"Leon…" Gibbs said, staring at his boss, leaning against the railing overlooking the bullpen, hoping beyond hope the tall, dark, pale and annoying man downstairs isn't someone he has to work with.
Leon's look answers him, but he adds the words just to make sure the idea is clear. "You are stuck. You've had three weeks and have gotten no closer to unstuck. You need fresh eyes and supposedly those are the best eyes on the planet."
"What the hell is a consulting detective, anyway?"
"I believe it's British for massive pain in the ass. And since the vic is British, and since they've got their panties in a twist, and since we are stuck, you are going to let him help."
"Fine." They headed down to meet the consulting detective.
"Sherlock Holmes, Leroy Jethro Gibbs." Introductions made, Vance settled in, leaning against Ziva's desk, to watch the fireworks.
Sherlock looked at Gibbs, then looked at Vance, and said, "No wonder you haven't gotten anywhere with this."
Vance raised an eyebrow.
"Your lead investigator is an out-of-touch, technophobic, borderline alcoholic, caffeine junky, with severe authority issues." Sherlock stood between Gibbs and Vance so he can't see Gibbs shrug at that. Not like he's wrong.
"Gibbs has the highest solved case rate in this agency."
Sherlock turned to Gibbs and looked him up and down, disdain radiating off of every inch of his body. "Because most criminals are easily intimidated idiots who can be stared into submission by a properly trained alpha personality. Alpha personality type, honed by the Marines, made sharper by personal loss, and a constant need for vengeance. I imagine that many men find being stared at by him deeply disturbing, and five minutes in will say anything to make it stop. A case requiring actual brains would be entirely out of his league."
Gibbs raised his eyebrow this time. "And you've got those brains?"
"And then some."
"Tell me something I don't know."
Sherlock glanced around the bullpen.
"Your second-in-command is sleeping with the Israeli."
Sherlock raised an eyebrow, surprised to know the older man knows that.
Gibbs nodded. He's known about it for the whole six months it had been going on.
Vance looks from DiNozzo to Ziva, shocked, he had not known, suspected, sure, but known, nope.
"Knew that, too."
Vance's eyes went wider.
Ziva started to stand, and Vance put a hand on her shoulder. The British Ambassador was already annoyed with them on this case, killing the consulting detective less than thirty seconds after he arrived was not going to make anything better.
"Yes, but I didn't know that!" Tony said, looking like the combination of fear and anger coursing through him right now might be enough to make him stroke out. "Go tell someone else's secrets.
Sherlock looked at Tim. Tim's eyes went wide, more or less begging Sherlock not to say whatever he might be seeing.
"Tech Support is terrified I'll tell his secrets."
"Knew that. Probably know the secrets, too."
"Boss…" Tim said, glancing at him for help.
"Terrified I'll let the Second-in-Command know." He glanced at Tony. "Interesting, he doesn't know. Big Boss doesn't, either. But you and the Israeli do. Tension between those two. Second-in-Command used to bully Tech Support. Not a shock really, too many homoerotic feelings for the alpha male for him to deal with, no good outlet for them, so he bullies the only beta male he has easy access to." Sherlock turns to Tony, "All male boarding schools, competitive sports, and your entire adult life in law enforcement. Lost your virginity to another boy when you were fourteen… fifteen. Spent the next twenty-five years sleeping with every woman you could get to prove to yourself you were straight. Five years ago came to terms with being bi, but judging from the way the Israeli is staring at me you haven't mentioned it to her, yet. "
"I have a name," Tony said, jaw clenched, vein throbbing at his temple.
"Of course you do, but it's boring, and I'll forget it in ten seconds."
"You still haven't come up with anything I haven't already found out for myself," Gibbs said.
"Boss!" Tony said. Gibbs shrugged a little, of course he knew Tony had a crush on him. They can deal with it later.
"Five minutes ago, you didn't know I could read your team as well as you do just by glancing at them. It took you what, a year for Second-in-Command, a few weeks for the Israeli because she's a kindred spirit, and closer to four years for Tech Support, but only because he's better at blending into the woodwork than you are at seeing everything, to read them that well."
Abby chose that moment to come up. "Hey Gibbs, I heard—"
Sherlock took one look at Abby, glanced up and down, taking in her outfit and then said, "And she's the cause of the love bite Tech Support is hiding on his neck."
Tony snorted, and looked at Tim. Jokes, he can make jokes and get this back to something he can handle. "That's your big secret?"
Sherlock turned to him. "Of course not. That's the only one he doesn't mind you knowing about. It's the matching nipple rings he doesn't want you to find out about."
Tony just stared at Tim, dumbfounded. Would have been funny if Vance, Ziva, and Gibbs weren't doing it, too. Tim did his best to not spontaneously combust from embarrassment, while Abby came over to him, took his hand, and beamed a smile at everyone.
Meanwhile, Gibbs was staring at Sherlock. The nipple rings must be awfully new, because he didn't know about them, yet. Abby usually tells him stuff like that. He looked both Tim and Abby over very carefully, trying to figure out what Sherlock saw, but for the life of him he can't find it. Course, he also doesn't want to be looking at either of their chests that carefully.
Gibbs was, against his will, impressed by this.
And Sherlock was reading Gibbs. "You didn't know about the rings? Not surprising, they've had them for less than a day. So it's just the relationship you and the Israeli know about, then?"
"Of course, McGee."
"Since before you asked her out for the first time," Sherlock answered. "The only reason everyone in the universe doesn't know everything there is to know about you is that you blend into the background so well no one bothers to really look. And of course, you spent your whole life dealing with different versions of Second In Command, so hiding in plain sight is a defense mechanism for you. But given you're married to the Goth, apparently your natural inclination is to be more visible."
"Married!" Tony said loudly. Thank you God! Something other than me for everyone to pay attention to!
"Of course they're married. Anniversary was Sunday, hence the rings. Aren't you paying attention, at all? It's perfectly easy to see if you just look."
"Then I'm blind. What are you seeing?"
"Goth girl is wearing a bra, but it's not quite the right size, she isn't comfortable in it. So why is she wearing it? Left nipple area is slightly larger than right, something happened there. Tech Support is similarly lopsided today, and also wearing a t-shirt under his button up. Padding is likely from some sort of bandage. One of them might be anything, both of them, same nipple, means a piercing. Goth Girl might do it for kicks, but Tech Support isn't that guy. He's not into piercings, at least not on him. If they both have them, it's important to him. Boss and the Israeli both know about the relationship, so it's not new. They've been keeping the relationship a secret, can't wear a traditional ring, but they got rings, not bars, so married, not just long term. Did it yesterday, so anniversary. Plain now?"
"Uh, yeah. How long?" Tony asked Tim.
Tim looked at Abby, making sure she's okay with him talking about it. She nodded. "Five together. Three married."
"Why would you keep that secret?"
Tim and Abby stared at Gibbs. Tim stood up and leaned against his desk, arms crossed. Sure, he's not enjoying being laid open in front of everyone, but he's also probably got the least to hide. He doesn't want Sherlock getting into the depths of Gibbs or Ziva's life. And even if Abby might not have any dark secrets, he's not interested in seeing her get read like an open book, either. Time to take control of this. "You know all about me just at a glance, huh?"
"Yes Tech Support, you're painfully obvious."
"Well then, fire away. I bet I've got at least three secrets you can't figure out."
"Please. Let's start here, you obviously have daddy issues coming out the ears. Otherwise you wouldn't be keeping your marriage a secret. You're here, in this job, even though you're unsuited for it, because you've latched onto Gibbs as a stand in father. The relationship doesn't entirely work for you, you're still pretty scared of him, but it's light years better than the one you have with your real father.
"Your real father is another version of Second In Command and the reason why you can make yourself invisible at will. Don't have to fight with him if he doesn't notice you. He's horribly disappointed in you because, as smart as you are, and from what I can see, besides Goth girl, you're the only one in this group with three brain cells to rub together, you didn't go career military. You're here, so he's Navy or Marines, some sort of command rank, and this was your last olive branch to him. It didn't work."
"That all?" Tim was wearing his best I'm not impressed look, though really, he was. Granted, he knew Sherlock had already gotten something wrong, so it's not like the man's infallible, and that made standing there, taking it, looking bland and unconcerned easier.
"Left handed. The computer work you do here is too easy for you. You had a bagel and banana for breakfast. You practice with your gun at least an hour a week, Goth Girl goes with you, and you're both very good shots. The skull on your wall behind you is a present from her. You've lost a lot of weight recently, probably stopped drinking, too. You and the Goth are working on getting pregnant, so you're both taking better care of yourselves these days, but you still smoke when no one is looking, 'bout a pack a month, though she knows about that. You're a gamer, fantasy instead of first person shooters, most of the time, and you have a dog… German Shepard… or something similarly large and brown and black, at home."
"Uh huh? Anything else?"
"You're afraid of dogs. Your Goth is the reason you've got one. You're actually afraid of a lot of things, but like standing up here and keeping my attention right now, you'll do things you're afraid of if you think it'll work out well for others. Which makes me think you don't have any real secrets but the people around you do."
"Still haven't hit anything that anyone here couldn't have told you."
"You're an only child. Your father is horribly disappointed in you."
"Covered that already."
"Your mother is estranged, but mostly because your life revolves so much around your work here. You don't have any issues with her besides the fact that she didn't do enough to shield you from your father."
"You prefer rock and roll. Your mild demeanor camouflage, how you blend into the background. You like sex in public, leather trousers, own and wear your own makeup, and on your off time look a whole lot more like Goth Girl than you do now."
"You have at least two tattoos."
"Now you're just guessing."
"At least one was to impress her and one was for you and there's a third one either in the works or recently applied. One of them is stupid and generic, but as you got more comfortable with it, they became a real reflection of you."
"Five. Are you done?" Tim asks.
"One, I'm a best-selling author, three times over now. Two, no nipple rings, no piercings for either of us, we got new tattoos yesterday. Three, sure, I like rock and roll, but prefer jazz, electronic funk, or technica and since you notice everything I'm going to assume you just don't know what Venetian Snares is because obviously you saw it on the wall behind my desk. Four, I've got a younger sister. Meanwhile I don't see or notice everything, but I do know you've got no social filters, you're some sort of Savant, probably with Aspergers because you're too verbal for full on Autism, and if I let Abby go, she'll dissect your whole life in front of everyone starting with the fact that you've got an older sibling who's overshadowed you your whole life and ending with the fact that you're the family black sheep and no matter how smart you are you embarrass the hell out of them."
He nods to Abby, and she fishes his pack of cigs from the bottom drawer of his desk and hands it to him. Then he tossed it to Sherlock.
"Keep them. You can't smoke in here, but I'm hoping that if you break that rule, you'll be significantly less of a jerk."
Sherlock just stared at Tim.
"Secret number five, and this is really for my team, I read John's Blog and have known exactly who you are since you set foot in here. Though I'm wondering where the hell he is because from everything I can see they don't let you out without him because he keeps you from doing things like this."
And that shocked the entire team.
And then something fell into place. Abby was googling before Tim even had the chance to say it to her, and they both noticed the same thing at the same time. The last update on John Watson's blog was the day before the British John Doe in the morgue was found dead on the USS Simpson.
Abby and Tim looked at each other, and the other three felt the wave of dread and sympathy from them.
"Come on Sherlock, I'll take you down to Ducky," Abby said.
"What the hell was that, McGee?" Gibbs asked as Abby escorted Sherlock toward the elevator.
Tim rubbed his forehead. "If we're very lucky, that's not Abby taking Sherlock down to identify John Watson. If we aren't, then we don't have to worry about this case anymore because if that is John on the slab down there, Sherlock is going to kill everyone who had anything to do with his death, and then he'll get bored and start blowing things up for kicks."
"McGee?" Gibbs asked, not sure if Tim is being dramatic or not.
"Just hope, really, really hope that it's not John Watson down there."
"On a scale of one to oh shit, how bad is this?" Tony asked.
"If that's John Watson down there, the correct answer is probably FUCK!"
All three of his teammates and Vance stared at Tim, none of them ever having heard him curse before. Tim looked back at each one of them and then nodded. Then he looked at Tony and Ziva. "So, ummm, congratulations?"
"Uh. Yeah. Thanks. Back at you," Tony said.
Tim shrugged. "Couldn't do regular wedding rings, wanted something for our anniversary."
"What'd you get?" Tony asked.
"Can I see?" Ziva asked.
"No. When are you due?"
"That's eight months from now. How did you figure it out, Boss?"
"For the last two weeks she's been on decaf coffee."
Gibbs stood up and walked over to Tim, and gently slapped him upside the back of his head. "You didn't need to hide from me."
"Didn't want us getting reassigned or split up. He's been looking for an excuse to send me back to Cybercrime."
"Dating Miss… Dating Ms…Married to Ms. Sciuto wouldn't get you reassigned." Vance tripped over how to refer to the two of them. "You aren't her boss, she isn't yours, and you aren't in the same department. No problems. Then he turned to Tony and Ziva. "You two are a somewhat different story."
"A story that will be a moot point shortly. I have no desire to try being a field agent while pregnant. I was going to ask for a transfer soon."
Tony's eyes are wide. "You were?"
"What else could I do? I will not be in shape to chase down the bad guys soon."
"But what, Tony?"
"I… just… we didn't… Could we not do this in the middle of the bullpen with everyone watching?"
"My office is free," Gibbs added.
"People are going to want to use the elevator at some point, Boss," Tim said, having an idea of where this conversation might be going and fairly sure it wasn't going to be short.
"David, DiNozzo, go home, sort it out, come back tomorrow with a plan for me. McGee, you and Miss… Ms Sciuto have some paperwork you need to fill out. We're supposed to disclose the fact that you two live together every time you're both witnesses on the same case."
"Gibbs, get to autopsy and find out if we're going to have to prepare for Holmes to go nuclear."
Gibbs nodded and headed toward the elevator.
Vance sidled over to Tim's desk.
"Thank you. I'm sure that wasn't comfortable."
Tim shrugged. "We've all got secrets, none of mine are that big."
Vance nodded. And Tim began to wonder what skeletons might be hiding in Leon's closet.