Disclosure; None of the NCIS characters are mine. I merely borrow them for entertainment purposes and gain no monetary gain from this story.
Summary: This is one of those 'what if' stories. What if someone else heard the comments about Tony being a narcissist during the Season 6 episode Murder 2.0 and shared that information? What would be the consequences for Tony and what effects would it have for the team?
Warning: This is NOT a family friendly team fic. It contains some character analyses that may offend some fans especially of the L.J. Gibbs variety. If you think that you might be offended, you might want to skip this story. As usual this is Tony-centric and deals with psychological themes.
A/N This is a story that begged to be written and is already well on the way to being completed. It isn't overly long, in all approximately 15 chapters. The genesis was threefold. The 'narcissistic' remark came up in a previous story of mine and generated comments that indicated that it was not just me who was upset about the remarks which likened Tony to a serial killer in being narcissistic. It also sparked a discussion between one of my Betas and myself and finally, I reacquainted myself with the diagnostic for Narcissistic Personality Disorder, already knowing he failed to meet the most obvious ones. But in studying them again, I had an epiphany of sorts and this story was born. LOL This is a dark and angst-filled tale, so just giving you all a heads up that it isn't a happily ever after sort of story.
Have to extend major thanks here to Arress for beta reading this story but also for the conversations that help shape the story and for her feedback as it evolved. Finally, I have give her credit for the title of the story. I had another one in mind but when she suggested it I couldn't resist. Thanks for hanging in on this one since you're a Gibbs fan. All errors are mine. Hope you enjoy :)
Will the Real Narcissist Please Stand Up?
Former NCIS Field Agent Michelle Lee, currently back working in the Legal Department after being given two short-lived stints working for the much vaunted Major Crimes Response Team, had come down to Autopsy hoping to find Jimmy Palmer. She wanted to rekindle her affair with her ex-lover because she missed their secret trysts, which had been conducted right under the noses of Doctor Mallard and his old friend, Leroy Jethro Gibbs, the team leader of the Major Crimes Response Team, who haunted Autopsy on a frequently basis.
Sometimes he would come down in an attempt to try to hurry up his colleague with results he was impatient for when the team was stymied. At other times, it was simply to seek advice or insights from Doctor Donald 'Ducky' Mallard, who was also a trusted associate. Of course, if anyone dared to suggest to Leroy Jethro Gibbs' face that he needed counsel, he would probably kill them with one of his famous death ray glares.
The problem was that Gibbs had the most maddening habit of popping up at the most inopportune times, frequently when Jimmy was beginning to seal the deal, so to speak. Yet overall, it also added to the excitement and adrenaline rush every time they pulled it off or got it on, she giggled. Michelle wasn't exactly sure how or why they had broken up, except that Jimmy had muttered something about his friend Tony finding out about their trysting in Autopsy.
And for her, the fact that her little sister Amanda was being held hostage and she being coerced into stealing confidential data to keep her safe, plus the additional strain of being placed on Gibbs MCRT after the new director swept a new broom through the DC office, all contributed to her stress levels. Michelle had found these factors, which initially resulted in a rampaging libido that found itself making demands on her, even at work, now resulted in her hormones suddenly taking a nosedive and she found herself putting Jimmy off instead. Somehow it had all just fizzled out.
Now that Michelle had again been tossed off the MCRT and sent back to Legal for a second time, she was frustrated, and also more than a little nervous, because despite the fact that she had managed to divert attention away from herself by setting up Agent Langer, she couldn't help feeling like Gibbs wasn't entirely convinced about her. Of course, he was a taciturn individual who would probably suspect Mother Teresa herself, but with her little sister's life hanging in the balance, she was naturally nervous about anything that might threaten her wellbeing. So, Michelle decided that she needed to maintain some form of contact with the MCRT and Gibbs to try and discover if she was just being paranoid.
To that end, Jimmy was her entrée into the team because of Doctor Mallard's friendship with the team and also because of Jimmy's close relationship with Tony, which made hanging round with him the best way of her keeping abreast of what was going on. This time though, if she was successful in rekindling their relationship, she was going to encourage Jimmy to be more open about them, so she had an excuse to hang around with Gibbs' team and determine if he was suspicious of her. Of course, that made her sound like a cold-hearted bitch, and she guessed that to some degree she was, because she was prepared to do whatever it took to keep her sister Amanda alive, even if it had meant killing Langer. Nevertheless, she still cared about Jimmy.
He was a real sweet guy when all was said and done, and she really didn't want to hurt him. She had never thought she was capable of doing what she had been forced to do. She'd even told Ziva before all this started not to tell her how she could beat a lie detector test because as an Officer of the Court she didn't wish to be compromised. Michelle chuckled bitterly. Oh how holier than thou she'd been, before all of this began.
By habit more than anything, she silently entered Autopsy and didn't see Jimmy or Doctor Mallard anywhere. The legal officer thought that the autopsy assistant might be out back doing inventory, or the myriad of other things that were part of his duties, and so she slipped silently out the back just like she used to for their passion-filled assignations. If necessary, she could always leave a note in his locker, but it would be better to actually talk face to face about resuming their relationship. Unfortunately, there was no sign of Palmer and she decided to return after lunch and ask him to go somewhere for a drink after work. As she was moving stealthily across the room, she heard a voice and went to the door and peered out carefully, hoping that Jimmy had put in an appearance.
She gasped when she realized that Doctor Mallard had entered Autopsy and she watched the elderly ME sitting at one of the Autopsy tables as he listened to a spooky voice recording which she swiftly realized was the Cyber-Vid Killer. The whole building, not to mention the entire population of DC, was abuzz with talk about the lunatic.
I have something very special planned for you, Agent Gibbs. Michelle shivered at the chilling disembodied tone and words.
Doctor Mallard, meanwhile, seemed utterly engrossed as he leaned forward, questioning the voice in much the same fashion he interrogated his post mortem guests. "What do you have planned?" he asked the voice, his head was slightly cocked as if he expected to actually receive an answer.
"Well, I was hoping you could tell me…Duck." And then Gibbs appeared in that super creepy way he had of sneaking up on people that she found so freaky.
Lee remained still and silent, trying to keep her breathing light and regular so Gibbs wouldn't realize she was there. It would take some explaining if he found her in here, even if he wasn't suspicious already. If he was, well, it would definitely make matters worse. She could do this; it wasn't the first time she'd hidden down here when others were about, although it was the first time she'd been down here without Jimmy.
Somehow, that fact alone seemed to make the place much more creepier than she remembered. She refocused on the conversation taking place outside.
"This is a fascinating individual, Jethro."
Surprisingly, Gibbs seemed much more relaxed around the ME in private. "I can think of another word for him."
Doctor Mallard responded, "Crazy…Well, the precise term is Narcissistic Personality Disorder."
Much to Lee's astonishment, Gibbs actually chortled. "Oh yeah, well, I'm familiar with that, too," before exchanging a meaningful glance with his friend.
The good doctor chuckled, seeming to be very amused. "Yes, but where Agent DiNozzo has an excessive need for admiration, he has empathy as well. Something our killer lacks."
The team lead agreed. "It's all a game to him."
Their conversation about the Cyber-vid serial killer continued on, but Michelle stopped listening. Quite frankly, she was stunned. Had they really just suggested Special Agent DiNozzo had Narcissistic Personality Disorder like the killer? It was ludicrous.
While she definitely wasn't that shocked about Gibbs' opinion, all things considered, Doctor Mallard had a Masters Degree in Forensic Psychology. How could he honestly believe that for a minute? The man was NCIS's forensic profiler for heaven's sake? What did it say about the profiles he created if he was so off base about Tony DiNozzo?
The former field agent remained still and finally Gibbs departed, leaving the doctor alone. Soon Ducky disappeared into his office to make a cup of his precious Earl Grey tea, although he didn't mainline it like Gibbs did his coffee. He seemed to actually enjoy the ritual of tea making almost as much as the imbibing of the beverage itself. Lee took her chance and slipped out, relieved to have escaped detection.
Michelle returned to her office and continued to work on the current slew of search warrants which the various field agents required to continue with their investigations. While some of them pertained to routine or cold cases, many were urgent and were required ASAP, so she worked swiftly and diligently, ensuring that everything was in apple pie order and ready to be taken down to a judge for a signature. She would send the pile of warrants off to one of the probie paralegals, who would in turn ferry the warrants down to the court house. She smirked, recalling how during her own probationary period she had been on the Probie Run, too, and how long it often took for a judge to sign off on every warrant. The probies all hated it when they had warrants pending for Gibbs' team because he would take great delight in torturing them, although when it was urgent, Tony often would run the warrant down to the judge personally, using his considerable charm to speed things up. Or he would use his vast network of contacts to help expedite the process if one of the junior team members was instructed to get it signed.
Sighing with relief, she gathered the pile of completed warrants and placed them in the in-box of the probie who was rostered on to do the Probie Run today before she returned to her desk to fetch her handbag and jacket. It was lunch time and ever since Michelle had first met Lieutenant Commander Faith Coleman from the Judge Advocate General's Corps, they'd hit it off and formed a firm friendship. Once a week without fail they would go to lunch together. She would go eat at JAG HQ in the Navy Yard or the Lieutenant Commander would come to NCIS. Sometimes they'd leave the Navy Yard and head out to one of the many local eateries where they'd try out an ethnic smorgasbord of cuisines, since both of them possessed adventurous palates. Today, Faith was snowed under with preparation for an upcoming case so Michelle was meeting her at the JAG cafeteria to save time, and she was actually hungry for a change.