Animal Magnetism

Mac walked into the lab Danny and Stella were working in, looking at the other tech, getting a smile back.  "Danny."  Danny looked at him.  He opened the link between them, sending over his question about what animagus form Danny had.  Danny smirked and winked, then got back to work.  "I really do need that question answered, Danny," he said more firmly.

"Can I help?" Stella asked, beaming at them.

"If you want," Danny agreed, knowing what she meant.  "See, Mac, there ya go."



"Come on, Danny."  He walked him away from the lab table and outside, then into an unused lab around the corner.  "You can tell me, Danny.  You know that."

"No.  I haven't changed in years.  I'm not even sure if I'm the same as I was before.  Not like I'm the same little thug I was then."

Mac smiled at him for it.  "I realize that, Danny, but still.  Please?"

"Not now, Mac.  Let me think about it."

"That's good enough for me," he promised, smiling at him.  "Do you think you can change?"

"Well, it's based on who you are inside.  I'm not the same guy I was back then.  Yeah, I got some tendencies, anyone would, but I'm not the same guy.  So I don't know."  He shrugged and walked off, going back to work.

Mac considered it, then went to make a call about that.  "Alex, Mac.  Got a complex question.  If someone's had a radical personality shift and they were already an animagus, would their forms change?"  He listened to him hunt for a book, then talk about the theory.  "You think she'd have a better idea?"  He nodded.  "Thank you.  Please."  He hung up and considered it. Stella would be some sort of mothering symbol.  Maybe a lioness, fierce and proud.  He'd have to be there when she went through it the first time to make sure.  He sent a mental note to Speed, who moaned and told him to go away, he was busy doing something important and non-magical.  So he got back to work, wondering about Danny.


Danny looked up as the owl dropped the package in front of him, grinning a bit.  "Thanks, Tart."  It flew off, heading for the local owlry.  It was Philip's owl from the school so he knew it was probably important. He unwrapped it, frowning at the mirror.  "Uh-huh."  He looked around then walked further into the alley so he could pull his wand in peace.  He tapped it and it came to life.  "Professor McGonagall," he said, looking a bit shocked.  "Is there something wrong?"

"Well, I was approached about a question on animagus and I was also told one of your students would like to try."

"Probably both but Don might want to become a broom," he said with a small grin.  He looked around then sat down again.  "Okay, slight complication to my form.  If I'm not what I was when I was younger, totally changed, would that matter?"

"It could.  Do you still have the same reactions?"

"That's more training."

She considered it.  "I'm sure you have a copy of the book or you can get a copy of the book?"  He nodded quickly.  "Do it with them.  See if you get a dream.  If you do and it's different, then yes, you could change that way."

"Both or just a new one?"

"I'm not sure," she admitted.  "That sort of trauma is rare, even with the war we've had.  Being able to change this way is even more rare."  She saw another head, then Danny punched him, knocking him back.  "Oh, my."

"Yeah, tired of people today," he offered dryly, smirking a bit.  "So, MPD cases?  Do they get one each personality?"

"I've only seen three that have that problem and this skill.  Of them, two did," she admitted.  "It's very rare.  If so, please do write it out for me.  I like to study such things."  She smiled.  "Now, get the stuff ready to teach them that.  I'm aware you did something like the Banes did to fully train them."

"It was too dangerous not to," he agreed.

"Are they ready?"

"Yeah, they are."

"Then do that.  It could be of benefit to both of them."  She smiled and winked.  "Let me know please.  Also remember the charmed tags, dear.  Very important since you don't have a registry.  After all, none of us want to end up at the pound."  He shuddered and nodded.  "Good boy.  Now, I'd best get back before my little heathens come for my next class.  You should probably apologize for hitting him."  She wiggled her fingers and signed off.

He put the mirror into his jacket pocket and glared at the cop.  "Nosy," he snorted.

"That's a magic mirror!" he said.

"No, it's like video conferencing but I couldn't do it on my cell.  This way you've got the camera and the screen."  He shrugged and smirked.  "What can I say, I know techno geeks."

"Fine."  He rubbed his chin.  "You hit awfully hard."

Danny quirked an eyebrow up.  "Really?  I can hit harder."  The cop snorted and walked off.  Danny pulled out a cigarette and lit it, smoking while he thought.

"Bad," Don called.  "Bad, bad, bad, Danny!"

"It's not tobacco.  Lay off."  He took another drag and looked at him, sending him the question quietly.  Stella's 'ooh, me, I wanna do it' came through clearly.  She was apparently having a good time on her scene at the brothel.

Don considered it.  "I heard the broom comment," he muttered.  Danny smirked at him.  "I'll spank you later."  He thought about it.  "I wouldn't mind.  It could be helpful.  Save my ass at times."

"Okay.  We'll do what we can."  He clapped him on the arm and walked off, finishing his cigarette on the way.  He stamped it out and headed inside, exhaling the last right before he stepped over the threshold.  Their cult member glared at him.  "What?  It wasn't tobacco!"

"If you say so."  He pouted at him.  "It's a nasty habit that could take you away from him."

"I know, that's why it wasn't tobacco."  He clapped him on the arm.  "Behave.  Don't make him pout.  He's already had a long day."  He walked around him, heading back to the labs to get back to work.

He stared at his back.  "He is going to drag him down."  Don walked in and he straightened up and smiled.  "Good day."

"Hey," he said, smirking at him.  "You're wrong, Danny's teaching us stuff," he said quietly as he walked past him. "Including how to do the granting that I got asked about."  The man beamed at him, clapping and bouncing some.  "So it'll take some time.  I'm still reading up on it.  Just leave him alone.  Got it?"  He nodded. "Good boy."  He looked him over.  "Pants are undone."  He blushed and did them back up.  "Nice.  Like the tie."  The man looked proud.  "Go work."  He headed off.  Don went back to his desk, considering the implications.  He did check on the website, he wanted to keep up with what they were saying about them.  One of them caught him lurking and he said 'hi' quietly.  He did ask about animal symbolism, something he had read about recently.  The member who had seen him sent over their files on that.  Eagles.  Interesting.  More Mac than him, but interesting.


Horatio saw Speed start to glower at the evidence and walked that way.  "What's wrong?" he asked softly.


"Ah."  He smirked a bit. "Of course they want to try it.  The same as Ray does."  Speed looked at him. "I never got it to work for me."

"I doubt they could find an animal to symbolize you," he agreed. He glanced around.  "Ryan's shaky on a broom," he offered quietly.  "He's still at the slow and careful phase."  Horatio nodded, most kids had that moment. "Does Ray fly?"

"Very well. He flies a lot like you and Tony really."  He smirked at that.  "It shows who trained him."  He stepped closer.  "Do you think Ray should consider it?"

"I think it's an option everyone's got to consider for themselves," Speed reminded him.  "Most kids want but not all can do it and not all get answers.  Some are too human to be anything but human."

"True.  I'll talk to him about the advanced training he could be doing."

Speed looked at him.  "Let me talk to him first.  With some of the shit we got into by our junior year, I'd be surprised if he hasn't already tried it."  Horatio nodded, leaving it there.  "You get to help Ryan calm down."

"If you want."  He went to find him and talk to him.  "Mr. Wolfe."  Ryan gave him a sideways look and went back to his search.  "Need help?"

"No, I'm okay so far," he admitted, plucking a hair off.  "Why?  Did someone say I needed help?"

"No, just wondering."  He closed the door and looked at him.  "Speed said you were having problems with your balance?"

"Yeah, brooms are really tiny and thin when you sit on them."

"That could be the make of broom," Horatio offered quietly.  "Some people do get thicker handles.  I know my original one was about six inches in diameter."

"Which is still really thin," Ryan assured him, grinning at him.  "I don't think I'm going to be doing any casual flying but it's a good thing to know about in case something happens."

"I heard some like you had enchanted surfboards to float.  I know Gregory has one of those."

Ryan smirked.  "I heard.  Greg brags.  A lot."  Horatio smirked at that. "Anything new coming?"

"One never knows what the future will hold," he reminded him.  "Let me know when you've got something."

"Do you think Ray's going to be one of those who learns both?" he asked quietly.

Horatio looked at him and shook his head. "That's usually for those with power who were using your style originally then got chosen for a school, or those who are very scholastic.  I think at the moment Ray's more fascinated with picking up girls than studying the various paths."

"I read the books.  He going for the kitty changing thing?"

Horatio smirked.  "Speed and I were just talking about that."

"Really?  What's he become?"

"I do not know, he won't tell me," he admitted, walking out and going back to that lab.  "Speed?"  He groaned.  "What do you change into?"

Speed looked at him. "What makes you think I do?"

"Because I know you, Speed.  What do you change into?"  Eric gave him an odd look.  "Read the books yet?"

"I did before.  I have nieces who think Harry's cool."  He smirked at him.  "I can see him as a scruffy puppy dog."  Speed shook his head. "No?"

"Nope.  Sorry.  Not saying if I got it to work or not. I need some secrets."  He sent an evil thought Tony's way for letting Gibbs know he could change.  Then Stella asked what he was.  "Huh, some things didn't get transferred over during the bonding," he snorted, getting back to work.  "No comment."

"You can tell us, you know that, right?" Eric asked dryly, smirking at him.  "I'm sure you're adorable."

Speed stared at him. "First, you'd have to actually *practice* the Craft, Eric.  And second, you'd use it to pick up girls."

"Well, yeah," he admitted.  He grinned at him.  "A wolf?"

"No, no comment."

"I know Tony's a very sleek, shorthair black cat that Jethro said was shaped like a Siamese or a Korat," Horatio offered, staring at him. He looked around and pulled his wand, but Speed had put up a shield.  "Ah, you do practice both."

"No shit," he snorted, getting back to work.  Ryan walked in looking confused.  "Horatio forgot I was a booknerd."

"Yeah.  I can see that.  It glows green.  Like mucus green. You really should get that examined."  Speed glared and lowered it, then wrapped it around Horatio's wand.  "Cute."  He looked him over, then snickered.  "I can't believe you turn into that."

"I can render you mute for life," Speed threatened.

"I won't tell if you won't about mine."

"Not an issue."

"Thanks."  He headed off, grinning at Calleigh as he walked past her.

"What's going on now?"

"Male bonding."

"Like frat house bonding or like boarding school in the dorms and no girls allowed bonding?  Because a few of the girls told me that was hot to watch but I doubt it."

"I still like girls," Eric called.  "Thank you anyway, Calleigh."

"Not you!"  She walked in there, looking at Horatio's wand.  She rolled her eyes and took it, shaking it off.  The shield fell at Speed's snap.  "Thank you."  She tucked it back into Horatio's inner pocket. "Behave."  She glared at the men.  "Quit picking on him."

Speed looked at her.  "Picking on him!  He was picking on me!"

"He thinks Speed should be furry too."

"Really?  I more see him as a hawk or something.  Something that's protective and possessive of its territory but always watching.  Or maybe I'm being romantic again," she said happily.

"No comment," Speed told her, shaking his head.  "I'm trying to work and I'm finding it increasingly difficult for some reason."

"You could just change and show us," Eric reminded him happily.

"I can also force you to use magic to protect yourself too," Speed reminded him, smirking a bit evilly.  "Let's see how fast you run for a crystal and some candles, Eric."

"Fine," he pouted.  "Meany."

"This is new information why?" he taunted.

She walked around, looking at him, then suddenly she tickled him, making him shriek and duck to get away from her.  But she followed, making him bat at her and finally pin her against the wall.  So she decided to get dirty and kneed him.  But he moved, thankfully.  She didn't want to really hurt him. A hand came in to help her and Eric gave her his most wicked smirk.  Finally Speed had to change, he was pinned between them and unable to move.  Plus Eric had his wand so he couldn't apparate.  He took a step to the left then changed back, grabbing his wand and disappearing.

"Well, now we know," she said happily.  "He's like a Persian but he's got a non-squashed face and he's a pretty black cat that needs brushed."  She smiled at them.  "Now, you two go find him before he starts to pout."  She walked out, going back to her lab, her mischief for the month done.  She leaned into Ryan's lab.  "He's a cute little kitty.  What's yours?"

"No comment and it's not as instinctive as theirs are so no torturing me."  He gave her a look, then smirked back.  "Or else I'll make you a frog."  She laughed and walked off, waving a hand at him.  "Maybe I was wrong and she is a chaos person too," he mumbled as he went back to searching for more hairs in the rope.


Speed landed at Tony's work and was already changed within a heartbeat.  He headed for the elevator since it was open, finding Abby in there.  He rubbed against her leg, meowing up at her.

"Aww, you poor thing.  Are you lost?"  He shook his head, his tag jingling in the quiet elevator as they moved.  "Ooh, you have a master.  He needs to brush you badly."  She looked at the tag then grinned.  "Are you Tony's familiar, baby?"  She picked him up, cuddling him gently.  She hit a different button when the elevator stopped, taking him up there.  She walked up to Tony's desk and put the cat on it, glaring at him. "You need to take better care of your familiar," she complained.  "It's mean not to brush him."

He looked at the cat, then at her.  "That's Tim," he mouthed.  She blinked, eyes wide.  He nodded.  "Shoo, Abby."  She squeaked.  "No, that's McGee."  McGee moaned and she ran off.  He glared at Tim.  "Get me into more trouble, watch Danny kick your ass for putting more pressure on him."  Tim's tail spelled out an H.  "Ah.  Tortured it out of you?"  The cat gave him a pitiful look.  "I agree, you need brushed."  He looked in his desk, finding his spare comb, and got to work on the soft, full coat.  "And I thought I had hair," he complained quietly.

Gibbs came in and stopped, looking at the cat, then at him. "What's that?"

"Abby handed him to me, said he was my familiar.  I'm thinking about having him fixed tonight, boss.  Think I could get Danny to do that?"

The cat gave Gibbs a pitiful sounding meow. "I don't think he likes that idea."  He picked the cat up, holding it under the front shoulders, staring into the eyes.  "Hi, Speed."  He put it back down. "Horatio warned me you ran.  Not why."  Speed made a grumbling noise.  "Fine.  You can stay for now.  Cute tag.  First desk on the right?"

"It's a wizarding address," Tony said quietly, getting back to work.  "She apparently thought it was cute too."

"What is that beast doing in here!" the director called.

"Abby got him for me, Director.  Said I needed a familiar and someone to keep me company.  I'm taking him home with me tonight."

"He's not allowed in here!  Put him in your car!"

"I can't, ma'am, that would violate animal protection laws."  He got back to combing the soft coat.  "One of these days, I'm using a crimper on you," he said quietly.  "Just to see you with wavy hair."  The cat glared at him so he smirked.  "Pays to have short hair, huh?"

"Try to behave, DiNozzo," Gibbs warned, going to his seat.  He saw McGee's hesitant look.  "What? It's not like he'll chase you."

"I know he won't, boss.  It's still kinda cute."  He snickered a bit.  "What does Tony become?"

"A short haired version of that.  I'm still wondering about their third."

Tony just grinned.  "Nothing furry."

"That narrows it down."  Gibbs sat down.  "Care to give me a smaller category?  Insect, reptile, fish?"

"I never met anyone who turned into a fish," McGee offered, considering it.  "That'd be a bad one to have really.  Fairly restrictive environment."

"Alex claims he doesn't have one," Tony offered.

"I so believe that too," McGee snorted.  "Someone like Alex?  I'm sure he's trying to find a way to have more than one."  Tony smirked at that.  "Does Danny?"  Tony just looked at him. "Fine. He's a private guy.  I can understand that."

"Mac'll get it out of him so they can work together better."  Gibbs flipped open a file.  "We should be working, correct?"

"I just sent you a report, boss, I'm waiting to see if I have to make corrections."

"I'm still waiting on you to get back to me about my last one," Tony offered.  The director stormed in with one of the security guards.  "Hey, guys.  Abby dropped him off with me."

"He's adorable," the security guy offered, letting the cat sniff his fingers then scratching him on the ear.  "Your whole row has to not mind and no one can complain about allergies."

"Anyone care?"

"As long as he doesn't try to chase me," McGee offered dryly, going back to his solitaire game.  His inbox beeped so he opened it.  "Thanks, boss.  What did I do wrong?"

"Footnotes, McGee?  This isn't college."

"Oops.  Guess I was missing writing academic papers and slipped a few in.  Won't happen again, boss."  The director gave him an odd look.  "I've been thinking about going back for a few extra classes but with our case schedule and always being on call, I can't schedule it reliably."  He got back to work including the footnotes into his report.

"Do it through a real college and take online stuff, Probie," Tony called down.  "You can get most anything on them, including some lectures on i-Pod."   McGee smiled at that and nodded.  "I know UVA has one and a few others here in the city."

"Thanks, Tony.  I'll check into that.  Boss?"

"Not up to me."

"Do we have tuition reimbursement?"

"Ask the director.  Last I knew we did.  Unless she's decided to cut that too."  He looked at the cat.  "He looks comfortable."

"He's relaxed.  I'm good at making people relax, boss," he said quietly. "He knows he can trust me."  They shared a look and he looked at the guard.  "Since no one's complaining....."

"Then by building rules, as long as it doesn't come back."  He smiled at him and gave the cat one last head pet.  "He's adorable, Agent DiNozzo.  Congratulations."

"Thanks.  His coat needs a lot of attention but he'll do nicely with the one I babysit now and then."  That got a smile and a nod, the guard leaving it there.  He looked at the director, who was fuming.  "He'll be going home with me tonight, ma'am," he said quietly, getting back to work.  "Boss, still waiting on you to proof my report and send it back for corrections."

"I'm doing that now, DiNozzo.  Hold on.  A few odd word choices."

"I thought I'd change it up a bit, use the thesaurus and prove I actually earned my grades."  She stomped off sneezing.  "Really?" he muttered.  He looked at his boss.  "She's allergic?"  He nodded once, smirking at that.  "Interesting."  He looked at the cat, then got up and walked him and the comb over. "Here, since his boss traumatized him."  He went to the bathroom and checked around, making sure he was out of camera range, then he changed down and headed up the stairs, a silent shadow in the small shadows of the hallway.   He snuck into the director's office when the secretary was delivering coffee to her mistress, and he hid.  She sneezed and he was having fun now.  He called Danny, who groaned and told him he might've changed.  Besides, not like he wanted to do that there.  He might get stepped on.  She sneezed again, her nose starting to bleed.  He almost gave up but the vindictive look on her face made him stay and watch as she typed an email into her system and sent it.  He knew Fornell was monitoring them for the investigation.

When she got up to get more tissues, he hurried over, using his paw to work the mouse and get into her email.  He hit the back button until he found it, then clicked on the small print icon before going forward and reloading it.  He headed out of the office, finding a deeper shadow near MTAC.  He changed back and walked into the director's office smiling.  "Hi, I think I printed something off in here by accident.  Printer?"  She pointed with a smile.  "Thanks."  He walked over and found his email, heading down to gather his buddy and switch with Gibbs.  Who just smirked at him. He sat down with Speed in his lap, finger combing him now.  Ziva came in and he waved.  "Before you ask, Abby found him and gave him to me.  Called him my familiar."

"What's his name?"


"That's an odd name for a cat."

He looked at her.  "Not really.  He reminds me of my friend Tim."  She shrugged it off and sat down.  "Get the car's forms done?"  She nodded and handed them over. Gibbs had made her go with the van to get it fixed since she had crashed it.

Gibbs looked them over, nodding a bit.  "Thank you, Officer David.  Reports?"

"Working on them," she promised, getting back to work.  She did occasionally look over at the cat.  She had never expected Tony to be a cat person.


Danny looked through the book, finding the dream quest potion.  He was not going to let Stella try to make this on her own. It had to be precise.  Which meant he probably shouldn't make it either but he had made it when the three of them had taken theirs.  He heard the subdued pop of someone showing up.  "In the study," he called.  Horatio walked in.  "Hey.  Need help with Ray?"

"Looking for Speed."

"Still with Tony.  Apparently he needed cuddled?" he said, giving him an arch look.

"He was trying to hide it."

"Yeah, with good reason.  Speed's the only wizard I know who ended up at the pound, even with tags."  He got to work looking at his list, checking his supplies, making out a grocery list.  "Stella wanted to try it."

"That's fine.  I never got mine to work."  He walked in further.  "How are you doing, Danny?"

"Just fine.  Why?"  He gave him an odd look this time.  "I've been fine.  I'm not the one of the group who's pissed at you."

"He'll forgive me later," he said dryly.  "You've been in the study center recently?"

"I have.  We cleaned our stuff out of there that day too.  Then we initiated one of the new kids into it so he could add others."

"Good.  Excellent even.  I heard it was in use again."

"Still tied to the spell on the fireplace?"

"Actually, onto the door.  There's one who keeps going in there with books that make my neck itch."

"I'll call down there.  Dark evil, or unholy?"

"Dark and evil.  I'm not sure of the exact source or which student it is.  I know she's in there now."

"We can go," he agreed, grabbing his wand.  "You remember the apparation point?"

"I don't."  Danny grabbed his book of photos and handed it over.  "We've been popping into the old shopping area to head down there and work with a few of the kids."  Horatio smiled at that.  "They needed it.  Some of the teachers are idiots.  When we had that giant demon, they were trying to stun and finite it."  Horatio moaned.  "Exactly!"  He headed off, letting Horatio follow him.  He found the doorway and tapped his wand on it before using the opening spell, letting Horatio walk in first.

"Crap, man, give us some warning!" one of the thugs called, glaring at them.  "Who's he?"

"Horatio.  He helped build this place and he's tied to a few of the spells.  He said there's an issue down here."

The thug nodded and pointed.  "She's that way."

"Thank you," Horatio said quietly, looking him over.  "Potions?"

"And herbology.  They go hand in hand.  You?"

"Charms."  He smiled a bit. "I did the doorway."

"That's sweet work, man. You still in practice?"

"Getting back there.  I didn't keep up with some of the more esoteric knowledge."  He shrugged a bit and smirked.  "Work got in the way."

"I hear it can do that.  Not looking forward to it at all really."  He led them to where the young woman in question would be.  "Maple."  She looked over, giving them a bland look.

Danny looked at the book, then snorted.  "I've got a copy of that but mine doesn't radiate evil."

"Mine's a first edition," she said proudly, going back to her _Big Book of Dark Pranks_.  "What are you doing here tonight, Messer?  You're not supposed to tutor until tomorrow."

"Horatio felt a problem on the doorway."  He walked in and took the book, looking it over. "Bound in human skin.  Sweet.  Alex would be so pissed that someone tainted a copy of his works."

She stood up.  "You know the great Dumass?"

Danny smirked and nodded.  "He's training Don Flack."  She gasped.  He shrugged and gave her another smug look.  "Been to the castle a number of times."

"Would you introduce me?"

"Maybe.  Depends on how dark a dark lord you wanna become."

She tapped a foot.  "I don't want to become a dark lord."

"Then why not ask to be introduced to the Weasley Twins?" Horatio asked quietly.

"You know the twins?" she asked, giving him an awed look.  "I'd *love* to work on stuff for them."

"They're in Diagon, and yes, we do.  We've played against them a few times," Danny agreed dryly.  "Alex is still training their brother Ron and he did train Bill from what I heard."

"Wow."  She looked from one to the other then back.  "Can I get a letter of introduction?"

"Sure," Danny agreed, handing back the book.  "Keep that out of here."

"Yes, sir.  I'm sorry if it warps the spells on the doorway."

"It was more warning me you were carrying dark materials in," Horatio offered.  "Always that book?"

"No, my aunt left me a whole collection and I've been working my way through them."  She sat down again.  "Please, sit."  He sat across from her while Danny went to find some parchment and borrow a quill.  "Do you work in wizarding circles now, Horatio?"

"No, I'm with the crime lab in Miami."

She blinked and looked over at where Danny was writing at a table.  Then back at him.  "He does the same thing, right?" she asked, looking confused.  He nodded.  "How did you get into that field?"

"I like figuring out who did the crime.  It takes some training and then field training."

"Oh, I see."  She blinked a few more times then shrugged and smiled.  "I never expected any of us to do that sort of thing. To have more than one flustered me but all right.  My father said most wizards work in wizarding circles."

"Not enough of us run businesses and here in the US there's no Ministry to work for," Danny pointed out.  "That's where the overflow in other countries end up."  He looked over.  "Britain's main one in London employs nearly a thousand."  He went back to writing.  "Plus a lot of the muggle-borns go back to the muggle world and practice in quiet."

"I suppose that does make sense with them being more comfortable in that one.  Most of the wizarding world isn't as computer savvy."

"Hogwarts still uses quills for daily classwork," Horatio agreed.  She moaned, giving him such a hurt and horrified look.  "No computers, everything's handwritten but the books."

"With special permission they can use dunking style fountain pens," Danny agreed.  "Then again, my year used quills for daily exercises and typewriters or computers for the lucky few for papers."

"Greg said Lindsey had to update her laptop," Horatio offered.  "She's taking notes on it."

"You know someone going right now?" she asked.

"Canada's academy," Danny offered, reading over the letter.  He inserted a word, then charmed it dry and smudge-proof, folding it up and sealing it so he could hand it over.  "There you go."

"Thank you, Danny."  She smiled at them.  "When should I go?"

"Students are still in school so this weekend if your parents agree?" he offered.  "You can portkey into Diagon."

She nodded.  "I can do that.  Thank you, Danny."  She got up and kissed him on the cheek, then shook Horatio's hand.  "Thank you for that information as well, Horatio.  I'll try not to set off the wards any longer.  Danny, have you seen Orionathon?"

"I had and I shudder in horror most of the time," he admitted dryly.  "What'd he do this time?"

"Mostly?  Botched some Ever-Grow."  He shuddered at that.  "We've learned how to do the permanent hair cutting charm recently."

"Can I get that and some of the potion?" he asked.

"Not on Speed," Horatio warned.

"Nah... Tony's so much more fussy about his hair," he promised with a smirk.

"Jethro would kill you, Danny."

Danny just grinned at him.  "Only if you tell him it was me."  She giggled and went to get a copy of that charm for him and a sample of the potion they had confiscated.  "Thanks."  He grinned and put it into his pocket, taking it with him.  They landed back at his place once they were outside the study center area.

"I'm still mad at you," Speed announced when he saw Horatio.  "Go away."

"I'm sorry, Speed," he offered, moving closer.  Speed hissed at him.  He smirked.  "I don't know why I didn't see it before."  He patted him on the arm.  "You do make an adorable cat."

"Tony spent an hour combing my coat."

"Yeah, he was always fussy about his hair.  That's why he's a shorthair," Danny agreed.  Speed punched him on the arm, making him crash into a wall.  "Easy!  I had a potion on that side."  He checked.  "Oops, did break."  He sent the rest of it at Tony, banishing it really.  Then he went to start the ever-cutting charm for his hair.  He could already feel it growing. Just the front though. He pulled it back behind his head and tied it off.  They all heard Tony shriek, making Speed giggle.  "One of the kids botched some ever-grow," he said fondly.  "Now, I'm working on a furry-thing potion for Stella."

"And you.  I heard what McGonagall said," Speed offered, coming over to help.  "Go away, Horatio."

"I wanted to know what he became."

Danny looked at him.  "It could've changed since I did so much."

"It can do that?"

"McGonagall said that MPD cases have even been known to have a different one for each personality."

Horatio moaned at that, shaking his head and heading back to his house, where he found his nephew kissing a girl.  "My apartment is not a motel," he said firmly.

"Mom told me to kiss her here instead.  I tried to tell her that, Uncle Horatio."  His girlfriend giggled. "This is Gwen.  She's my lady."

Horatio shook her hand.  "Nice to meet you, Gwen.  Please get your hand out of his pants. I do expect polite manners."  She blushed and did that.  "Thank you.  Nephew?"

"Mom said so."

"I see.  Screaming, ranting, or otherwise?"

"Otherwise.  Drinking herself to sleep since I'm with a real woman."

"Ah."  He looked at Gwen, then at his nephew.  "Am I making dinner?"

"We've already eaten but thank you anyway," she said politely.  He nodded at that.  "I should probably go."

"I did need to go over some family information with him later," Horatio offered.  "I look forward to seeing you again, Gwen."  She blushed and smiled, doing up her shirt as she turned around.  Ray swished his wand once she was dressed.  "Ray...."

"Her sister just graduated Andromeda."

"I see."

"She's like Marisol and Eric."

"He doesn't practice."

"Uh-huh.  That's a choice, not a reason."  He stood up and straightened himself out.  "Sorry, she got insistent.  Won't happen again."

"Good.  It had better not."  He looked him over.  "You missed a step."  Ray did up his zipper, then shrugged and grinned.  "Stella and Don have expressed an interest in the animagus information.  I was going to see if you wanted to go up and work on that?"

Ray considered it then shook his head slowly.  "I think I'll stay with being human for now," he offered.  "I'm still catching my balance with the growth spurts and other puberty and growing up nastiness.  Maybe when I'm older but for now I'll stick with self transformations."

"As long as you don't get stuck like Tony did."

"He did?" he asked, sitting down again.

"As a girl.  They were doing disguise spells or something.  He got stuck for a little over two weeks."

"He probably wanted to play with his breasts," Ray said dryly.  "Think I could get mom to pass out with that?"

"Ray," he said dryly, staring him down.

"Sorry."  He grinned.  "Would you still need a lube spell?"


"What?  Inquiring minds want to know."

Horatio moaned and nodded. "Yes, you would.  It would transfer it back since you wouldn't really have an opening."

"So, it'd be like being the best drag queen ever?  Wow."  His uncle looked at him.  "I'm sure that the transgendered wizards around have it easier than the surgery, plus they probably have fully working bodies."

"It takes three very strong wizards to cast that spell, Ray," he said firmly.  "I'm sure they have guidelines too."  Ray nodded at that.  "Tell me you're not picking on them."

"No, I don't pick on anyone.  I can do a mean impersonation of a swishy gay guy."  His uncle glared.  "I'm not picking on them, I'm picking on the kids who thought I was one by taunting them.  Relax, I'm not that sort of kid, Uncle Horatio."

"You were."

"I was younger and more stupid.  Besides, my mother kicked my ass.  I'm scared of my mother.  I'm never doing it again."

Horatio cracked a smile.  "That's a wise decision to be scared of her, Ray.  Many men are."  He went into the kitchen. "Ask Danny to take you book shopping his next day off. He could probably use an updated charms book or three."

"Okay."  He moved to call him, hearing Don howling with laughter in the background.  "Bad time?"  He snickered at the story going on from Stella.  "No, Uncle Horatio suggested I take Danny book shopping with me sometime soon so he can get some updated charm books."  He grinned.  "Thanks, Stella."  He hung up. "She said she could probably go too.  Right now he's fighting with his bangs, which are growing at an alarming rate."

"He had some ever-grow potion break on him."

"How do you stop those things?"

"It's usually in the spell.  That's why you read them, nephew," he reminded him.  Ray grinned.  "What did you do?" he asked finally.

"I was being a good boy and bored so I did the housecleaning charms.  The laundry's still going since it was doing it by hand, I'm not sure why, but it was.  I've got a shadowy figure that goes out to hang it up every so often or to bring in dry stuff.  Everything but that part's stopped."  Horatio moaned.  "I'm wondering if we have to become nudists for a day so there's no more laundry."

"Possibly. Get the book, look at the spell.  It should tell you how to turn it off, Ray.  Do it now, before your mother starts to scream," he ordered calmly.  His nephew apparated home, letting Horatio moan as he stuck his dinner into the microwave to warm.  At least he was being helpful, he'd have to keep repeating that until it sank in.


Danny came out of the dream confused.  He wrote it down and sent it to McGonagall, hoping she had an idea but he was still badly confused.  He hadn't been able to change forms since he had rejected his old life and been kicked out for it.  He looked around, for once he was alone at his place, and concentrated on the magic.  He knew how the spell went.  He could feel the tearing inside him, the fighting.  "Stop it," he muttered.  "Either it's both or nothing."  He could see where his old life had influenced his old form, and he could feel the roots of it now, even though it wasn't a *bad* thing.  He felt himself shift and looked at himself, seeing the old form.  Then he concentrated and changed again, to the new one.  That one surprised him, but not totally.  He heard someone coming so he changed back to human, holding his head.  Did this mean he had something like MPD?  He had no idea.  He didn't have any funny little voices, but it wasn't making him happy at the moment.  Stella knocked on the door.  "Yeah, 'sup?" he called quietly.

She walked in and sat beside him.  "I'm an eagle."  He grinned at her.  "Is flying instinctive?"

"Nah, you gotta practice.  We all gotta practice.  Tony had to practice giving himself a bath for *months* before he quit missing his ass."  She giggled at that and hugged him.  "Don awake yet?"

"Nope."  She nuzzled his neck.  "So, what are you now?"

"Not sure yet.  I sent a letter to McGonagall to get some more help."  He patted her on the knee, looking at the clock.  "It's three in the morning.  You awake for good or not?"

"I could sleep," she admitted, smiling at him.  "If I had some help."

"Help's always nice," he agreed, kissing her.  It was a weak ploy and she'd come back to it later, but it'd give him some time to think.  He got them both stripped and down, kissing his way down to please her, making her beg and whimper to have her already.  So he did, slowly and gently, making her wiggle and clutch at his arms.  He heard the door open and reached for his wand but could feel it was Don, especially when he climbed in behind him and licked where they were joined, making her shriek.  He grinned and made sure she came, then got Danny to make sure he was good too.

Don kneeled in front of the cuddled duo, Stella making Danny cuddle this time, beaming at them like he was high.  "I'm a dog."

"I knew that already," she teased.  "You like to lap things."

"No, I mean I change into a dog.  I'm not sure what sort yet.  I've seen it on the breed shows but I'm not sure of the name."

"Something fast, a hunting hound," Danny offered.  "It's who you are, Don."  Don grinned and took a kiss, laying between them to spare Danny the agony of cuddling.  It was much appreciated.  "Stella's an eagle."

"That's pretty cool.  So's Mac."  He kissed her, then him, still grinning.  "Can I have some love?"

"You can have all the love you need and can handle," she promised, moving to tease him.  He was always fun to tease and play with.

Danny listened, hearing Mac tell Lindsey that yes, she did have to go into the creepy snake house, and yes, she did have to take Danny with her.  He snickered.  Someone had apparently guessed a bit of his secret.  Mac sent a wave of understanding at him and the point that they lived by their wits, they weren't truly deadly unless you tried to hurt them or they needed to hunt, and that they were good at camouflage.  He walked in a minute later.  "This is a low evidence case," he said quietly.  "Can you work with her?"

"If I gotta," he agreed.

"What about your second one? I saw you running as something but I couldn't tell what."

"You need glasses," Danny teased, smirking at him.  He patted him on the arm.  "Not sure yet myself, Mac.  Can I do some mischief?"

Mac leaned closer.  "No."  He glanced around.  "But if you can get them to tell you anything, I'd be thankful.  She's literally got a hair and a footprint."

"Cases have been solved for less but I'll see what I can find."  He smirked at him.  "Where's the broad spectrum lights?"

"She's already tried."

"On the carpet?"

"That too," he admitted dryly.  "Do what you can."  He got a nod and Danny left, going to check something out of supplies and then head out with her, whether or not she liked snakes.  He did remind Danny over the bond not to tweak her for her fear.  Everyone had one and he wouldn't like his being put out in the open that way.

Don bounced in and shut the door. "He's a what?"

"All I caught was furry and four legged."

"His old one," he complained.

Mac grinned.  "Reptilian."

"Uh-huh.  Monroe's got a thing about snakes, right?"

"Yes, and if he taunts her that way, I'm going to have to spank him later."  He smirked at the shocked look.  "Think I won't?"

"No, I think you'd try but Danny would hate you if you did," he admitted.  "I'm a puppy."

"I saw.  A very nice weimeraner, Don.  They're very protective and guard very well.  They're hunting dogs, often called gun dogs."

"Cool.  Now I've got a name ta go with the pictures in my head.  That silvery color is normal, right?"

"That's a breed standard."  Don beamed and headed out.  Mac shook his head.  They were having so much fun with this.  He walked out, going to find Stella, nudging her a bit.  "This weekend, practice of that stuff," he whispered.  She shivered and nodded.  "You won't fall.  I promise."  She nodded, giving him a look.  "I had Danny go with Lindsey to see if he could find anything at the snake case."

"Was it a bite?"

"Sid said no.  I mentioned snakes and it said it wasn't a bite and it wasn't strangulation.  He did say the victim's heart stopped but it wasn't venom."


"Possibly.  We're still waiting on tox results."

"Okay.  Let me know if I can help."   She sent a fond thought at Danny, getting one back.  "He's plotting, you know that right?"

"I know.  I'm hoping we don't have to bring any of the animals back."  He walked off, heading to his own lab to get to work.  He kept a mental ear out on Don to make sure he wasn't doing more than talking about getting a dog.  Stella was mildly happy with being an eagle.  He heard Speed complaining about how they obviously never got anything done from all the noise up there so he sent him a picture he had seen from Danny's renewed animagus dream.  Speed just groaned.  Tony sent back 'he always thought it sucked that his animal form wasn't native to New York, at least this one is' and a laugh.  Mac told them to get to work, they could play later if everyone was free. Speed ended up having the later shift so the rest of them could play while they cheered him on.


Danny leaned in the doorway of the precinct.  "Guys, could use some help carrying?" he called.  "Gotta warn you, it's tanks of snakes."  A few of the cops shuddered.  "They're evidence, they're in fish tanks, come help heft and tote!"  He closed the door and went back to where Monroe was staring at them.  "What? You lose a dog to a copperhead or somethin'?"

"No!"  She glared at him.  "Snakes are nasty.  Most of them feel slimy."

"No they don't."  He looked and opened one, lifting it out.  "Touch."  She backed away. "It's not poisonous, I promise.  Touch."  She ran a hand over the scales the wrong way.  "Now, go with the grain," he said patiently.  She did that, smiling a bit.  "See, amphibians are slimy, snakes don't usually live in the water."  He put that one back carefully, sealing it back inside the tank.  "We'll need ta set up lights like he had.  Go clear a lab.  Make sure they can't be shoved off a table."  She nodded, going to do that.  Mac and a few other cops came out.  "Six of 'em with blood spots.  ME say anything about head trauma?"

"No, he didn't even suspect."  He came over to look.  "Mostly non-poisonous."

"He coveted pythons and other constrictors.  I already broke her of her 'they're slimy' issue.  Come on, guys.  Wherever Monroe says."  They groaned but carried the aquariums inside, hefting and toting for the department.  Danny took the last one for himself.  This one he knew was poisonous and he didn't want anyone to trip and let it loose.  Don almost backed into him. "Whoa, I've got the biter!"  Don got out of the way, giving him a horrified look. "What? It's a reptile.  It's doing what Mother Nature says ta do."   He walked into the lab, putting his carefully on the lab table.  Then he found the tags they used for the dangerous things, sticking one on the cage.  "That should be subtle enough."  Mac looked and nodded it was fine.  "Okay. This one could use milked before we swab blood spots."

"How do you know so much about snakes?" Lindsey asked.

"One of my teachers had a thing for 'em in college.  Extra credit."  He looked around.  "I need something like a little jar and something that'll feel like flesh when it pierces over top of the mouth."  Mac nodded, going to rig something up.  "You, don't touch this one," he ordered.  She nodded, backing away.  "Ah!"  She stopped and looked, moving away from the cage on the floor.  "Go make a sign saying there's snakes in here."  She hurried to do that.  He looked inside the aquarium at the poisonous one.  "Shit life you've got, my friend.  Hope he's got a will."  He stood up, looking at Mac as he came in.  "That'll work.  That's how I used ta do it."

"King snakes are constrictors."

"Yup."  He carefully pulled out the cobra, holding it properly.  "Calm down," he whispered.  "We're taking the venom.  That way you don't get a sinus headache or anything."  He positioned the jar and let the fangs pierce it, watching as the venom poured in.  When it was done, he handed that off and shifted his grip, stroking down it.  "Shh, I've gotcha.  It's all right.  Mac, blood spatter on this one was on the hood and the inner, tail coil."  Mac put on some gloves and wet down a few q-tip sample collectors, finding the blood on the dark scales. The hood came out at the first touch but Danny went back to talking to it, soothing it. It was still a pretty young cobra.  It had obviously been handled in the past.  He kept it from striking by staring into its eyes.  Mac got done with the spots he could see, letting Danny lift the tail up to see if there were any underneath.  A few there, then he moved up to get the hood.

"Back in the military we were trained on how to recognize the dangerous snakes," Mac said quietly. "The trainer had been bitten by a cobra and a coral snake."

"Poor guy.  Mac, animal control needs ta make sure he's got a will.  He's got six other snakes still there.  I dropped in some mice, but you know how long this can take."

"I'll have Stella call," he promised.  The door opened and the cobra tried to strike but Danny moved.  "Nice move.  Lindsey, tell Stella to help you call Animal Control to make sure they know this guy has snakes.  That way they can see if he's got a will."

"Sure, Mac."  She headed out, closing the door most of the way again.  That way the opening couldn't spook one of them.

Sheldon peeked in.  "Wow.  She's a beauty."

"He is," Danny agreed with a grin for him.  The cobra hissed and he hissed back, making it back down. "Yeah, I'm the bigger one," he assured it.  Mac stepped back and capped the last collector so he put it back into the tank and resealed it.  "We'll need some mice, Sheldon.  He only had about twelve and I gave the other snakes priority since we'd have these here.  Oh, here, cobra venom," he said, handing it over. "For whoever does the antidotes in the city."

"Thanks."  He went to put it in the fridge and make calls for both of those.  He looked out the door, seeing a sleek black cat sneaking around.  The jaunty tail waving showed it wasn't trying to avoid detection but there was something wrong about that cat.   "Who let their cat in!" he called, making the second call.  "Hey, Sid, it's Sheldon.  Do we have any mice?  No, but Lindsey caught a case with snakes and Danny had to bring some back.  He said so.  Also, he milked the cobra and I put the venom in the sample fridge in DNA.  Thanks, man."  He hung up and went to track the cat, not finding it anywhere.  He did find Danny's friend Tony hugging Stella, who was babbling at him.  He shook his head.  "Stella, Sid said he had no idea where we'd get mice."

"Pet store," Tony said dryly.  "Unless you wanna go catch rats?"

"Not really," he admitted.  "Lindsey caught a case with snakes."

"Danny must be in heaven."  He let himself be led that way, watching as the reticulated python wound its way around Danny's arm.  "You look good like that."

Danny smirked at him.  "Keep it up, DiNozzo."

"No boss?" Mac asked, swabbing for samples.  This one hissed and shook its tail but only squeezed Danny tighter.  "We're at the end of those samples whenever you guys are ready to come back."

"Nope, maybe later. Depends on how bugged he gets by the director.  Man I wish Morrow were back.  She's trying to say we can't work this case but all the COs wanted us to instead of anyone local."

"He went onto bigger and brighter," Danny said patiently.  The snake stared at him so he smirked.  "Keep it up.  I'm still bigger'n you."  Mac finished with that one so Danny put it back as well, making sure the tanks were staying closed. "Tony, help me move this one, it can tip."  They moved that one onto the floor and Stella came in with mice, handing over the box with an 'ick' face.  He dropped a few into that tank, then into the ones they'd done already.  The next one he held it up so the snake could swallow it while Mac worked.  "This is nice."

"It is, but I still had to brush Speed at work and nearly got into trouble.  Oh, the director's allergic."  He smiled angelically.

"Cool," Danny agreed.

"She was also writing an email about turning me in for child molestation."

Danny looked at him.  "You don't like 'em that young."

"Gibbs pointed that out to her, she stomped off in a renewed snit when Fornell told him. They're tracing who she was sending it to now."

"Good.  Lemme know if you need help."

"Of course."  He stroked the back of the snake gently.  "You've got pretty colors, baby."

"She does," Mac agreed.

"He," Danny said patiently.  "The only female in his collection was a cottonmouth.  It was also the only other venomous one."

"How can you tell?" Stella asked.  Danny nodded her closer and pointed at the opening.  "That's boy stuff?"

"Yeah, girls have a slit, boys have that.  That's how you tell."

"Okay, and how do *you* tell?" she asked. He draped the snake around her shoulders, then took her hand, staring at her.  Tony obscured the windows with a cough, and he changed, hanging onto her wrist, gently working his way up it with Mac's help after a minute.

"He's a beautiful black king snake, isn't he?" Tony whispered in her ear. "Shiny black, only a few touches of a grayish white near his stomach.  They're constrictors too."  She shivered and he took the snake off her neck.  "Pet him, Stella."  She moved Danny closer to her shoulder and stroked down his back.  "He's all grown up now as a snake.  As an eagle, you're a young fledgling.  As a snake he came out nearly a newborn and had to grow up."

"It's that way for all of us, which is why Don's been acting like a playful puppy all day," Mac agreed. He stroked down the back, weathering the long stare the snake gave him.  "Am I allowed?"  The snake rippled so he took it as a shrug.  "Thank you, Danny."  Sheldon walked in and stopped.  "You can come in.  He's not dangerous."

"Good.  Monroe's behind me," he mouthed.  He came over to pet that one.  "I haven't seen one of you before.  What kind are you?"

"Black king snake.  Usually found in the middle of the country.  There's also a Mexican version but this one's an American," Tony offered, continuing to stroke.  The delicate tongue flicked out and he smiled. "I know, I smell like Gibbs' boat.  I was helping him shift it to the right."  The snake crawled off Stella and onto him, getting comfortable on his shoulders.  "This one's pretty trusting."

Lindsey came in and stared.  "I don't remember that one.  It looks evil. Is it poisonous?"

"No, it's a constrictor, like a python," Tony assured her calmly.  "Come here."  She moved closer, looking at the snake.  The snake flicked his tongue at her, then put his head back down Tony's collar, sliding down to curl around his waist.  "You're very friendly today," he complained, looking down his shirt.

"I still say it looks evil," Lindsey said quietly, backing away.  Sheldon moved her away from the cobra's cage and out of the lab. "Thank you!"  She hurried off.

"She's going to have to learn to deal with that.  I did," Tony noted dryly.  He looked down his shirt again. "What?  She smell bad or something?  Get back up here."  The snake unwound itself and moved back up his chest, coming out his collar again.  "Thank you."  His phone went off.  "Fuck me.  Gotta go.  I'll send him back."  He disappeared with Danny.  Danny reappeared ten minutes later, smirking.

"Good, let's get back to this," Mac ordered, giving him a look.  "What was it?"

"She smells off, sick maybe.  I don't know why."

"Okay. I'll make sure she goes in for a physical."  He pointed at the next tank.  "Can we move on?"  Danny nodded, pulling that one out and letting it crawl up his arm while Mac found the blood drops on the white scales.  Once it was back inside he fed it two mice and moved on again.


Gibbs looked up as Tony appeared in the garage, watching as he took off his shirt. "What are you doing?"  This had to be something magical, Tony wasn't usually one to walk up to him and strip naked.

"Getting Danny off me."  He came over, handing McGee his shirt, watching as he backed away in fear.  "It's Danny."  He peeled the snake off and handed it to Gibbs.  "Get over it.  You wanted to know what he was. He had a drastic personality change."

"Snakes are very cunning," he noted quietly, petting the poor thing.  "Restrictor?"

"Constrictor," Tony corrected. "But yeah.  Black king snake."  Gibbs smirked at that.  "His new one's a bit more furry, like us."  He put the snake down and watched it move out of sight, then change.  "Thank you."

"Nah, I'm havin' fun and I needed to get the stink of Lindsey outta my nose.  Thank you, Gibbs.  Sawdust is preferable to sick."  He waved and disappeared.

Gibbs looked at him.  "That I would not have guessed."

"Me either until it happened."  He shrugged. "What's up, boss?"

"Someone tried to break into Abby's place."

"Meet you there."  He disappeared with a small pop of displaced air.

"Can you do that with others?" he asked McGee, getting into the truck to drive.

"Not me, boss.  Alex has a camp moving spell that he can move anything within a certain radius, including dragons, with, but I don't know it.  Also, with apparating, what Tony did," he clarified at the odd look, "you have to know where you're going.  That's why we set up standard spots that won't change."

"Good to know.  No wonder he took a long look around my basement after helping me move the boat."  He backed out and sped off, his normal speed.


Stella woke up to feel something moving across her stomach and shrieked, waking up Mac and Don.  Mac woke up first and snapped on the lights, looking around.  Then he checked for Danny.  He was still asleep.  He carefully picked up the small snake and looked at it.  "How did you get in here?"

Don nudged Danny.  "Are you bearing baby snakes?" he demanded.

Danny gave him a 'we are not amused' look.  But he did sit up and look at the snake.  "She belongs to the people upstairs."  He took the snake and looked at it.  "Escaping again?"  The snake flicked its tongue at him.  "I know, sometimes the fish tank is boring.  You need more challenges. You're a big snake and she's still got baby snake stuff."  He got out of the bed, looking at himself.  "Someone put my sweats on me?"  Mac flicked his wand and muttered something then laid back down.  "Good thing you didn't get into Mrs. Davis's place.  She's got pet gerbils."  He walked the snake off, taking it upstairs.  He tapped gently, frowning at the young girl who answered it.  He held up the snake.  "She ended up on my bed with my girl."

"Oops," she said, taking the snake back properly. "I'm so sorry."

"It's okay.  Maybe you should add more stuff to her tank, give her some new challenges."  She smiled and nodded. "Oh, Mrs. Davis has gerbils."

"I'll keep a better eye on him."

"Her," Danny said.  Nodding when she gave him an odd look.  "One of my college teachers had a lot of snakes.  He gently turned her over and pointed.  "That makes her a girl."

"Ooh.  Okay.  Thank you."  She smiled.  "We're really sorry."

"Not a problem.  There's a great catalog online he recommended to anyone who had any thoughts.  I can get you a copy if you want."

"Please."  She smiled.  "Have a nice night."

"You too."  He headed back down the stairs.  He had to knock to get back into the apartment but Don was still awake.  He walked in and shut the door, then he took Don's wand and sent a copy of the catalog he had picked up earlier to their mailbox.  Then he went back to bed, stripping off the sweat pants so he could get comfortable.

Don looked at him.  "Can you teach me how to change?"

Danny lifted an arm so Don curled up behind him.  "The spell is simple.  You can think it," he ordered quietly.  "Stella can't change until Mac's got her in a good spot.  The bed could hurt her claws."  He patted the hand.  "Simple word.  Animi."


"Now, think it and concentrate on your animal.  Picture yourself as it.  Make sure your mind and heart knows it's you, that you're that animal as well as your human self. Believe in it."  Don nodded against his neck and Danny felt him relax.  "Now, breathe out as you think the change.  Think it again and picture yourself as human, want to be human again, to come back," he instructed.  "After the first few times it becomes instinctive."  He felt a tongue lap him and grinned, looking back.  "Feel better?"  The dog lapped him and bounded over to lap Mac and Stella.

"You're brushing your teeth in that form too!" Stella complained, shoving the puppy off her.  "Flack!"  He sat down and barked, his tail going like a whip behind him, seeming to grin.

"He's a puppy, Stella.  Be thankful we don't have to paper train him."  He looked at Don, then at the clock.  Don came back and scratched behind his ear.  "Fleas already?" he joked.

"Not funny.  Do I have to take flea medicine, Danny?"

"Only if you get exposed.  Then you can use flea shampoo."

"Okay."  He flopped forward, landing between Danny and Mac.  "I'm a cute puppy."

"You are," Mac agreed, petting his hair.  "Go to sleep, Don."  He got a kiss and smiled. "Thank you.  Remember, you've got to work tomorrow."

"Plus we're going over that changing spell," Danny reminded him.   Don nodded and snuggled in, wiggling under the blankets. "Are you sure you're not the snake?"

"Quite.  I'm a cute puppy.  There are calendars with my sort of puppy on them because we're so adorable."

"You are but if you keep me up, I'm going to have renewed PMS on you tomorrow, Flack," Stella warned.  He wiggled over Mac and hugged her.  "Thank you."  She drifted back off, snoring in his ear.

Danny and Mac shared a look when Flack started to snore as well, then Danny flipped over.  Mac moved up behind him.  "Can I put an arm around you?"

"I'm not a big one for touching."

"I know.  I don't know why, but I realize that."  He moved closer, putting one arm around his waist.  "Tell me if I get annoying.  I sleep better when I'm touching the person I'm in bed with."

"That's fine."  He waited until Mac drifted off, then changed and got free, dropping onto the floor and changing back.  He found a spot and crawled back in, behind Mac and between the cuddlesome ones.  Mac flipped over eventually, looking for warmth.  Danny sighed and changed down to a snake, then got out of the way when Mac went searching for more warmth.  He found Don's back and sighed in pleasure.  Danny went back to his staring at the other wall.  It made him happier not to cuddle. They would eventually learn it and he wouldn't have to resort to switching sides of the bed and staying awake so long.  He let himself drift off, relaxing again.

Mac woke up a half hour later, then flipped over and cuddled Danny's back again, this time not putting the arm over him.  Danny sighed and snuggled back into his warmth.  Mac smiled and left it there, sneaking one leg between Danny's.  He rested a hand on his hip.  Danny shifted away so he moved the hand.  He relaxed again. "Okay, we'll play by your rules," he agreed quietly.  "I'll try not to touch during sleep."  He nuzzled the back of his neck and let himself drift off again.  Instead of holding him, he held onto the edge of the pillow.  It was enough, he had good contact with Danny.


Danny woke up with a sigh of pleasure and stretched, then looked at the clock. "Fuck!"  He hopped up.  "Mac, we're late!"

"Shut up, Danny."

"Mac!"  He shook him.  "It's ten!"

"Danny!  It's our day off!"

"Not mine!"  He hurried toward the bathroom.

Stella sighed and shook her head.  "We should probably tell him that today's the day they're cleaning the air ducts so we can't be in there."

"Danny, they're cleaning the ducts," Don yelled.  "Get back here!"  Danny opened the bathroom door, looking confused.  "We're all off today.  They're doing the air duct thing.  Remember?"


"Lindsey and Sheldon were supposed to tell you," Mac moaned, covering his eyes.  "You were still on a call when we had the meeting.  They're scrubbing the air ducts for soot and things due to all the respiratory infections."  He looked at Danny.  "Come back to bed.  We'll teach Stella how to change later."  Danny turned off the shower and came out.  He got back into the bed. "Thank you."

"Next time make sure I get the memo, okay?"

"Sure.  Sorry," Stella yawned.  "Go back to sleep, Danny.  It's damn early.  Next week we have to cover for the two stations that get their day off."  She snuggled back into Mac's chest.  "Cuddle or else."

"I don't cuddle."

She growled and grabbed Danny's wrist, then yanked until he curled up on Mac's chest.  "There, I feel better now."  She sighed and closed her eyes again.

Danny and Mac shared a look.  "Technically, you only react when you're touched with a hand," Mac offered quietly.  "My leg didn't bother you and neither did me being against your back. Try sleeping on me and see if it works.  It'll make her and Don happier."

Danny snorted but stayed there until they all started to snore, then he moved gently away, heading for the library to get back to his research.  Don came in twenty minutes later and hauled him up and back to the bed, pushing him down and climbing in to sandwich him between his body and Mac's.  He thought about changing but Don's arm tightened around him.  "I won't leave again," he promised.

"Good."  He put his head on Danny's shoulder, one arm slung low over his stomach.  "If I ever find out who made it so you can't cuddle I'm kicking their ass."

"Some people don't cuddle, Don, it's not always trauma."

"In your case it is. You flinch from contact when you don't expect it.  I'm going to kick someone's ass.  Let me know who when I wake up."  He kissed Danny's throat and let himself go again.

Danny rolled his eyes, shaking his head.  "Why me?"

"Because we love you, dumbass," Stella reminded him. "Shut up and go back to sleep."  He snorted but did quiet down so she could sleep.

Mac smiled at him.  "Sometimes it's easier to humor her than to put up with the bad mood. I learned that our first year together."

"Maybe, but I still hate being held."

Mac winked and checked them.  "Change and come over."  Danny did that, watching as they gravitated toward each other.  Danny changed back and climbed over Mac's body.  "Now, curl back to front against me."  Danny did that.  "Good, now relax.  This didn't bother you while you were asleep."

"You tested it?"

"Yup.  It's a bad hobby," he joked. Danny elbowed him.  "It is.  I could do anything but wrap an arm around your waist," he offered, doing that.  Danny tensed.  "So I didn't."  He let him go and snuggled down further, one leg going back between his thighs, arm now around his hips.  Danny didn't tense. "See?"  He got comfortable, switching the pillow down.  "Only problem with this is Stella rolling over and smothering me in her chest."  Danny snorted and shook his head, but he was still relaxed.  "Sleep, Danny.  We'll teach her how to fly later."  Danny nodded and let himself drift off again.  "Good boy."  Danny succumbed and he smiled, moving back up slightly. It was only around his waist, chest, or shoulders that Danny reacted to a touch.  So someday he'd cover up for Don beating someone's ass.


Gibbs looked up as Tony appeared the next morning, looking him over. "You a princess suddenly?"

"The ever-grow won't quit," he complained.  "I can't reapply the charm either."  He sat down and flicked his wand at his hair, then put on his NCIS hat.  "Better?"  He growled as he got to work.

"Ooh, did someone get into hair tonic?" McGee teased from his desk.

"No, some of the students we tutor now and then were working on some ever-grow and it got into my hair thanks to Danny.  His quit and mine hasn't."

"He probably got less on him.  Have you tried a neutralizer?"

"Someone makes one?"

McGee looked at him.  "Now I know why I didn't go to New York.  Apparently their potions and defense people sucked, Tony.  Of course there is."

Tony dialed a long distance number.  "Emilia, can you please beg and whine at Greggy until he makes me a neutralizer for some ever-grow that got into my hair?  Because I can't reapply the charm for a day after it failed.  I look like a princess.  I can't work like this. Please?" he begged.  "Thank you, Emilia. I love you.  No, I can't bear Greg's next brilliant child for you two.  Speed told me I had to give one to Gibbs first."  Gibbs choked at that, wheezing so hard McGee had to get up and help him.  "Thank you, Emilia."  He hung up.  "He did, boss.  He really did."

Stan walked in and looked at the boss, then at Tony.  "I'd duck a lot later and walk behind him."  He walked over and tipped Gibbs' face up. "Your girlfriend was signing in right behind me."  He caught his breath and nodded, swallowing.  "Want me to smack him for you?"

"No, I want that pleasure."  He got up and hit Tony hard.  "Won't happen, can't happen."

"Actually, some girl did figure it out for the Weasley twins," he noted dryly.  "Offered it to their wife."

Gibbs moaned, heading to the elevator to see what his girlfriend wanted.  She came off crying. "What's wrong?" he asked, leading her to the windows.  "Shh, it's all right.  What's wrong, Amanda?"

"They're going close my museum," she sobbed.  "They want to put a *Wal-Mart* there!" she wailed, clutching his chest.

Tony got up and walked over some tissues.  "Can't they move the museum?"  She sniffled and shook her head.  "Why not?  It's a museum."

"We don't get enough visitors according to them," she sniffled, looking pitiful.  "They sold the whole collection to the Smithsonian last night.  They told us this morning."  She burst into new tears and Jethro cradled her gently against his chest, patting her on the back.

"I'll put on some coffee, boss," Tony said quietly, heading to do that.

He kissed her on the forehead.  "It'll be okay, Amanda.  I'm sure you can find another spot.  It'll be all right."  She shook her head.  "No?"

"No," she said, looking at him.  "My boss won't write my internship up for anyone, she's being vindictive.  She thinks I was hitting on her man and she knows I have you."

"Did she want me too?" he asked dryly.  She nodded, burying her face again.  "I'll straighten her out and you can have the assistant curator write one," he soothed, getting her calmed down.  "I'm sure there's a lot of spots open."  She shook her head. "Not even at the Smithsonian? They've always got new stuff coming in."

"No.  They won't have more interns coming in until this fall.  The only interviews I've seen open are in New York and upstate New York at a small place."  She pulled back to look at him.  "Winchester is looking for one for their museum collection but I don't want to leave."

He wiped her cheeks off. "You do whatever you have to do," he said softly, staring into her eyes.  "If that means you move, you move.  We'll stay in contact and if nothing further happens we'll still be friends and talk all the time.  Just like you and Ducky are."  She nodded, giving him a hopeful look.  "Go for the Winchester job.  It's right up your alley."

Tony came back with two cups.  "I heard somewhere that the Arlington Memorial Museum is looking for someone but I'm not sure in what capacity," he offered.  "I've also heard that there's a new exhibit in Vegas about weapons.  Some rich guy who croaked and left it all to his idiot brother, who has not a clue so he's letting someone show it off for him."  She nodded at that.  "I know they're going through the Rampart, but I'm not sure you should work for them.  I heard the owner's kinda sleazy."  She nodded, accepting that and the cup of coffee.  "We'll gladly write you a personal reference for wherever you end up."  She smiled weakly.  "Now, take the boss and make him calm down.  Someone suggested I give him babies and it made him choke."  She chuckled.  "Good girl, Amanda.  Take him outside to talk. That way the nasty spies we've got around here can't try anything against you."  She nodded, taking him and their coffee back to the park beside the office.  "That sucks.  To pull down a museum because it's not getting a lot of visitors to put up a Wal- Mart?"

"Wal-Marts, even being evil, do create jobs," Stan reminded him, giving him a look.  "Even though it's wrong on so many levels, they were probably looking out for the tax base and what was good for the town in general."

"Still sucks."

"It does," she agreed.  She got up and came over to take off his hat.  "You know better."  He pointed at his hair.  She snorted and turned him around, fingercombing it then braiding it.  She found a hairtie in her drawer and sealed the braid, then handed him back his hat.  "No hats indoors and around ladies."  Then she got back to work, making him smile and head back to his desk.  "When will it stop?"

"Hopefully soon.  It's been a few days."  A note appeared on his desk so he read it.  "Damn it.  No neutralizing solution, Probie.  He checked, they got it wrong."

"Oops. I know there's one for the regular stuff."  He shrugged and got back to work.  "Think you should run home and get the cat so she can be comforted?"

"I'm sure the boss is very good at it, McGee," Stan said dryly.  "He had it well in hand."  Ziva came off the elevator looking confused.  "What?"

"Who was she?  The woman with Gibbs I mean, who was she?"

"His girlfriend Amanda," Tony said, giving her a dry, bland look.  "They're closing her museum to put up a Wal-Mart."  She grimaced at that.  "She came in crying so he's calming her down."

"Poor thing," she said, sitting down and turning on her computer.  "Can she find another spot around here?"

"Nope," Tony said grimly.  "Not until this fall.  But she does have a good hand with weapons and there's a few spots open, including Winchester's museum collection.  She's still studying and she can do her Ph.D. near them.  Or I suggested an opening I heard about in Vegas, even though the casino owner is a bit slimy from what I've heard."  He looked over as the director stormed down, holding up a form.  "Gibbs is outside at the moment.  That's the manpower statement from our last case and travel vouchers, which he had me do."  She snatched them, glaring at him.  "His girlfriend came in crying."


"Her museum is being shut down to put up a Wal-Mart."  Even she looked disgusted by that.  "So he's getting her calmed down.  I'm sure he'll be back within the hour if you needed something or I can text him a message."

"No, I needed these."  She stomped off again.

He sneered at her back, making her shirt unbutton itself as she moved.  She looked down at the first blush and blushed herself, doing it back up as she hurried into her office.  Tony smirked at McGee.  "I'm having a fun moment.  You?"

"I am too," he admitted.  "So, how are you going to get it trimmed this time?  Same style, more messy like Speed's?  Tangly like Danny's?"

"I like my style but I'll see what my hairdresser has to say."

"You go to a hairdresser?" Ziva asked, looking confused.  "I thought women did that and men went to barbers."

"Men can go to barbers or stylists.  I prefer going to see my stylist, who likes how I dress and understands my needs."

"An ex?" she asked.

"No, a former officer who got shot on the job and knows what it's like to be chasing someone down ten blocks while in body armor."  She gave him a contrite look.  "She does a lot of cop's and fed's hair.  Maybe you should be introduced?"

"I like my barber."

McGee coughed. "Can I get her name?"  Tony nodded, finding a card and throwing it at him.  McGee had to get up to get it but he smiled.  "Thanks, I could use a change when I need a trim this time."  He sat back down, looking at Stan, who was smirking just a bit.  "You need it too?"

"No, I know her.  She trimmed mine before I came back the last time."  She flipped her hair back over her shoulder.  "Tony, dear, you know that piece of shrapnel I've got?  It feels like it's trying to move."

He got up and came over to look, nodding a bit.  "I should probably seal it back in," he offered quietly.

"Shouldn't she have it removed?" Ziva asked from behind her.

"Not in this case," Stan told her.  "It should stay in.  It's keeping a nerve firing right."

"Oh.  I didn't know that could happen."

"It can," Tony agreed.  "Come on, I'll do it in the locker room. It should be empty."  She nodded, getting up to follow him, only letting him stop to get his wand.

Ziva looked at McGee.  "Shouldn't he be calling Ducky for that?"

"Not in this case.  Tony's got some massage way of keeping it in place and helping it reseal."  He got back to work.  "He'll expect that last report when he walks in."  She sat down and got to work as well.  Gibbs came back, not looking happy.  "Boss, Standa's shrapnel injury is starting to move so she asked Tony to look at it."


"That piece of silver in her shoulder, boss?" he prompted.

"Oh, that.  Where are they?"

"Locker room of the gym.  More private in case she had to get down to her bra."

"Thank you, McGee.  Report?"

"Almost done. I'm spell checking it right now, boss."

"Good.  Officer David?"

"Working on my conclusion page," she admitted.  "I was a bit late thanks to the bus blowing a tire."

"I heard."  He headed back to the elevator.

"Um, boss, the director showed up for the manpower and travel statements.  Tony gave them to her, but she didn't look pleased," McGee called.

Gibbs came back.  "When was this?"

"About two minutes after you took her outside," he said quietly when Gibbs came closer.  "She looked pissed," he offered.  "Seriously pissed.  Tony told her about the Wal-Mart thing and she looked pissed at that as well.  All he said was that you were calming her down about it."

"Thank you, McGee."  He walked off again, going to hit the button since it had apparently come and gone.  He made it down to the gym, finding Tony sealing the injury under Ducky's careful watch.  "It going okay?"

"Not quite," Tony admitted.  He shook his head.  "Hold on, Stan.  Let me yank and reimplant. You've worn out the area."  He popped the small sliver of silver out and put it in the other shoulder, making her hiss.  Then he sealed that one properly.  Danny appeared, looking sleepy and grumpy in his boxers, and came over to fix it for him.  Then he patted Stan on the head, grunted, and disappeared again.  Tony grinned. "Someone got to sleep in."  She giggled, hugging him.  "How's that feel?"

"Pretty natural, even though I do miss my tool."  She stood up.  "How much longer?"

"We've found them, we've got the paperwork, I'm waiting on an arrest warrant," Gibbs offered.  "Are you going back home?"

"I probably should."

"I can offer you a spot here, Stan."  She hugged him.  "I know, it's hard."  He got free.  "Don't have mood swings on me."

"Yes, boss."  She wiped her face off.  "Thank you, guys."  She got back into her shirt and jacket, then smiled and kissed Ducky on the cheek. "You're adorable anyway.  Even when I am a guy."  He blushed and smiled.  She walked them back upstairs. "Think she's watching?"

"Probably," Tony admitted.  "Doesn't mean she's not going to be laughed at."  He froze the cameras in the elevator then turned it off, looking at their boss. "I had to tell her Amanda was your girlfriend, boss.  Sorry but I wasn't going to weather the glare this morning."

"That's fine.  Put back on the hat.  You still look like a princess, DiNozzo."  He flipped back on the switch.  "She's also got more cameras in here."

Tony shrugged and kissed him, hard, then walked off when the doors opened.  "Oh, well."

Gibbs shook his head and looked at their 'female' team member.  "Don't do that."

"You're not my type," she assured him happily, walking back to her desk.  She looked at Tony.  "I know Amanda wanted you, cuteness, but really."

"She ordered me to and as the girlfriend of the boss, she outranks me," he said, smiling at her. "It's a small price to pay to keep him happy and well lubed for the job."  Gibbs smacked him extra hard this time.  "Sorry, boss.  She did order me to do that."

"Uh-huh.  You only obey *my* orders, Tony.  Not my girlfriend's.  She does not have equal rank on the team.  Do it again and I'm having Ducky sew every orifice of your body shut."

"Yes, boss," he agreed cheerfully.

"Do it again, I'm putting that silver thing in you, DiNozzo."

"Then I'd really have to take Speed up on his orders, boss.  That probably wouldn't be very pretty."

"No, it wouldn't, DiNozzo.  You're giving me a migraine with that mental image.  Quit or I'm sewing you shut personally."

"Yes, boss."


"I emailed it last night, boss. I'm totally free and clear of all work."  He grinned.  "Should I go over that case again?"


Tony got up to get that case file and go over things.  He still felt they were missing something but he couldn't be sure what.  It was going to drive him nuts soon if he didn't figure it out.  He read over the fact sheet on each suspect, looking at their list of postings. "Boss, why would they have been on the base in Vegas?" he asked.  "Isn't that Air Force only?"  Gibbs' head raised slowly and looked at him.  "There's another two on the list that I thought were Air Force only."  He brought the list over.  "Plus," he said, going to get another one and bring it back. "Isn't that an Army only base?"

He looked, nodding.  "They are.  Find out why they were there and how, DiNozzo. I don't want any chance of them escaping."

"Yes, boss."  He went back to his desk to look that up. No one wanted these morons to go free after all they had done.

"Boss, would it still be our case if they weren't legitimate military personnel?" Stan asked quietly.  He looked at her and shook her head.  "US Marshals?"


"Oh, good," she sighed.  "Marshals could mean it being drug out for another few years."

"Not on my watch," Gibbs assured her.  She smiled and got back to work.  His phone rang so he picked it up.  "Gibbs."  He listened, then frowned. "Why?"  He snorted and shook his head.  "Thank you, Fornell."  He hung up.  "DiNozzo, cut your hair somehow," he said quietly.

"On it, boss."  He got up and found his desk scissors, heading into the bathroom.  Once it was off and he looked semi presentable he burned the excess hair, not leaving any mess or trace of it.  He headed back to his desk, giving his boss a look. "It might hold for a few hours," he offered quietly. "More than that and I'll need to braid it again."  Gibbs nodded at that.  "Sorry, boss.  Some of my students that I tutor messed up something and that's what did it."

"I understand, DiNozzo. You explained it when the flying purple goop hit you. Get back to work."  Tony sat down and got back to work.  Gibbs timed it, it only took him thirty minutes to have to burn some of the new hair off.

"What is that smell?" Ziva demanded.

"Probably cleaning out the A/C again," Tony offered.  "The ducts gather dust and shed hair, it burns when they turn it on."  He finished with a flourish and leaned back while his search ran.  "Intake and sign-up forms, so they're real military personnel," he offered quietly. Fornell came off the elevator, earning an amused look.  "Agent Fornell."

"DiNozzo," he said grimly.  "What happened to your hair?"

"In the process of being fixed."

"I see."  He looked him over then shook his head. "I just got a call saying you were practicing medicine?"

"No.  Wasn't.  Was I, Kelly?"

"No, he was helping me with a piece of shrapnel he's helped with before," she assured him, smiling at him.  He smiled back.  He liked her.  She was just as blunt as Gibbs but at least ten times prettier - that's how he had explained it when Gibbs had asked him why he liked her.   "Ducky was there watching even."

"That's fine. Do you know what it is?"

"Silver. It's a small chunk. It doesn't bother me until it shifts."

"You could have it removed."

Gibbs got up and said something in his ear, then smirked. "No, she can't."

"Uh-huh," he said slowly, then blinked at Tony, who shrugged a bit.  "You?"

"Part of it."

"Okay.  No wonder you three are so territorial about her."  Gibbs nodded.  "That's fine.  And the reason why the Director is still on your ass?"

"No acting one was named," Gibbs said blandly.

"Ah."  He nodded more quickly this time, walking over.  He whispered in her ear, getting one back, making him shudder. "Now I understand why.  I like you better like this."

"So does my ex."

"Your ex?"  He smirked.  "Your ex makes me look like a pussy cat."

"Yeah, me too.  Oh, well, she still likes me better like this."  She grinned at him.  "Did he tell you the judge last time got very interested in where I'm hiding?"

"He did.  We checked on that, he's dirty to the same people.  Jethro."  He handed over a CD.  "Get McGee to run that since you're so pathetic with technology.  It could help."

"Does it explain why they're on bases they shouldn't be on?" Tony asked.

"Nope.  Not yet.  That's more your thing than ours," he said with an evil smirk.  Tony shrugged and got back to his searching.  He looked at Stan. "Pity."

"It's nice.  I like this but I miss myself sometimes."

"I'd have thrown fits."

"Nah, it's good," Stan assured him with an evil smirk of her own.  "I learned a lot from it."

"That's always the best salve."

"No, that's neosporin," she joked.  He snorted and went back to Gibbs' desk, watching him run the CD.  "Boss, can I help?"

"Nope.  You know that. They're targeting you."

"Point."  She strolled over anyway. "Can I stay?"

Gibbs smirked.  "If you want."

"I so want.  I remembered what my desk was like before."  Tony chuckled at that.  "I had stuff piled so high I couldn't see myself think some days."

"I remember those days," Tony agreed happily.

"We still had typewriters at some of the desks."

Tony burst out in giggles.  "No wonder!  Oh, damn, Standa.  I'm so sorry!"  He got up to give her a hug.  "I hope you can stay after that trial's over with."  She grinned and pinched him.  "Fine, I'll hug McGee."

"You'll quit hugging and find out that information, DiNozzo," Gibbs said shortly.

"Search is running, boss.  I can't make it hurry up.  Wish I could at times."  He shot him an evil glare of death and Tony just grinned. "Not my fault. It's running."  He turned his monitor around to show that it was gathering facts.  "See?"  He turned it back around to start looking over the list.  "Special projects," he read.  "Over and over again.  Special Projects."  Gibbs came over to look so he opened them in another window, highlighting that.

"Crap," he muttered, going back to his desk. "When that's done I want to know what sort of project."

"Usually I don't have that sort of clearance, boss.  Want McGee to hack?"

"If that's what it takes," he ordered.  McGee hurried over, taking down information and getting to work finding out what they had been doing.  "We're doing a full briefing and reevaluation in an hour," he ordered.

"Yes, boss," McGee assured him, hoping he could pull it off this time.  He called Abby.  "Come up and get a few of these files, see if you can trace them."  He hung up and got back to work, typing as quickly as he could.

Abby came off the elevator and smiled, waving at Fornell.  "Hi, Agent Fornell.  Back to be a pain in Gibbs' paw?"

"Unfortunately not this time. I'm helping on this smuggling case."

Tony nudged her with a CD.  "McGee, focus on Tellers.  I'm giving Abby Randt.  I'm taking the third guy."  She nodded. "Special projects."

"On it," she agreed, turning on her heel and walking back to the elevator. She waved when the doors opened.

"Abby!" Speed ordered as he appeared, catching her and pulling her back. She squealed, giving him a panicked look. He pointed at the elevator.  "It's not there."

She went pale and stared.  "Oh, shit!"  A mundane idea hit her head and she focused on that to come back to her senses.  She looked, then pointed at the CD.  "I need that."  He floated it back up.  "Thank you, Speed."

"Not an issue, Abby."  He kissed her on the forehead.  "Take the stairs and be careful."  She nodded, heading that way, still shaky.  Gibbs finished coming over to look at him; he had paused when he had seen who it was that had made Abby squeal in fear.  Speed pointed at the doors.  "No elevator."


"I don't know."

"I was talking about you," he said quietly.

"Danny has 'em," he offered quietly.  "Not often but only for those he considers close.  He was on my couch trying to sleep.  It wouldn't have broadcast."  Tony went limp, nodding at that.  "Get it fixed, Gibbs.  I don't want to have to baby Tony through a funeral."  He disappeared.

Gibbs turned, finding Tony on the phone.  "Danny?"

"Maintenance.  Danny's fine.  Shaken but fine.  Don felt it and headed."  He came off hold.  "This is DiNozzo.  Our elevator doors opened without the elevator.  Get someone to fix it.  It nearly killed Abby.  Do it now."  He hung up and stood up.  "Boss, going for a ten minute calm down break."  That got a nod.  Tony headed up to the roof to rant and scream and perform a very nice checking spell.  There were supposed to be safeguards against that sort of thing. Nothing magical.  That made him think and he jogged back down the stairs.  "Probie, MI 1.  Elevator scene.  Hack it, see if someone else has."  He got a nod and did that.  Gibbs looked at him.  "In some types of elevators they feed into a computer system to tell you if they're stuck.  They can be taken over and doors triggered remotely."

"That was only a movie, DiNozzo," Fornell sneered.

"No, it happened," McGee offered, turning his monitor around.  "Right there, boss.  Not sure who.  I can't trace it, but I'll get Abby the ID and have her do it."  That got a nod so he sent all the information to her, getting back a 'I'LL FIND THE BASTARD AND KILL THEM MYSELF WITH MY BIG, CHUNKY HEELS' in all caps.  "She's not a happy camper, boss. She's typing in all caps."

"That means she's yelling," Tony explained at Ziva's confused look.  "Netiquette.  All caps is yelling on the web."

"Oh.  All right," she agreed, shaking her head.  She got back to work. "Should I work on that other profile?"

"We can run it in the background while we're doing this," McGee assured her.

"You can do the wife," Tony ordered, IM'ing her the name.  "That's her, we have a decent background.  Get into the tiny details.  Folder's on Gibbs' desk."

"I can assign her that job myself, DiNozzo," Gibbs noted dryly.

"Boss, I'd rather have you ripping whoever tried to kill Abby a new one, so let us do this while you go chew on someone."  He looked over. "Before something else happens," he said more quietly.  Gibbs nodded at that.  Abby was priceless to everyone on the team.  Trying to hurt her made them all mad.

"Usually you'd be huffing by now," Fornell noted, stepping away from him.  "Did you take valiums or something?"

"No, he's waiting for a target," Tony told him.  "As soon as someone gives him one, they're toasted."  He smirked at him.  "Then he'll huff and puff and blow their house down."

"Princess, let's not start on the fairy tales," Gibbs shot back.  Tony burned his hair again, shaking the dead ends free.

"There it is again!" Ziva complained since she hadn't been looking.  She frowned at Tony. "You're smoking.  Is that a wig?"

"No."  He put out the smoking spot.  "Just some chemicals that hit me the other day.  That's why this all seems like the Twilight Zone."  He pulled up something and sneered, printing it and handing it to his boss with a flourish.  "Can I back you up, boss?"

"No, DiNozzo. Not yet."  He looked it over, smirking a bit.  "Later you can."  Tony grinned and went back to his desk. "Any news from New York?"

"Not yet but I'll be sure to make our travel arrangements to arrest them quickly, boss.  After all, we owe them a speedy arrest.  Maybe we'll even let Ziva drive back."

"That's mean," McGee assured him.  "That might even be covered under cruel and unusual punishment."

"Not bad enough in my book," Tony assured him, looking over.  "One of them could have done this, McGee."

"Never mind. Boss, can we get her a chopper and let her fly them back?" he asked.

Gibbs snickered, shaking his head. "No, McGee. She's not rated to fly one.  Yet."  Ziva gave him a dirty look.  "Did you go to the mandatory driving lesson?"

"Yes, did he say I didn't?"

"No, when I talked to him he was very drunk, Ziva.  What did you do?"

"He asked me what the Mossad taught as defensive driving so I showed him."

"Ah."  He nodded and looked at Fornell.  "While we're doing this, get her to her next lesson, Fornell.  Help the trainer."  He looked over as Tony patted his desk down.  "Missing something?"


McGee found it and pressed the right buttons.  "There you go."  He tossed it over.

Tony canceled his screensaver and put what he wanted back up there. "That, boss, is their special project.  They made one up and somehow got it into the system so they had access to any base they wanted."  Gibbs came over to look, making him use the remote to highlight certain areas.  "That's the paperwork filed on the project.  That's their known accomplice.  Who I'm searching as I tell you this, and that's another facet that should get them killed in prison.  The original group was kidnaping children for ransom and selling them to higher bidders who needed a baby that badly and couldn't have one. Then their last partner joined in and the focus shifted to the more lucrative weapons business."

Gibbs nodded. "Good work. Find the accomplice.  Find how many they did."

"Working on it, boss. Should be ready by the hour deadline."  He went back to work, leaving it up there. He pulled out the checking charm he had of Abby's hair, putting it right in front of him in case something else happened.  He would be killing someone if they hurt her.  Gibbs looked at him.  "They're pissing me off," he muttered, knowing his boss could read his lips.  That got a nod and Gibbs got back to work with Fornell helping him.


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