Gone (and Swept Away)
Chapter 15 - Secret Lives
By Taygeta

Author's Note: Many apologies for the huge delay on updating this. Real life took over and I was unable to get to it until recently. I tried to make it extra Tiva fluff to make up for it….and guess what? Shmiel's back.

Disclaimer: The characters and this show are not mine.

"Can't live without you…I guess."

Tony could hear his own voice, saying this line, echoing from the past. It jolted him awake when he opened his eyes in those mornings he knew she should be there, often asleep, lying beside him. And even in the mornings when it was her snoring that woke him up, he heard it still underneath the volume of sailor and emphysema.

Hearing that Tony of the past, he would then hear himself in the present, revising that qualifier: "I know."

He wished he could grab his former self by the collar, tell him to man-up sooner rather than later. He wished he could tell his younger self how wonderful everything felt, how sure he was even though he was scared to death of the same things: of losing her, of losing himself, of changing everything for the chance of something better.

In this morning, she had opened her eyes to see him staring at her. They looked at each other for a few minutes and then he saw her smile before grabbing his arm to hold her closer…as if that was somehow possible, as if he could have held her closer than he had already been holding her.

He kissed the top of her head, his face lost in her hair, and then he heard her say, "We need to go to work."

"Mmm…let's call in sick," he replied, kissing her shoulder.

She turned to look up at him, lightly chiding, "…and that is the kind of behavior that gives just cause to why people might disapprove that we're doing this."

"Doing what?" he asked, kissing her neck.


And then suddenly, he found his aptly-nicknamed ninja on top of him.

They were a little late for work that morning.

"Sorry, McGee. Got stuck in traffic. Some weird accident on the road," replied Tony as he walked in. Ziva had arrived a few minutes earlier.

"You and Ziva, huh?" said McGee.

"What's that supposed to mean?" said Tony forcing a certain level of nonchalance as he put his backpack down and his gear away. He added for good measure, "Got something to say McGoober?"

McGee shrugged, "Nothing. You being late, par for the course – 'accident' and all. Ziva? It must have been something weird."

Ziva sat quietly amused and then said, "Weird is a – relative – word, McGee. Some people's definition of 'weird' is another's definition of…standard."

McGee looked confused, but chuckled anyway just in case there was a joke he was supposed to get.

Tony raised his eyebrows as he looked at Ziva, wondering that if this morning had just been standard, the standard bar was being set pretty high.

And he liked it.

Just as Tony was about to sit down, Gibbs walked into the room, "Picked a hell of a day to be running late."

Ziva looked up, "What happened?"

"We've got contract killer Xavier Hunter in interrogation," said Gibbs.

"On what grounds?" asked McGee.

Gibbs said matter-of-factly: "On the grounds that he killed someone…"

The team watched as Gibbs interrogated Xavier Hunter in the room. It turns out that the DC Metro authorities were able to trace one of the murders to Xavier Hunter and Gibbs had a friend in the department that was more than willing to send Xavier off to Gibbs for interrogation, knowing that it would likely yield more results despite the interesting shift in jurisdictions.

"What is this place? What am I even doing here?" Xavier asked as Gibbs walked in carrying a file folder.

Gibbs sat down, "You're at NCIS and I'm doing a friend in the DC Metro department a favor and asking you a few questions on their behalf."

"This has to be illegal," said Xavier. "I want a lawyer."

"Well we can get a lawyer in here, but that might not help you out with all these cases that I'm pretty sure we can tie to you."

Xavier shook his head and laughed, "Whatever."

"Mr. Hunter, I have one of the top forensic scientists in the field working on my team. She was able to trace the DNA evidence collected by the DC Metro to at least 3 killings in the unsolved cases database."

On the other side of the glass there was an Abby cheering party.

"Go Abbs," said Tony.

"I knew Abby was good, but I didn't know she was that good," said Ziva.

"I just checked in with her. Gibbs had her running tests since we got his name," explained McGee. "The DC Metro police took him in after his girlfriend pressed charges against him for assault. They were able to get a DNA sample in the process and red flags started picking up in the system."

On the interrogation side of the glass, Xavier Hunter began squirming.

Gibbs read a few names from his file folder, "Mickey Rivers. Doc Song. Amy Tyler. These sound familiar?"

"What do you want from me?"

"I might be able talk to my friend on taking the time to work with you on a deal if you help me out."

"Try me," said Xavier.

Gibbs slid over a photo that Tony and Ziva had taken, one that included both Captain Gomez and the mystery so-called undercover agent.

Xavier shrugged, "What do you want with the Captain and Charlie?"

"Well, what do you know about them?"

"The Captain there is kind of a shady deal even though he's got that whole uniform type. I grew up with him. He has some hand in moving product around."

"Did you help him with this?"

Gibbs slid a crime scene photo of Abrams lying on the floor with his wounds.

Xavier glanced at the photo and made a face, "No chance I'd own up to it if I did, but this isn't how I do my jobs. All those knife marks – that's messy."

"And…what about that guy – Charlie?"

"Charlie Winters. Met him a couple of years ago when he was doing some work for George Diaz's crew. I told him he was crazy working with those guys."

"What kind of work does he do?"

"He works on the – uh – retail side. A negotiator of prices and deliveries if you will – that's why I set him up with the Captain…"

"Well, thanks for your help, Xavier," said Gibbs.

Xavier looked at him and said, "So you're gonna help me out?"

Gibbs laughed, "You? No. Should have thought about all that before you decided to kill all those people for profit."

And with that Gibbs left the room.

After some research and a name to add to Abby's ID search, they were able to dig up more information from the so-called undercover agent.

"Charlie Winters…" said Ziva. "A few charges and arrests related to trafficking of drugs across the border, some time spent behind bars, but not much."

"Parents are deceased and he has a sister named Ronda in the mid-West, not much more backstory than that," added Tony.

"But…" said Abby with much fanfare as she hit a button on McGee's keyboard. "I present to you Paul Warren."

A photo appeared on the screen with the two sides of Paul Warren/Charlie Winters. As Paul Warren he was clean-cut and in a suit. As Charlie Winters he had a mug shot with a rough jaw and wild messy hair.

"Paul Warren worked for the FBI for a number of years and then fell off grid," said McGee.

"Nothing about what happened to him?"

McGee shook his head, "It's like he dropped off the face of the planet."

The elevator doors then opened and Gibbs stepped out with FBI Agent Fornell.

"You need to un-know all of this," said Fornell as he walked in. "Now."

Gibbs glanced at him and said, "Hey – this is my team if you haven't figured that out by now."

"Well then tell your team to step off and let us take care of our own."

"Or maybe if you let us in on this we don't have to un-know a damn thing and we can help your guy out," Gibbs shot back.

McGee, Ziva, Tony, and Abby looked on, their eyes going back and forth between Fornell and Gibbs as if they were watching a tennis match.

"I may have to go with Agent Gibbs on this one," a familiar voice stated.

Ziva and Tony looked up immediately to see Shmiel standing beside Vance. It wasn't Vance who had spoken those words.

"Shmiel?" asked Ziva walking toward him. "What are you doing here?"

Vance glanced at Ziva before his eyes turned to the rest of the team.

"For those who don't know, I'd like to introduce you to one of our nation's best Agents…Shmiel Pinkhas."

End of Chapter! Feedback appreciated!