Lady Stormrider and Capricious T asked for this.  Well.......  Changing a few things.  Joyce doesn't die before Glory.

A New Family.

Tony got a call, kicked back, feet up on the desk because he was bored and out of paperwork to do.  He was waiting for the last twenty minutes of the day to be over with.  "DiNozzo," he answered, then his feet hit the floor.  "Excuse me, you're who?"  He typed that into his computer's search engine, pulling up the person's credentials.  "I see.  Why are you calling me, ma'am?"  He listened for a minute, his face not changing but his mind was whirling and not all of the stuff in there is fit for public consumption.

"How would.... you're right, we should talk about that in person since I know I didn't do anything to come into your view that way."  He cleared his throat.  "Tomorrow, your office, say 8am?"  He nodded.  "Good, see you then."  He hung up and looked at the people staring at them.  "I have to take some personal time, boss," he said, gathering up his things.  "It'll take days.  I'll have my cell if you need me but I won't be local."  He grabbed his jacket and headed for the elevator.

"DiNozzo, what's going on," Gibbs yelled, following him.

Tony looked at him.  "That's why it's called personal time, boss."

"That's not good enough."

"I'm going on family leave," he said bluntly but quietly.  "Tonight."  He stepped onto the elevator as soon as the door started to open, hitting the door close button.  Theirs actually worked.  If he got fired, he'd deal with it.  Sometime after dealing with this situation.

Gibbs walked back to Tony's desk, getting the last number off the caller ID.  It wasn't local.  It had a California area code.  So it was *family* related and with DiNozzo, that was never good news.


Anya stared at Willow, having stopped her spell.  "It's nice that you haven't learned the cardinal rule of vengeance, Willow."  She walked around her.  "You haven't realized that magic always comes with a price, have you?"  The girl cried.  "That each spell costs you something.  Energy, health, power, or possibly just that nasty little three fold rule."  She stared at the children.

"I don't know what you did or why you did it.  I don't really care.  Because now, you're in deeper trouble.  Because no one can protect you, Willow.  You took out your own protector."  The baby screamed and cried.  She pulled out her phone, calling the speed dial.  "I found Willow doing something to Xander and her spell took from her," she reported.  "No, I think we need Mrs. Summers."  She hung up and stared.

Xander had been well protected with the Summers.  Of course, no one was sure what Willow had been going for when she had screwed up the spell the first time and had made Xander into a baby.  She smiled at her former boyfriend.  He was babbling quietly at a candle next to his head.  She knew she had lost him the moment Willow had announced her screw up by bringing him to the store crying.

Now, Willow had done something, probably trying to unscrew her screw up, but they had told her there wasn't a backward button this time.  Someone pounded.  Anya looked.  "Open."  She looked up.  "D'Hoffryn?"  He appeared, staring at her.  "Not my fault but she's clearly trying to get a new spot to come open."

He looked then nodded.  Buffy Summers walked in, glaring at him.  "I had nothing to do with this.  The witch was unwisely trying to make up for her mistake of hubris in deciding that her best friend would be better if he had a few weeks of being raised by people who cared for him more than the last time."

"That's why she did that?" Buffy demanded.  Both vengeance demons nodded.  "Then what's this?"

"This is her payment.  Magic costs you and changes you each time you do a spell," Anya told her.  "Either hers backfired or she just screwed up, like usual."  She looked at D'Hoffryn.  "We talked to Hallie about him."

"She's tied to the hellmouth," the senior demon told them.  "She'll have to stay here, one way or another.  Though I don't think her parents will do this time."  He shrugged.  "Well, she cast it, it's her price to pay."  He looked at Anya.  "Fine."  She squealed and hugged him.  "Get him settled then appear."  He disappeared again.

Anya beamed at Buffy.  "Well, I guess I won't be at the store Monday."

"Good for you I guess," she admitted.  "Now what?"

"Well, you're protecting Xander because he's a demon magnet, even more so now," she said with a happy smile.  "And I'm going to punt Willow into a demon family."

"You can't," Buffy sighed.  "He said she's tied to the hellmouth."

"Crap."  She pouted.  "She deserves it."

"Yeah, just a bit," Buffy said sarcastically.  "Okay, help me get them back to Mom's.  Then we'll figure this shit out too."  She took a calming breath before she started to scream.

Anya looked at her.  "I'd be ranting."

"I'm going shoe shopping later since it'll freak everyone out and probably start an apocalypse if I throw the fit I want to."

"Could be," Anya agreed.  "And that would be bad for the store's business and my last paycheck."  Willow let out another wail.  "You take her.  Before I smite her."

"Fine."  She picked up Willow's shorter body.  She had been a pudgy little baby.  Xander was happily cooing at Anya's breasts.  So it was about normal to her.  They walked back to the Summers' house, going right to her mother.  "Mom, she was....apparently screwing up big time."  She put the baby on the counter in front of her mother. "D'Hoffryn said she's tied herself to the hellmouth one too many times."

"So we need to find her a real family?"

"Close by," Buffy said.


"Hey, her thing, not mine.  I had no idea or I would've stopped her stupid butt."

"I know," Joyce said, trying to stay calm.  "Anya?" she called.  She came in with Xander.  "Can she be fixed?"

"If the magic lets her go."  Xander yawned against her shoulder, making her smile when he grabbed some of her hair to suck his thumb with.  Then she smiled at Joyce.  "Magic has a price.  I'm surprised it didn't bite her earlier."

"I think the addiction is proof it did," Joyce said.  She sighed, looking at Willow.  "She has to stay in Sunnydale?"

"Or relatively nearby.  She's linked herself to the hellmouth quite tightly this time.  Unless Rupert can get her untied, well...."

"We'll see what he can do tonight.  Would that help her get free faster?"

"Could.  Or it might lock her in it forever," she said with a happy smile.  "Which would suit her problems very well."

"Yes but it could hurt Xander," Joyce reminded her.

"Oh, yeah, right.  Damn it."  She handed Xander off.  "He's drooling.  Again."

"Babies do that," Joyce said, taking him while Buffy put the newly babied Willow onto the floor.  "Get Rupert for me please.  And some more diapers, Buffy?  She looks a bit too heavy for Xander's."  She sighed but went to the store for her mother.  "Anya."

She squealed.  "I got my job back," she said happily.

"I'm glad for you, Anya."  The girl bounced off to do whatever she needed to.  Joyce looked at the babies.  "We'll figure it out I guess.  Let's go to the living room, guys."  Willow crawled off when she pointed.  "It doesn't surprise me that you crawl when being pointed at knowing your parents as I do."  She walked after her with Xander.  "They probably plastic wrapped everything in the house."  She sat down, waving at Rupert when he walked in and shut the door.  "She's hiding under the chair."

He looked and sighed.  "Willow," he moaned.

"Anya thought she was trying to fix it.  She said it had a price for each spell."

"Yes there is but it's usually not that strong.  Unless she miscast."

"Again?" Joyce asked dryly.

He smiled a bit.  "I've tried to stop her, the same as you have."

"Anya apparently got her job back and her boss said that she's tied herself to the hellmouth.  It may not help stop the spell if we unblock her but she's she can't leave town unless we do."

"Which is a predicament."  He sighed.  "If we cannot, then I'll take her in to keep her magic out of the way.  She will be learning better this time."

"Good."  She smiled.  "She's making that face, Rupert."

"You'll mentor me in this troublesome quandary?"

"You mean parenthood?"

"No, I meant changing a diaper."  She giggled but nodded, getting up to help him.  They were right, she was too chubby for Xander's diapers.  Fortunately Buffy came back before it became critical.  She had to stop to slay a few vampires on the way.  They had giggled about the diapers.


Tony walked into the office, looking at the woman who had called him.  "We have some idea who did this?"

"I do, Mr. DiNozzo, but it's classified."  He held up his ID.  She handed over the file.  "This is all the mother's friends could get before they were shut down."

He sat down to read over the file, nodding at a few parts.  "So the mother...."

"Is in school today."  She clasped her hands, leaning on the desk.  "Unfortunately she could've had a day off with a medical excuse."

Tony's head came up to stare at her.  "Why?"

"Because someone broke in last night to get your son."

"Are they all right?"

"They're fine.  She's got a few bruises.  They didn't get near the baby.  Her sister stopped them and they were taken care of."

"By the police?"

"They didn't want to intervene."  He quirked an eyebrow up, silently asking for further information.  "The Sunnydale PD isn't exactly...useful always."

"I see."  He closed the folder and put it under his arm.  "I want to talk to her, her mother, and see my son if I can."

"We've arranged it for later this afternoon.  She's been helping out at the local occult shop.  Her sister's mentor runs it now."

"That's fine.  I'm sure it's safe there.  She wouldn't bring a child there if it wasn't, would she?"

"No, it's very safe.  He's held it longer than the last four owners actually."  She smiled.  "We do have to do some paperwork."

"That's fine.  I'm used to paperwork."

"I figure you would be after your past in law enforcement."  She smiled.  "We did do a background check when that information was given to us."

"Of course you did.  The same as I did on the way out here."

She smiled.  "That's what I figured."  She pulled out paperwork.  "The young lady has already agreed.  She knows it's safer if he goes with you."

"It sounds like it would be."  He took the papers to read over.  He wasn't excellent at contract reading but he was pretty decent.  He signed it and moved on to the other forms.  It was a sad fact.


Tony walked into the store, finding a young, bruised girl at a table reading her science book to two children.  "Twins?" he asked.  "I thought she said one."

"She did.  This is another one that they did," she said with a smile.  "I know you're him.  We looked you up before we went to the social worker."

"I figured you did, Miss Summers."  He walked down, staring at the boy.  He was smiling and babbling noise.  He had messy dark hair and brown eyes.  She had green eyes.  "The brown eyes must come from my mother."  He sat down, staring at them.  "He looks happy."

"That's because he just ate and laid a disgustingly horrible diaper."  Tony grinned.  She smiled back.  "I want to visit him."

"Of course you can."  She beamed.  "This is really strange."

"You should've heard the fit I threw when I realized I was pregnant," she said dryly.  "I'm almost surprised you didn't hear it."

He grinned.  "I can understand that."  He took a deep breath and held out his hands.  "May I?"  She handed the little boy over.  The baby stared at him.  "Hi," he said quietly.  "I'm Tony.  I guess they made you from me."  The baby patted him with a drool-dampened hand.  "It's good you already like me."  He looked at Dawn.  "You're sure?"

"Four tries for him already," she said quietly.  "We're all safer.  I'll have this one," she said with a pat to Willow's head.  "Whenever I need to fuss over someone."

"I can see she's clingy."  He smiled at the other baby.  She babbled at him, leaning closer.

"Whoa, don't fall," Dawn ordered.  Xander scowled.  "Aww, don't scowl at her.  She won't fall."  Xander went back to sucking his thumb and Willow was now scowling.  She scowled at the little girl, and Willow beamed at her for paying attention.  "You need someone to read to you while I talk to him, huh?  Buffy?"  She came out of the back.  "Tony DiNozzo, this is my sister Buffy Summers.  Buffy, Willow's scowling because we're not paying attention to her."

"Sure, she can help me in the back."  She picked her up and carried her off.  She'd deal with the thought of Xander's new dad later on.  "He's coming to dinner."

"Sure," Tony agreed.  He looked at the boy.  "Did you just stick your fingers up my nose?"  The baby beamed at him.  He grinned back.  "I figure we're related so I guess it's okay this time.  Next time, do your own nose?"  Xander put his head down, giving him a shy grin.  "You're a good boy."

"Alexander or Xander after a friend of ours that's recently gone," Dawn said quietly.

"That's cool.  Hi, Xander."  Xander grinned again and hid his face again.

"He's usually a quiet boy."  She looked at him.  "My mom's probably pacing at the gallery."

He smiled.  "That's normal I'd suspect."  He smirked.  "So, how did they get my sample?  They said they destroyed them months ago."  She shrugged.  He stared her down.  She stared back.  "If he's mine he's mine, Dawn.  No matter what."

She looked and lit a candle without touching it then looked at him.

He'd seen worse weird things since meeting Abby.  A bit of magic wasn't that bad.  "So.....  Something like that?"  She pointed toward the back room.  "Your sister?"

"The redhead.  Then she tried to fix it."

"Ah.  So how...."

"No idea," she admitted.  "But...  Shit, Buffy!  Take him and go," she ordered.  "Take Willow too."  She got up and ran for the door.  "Buffy, they're coming up the street."

Buffy came out, handing Tony the little girl.  "Go out the back door.  Show up for dinner later."  Tony stood up.  "Now."

"I can...."

"Bullets won't work on them and you're protecting the kids," she said firmly.  Tony nodded and left with the kids and Dawn.  He hauled her along, letting her hold Willow.  He knew nothing about babies so he needed help.  Plus she was too young to be involved in a battle.  Even if bullets wouldn't work for whatever screwy reason.

"That'll work too," Buffy decided.  "Giles, they're back!"

"I heard, give me a moment to finish the spell."

"Willow's with Dawnie and Xander."

"Even better," he said as he came out.  "I had to finish the summoning.  You sure you won't mind?"

"Just don't let him work on us again?" she asked.

"No, I don't think that would be good."  He sighed as the door was kicked in.  "You could've just opened it."


Tony looked at Dawn once they were safely in an art gallery up the street.  "This is your hiding plan?"

"Yup, because my mom is here."  She found her mother in the back.  "Hi, Mom.  They're back."

"Oh, dear."  She came out.  "I can watch the babies if we need to."

"No, it's okay."

She smiled at Tony.  "You must be Tony DiNozzo."

"I am."  He shifted the baby to shake her hand. "Dawn was just explaining how this happened when I know that the last sample I had stored was destroyed a few months before this."

"I see."  She looked at her daughter.

"We all know that you raised us too well.  Neither of us can make up cover stories worth a damn."

"No, you can't."  She smiled.  "You were told about our little problem here?" she asked, taking Willow since she was wiggling.

"She did."

"Willow decided to make him more secure and like she wanted by changing him for a few days where she'd raise him.  Then he'd come back and be more content and able to settle down supposedly."

"Was she doing this to others?"

"No, Willow had her head up her butt again," Dawn said bluntly.  "Now and then she has the feeling that she's the Goddess and the ultimate authority on the way things should be, especially about her best friend, supposedly."

"Ah."  He looked at the boy, who was scowling at something.  "Mouse," he said with a point.

Dawn glared.  "We've tried to kill it."  She got the little crossbow from the office but she missed.  Tony took it and shot the mouse that hadn't moved, killing it.  She beamed.  "You're good."

"Ten years in law enforcement," he said, handing it back.  He grinned.  "So, how did I come into it?"

"We have no clue," Dawn said.  "But the social worker did the test for us after Willow did it magically.  It still came up the same way."

"Okay," he decided.  "So he's actually my son."  They nodded with a smile.  "And the assault on the store?"

"People who want to sacrifice me," Dawn said.  "And now him too."

"You can come back with me for a few days if it'll help.  That way we can make sure I have what I need at home.  Your mom too.  That way you're both safe."

Joyce smiled.  "We'll be visiting.  My other daughter will handle it.  We've been working on it now for a few months."

"I can understand that."  He looked at his son.  Then back at them.  "Are we sure?"

"You can rerun the DNA tests," Dawn pointed out.

"I meant about staying.  I'm going to have the tests rerun anyway," he pointed out dryly.

"Good."  She smiled.  "Mom?"

"She might follow you there."

"That would be bad, yeah.  Especially since she thinks she's a hell goddess."

"Hell goddess, that's a new one I haven't heard about from Abby.  She's our forensic tech and she's a bit goth," he explained.  "From New Orleans."

"We know people like that."  She shifted when she saw a minion walking past the doorway.  "Crap," she muttered.  Glory stomped past so it was good.  Tony was staring at the door.  She smiled and nodded.  He nodded back that he understood.  So that was the current threat.  He could handle that.  He shifted Xander again.  "Put him down in the office.  He can crawl."

"Okay."  He put him down in there on the couch.  The boy fell onto his side with a giggle and curled up.  "You're a good boy."  He stroked down his hair and walked back out.  "Now what?  I have no idea what to do next."

"We're having dinner tonight," Joyce said.  "You can have our spare room."  He grinned.  "That way we make sure you can change diapers and you're decent."

"Otherwise we'll let someone like her minions feed on you and make you dead," Dawn said with a happy grin.

He smirked.  "My boss would hate that.  You'd be invaded by Marines."

"Gotta be better than Ranger Baby Man Finn.  You took the news of magic awfully well."

He smirked.  "I saw some covens working in the past, Dawn.  Plus Abby."

"Ah.  Willow's fairly powerful."

"It figures since this happened."  Someone stormed in and he glared at them, making them flinch back.  "Let's let your mother work."  They gathered the babies and left to her house.

Joyce smiled.  "Forgive him.  He's the one the Initiative used to make the baby."

"That poor man."  She came in to look around.


Tony walked off the plane, turning on his phone.  He grimaced when he saw the two text messages and the order to call in.  He called.  "Boss, still on family leave," he said when it was answered with a growl.  "No, I can't come back.  Because I can't, okay?"  He hung up and calmed himself down again.  Xander hadn't liked to fly.  Their tempers were high.  Tony was ready to kill someone.   Soon.  The stewardess smiled and pointed.  "Starbucks.  Think they do baby bottles?"

"I think they'll have milk, water, or overpriced juice."

"That could help.  Thank you."  He went to get them something to drink, grab their shared bag, and then head to the office.  Since his boss wanted him in so much....

Forty minutes later he walked off the elevator, handing his boss his son.  "I'm on family leave.  Do you want me to bring McGee's laptop home and work from there?"

Gibbs was staring at the boy then finally looked at his agent.  "How?"

He handed over the folder he had been given.  He'd go with the cover story.  Because they had proof they had done it to others.  Not like they'd believe magic and Willow did it. "They didn't destroy that sample."  He took his son back.  "He hates flying."

"I'll remember that."  He was a bit flustered.  This is not what he expected when DiNozzo said 'family issues'.  He looked in the folder then glared at him.  "Really?"

"Really, boss.  So now, we're going to take a bath, go to bed, sleep off the jet lag and tempers."  The baby crapped loudly, making him grimace.  "Eww, Xander."  He walked off to change him in the bathroom.  He came back and Gibbs was still glaring at his former spot.  "Not like I want him to sit in it, Gibbs."

"I agree, that's bad."  He took the baby back, staring at him.  The baby stared at him, slowly grinning.  He smiled back.  "He's a good weight."

"He's pretty smart too.  Figured out how to get my gun from my holster last night."  He looked at his two stunned teammates.  "Yes, someone took my sample from the bank I had it in and used it."  He looked at his boss again.  "Needless to say, boss, I'm telecommuting until I can find a good daycare and move."

"Go," he agreed, handing him back.  "We'll see you in a few days."

Tony nodded, smirking at him.  "Want me to take McGee's laptop?"

"No.  Concentrate on him.  He'll need a lot of attention."

"Yes he will."  He looked at his son, who was cooing at Ziva.  "That's Ziva."  The baby looked up at him.  "You can coo at her but I don't think she knows what to do with you."  He looked at Gibbs.  "I have how long?"

"Two weeks?"

"Should be doable."  He gathered a few things from his desk and left again.  He went to the lab.  "Abby."  She turned and paused, staring at the baby.  He stared back, snapping his fingers in front of her face.  "DNA bank."

"Okay," she said, shaking herself free.  "And the mother can't?"

"She wasn't planning on it and she's been attacked a few times by people trying to get him.  I need to rerun the DNA test.  I trust California's but...."

She nodded.  "Gotcha.  I'd do that too, Tony."  She took the baby to cuddle.  "Hi, baby.  I'm Auntie Abby.  Who're you?"


"Aww, who's the cute little guy.  Palmer!" she bellowed.  He came jogging in.  "Draw me some blood for a DNA test."

"We can't do a cheek swab?"

"I guess we can.   You're just so cute you stunned my brain," she told the baby, making him beam and babble at her, reaching for her hair.  "I know, they're very pretty."  She got a swab and let Tony hold him so she could do that.  She got one from Tony and put it on the table then took the baby back.  She pulled a pigtail closer so he could grab it, making him beam at her so he could suck his thumb with it.  "Awww."

"He's very cute, Tony," Palmer said quietly then he went to tell the others.

Tony took his son back, grinning at her.  "Gibbs will probably want you to hack someone soon."

"I'm sure he does."  He smirked and walked off.  "I'll text you the results."

"Sure.  I'm going to be at home.  We have jetlag."

"Okay."  She turned back to her samples and started those two in the process of the test.  Because Xander was too adorable to be Tony's.

Gibbs stomped in.  "Abby...."

"Tony's having me rerun the parentage test just in case California screwed it up," she reported.  She turned to look at him.  "It'll take a few hours.  The case still has no evidence except the phone log that goes back to cellphones that aren't traceable.  He said he gave you information on who wanted the mother?"

"He gave me information on who impregnated her," he said grimly.  She growled.  "She's ...fifteen."

"We know Tony wouldn't have."

"I know.  Find them."  He handed her the file.  "McGee went pale and nearly passed out when he saw the file's contents."

She looked then shuddered.  "I heard rumors in the clubs."  She turned back to her computer to do what she could.  "It was classified and they tried to seal it."

"Uh-huh.  And?"

"They're not who's trying to get the baby, yet," she said.  She looked back at him.  "Not with the way he was acting.  It's a different person after the mommy."  She went back to what she was doing.  There was a beep and she finally got what she wanted, giving her screen a mean kitty look.  She put it on the screen.  "Them?"

"Them," he said, reading it over.  "Who in the hell authorized that?"  She pulled that up.  He had just retired.  "Good."

She looked at him, saving it down then erased her hacking.  "Before someone like the evil stepmother shows up."  The computer beeped.  "Ah, parentage takes less time.  I love that test."  She pulled up the results.  "Xander's his."

Gibbs nodded.  "Good.  He's taking the next few weeks off."

"Okay.  I'll pop around tomorrow after work to check on him."

"I'll give you a ride."  The director stomped in.  "What?"

"What was going on with DiNozzo, Jethro?"

Abby looked at her.  "A classified, recently closed project made him a son," she said bluntly.  "The mother's in danger so she handed him over.  I reran the paternity test for him."

"Why did they make him a son?"

"Because they wanted to breed better soldiers," Abby said with a small shrug.  "I'm guessing Gibbs showed that he could be a good one."  She looked at Gibbs.  "You know what this means."  He grimaced.  She popped him on the arm.  "Baby shower, Gibbs."

"If you want to.  I'd check with him first."

"You're not telling me something," the director said.

Gibbs looked at her.  "No one said the mothers were willing, Director.  Unfortunately Tony had samples in a sperm bank from when he was younger."  He walked off.  "McGee, Abby found them.  What do you know?"

"Some hackers I know were talking about them, boss," he said quietly, looking around.  "They weren't nice.  They were taken down by some townspeople and an inside member who turned.  They were... torturing," he finished more quietly.

"His son seems fine."

"I hope he is."

He sat down.  "We won't talk about this but Abby is planning a baby shower."

"The kid's going to be so spoiled," McGee told him.  Gibbs nodded.  "I'll find him something.  Is he mobile?"

"Probably.  He looks like he's old enough to at least be crawling."

"I'll check first."   He sent him an email.  He wasn't going to call and annoy him.  His temper had been high when he had left.

The director walked over.  "Jethro, what do you know about this program?"


"Hackers have heard rumors about them and how they got shut down by the locals and a few who turned on them due to the torture and the testing illegal things on their own soldiers," he said as he typed.  "It wouldn't surprise me if they did make his son against his will."  He looked up at her.  "Other than rumors I know very little.  I know that they've been shut down, a few scientists in it went to jail, a higher up or two got embarrassed."

"One retired before he could be charged," Gibbs told her.  "Why?"

"Are they a threat to one of my agents?"

"If they come for the boy, they're in for a world of hurt," McGee said dryly.  "Tony would have a lot of fun stomping them I'm sure."  He looked at Gibbs then back to her.  "Why?"

"I need to know if this is a current issue or not, Agent McGee."

"If so, I'm sure DiNozzo will take care of it and tell us if he needs help," Gibbs told her.

"You know something else," she said, looking at him.

"I know many things you don't know, Jen.  Including that you're missing your dinner date."

She huffed off, going to get information on them from someone.  Something bad was going on withing *her* agency and she would be informed within a day.


Tony answered his door the next day, staring at the woman standing there.  "Director.  No, Xander.  The hall is not your runway."  He took the baby back inside.  "It's messy since I'm starting to pack for the move."

She shut the door behind her.  "His mother's how old, Agent DiNozzo?"

He stared at her.  "It's not like I slept with her, Director."

"Are you certain?  You do have a reputation."

He sneered.  "I'm quite sure I've never trolled underage girls, even when I was that age myself."  He put the baby on the couch.  "Beyond that, I haven't been to California in years, Director.  Since her mother's never left the state...."  He looked at the giggling baby.  "Don't roll off.  You'll get hurt."  He looked at her again.  "Director, if I had actually touched his mother, don't you think someone would've arrested me before now?"

"I would hope so but you never know.  Things like that go unreported all the time."

He snickered.  "Director, get out of my apartment.  I haven't been anywhere near the mother.  If you want to know, ask her yourself if you haven't already called her."  She glared.  "There was no way I've ever been close to that town before I went out there to get him."

"Then why do you have him now?"

"Because some crazy cult out there wants to sacrifice her.  The blonde woman in charge thinks she's a hell goddess and attacked them five times before I got there and the day I got there as well."  She snorted.  "You know what, call and talk to her."  He wrote down the number.  "There.  That way you get out of my face because the baby didn't sleep last night."  She backed up a step.  "Otherwise, get out."

"We'll be talking soon, Agent DiNozzo."

"No we won't."

"Yes we will."

"Director, get out.  I didn't bang a fifteen-year-old-girl.  Talk to her.  I gave you her number.  Now if you'll excuse me, I need to take care of my son."  She left.  He looked at his son.  "She's a pain in the ass," he said at his son's scowl at the doorway.  "She won't come near you, Xander.  If she does, I'll let Gibbs shoot her or something."

The baby clapped and cooed.

Tony grinned.  "Let's go back to looking for a bigger place.  That way you have your own bedroom for all the toys you'll have sometime soon if I know your aunt Abby."  He carried him to the computer desk so they could go back to looking online.  And maybe he'd start another job search as well.  He wasn't sure he wanted to work for people who think he'd molest a teenager.


The director stopped Jethro from coming in the next morning.  "We have to talk about DiNozzo."

"He told me what you tried and that he gave you Dawn's number.  I talked to her myself.  She told me exactly why they chose her, because her sister was dating one of the squad leaders.  The one that turned actually.  It was her sister that helped bring them down, Director."

"You believe this story?"

"I talked to her, her mother, her sister, and the talk got interrupted by the people who broke in to get the baby's mother.  The cult leader decided it was her and they had to go save her."  He stared at her.  "DiNozzo isn't like that.  I would've seen it earlier and fired him if he had been.  I know very well he didn't touch the mother."

"How can you be sure with the way he dates?"

"Because I've seen most of his dates, Jen.  He didn't touch the mother."

"You've seen him on dates?"

"Many times.  I've also seen who he watches when he thinks no one's watching.  None of it have been that young.  He likes them just slightly younger, cultured, and with a good body."

"I see.  You sound like you've talked about this matter?"

"No, I've seen him scoping out the secretaries."  He walked off shaking his head.  "Don't even think about it, Jen.  If you try something like that, you'll have problems."

She snorted.  "I know he did something wrong," she told herself.  She went up to call that number.  She got a 'not now, we've got to go rescue someone' answer and got hung up on. "Well."  She called Ziva up to help her dig.  "Ziva, there's something strange about how Tony got his son.  The story sounds like a bad cover story."

"I thought it was strange.  The boy doesn't look much like him."


"He's got brown eyes.  He's a bit thinner, has darker hair.  I didn't see much of his father in him."

"That's interesting.  So you think they're passing off a child that's not his?"

"Abby was saying she reran the paternity test."

"So he's his."  She nodded.  "I don't like that the mother is underage."

"It's possible that it is what he said," she admitted.  "I looked into that project and they have noted files of doing it to others.  No one said anything about that particular one but you never know."

"So they are known for doing this?"

"Among many other things.  The people in charge were so warped they talked about hostile species that aren't human."

"I want what you have on them."  Ziva handed over the DVD.  She ran it, going over what they had.  "She's not listed in it.  There's someone with the same last name.  DiNozzo said that her sister was dating one of them."  She looked into that file.  "She's very strong."

Ziva nodded.  "I've seen others who could do that with training but not many women that young.  She must've been trained from a very young age.   I can't find anything on her however."

"No records anywhere?"

"Her college transcripts.  She's not an exceptional student by any means.  Everything else was either erased or blocked."


"I don't know.  I did find a few articles about the town.  It has an extremely high death rate.  The high school had a gas explosion during the graduation ceremony.  Their local newspaper isn't online."

"That's odd in today's world."

"It's a fairly small town.  It has two small colleges, UC Sunnydale and Adam's College, which had a lot of scandals with alumni a few years back.  They nearly shut down due to it. Small mall, small town.  The police department apparently doesn't have a night shift."

"That's very odd."

She shrugged.  "It's a small town, Jen."

"Good point.  They probably keep someone on call and maybe a few officers on the street for drunks."  She went back to the research she had available.  "There's no mention of her sister at all."

"Still, they did it to others.  She could have been a private target since her sister was dating one."

"Or DiNozzo could be a molester and Jethro never realized it."

"I've never seen him looking at younger women," Ziva offered.  "But I can't rule it out since we know nothing about him really.  He won't give me facts.  Half the stuff he tells about his family are false or inconsequential."

Jen grimaced.  "What do his parents do?"


"I see.  We'll search this out."  Ziva nodded.  "Since he's conveniently taking time off to take care of his son."

Ziva nodded.  "I'll keep digging."  She left.

Jen went back over the research notes.  Someone needed to be in jail for this.  She'd have to talk to someone in CID about it.


Tony sat down on the grave's foot, putting his son on his lap.  "Kate, this is Xander.  I know you said that hell would freeze over before I became responsible so how's the skiing wherever you are?"  He smiled at his son, who was strangely quiet.  "Kate, I don't know what to do.  This new director is trying to spread it around that I slept with his mother," he said quietly.  "I'm about at the level of volcanic and I want to destroy her but I shouldn't.  I know I shouldn't."  Someone cleared their throat.  He glared back at the secret service agent.  "You can wait."  He went back to looking at the grave.  "She was one of you, show some respect," he said when the agent stayed there.

"SecNav wants to talk to you, Agent DiNozzo."

"He can wait ten more minutes."  The agent nodded and left him alone.  He looked at the grave.  "I think she got to another one."  He looked down.  "He's worth all the stress she's causing.  But I'm not sure I won't be sending her to be beaten by you for that.  You knew I wasn't like that."  He looked at his son.  "Say bye to Kate and we'll go talk to the politicians?"  His son smiled.  "Good boy.  He's a very good boy, Kate."  He stood up and walked off, dusting his seat off a bit.  He ran into the agent at the gates.  "He at home?  I drove."

"He is, sir."

"I'll be there in a few."  The agent nodded and left.  Tony got his son into his carseat then drove to the SecNav's house.  He parked and got out, letting the guards handwand him.  Then his son once he was out.  He impatiently let them do the diaperbag too.  "Guys, not like I'm going to kill him.  He's not my director."  He walked inside, shaking his head at the agent who had come for him.  "Probies are paranoid today."

"They're just out of the academy."  He led him to the study.  "Sir," he said as he knocked.  "Agent DiNozzo."  He opened the door and got out of the way.  Then he left them alone.

Tony walked in.  "Usually you talk to Gibbs, sir.  Why call for me?"

"I'm hoping to straighten this out, DiNozzo."

"I didn't sleep with his mother."

"I know you're not like that.  Relax."

"Tell Sheppard that?"

"I tried.  She has something against you?"

"I'm in the way of her hooks getting back into Gibbs."  He sat down, letting his son sit and stare at his ultimate boss.

"He's a good looking boy.  Healthy?"

"Very.  Ducky came over to make sure last night."

"Excellent."  He smiled.  "I know the cover story is crap, DiNozzo.  I helped the panel that shut that program down.  I've never seen anything that wanted me to drink bleach so much."

"Are we secure?"  He nodded.  "This is Xander."

"As I thought.  I had reports that Miss Rosenburg is about the same age thanks to her screwing up things as well."

"As I was told, she was trying to correct what she did to him, sir."

"Figures."  He leaned back, looking at him.  "Daycare?"

"Nanny.  With the hours we work it's necessary."

"It is," he agreed with a small smile.  "Gibbs?"

"Knows I'd never touch someone her age."

"Even better.  Relax, DiNozzo."

"She's probably had Ziva digging into things."

"You'd be right.  She's getting pushy too.  I'm going to have a talk with her tonight."

"Can I shoot her if she tries it again?"


"Pity."  He checked his son then looked at his boss again, who was looking amused.  "You'd do the same thing."

"I would," he agreed.  "She's trying very hard to trash your reputation."

"She's going to lose.  Everyone knows I'd never touch a kid."

"Your reputation is for leggy, pretty, smart women."  He leaned forward to look at him then at Tony again.  "Something happened last night out there?"

"I have no idea, sir.  They're not talking to me.  I heard someone broke in to get his mother," he said quietly.

"That's what I heard from Sheppard when she tried to call."  He sighed.  "What plans do you have?"

"Suing her if she tries something?  Doing my job once I've moved with him and have a good caretaker for him when I'm at work."

"That's what any parent does.  Your team?"

"They should know that about me, sir, but with Ziva in her back pocket, I'm not sure.  I'd expect McGee and Abby to know that I'd never do something like that.  Gibbs doesn't believe her I'm fairly certain."

"Excellent.  He can beat McGee and David into better behavior I'm sure.  Ducky?  He has some very high contacts."

"He sympathized but he knows I'd never touch someone that way, even drugged, sir.  If he doubted I'd be very disappointed in our years of friendship and leave.  I wouldn't stay somewhere that I'm doubted that way."

"I understand.  Where were you thinking of going?"

"Anywhere but DC?"

He smiled.  "It would be easier."  The baby let out a squeal and waved his arms.  "I'm sorry, were we ignoring you?" he teased.  The baby beamed at him.

"He hates it when we ignore him," Tony agreed, giving him a pat on the belly.  "He's mostly a good boy, sir."

"I can tell.  Now what?"

"Should I put off moving around the city and just move somewhere else?"

"I'd hate to see Abby and Gibbs pout, DiNozzo.  She might destroy DC and he'd growl at too many people, which would mean intelligence would have more work to do."

Tony smirked.  "So you're trying to keep me from suing her, sir?"

"That's a side effect, DiNozzo.  If you want to, go for it.  The suit would definitely put around that he wasn't created the natural way."

"She keeps going and she's going to have me in her face, sir.  I'll let Gibbs and Abby babysit that day."

"I didn't know you were as vindictive as Abby, DiNozzo."

Tony smirked.  "Sir, I keep my personal life mostly personal for a reason.  I learned from the best.  High society."  The director shuddered.  "Exactly."

"Enough said.  She keeps it up, sue her.  She's not well liked around town."

"That's because she's pushy and tries to take credit and responsibility for things that don't involve her or us, sir?"

"You're very perceptive."

Tony just smiled.

"Fine.  I'm sure we'll make sure your son is doing good.   I'm sure Gibbs will enjoy being an uncle and Abby a very fussy aunt with Ducky taking his own uncle's spot."

"If they want."

"Good.  How are you doing finding a bigger place on your salary?"

"I've found a good prospect but it's a bit too far out for call-ins.  We'll be looking closer but I can afford one."

"Good.  What about foreclosed places or a mortgage?"

"I've been considering it.  I'm hesitant since I might be leaving DC."

"That's sensible.  Have a good night, DiNozzo."

"Please talk to her, sir."

"I will be in a while."  Tony nodded and left, going back to his apartment he guessed.  He considered the situation.  Sheppard was in for a world of hurt if that boy could follow through on that threat.  They'd miss having her getting in the way of things.


"Director Jennifer Sheppard," a young man said, stopping her coming out of a meeting at a hotel.

"Yes, do I know you?" she asked.

"No, ma'am, I'm here to deliver papers.  Sign here please," he said, holding out the clipboard.

"From who?" she asked, not taking it.

"From Borkin, Blandish, and Majors, ma'am.  You're being served."  She sneered but signed and accepted the paper.  "Have a better day, ma'am."  He walked off.

She opened the letter, reading it.  "I knew he was wrong somehow."  She went back to her office to find Jethro.  Of course he was off on a case.  She called in her family's attorney, letting him handle it for her.  She'd rant later.


Gibbs knocked and used his key, walking into Tony's apartment.  It was less cluttered.  "Found somewhere?"

"We found somewhere nice enough but some of it's in storage so it's easier to move later and he has room for his crib."  He looked over from feeding his son mushy stuff.  "What's up, boss?"

"You're suing her?"

"I'm not going to let her ruin my reputation without fighting back, boss.  I'll make her so sorry she's going to be fuming for years."  He fed him another bite.  "Boss, get me a paper towel please?  Damp."

Gibbs went to get it for him, coming back to take the spoon and show him how to do it easier.  Tony beamed at him.  "That's how you make sure he doesn't spit it back out.  You're overloading the spoon."  He helped clean up the mess while the father finished feeding him.  "You made Ducky giggle."

"Good.  Hopefully she'll learn her lesson soon."  He fed him one last bite then kissed him on the forehead.  "Good boy."  Xander beamed.  "Want to watch a movie?"  The baby fussed.  "I promise, one with tough guys and guns."  The baby beamed at him.  "You're too picky.  You'll learn to appreciate the other stuff soon, son."  He put him onto the floor, letting him crawl around for a bit.  Gibbs sat down.  "Anything else going on I should hear about?"

"Abby's resisting the idea Jen is spreading fairly hard."


"I know you didn't."

"That's one out of all the people in DC, Gibbs.  If she ruins my professional reputation I'll have to find a job and won't be able to.  Therefore she's going to be paying for his schooling and diapers for years."

"Vindictive looks better on girls."

"Oh, I have every intention of helping that along."  Gibbs smirked.  "Boss, who was I dating last month?"

"Some leggy brunette?"

"Who's an aide."

"Oh, crap," he muttered.  Tony just smirked.  The baby came over so he picked him up to cuddle him.  "You're being good tonight."

"He's saving up to play in the boxes tomorrow."

"Kids do that stuff."  He handed him back.  Tony let him roam around.  "We child proofed?"

"Everything but the DVD player.  I've heard horror stories about jelly sandwiches in them but he's not old enough yet."

"Good enough."  He stood up.  "Next week?"

"Nope.  We're moving on Wednesday.   I'll be back the next Monday."

"His daycare?"

"Nanny.  We work insane hours."

"Good point."  He left, going home to calm down.  Today had been like a minefield.  Tomorrow was probably going to be worse.  He ran into someone in his basement.  "Sir," he told the SecNav.  "Problems?"

"Many.  DiNozzo really is one of those fierce sorts that society breeds when you upset him, huh?"

"Very.  I think we'll see whole new highs of being pissed from him soon."

"She deserves it."  He handed over an envelope.  "What happened out there.  Her sister died protecting her from the cult leader.  The lawyers have a taped talk about the child's coming to be and a notarized statement from her about it."

"Good.  It can only help."

"It will.  She's fuming."

"Today was like a verbal and emotional minefield once she got served."

"The next week won't be fun for you.  I hope you get a case out of town so you can stay out of the crossfire.  Any word if his parents have heard?"

"He doesn't talk to them.  But she's not beyond that," he realized.  The SecNav nodded, getting up to leave.  "Thank you for the drama warning."

"I'd hate to see him destroy the rest of us, Gibbs."

Gibbs poured himself some bourbon and called.  "DiNozzo, she warned your parents."  He hung up on the muttered swearing.  "His son doesn't need to know those words but I guess he's too young to remember."  He found his last spot on the boat and got back to work.  It was calming.  He could forget all about the upcoming drama.


Tony walked into the lawyers the next morning, handing over a fairly large manilla envelope.  "On my parents, who are going to try to get involved.  That's more than enough to get a restraining order because I'll kill them."  He walked off, heading back to packing with his son.

The lawyer looked it over.  "It is enough for a good restraining order."  He started that form.  He loved working with his former frat brother.  He brought such amusing things into his life.


Tony walked into NCIS a few days later seeing the scowls from the guards.  "I did not touch his mother.  She's a bitch.  That's why I'm suing her."  Xander cooed from the carrier on his back.

"She's been a bitch," one guard complained quietly.

"She's trying to have me named a molester."  They all shuddered.  "Exactly.  I'm here to pick up my paycheck and that's it."  He walked up there, letting his son play with his hair.  "Boss, mail?" he asked as he came off the elevator.

"On your desk.  Your check's not there," he said.  He looked up.  "I don't know why.  I put a call into HR."

Tony smirked.  He called down there, letting McGee see the baby for now.  "It's DiNozzo.  Where is my check?  No, she can't.  I'm suing the bitch, that's why.  No, I'm on federal family leave.  Because I just got custody of my son.  Sure, I can prove that."  He took his son back and walked down there with his other mail, looking through it.  He walked in and turned so they could see him.  "Sheppard's jealous that I never hit on her," he told the secretary.  "That's why she's spreading that I slept with his mother even though some nutcase military person did it for us."

She handed over his check.  "Federal leave isn't listed.  Vacation time is."

"That's fine.  I'll straighten that out later with the head woman."  She peaked out of her office.  He smiled and pointed at his son.  "Just got custody."

"I heard."  She came out to look at the boy then at him.   "We know very well you'd never sleep with someone that young, DiNozzo.  You've chased half of my people and the other women in the building for years."  He grinned.  "Family leave?"

"That's what I told Gibbs to fill out."

"I can correct that.   It'll work out to the same amount so you're good."

"Thanks.  We've got to move."

"Did you find somewhere?  There's a few good buildings near my daughter's."

"I did find somewhere pretty nice.  Four actual bedrooms, carpet, decent enough kitchen.   Good enough bathroom.  Small mortgage.  A college graduate who's selling because she's moving across country."

"Good job."  She patted the baby's hand.  "He's adorable but making that face."

"I'll change him when he's done.  Otherwise he tries to help."  He waved his check.  "Thank you, ladies.  Have a good day.  I'll be back Monday to redo my paperwork to include him."  He left, stopping in the bathroom to change him.  The guys in there gave him dirty looks.  "Not like I'll leave him in the dirty mess," he said dryly.  He finished up and tossed things out, putting him into his carrier so he could do more than wipe his hands with a diaper wipe.  "There we go, son.  Let's go to the bank then home, that good for you?"  The baby squealed.  "Sure, we'll get lunch."  He walked off happier.  The baby was clearly happier.  He was babbling and petting him again.

The other guys went back to their cubicles to spread that he was good at changing diapers and nothing strange had went on.  They all knew the director was strange to be thinking that of the lady's man.  DiNozzo had never been that desperate.


Tony smiled as he walked into the judge's office with Dawn.  She had flown out the night before with her mother.  Joyce followed them.  "Sir."

"Agent DiNozzo.  The other side's people?"

"Behind us."  He sat down, letting Dawn steal the baby.  The other side and Sheppard came in.  His lawyer sat down in his seat.

"I see we're all here for a preliminary meeting over this.  I'm hoping we can settle this out of court before it becomes a bad thing for everyone."  The judge looked up.  "I have seen Miss Summers' taped statement and notarized statement.  I have seen the other information on that project.  Which, by the way, disgusts me."

"Most of them are in permanent job details or in jail, Your Honor," Jen Sheppard said.

"That's good to know."  He put his hands on the files in front of him.  "I did notice that no mention of this specific child was made in the records, but it's not unreasonable to suspect that whoever got the files didn't get all of them."

"My sister was dating one of them," Dawn told him.

"As your statements said, Miss Summers."  He smiled at her.  "Are you sure you want to give him permanent custody?"

"The people who were after me this last time created a problem so big my sister died trying to protect me.  Xander's in even more danger than I am," she said quietly.  "Otherwise even my mother wouldn't have been able to talk me into giving him up."

"Good to know."  He looked at Sheppard.  "There is no evidence that I've seen, past or present, that suggest that Agent DiNozzo has ever went toward illicit sex acts outside of his undercover role in Philadelphia that included him going to hire prostitutes.  It got him questioned because the higher ups didn't know about the assignment but otherwise there is no evidence.  Your lawyers haven't delivered any to me.  Do they have some now?"

"We have a few sexual harassment claims that were filed and got him disciplinary letters," one lawyer said, handing them down.

Tony coughed.  "Half of those were removed, sir, when it was found to be malicious.  Including one that had me listed as dead by HR for a few weeks.  The rest were ones where they broke up with me, because I don't break up with others, and they were dissatisfied with their decisions."

"Frankly, not an issue at this point.  She may call them as witnesses to testify why they charged you," the judge told him.  He looked at Sheppard.  "Do you have any evidence of your allegations, Director?"

"We're still looking but we're very sure that something's wrong with this cover story they clearly made up.  The child doesn't even look comfortable in her lap."

The judge looked then shook his head.  "He's asleep.  That seems comfortable to me."  He looked at the obvious mother.  "You were the push to let his father have him?"

"I had to make some reasonable arguments but my daughter knew that he was in more danger with us."  She stroked Dawn's arm with a smile.  "That was proven very well to us."

Dawn nodded.  "Too well."  She gave Xander a squeeze.  "Willow's better.  Slightly."

"That's good," Tony said.  "Getting back to her old self?"

"No.  But she's closer."  She smiled at the boy who had just farted loudly.  "I'm so glad you have a diaper on this time."  The judge coughed to quit snickering.   She looked at the angry, stupid woman across from her.  "Ma'am, for your information, I'm still a virgin outside of having had him.  He actually broke my hymen on the way out.  Now, don't you think someone like Tony would've dealt with that issue if he had touched me?  And beyond that, he's nice and all but very uptight.  I'm still in my naughty, tough guy phase of crushing.  He's way too nice and upstanding for my tastes.  Beyond that, I'm fairly certain I would've known if he had left DC, flown out there, debauched me, then flown back here.  And so would've you.  I don't know what your problem is, lady, and I don't care.  I have bigger problems than jealous women who can't get his attention.  Which is what this looks like to my untrained eye."  She stared her down.  "He's never touched me.  He barely patted me on the shoulder before he left with our son.  If you don't like it,...."

"Dawn," her mother warned.

"Sorry, probably not a charitable anatomically impossible thought that should be aired in here."

"Probably not," the judge agreed.  "Are you dating now?"

"Nope.  Too many problems in town since my sister won and ended up dying because of it."  Her mother gave her another pat.  "Thank you, Mommy."

"I know your temper's very high right now.  Hug Xander."  She looked at the judge.  "Really, I would've known, she would've known, the rest of my daughter's friends would've known.  The doctor was very shocked when he saw she was still a virgin at her first exam."   She handed over a letter.  "From her OB."

The judge read it.  "It does say that she was a virgin when she conceived and when she gave birth."  He looked at Sheppard's lawyers.  "I can get you a mediator if you want one but if you have no evidence then all she's doing is slandering him for whatever reason and it's impacting his job performance.  If she keeps it up, he won't be able to work and then she'll be supporting the both of them.  Why did I get a request for a restraining order for your parents, Agent DiNozzo?"

"She thoughtfully let them know they were grandparents.  I'm expecting the first salvo in that war any day now.  Since they both have...issues to put it bluntly, I want them to stay away from my son and out of this legal matter.  I'll deal with them some other way."

"That's reasonable I suppose.  Issues?"

Tony pulled out an old picture of himself.  "I was ten and it was my mother's idea, Your Honor."  The judge shuddered, handing it back.  "Then I wasn't cute, wasn't talented in banking, and they decided I was old enough to be on my own at twelve."  He smirked.  "So I'll deal with them some other way."

"Good luck."

"Thank you but I did grow up in polite society to put it mildly."

The judge shuddered.  "I understand.  Thank you for not destroying her that way as well."

"She's doing a wonderful job all on her own," he assured him with a smile.  He looked at his director.  "Admit you lied about it, admit you were incorrect about your assumptions, pay the amount I asked for, because I've got to set up a school fund for him.  That way he's not stuck working for NCIS under the next politically motivated director.  Or it stays."

"I want an injunction that he can't tell anyone about it," Sheppard's lawyer said.

The judge looked at him.  "How would he be able to counter things that are presently ruining his reputation?"

"Well, that could be done more subtly."

Tony smirked.  "I've already told every one of my exes all about this.  Every single one.  Even the one that works in the embassy to Bolivia.  The one who's a secretary on the Hill.   The three reporters, the few officers and agents.  Every single one.  They all think Xander's adorable too."  He smiled.  "Just like Abby does."

"That was probably uncalled for," the judge admitted.

Tony smirked.  "Not really."

"Fine.  I can't undo what you've done."  He put the files back together.  "I'd suggest mediation.  Quickly.  Dragging this on will only cost you more money, Ms. Sheppard."  He stood up.  "Have a good day."  They all filed out.  He smiled at the young woman's back.  She had been a bit cool but she clearly was handling things all right at the moment.


Tony looked out of the kitchen, frowning when Joyce grabbed her head.  "Joyce?"

"Just a bit dizzy, Tony."

He came out to look at her.  "It's not a concussion.  I've had plenty of those."  He looked into her eyes.  "Headache too?"  She nodded.  "We have a quick med place up the street.  Dawn, watch dinner."  He took her that way, nearly having to march her into the clinic.  "She was sitting on a couch and suddenly got dizzy and had a headache."

"I've had a few of these," she admitted.

"That's something to worry about when they suddenly start," Tony said firmly.

"It is," the nurse agreed.  "Sign in and we'll get you back there fairly quickly."

"I'm fine," Joyce protested.

Tony scowled.  "Who'll be his grandmother?" he asked firmly.  "Not like mine will be."  She huffed but the stubbornness of Tony was nearly legendary when he wanted it to be.  The nurse got her signed in and back there within ten minutes.  Then they had the nice trip to the ER shortly thereafter.  The CT people were very nice about it.  The doctor who saw her there was quite worried but upbeat.  By then Dawn had joined them with Xander and was complaining about the 'foreign chick with bad manners who tried to break in and hurt Xander'.  So Tony would have an outlet for his stress in the morning.  By the time the hospital had admitted Joyce, Dawn was nearly asleep.  He drove her back to his place, letting her crash with Xander in his room while he called someone to conference with him in the hallway.  He smiled at the cop coming to meet him.  "Hey."

"DiNozzo.  We've been hearing some pretty strange rumors about you recently."

"That's my director trying to be a bitch," he said bluntly.  "She had someone try to break in here to hurt the mother of my son earlier."

"Really?"  He leaned on the wall next to him.  "Son?"

"Classified military project and her sister had been dating one of their people.  She's pissed and spreading rumors because they decided to use me without our consent and knocked her up via needle insertion."

"Oooh.  Poor kid."

"She's fifteen.  I'm suing the director.  Would you like to arrest Ziva?"

"I'd love to arrest your rude, fumbling teammate that doesn't pay attention to local cops.  Doesn't she have diplomatic immunity?"

"Not that I know of."

"Decent.  You sure it was her?"

"I showed Dawn a picture, she ID'd her.  You can talk to her tomorrow.  We just put her mom in the hospital for a brain tumor that was making her sick tonight."

"Damn, poor girl.  I'll pop around tomorrow."  He grinned.  "Thanks."

"Welcome.  I know you guys have had problems with her ignoring you and things."  He nodded, walking off.  He only lived a few buildings over.  That could be his drama for the day tomorrow.  He went back inside to lay on the couch for a few hours.  Then he'd get up and go back to packing while Dawn went to visit her mom.


Gibbs looked up as two officers in uniforms and what had to be a detective walking into his row.  "Case related?" he asked.

"Yes.  Ziva David, stand up, put your hands behind your head, and turn around," he ordered.  "You're under arrest for breaking and entering plus attempted assault and battery of a minor."

"Excuse me?" Gibbs demanded.

The detective smirked.  "DiNozzo didn't tell you she tried to beat the crap out of one Dawn Summers to get at a child?   Stand up and turn around, ma'am, or we'll have to use force."

"You wouldn't dare," she said firmly.

"Ziva, stand down," Gibbs ordered.  "Officers, is there a legitimate charge already?"

"Yes, Agent Gibbs, there is.  Miss Summers was more than happy to fill one out.  We're more than happy to help her with it."

"Because she hates to work with locals?" McGee asked.

"Yup," one officer said.  He looked very pleased about that.

"What is going on?" the director demanded.  "Why are you bothering Agent Gibbs?"

The detective looked at her.  "Because we have an arrest warrant for Agent David, ma'am."

"Why?" she demanded, blocking their way.

"Because she broke into an apartment, tried to assault a young woman, and tried to harm a child."  He pulled out his handcuffs.  "It's up to her whether she wants to do this the hard way or not."

"She has immunity," Sheppard said firmly.

"Their embassy said she doesn't," he said dryly.  He smiled.  "Now, if she'll put her sidearm on her desk?"

"She will not," Sheppard said firmly.

"Then you'll be going with her for obstruction," the detective said.

"Let me see if she'll drop the charges," McGee said, dialing.

"She's at the hospital," Gibbs said.  "Stop, McGee.  Director, step out of the way.  I'm sure she can defend herself against this.  Because if someone sent her there...."  He glared at Ziva.

"I was ordered to break in and question the young woman," Ziva said firmly.

"The last time I knew, she wasn't an NCIS witness, and she said the same," the detective told her.  "And unless you can bring up orders, written orders, you're still coming downtown.  It's up to you, last chance to give up peacefully."  She looked at Gibbs.

"Go, I'm sure it'll be explained in a few minutes," Gibbs said.

Ziva nodded stiffly, letting them cuff her and walk her off.  "I'm sure my agent will be treated as an agent?" Gibbs ordered calmly.

"Of course.  She'll be treated very well and will be waiting on you to find those orders for the next three hours.  Then we'll have to enter her into formal custody for an arraignment."

"Three hours should be more than enough," he agreed.  "Thank you for coming in person and doing so peacefully."

"Gladly, Special Agent Gibbs.  We like working with you; you've always shown our good officers respect."  He got onto the elevator with her.

Gibbs glared at the director, making her back up.  "You had her break into DiNozzo's house, rough up that young woman, and try to hurt the child?"

"No," she said.  He stared her down.  "I didn't want her to hurt either child.  I wanted to make sure he wasn't hurting her further."

"He hasn't touched her, Director.  We both know that.  You're using him to further some plan or to take a good agent out of the way because he can think and uses his brain to solve cases instead of kissing your ass.  I won't let you hurt DiNozzo, Dawn, her mother, or that child."  He moved closer.  "I'd back down now.  You may be a director, but he has a lot of support in this building and this town."

"From all his dates?" she sneered.

"No, from all the cases he's solved.  A lot of people like him being on my team because it means I keep out of their face during cases."  He moved closer.  "Whatever your problem is, we all know he didn't touch Dawn.  He's not like that.  Not even if he was drugged.  If you don't, that's your problem, but you will leave my agent alone."

"I'll fire him," she said.

"You can try," he said dryly.  "Then he can sue you for unlawful termination and then the agency as well.  Since he can prove he never touched her, and even the judge said so, I doubt you'll win that battle either.  Your plan has failed and keeping it going is only going to make your losses more apparent to others.  If you try this crap again, you won't have an agency."  He walked off.  "I'd present those orders, *Director*."

She stomped off.

McGee came out from behind his monitor.  "Boss?" he asked quietly.  Gibbs held up a hand.  "I finally got hold of Tony, he's back at home.  Dawn threw a table at her when she caught her breaking in.  Ziva took two swings and made a move toward the baby.  He said that Dawn did something that she learned from Miss Rosenburg, then threw Ziva out without any memory of actually touching her.  Tony would not tell me what Dawn did, he claimed he didn't know.  He did admit to helping her file the report, and that the detective was very happy because of the way Ziva treats local officers like they're bugs now and then.  Tony also said he knew if you wanted her back, you could get her back easily enough."

Gibbs nodded.  "So he went to tactical thought?"

"Apparently he's tired and waiting to really fight when his parents get down here, boss.  He's in the realm of bad thoughts according to him.  That's why Dawn put his gun in his locker before they left for the hospital."

Gibbs nodded once.  "It's not a problem.  That problem was being worn down, and I don't like this method of retribution."

McGee typed that in.  "Tony said she left him no alternative.  And if she keeps up, he'll have to start getting creative.  I'm thinking that's worse than Abby getting creatively vindictive; like the time she had that one agent trapped in a closet over a weekend for using that horrible, bad to women line on her."

"Don't remind me," he said.  He considered it.  "Tell DiNozzo to stand down.  To anticipate but do not let any other plans fly without my knowledge."  McGee typed that in.  "Then tell him to smack himself on the head a few times.  A team doesn't turn against each other."

"If it was Kate, she wouldn't have," McGee said bluntly.  "Ziva did."  He shrugged when Gibbs stared at him.  "Just saying, boss.  Ziva and the director started it.  Did you think Tony wouldn't react?"

"No, I'm sure he will be.  Most parents would.  Tony's just...more creative and he'll ask Abby for ideas."  He took a sip of his coffee, seeing her stomping toward the elevator.   "Tell him to beware of gifts too," he said quietly.  "She's not done yet."

McGee nodded, typing that in.  "He said of course she's not.  She's obsessed with some things.  Obsessions are never good for you.  And he said you'd probably know what he was talking about.  Plus to check your mail.  You have a special delivery from Tony's place coming."  Gibbs nodded, walking off to talk to Ducky and Abby.  One of them might be able to calm Tony down.  He knew he couldn't.  Not with what happened after his own child had died.


Dawn looked out the window the next day.  "Your parents roll like starlettes?"

"Probably."  He looked out the same window.  "Yup, that's my mother.  Go watch the kid?"

"Gladly.  I don't want to be involved."  She went to find where Xander was hiding in the kitchen this time.  "Xander, come read to me," she called as she walked.  He came out for that.

Tony chuckled.  "He hates it when I read to him."  He walked outside his apartment, staring at his mother as she came off the elevator.

"Anthony, where is my grandson?" she demanded cooly, not taking off her sunglasses.

Tony looked at the man beside her, her assistant/lawyer/lover/etc.  "Did no one ever explain the meaning of the word restraining order to her?"

"I did inform her of it, Mr. DiNozzo."

"Hmm."  He looked at his mother.  "Mother, there's a restraining order."

"He's my grandson."

"You're not legally allowed within a thousand feet of wherever he should be.  That means you should be outside of this building, Mother."

"I will be seeing my grandson."

He shook his head.  "No, you won't.  See, disowning me means that not only am I out of the family but all my heirs are as well."  He smiled.  "So leave, Mother.  You're not welcome here.  We'll do just fine without you."

"He is my grandson and I will be determining if he's fit to be part of this family," she sneered.  "Since you weren't."

"What's wrong?  The liquor cravings getting bad again?" he taunted.  "Clearly it's infecting your brain.  My son needs nothing from you.  Or the paternal donor, whoever that was."

"I have never cheated on my husband!" she said hotly.

Tony looked at the assistant.  "Aren't you glad she's not in a court of law so you don't have to explain perjury to her too?"  The assistant scowled.  He stared him down until he looked away.  Then he did the same to his mother.  "You're not getting near my son."

"I heard how he came to be," she sneered.

Dawn opened the door.  "He didn't touch me, lady.  The military gave him a son because they thought he'd be a great special ops and covert agent if you had raised him better."

"Who are you?"

"The mother of your grandson, bitchy, and no, you can't see him because you're stupider than most cows."  The mother huffed off.  "Pleasure to have met you, Mrs. DiNozzo and her boytoy."  She went back inside, closing the door most of the way.  "Good thing Tony's so good, huh, Xander?"

Tony shook his head as he went inside, still smiling.  "She's not really fat enough to be a cow and she never produced milk."

"Not all cows are sold off for steaks when they're too old.  Some people do keep cows just to have a cow, or so I'm told."

"That is strange."  He gave the cooing baby a hug.  "Thank you for being so good, Xander.  If you see her again, you scream a whole lot, okay?"  The baby smiled at him.  "I know, you want to eat.  Again."

"He needs it so he's not as short as Buffy was," Dawn said.

"I know but I can tease him about it.  He's a picky eater some days."

"I noticed that.  He hates carrots, always did."  She handed him the newest jar of mush. "Beef and peas?"

"That'll hopefully work."  He sat down but the baby didn't want to eat it.  He went into the kitchen and came out with the same jar and spoon.  "How about beef and cauliflower?"  The baby beamed and ate for him this time.  "I'll remember you don't like peas."

Dawn smirked.  "Way to go, Dad."  She went to answer the door.  "What?" she asked the man she didn't know.

Tony leaned back.  "That's McGee.  Let him in.  If he's rude you can kick his butt."  He went back to feeding his son.  McGee was staring.  "Let me guess, you believed the bitch squad?"

"No," he said.  "I knew you wouldn't sleep with an underage girl knowingly unless you were drugged or she looked a lot older than she was."  He sat down.  "I never expected you to be this paternal though."

"How do you think kids eat?" Dawn snorted.  "Not like he can feed himself."  She went back into the kitchen.  "Lunch is nearly ready, Tony.  Am I making him a sandwich too?"

"No, I'm fine, thank you," McGee called.  He watched Tony for a few minutes longer.  "Gibbs wanted you to know that your phone's saying it was shut off and she destroyed her office earlier."

Tony smirked.  "The judge told her she was spreading rumors and she should settle."  He fed his son another bite.  "Want to try it?"

"Um, no.   Babies scare me."  He shifted in his seat.  "So, how is being a father?"

"Not too bad.  He's back to sleeping all night.  He likes to wander.  He likes to flirt when I am.  It's good so far."

"Good.  I'm glad you're happy.  What about work stuff?"

"If she makes it so I can't work, I'm going to press for more money."  He gave him a wicked smirk.  "Because I'm not going to let anyone ruin me."

"Good.  Well, Gibbs wanted you to know."  He stood up.  "Is he okay?  He's turning purple."

"He's crapping, McGee.  They make that face many times a day."

"Eww.  Sorry for you then."  He hurried off.

Dawn came out.  "I think he does it on purpose sometimes."

"Could be," Tony agreed.  He handed off the food, taking him to change so he could finish eating.  Because it stunk too much to leave him that way.  It was really disgusting.  "Eww."  The baby cackled.  "Good to know you like doing that, son."

Dawn snickered, going back to her sandwich fixing.  Joyce needed special food to get better faster.


Tony walked in his first day back, handing Gibbs a sealed envelope.  "My new address, which is not to be given out at all.  My nanny's name and phone number."

"That'll work," he said, sealing it into a locking drawer in his desk.  He had felt the envelope, it was empty of all but a small packet.  It felt like a dye packet.  "HR paperwork?"

"They kindly emailed it to me so I printed it off and dropped it in the box on the way up here, boss."

"Even better.  Robbery/homicide case, DiNozzo."

"On it, boss."  He sat down, checking his desk.  Someone had been through it.  His candy stash was missing.  A few things were put in.  "Never mind, I'm not on it.  Boss, someone tampered."

Gibbs looked up.  "Tampered how, DiNozzo?"  Tony pulled out something with a pair of chopsticks from his top drawer.  The baggie was very telling.  "I know that's not yours."

"I know it's not mine too, boss, but I found a few things that look like pain pills too."

"Don't touch anything else."

"I'm not."  He moved to McGee's desk to get to work.  "Find out who I need to make commit suicide please, boss."

"Get Ducky to pull a hair for a drug test."

"Better yet," he said, dialing a number from memory.  "It's DiNozzo.  I came back from emergency family leave and found someone had stuffed drugs in my desk.  I need you guys to do an official drug test, hair strand so it goes back over a few months, please.  Just for control and evidentiary purposes, yeah.  Thank you.  At McGee's desk.  Gibbs has it."  He hung up.  "IA will be right up, boss."  He went back to his searching.  An agent came up to him wearing gloves so he tipped his head down.  "Don't make a bald spot please."

He selected a few hairs and pulled them.  "Only took four, DiNozzo."  He got a grin for it.  "Family leave?"

"You heard the rumors the director and her minion are spreading about me?" he asked dryly.

"I have.  I know they're not true with as many harassment complaints as you've had from the disappointed ones."

"I'm suing her for spreading that rumor," he said with a mean grin.


"I also had an officer who is a near neighbor arrest a certain liaison agent for breaking into my apartment and leaving bugs, which Gibbs got given."

"Even better."  He came over to help Gibbs search, taking pictures of what was found.  "I know it's not his, Gibbs.  You would've kicked his ass by now."

"Yes I would have."

"The test will clear him I'm sure."  He gathered those up.  "I'll have Abby run fingerprints and things.  They can't get him for dealing either.  He wouldn't have left it here while he was on leave."  He walked the evidence bags down to he lab.  "Miss Scuito."

She stared at him.  "You're way too chipper.  Who screwed up?"

"Whoever put drugs in Agent DiNozzo's desk."

"In Tony's desk?' she said through a laugh.

"Exactly.  Please give me all evidence on who planted these."  He handed them over.  "I'm going to a non-biased lab for the drug test Agent DiNozzo asked for."  He walked off.  "Call my desk please.  I'll be back within an hour."

"Sure, you do that."  She got to work.  Someone was so boned over this.  Clearly losing their mind as well.  Her inter-lab camera beeped.  "Not now, Ducky.  I'm processing the bags of drugs someone put in Tony's desk."

"Oh, dear.  Is he back?"

"Yup, somewhere."  She smiled at the screen and camera setup.  "It's okay.  He already asked for a ruling out drug test."

"Excellent of him."  He smiled.  "I'll bring you a soda, shall I?"


He nodded.  "I'll do so while Jethro and I are getting coffee to calm him down."  He hung up and walked up there.  "Jethro, I need to get Abby a drink.  Want to go with me?"

"I need to finish this, Ducky, then we can go."  He was searching another drawer.  "DiNozzo, why do you have porn in your desk?"

"Which one, boss?  One's not mine, it's Abby's.  One Kate gave me as a gag gift and I never took it home.  The other was something that was mailed to me by someone, who I don't know, and I've kept it so I could correlate it back.  That one would be in an evidence bag.  Kate's is in the brown paper bag she presented it in.  Abby's is in the gift bag."

"Abby's.  For her next birthday?"

"Her hiring anniversary is next week.  Boss, do we realize all these guys came from the same community before they signed on?"

"I hadn't."

"They did.  And they all have juvie records.  All sealed.  Let me start on a warrant to get them open."  He opened that form to get started on it.

Gibbs finished up and stood up, handing Ducky a few things.  "Get those to Abby and I'll meet you outside for the coffee run."  Tony held up two dollars.  "Usual?"

"Please.  Heavy on the sugar.  I didn't get a chance to get breakfast."

"Why?" Ducky asked.  "The son being a bit fussy?"

"No, I had to drop Dawn at the hospital to visit her mom."

"Why is she in the hospital?" Gibbs asked.  "Related?"

"Sudden onset of problems from a brain tumor," he said dryly, looking at him.  "I have no idea if it's related to anything or not."

"Interesting.  Do we think?"

"No clue and when I asked the doctor he said it's irregular for no symptoms to have shown up, but he can't determine it.  Even after the biopsy."

"Then we'll leave it as 'possible'," he decided.  "Give me five, Ducky."

"Yell later, Jethro.  When you're calmer."  He nodded, walking that way with him.

Tony smirked.  It was good that Ducky could talk sense into Gibbs sometimes.  He emailed his lawyer, making him unhappy this morning but oh well.

Abby came bouncing up forty-five minutes later.  "They tried to plant your fingerprints but they did it backwards."

He looked up.  "Backwards?"

"Flipped it, used the negative image."

He rolled his eyes.  "They'll probably try to say it was on purpose to let me know that they can ruin me."

She grinned.  "Probably.  Where's Gibbs?"

"Still getting coffee with Ducky.  Why?"

"Because security warned that there was some sort of shouting match outside and they told me to come stay near you."

"My father or mother you think?"

"No idea.  Which one showed up?"

"At least my mother.  Dawn told her she was a talentless, mannerless cow.  Said she showed up like a diva too."

Abby sat on the edge of the desk.  "We'll see soon enough."

"That's fine."  He nudged her with his elbow.  "Look at this link."

She looked over his arm, nodding.  "That makes no sense."

"No, it doesn't.  Who knows with some people."  She smiled as Gibbs came off the elevators with security.  "Problems?"

"Not for either of you."  He looked at Tony.  "Your mother's in town?"

"Yeah, Dawn insulted her for being rude yesterday, boss.  Is she here?"

"Yes she is.  Yelling about you working of all things."

"Not like she didn't leave me to a nanny anyway," he said dryly, looking up.  "Not only are they linked, they're linked with another person, and that one seems to be a bit disgusted with them since he's complained a few times, boss."  He handed over that information.  "As for my mother, let her go scream at the person who planted that stuff in my desk.  That's who told her I have a son."

"I'm sure they'd get along famously," Abby said sarcastically.  She looked at Tony.  "You should at least send her away."

"I did yesterday."  He got up.  "She still here?"  The guard nodded.  "Let me go send her off before she infects someone else."  He walked down the stairs to give himself time to calm down and be rational.  He walked out the where his mother was waiting, staring at her.  "The last time I knew, you didn't even know where I worked.  I'll have to thank her for telling you, Mother."

She stared at him.  "She said you won't be working soon."

"No I'll be working as long as I want to work," he corrected.  "Her petty ploys aren't going to work."  He smirked.  "Also, I'm suing her for her petty ploys."  She snorted.  "Beyond that, why do you care?"

"We'll have to have some sort of heir."

"You had one, you decided he wasn't good enough or cute enough anymore.  Guess that means my son definitely won't be."  He crossed his arms over his chest, giving her a milder version of a glare.  "Is there anything else?  You're embarrassing yourself.  I'm sure Father will love that."

"And you aren't by doing all....this?" she said, waving her hand around.

"Putting criminals in jail?  No, I don't find it embarrassing to the family name in the least."

She sneered.  "I knew you were malformed."

"And yet you had me, Mother."  She huffed.  "Anything else?  I have people I need to make confess."  She snorted.  "Good.  Have a good trip back to Long Island."  He walked off.

"I'm not through with you, Anthony."

"No, but I'm through with you, Mother.  Go back to your assistant."  He turned once he had hit the elevator button.  "I don't know why you need one since you don't do anything.  Sorta like how you needed a nanny even though you were home all the time.  Never did understand that one."  He got onto the elevator and headed up to his desk, ignoring the redhead in the back.  He got off and walked over there.  "Boss, she's fuming up the outside by now hopefully.  I told her off, again."

"Good.  She's clearly taking the wrong lessons from some magazine with the way she's acting."

"To her mind, she'll always be twenty-five and pretty."  He glared at the director when he caught her listening.  "Yes, I'm well aware you told them about my son.  Doesn't really matter since there's a retraining order and they'll never get him anyway."  He smirked.  "Do you feel better now?"  She huffed off too.  "Good."  He looked at Gibbs.  "Questioning today or should we wait for their juvie records, boss?  And can I have my desk back?"

"Later today, McGee's working from home anyway.  Use his desk."  He sat down.  "Abby, reports?"

"Fingerprints are backwards, Gibbs.  They used the negative instead of flipping it over."  He looked confused.  "See, you lift the print, then you put it onto something so it has all the proper raised places.  Right side down to backwards or negative, then right side down again," she said, showing him with her thumbs.  "Ziva screwed it up when she did it.  She also left a hair."  She smirked.  "One bag also had a link to a gold chain in it.  I don't know whose necklace broke but someone's did."  She walked off.  She was starting to want popcorn for this situation.

Gibbs stared at Tony for a moment.  "Don't break anything that can't be fixed," he ordered quietly.

"No problem," he quipped.  "Someone can always be hired, boss."  He smirked.  "If there's any more drama, I'll start selling tickets to up my boy's school fund."

Gibbs laughed.  "He might have a few mil in there by the time your parents give up."

Tony snickered.  "Yes he might."  He got back to work.  "I think this is part of the pack they probably formed in juvie, Gibbs."  He handed over the information he had gathered.  "And this one guy is oddly placed but might not be part of it."

"We can talk to him as well."  He headed for the elevator.  Tony followed once he had his bag and gun.  The next salvo was waiting outside.

"Anthony DiNozzo," a man said.

"Clipboard and summons," he said.  The guy smiled and handed it over.  He signed.  "Thank you.  I'll deal with them later."  He walked off again to the car, reading it.  "Ah, my father's trying to sue me for custody."  He texted that to his lawyer.  "Why didn't I let him die?" he muttered.

Gibbs looked at him.  "Would that be an admission?"

"I caught him choking when I was younger.  I should've let him."  He smirked at him across the hood.  "They'll handle it."  He put it into his bag.


Tony walked into the meeting room, sitting down.  He looked at his father's henchmen.  "It amuses me that he wants a son now."

"I do need an heir," his father sneered.

Tony snickered.  "Father, screw yourself.  You have no hold over me or my son."

"You have no way to raise him in a manner that befits a true DiNozzo."

Dawn walked in and sat down with Tony's lawyer.  "Tony, is this your old man?"

"Yes, unfortunately he is."

Dawn nodded once.  "No.  He has less manners than your mother and less fashion sense too."

"Who is this?" his father sneered.  "The mother I heard you...had?"

"Nope," Dawn said with a smirk.   "Mother, yes.  Had, no.  Sorry, the military wanted him to come into being.  We have nothing between us but working together to make sure *my* son is going to be safe."

"I heard you signed over your rights," the father said smugly.

"No, I signed over *custody*, not my full rights.  I still have visitation rights."

He looked at her.  "I can make sure that you have an adequate college fund if you would."

She snorted.  "Mr. DiNozzo, you have not a clue what I need or want.  You've clearly either not done your homework or the life you live in is pitifully out of touch with reality.  Real people need more than money in their lives.  Plus, I have a very nice college fund already."  She smirked.  "You have nothing I could want."

"Everyone has a price, young lady."

She snorted.  "Oh, please.  No.  Not everyone.  You can't bring my sister back.  You can't make my mother healthy again. You can't stop the sorts that want to have me as a captive.  Everything else is covered."

He stared at her.  "I can make sure your mother has excellent care."

"She already has excellent care."  She leaned back.  "Beyond that, you still have nothing I could want or need.  By the way, Tony, Spike's local."


"Because he wanted to make sure I'm okay while she's in the hospital."

"I guess that's fine.  Keep the drama from out there away?"

"Gladly."  She looked at the old white guy patrol again.  "Anyway...."

Tony snorted.  "It's amazing how many real people you run into in reality."

"You can't hope to get him into a *good* school," his father's attorney noted.

"He's already got a very good college fund started.  I can easily afford wherever he wants to go.  Money isn't something that I'm concerned about."

"I heard your job is in danger," he said smugly.

"No, her job is in danger for spreading that stupid rumor around.  That's one of the things that may be coming her way from the lawsuit."  His father glared.  "Beyond that, I can still afford it, Father."

"I don't know why you haven't died," his father sneered.

"Hmm, maybe because of the sort of people I went to school with.  Some of those people I went to school with *are* in a less than legal fields.  I learned a lot from them."  He smiled when his father's lawyer looked alarmed.  "You know, a few of them did offer me a reduced rate way back when."

"You wouldn't," his father stated.

Tony laughed.  "Then."  He smirked.  "Now you're trying to threaten my son.  Unlike you, I have feelings for my son and will protect him."

"I protected you."

"Leaving me in a hotel room for a weekend is protecting me?  When you're on another continent?  Or going to those wonderful re-creation events with just anyone who might touch anyone else?  I learned a lot of stuff watching them play with each other."  His father went pale.  "Thankfully I did learn some self defense from the lessons you sent me to so I'd be out of the house."

"You had the best of everything until you turned your back on us."

"I didn't turn my back on you.  You're the one who decided I was no longer cute enough for society points and banking wasn't going to be my area of expertise because I had a mind for more than numbers.  Pity you only wanted a son as a matter of status."  He stood up.  "You have nothing I want.  You won't win because, well, I know very well there's a social services report in your name, Father."  He helped Dawn up.  "C'mon, let's go get the sprout and have a pretzel while we walk."

"Okay.  Sounds good.  He'll like to lick it."  They walked out.

Tony's lawyer watched them then looked at the other lawyer.  "He's very against bending even the least little bit for supervised visitation at the moment.  Your timing is fairly bad since he's about to snap at his boss for her assumptions and rumor spreading.  If it had happened in a few months he might've at least bent enough for visitation sometimes."  He gathered his bag and walked out.

Tony's father sneered at the doorway.  "Ruin them both."

"The background check I have on him doesn't have anything yet to do that with, Mr. DiNozzo.  Tony doesn't either at the moment outside of those rumors his director has been spreading."

"Find something."  He got up and walked off.  The minions could handle this and his son would be brought to heel.  Where he belonged.  Then he could set him up properly to give him a legitimate heir from a woman of better breeding and little morals.


Tony walked in the next day with his son on him.  "Nanny's throwing up," he said before Gibbs could open his mouth.  "I know we have paperwork today."

"We do," Gibbs agreed.  "Hi, Xander."  The baby beamed at him.  "How mobile?"

"Crawling."  He sat down, putting his son in his lap.  "Watch daddy type for a while?"

"He's very adorable," McGee said from his desk.  "Flu?"

"The nanny?  We think it's food poisoning."  He went back to his report.  "This is about bad guys who stole stuff, Xander.  I know you won't do that."  Xander squealed and patted the keys.  "That's right, we're writing about bad guys."  He backspaced over the baby babble and got back to work.  He whispered in his son's ear, telling him the story.  It kept him happy.

Abby came up, staring at the baby.  "You're too little to be an agent, Xander.  Why is daddy teaching you to write reports?"

"Because the nanny was puking after the chinese from Pau's last night."

"Eww, poor woman, eating there."  She took the baby to cuddle.  "You're my favorite mess maker."  He grabbed her hair with a grin, laying his head down to suck his thumb with a pigtail.  "I know, they're very soft.  I do good things with my hair."  She patted his back, earning a quiet belch.  Tony held up a cloth so she wiped his mouth and hand off.  "That's a good job.  You didn't get any in my hair this time," she said with a smile.  Tony was typing faster.  "Nearly done?"

"Yup."  He finished it up and took his son back.  "Thank you."

"Welcome.  Where's Dawn?"

"Joyce got clearance to go to LA for treatment so they're flying back in a few hours.  That way she's closer to home.  They're leaving Spike for a few days but he'll go back when they head back to Sunnydale."

"I guess that's reasonable," Abby decided, waving at the baby.  He fussed and reached for her.  "I know.  You can have more cuddles later."  She gave him a hug and he drooled on her cheek.  "Thank you for the baby kiss."  She winked at him and turned to look at Gibbs.  The baby was reaching for her belt but she let him this time.  He couldn't undo this one.  "Gibbs, your last case?  No evidence.  Again."

"I don't determine the cases," Gibbs reminded her.

"You know, you're cursing us to a case with multiple bodies and parts," McGee reminded her.  "Each time you complain about lack of work it makes our cases worse."

She smiled.  "I know."  She got the baby free and bounced off.  "I'll get him something to gnaw on since it looks like he's teething."

"He is.  Unfortunately."  He wiped his son's mouth, getting a grin.  "I know, those teeth have to come in.  We'll handle it as long as you don't bite me too often when you're chewing on my hand during movies."

"He does?" McGee asked.

"Yeah, especially when I fall asleep during them.  I wake up with a hand dripping in drool.  Small teeth marks on my fingers.  Him beaming at me as he gnaws on my fingers.  Then an explosion comes on and he coos at it."

"He does like explosions," Gibbs said dryly.  McGee gave him a strange look.  "I came over to help him move.  The baby likes action movies more than the noir Tony likes."

McGee shook his head.  "I would've helped."  Tony stared at him.  McGee nodded he understood why he hadn't been asked.  Tony wasn't sure if he was believing the stories or not.  "I might be able to babysit sometime?  Maybe with Abby?  Even though babies creep me out."

Tony smiled.  "I'm sure you'll get used to him.  The same as I'll get used to him and his dislike of drama."  He pulled up an older report he had to finish, telling his son that story.  It soothed him being bored for now.  Eventually he'd be bored again.  "I can't let you down," Tony told him.  "You can't crawl around up here.  There's mean people who might scowl so I'd have to shoot them."

"Hand him here," Gibbs ordered.  Tony got up and handed him the baby.  Gibbs put him down and handed him a pen.  "Sit there, figure that out."  The baby grinned, gumming on it as he checked out the new hiding spots.

"I keep trying to forget he likes tiny spaces to hide in."  Tony went back to his desk.  He grinned when his son peeked out to grin at him.  He waved.  The baby disappeared.  They played a few rounds of peek-a-boo.  The baby got bored and moved onto another game.  He got his hand swatted for playing with the cords he saw.  "Boss," Tony moaned.

"He's playing with the power cord.  It didn't hurt him."

"Fine."  Gibbs stared at him.  "I'm not sure physical instruction is going to be good for him."

"He'll do fine.  It barely shocked him."  The baby crawled out, still chewing on the pen.  "No farther, Xander."

Xander moved back to Daddy's desk to see his dark hiding spots.  Those neat cord things got him a nudge from his daddy so he had to quit playing with them.  Tony gave him something better to gnaw on and he was happier.  He saw another place to explore and crawled over that way.

"Hi, Xander," McGee said.  The baby moved around his feet.  "Don't touch the cords."

"Make sure he doesn't eat any of your lint down there too," Tony said.

"Got it."  He watched the baby, giving him a nudge on the leg with his toe when he got touchy with the cords.  The baby gave him a dirty look.  He stared back.  "Daddy said you can't play with those."  The baby reached for it again so he picked him up and moved him out of the way.  The baby squealed in outrage.  "Yay.  You can't do that."

Gibbs came over to stare at him.  "You're loud."

Tony snickered.  "Yes he is."  He took him back and walked off.  "We're going on a coffee run."

"Get me one please," McGee said.

"If I can handle the baby and a tray," he agreed.  He got onto the elevator, heading down to get some fresh air.

Gibbs smirked at him.  "What did you do?"

"Gave him a gentle nudge with a toe to his leg.  He's going to be so spoiled."

"By Abby at least."  Gibbs sat down again.  "He'll figure it out and find a real daycare for backup."

"Right now the nearest two aren't accepting applicants," Abby said as she walked in.  "No baby?"

"Coffee run."

"Oh."  She sat in Tony's seat, putting something into his desk drawer.  Then she hopped back up.  "For him to play with."  She smiled.  "I'll come get him for lunch."

"There's no other daycares?" Gibbs asked.

"Not reputable ones who have bonded people and are nearly on the way to work here."

"I thought he had a good nanny," Gibbs admitted.

"He does.  She's a great lady.  I've known her for a few years."  She smirked at his look at her.  "She's perfectly normal, Gibbs.  Sucks that she ate at Pau's though."  She walked off.

Gibbs shook his head.  He knew some of Abby's odder friends.  Not who he'd trust as a nanny, though she did bowl on a team with nuns so maybe it was one of them.

Tony came back with a giggling baby who had chocolate around his mouth and a tray with cups.  "Abby was in your desk," McGee said, handing him a few dollars for his coffee as he took his.  "Thanks."

"Welcome."  He let Gibbs have his and pay him.  Then he sat down to look in the drawer.  "Aww, she got you a cuddle toy, Xander."  He let the baby sit on the floor next to him and cuddle the toy with his new cookie bar.  The baby had liked it and it was soft enough to gum.  Gibbs looked over at the loud giggling.  "Cookie bar."

"Isn't he a bit young for chocolate?"

"Heresy," Tony said with a teasing grin.  "He begged and tried to steal it."  He checked then went back to work.  Xander was happy being cuddly and messy.  He got all his reports done and looked around.  McGee pointed under his desk.  "Thanks."  He walked over to look under there.  "Cuddle me now?"  The baby squealed, coming out to get him.  Tony took him and his toy, going back to his seat.  "Let's find something to watch while Gibbs does all my reports."  He found a site with good animation, letting the baby stare at it.  Xander was cooing at it.

One of the people in another row came over.  "I've been hearing some strange noises," she said, staring at the baby.

"Nanny's sick.  She ate at Pau's."

"Poor woman," the other agent said.  He walked over.  "So that's him?"

"Yup.  Xander, this is Peter.  Can you say hi?"  He nudged the baby and pointed at him.  "Say hi?"

The baby cackled and gummed his cuddle toy.

"That's about what my brother's kids do," he admitted.  "He healthy and all that?"

"Yeah, she didn't feed him the bad chinese food."

"Good.  No daycare?"

"Bonded, registered, on the way here?  Not accepting new kids."

"Sorry to hear that.  Hope she's better later."

"I called.  She's down to mildly puking."  He looked up toward MTAC and the director's office at the scream someone let out.  Then he looked at the agent again.  "He's pretty good."

"Your girlfriends like him?" the agent teased with a smirk.

"They all think he's sweet and adorable because he flirts."

"Just like daddy, huh?" he said with an evil smirk.  "My sister's still single."

"Is this the same sister that you had to tackle to get the needle into her arm so she'd drop the knife?"

"Yeah, her."

"No thanks.  We need good women around Xander or else he'll date people like Kate."  Peter walked off cackling.  Tony grinned at Xander.  "Don't worry, you'll find many pretty ladies to date."

"Probably more than his fair share; like father, like son," McGee teased.

Tony nodded.  "Maybe."  He restarted the video.  Xander was drawn back to the video.  The director and Ziva came down dark purple.  Tony didn't smile but Xander squealed and stared in awe.  "She's not on PBS, son.  She's not the evil one Barney.  Calm down and I'll see if I can find Teletubbies."  He found a video and let him watch it.

Gibbs shook his head.  "Those things will rot his brain."

"They're made for kids his age, Gibbs.  Plus it's bright, happy, and keeping him entertained while his nanny's sick."

The director sneered.  "His *mother* not able to handle him?"

"His mother's on a plane back to LA with her mother, who's going back to cancer treatments closer to home," he said firmly, glaring at her.  "She's already well on her way back."

"She has cancer?" Ziva asked.

"They found a small brain tumor the night they came out for the judge's meeting," Gibbs told her.  "She had it removed and now she's in treatments."

"Then I hope she's better," Ziva said quietly, sitting down.  The baby was still staring at her.  "He's staring."

"They do that at brightly colored things," Tony told her.  He got back to the report he had been sent back.  Xander fussed.  He moved the windows so they were side-by-side so he could still see his cartoon.  Xander was beaming at the screen.

"Why is he here?" the director demanded.

"My nanny has food poisoning.  It's a paperwork day.  He's mostly entertained.  If we have to go out on a case, I can do the background checking here while they process this once."

Gibbs nodded.  "That's reasonable.  I'm hoping it won't become common?"

"No, boss.  She's never ordering from Pau's again."  He grinned.  "At least I'm not the other person she sits for.  She has triplets."

Gibbs shuddered.  "That's a bad thing to imagine."  Xander let out a cackle.  "He agrees."

"I'd be scared of triplet sons too," Tony agreed, patting his son.  Who belched obligingly.  He looked at him.  "Does that mean you're hungry?"  The baby babbled at him.  "Lunch soon."  He handed him a bottle from the bag.  "Warming bag," he said happily.

"Abby wants lunch with him."

"That's fine."  He let him eat the bottle and watch the video while he typed one-handed.  Finally, Xander started to drift off so he put his windbreaker down in a safe corner and put him on it with his new cuddle toy and bottle.

Ziva looked.  "He's snoring?"

"He does that," Tony agreed.  "Kept me up for days at first."  He finished up and sent it back to Gibbs.  "Done."

He read it over and nodded.  "Done.  Call her for lunch."

Tony IM'd Abby, getting a squeal back.  "She said ten minutes, she's in the middle of a test.  That'll let him finish his nap too."

"That's a good idea.  He won't be fussy later."

"He doesn't do much of that.  If he's tired, he gets extra cuddly."

"Thankfully he won't be throwing fits like the kids in the mall," McGee sighed.

"No, he won't do that for years," Tony said happily.  He checked because the snoring had stopped and Xander was wandering.  "Guys?  Xander?" he called.

"Got your spawn," a female agent called from the next row.  "Come save me.  He's trying to be cute and adorable, but only managing cuddly."

Tony walked over there.  "I was told he likes dangerous women," he teased, taking his son and the drooled on toy.  "Say thank you?" he told his son.  Xander beamed and babbled at her.  "Sorry, he was napping.  Nanny's sick."

She nodded.  "Miss Patty, about ten blocks away."

"Not taking new kids."


"She ate at Pau's.  She'll be back in the morning."  He walked off.  "Thanks."  He sat down.  "He was flirting."

"Definitely like his father," Ziva said.

Abby came up.  "There's my lunch buddy!"  She took Xander to hold.  "Come eat mush with me?"  Tony looked at Gibbs, who waved and nodded.  So he grabbed the bag and followed.

Gibbs looked at his purple director.  "Opened the sealed letter with his new address?" he asked dryly.  She stomped off.  He glared at Ziva, who slunk down a little bit.  She wasn't scared of much but she knew that glare.  "We all know Tony didn't do what she thinks he did."

"I know he wouldn't unless he was drugged," McGee told her.  "Tony doesn't like anyone that young."

Gibbs glared.  "Probably not even then."  He gathered things.  "Lunch."  They fled for the break room.  Gibbs walked out to watch what Abby was doing.  She was getting way too involved to be an aunt.


Tony looked at the second judge, who was rereading the evidence file while they waited on his father.  "He did get the file from the other judge?" he asked his lawyer quietly.

"I did," the judge said.  He looked at him.  "Has mediation started there yet?"

"No, she accidentally on purpose opened an envelope that had my new address in it which also contained a dye pack.  This was after some drugs were somehow planted in my desk with the wrong fingerprints on it.  They were set backwards."

"I have a report on that?" the judge asked.  The lawyer handed it over.  "I see you do.  She's still resisting?"

"Apparently she doesn't like being purple," Tony said with a grin.  His father walked in and he ignored him.

The judge looked at the other side.  "Better late than never," he said dryly.  "We're here for a preliminary discussion before we see if this needs to waste taxpayer's time and money."  He looked at the lawyers.  "I've gotten piles of paperwork from each of you.  I can't say as I like what I've seen."  He looked at Tony.  "How did you make it when you were kicked out?"

Tony pulled out something and handed it over.  "The social worker said if he kicked me out, she'd let everyone in the country club know what he had done.  Since I told her when she could find them there so she could question them there, she was more than ready to do so.  Instead I got the guest house on the edge of the property.  It was basically the same as I had when they gave me to a nanny.  I sent myself through college."

"I saw that fact sheet."  He looked at Tony's father.  "How can I be certain this one won't be done the same way?"

"I need an heir.  Apparently this flawed, illegitimate one is the only one I'm getting.  I've never been certain if my son was perverted in other ways."

The judge stared at him then looked for another form.  "I have here a report from the young woman's doctor.  It was a virginal birth, Mr. DiNozzo."  The older man flinched at that.  "Your son had nothing to do with how the child came to be."

"As for other children, as far as I know I don't have any but I've had many lovers.  No one's ever stepped forward but I have lost a few very nice ones thanks to him and them knowing him," Tony said blandly.  "Beyond that, there's a very good precedent to not humor him.  Including that the SEC is about to pounce him and hopefully take all that vaunted money that he keeps shoving in people's faces."

"We know this for certain?" the judge asked.  His father was giving him a horrified look.

"The information was slipped to me," Tony's lawyer admitted.  "Something about a bad business deal that resulted in some insider trading and some shady stock options being exercised to great profit."

"I see.  Do we have formal charges yet?"

The lawyer shook his head.  "The grand jury is presently meeting in secret from what I'm told.  They should have indictments in a few hours."

"That's an interesting bit of news."

Tony smirked at his father, who was looking a bit pale and sweaty.  "I didn't even have to call anyone, Father.  One of your banking buddies got caught with his hand in his secretary by his wife and she talked."

He groaned.  "Petria," he moaned, shaking his head.

"Nope.  Not the wife's name anyway."  Tony shifted, looking at the judge.  "Beyond that, there's no way I want my only child to be raised among the other princesses and princes of society the way I was.  As I pointed out recently, some of them have some very... interesting contacts that had once offered me a discounted rate on services rendered."

The judge looked at him.  "Someone offered to kill him for you?"  Tony nodded.  "Did you accept it?"

"I considered it but told them it'd be more satisfying watching him destroy himself and the rest of that oh-so-unholy family name.  I was apparently psychic, it's a lot of fun at the moment."  He grinned.  "Now, I'm a federal agent.  I shouldn't even talk to them."

"That's probably a good idea, yes.  Any other contacts you want to warn him about?"

"Most of our frat brothers are still legally employed," the lawyer said with a smile. "None of us talk to the ones who aren't."

"Good to know," he said dryly.  "I have a few of those in my past, I'm sure most of us who were in a fraternity do."  Someone came in and whispered in the judge's ear, handing him a paper before leaving.  He cleared his throat as he read over it.  "Agent DiNozzo, do you have any other contacts you want to mention at this point that might try to come into bearing on this case?"

"I told my girlfriends about Xander and how he came to be when they asked, mostly to counter the rumors my director was spreading.  Why?  Is one butting in?"  He took the paper, reading it over, nodding at the end.  "She's not an ex.  She hates me because I helped bust her wrongdoing, which she managed to only get probation for."  He handed it back.  "I'll note that to my boss in case she shows up at work."

"So no past romantic involvement?"

"No, Your Honor," Tony said.  "Nor would it have been likely since she gave me a concussion and shot at me."

"Then she's trying to be helpful for some reason."  He handed it to the other side, watching as the older lawyer of the team shook.  "A contact of yours perhaps?"

"I did find the mention of that case during the background check I did on his present team," he admitted, handing it to the elder DiNozzo.  Tony smirked at him.  "Only a concussion?"

"Her partner managed to graze me.  Hers went wide."

"Not a happy topic," the judge said.  He took it back, adding it to the files.  "I'm not seeing any good reason to remove the young boy from his custody before the hearing, Mr. DiNozzo.  I'm sure his past disease history would make someone salivate but I'm also certain he has that risk managed.  The small risk from his job isn't any worse than the enemies you've made by doing some shady things."  He handed over that report from Tony's lawyer.  "Since there's a few death threats on you.....  I'm going to say the danger is equal only yours are more likely to kill you by explosion or some other way that means you won't be surviving."  He looked at Tony.  "You do have arrangements made in case the unthinkable does happen?"

"I'm updating my will this week.  I've chosen surrogate parents and his mother agreed with my choice.  She thought him a bit tough but probably able to handle him in a reasonably sane manner."

"That's good.  So we're set until the hearing itself, and I have it scheduled for two weeks from Thursday at nine in the morning?"

"I'll have a slight conflict with testifying in a multiple homicide case," Tony admitted.  "I'll be late."

"That is important.  What day is better for you?"

Tony looked at his phone's calendar.  "I'm on call the following day and Saturday but Monday is clear so far."

The judge checked.  "I have a few hours free that afternoon."  He penciled it in.  "Let me know if JAG pulls a sudden need to have you there that day as well, Agent DiNozzo."

"Of course."

"Good.  Then we're set until the hearing."  He closed the files.  "Do have a good day, gentlemen, and try to work this out before I have to see you again."

"My parents come near my son and you'll be hearing," Tony assured him.

"That restraining order?" the judge asked.

"That too."  He smirked.  "My mother's already tried to get pushy at my job and my apartment."

"That's fine.  Do remain within the lines of the law.  Who has him right now?"

"The nanny does but one of his aunts is with him.  She's very fierce so if my father tried something, like he did an hour ago, she could handle it appropriately."  He held up the text message.  "I believe the people he hired to take my son are presently in federal custody.  She's mean but they're probably in shape to talk."

"I'll hear evidence from them at the hearing," the judge said firmly, glaring at the older DiNozzo.  "That is not legal."  He stood up.  "Go."  They left.  He shook his head.  "I hate people in this social class."


Tony walked into his row, finding his son was there.  With Abby dancing him around.  Ziva was looking quite horrified and still a bit purple.  It had faded to a nice mauve on her.  Fornell was waiting too.  He smirked at him.  "Are they talking?  The judge over my parent's try to get custody wants to hear evidence from them."

"They sang quite prettily; I'll have a transcripts sent to him."  He gave him a smug look.  "You thought Abby would be good enough?"

"I didn't think he'd hire more than one," he admitted.  He sat down.  "Son?"  Xander beamed and waved, snuggling his auntie.  "Aww, are you in love with her since she apparently fed you chocolate?"  He took his son back.  "Thanks, Abby.  You good?"

"I'm fine.  They were a bit scary but you have a neat pepper spray stash.  Xander giggled when I used it on them.  The other one the nanny got with a frying pan she had been using to make lunch."

Tony smiled.  "She's good?"

"She's fine but shaky so I took him."  Abby beamed.  "He's had lunch and a nap, and some happy times.  We sang and danced in the lab for a few minutes.  The director complained so we came up to see Uncle Jethro and Uncle Timmy and Ziva."

Tony smiled.  "That's good.  Gibbs?"

"Go ahead.  How did he find your new address?"

"We were at the old place," Abby said with an evil smirk.

"I thought it looked too clean," Fornell said dryly.

"Rental furniture for a week," Tony said with a grin.  "We're going to disappear to the real house tonight."  Abby beamed because she knew where it was.  "I figured my father would try some force, not be this stupid.  Oh, we let slip what the nice little bird at the SEC told us.  Dad's in deep shit."  He beamed.  "Anyway, we'll go home," he told his son.  Who was pouting at Abby.  "She's not your mommy.  She can't live with us, Xander."  Xander screamed and fussed when he shifted him away from Abby.

He stared his son down.  "Stop it," he said calmly, sticking his thumb in his mouth.  It got down to fussing.  "Son," he complained.  "She's not ours.  You can't keep Abby."  He gathered a few things and stuck them in his pockets, standing up.  "Come on, we'll go have some snacks and a movie you like, then we'll have some fun in the park later tonight."  His son pouted at him, still looking pitiful.  He was even doing the pitiful sniffling again.  "I don't care.  You can't keep Abby."

"I'll come visit in a few days.  Give him time to forget that I'm so cute," Abby promised.

"That'll be fine," Tony agreed, walking off.  "Say night night, Xander.  We'll go have treats at the new place with the comfy couch."

"Make sure you're not followed," Fornell ordered.

"Of course."  He waved a hand.  "He's so silly.  He doesn't know that daddy's going to ruin your granddaddy so hard, your granddaddy's going to beg your mommy to give him mercy."  He grinned.  The baby grinned back at him.  "Yeah, we'll do that."  He got onto the elevator, going down to the lobby.  The security guys all smiled.  "He wanted to keep Abby as a cuddle toy."  They all cooed at that.  He walked outside then back inside.  "Guys, are the strike team supposed to be out there?"  They ran out there while he called Gibbs.  "Strike team on the front lawn, boss."  He hung up and headed for the parking garage.   They could handle this and he didn't want his son involved.  He ran into one guy in camo gear coming up the stairs.  He pulled his gun with his free hand.  "Federal agent.  Freeze."  The man froze, staring at him.  "Move."  He shifted out of the way.  Tony walked around him.  "Are you here for my son?"

"No, sir.  I'd never touch a kid."  He stared at him.  "We're here to see about a problem."

"Fine.  Go."  The guy ran.  Tony put his gun back but didn't reclose his holster latch.  The security team was good and Gibbs would help.  Tony got them into his car, which had no backseat so it was easy enough to put Xander into his carseat from the inside.  The baby wasn't happy with it but oh well.  He started his engine and backed out, heading around the problems.  He beeped when one got thrown in front of him, sticking his head out the window.  "Do you mind?  I've got my son with me.  Damn, I'm starting to sound like Dawn," he realized, rolling back up his window.  "Daddy has to quit doing that, Xander."  The baby cooed.  "I know.  It's very cute of me."  He grinned at his son before driving on.  No one would mind him being on the lawn for a few feet.  He wasn't going to get involved while he had his son.  Otherwise he'd be out there.  "I really do need to get in shape again.  It's sad that your auntie could kick my butt."

Gibbs watched the car go, shaking his head.  "DiNozzo's mind is going to the wrong end again," he muttered, cuffing another one.  "He's turning into the baby's mother."

One of the security guys laughed.  "Really?"

"She's from near LA.  That was move all hers."

"At least he's learning new things."

"Not things I'd like."  He finished up, finding one standing on the steps watching.  "With them?"

"No.  Though now I know why some guy pulled a gun on me in the stairway.  I was, um, looking for an Agent Ceres?"

"Third floor, left side," Gibbs said.  The guy nodded, heading that way.  "Today's just...strange."  The security guys laughed and nodded.  He walked them inside with the other agents, putting them into an interrogation room so Ducky could do bandages before the director went to ask them what they were thinking.  While he watched since her mind was compromised by bad thoughts.  He'd talk to DiNozzo later.  He agreed with evacuating the kid.  Quipping at the guy.... not so much.


Tony opened the door later that night, staring at Gibbs, McGee, Abby, and Ziva.  "Boss."

"They need to know just in case."  He walked past him.

"Fine, I suppose."  He'd ask Dawn if there was a way to block Ziva out later.  He closed the door after them but someone knocked.  "Fornell too, well it's a nice housewarming party I guess."  He closed the door after him.  "Anyone else coming?"

"That was your mother's plan earlier," Gibbs said.  "Nice couch.  I wasn't sure about it."

"It's very comfortable and he loves to pet it."  He sat down.  "Did she ask my father to spend that much money?"

"No.  He said he hadn't been aware of her actions when we arrested her."  Tony just grinned.  "She's in very deep trouble, DiNozzo."

"There's the issue of karma, Gibbs."

"Fine.  You're not concerned."

"Not about this.  Is she making bail?"

"Someone's trying to reduce the charges to attempted non-parental kidnaping," Fornell said.

Tony nodded.  "They do have friends.  I realize this.  I'm fairly realistic here.  I knew this was going to be a war as soon as they heard."  He shifted, looking in the bedroom.  Xander was still snoring.  He looked back at Fornell.  "We're safer here."

"You are.  This place is very secure.  Nice rooftop garden too."

"He likes it."  He grinned.  "Plus it has much room for him to roam and wander."

"Within your paycheck?"

"And my payoff for Philly screwing me the way they did," he admitted.  "My mortgage only had to cover about thirteen grand."

"Even better," Gibbs agreed.  "That'll be a low payment."  Tony nodded.  "Anything else you have in place that we need to know about?"

"Dawn's feeding me information on what her group does so I can protect him better," Tony told Gibbs, who shuddered.  "Not like I'm going to start using it but if it comes for him, and she thinks it might because of where he was born and who his family is, then we'll have to be ready."

"So you're building a library?" Gibbs said.  Tony nodded.  "That's fine.  Don't bring it to work."

"I won't be.  I'm keeping it as a backup information source, Gibbs."

"Good."  He shifted to look around.  "Going to up the kitchen?"

"Probably.  The bathrooms too.  They're good but if I have to sell this place it'll go better with some improvements.  That'll take about a week.  We can go to a motel for a few days."

"That'll probably work.  Him?"

"He goes to his nanny's.  She knows I work long hours on some cases.  Her other client is ATF."

"Even better," Fornell agreed.  "Good caregivers are very hard to find."

"She was highly recommended.  Xander loves her.  She has very long hair for him to play with and three other kids to torment."  Fornell smirked at that.  "Their mommy has three-year-old-girl triplets."

"I'm so sorry for her," McGee quipped.  "That's got to drive her nuts."

"Yes, I think so," Tony agreed.  "Sometimes she gets a good case out of town on purpose according to the nanny."  He shifted, looking at the phone when it rang.  He hung up and put the phone aside.  "Mother."  He looked at the team again.  "So?  Why the confab?"

"Safe house?" Gibbs asked.

"Beyond your basement or Sunnydale?  Or possibly their friends in LA if it's something like that?"  He shrugged.  "No clue yet.  I'm still trying to figure that out.  The grand jury put down three indictments against my father earlier.  Mostly minor things that'll cost him a hell of a lot to get out of, if he can.  No jail time most likely."  Fornell nodded.  "Of course that would open him to other investigative agencies if they should find some of his contacts were overseas, and we wanted to talk to them to put a squeeze on them," he told Fornell.

"He only knows some Swiss financial people.  No one overtly connected, but someone's going to be seeing if he knows others."

Tony nodded.  "Yes he does.  He went to college with the guy who's running the top bank in Kuala Lumpur."

Fornell smirked.  "Thank you for that information."

"He's my godfather actually."  He grinned back.  "The man hasn't seen me in forever."

"Even better for you, DiNozzo.  Anything else you need to let us know?"

"Yeah, if something happens to my son, there'll be a war."  He looked at Gibbs.  "You can protect the ones who need it."

"Agreed, but it had better not happen without warning."

"I don't think it'll happen at all but well....  My mother's a bit of a drunk.  My father's a bastard.  His father's not all there.  He's in a care facility in New Hampshire at the moment.  I have one living grandmother and she's back in Italy at the moment, at the former family home.  They're doing a countdown on her.  She does know.  I sent her a telegram to announce that I had a son.  Then I called later that night.  They had told her and she had smiled.  Said she hoped my son was quite safe and adorable, and went on to do what he wanted to do with his life.  My grandfather's caretaker said he smiled when he got told he had a great-grandson.  I emailed her a picture for him.  It's making his shady moments happier as well."

"Was your family ever connected?" McGee asked.

"No, they've been in finances for a very long time.  My grandmother married a jewelry designer and that was considered slumming."  Ziva shuddered.  "The family made her change her mind.  That's why my mother's such a harpy."

"That's a mild way of putting it," Fornell said.  The phone rang again.  Tony looked then hung up on them.  "Her?"

"Police station on 23rd."

"That's not her," Fornell said.  Tony sighed and called back, walking into the bathroom.  He came back.  "Problems?"

"Someone broke into my old apartment.  The super called them."  He sat down.  "They were found with things to kidnap and knock people out."

"Which parent?" Gibbs complained.

"Neither."  He smirked at Fornell.  "I told them you'd be there to arrest Agent Tymans, Fornell."

"Oh, I'm sure I will be.  Which agency?"


"IA can't handle him?"

"He is IA."

Fornell smirked.  "That's very good to hear.  Let me handle that."  He glanced at Ziva.  Tony gave a subtle shrug.  "I'll tell Emily that she can beg to see him?"

"Sure.  He'll need more good female role models beyond Abby.  Gibbs said she's not a heathen brat."

"Thanks for that."  He left, going to deal with his errant agent.  Being a deputy director brought on many fun jobs.

Gibbs looked at him.  "She's been shown."

"I'm in the way of something," Tony reminded him, staring him down.  Gibbs nodded he knew that.  "Have fun with her, Gibbs."

"I will be.  We'll be talking later."  Tony grinned.  Xander let out a loud squeal.  "Problems?"

Tony looked.  "Lost your thumb again?" he called.  The baby fussed.  He got up and went to get him.   He came back alone.  "Dirty diaper."  He got a drink and sat down.  "Make some coffee if you want some, Gibbs."

"I'm good for now."

"Cool.  Am I getting a guard?"

"You probably should," he agreed.

"Fine.  There's a spare bedroom.  The couch is comfy.  I'm going to bed."

McGee stood up.  "If you need more guarding, I'll take tomorrow."  Ziva stood with him.  "See you tomorrow?"

"Of course."  McGee smiled and left with Ziva.  Tony pointed at the closed door once they were gone.

"She's proving herself."

"They bring it here, you'll need the paperwork in my safety deposit box.  The key's in the freezer."

"I'll keep that in mind.  Go sleep, DiNozzo."

Tony got up and headed for his bedroom.   He'd figure out his next step tomorrow.  He was exhausted after earlier.

Gibbs looked around the apartment.  It was well laid out.  The bathroom in the guest room was fairly nice.  Oddly placed but that was fine.  Probably something that would be handled when he did that little bit of renovation.  The baby was snoring into his toy.  Gibbs moved it away from his face.  The baby pulled it back.  "No," he said softly.  "Don't inhale it."  He moved it back a bit farther.  Close enough to touch but not to inhale or suffocate him.  He went back to the living room to check the security system.  It was on so Tony had done that.  He moved back to the kitchen to make himself a glass of ice water.  He'd have to sleep sometime.


Tony walked in the next morning talking with someone in a suit.  Gibbs stared at him.  "Gibbs, this is the lawyer over my father's SEC charges."

"Bankrupt him so he can't do what he tried to do yesterday," Gibbs said.

"I'm trying very hard to get him fined at the very least."

Tony gave him a smug look.  "He's counting on a few things happening.  Like his father and her mother dying soon.  That way he can rebuild if you do."

"Will he be able to?" the lawyer asked.

"I don't know what's in their minds.  My grandfather has alzheimers.  My grandmother is just ancient.  She's ninety-seven.  I have no idea which way the wills are going to fall."

"If so and it happens before the trial, then there won't be a problem.  They can be confiscated to pay fines."

Tony grinned.  "That won't make him happy in the least."

"If it doesn't?" Gibbs asked.

"We can't touch it if it goes to Agent DiNozzo or his son."

"You should tell his father that," McGee said.  "See what he does with his money."

The lawyer smiled.  "That's not an uncommon thing.  We might be able to get it if he's blatantly hiding it.  If he's ill or something we can't do it.  Or if it's his will."

"If you can get them to commit suicide, I'd be very happy," Tony said with a grin.  "That way I won't have to help you to destroy them to keep my son safe."

"I understand fully, Agent DiNozzo.  I'd do the same if some slimy financier was going after my children," he said with a smirk.  He loved cases that had roots in revenge.  "Should I call you as a witness?"

"I was kicked out at twelve."

He nodded.  "Understood.  Don't worry, they won't be coming near you.  They're both trying to make bail."  He walked off.  "Thank you, Agent DiNozzo."

"Welcome.  Let us know how it goes.  Especially with the custody thing."

"I can do that."  He grinned as he got onto the elevator.  He could cackle once he got in his car.  Karma, thy name is a revenge.

Tony sat down with a grin.  "We have a clear understanding."

"Clearly," McGee said.  "Think they'll pass it on?"

"Maybe."  He smirked.  "If so, I'll have a lot of fun renovating the kitchen and bathroom.  And selling their houses... and the boat.  I never liked that boat.  It's ugly.  My mother designed it."

"You're sounding catty," Gibbs warned.

"It's glee at the destruction."

"Most parents who had to fight to save their kids would relish the destruction of others," Ziva said.  "But you're taking a great deal of enjoyment from it."

Tony nodded.  "I've been waiting for a long time for my parents to fall so I could cackle."  Tony checked his email.  "Hmm, three girlfriends are pissed that I'm a father.  Pity that they're that shallow."

"Weren't you that shallow?" Gibbs asked.

"I never quit talking to someone because they have kids, Gibbs.  I may not have dated them because I didn't want to be a stepdaddy but I never dumped someone just because they have kids."  He kept going.  A few others wanted to say things about him being a father and it being karma for the way he used to play around.  He shrugged.  Their loss.  There were plenty of other women out there.  Even if it was karma for the way he was a playboy, it wasn't that bad of a bite.  Xander was good and would make him make some concrete plans.  Because he wasn't sure if he wanted to stay here or not.  NCIS is dangerous.  He had many scars to prove it.  Now, it was time to think about those things.  Unfortunately he had a case that showed up.  He had to go process the case and not think for a while.


Gibbs showed up a few days later with someone strange.  Tony looked at him.  "Boss, I didn't get the memo you were going to be bringing dates over."  Gibbs smacked him on the head.  Tony smirked.  "Not like I know him."

"No, Mr. DiNozzo, I'm here for you, not him."

"Aww, someone hired me a date?"

"No, I'm here about your grandfather."  Tony let him inside.  "You've recently contacted him?"

"I let his caretakers know that I had a son and sent them a picture.  I'm told it cheered him up.  My grandmother as well."

"I have nothing about your grandmother but your father is very upset that you contacted your grandfather.  He said you were disowned."

"My grandfather nearly killed my father when he did that.  Ask him about the scar he had to get lasered off his thigh from that fight."

"So I heard when I checked the background."  He handed him something.  "I'm the executor of your grandfather's estate."

"My father's trying to get you on his side?"

"I'm a neutral party but he did make his feelings known about you contacting him.  As you can see, your grandfather decided to hold his bad decisions against him."

Tony looked the papers over.  "He didn't sell his house?"

"He's kept it by renting it out.  He didn't need the income but he decided the house should have a happy family there.  They are interested in buying it."  Tony nodded at that.  "As executor, I have to tell you that your father is trying to get full disclosure and be included.  He has a small trust coming but nothing else."

Tony handed it back.  "Thank you for letting me know.  The SEC people were a bit concerned about that coming to him so it could be confiscated for the fines they think he'll be paying."

"I heard.  That's who called to suggest that I should disclose this with you.  As you can see, the house becomes yours to deal with and whatever else is lasting from his estate."

"It'll be put into a trust for my son."

"I can arrange that once he does pass on."

"Thank you."

"You'll sell your house to them?"

"That would suit me and him if he liked them living there.  Will we be giving them a break on the price since they've been living there?"

"I had planned on it, yes.  I was thinking of reducing it by twenty percent off the fair market value?"

"I'll let you go down to thirty if necessary," Tony agreed.  "How long have they lived there?"

"About five years."

"Then that'd be fine."  The lawyer nodded, making notes.  "How likely is it that my father will try to interrupt the probate?"

"Highly unlikely.  He'd more likely try to blackmail you for the money."

"Another good reason to have it held in trust for my son."

"How old is your boy?"

"Six and a half months old."

"That's an adorable age.  School funds only sort of trust?"

"Yes, that'll work.  Normal upkeep and school."

"That's reasonable.  Keeps your father out of it."  He put his notes into his briefcase and locked it again.  "With that I'll leave you to your night.  I know your father's making you a bit paranoid so he hopes you react."

"The way I'm reacting, he's not happy with."

"I've heard that said, yes."  He shook his hand.  "It'll probably be a few months."

Tony nodded.  "I figured it was soon."  The lawyer left.  He looked at Gibbs.

"He showed up at the office."


"Not a problem.  Is the son hiding?"

"Yup.  He's in his room playing with his blocks.  He pouted all the way home and crawled in there.  Xander, Gibbs is here."  He didn't hear anything so he went to look, sneaking off to get his camera.  He came back and snapped a few pictures, making Gibbs come in to stare.  Abby had gotten Xander a large stuffed unicorn.  Xander was curled up underneath it after knocking it onto its side.  It looked like the stuffed unicorn was giving him a hug.  "Aww."

Xander sniffled, blinking up at them.  "Ma!"

"Did you speak?" he asked with a grin.

"He did."  Gibbs smirked.  "Good job, Xander."

"Bo!" he said, scowling at him.

"You know Uncle Jethro."  He came in to lift the baby up.  "We should call mommy tonight to tell her about that, huh?"  Xander snuggled in, still tired.  "I know, you're sleepy.  Want the couch?"  He carried him out to put him onto the couch.  Xander curled up again and fell back asleep.  "That's so cute.  How did I make something that adorable, boss?"

"No clue, DiNozzo.  Most kids are cute so you don't kill them when they throw fits."

Tony grinned.  "He doesn't do it often."  He took another picture of the baby for Dawn.  "We'll email those back home tonight.  Want dinner, boss?"

"I just brought him over.  Your relatives are back in Long Island."

"Good."  He smirked.  "It'll be solved soon.  He knows the publicity will be worse if it goes to trial, and then he won't have all those cushy perks."

"Could be," he agreed.  He left, going home to relax.  It hadn't been a really huge problem.  That was good.  He wasn't sure if they could handle more drama after the last few attempts to get the baby.


Tony walked in two days later in all black.  "Funeral?" McGee asked.

"Yes and I can't get to Italy.  I got a call from one of my distant aunts last night and told her that I can't take off for that long because of my son."

"Go," Gibbs ordered.

"I can't bring Xander.  He doesn't have a passport."

"He needs one at his age?" McGee asked.  Ziva nodded.  "How hard would it be?"

"I can't leave him for three days," Tony told him.

"I can pick him up tonight," Gibbs offered.

"Thanks."  He grabbed his passport and headed out.  He kept a bag packed in the car.  He had another suit that was suitable for the funeral.  He hadn't seen his grandmother since he was about seven but it was family.


Tony looked at the aunt who opened the door when he had pulled up, taking off his sunglasses.  "Aunt Hestia."

"Anthony?"  He nodded.  "You came?"

"My boss said he could pick up the sprout tonight."  He walked over.  She gave him a hug.  "Thanks."  He pulled back so she could look him over.  "Any of the rest of them show up?"

"Your mother's here."

"I can ignore her."

"That's fine."  She walked him inside.  "He managed to find someone who could watch his son."  The other aunts smiled and patted him.  "He's had a long flight."

"I did disown him," his mother sneered.

"He's family," Aunt Hestia said.  "Even if you're spoiled!"  His mother shrank down.  "The rest of the family doesn't believe in disowning family.  You're born family and you die family."  She walked him off.  "Here, you can rest in here, Anthony."

"Thank you, Aunt.  Call me for dinner?"

"Of course.  The funeral is tomorrow."  He nodded.  "Such a polite young boy."

"My boss is a Marine," he said with a smile.  "And I have to be a better boy to teach my son better."

"Is he adorable?  I remember you being cute."  He pulled out a picture of her.  "Aww."  She walked it off.  "Anthony's son."  The other aunts cooed at it.  She looked at errant daughter.  "None of us have ever understood how you could throw out your own son for something less than killing people.  Doing so for simply finding his own future, one that helps people, is not the family's way."

"His father...."

"Is a dick," one aunt said in Italian.  "He has been.  We told you he was bad for you when you married.  Your mother didn't like him, ever.  His family doesn't like him, that tells us all we need to know."  She handed her a drink.  "This is a family event and he is family.  If you cannot abide by the family's laws, you can leave.  It's not like you talked to your mother in the last few years.  None of us abandoned our families."  She stomped off.

The other aunts gathered to talk about it.  Tony had written or called about once a month.  She hadn't called or written in years.  Ever since the aunts had come down on her for her stupid actions of throwing away a perfectly good son.


Gibbs knocked on the nanny's door.  She opened it.  "Ma'am."

The nanny looked at him.  "Is he injured?"

"Grandmother's funeral.  In Italy.  I said I'd pick him up tonight and watch him."

"That's fine, Jethro."  She handed him the messy faced and handed baby.  "We were playing."

"I can see that."  He smiled.  "Did you have fun?"  The baby patted him with the messy hands.  "We'll get you cleaned up once we get you back home, kiddo."  He smiled.  "Thank you."

"He was a good boy today."  She handed over the diaper bag.  "Are you going to his house or yours?"


"I'll call if there's a problem."  Gibbs nodded and left.  She smiled.  "He's so cute with the baby," she told the triplets.  "Your mommy would coo for hours."  They grinned and went back to their finger painting.

Gibbs drove to Tony's place, nodding at the door guard.  "I'm babysitting tonight and tomorrow."

"He called us from the airport, sir.  Let me let you in."

"I have his spare key."  The guard smiled and waved at the messy baby.  "Finger paints.  I'll keep him from smearing it on the elevator walls."

"I can see that."  He grinned once they were in the elevator.  "That poor shirt."

Gibbs got them into the apartment and took the baby to the bathroom, running him a nice bath.  He clearly needed it.  The baby pouted.  "You're staying up for hours, Xander.  We have to wash off the paint."  He put in some bubbles and the baby was happier, getting in to slap the water.  Gibbs got a washcloth and scrubbed.  And scrubbed.  And scrubbed.  The baby got irritated with the interruption to his playing but oh well.  He glared when the baby swatted at him.  Xander gave him a cute look.

"You have him wrapped around your finger, don't you?" he asked.  The baby made an extra large slap of the water.  "I guess you do."  He got him out, dried off, rediapered, and into something he could crawl around in.  "Help me make dinner," he said, heading that way.  The phone rang so he answered it.  "DiNozzo's phone.  No, I'm not his nanny," he said dryly.  "I'm only babysitting tonight."  The man on the other side spluttered.  So he hung up on him.  They could use the answering machine.  He fixed them some nice sandwiches, and Xander ate some of the meat and cheese.  He enjoyed it more than his usual mush; it made less of a mess, so it was good to Gibbs.

The phone rang again so he answered it.  "DiNozzo residence.  No, I'm not the nanny, ma'am.  I'm a babysitter while he's at a funeral.  Yes, I believe it was his grandmother's.  I'll be sure to let him know when he checks in.  No, actually, I'm an uncle."  He hung up.  He looked at the confused baby.  "You have some really dumb relatives, kid."  He went back to eating while Xander sucked the meat and cheese into submission.  Tony called just before bedtime so he let the baby babble at him.  He finally got too tired and put the baby down.  The phone rang again.  "Yeah?" he answered.

"Hey, DiNozzo.  No, he's down.  He was good.  He gummed some meat and cheese from a sandwich for dinner.  Finger painted today.  Got pissed when I interrupted his playing for scrubbing."  He smirked.  "They have.  Twice."  He listened to the reports of how his mother had been chastised and was now acting like he wasn't in the room but had quit being so snide.  "That's good."  He heard a snuffle so looked in there.  "Sleep, Xander."  Tony said something.  "I can do that.  You're going to be back when?"  He nodded.  "That's fine.  We can do that.  Me or Abby.  I saw that fit and we'll figure it out.  Be safe, DiNozzo.  No telling what she's possibly thinking."  He hung up and went in there to stare at the baby, which made him fall asleep easier.  Apparently Daddy did it to him.

Yeah, they could handle this.


Tony looked at the man who was let into the house.  "Judge," he said, shaking his hand.

"Mr. DiNozzo."

"I'm Anthony, not my father."

"Anthony then."  He shook the aunts and his mother's hand.  "Good morning.  I know that there's a time restraint with the two young ones here having to get back to their lives."

"My son's being watched by my boss," Tony agreed.

"You have a son?"  Tony smiled and showed him the picture he carried.  "He's adorable."

"He tries very hard sometimes.  Especially to get some attention."  The judge smiled and nodded he understood.  "As for the will reading, do not hurry it on my account.  I don't think I'm getting anything."

"You and your son are mentioned," he admitted.  The mother huffed and stamped a foot.  He looked at her.  "You're mentioned as well."  He walked them into the dining room and opened his bag, pulling out a folder.  Everyone else sat around.  He sat down, looking it over.  "To put fears to rest, Mrs. Eldago did reset her will a few weeks back, but she only added something.  She did not cut anyone out."  He cleared his throat, reading it.  The aunts all nodded at what they got, including the house.  Tony's mother was not mollified to be given her jewelry.  Tony accepted the knowledge that he had a letter or something in an envelope, plus one for his son, in the library.  The head aunt went to get those for him.  She got the jewelry, but Tony's mother wasn't pleased with the simple pieces.  The lawyer folded up the papers, putting them away again.  "That's all she stated.  That does leave the bulk of the estate to the aunts who have taken care of her all this time."

"As is reasonable," Tony agreed.  "I haven't seen her in years, only called."

His mother silently nodded.  "That's reasonable to me."

The lawyer pulled out papers.  "Sign that you have gotten your inheritances and have agreed to the will's contents."  They did that, Tony taking the time to read it over.  He smiled at that caution.  "You work in the law?"

"If he did, that wouldn't have embarrassed us," his mother sneered.

"I work in law enforcement.  I'm an agent with NCIS in the US."

"I have seen some good agents in my time."  He put those papers away.  "I wish she hadn't passed on already.  She was always quite the lively woman when she came into town for services."  He stood up.  "I'll file all this with the local magistrate.  Good day."  He left.

Tony tapped the letters a few times.  "Let me pack.  You are always allowed to come see my son, aunts.  We'd love to have you come visit and make sure my son stays sensible and tries for wise some day."  They giggled and let him go pack.  The letters went into the bag unopened.  He could read them on the plane.

"You're going already?" his mother sneered.

"Yes, because unlike you, I don't let other people raise my son.  I do most of it myself.  The way most parents do."  The aunts all snickered.  "Someone may watch him when I'm working but otherwise he *is* my son.  It's my job to be with him."  He hugged all the aunts, kissing them all on the cheek.  "Call or show up soon, aunts."  He smiled and left.  The aunts liked him.  The extended family all liked him, well all but one uncle who liked his father a lot, but most of them liked him.

"Bring your son next time," one called, waving from the doorway.

Tony smiled.  "If he had a passport, I'd have brought him this time."  They all giggled.  He slid into his rental car and headed for the airport.  It was a long flight back to DC.   Once he was on the trans-atlantic portion he dug out his letter.  It was a letter and a small check.  More than what he expected.  He opened his son's, smiling at the portion for him at the top.  Yes, he could use that to make sure his son had no hardships beyond what would make him a stronger man.  The rest of the letter was an introduction to her and the family.  He put it back and sealed the envelope again.  Both checks were in his wallet inside his jacket.  Not that he expected a pickpocket but you never knew who you were flying with unless you were the only one on the plane and had done a background check on the flight crew.


Tony walked up to the row, finding a small box on his desk.  "What's that?"  He walked over to Gibbs' desk, picking up his son to hug him.  "Did the mean triplets trip your nanny?" he cooed, patting his son on the back since he was being strangled by a hug.  "I missed you too, Xander.  You would've liked your great-grandmother.  Yes you would have."  He looked at Gibbs.  "Thank you."

"Welcome.  She'll be fine, it's only sprained."

"That's cool.  I've got a backup daycare lined up."  Gibbs nodded at that.  "The box?"

"From your father."


"Non explosive but it stinks whatever it is."

"Probably a hissing something thanks to my mother being dissatisfied.  She got her mother's jewelry but she wasn't happy with it.  Not that she even talked to her mother in years."  He walked over to look at the box.  "McGee, open this for me?  Just in case?  I'm not putting him down yet."

"Sure, Tony."  He came over to carefully open it, grimacing at the top of the box.  It was soaked through with something pinkish.  "Um...."  He ripped the paper, letting him see it.

"Boss, we need a containment box with waldos.  That's blood."  Gibbs called security.  Abby came with them to open it.  Inside was an organ that looked mutilated.  "That's.... not a liver or a heart.  What is that, Abby?"

She poked it with a gloved finger.  "Stomach."

"Hmm.  Still disgusting."  She held up the card, letting him read it.  "Fucking idiot," he muttered.

"Mama," Xander said quietly.

"Not you, your grandfather.  He's an idiot."  He patted him again, getting another squeeze.  "I missed you too.  Did Uncle Jethro find those books I read onto a tape for you?"  Gibbs nodded.  "That was neat, huh?" he asked his boy, getting a grin back.  "Abby, that stinks."

"I'm moving it to make sure it doesn't contain anything else."  She carried the containment box off.  The director stopped her in the hall.  "Excuse me but this is heavy, Director."

"What is it?"

"Something that was sent to Tony by those charming people you like so much."  She walked off again.  When she found the note she grimaced, carrying it up there once it was sealed.  She held it up so Tony could read it.  "You need better security."

"I need to talk to some of my former schoolmates," he said dryly.  "I doubt my father sent that himself."

"No, he probably had a minion do it."  She walked it over to Gibbs.  He grimaced as he read it.  "He needs more security."

"He has it, Abs, you know that."

"Good!  Sending a stomach with a note saying he needed more iron in his diet to coat his, plus it was too bad his grandmother had forgotten to leave him anything for all the times he had called her is really bad."

"She left me and the son something," Tony said quietly.  "My mother thinks she only left us letters."

Abby smirked.  "Way to go grandma."

"It's going into his trust.  That way he'll have a good school fund."  She beamed and walked off.  "Abby, human?" he called after her.


"Let me alert the local PD up there so they can see if they can find the evidence.  That's at least animal cruelty," McGee said, turning to his keyboard.

"I doubt they'd be able to find it," Tony said.  He looked at his son then at Gibbs.  "We'll be fine but I'll let you check the house first."

"That'll work.  Those letters?"

"The lawyer is putting them into the safety deposit box."

"Good."  He looked at the boy.  "He did miss you.  He pouted a lot."

Tony smiled.  "That's good to hear."  He stroked the small back.  Xander relaxed again.  "Want changed?" he asked quietly.  "You feel like you need it."  He stood up carefully, taking the diaper bag to the bathroom to change the baby.  Xander fussed when he put him onto the changing table but he calmed down with a few belly pats.

Gibbs looked at McGee.  "Once you send that, take Ceres to check out Tony's apartment for any other surprises," he ordered quietly.

"On it, boss."  He hurried up his email and left to find that agent.  "Ceres, Gibbs said to grab you to check Tony's apartment for more charming gifts from his father."

"Why?" he asked, stopping his typing.  "I don't know explosives."

"He just sent him a goat's stomach with a note.  We have his old place and the new place to search.  He's watching Tony and the baby."

"That'll work," he said, closing his computer out so he could leave with him.

Tony came back with the baby cooing.  "You sent him to the old place?"

"Both.  Just in case."  Gibbs smiled.  "He's napping?"

"Sucking his thumb, not sleeping."  He sat down and got into his official email.

The director came down to stare at him.  "You have him here again?"

"I'm still on leave until tomorrow but Gibbs had to rescue him after the triplets he shares a nanny with tripped her.  Right now I'm checking official email.  Then we'll go home and cook dinner for Gibbs in thanks for him watching him while I was at the family funeral."

"You didn't bring him?"

"He doesn't have a passport and it was in Italy."  He looked up at her.  "My mother was there, unhappy the whole time."  He went back to reading it.   "Boss, threat."  He sent it to him.  Gibbs got into his email to find it.

"She your ex?"

"Nope.  I'd never date her.  She's psycho."

"I'll talk with her."

"Please do."  He looked over.  "Before she tries stalking again?"


Tony grinned.  "Thanks, boss.  You guard my son very well."

"That's because he's cute and helpless."

"If it was just me, I'd be down there subtly in her face by now," Tony said dryly.

"I'd beat you for that," Gibbs reminded him.  He went to talk to the psychotic person in HR.  He walked in with a printout of the email, handing it to the head person.  "I think we need to talk before he does something stupid I have to beat him for."

She read it and nodded.  "I think we should talk to her, yes.  Marian, come in here please?"  She took off running.  Gibbs got her before she got onto the elevator and walked her back.  "Figures she was stupid enough to take the elevator."  He walked her into the office and she closed the door to talk to her about her very bad choice to send that email.  And then about the fact she took money to send it.

Gibbs came back up an hour later.  "DiNozzo, your mother paid her thirty grand to send it."

"I feel sorry she had to sink so low.  McGee just called sounding disturbed but wouldn't tell me why.  They're at my old place.  The new place still has to be checked."

"Let me head that way.  You going to demand...."

"Not with the baby," he said plainly.

"Good.  I was thinking you were turning into the drama queens," he said, staring him down.

"Only when I have to defend what's mine.  Otherwise I'm the same Tony I've always been, boss.  I only turn into the Bitch of DiNozzo when I'm threatened this way.  Or maybe this time I'm an act of karma.  Flip a coin," he said with a grin.

"I'll keep that in mind the next time you get a death threat."

"He's still in jail in Virginia, boss."

Gibbs walked off shaking his head.  Last time the death threat had a nervous but hiding it DiNozzo.  This time, he turned into ... well, the Bitchqueen of DiNozzo.  He drove there, finding McGee talking with local SWAT people, who were wearing hazmat gear.  "Something I should know?" he demanded as he walked over.

"Boss, it's not pretty.  It's been here for days, there's evidence of powder around it that I can't be certain isn't infected with something.  Hazmat will take it to the lab for us."

"The rest of the goat?" he guessed.

"No, the heart."  He let him walk past him.

Gibbs walked in, taking the surgical mask to put on and gloves too.  He got close enough to see it.  It was now covered in a glass cover.  It was a heart.  It was in a plastic bag that had a lot of powder in it.  Some of it was stuck to the heart.  The wrapping around it he couldn't see.  "Did McGee open this?" he asked the person making calls.

"No, Gibbs.  He found a package that was leaking white powder and called your lab then us."  He looked over.  "We weren't about to take chances, especially since I remember your agent got the plague a few years back."

"Now he has a nearly seventh-month-old son," he said quietly.  "There's a custody debate between him and his parents."

"Wonderful gifts they give," he quipped dryly.  One of his people came back.  "Permission?"

"Yes, sir, the building's owner and manager said that we could pull up the whole carpet.  Apparently DiNozzo told him he was going due to security issues and some threats.  That's why he hasn't cleaned it and rented it already.  He was waiting a month to make sure.  Since this is the second one, he wants to make sure we find whoever is doing this and make them pay, including for the new carpet."

"Good to know," he agreed.

"He's in Long Island, his name is Robert DiNozzo," Gibbs said dryly.  The officer smirked.  "Custody dispute.  They want DiNozzo's son."

"His father?"  Gibbs nodded.  "I hope the old man fries then."  He walked off to tell him that.  McGee gave him an address.  "First?"

"No.  He got a goat's stomach at work telling him to eat more iron on the note inside."

"Wonderful.  How did DiNozzo turn out so sane?"

"He got disowned."

"Probably helped him a lot."  He went to start the report in the truck.  The carpet was cut out and the box sealed.  Abby would have a report for them soon.


Abby pounded on Tony's door, getting him without a shirt and a fussy baby.  "Aww, precious."  She switched the baby for the folder she was carrying.   "You're going to be really pissed."

Tony read the report, nodding.  "Yeah, I can be pissed about that.  Anyone else know?"

"Nope.  I wasn't sure who to tell but the guys who McGee had remove it."  She walked past him.  "Are we going to take a bath?"

"I fed him carrots and he decided it was gross enough to puke on both of us," he said, following her.  "Xander, remember, you can't keep her."  He called Gibbs.  "I have Abby here with the report.  Well, Fornell might want to hear, boss.  Because I'm not sure how he got a powdered form of measles."  He hung up and went to help.  The baby was beaming at him.  "You still can't keep her," he said dryly.  "She's an auntie, not the stepmommy."

"I can go once he goes to bed."

"Then I'll be pouted at in the morning."  They shared a grin and got back to bathing the now happier baby.  "Fine, no more carrots."  The baby splashed him.  He rubbed shampoo into his hair.  "Thank you for helping."  He rinsed it carefully.  "Better?"  The baby babbled at him.  Then he beamed at Abby and babbled at her.

"You're so adorable," she cooed.  He splashed her a few times.  "Thank you, I needed a bath."

Someone knocked then walked in.  Tony leaned out of the bathroom.  "Couch."  He went back to the bathing.  Xander was having a lot of fun.

"How did he do that?" Fornell complained loudly.

"No clue," Tony said.  "Don't really care at the moment.  Figure it out and tell me?"

"Yeah, I can do that."  He leaned in the bathroom, smirking some.  "Didn't like dinner?"

"Carrots.  All over both of us."

"Emily hand that problem a few times."  He walked back to the living room.  "Let me handle this."

Gibbs nodded.  "Keep me informed.  I'll keep them safe."

"No!" Xander shouted.

Tony sighed, coming out.  "He wanted Abby more."

"Sometimes a parent has to stand up to the pout," Fornell said dryly.

"I did.  He tried to pull Abby into the bath by her pigtails.  He thinks she's his personal cuddle toy."

"I'm very cuddly," Abby said as she came out with the swaddled baby.  She was soaking wet.

Tony took the baby to change and diaper.  Abby went to steal one of Tony's t-shirts.  Xander went to bed even though he didn't want to.  He turned on the music in there quietly to make him fall asleep faster, plus to cover the unhappy sniffling.  Abby came in to give him a hug.  He still pouted but he laid in there and went to sleep.

Abby came out.  "I'm sorry he's going to pout at you."

"You're just too cuddly for your own good," Tony teased.

"Maybe I am," she agreed happily.  "Now if I could find a nice guy who thought that, I'd be perfect."

"Xander would scowl at him anyway," Gibbs said dryly.

"Yeah, he would.  Hopefully the guy would just pout back and assure Xander we could share me."

"Xander might beat him with a toy," Gibbs told her.  "Then they'd share you."

"Xander is looking a bit alpha at times," Tony agreed.  "Tanya says that he keeps trying to run over one of the triplets when she's being bad."  That was something he should ask Dawn about his old life.  Had Xander been that alpha before?  "Anyway, now what, Gibbs?  Or you, Fornell?"

"Guard the baby.  That would've made him sick," Abby said.

"Of course we are," Gibbs said.  "Fornell?"

"If we can prove he sent it."

"Fingerprints off the wrapping paper weren't in the military database, I sent them to your techs to search other databases we're not allowed to.  They should know within a few hours of searching.  Then you can ask whoever he hired this time."

"I'll call them," Fornell said, going to the kitchen to call them.  "It's Fornell.  Abby at NCIS sent the lab fingerprints that have to go through more mundane databases.  Find them and tell me immediately.  Whoever did it sent animal parts and powder with measles."

"Human heart," she called.  "Not goat this time.  DNA isn't going to match to anyone military."

"Why?" Gibbs asked.

"Because it wasn't fresh.  It was a few months old."

"Eww," Tony said.  "Someone dug up a grave?"

"Apparently.  Ducky said so."

"I stand corrected.  Someone dug up a relatively fresh grave to mail a part to him covered with a powder that contains measles," Fornell told the tech.  "Yes, my desk phone is forwarded here."  He hung up.  "How long will he last?" he asked Tony.

"Until the judge tells him no or until he's in jail and can't hire anyone."

"The judge is going to be told?" Gibbs asked.

"I'm gathering all these reports for the lawyer and him," Tony said happily.

"I'll do that myself," Fornell assured him.  He left.  Gibbs had their safety for the night.

Gibbs smirked.  "He's disgusted, that usually takes a lot more than a demented rich guy."

"My father is in a category all his own."  He shifted.  "Movie?"

"Workable," Abby said, getting up to pick one.  "Where's all the good action movies?"

"On the coffee table so he can coo at them."  He pointed.  "He hates mysteries and old movies.  I've got to train him better."

Gibbs shook his head, going to turn on the security system.  He'd put up with it while he was guarding the baby.


Fornell walked into the judge's office, handing him a report.  "Sir, I'm Deputy Director Fornell of the FBI."

"Which case is this about?"

"Demented DiNozzo versus his son, the agent."

"That bad?"

"That's the last three times, sir.  The other is coming from Agent DiNozzo's lawyer.  I'm trying to get him into federal custody so he can't hire anyone else.  I can't get them to roll over on the minion that he keeps on retainer to pay off people like them."

The judge read it over, going red in the face.  "The child is fine?"

"So far, the elder one hasn't realized that his son has moved.  It's either been sent to his work address or his old apartment.  His new one has had his boss and others sitting security."

"Good news at least.  I got news that there had been an incident when the child was abandoned?"

"No, DiNozzo had to go to Italy to his grandmother's funeral.  At that time, his boss, Special Agent Jethro Gibbs, took charge of the baby after hours for the nanny.  He was gone for three days and came from the airport to NCIS to take his son back.  He would've brought him if he had a passport but he didn't."

"I can understand that."

"Gibbs used to have a child, Your Honor.  She was killed years ago.  He's also the one that'll get the child if something happens to DiNozzo.  Between him and their forensic tech, Abby Scuito, who the child thinks is a teddy bear, he didn't miss his father between calls."

"That's a situation that I'd expect to happen to anyone.  At least he had a plan since the mother couldn't."

"Their town's had a violence upswing from what DiNozzo's said.  He's ready to let the mother move out to protect her for a bit."

"That may be helpful.  Has the mother talked to his parents?"

"From what I heard, they've met and Dawn wasn't all that impressed.  Something about drama queen, talentless and mannerless cows, Mr. DiNozzo trying to bribe her and her telling him about reality."  The judge snickered.  "She's a feisty soul from what I've heard about her."

"I'm sure the child will grow up the same way.  I'll take this into account during the hearing, Deputy Director Fornell.  Thank you for bringing it to my attention."

"Anything happens to his son and DiNozzo has promised to turn into worse than the Godfather or some psycho serial killer on him," he warned.  "His boss knows he will.  He's been trying to keep him calm."

"I can understand those urges and frankly, it's not something I'd count against a parent."  He smiled up at him.  "Most parents would kill to protect their children."

"Yes, but he'll also torture."

"I'm sure he would.  Thank you for letting me know."

"I'll let you know if he's in custody in time for the hearing, sir."  He left.  This was about to get messy.  Very messy.  He wanted to be safely out of the way after warning the other bystanders.  Because DiNozzo had no reason to keep gloves on now.  Not with biological weapons coming.  He got back in time to see one of the minions he had expected to arrest come running in trying to find him to get him protection against the unnatural beings that the son had set on them.  He took him to an interrogation room to work on him.  That had been an interesting thing.  Though, the guy was clearly mental because he believed demons were coming to kill him.


Gibbs looked up as Tony strolled in and sat down.  "Have a good lunch?"

"I called Tanya.  Xander's having a creative day with one of the triplets' hair.  Thankfully no more finger paints are involved.  I'd hate for their mother to yell at me.  I had a nice lunch at a nice bar downtown that Dawn said I should visit sometime."

"How would she know?"

"Spike suggested it to her when she asked.  Full of all sorts of people that even a profiler wouldn't want to go near without glass between but they were very nice to me because many of them know his mother and respect her for her sister's things."  He smiled.  "And I got word to them to not accept a job from my father.  They agreed it wouldn't be pretty."

"Spike?" McGee asked.  "That blond guy that came out with Dawn and her mother?  I saw him lurking one night and stopped him to ask him who he was.  He said he was Dawn's bodyguard to protect her against the things that had wanted her sister dead."

Tony nodded.  "He's very protective of the sprout."

"I think I ran into him smoking one night," Gibbs admitted.  "He seemed like a street punk."

"I'm told he was before.  He and Buffy were almost, kind of together to use what Dawn explained.  He respected her a lot.  Now he's protecting Dawn and her mother."

"Good," Gibbs said.  "What else did you do there, DiNozzo?"

"I did not hire anyone, boss.  I did call Spike and Spike had me pass on a message to someone that I'm good, to not come near the baby or he'd have to hurt them, and that he'd be having fun while doing it."  He grinned.  "It means they won't be hired by whoever my father's working with now."

"Hearing?" McGee asked.

"Three today."  He beamed.  "Then hopefully my father will be banished to some nether realm of disappointment and misery."

"You're cheery about that," Gibbs told him.

"The judge has to see that my father's a manipulative bastard."  He shrugged.  "If not, my father still won't have my son.  I know many non-extradition countries where even if he hires someone he still won't find us."

"I'll keep that in mind if I don't hear from you after the hearing," Gibbs ordered.

"I'll call on my way out of town, boss."

"Thank you.  Work?"


"Of course you are.  Work anyway.  That way if you have to run, you don't have reports hanging."

"Fine."  He got into them, doing them as quickly as he could.

Ziva looked over.  "I know you'll keep custody of him, Tony.  You're a good father to him."

"Thank you, Ziva.  Now if only I was certain that my father's influence hadn't gotten to some of his friends."

"He probably tried but the family court judges are usually fairly tamper proof," Gibbs assured him quietly.  Tony smiled.  "Work."

"Doing it, boss."

The director came in shaking and pale looking.  "Jethro, do you have a moment?" she asked quietly.

He looked at her.  "Need me to get Ducky?"

"No, I need a drink and to talk to someone.  Please?"  He nodded, following her up the stairs.  She walked in and shut the door behind him, letting him pour her a drink.  "Have you ever seen something so horrifying that you knew it wasn't some prank?"

"No."  He handed her the drink.  "What did you see?"  She pulled out her phone, tossing it to him before swallowing half the glass.

He found the video she had taken.  "Yours?"

"My driver took it on my phone.  I had left it in the car."  She finished the glass and got another one.

Gibbs looked the video over, grimacing at what he saw.  "Costume?"

"Not that I could tell.  He was in my face, Jethro.  His breath smelled like old blood.  There were no seams, no obvious makeup versus prosthetics, nothing like it.  It looked totally real.  It smelled like sulphur.  Old sulphur, not new sulphur.  I don't know what it was but it threatened me."

"I heard that."  And he'd be having a talk with DiNozzo later on.  What had demons been doing in DC?  He had met Spike and talked to him for a great while about what he was when the thing had changed faces in shock of him sneaking up on him.  "Are you all right?"

"He just threatened me.  For no reason!"  Gibbs gave her one of his dumbass looks.  "I realize I shouldn't go near that child!  Something's off about him!"

"The people who made him come into being tortured people like Spike."

"He's not a person," she hissed.

"He was.  He's still a thinking, reasoning being.  He was one of the ones that program got as well.  That's how he ended up working with the mother's sister and her team."  She stared at him.  "He's trying to protect a lot of people, Jen.  Including that child.  You showed yourself to be a bitch about wanting him out of your way.  You told his parents, which has caused no end of troubles, including them sending biological weapons.  I'm fairly certain Spike sent that message to you directly."

"I know he did.  The thing said so."  She sipped her new drink.  "I have no intention of going after that child."



"Good!"  He handed her back the phone after he erased that video.  "The world is a wild place when you're in the shadows.  Plenty of undercover people have seen it when they were there.  You threatening DiNozzo's son, with who his mother's family is, made you an enemy that you'd be smart to not make prove their threats.  She was a big name in that area of life.  Her sister now is.  As is the rest of her team.  They're doing things so we don't have to handle it."

"I had no idea they actually existed."

"Now you know.  Just don't come after the baby again."  He walked off, going to stand in front of Tony's desk, staring at him until he looked up.  "This bar... which had people like Spike, did you happen to mention the director?" he asked quietly.

"No, and neither did Spike.  I had him on speaker."

"One threatened her."

Tony nodded.  "Dawn was hellishly pissed at her, Gibbs.  I haven't told her anything about what's going on with my parents but she was going to get the director if she came near the baby again.  Even if she had to turn into Willow."

Gibbs nodded.  "So Dawn probably sent the message?"

"Probably, yes.  I never asked her to but she's young and she wanted to make sure her point got across."

"I'll make sure she knows not to use that much force again."

Tony shrugged.  "She's young and he's as much hers as he is mine, Gibbs.  I'd expect her to be overprotective as well."

"Fine.  I'll be gentle with her when we talk.  You should go soon in case of traffic."

Tony checked his clock and finished up before shutting things down and heading off.  "Wish us luck to dispose of the evil father."

"Luck," McGee called while typing.  "Abby sends hers too."

"Good luck," Ziva called.

Tony got onto the elevator.  "I hope I don't need it," he muttered.


Tony walked into the hearing chamber.  "Sir, my lawyer is a bit late.  He's stuck right behind an accident on the Beltway."

"So's my stenographer," he admitted.  "Did you have Agent Fornell see me?"

"I've worked with him on the truly tacky presents issue to protect us but I didn't ask.  I asked that he hand the reports to my lawyer."

"Thank you for being honest.  Yes, I got them."

Tony smiled.  "All four of them?"

"No, just two.  Your lawyer has the others?"  Tony nodded.  "Very well then."  The others came in, including the late stenographer and lawyer.  "Are we all here?"

"We are, sir," the elder DiNozzo's lawyer said.  "Sorry for the delay."

"I heard about the accident and about you having to help him post bail."  He looked at the attorneys.  "I'll ask at this time for any new information you may have?"

"I have statements saying that Mr. DiNozzo left the country and left his precious son all alone with an unknown caregiver."

"I have a statement from the nanny saying he did call her, she did know to give the child to Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs, and that he is in fact who the child will be going to if something happens to Agent DiNozzo and his mother," Tony's lawyer said as he pulled out things.  "He also called each night, we have copies of his cellphone's records."

"A call is good enough?" the other lawyer sneered.

"It's not his fault the child doesn't have a passport yet.  If he had, the child would've went to Italy for the family funeral with him," Tony's lawyer stated firmly.  He handed those to the bailiff.  "I also have statements here on some truly tacky tries to gain illegal custody of said child.  Including trying to have the nanny's residence invaded, even though she has three other children to take care of.  We have biological weapons being sent to the father and the child, one at their residence, we have hired minions who sent animal parts, and we have truly tacky kidnapers who were tarted up like prostitutes but someone intervened first."  He handed those over.

The judge looked them over.  "This one is against a Jennifer Sheppard."  He handed it back.

"Sorry, Your Honor, he's suing her for defamation."

"I heard."  Oh, had he heard an earful from that judge.  He looked at the other side.  "Do you have anything to counter their allegations?"

"Your Honor, there's nothing linking those events to us."

"Really?  Because Deputy Director Fornell of the FBI says that there is."  He handed the bailiff the report.  "I believe he's in your employ, Mr. DiNozzo."

He read the reports and sneered.  "I didn't authorize any of that."  He handed it back.

"Have you seen his statement to the FBI when he was arrested?" the judge asked, handing that over.  The elder DiNozzo growled.  "I do believe that you've stepped over your boundaries and those of polite society.  For a man who desperately wants his grandson in his custody, sending him a human heart from a recently deceased person covered in a biological weapon sends the wrong signals."

"If it was done it was meant to get my son, not my grandson.  He should've had his shot already."

"He has," Tony said dryly.  "But that doesn't mean it wouldn't have killed him.  That's one of those shots you get multiple times, not just once.  By the way, I got those same shots, including the later in life booster, Father.  That means I wouldn't have gotten sick."  His father glared.  He stared back.  "Unlike you, I only react when things come near those that I hold dear.  Like the time I nearly brained you for getting into a car to drunkenly drive my cousin home."  He sat up straighter.  "It appears you've been making a lot of bad decisions recently.  This is just the culmination of them.  Even if I was inclined to let you visit, there's no way in hell I'd allow it after you sent parts and diseases toward my son."

"He can't be your son."

"He can be."

"How did they get your seed?" the lawyer demanded.

"I had multiple samples in a sperm bank.  I thought they had been destroyed.  It appears that was a cover for them taking them out."  He shrugged.  "It doesn't really matter how.  For all I know they could've gotten it off a girlfriend if they were that desperate.  There is the issue of condom usage.  Because I didn't want to be a father before I became one.  Not that I don't love my son totally."

"I think you've proven you're overprotective of him," the judge said.  "You have a lot of time being overprotective to come, Mr. DiNozzo."  He looked at the other side.  "No one who cared for the child would ever send threats like that to them or their parents.  Even if you don't like him.  Even if you think you made a mistake in having him.  Clearly you've thought that for years even though most people would be proud to have a son that did good things for the world."  He looked at Tony.  "Your job is still very dangerous."

"It can be but I'm taking every precaution I can.  My nanny also sits for someone in the ATF."

"As I've been told.  What happens if you should get sick again?"

"His mother said she'll come out any time I need her or want her.   Most of my team, and my nanny, know how to reach her if there's an emergency.  At this point in time it might help her anyway, keep her safer."

"Good planning.  Locally you have Special Agent Gibbs?"  Tony nodded.  "He seems reasonable when I asked to see him."  He considered it for a moment.  "With such...reprehensible behavior on the side of the grandparent there is no way I'm going to resolve this matter in the favor of the elder Mr. DiNozzo.  I would also remind him that further action would only make his present court cases more stringent.  Remember, they do have the right to request any information from this hearing."  He looked at Tony.  "I believe you'll retain full custody for as long as the mother doesn't wish to fight you over it."  Tony smiled.  "I'm not sure if she'll ever do that though.  This is not exactly the normal situation."

"No, it's not.  Dawn and I are both practical people however.  She knows she only has to show up and ask to see him."

"That's very just of you.  That's my decision and you may go now.  Case adjourned."  He banged his gavel.

"He could have a great future," Mr. DiNozzo sneered at his son.

"He will have one.  Doing whatever he loves the most.  Hopefully helping people but I'm not going to be pushy.  He'll choose what he wants to do."  He stood up and shook his lawyer's hand.  "Send me the final bill."

"I'll work it up tonight."  He smiled and watched him walk out.  He looked at the others.  "So, how is your future jail time looking?"  They huffed off.  He snickered as he gathered things up and took them off.  The judge was going to send those forms to the other judges as part of their decision.  Or he'd send it to the prosecutor.


Tony looked up from his cooking, walking over to answer the door.  "There's my trusty set of aunties and uncles who want to amuse the baby to no end so I can finish cooking a celebratory dinner."  He let them inside and went back to the kitchen.  Xander fussed.  "McGee, you're closest, please hand whiny there his toy back?"

"Don't call him names," Abby complained.

"He was being whiny.  Mostly because I wouldn't let him flirt with someone in the coffee shop.  He wanted to nurse like she was doing her daughter."

Abby smiled, getting a shy smile from the baby.  "I know it sucks that you're not nursing.  It'll be okay.  There's lots of other pretty girls to flirt with, Xander.  Just wait until you're older.  You'll be stealing girlfriends from your daddy very soon."  She sat down beside him, letting him cuddle up.  "Such a good boy."

"Yes, he's a very good boy and if my girlfriends try to switch from me to him I'll kick them to the curb because clearly they're not good enough for either of us," Tony told her.   He finished dinner and put into the oven.  "Sorry, we were running behind thanks to the nursing one having to fight off the little want-to-be sucker."

Gibbs smirked.  "You or him, DiNozzo."

"Please, boss.  Not my type; she was married and seemed horrified that other kids were interested in what she was doing in public."  He came out to look at his son.  "Feeling less fussy?"


"Sure, you can still call me that."  He picked him up to cuddle.  "Better now?  No more pouting?"


Tony grinned.  "Soon you'll be the best storyteller ever," he whispered in his ear.  "Want a toy for an uncle or want to crawl around?"  Xander wiggled so he let him onto the floor.  "Go play.  Let me finish dinner so you can eat too."  The baby followed him.  "Sure, you can learn how to cook for when you can eat regular food.  Then we'll see who has to cook each night, huh?"  He smiled.  The baby babbled at the stove.  He didn't pat it after the first trial pat.  It was too warm for him.  He crawled to Gibbs' feet, staring at his shoelaces until he could play with them.  They were cool.

Gibbs looked down, shaking his head.  "You and my neighbor's cat," he said.

Abby looked over.  "He's amused to no end."

Gibbs took off the shoes, letting the baby have them.  Instead, Xander let out a shriek of outrage.  "What?  You wanted them."

"No, I think he wanted you in them," Tony told him.  Gibbs stepped back into them, making the baby happier.

"Babies are very strange," McGee said.  "Xander, I've got my laptop.  Want to watch a video?"  The baby scowled at him, going back to his shoelaces.  "Okay."  Ziva was staring.  "Kids like things they can touch, taste, and squish in their hands."

"I have no experience in children.  Not even any friends who have children.  I have no idea what children are for except to make messes."

"They do do a lot of that," Tony agreed.  "In many strange and wonderful ways.  Abby, check his room?  He was in there with playdough that I picked up because I'm dumb."  She walked in there, coming back with the stuff the baby had poured out.  It got put up into a high cabinet.  "Thank you."

"Not a problem.  Hey, little man, want to come play with my pigtails?" she asked, wiggling one.  Xander cooed, following her to the couch.

"I guess her hair is the best playtoy," McGee said.

"I guess so," Tony said, checking dinner.  "McGee, set the table?  Gibbs, warm up some mush for the brilliant one?"

"I can do that."

"No carrots," Tony said.  "I don't want to be puked on tonight."

"Looks like there's some meat and peas and some broccoli."

"Broccoli but tell him it's something else."

Gibbs smirked but opened it and put it into the microwave.  Tony pulled out dinner and dished it up, handing it off to Ziva and Mcgee.  "Abby, highchair."

"We can do that."  Xander giggled.  Once he was in his chair he started to pound on the tray.  Gibbs came out with his food and bottle.  Tony followed with drinks and had to move Abby out of his seat so he could feed his son.

"You're more paternal than I expected you to be," Ziva told him.

"He's my son.  If I don't feed him he'll never let Abby leave.  I don't think she wants to be a stepmommy."

"Not my thing right now," she agreed.  "But I don't have any baby envy this time."

"That's because you're his favorite person," Tony said with a grin.

"So can I feed him?"

"No."  He shoveled in another bite.  Xander babbled between bites, looking eager.  "Did we forget to feed you earlier?"  The baby burbled and waved his hand, banging the tray.  Tony gave him another bite.  He was a happy baby to eat and then take his bottle.  Xander kept banging until Gibbs cleaned him up and let him onto the floor.   Xander crawled over to rest against Abby's ankles but swatted when she tried to pick him up.

"Okay, you can be a foot warmer."  She ate another bite.  "This is really good, Tony."

"I just added to a bagged meal."

"Still good."  She ate another bite, looking down at the baby.  He was nearly asleep against her legs.  "I don't think he'll make a bath tonight."

Tony smiled.  "Give him an hour, Abby.  He'll be up terrorizing your pigtails again."

"I don't mind him playing with my pigtails.  He's very gentle and hardly yanks on them."

"When he's walking, he's going to sneak up behind you to grab them," McGee teased.

"Maybe but as long as he doesn't pull too hard it'll be okay with me."

"You're a great aunt," Gibbs told her, getting a beaming smile back.

"She is," Tony agreed.  "But I don't want Xander to get too dependent on her.  It'll hurt him."

"I know and I don't want him to look at me like the stepmommy.  We'd never make it and it'd hurt him a lot.  I'd never want to do that."

"I know, that's why I'm making sure he can't get overly attached."

"I understand," she promised with a grin.  "It's all good."  The phone rang.  "DiNozzo residence," she answered since she was closest.  "He's having dinner, Dawn.  Sure, we can call back later.  No, it went well.  The judge told him to get a life and quit being so childish basically.  Yup, we're all here celebrating.  Sure, we'll call after bedtime.  Have a good afternoon, Dawn."  She hung up.  "She said to call back later.  They're having some of their own celebrations.  Willow's back to normal."

Tony nodded.  "Any hope...."  She shook her head.

Gibbs coughed.  "Spike and I had a long talk."

Tony stared at him.  Gibbs let out a subtle shrug.  Tony grinned.  "Doesn't change things."

"We can make sure he can protect himself."

"I'll be doing a lot of shuffling him to martial arts and sports."

"What if he doesn't like sports?" McGee asked.

"Then it'll be computer camp or language lessons, or possibly art camp.  I was always fond of art."  He shrugged.  "I'm going to let him tell me what he wants to do.  I'm not that sort of pushy parent, but I won't let him get too bored.  I'm told he'd find trouble."

"Have you talked to that girl Anya out there?" Abby asked.

"No," Tony said carefully.

"She's kind of part of the team."


"The girlfriend of a friend," Abby added.  Tony moaned, shaking his head.  "So you did?"

"Yeah, I didn't know what her name was."  He stuffed his mouth.  "Why?"

"She showed up last night to complain about bad girl sensing radar."

Tony repeated that phrase a few times mentally then nodded.  "That would explain him going after the nursing mother?"

"If she's dangerous, yes."

"Were you at the coffee shop up the street?" she asked.  Tony nodded slowly.  "They arrested her earlier on outstanding warrants.  I had the scanner going on the way here."

"Aw, crap," he muttered.  He looked at his son then stuffed his mouth.  "We'll have to keep that tendency hidden.  It might help us someday."

Gibbs nodded.  "If it's dependable."

Tony looked at him.  "Could that be why he liked Percheza when we ran into her in the store the other night, boss?"

"Percheza?" he demanded.  "She's out?"

"She was at the grocery store.  My brilliant son flirted and cooed.  She told me he was going to be brilliant.  He'd date less women than I have but he'd be brilliant.  Or a cult leader since he was so charismatic according to her."

Gibbs shuddered.  That agent had killed three civilians during a bust.  She was supposed to be in jail awaiting trial.  "It's entirely possible that he will be drawing that way."

"If so, we're going to have some problems," Tony said.  "Think about how many evil things there are in town with congress and the covert agents."  Gibbs snorted, shaking his head.  "There are."

"There are," Ziva agreed.  "I've accidentally walked into a bar some of them gather at.  A few were quite amused.  One wanted to shoot me until he heard I was Mossad, then he bought me a drink he laced with a pill."

"With Tony's luck, his car will break down in front of that bar while he has the baby in the car.  They'll be highly amused when Xander babbles and coos at them," Abby quipped.

"DiNozzo, you're not allowed on that street," Gibbs ordered.  "Ever."

"Sure, boss.  Where is it, Ziva?"

"About seven blocks to the north and over two streets."

"That red brick pub?"  She nodded.  "Yeah, I'll avoid there," he decided.  "I don't want to mess with covert agents."

"They might like your son," Ziva teased.

"They might, but I'm not sure some of them won't like him as a snack."

Abby shuddered and heard a coo, looking down.  "Did my feet make a good napping spot?" she asked with a grin.  He beamed and patted her shoelaces until a wiggling foot got his attention.  That one didn't have laces, but it had bright colors on the socks.  He crawled over to look at them, making McGee squeak.  "Got your socks?"

"Yeah, he did."  He looked down, smiling at the baby.  He moved his pants leg up, letting him pat the colored swirls.  "You're a tiny bit odd, Xander, but we love you anyway."

Tony shrugged.  "All kids like bright colors.  Look at kid's mobiles.  You're the one who wore Grateful Dead socks."

"They were a gift from my sister.  I needed to do wash."  He looked down again, Xander was trying to taste his sock.  "No, don't taste the colors, Xander.  They'd taste bad."

Tony wiggled his hand.  The baby came over and played with his fingers so he picked him up, getting fussed at.  He handed him something off his plate, making him much happier.  "Good, you gum that and we'll deal with it."

He finished up and grabbed something else.  Daddy moved the plate but handed him something he could have.  That was nice of him so he nibbled on it and went after that nice looking thing again.

"You don't like those," Tony said, handing him a little bit.  The baby tasted it and made a face.  "Told you so."  He ate that and handed him a glop of guacamole.  The baby hummed and ate that.  "Guess they fed you some out in Sunnydale, huh?"

"It's creamy, and tastes different," Gibbs said.  "Not too much, DiNozzo."

"I'm letting him sample."  He let him have some of the spaghetti sauce.  Xander liked that and ate it too.  He reached for the thing he wanted again.  Tony let him have it, watching him make a face.  "Told you so."  He ate it for him and handed him a vegetable.  Xander hummed until he took a bite then grimaced and threw it at Abby.  "No," Tony said calmly.  "No throwing food."  He moved his plate further away.  The baby screamed.  "I don't care. You can't throw food."  He put him down when he continued to complain.  The baby wailed at that move.  "Next time, don't throw food."  The baby sniffled and looked pitiful.  Tony handed him something.  The baby pouted at it.  "Eat it and I'll pick you back up."

The baby pouted at McGee.  He handed him something else to nibble on.  The baby gummed it and got picked up by Tony.  He pouted at McGee, who handed him something else.  He nibbled it more happily.  When he was done he pouted again but Tony picked up the baby hand with the food, making the baby eat that instead.  "Forgot you had that?" he teased.  The baby finished and reached for his plate.  "You don't like that."  He took it and ate it, handing him something else.  The baby pouted.  He stared at him.  "No.  You're not going to learn how to pout your way out of things."

"Looks like he's already learned that," McGee teased.

"Maybe."  He finished up that thing that Xander hated first so he couldn't try for it again.  Gibbs snickered.  "Saves problems."  He dumped some of the guacamole on his plate, letting the baby play with that.  It was brightly colored, squished in his hand, and tasted good.  He liked that.

Abby shook her head. "At least it's healthy-ish for him."

"It's vegetables," Gibbs reminded her.  "A bit of oil or something.  I have no idea how you make guacamole."

"It's mostly avocados.  I didn't put any onions in it.  I'm out."  He finished up his dinner, letting Xander suck his creamy vegetables all he wanted.  It was like baby food in a way.  Same texture.  Probably tasted about the same if the baby food makers were any good at what they did.  Xander finally started to get tired.  Tony cleaned up his hands and face, then put him into his crib.  Xander fussed but he turned on his musical mobile.  "You nap.  When you get up we can play some more."  The baby huffed but the music was nice.  He liked the music and the dancing figures above his head.  Tony went back to the living room.  "Leave it, guys.  It'll give me something to do later on."  They quit cleaning the kitchen on him.  "I appreciate it though.  Now what, boss?  It almost seems like a letdown."

"I'm sure there'll be other threats out there, DiNozzo."

"If so, we'll deal with it and then Xander can make me feel better."

"He probably will.  They seem to do that."  He heard a quiet fuss and went to turn back on the mobile.  The baby gave him a sleepy smile, drifting off again.   Tony came in to flip on a switch, it kept it going instead of letting it wind down.  "They do that?"

"This one does," he said quietly.  "I'll turn it off in an hour."  He came out and the team settled in to watch a movie with him.  Yeah, this was a good start to fatherhood.  Because otherwise he'd be stumped and in trouble.  But hey, his son was at least unique.

The End.