Warning: There is a minor character death involved in this story. I do not normally kill any characters in my fics, but I have no reservations about this character at all. Enjoy!

"Why in the hell did you do that, Tony?" Tim yelled as they came out of the elevator in the squad room. Gibbs looked up from the file he was working on. McGee was covered with mud—again, and Tony had a smirk on his face.

"It was an accident, Probie. Get over yourself."

"Knock it off, you two!" Gibbs said. "McGee, go take a shower."

"Absolutely," he said, grabbing his bag and heading for the locker room.

Gibbs turned to Tony. He was expecting a smart comment from his SFA. Instead he found him sitting at his desk, diligently sifting through his notes.

"What did you and McGee find?" he finally asked.

"Lieutenant Harris' wife hasn't seen him in two months. She didn't even know he was on leave. His neighbors were just as clueless."

Gibbs approached Tony's desk as he put his head back down and started organizing his folders again.

"What happened to McGee?"

"He fell."

"Into where? A swamp?"

"We were walking back to the car and we got into a petty argument. I got angry and shoved him. He fell into someone's front yard, that was still flooded from yesterday's rain storm."

"Do I have to separate you two again?"

"No, Boss. It won't happen again."

"See that it doesn't."

'Right, Boss."

Gibbs went back to his desk. He watched Tony from the corner of his eye as he worked. He'd started going through his old case files, the ones he'd shirked the paperwork on. For Tony to be catching up on old case files was unusual, especially when they were in the middle of an open case.

"DiNozzo! Get down to Abby and see if she's got anything for us."

"On it, Boss." Tony got up and boarded the elevator. As he left, Tim returned from the locker room. He stopped short of his desk when he saw the look on Gibbs' face.


"What, McGee?" Gibbs snapped.

"Everything all right?"

Gibbs was about to say he was fine, but he stopped himself. If anyone could get information about Tony, it was McGee.

"Did you notice anything wrong with Tony today?"

"Aside from him shoving me into the mud?"

"How'd that happen?"

"I called him out for not doing his part in questioning the neighbors. I did most of the work. He talked to the wife and that was it."

Gibbs wanted to yell at McGee for starting a fight, but he was becoming more worried about Tony as the minutes wore on.

"All right, McGee. Get back on those phone records and credit card statements. Find me something."

"On it, Boss."

Gibbs got up, deciding that it was time he talked to Ducky. He headed for the elevator. As he reached to press the button, the doors opened any Tony came out, grinning from ear to ear. "Abby matched the bullet from the Lieutenant to the murder weapon we found at the scene, Boss," he said, stepping from the elevator. "We've got him!" Tony handed him a file with pictures in it.

"Staff Sergeant Vincent Gifford," DiNozzo said proudly. "He served with Lieutenant Harris for three years."

Forgetting about his trip to Autopsy for the moment, Gibbs turned around. "McGee, get a hold of Gifford's commanding officer. I want to know everything about him."

"On it, Boss."

"Ziva, go talk to Harris' family again. I want to know if they knew Gifford."

"Yes, Gibbs."

"DiNozzo," Gibbs said, turning to Tony, who was still standing next to him in the middle of the squad room. "Good job."

"Thanks, Boss." Tony went to his desk and sat down quietly, grabbing the folders he'd been working on before. It almost seemed to Gibbs like Tony was trying to retreat from something.


Ziva and Tim had Gifford in custody by the end of the day. Gibbs let them go around nine that evening. Tony was the first one to leave, bolting out of the bullpen. Gibbs followed him into the elevator, to Tony's chagrin. As soon as the doors closed, Gibbs pulled the emergency stop. The elevator jerked to a stop.

"What's going on?" He asked Tony bluntly.

"Nothing," Tony said. "I'm fine. Why?"

"Don't lie to me."

"Not lying."

"You haven't been yourself today."

"I said I'm fine," Tony said again, a hint of irritation in his voice. The elevator opened at the parking garage and Gibbs followed him out.

"You don't sound it. What's going on, Tony?"

Tony stopped halfway across the parking lot.

"Can't you accept that I'm fine, Boss?"


Tony continued to his car and fumbled with the keys as he tried to unlock the door. Gibbs caught up to him, and gently placed his hand around Tony's wrist.

"Stop, Tony. Something is obviously bothering you. Please, let me help."

Tony dropped his head, not wanting to face Gibbs just yet.

"It's my Dad…" he started, but trailed off.

"What's he done now?" Gibbs said, annoyed.

"He's dead, Boss. Last week."

"What happened?" Gibbs asked.

"Apparently it was a heart attack. One of his business partners found my number in his cell and called me."

"Tony, I'm sorry."

"Don't be sorry, Boss. I'm not. I wanted him out of my life, and now he is, permanently." With that, Tony got into his car and drove off, leaving Gibbs alone in the parking garage.