like to see you do it and for your information it would take most hackers days to do that."
"Since you two seem to have so much time on your hands, go interview Kyle Baird's grandmother." Gibbs snapped suddenly causing them both to jump.
"Boss you said we could do that tomorrow, it's like a 3 hours drive there. On the phone she said she hadn't seen him in years, can't…" Tony trailed off as self preservation kicked in.
"She is his only living relative. He might run to her if things got tough." Gibbs replied.
"Don't make me say it again DiNozzo."
"Both of us?" McGee asked uneasily.
"Yes, both of you, now." Gibbs snapped.
Tony grabbed his stuff and headed for the elevator as Tim began to more slowly gather his things.
"McGee." Gibbs said to get his younger agent's attention as he headed out of the bullpen. Tim turned.
"You have hacked things faster."
Gibbs went back to work failing to notice the clenched jaw and slow turn to where Tony was holding the elevator. It didn't go unobserved to Ziva and she waited until the elevator closed before addressing Gibbs.
"Was that necessary?"
Gibbs looked up at her.
"McGee knows more about computers than any of us. If he says something takes 3 hours and no less then I believe him." She continued boldly, not surprising Gibbs. Tim seemed to hold a special place in Ziva's heart and she was quick to jump to his defense.
"I just call it like I see it Zee." He said going back to work.
Ziva sighed seeing she was getting nowhere and switched to her other concern.
"Are you sure it was a good idea to send them together?"
"I needed some peace and you're not done with your report so who else would I send?"
"McGee seemed especially…easily angered today." She said recalling the bitterness with which he answered Tony and his reaction to Gibbs' remark. Truth be told he had not been himself since his grandmother's case had ended. He came into work the day after that and seemed…tired, sad, and angry all rolled into one. She had tried to gently coax it out of him, but she had not succeeded…yet.
"They'll be fine. It's good for McGee to get angry every now and then as much as he puts up with from Tony."
"Ziva the reason you stayed is because your report isn't done." He said with a pointed look.
Ziva sighed and turned back to her report but not before giving the elevator one last worried glance.
"I can't believe we are driving 3 hours to talk to some old lady who hasn't even seen our suspect in years. I mean Petty Officer Reed hasn't even been missing enough time for us to be investigating. Why are we even doing this?" He asked throwing up his hands. He received no answer from the passenger side.
"Ok, I know she had access to classified information which could make the situation "delicate"." He said quoting his fingers in the air. "I get all that, I also get that she and Kyle had a disagreement, a very public disagreement. But, come on! His grandmother is like 130, she won't remember what she had for breakfast much less her estranged grandson's on and off girlfriend."
"She practically raised him Tony." McGee said absently staring out the window. "She probably knows more about him than anyone. Grandmothers and grandsons can be very close."
"You realize what time we're going to get home?" Tony continued with barely a pause. "Man and a really hot girl just moved down the hall and I was going to help her move some heavy stuff. This…this just sucks." Tony slammed the steering wheel for emphasis.
Tim sighed. He was trying to answer Tony as little as possible in hopes that he would take the hint and they could finish the rest of the drive in silence. His earlier anger had subsided and now he was just tired, had been tired all week. It was amazing how one conversation with his dad, one ten minute conversation could drain his energy for days. He sighed again and pushed the thoughts out of his mind. The town slowly tapered away revealing more suburbs and farmland.
"She lives on some kind of mining land right?" Tony said looking over.
"Uh yeah." McGee said shifting through his memory for what he had read, "Apparently in the early 1930's the family was about to lose the house when lo and behold large deposits of coal were discovered on the property. It was mined successfully for the next seventy years."
"Hey a mine, lot so tunnels, great place to dump a body huh? Maybe the grandson has been here." Tony said making a turn off the freeway.
Tim snorted. "You watch too many movies."
It was nearly dusk when they knocked on Mrs. Baird's door.
"Mrs. Baird. Federal Agents." Tim called out knocking.
"Give it a rest Tim. That's like the twentieth time you've knocked. She's an old lady she probably went to bed hours ago."
"Tony, I've knocked five times and I didn't ride for three hours in a car with you to knock five times, give up and leave."
"Well excuse me grouchy pants." Tony shook his head and turned to look out at the acres before him when his ears picked up the sound of a cane on hardwood.
"See I told you just to keep trying." Tony said headslapping McGee.
"What! You-." McGee started indignantly.
"Shhh." Tony shushed as the door opened a crack.
"Yes?" A wobbly voice spoke from the darkness. "Who is it?" Tony and McGee both had to look down at the petite woman who couldn't be much over five feet tall.
"Mrs. Baird, I'm Agent McGee and this is Agent DiNozzo. Can we come and ask you a few questions?"
Mrs. Baird adjusted her glasses and leaned forward to study the badge held to her.
"Of course Agent McGee come right in. I was just fixing some tea. Would either of you like some? I make it fresh."
"No, thank you ma'am."
A few minutes later they were all three seated in the living room, each with a cup of tea. Mrs. Baird insisted they take a few sips before the business at hand to make sure they properly appreciate the flavor of her tea.
"…and that's really the difference you see Tony, fresh leaves, I never buy the packaged stuff." She shuddered.
Tony exchanged glances with Tim as he sat his cup down.
"Umm, yes ma'am. We wanted to ask you a few questions about your grandson. Do you know where he might be?"
"Kyle? I haven't seen him in years. I told someone that on the phone." She said frowning slightly.
"Yes, ma'am, you did. We were wondering if you could give us an insight into his personality."
"Well I did raise the boy. He and his brother Cal. Kyle was such a wonderful child so loving." She said indicting the picture handing in the room showing a much younger version of herself with two young boys. "Never had a minute's trouble out of him. He did have a bit of a temper but only when provoked. You never did tell me what this was about. Has Kyle done something?"
"We don't know yet Mrs. Baird." Tim said.
"Well he's not in the Navy so I can't imagine what they NCIS would be doing looking for him." She said looking from one agent to the other.
"You're grandson was in a relationship with a Navy Officer, she's missing and we wondered if you could tell us anything."
"Hmm… Oh! You're cups are empty, let me get you some more." She said starting to get up.
"We're really fine Mrs. Baird."
"Nonsense, there's a pot of perfectly good tea in the kitchen and it would be a shame for it to go to waste since I have such nice company here."
Tim started to stand. "I'll help you Mrs. Baird."
"Oh no dear, it's fine. Why don't you two finish the cookies?" She called from the kitchen.
"They are good cookies." Tony said picking up another one. Tim shook his head and sat back down.
"When this case is over maybe we should introduce Mrs. Baird to Ducky. You know, since they both seem fascinated with tea." Tony clarified.
Tim opened his mouth to reply when the elderly lady stepped back into the room with the two refilled tea cups for her guests. They each took a few obligatory sips before Tony pulled out a photo and set it on the coffee table.
"Victoria Reed went missing a few days ago. She and Kyle were in a relationship. We wanted to talk to him about it."
"Oh dear." She said looking at the picture.
"Have you ever seen her?" Tim asked. His words slurred at the end. Tony looked over at him frowning but Tim wouldn't make eye contact and kept staring at Mrs. Baird. His eyes seemed unfocused.
"No, no I haven't." Mrs. Baird said still looking at the picture.
"You don't know where Kyle might go, where he might be?" Tony said drawing his attention back to the older woman.
"I already said no!" She said agitated. "He is not here, but more importantly he is not a murderer. He certainly didn't kill this-this woman." She said angrily.
Tony was silent looking at the picture.
"How do you know she's dead?" Tony asked quietly.
She looked surprised.
"What, well you said…"
"No, no I never said anything about being dead. We just said she was missing."
"You said you haven't seen your grandson." Tony interrupted. "Why didn't you just assume they had run off together?"
She stared at him before slowly smiling. It looked warm but something about it chilled Tony to the bone.
"Oh dear." She said very quietly and darkly. "I'm afraid I've tipped my hand."
Tony stood up and immediately wobbled. Wow, dizzy, why?
"Was the tea too strong for you dear?" She asked sweetly.
Tony turned to look at Tim and was horrified to see him slump forward. The room began to spin around him. Tony was unconscious before he hit the floor.
Thanks again for reading. I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Please let me know what you think! :)