Disclaimer : If you recognize it, I still don't own it. All characters remain intellectual property of CBS and their creators.

Title : Career Day

Summary : When Tim and Tony head to an elementary school to cover career day, trouble manages to find them. Gen. Set early season 3. Rated T for language and violence.

Author's Note : I have been working on this story for a while now. Since I'm working on it as I'm editing my newest casefic, I think it's time to post so I will force myself to actually finish it. This is absolutely a work in progress with no regular update schedule. Once I finish up with my BigBang entry, this will get worked on more regularly.

I may take some liberties with police procedure for this story. It's only meant to be fun so if something is inaccurate, I beg your understanding.

Review, as always, are appreciated.

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WARNING : There is violence/a hostage situation that takes place in a school. No children are harmed or involved, but it can be an upsetting subject.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2005 – 7:02am – Elevator – NCIS Headquarters, Washington, DC –

Holding a no-foam skinny latte, Very Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo waits patiently for the elevator to climb to the fourth floor. As he takes a slow sip, he savors the last few minutes of the morning that still belong to him. He knows once he hits the bullpen Gibbs owns the remainder of his day until he iss released from duty for a few hours' rest…before it all starts over again.

He cocks his eyebrows as the coffee hits his tongue, nodding at the delicate hint of cinnamon. Expertly crafted by his favorite barista, the drink tastes even better than her usual concoctions. He has a sneaking suspicion that it might be partially due to the phone number of the drop-dead gorgeous, new to the neighborhood brunette scribbled on the side of his cup. Grinning wickedly at himself at the polished metal surface of the elevator doors, he can't believe how well his morning is going so far.

When the elevator hits his floor, the doors slide open, sweeping his reflection away. He ducks out, checking his phone on the way to the bullpen. When there are no new calls, his features screw in confusion. While no news from Gibbs is good news, Tony half-expected to hear from the brunette by now…even though it has only been twenty minutes since he called.

He hopes that he hasn't messed up his chance with her by breaking the DiNozzo Golden Rule : wait at least twenty four hours before calling any woman back. Even though he probably should have waited, Tony figures that brunette could be married by tomorrow.

It will just be a matter of time before she calls…any woman who could resist the newest addition to his Zegna collection is just plain crazy.

Heading towards his desk, he grins at the empty bullpen as he ekes out the last few seconds of his morning. He shrugs off his coat, laying it over his chair. Dropping his phone into his desk drawer, he leaves it open just enough to ensure that the cell still has reception.

Just as he powers up his computer, Mossad liaison Ziva David glides into the bullpen. Earbuds buried in her ears, her head bobs in time with whatever pumps through them.

"Good morning, Tony," she shouts as she pulls off her jacket.

"Morning, Zee-vah," he replies, switching on his monitor. When her brow crinkles, he motions to his ears. Laughing, she rolls her eyes and plucks the buds from hers. "Morning, Ziva."

"Good morning, Tony." She studies him for a moment. "You seem to be in a good mood."

Raising his eyebrows, Tony shrugs noncommittally.

New suit. Good coffee. Beautiful brunette on his mind. No Gibbs in sight. A prank planned for Tim later that is better than his usual fare. Is there a better way to start his day?

"You have met a beautiful woman again, yes? What is this one's name?"

Meeting Ziva's gaze, he finishes his latte.

"Kendal. She should be calling just about any minute now." He grins seductively at her. "You know no one can resist the DiNozzo charm."

An evil glint blasts through her eyes as she heads towards him, exaggerating the swing of her hips as she moves. When she slithers behind his desk, she spins his chair around so he faces her. Leaning in close enough that he can smell the sandalwood on her skin, Ziva stares deeply into his eyes. Tony's breath hitches when her body shudders.

"You are correct, I do not know how I have resisted it for so long. Ever since I met you, I have been holding back…"

When she inhales deeply, Tony mimics the motion. Maybe he doesn't need Kendal anymore.

Ziva suddenly pushes his chair away, the peals of laughter following all the way to her desk. By the time she hits the opposite side of the bullpen, her hysterics echo throughout the office.

It isn't like he actually believed her, not in the least…

Just as he regains enough composure to offer a retort, his phone buzzes to life. Since he doesn't recognize the number, he motions towards it with a sly smile.

Probably Kendal returning his call from a different line.

Flipping the phone open, Tony locks eyes with Ziva. She presses her hand to her mouth, obviously trying to stop laughing long enough to hear his conversation.

"Very Special Agent DiNozzo."

"Tony?" The male voice on the other end makes him pause.

He pulls the phone away from his ear, double checking the caller's number. Finally noticing the first three digits are from an NCIS issue cell, he runs his hand over his face as Ziva erupts into another fit of giggles.

"Tony? You still there?"

"Yeah, you've got him. Who's this?"

"Steve Barrows."

Leaning back in his chair, Tony wonders why the jovial Special-Agent-in-Charge of NCIS' other MCRT would call him. Known as the "anti-Gibbs" to the probationary agents, Steve Barrows has a reputation for fostering professional and personal growth through mutual consideration and support. After all his years on Gibbs' team, Tony still doesn't understand how his boss and Barrows have nearly identical closure rates.

"DiNozzo, you still there? Or –"

"Yeah, Steve, I'm here. What do you need?"

"Well, I need to ask you a huge favor." A deafening sneeze from the receiver makes Tony hold the phone away from his ear. By the time he can hear again, Barrows is halfway through his request. " – damn flu and my team caught a big case. Can you believe a serial killer's targeting Marines down at Camp Lejeune?" There is another sneeze. "I can't seem to get over this – "

"Steve…what do you need?" Tony interrupts, finally understanding the rumors to the other agent's garrulousness.

"Well, I promised my daughter that I'd speak at her school's career day. Unfortunately, I'm halfway to Jacksonville with my team to take over the investigation down there. Third murder in as many days so we need –"

"So you need me to go to her school and tell her class how great it is to be a federal agent?"

"More or less…look, Tony, I already called the director. Since your team's on cold cases this week, she approved you and one of your teammates to take care of it for me. Something about how it helps our public image…who knows what the hell she means. Though you might not want to tell Gibbs until you two get back, you know he'll have it out with Madam Director." Barrows lets out a hearty laugh that dissolves into a round of hacking.

The thought of not telling Gibbs makes Tony screw his features in disgust. No one on the team can even hit the head without the boss knowing.

"Um, Steve, I don't think it's such a good idea."

"I'll owe you one," Barrows pleads, desperation evident in his voice.

Slumping back in his chair, Tony avoids Ziva's earnest gaze to study the ceiling tiles instead. While sneaking out on a work day would get him in trouble with Gibbs, he figures having another team leader indebted to him couldn't hurt…especially since he plans to have his own team someday. Someone as influential as Barrows could open a lot of doors for him later.

Plus, it isn't like those cold cases are getting any warmer.

"I think I can take care of that for you. How old's your daughter?"

"Izzy just turned nine, top of her third grade class." Barrows sounds proud as he relays the school's address. "Thanks again. I really, really do owe you one."

Grinning wickedly, Tony flips the phone closed.

"So Zee-vah, how do you feel about a career day with third graders?"

Her lips pull into a tight frown. "What kind of work shall we make them perform?"

It takes him a few moments to realize that she is thinking about child labor. Laughing heartily, Tony shakes his head at her confusion.

"Career day, Ziva. Like when parents go and tell their kids' class about how great their job is. Didn't your parents ever go to your school to - "

When he remembers who her parents are, the rest of the thought dies on his tongue. While espionage, political assassinations and Mossad might be appropriate for a classroom back in Tel Aviv, Tony doesn't think it would work in the United States.

"Well, I could always show them my training. I learned how to throw my first knife at seven. Perhaps that would be informative for the class to learn? It would make quite an interesting presentation," she offers, lifting her letter opener from her desk.

As she checks the weight balance on her fingers, Tony wonders how she makes even the most innocuous items seem deadly. Somehow he doesn't think Barrows would appreciate his eight year old learning how to throw a knife at boys from an assassin.

The wrath of one perpetually pissed team leader is more than enough.

"On second though, I think Gibbs'll probably need your help here…with the cold cases."

Grinning nervously, he watches her gaze drop to the file on her desk. While she flips through the pages, she clutches her pen like a weapon. The sweat pricks to his back and Tony loosens his tie, checking to see if there will be any witnesses to his demise.

When she shoots him a murderous stare, he decides that his junior agent is a much safer choice for an elementary school career day. As he pulls out his phone to call McGee, a paper ball hits Tony squarely in the head.

Glancing back to Ziva, he withers under her deadly smile. From the look on her face, she is probably pretending that it is something much sharper. Pressing his lips together, he collects his gear to head for the elevator.

With no potential witnesses, Tony figures that it is safer to wait in the garage.

Just as he arrives, the elevator doors ding to let out Special Agent Timothy McGee. Smiling brightly, Tim doesn't even disembark as Tony barrels into him, pushing them both into the car.

"Morning, Probster. We just got called out for a special assignment!"

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7:43am – Garage – NCIS Headquarters, Washington, DC –

"So where are we going?" Tim asks again, voice bordering dangerously on a whine.

The prospect of a special assignment excited him as they rode the elevator down to the garage. Though now as his shoes scrape over the asphalt on his way to the Charger, the thought of an unknown mission turns his stomach. Since Tony still won't answer any of his questions, Tim grows skeptical about the importance of their post.

Spinning around, his senior agent shoots him a sly smile. "It's a secret, McBond."

Letting out an annoyed exhale, Tim glances back at the elevator. He debates about returning to the bullpen to review his pile of cold cases. Even though he abhors the thought of leafing through unsolved murders for the next ten hours, it might be better than tagging along. His gaze jumps to Tony's back, watching that smug swagger that leads the way to their vehicle.

He doesn't know what to do. While leaving an important job before it even begins could damage his fledgling career, he knows that an inane mission to nowhere could have the same consequences. Right now, a reprimand in his permanent file seems likely, regardless of the option he chooses.

Tim bites his lip.

Stopping dead, he slings his backpack on his shoulders. When Tim crosses his arms, Tony casts a cock-eyed glance over his shoulder, not breaking his stride.

"Come on, Tony, who gave us the assignment?"

"Order came straight from the director herself. But if you'd rather stay here and work cold cases with Ziva, be my guest."

"The director?" Tim repeats, awestruck.

Shaking his head to clear it, he jogs to catch up with Tony. When they fall in step for the rest of the walk, he wonders how he earned the privilege of a special assignment that came straight from the head of the agency.

When they hit the car, Tony suddenly realizes that he didn't fill out the requisition forms. After a few muttered curses, he heads to the security desk, leaving Tim to lean against the cool metal of the car.

While he watches a bit of water drop from the concrete wall, his overactive brain churns at the mission's possibilities. Maybe they were chosen to work a protective detail for an important member of the Navy. When he wonders why Ziva wasn't selected instead, he shakes his head, choosing a different option. Perhaps they could have been chosen for a reconnaissance mission for a terrorist cell. Or they are being sent to interview a particularly difficult suspect.

Since he was hand-picked by the director, he assumes that the job has to involve computers.

Whatever it is, he hopes that it doesn't involve a boat. He stares at a drop of water, feeling the bile rise in his throat. Pinching the bridge of his nose, he wills the unfounded nausea to pass.

"C'mon, Probie, let's move! We're gonna be late!" Tony calls from halfway down the garage, motioning to a different Charger in the sea of identical cars.

Not needing to be told twice, Tim jogs to the car and settles into the passenger seat. He clicks his seatbelt, grinning excitedly at Tony.

"So where are we going?"

Tony adjusts the mirrors, pausing to study his reflection.

"Roosevelt Elementary School," he answers, nonchalantly.

The smile melts away from Tim's face.

"What kind of assignment can there be at an elementary school?" There is a pregnant pause as the car starts and the door locks engage. "Tony?"

"Career day for Steve Barrow's daughter."

Just as Tim unhooks his seatbelt, Tony shifts the car in reverse.