A/N: huzzah! I'm not dead! I just had a hellish semester, but only three left and I graduate college! Here's an extra long chapter for you guys, consisting of 3k words instead of my usual 2k. Have fun with it!
Tony spent the rest of the night with Gibbs, he took a shower in Gibbs' shower, wore Gibbs' pants, slept in Gibbs' bed. The best part was, in the morning he woke up smelling faintly of old bourbon and sawdust, mixed with something slightly musky and completely edible, like an expensive cologne.
'Eau D'Gibbs, guaranteed to bring out the bastard in you and make you completely irresistible.' Tony thought with a smile, rolling over to wrap his arm around the warm body next to him and nuzzle into his neck, feel the steady pulse beneath his lips. Only... His arm met air and then a cold section of sheets where Gibbs had laid only a few hours before. Making an unhappy noise, Tony opened his eyes to inspect the room. No signs of a struggle, but he couldn't hear anything going on either, except for what might be the faint hum of the coffee pot. But that was still across the house, through a closed door and downstairs.
Grumbling, Tony sat up and stretched, hands linked above his head and pulling back, grimacing at all of the little pops and crackling sounds that reverberated through his joints. As he released his grip he heard the door open downstairs and so he got up, slipping to Gibbs' bedroom door and opening it just a crack to better smell who or what was coming.
Gibbs... And Starbucks... And... Something sweet, slightly fruity, maybe even deep fried. "Donuts?" Tony asked, opening the door all the way and sticking his head out. "Boss, you got donuts?" Gibbs looked up the stairs at him almost quizzically, eyes narrowing some to try and figure out how Tony knew.
"You part bloodhound or something DiNozzo?" He asked, setting the box down on the kitchen counter, as Tony descended the stairs in just the pair of borrowed sweatpants, hair a mess, in order to grab one of the confections.
"Nah, but I was a cop in Baltimore remember?" Gibbs swatted his hand away as Tony reached for the box, causing the vampire to pull away with a melodramatic yelp of mock pain.
"Not until you're at work." Gibbs chastised, causing Tony to pout and reach for the box again.
"Come on Jethro, just one? I promise I won't get any sugar on the floor." Tony wheedled, giving Gibbs his best puppy dog eyes in order to convince him.
"They're for the whole team." The look Gibbs was giving him told him to drop the subject because he wasn't going to win, so Tony let it go for now, knowing he'd be getting one soon enough. Instead he wrapped his arms around Gibbs' neck and gave him a soft kiss good morning, smiling at how domestic and wonderful this all seemed. Gibbs set his coffee down and settled his hands on Tony's hips, caught somewhere between pulling him close and pushing him off.
"You're going to need to get going Tony. The director wants you to pick up that file for her and I won't like it if you're late. You won't get any donuts either. After Ziva and McGee get them they're going into the break room."
After huffing and grumbling his displeasure, Tony released his grip on Gibbs and went to find his clothes, pulling them on and grabbing up his keys as he put on his shoes. "I guess I'll see you in an hour then Jethro." He said, coming back to look at his boss, while the older man sipped his coffee and watched him impassively.
"Yeah, you will. Get outta here DiNozzo."
"There better be a raspberry donut in it for me when I get there"
"Get there on time and there just might be."
Tony hesitated, wondering if it was too soon for a hug and a goodbye kiss, or at the very least a goodbye kiss. Never before had he felt so unsure of what the next move should be. Working at NCIS had taught him to anticipate in his working life, how to read people and figure out what they wanted or needed to hear. But in his day to day life, the bleed through was far less clear. While he knew what task Gibbs would send him off on during a case, or could tell what a suspect was about to say, his relationship with Gibbs was unsteady yet, like a boat that had just sprung a leak. Yeah, you can still get across the river, but unless you plug the leak and get things running smoothly, you aren't going to get any further than that.
'Oh god' he thought, nearly groaning, 'I'm using boat metaphors, I've been hanging around with Gibbs too much... I can almost hear McGee reminding me that they're similes and I need a vacation...'
A softer than usual smack to the back of his head brought him out of his thoughts. "Is there a problem DiNozzo?" Gibbs asked, standing in front of Tony with a raised eyebrow.
"No, not at all, I was just thinking and it wasn't anything worth sharing, it won't happen again" Tony covered, rubbing the back of his head sheepishly. Gibbs shook his head in mild disbelief.
"Oh, it will." Gibbs stated, leaning in and giving Tony a brief peck on the libs before turning him around and sending him towards the door. "Now get outta here before I change my mind and eat the raspberry donuts."
"You wouldn't!" Tony exclaimed looking over his shoulder in shock before smoothing the scandalized look into amused agreement, "okay, okay, I'm going." He laughed, opening Gibbs' door, and heading out to his car.
It was close to an hour before Tony was finished showering, changing and getting ready for the day, and by the time he made it to Monroe University Hospital, the morning rush was already in full swing. People who had gotten drunk the night before and injured themselves were now sober and realizing to what extent, among other car crash victims and various levels of abuse and accidents. Tony paid the ER no mind and walked past the non-emergency entrance, lingering just a moment as the scent of fresh blood hit his nose. He stood there, intoxicated and breathing deeply, both wanting it and knowing that he couldn't. Shaking himself out of it, he walked slowly to the elevators and pressed the up button, tuning out the beeping and whirring, the harsh fluorescent lights, and the scents that were both appealing and repugnant to listen to the elevator make its approach from the lower parking garage as he resisted the urge to turn and stare back towards the ER.
There were people inside already, and one sounded very angry, while the other seemed scared. Maybe an abusive relationship? The angry one hit the wall of the elevator after the girl tried to say that something wasn't 'Dee's' fault. When the doors opened he could just smell the addiction rolling off of them both, from the girl more than the guy. She was caught in the throes of either cocaine or heroin, and he could smell it rotting her from the inside out. If the guy was using he was still early enough to not show many of the symptoms.
He stepped in and raised a hand to press the button for the third floor but dropped it again as soon as he saw that it was lit, focusing instead on keeping a straight face, instead of wrinkling his nose at the smell. Thick and acrid like a corpse in the desert, unwashed and half eaten by vultures. He swallowed hard, extremely tempted to rub his stomach in order to make a vain attempt at settling it. Instead he just used all of his willpower to keep from heaving and prayed for a quick two floors.
"Why didn't you push it?" The girl asked, looking up at him with a nearly childlike innocence.
"It was lit." He replied, not wanting to get any more involved with these people than he already was.
"Oh..." The response was quiet, and the girl rocked in place for a moment, before chewing on her fingernail, giggling softly. "I woulda pushed it anyway."
Tony held back a sigh and decided to humor her instead, assuming that she wouldn't stop pestering him anyway. "And why is that?"
"To watch it light up." There was another giggle, and she turned away from him, allowing him to lock eyes with her friend, for just a second. They shared a smile, Tony's reflexive and more amused than he should be in this situation and the man's almost menacing, obviously fed up with the girl's antics. Soft, low toned beeping began to ring through the cabin, and both males turned to look at the girl. She was amusing herself with pressing all of the elevator's buttons. This was going to be a long ride. The other man smacked her arm down and yanked her away from the buttons.
"Why don't you get her some help." Tony suggested, voice low and serious, nodding slightly towards the girl. "ER's on one."
The man looked around, amusement and a bit of disbelief showing through his dirty features. "You talkin to me?" He asked, voice low and hoarse, with just the faintest hint of an Irish accent.
"Yeah, I'm talking to you Bobby." He replied, nowhere near as thrilled as he normally would have been due to the situation. These two were definitely dangerous. Addicts always were. He hated the way the little hairs on the back of his neck raised and a cold shiver ran down his spine.
"His name is Nick." The girl interjected, pointing up at the dirty man, and distracting Tony once again.
"Shut up Bernie." Nick told her, giving her a warning look.
"But he thinks your name is Bobby." She looked over at Tony now "Don't you?"
"No." Tony replied looking at Nick once more. "He thinks his name is Bobby. Don't you?" The elevator doors dinged open and Nick began dragging Bernie out by the arm.
"You don't think your name is Bobby do you Nick?" Bernie asked, trying to keep up with Nick while looking between him and Tony as they walked towards the nurse's station.
"Shut up, can't you see he's a cop?" Nick scolded in a harsh whisper, dragging her a little faster. Tony took his time as he stepped out, savoring the fresh, albeit disinfectant tinged, air. Lingering by the pay phone, Tony heard Nick say that they were there for a man named Devon Watson, and that he had called for the drug addicted girl, Bernie, to pick him up. When they started to protest, Tony came to lean against the counter. He had been there a few times before to pick up or drop off things for the director, and had gotten friendly with the nurses up until the point where Director Shepard dropped the bomb on him that she wanted him to ask out Jeanne Benoit.
"Is there a problem here Carly?" He asked, smiling at the young nurse.
"I don't know." She looked back at the two degenerates. "Do we have a problem?"
"No, no problem" Nick ground out, forcing another tight lipped smile and explaining how 'his girl' was just worried about her brother. Tony turned his head, only half listening to the conversation as he watched Dr. Benoit come out of a room. In another universe he would have dated her in a heartbeat. Maybe even loved her. But right now she was nothing more to him than a cute doctor whose father was La Grenouille, world renowned arms dealer, and Director Shepard's own personal white whale.
He watched as she sent off the riff raff with a ten minute warning before her kind but tired gaze settled onto him. "Picking up something else for your director? Or are you dropping off this time?" Jeanne asked, perusing her files for whatever report should have been ready.
"Picking up." He thought of Jenny's plan, where he was supposed to ask Jeanne out for breakfast as well as pick up some file on a case's medical records for some other team. This had been the plan for months. Not that he had known that. But still, he wasn't doubting his choice, he adored Jethro, and nothing was going to come between them.
Jeanne had just handed him the file and smiled, as if she expected him to ask her out too. When he didn't she began to talk again. "So why did you call him Bobby?" She asked, head tilting to the side a little bit to indicate the addict and her boyfriend.
"He was doing DeNero in the elevator. 'You talkin to me? Are you talkin to me?' So I called him Bobby" She laughed and shook her head like she should have expected that answer.
"You can be so juvenile sometimes."
"Yeah but it makes me lovable." They stood there talking for a few minutes, Tony lingering due to a fresh scent of death in the air. Gibbs would have his head if he was much later, but there was something hinky going on and it made every cell in his body on edge. Whatever was about to happen it was a good idea to stay. Every one of his investigative instincts said so.
All too quickly alarms for a Code Blue sounded in the area, scrambling nurses and Jeanne alike to try and save Devon Watson. Tony followed slowly, lingering in the doorway for a moment before snatching the kid's bag to try and find any information he could on what in the hell was going wrong with this kid. He pulled out an old MP3 player, followed by a plane ticket that showed him coming from Caracas, Venezuela. Immediately things clicked in his head and he brought the bag back into the kid's room.
"How did he go south so fast?" He heard Jeanne asking the nurses.
"Flew in from Caracas three hours ago. Probably body packing heroin, bags must have burst." He could tell by the scent in the air that they had, and it wasn't going to end well. If he had mentioned it before there was a good chance he would have been leaving the hospital in a wheelchair instead of the mortician's van.
Already late to work, he decided to stick around for another couple minutes and make sure everything stayed calm with the drug addict and the probable dealer. She was in bad need of a fix, even from across the room he could tell that the kid was toast. Unlike the fetid odor of the long dead and the long dying, the recent and unexpected deaths had a sweeter overtone to them, the enzymes that broke their food up into sugars were still working, but only on more of the tissues than they were supposed to without the body's activity to keep it in place. You weren't supposed to drink blood from a dead body and unless he was starving he rarely considered it, but the urges to were never greater than when that dead body smelled so good. He preferred them gruesome for just that reason.
He'd need to feed tonight.
He had just said his goodbyes and walked away when Jeanne slipped into the elevator with him and told him about Bernie and Nick trying to make their way to the morgue. The junkie and her dealer friend sure were persistent. Their need to get back the shipment, even though it was tainted with the gastric acid of their friend-slash-brother's digestive tract made Tony's stomach twist into a knot and his nose nearly wrinkle. He couldn't fathom someone being that desperate for a fix.
He let Jeanne lead the way up until they drew close to the morgue where he protectively slid in front of her, drawing his gun and miming for her to be silent. He crouched without a word and got in position to kick the door open and call for a surrender when Nick crashed the door backwards with a kick of his own, stunning Tony for just a moment. That moment was all that was required for Nick to reach around the door and grab Tony's gun from his hand and point it at him, finger on the trigger.
"All right, get inside, the both of ya. And no funny business." He sneered, moving for them to pass. Tony hesitated as he did, noticing for the first time what the scent of drug rot had covered up and distracted him from.
The way the hair on the back of his neck stood on end. The way he smelled so subtly of power that no human would be able to grasp what it was. The power that made them want to flee in terror or fight the imagined shadows running around them ready to strike. It was a primal instinct that awakened at the subtle abnormalities about this man he had been too preoccupied to notice before. The slight tinge of red around his irises, the way his eye teeth were a bit longer than they should be, the faint point his fingernails were at.
The man in front of him was a vampire.
And he was royally fucked.
"How nice of you to join us. The good doctor and the cop. You," he gestured to Jeanne briefly with the pistol, before pointing it back at Tony, knowing he was the bigger threat, "call off security and don't play the 'I didn't call them' game with me, I know you'd be lyin."
In a private jet that was coming in on the final approach, two men sat discussing some photographs. A bald man holding the photographs and a well dressed man holding a cigar sat on the leather seats observing the ones put into his lap.
"This is Anthony DiNozzo. I have it on good authority that he is under orders to ask out Jeanne today." The bald man stated, handing over the first photograph, a security photo of Tony at the hospital leaning on the counter of the nurse's station to flirt with Jeanne. They're both smiling, Tony a bit too wide and Jeanne like she can't believe what kind of lines he is using on her.
"And what do you think?" The man with the cigar asked, carefully examining the NCIS agent in the photograph.
"He has had many partners, of both sexes, though he brags about the men as if they were women." This series of photos were private investigator photos of Tony's various flings, all with that same too wide smile. "He never lets himself get attached, and although he never intentionally harms his partners, the road to hell is often paved with good intentions." The bald man reported, as his employer picked up a glass of wine from its secured spot and sipped at it with a frown.
"He's apt to take the misfortunes of others close to him as things he could have prevented. Criticism gets taken to heart when it's from someone he trusts, and overall, he's a bit of a white hat."
"Well..." The well dressed man mused, setting his wine glass back down and picking up his own hat, carefully placing it on his head. "I happen to like white hats."
"Yes... But do not worry. I have a plan that will keep young Anthony away from your daughter."