Gibbs quickly entered the squad room and, uncharacteristically, ignored his team's banter. Gibbs announced that they were leaving. "Grab your gear!" Gibbs said forcefully. The rest of the team exchanged partially concerned and almost fearful glances. They made it to the elevator in almost record time to avoid getting on Gibbs' bad side, while he was in such a foul mood.
The team exchanged concern glances as Gibbs got them to the scene in record time as well. They found multiple police cars surrounding the scene of where the body lay with a smashed car in the side of a tree. At the crime scene, Tony, McGee, and Ziva processed the scene with very little conversation, as Ducky told Palmer of a story dating back to his early college days. Ducky stopped, finally examining the team that surrounded him, as well as the body in front of him.
"They are sure quiet today." Ducky shared his observation with Palmer, who was taken aback by this information.
"You are right, Doctor." Palmer responded, watching them all in a very over-obvious manner.
"Something wrong, Palmer?" McGee asked, slightly irritated with how he was being stared at.
"Ah, no. . .sorry I just noticed how. . ." Palmer started to say and cringed as he completed the sentence. "quiet everyone is today." Palmer acknowledged Ducky frustration with his inability to be more creative.
"Don't discourage that, Palmer. It is nice." Gibbs, in his foul mood, interjected. "What do you have McGee?"
"The body is that of Lieutenant Jeff Bourne. The same name was given on the 911 call this morning from his wife, and she did stab him multiple times like she also confessed in the phone call. The police just told that she was found covered in blood with the murder weapon in her hand, when they arrived. Pretty open and shut, huh Boss?"
"We still need a motive before I'll sign off to that. Have the suspect taken to interrogation." Gibbs snapped.
"Is everything all right, Jethro?" Ducky asked, when he now discovered the source of why the team was acting out of character. Ducky gave him an irritated look when he did not answer.
"Jethro!" Ducky said. "You are turning this into a rather uncomfortable day for everyone." Ducky said bluntly. Gibbs sighed and looked at a concerned Ducky.
"I a. . . " Gibbs started to say, but stopped before he could break rule six. Ducky smiled as Gibbs almost apologized.
"Director Vance." Gibbs said his name and shook his head, as if he was shaking off his anger. Gibbs resigned and finally emphasized the source of his anger. "Vance and his need-to-know policy. We have been at each other since he was shot."
"Ah." Ducky nodded in understanding. "Should I ask?" Gibbs laughed awkwardly from Ducky's comment.
"Gibbs, I just talked with the police officers. They said there has been a long history of domestic abuse. They were planning to hand over their past police reports to us." Ziva informed Gibbs.
"Good work Ziva. You and McGee, go with them to the police station." Gibbs ordered. "Here take the car." Gibbs handed the keys to Ziva, which concerned McGee especially after the wild ride that Gibbs already gave them on the way here. Gibbs looked over at DiNozzo snapping shots of the crime scene.
"You done yet, DiNozzo!" Gibbs shouted. This action surprised DiNozzo so much that it caused him to stumble backwards into the ditch on the side of the road, just from hearing Gibbs' voice. McGee and Ziva started laughing as DiNozzo continued to stumble out of the ditch shaking his now soaked shoe. When DiNozzo did not return with a funny or snarky comment, they shared a concerned look. McGee asked if he was all right, offering help by extending his arm to steady him. As he did this, Tony waved him off, moving backwards away from McGee. When he saw the confused look that McGee gave, Gibbs signaled to him that he and Ziva could go to the police station now.
"You all right there, DiNozzo?" Gibbs asked, slightly irritated but also starting to sense how uncomfortable and quiet his team was. Gibbs moved close to him, ready to help, but DiNozzo quickly avoided him.
"Yeah. And, I am finished, Boss." DiNozzo said quickly and a little sharply, without making eye contact with Gibbs, as he returned to the truck. His uncharacteristically quiet demeanor now had Gibbs' complete attention, as he was refocusing his concentration from his frustration with Director Vance.
As he returned some of the equipment to the truck, he did not realize that Gibbs, Ducky, and Palmer were standing immediately behind him. As he turned to find Gibbs there, he physically jumped backwards into the truck wall. Still not making eye contact, Tony steadied himself. Knowing that they were staring at him, DiNozzo turned to face them.
"Are—you-okay, Tony?" Gibbs asked again, in a very unthreatening tone, as he now grabbed a hold of both of DiNozzo's shoulders as he tried to steady DiNozzo from his second stumble.
"Yea—yeah. . .silly me." Tony said, still avoiding eye contact but adding a laugh in hopes to turn off Gibbs' radar.
"Get in the truck, DiNozzo." Gibbs ordered in irritation, finally releasing his grip on Tony's shoulders. Gibbs was now more concerned than before. As Tony jumped into the back of the truck, Gibbs noticed the critical stare that Ducky was giving him.
"He sure is jumpy this morning." Ducky confirmed what Gibbs had noticed.
"Almost accident prone." Gibbs added, knowing the observation did not match normal characteristics of his agent.
Giving Gibbs another visual examination, Ducky then shared his thoughts. "Something is in the air today." Ducky said as he shot glances both at Tony and Gibbs. Ducky treated Gibbs a wordless message that Tony's behavior was unrelated to Gibbs' foul mood this morning. As Palmer passed by Gibbs, he was surprised when Gibbs would not take the keys.
"You drive again, Palmer." Gibbs said with a half grin, as he also entered the back of the truck where the body was with DiNozzo, who was still avoiding eye contact and fiddling with his camera. Gibbs noticed how he tensed up when he sat directly across from DiNozzo. Gibbs and DiNozzo sat in silence, and DiNozzo never looked up at Gibbs. Palmer drove back to the Navy Yard, as Ducky sat next to him in the front, finishing the story he had begun earlier.
After unloading the truck and returning to their desks in the squad room, Gibbs finally could not contain his frustration with the unsociable and totally withdrawn DiNozzo.
"Hey, Tony. . ." Gibbs said more harshly than he intended. He was interrupted before he could ask the same question that he asked Tony multiple times before.
"I just found contact information for next of kin. And, I am searching through service records to see if he has more history of violence, Boss." DiNozzo reported to Gibbs, as he typed away on his computer.
Gibbs sat back in his chair just examining Tony and considering his behavior and how he just used a distraction technique. Watching the way that Tony seemed to hide from him behind his computer screen, Gibbs got up from his desk, walked slowly over to the file cabinet, and pulled that extra chair over to DiNozzo's desk. Gibbs sat down next to DiNozzo. DiNozzo started to fidget and tense up from the extremely close proximity to Gibbs, who now was looking at him and his computer screen.
"What have you got?" Gibbs asked softly watching DiNozzo.
"Uhh. Here is that contact information, Boss. And. . ." DiNozzo he swallowed hard, gave a mild laugh, and stated with his most confident tone, as he tried to hide how uncomfortable he was right now with Gibbs sitting next to him. However, it was taking all of DiNozzo's effort to not look back at Gibbs, who was staring at him so strongly right now.
"Here-here is his service record." DiNozzo said with a nervous laugh, as he started to flip and turn his pencil. Gibbs recognized how uncomfortable he was, how he still had not established eye contact, and how much he was fidgeting, simply by Gibbs being next to him. Gibbs continued to watch Tony, as he now ran out of ideas to process for the case, which seemed so cut and dry.
"Tony?" Gibbs said, as he became increasingly concerned with DiNozzo's agitated behavior. It did not go unnoticed that DiNozzo's body actually shuddered by hearing Gibbs' say his name again. "Talk to me, all right? What is on your mind?" Gibbs asked very slowly, emphasizing each word and now forcing eye contact with Tony as he came even closer now to DiNozzo.
DiNozzo refrained from answering as Gibbs had now established eye contact with him. He was scared that Gibbs could read his every thought. Under the intense stare, DiNozzo struggled to not answer and to not be readable to Gibbs. Tony retracted when Gibbs gave him a light tap on his cheek. Now, DiNozzo was trapped. He could not move back any further, and Gibbs seemed to be moving in closer.
"Oh yeah, fine Boss." DiNozzo returned with his light and almost cheery response, effectively ending the progress Gibbs was making at corning DiNozzo. As surprised as Gibbs was that DiNozzo was able to put up such a good front under all of his pressure, he did not like that his efforts had not gotten an answer or even improved DiNozzo's out-of character and distracted behavior partially. Before Gibbs could attempt another probe of his senior-field agent, the elevator doors opened. Gibbs noticed how DiNozzo sharply inhaled and his body seemed to relax when Ziva and McGee entered the squad room with the box of police reports. Tony jumped up and was ready to take the report from them to scan through. Although this action managed to get DiNozzo away from Gibbs for the moment, he now had three sets of eyes examining him. After recognizing that McGee and Ziva might have more success getting the closed-lip DiNozzo to talk or at the very least get him to start to act more normal, Gibbs announced that he was going to interrogation.
After being in interrogation, Gibbs had returned to the squad room to find that his team had completed their search through the police reports. They compiled all their evidence for the prosecutor. Noticing that there was someone missing, Gibbs finally asked the remainder of his team where he was.
"Where is DiNozzo?" Gibbs asked, looking at both of Ziva and McGee with concerned eyes.
"With Abby." McGee answered. "You were in interrogation, so she called Tony down. . ." McGee stopped himself before starting to ramble. "Is he. . .okay?"
"Why do you ask, McGee?" Gibbs asked, hoping that McGee could provide some insight.
"Well, for some reason, he is really tense. He keeps looking over his shoulder and is really jumpy." McGee said with a disbelieving laugh.
"I have noticed that as well. He is very alert and is constantly watching his surroundings. He almost seems scared earlier." Ziva added. "This isn't new though. There were several times last week that he seemed agitated, especially when we were out in the field. But today, he is just so withdrawn as well."
"Mmmh." Gibbs responded not realizing that she actually noticed the agitation before today. They watched as Tony reentered the squad room.
"This is from Abby, Boss." Tony said, slapping a file folder down on Gibbs' desk. Gibbs watched him suspiciously as he returned to his desk, eager to start his end-of-case report. Gibbs rolled his eyes and resigned from analyzing the cause of DiNozzo's odd behavior. As he did this, he noticed Director Vance was watching him from upstairs.