Tony opened his email and frowned at the new letter he had gotten. "When did I...." He burst out laughing and looked up. "Your plan to get others to humiliate me failed, Kate," he said quietly. Gibbs looked over at him, giving him a long, cool stare. He grinned at him. "Remember when I got to scream at her for sending in a tape for me so I could be picked to do that MTV show?"
"Yeah, the first reality show thing with the teenagers in the house. Why?" he asked calmly.
"They're planning on doing one for those of us out in the work world and I got picked thanks to her tape, boss." He sent him the email message. He leaned back in his chair. "So, can I go?" He grinned.
"It depends, can you *not* use your stuff for the next six months?" McGee countered, smirking at him. "I remember hearing when she did that. She picked a totally embarrassing tape if I remember right."
"She cut together some of the surveillance footage here at the office, Probie." He smirked at him. "Mostly me bragging about my love life." He looked at Gibbs again. "You know, it could let a lot of people know about NCIS, boss. We might even be able to quit answering who we are."
Gibbs looked at him. "There will be *no* cameras in here," he ordered firmly. "You still have to be on call the same hours." Tony just chuckled. "But McGee's also right, you'd have to be totally normal, like you pretend to be at work."
"That's one drawback," he admitted, telling Speed and Danny first. Speed started to rant over the bond about him. "Speed's not happy about this."
"I'm not happy about this," Gibbs said, typing in a message to the person who sent the email. "There, let's see if she likes the reality of the job. Because I would have to clear any and all footage." They shared a look and Tony burst out in giggles. "You want to go because it's coed."
"Of course I do, plus it's supposed to be a great experience."
"Is there a prize?" McGee asked.
"Not that I'm aware of. Then again, maybe they'll want to redecorate my place or something." He heard Gibbs' email beep and him mutter and walk off, heading upstairs. "Oooh, someone told the director," he hissed.
"Well, at least you're not *directly* in trouble," McGee said dryly. Ziva came back from the bathroom. "Tony got picked to do a Real World house for MTV," McGee said proudly.
"Kate sent it in," Tony said with a grin. "They're doing one with people who're out in the professional world."
"DiNozzo!" Gibbs yelled.
"Coming, boss." He got up and jogged up the stairs. "Yeah, boss?" He smiled at the director. "Kate sent it in."
"I heard that already. What would be the downside of this?"
"Cameras everywhere." The director moaned and smoothed his hair down. "It might also throw off my hours now and then here. Plus probably some personally compromising issues."
"I've seen your friends and your mother up here," he said grimly.
"My father died, she came up to nag, they came to support me."
"Are they local?"
"Now and then." He looked at his boss. "The email said I'm supposed to go in tonight to talk to them. You can come, boss."
"I will be coming, DiNozzo. This is a bad idea."
The director grimaced. "Actually I think it's a very good idea, Agent Gibbs. It could well lead to us getting some fresh blood in the agency and getting us a bit more well known."
"I'm sure someone would like to hear how I got the plague," Tony agreed with a shrug, making him grimace. He knew this was a bad idea, he had only been teasing Gibbs. "They'd probably love Abby." The director gave him a horrified look. "This is MTV," he noted dryly. "I'd almost rather it was a True Life segment."
"Which one's that?" Gibbs demanded.
"The ones where they do more of a personal, candid interview to show what being something or a type of person is like. Give kids some reality as they look at the people around them." He shrugged. "It's also shorter."
"I do not like this idea," Gibbs said firmly.
"You may not discourage them. This is a wonderful opportunity for Agent DiNozzo to become better known and for the agency as well, Agent Gibbs," the director said firmly. He stood up to look at him. "It is not for us to get in the way of something that could bring a new focus to the agency."
"DiNozzo will be driven nuts without his DVD collection," he said dryly. "He already dates more than all the rest of the building combined. I doubt he's going to become an actor either, sir." The director looked furious. "Tony?"
"Not since I was young." He shrugged. "That was my mother's idea really." He looked at his boss again. "If you think it's a bad idea, we'll talk with them together."
"We will," he agreed. He walked him off. "What about the *other* stuff? You can't hide your bond if you tried and you certainly can't hide other stuff."
"Boss, bigger issue. How did he know Danny and Speed came up to help me with my mother?" he asked. They shared a look and McGee got a quiet word in his ear, nodding at them that he'd look. Then he and Gibbs went to New York by portkey to talk to the people. Speed was still ranting in his head and cursing Kate's name. He got him calmed down and soothed him, then smiled at Gibbs. "Speed's not a happy camper."
"Gee, I wonder why," he said dryly. He looked at the receptionist. "He got a letter from Miss Goodwin?" Tony nodded. "Saying to show up today or tomorrow to talk to her?"
"DiNozzo, Tony." She nodded and paged her. A stunning Asian woman came out and he smiled, shaking her hand. "Hi, I'm Tony DiNozzo. This is my boss, Special Agent Gibbs."
"I got his email just now," she admitted. "Come up to my office and we'll discuss this, gentlemen." They walked off and she watched Tony. He was very...alive. Very charismatic. He would do very well on the show. She looked at her email screen, reloading it. "Hmm, your director wrote as well."
"If he's in my email, I'm suing," Tony told Gibbs.
"No, it says it came from his email but it looks to have been forwarded from Agent Gibbs' account," she admitted. "He wanted to accept for you."
"The coworker of his who sent it in wasn't exactly thinking straight," Gibbs offered. "We deal in some sensitive cases and subjects."
"Also, there's the security angle. Anyone who was near me with a camera would have to pass a background and they wouldn't be allowed total access at work," Tony told her, getting comfortable. "I deal in crime scenes."
"Which are hot."
"Yes, but this isn't a show," Tony told her. "These are real people with families." She nodded, understanding that. "Plus we've worked on classified cases in the past."
"I understand that. We'd actually be doing very little on your jobs. I'm more interested in the personal angle. How you date while working. How you form longer lasting bonds both in and outside of the work environment. See, the concept is that we use two groups. Ones already in the workforce and ones who're about to graduate."
Tony nodded. "I like that part. If I was a normal cop, I'd jump at it." She smiled at that. "Would I be expected to bring this young person to work with me? Is there another one interested in NCIS or even law enforcement?"
"We were hoping to rotate and them to pick," she admitted. "I do know the final candidate list does include someone in a criminal justice program."
"That could also lead to law school," Tony offered.
"To be honest, Tony dates more than his fair share," Gibbs said dryly. "Plus he's got a movie habit." She smiled at that and nodded. "Plus friends who pop around unexpectedly."
"Not while this was going on," Tony offered. "I'd have to have someone watching over my stuff, boss." He looked at her. "My coworker, Kate, sent it in to tease me about getting rejected."
"I can understand that. We've had others," she offered. "I also understand your concerns, and how much your boss wants it since you're a smaller agency. Let me talk with my people, see if there's a way around this?"
"If it's only going to hinge on his personal life, that's up to him," Gibbs admitted. "But be aware he's on call for me 24-7, no matter what is going on." She looked stunned. "We are always on call."
Tony nodded. "I have to ask for time off for our weekends when we're not on call, just in case," he agreed. "Because you never know when crime will happen and a team can only really work one open case at a time. Otherwise their effectiveness is almost nothing."
"I hadn't thought of that. How do you manage to date?"
Tony shrugged and gave her a sheepish grin. "It's one of the reasons why I date more than my fair share of DC's women." She laughed at that. "It is. It's incredibly hard being an agent and having a personal life."
She nodded. "As of this moment you're on my final list. Let me talk with my superiors about your concerns, Agent Gibbs. That may be too high of a risk for us." He nodded at that. "Are you often shot at?" Tony nodded. "How often?"
"Oh, bi-monthly," Tony offered dryly. He shrugged. "Depends on the case load. I've went six whole months without hearing a gunshot and then had seven cases in a row where I got shot at through the years I've been at NCIS. It would almost be better to have a normal cop do it for them. If they're going for law enforcement, they've got to hit the academy first. Plus patrol officers get more standard hours. They get more of a life." She smiled at that. "I've worked in a few different departments."
"The problem is that we didn't get any from any officers."
"Go to Miami, look at some of the officers around the crime lab," he offered. "They're mostly pretty and they might like that. You'd get good ride along footage without the security concerns and them being put onto a crime scene most likely," Gibbs offered.
Tony looked at him. "Horatio is going to yell at you."
"You know the person over the crime lab? We had to deal with him a few years back over a Spring Break death."
Tony nodded and grinned. "I know most of his lab. I'm best friends with one of the guys in there and friends with most of the rest. The same as I know quite a few up here in Taylor's lab. Now there's a good one. Sheldon Hawkes. Former ME turned CSI. He's handsome, could do the work, he's smart. He likes teenagers and can mentor them because he does it on the side. He could present a much wider view and do both law enforcement or medical students."
She nodded, smiling at that. "I like that idea," she admitted, taking down his name. "Anyone in Miami?"
"Calleigh's wonderful and single. She might. I know Eric's in a relationship he might not want broadcast. You can ask." She nodded, taking down their names too. "I seriously wish I could help you, Miss Goodwin," Tony offered. "It's just that I'd never be there for the kids and you'd have a lot of hoops to jump through. I wouldn't mind mentoring if you needed me to as an outside source. Because some of those kids just graduating usually need a swift kick in the ass. I did."
She nodded. "I'm thinking about that as well." She smiled. "Thank you, Mr. DiNozzo. I'll let you know what my superiors say about the security and other issues you've brought up and let them know you've done a good bit of pimping others for me." He nodded and smiled, shaking her hand. "It was a pleasure meeting you as well, Special Agent Gibbs." She shook his hand and he left too. She leaned back, putting her boss on speaker phone. "It's Goodwin."
"What''s going on?" he asked.
"Well, I talked with one of my final candidates and he brought up some issues. He's a Special Agent at NCIS."
"A federal investigative agency. We'd have to jump through security hoops and he mostly does crime scene stuff."
"That's hot at the moment."
"Yes, but we wouldn't be allowed to tape any of it," she told him. "The tape told me they're military cops, Sean." She picked up her water to sip. "We'd have to pass background checks for everyone on the crew and all the people in the house."
"Which is a lot of work."
"The problem is, he's perfect. He's been in a few departments before this, his words, and he's sweet and charismatic. He did offer some alternatives. A few very interesting ones actually." She looked at the list. "It would be easier if we went with one of them."
"Did they send in tapes?"
"Not that I'm aware of. One's an ME locally who turned into a CSI somehow. He suggested two CSI down in Miami. His boss and he both suggested we should probably got for a normal officer instead of a higher up because that's a higher position and the kid will have to go to the academy first. That would give them the more grunt's eye view as I took it. His boss suggested we look in Miami and Tony looked at him and said Horatio was going to scream at him."
"Interesting. They've worked with Caine?"
"They have apparently. Tony's got friends down there and in Taylor's lab up here."
"Think he could get my parking tickets fixed?"
"Probably not." She smirked at his disgruntled sigh. "Can I have permission to go talk to the local guy? See if he'd be better?"
"Go ahead. He sounds like he's got an interesting story. He might be a good choice."
"Thank you, Sean." She hung up and looked up the number for the crime lab online, finding his name in the PD directory. She called it and got a receptionist. "Hi, this is Ms. Goodwin at MTV. I wanted to set up a time I could talk to CSI Sheldon Hawkes. Is he around?" She got connected to someone else. "Who am I speaking with?" She smiled. "That's wonderful, Detective Taylor. I'm Ms. Goodwin at MTV. We're doing a series on mentoring young college students getting ready to graduate and your CSI Sheldon Hawkes was referred by one of our other choices since he thought he might not be such a good fit with his higher security job. Is there a way I could set up a time to come in and interview him?" She smiled and jotted that down. "That's fine. Thank you, Detective Taylor. No, it was said he used to be an ME and now he was a CSI. That he probably had a more interesting story. That he didn't work the atrocious hours this other person did. There was also less of a security clearance needed to deal with him. Of course, just to talk to him about it, see if he's interested. The person did note that he mentors now and then." She smiled. "Thank you, Detective. You have a nice day and I'll be there later this afternoon." She hung up and made a note in her book, then went to google his name. His picture was promising....
Mac hung up and looked around then called Gibbs the normal way. "Was it you, McGee, or Tony?" he asked. "She said a security clearance and long hours, Gibbs. That only fits a few people I know and one of them is the most likely." He listened to the story about how Kate had sent in the tape when Gibbs handed Tony the phone. "You recommended Sheldon?" He heard the reasons. It was actually something Sheldon might like. Then he heard how Gibbs had suggestion they go down to Horatio's domain. "He's going to scream at him. I'm going to be far away when Horatio screams at Gibbs." He hung up and called Sheldon. "Press everything before you come in today," he said quietly. "You've got an interview this afternoon with someone from MTV. I don't know. Tony recommended you. Because they wanted him, Sheldon. Can you imagine Tony on MTV?" He smirked at the assertion he could. "She'll be in today. I told her when your shift started. Please." He hung up and took some tylenol, smiling when Danny brought him a new cup of coffee. "Thank you."
"Welcome. It really was all Kate's fault, boss."
"I'm swearing at her mentally, Danny."
"Well, maybe Doc'll pick up some hot chicks and find someone nice." He walked out smiling at that. Sheldon didn't date enough.
Mac sipped his coffee, thinking how he wanted to watch Danny tell him that but to stay far, far out of range when it happened. Maybe he'd practice his scrying.
Speed stomped into the office, glaring at Horatio. "Someone picked Tony to do a reality tv thing for MTV."
Horatio shuddered. He hated working with the MTV staff during spring break. "Why?"
"Something about Kate sending in a tape for him. Mentoring college students. They're trying to talk him out of it."
"I thought Tony had more sense."
"His director likes the idea. He and Gibbs are going to try to talk them out of using him."
"That might be for the best. His hours would drive them insane and we'd have to confiscate some things from his house. Like his wand." Speed shuddered at that thought. "Let me know?"
"Sure. Just make him stop thinking about it?"
"I will." Horatio gave him a pat on the shoulder. "Go grab your gear. You've got first case today." Speed nodded, walking off to do that. He sent his own thoughts at Tony, getting put in the 'waiting until I'm able to hear them' bin he had set up somehow in his head. He got down to work, not liking this idea at all. Even if it would help those kids and millions of others who needed a dose of reality in their lives.
Tony flopped down behind his desk, covering his eyes. "Boss, I'm sure Kate is very sorry and embarrassed wherever she may be at the moment."
"She could be," he agreed. He hoped so. "We'll see how it works out." The director came over to them. "We gave them a realistic view of the problems they'd have, sir."
"I wanted you to encourage them," he said firmly.
Tony looked at him. "They still wouldn't be allowed to tape at scenes. They still would have to all pass a background and security clearance check, including the crew and anyone there. They'd never see me because I'm here all the time."
"We can arrange things."
"With some cases, I haven't made it home three, four days in a row, Director. What are they going to do, wonder where I am? Half the stuff we do can't be televised. I did offer to mentor as an outside resources. I offered a few wonderful alternatives who can also talk up their program or who would call me to talk up the program if the kid sounded interested. No one wants to see an agency that's understaffed and who are mostly workaholics."
"I wouldn't watch it," Ziva agreed dryly, looking at the new director. "Besides, who wants to see Tony's life? He watches too many movies to do much of anything."
"Plus he'd encourage them to date random thousands of women a year," McGee offered.
"Not even I'm that good, McGee," Tony said, glaring at him. He looked at the director. "We gave her an honest view of what problems she would run into so they could see if they're still interested."
"If you don't get it, you won't be here," he said firmly.
Tony stood up. "I was only on the final list, Director. They still had to narrow it down to eight or ten out of twenty." That got a harsh look. "If that's the way you want it, I have money and I could be at home with a girl and a movie at the moment. Then again, you'd have to replace me."
"No he won't. You're not being fired for not accepting a burden like that," Gibbs said firmly. "Because it would be, DiNozzo. On all of us." He glared at his boss, who huffed off. "He just wants camera time."
"Probably true," Tony sighed, sitting down again. He rubbed his face. "I'm really sorry if he fires me for such a stupid reason, boss. Let me know if I can come back."
"I will. Get back to work."
"McGee, did we get anything new?"
"No. I did hear that the one issue got switched back under duress and he was sent for psychological profiling to see if we should take advantage of that gift."
"Someone will want to," Tony agreed dryly. He pulled up his computer and found a message from Sheldon. "Someone's not happy I suggested him."
"Yeah, and he actually used the word 'damn' so he's a bit pissed, boss."
"He can't get down here without us knowing."
"True. Thankfully. I still think he'd be perfect." He searched the rest. "Why did I get an email from Monroe?" He opened it and read it, then moaned and called Mac over the wider bond, reading it to him. He had to know this was going on. He heard Danny swear and Stella and Don keep him from going after her. He forwarded it to Mac, as ordered and looked at his boss since he was being stared at. "She wanted help with a personal matter that was destroying her unit, her words."
"Her personality?" Gibbs suggested.
"No, the relationship," he said quietly. Gibbs shuddered. "Don stopped Danny. He's a bit of a hothead."
"Good. Very good. Send him to Speed?"
"Speed'll help," he offered dryly. Ryan came off the elevator and he looked at him. "Damn, long flight?" he teased.
"Speed and Horatio. We've got a serious issue and we're not sure from what but we'd like your help." He looked at Gibbs. "We think someone's trying to destroy the lab. We got subpoenaed onto a case we didn't handle. We have no idea and we can't get the files at all. Can you guys search?" Tony nodded and took the stuff to search for him, handing over the federal file on it. Ryan looked through it and groaned. "Thank you. Why did this go to non-felony?"
"Looks like the investigating agent didn't want to work with you guys." He shrugged. "Don't know why really," he noted dryly. "Oh, tell Horatio MTV's looking to do a new Real World series that has college students and mentors. They might come looking at the officers to do that. Gibbs suggested it, not me."
"Sure. Is that why Speed came in ranting?"
"Yup. Kate sent in a tape of me," Tony said dryly. "Oh, ask him if he's got any openings. My director thinks he's going to fire me if I don't get it and take it."
"Sure," he said dryly. "You could sue for that I'm sure." He walked off, taking the portkey back to the hidden area Speed had set it for. He glanced around then headed back into the station, handing Horatio the file. "He said...."
"I heard from Speed. I'll get Jethro later, Ryan. Thank you."
"Welcome. That's what Tony found, Horatio. I hope it helps." He walked off, still concerned. Something about this warrant situation was not right.
Mac looked up when Lindsey finally came in, looking her over. "Close the door." She looked a bit scared but did that. "Thank you." He let out a mental sigh. "Lindsey, I've heard you have problems with some people around the office. The proper procedure is to come to myself or Stella when you have those. Not go around talking to the patrol officers or anyone else."
"You did, Lindsey. Stella overheard you last night." Her face fell. "Now, what exactly is your problem?"
"It's unnatural!" she complained.
"There being a trio in this building! It's not right!" She glared at him. "Especially since it's the boss, one of his employees, and another detective."
Mac raised an eyebrow. "We do keep it out of the office, Lindsey, and it has never harmed anything work related," he noted calmly.
"I heard how you kept it out of the office, Mac."
"That was a momentary aberration and I've since chastised them for it. They were looking out for me." She made a scoffing sound. "At that time I hadn't slept in three days due to a case if you want me to be perfectly honestly, Lindsey. They helped me so I got some sleep." She gave him a horrified look. "Again, not like you think. Don gives incredible neck massages." He watched her face turn puce. It wasn't a good color on her. "Now," he said quietly. "What I do in my off hours is none of your business unless I include you. The same as what the others do off duty is nothing to concern you unless it's illegal, at which time you're to come tell me immediately, or they ask you to take part in it." Sheldon walked up and knocked. "Give me a few."
"I would but there's a fussing cult member here for Don," he called.
Mac stood up. "Lindsey, what I do in my private hours has nothing to do with my job. I'm sorry if my relationship upsets you. I'll let you work with Sheldon and Stella more often if you would prefer." He walked off, going to stop this new cult member. It was one he didn't know. He sent a mental snapshot of him to Don, getting back that he was from Florida, down in Orlando. "What seems to be the problem?" he asked, staring at him. The man's eyes widened. "Yes?"
"The Father, where is he?" he demanded.
"On a scene with Stella and Danny." The man nodded at that, smirking some. "Is there something I can help you with? I'm Detective Taylor."
"His second. You will do." He handed him a folder. "The one we were supposed to tell is blocked to us by an officious man."
Mac looked at the file then at him. "I'll get it to Horatio myself. Would you consent to being interviewed by him?"
"I would. I want that one gone and most of his crimes are in Dade county." Mac nodded, waving a hand. "Thank you for this kindness. The other one did not understand."
"Sheldon's not very comfortable with your faith," he offered quietly, walking him back to his office. "Lindsey, this is a member of Don's group," he said in greeting. He sat behind his desk, calling Horatio. "It's Mac. One of the cult members down there was blocked from giving you information on crimes in your county. He's here right now, I've got the folder. Please. Eric would be fine, Horatio. Thank you." He hung up. "He'll send his person up here." The man pulled the handle of his wand and Mac nodded so he pushed it back up his sleeve. "Eric's already fairly local so it won't be too long before he's here. Please sit. Lindsey?" She walked off in a huff. "I'm sorry about the earlier problems."
"She is but a woman and that one Sheldon doesn't understand. I've heard the Protector tries to explain it but he is a man of science, not of faith."
Mac nodded. "That he is. Sheldon, interview," he called to remind him, getting a hand wave. He smiled at him. "He's been suggested to mentor some people on a new reality show about college students getting ready to graduate."
"Congratulate him for me, secondary protector. It is a wise man who can mentor others well." He stood up when Eric walked in, staring at him. "I have seen you. You came with the renewed one when we had the problem member."
"I did," Eric agreed. "Let's talk about what the current problem is." Mac handed over the file. "Thank you." He sat down with him, letting Mac give them the office alone so they could talk. "You have proof of this?"
"We have it on tape in two cases and we have one of the children in custody away from the disgusting beings who were selling her," he offered quietly. "She has been tended and is healing among our girl children."
"That's good, I can accept that. We'll need to get her medical records and statements from her."
"Of course. I would have come more directly but I was blocked by an officious toad. He nearly became one for life."
Eric looked at him. "Was his name Stetler?" The man nodded. "Don't feel bad, I turned him into a fish once." That got a small smile. "He is a toad. If he keeps bugging Horatio, I'll set him up a very nice tank." That got a brighter smile. "We protect the boss since he protects us." He got back to work over the evidence, nodding. "I'll bring this to Horatio if you'll bring the child and those records to us," he assured him.
"I will do so this afternoon." That got a smile and Eric shook his hand. "As I am one with the skills, where can I apparate home?"
"We usually use the bathroom around here," Sheldon offered from the doorway. "I'm sorry I didn't understand."
"That is fine. Many outside our faith don't understand such matters. Even the Father now and then has to appear fallible since he hasn't fully ascended yet." He smiled at him. "Do not worry, we know not all are enlightened."
"Thank you. This way, we can make sure you've got a clear area to apparate from," he offered quietly. "Eric?"
"I've got a portkey home." He helped the older man up and smiled at him. "When should I tell Horatio you'll be there?"
"I can probably be there by three. The girl children are separated from us so they're not shown the miserableness for how they were born." That got a nod and they walked out, heading with Sheldon to the bathroom, where they both disappeared once everyone was gone.
Eric walked into the station and ran into his nemesis. "You kept someone from reporting child molestation and homicide charges to Horatio. Do you realize this?" He pushed the button and let the scanner read his pass, seeing the unamused look. He waved the folder. "They have proof and you kept us from investigating." He got on and headed up to the lab, finding Speed but no one else. "Everyone else out?"
"At the moment, why?"
"Tell Horatio the cult member has proof of child selling, possibly abduction, child molestation, and homicide on some women here in the county and some just outside. He'll be here with the child and her medical records about three. Also tell him Stetler blocked him from telling us directly."
Speed passed that on and winced. "He's mentally swearing but he said he'll be here. Anything conclusive just from that?" Eric handed over the file, letting him flip through the pictures. "That's enough for me to arrest him on but we'll need an airtight case." He handed it back. "That way he pleads for his life instead of death without talking about the cult." Eric smirked and nodded. "It go okay?"
"It went fine. He called Stetler a toad. I said I was more than willing to set up a nice tank for him and told him he became a fish once." Speed snickered and nodded, glancing out in the hall before getting back to work. Eric put that file aside and grabbed his labcoat and some gloves, coming over to help since he wasn't on an open case until that one came in. Stetler stormed in a few minutes later. "What do you want now?"
"Where did that evidence come from?"
"A male-only cult that was weeding out bad members," Speed said patiently. "We've gotten a few others of them. They're very nice folk, but they think an NYPD officer we know is their Father and Patron Saint." He shrugged and didn't even bother to look up. "He told them to send all the bad members to the local police departments so they could be arrested."
"Are there other children?" he demanded.
"It's one person out of the whole group," Eric said impatiently, glaring at him. "That's why they turned him over. They've been tracking him because they came to us with their concerns about him before. Horatio told them what to get and to bring it back to us. They did until you tried to block them. Since there's a copy of the payment to the child's parents in there, they found her when he hurt her and took her in. They got her medical attention and put her with the other girl children, which he said are kept away from the rest of them so they don't know how being born female made them inferior." Stetler gaped in horror. "They're bringing her in today and if you get in his way this time, I'll set you up a very nice tank." The man turned and huffed off. Speed grabbed his chin and made him look at him. He calmed himself down. "Sorry," he said once he was more calm.
"No, that's fine. We don't want any slips, Eric." He nodded at that, getting back to work. "Besides, I can turn him into something much more interesting than a toad." Eric laughed and nodded, smirking at him before he looked in his microscope. He heard Tony's comment and shook his head, sending back a 'too fussy to take care of'. Danny offered something and it was a better suggestion. Tony seconded that one. "Want a pet?"
"Horatio might get very mad at you," Ryan offered as he came in. "You're both going to kill me."
"Why?" Eric offered.
"Because we just had someone drive through the front of the station and get out screaming he had killed someone who was in his trunk. He's not very lucid and there's no body in his trunk."
"What sort of car was he driving?" Speed complained. "There's stairs."
"A jeep." They just nodded and Eric went down to help him with that one. "Sorry, I was pulling in when I saw him crash."
"That's fine," Eric promised, regloving and grabbing a scene kit to go with him. He found the guy in handcuffs on his knees. "Interrogation with him, guys," he ordered. "Ryan, go see if he's got more than one car?" Ryan nodded, going to do that while Eric started to process the trunk, just in case.
Ryan came out with his kit. "He's got two more at home. I'm heading to his house to check. He said they're both there."
"Sure. Let me know," he agreed. "Tell Horatio about the office yet?"
"No, I'm scared to tell him someone crashed into the building on purpose." He headed off, taking one of the official hummers.
Eric considered calling him then looked at the guards. "Someone call dispatch and tell them to tell Horatio? I'm not that brave either." They shuddered. "At least they'll be far away. Or someone call whichever detective he's with." He got back to work. He wasn't finding any spots of blood with the light and filter in the trunk. Yet. Auto detail was going to have fun getting the car out though. They couldn't get a wrecker up the stairs.
Frank hung up a few minutes later and looked at everyone. "Um, Horatio?" He looked over, raising an eyebrow. "Can we speak?"
"Well...." He moved closer. Then he thought better of it and moved closer to Calleigh. He wouldn't zap her or whatever. "We just had someone drive into the front of the building. He apparently got out screaming he had killed the guy in his trunk. There wasn't a guy in that trunk. The officer who called said Delko had the jeep in the front of the building and Wolfe went to check his other cars."
Horatio took off his sunglasses to pinch the bridge of his nose. "Define into the front of the building, Francis," he demanded, looking at him, staring him down.
"Well...." He backed up, he would get hit and so would Calleigh. He liked her too much to do that to her. "He said the guy had a jeep and it was a mess."
Horatio turned and walked off before he hexed someone.
Calleigh looked at him, then at Horatio, who went to swear as far as she knew. She called Eric. "Define into the front of the building, Eric?" She listened to his description of the hood being next to the elevator. "Um, people, we'll need to take the back way in," she announced. "The whole front lobby is blocked off." She hung up. She looked at Frank. "His jeep's hood is next to the further elevator button. He said Ryan was pulling in when he crashed."
"Good," he said blandly, then he shuddered. "I'm glad I don't have that paperwork." Alexx pulled up. "Let me guess, you heard?"
"And saw," she agreed dryly. "Horatio, honey, the Chief said you don't have to fill out the paperwork to have the lobby rebuilt." He groaned. "I've got some Tylenol in the glovebox, sugar. Take some before you go back there."
He looked at her. "How bad is it?" he asked quietly.
"His jeep is blocking elevators two and three. They shut them down already." He groaned and headed for his hummer. "They've got it, Horatio."
"I need to go back there anyway," he said, sounding snappish. Someone was going to be tortured for this. He called Ryan. "Anything yet on this person?" He listened to him having to stop to investigate a wreck on the way. "Why?" He nodded at the 'paramedics flagged him down' answer. "Was he the body?" He slumped and leaned on his steering wheel. "I'll be back there soon. Send Eric the pictures so he can ask." He hung up and started the engine, heading back to work. He had to pass by the wreck and moaned at the mangled body in the trunk. He pulled in and winced at the large panels of glass that were laying broken around his building. He walked over to where Eric was coming back. "Was that him?"
"No, but Ryan's going to have that one towed since it looks like a hit and run," he offered. "He did a preliminary there and then he called officers to wait on Alexx while he went to check the guy's home." He shrugged. "I don't know, H. He's got the bugs crawling issue going on at the moment. He's on his way down."
"Wonderful. That other file?"
"In with Speed. I already told Stetler he messed up that way." Horatio nodded, sliding around the car to head up the stairs. He could use the walk at the moment. Eric shivered and got back to work. Speed would get him calmed down. Hopefully.
Horatio walked into Speed's lab, getting a look. "Please tell me you have something good for me?"
"Eric's folder or on my case? My case, not yet. I'm going over the photos looking for the idea I had. Eric's folder? Yeah. A lot. I even kept us from getting a new pet toad, but Danny thought a baby mutant alligator would be cuter."
Horatio shook his head and took the folder to look at. Then he looked at the photos. "Why are there astrological symbols drawn in the blood?" He pointed at one and Speed hit himself on the head, going to blow that part of the image up. Horatio looked over this folder, nodding at it. It was well documented already. He got a page from Ryan saying he had found the body in the open trunk of one of the guy's other cars and his wife was protesting it wasn't legal for him to search without a warrant. A second year law student. He assured Ryan it was since the man had told him where the body was and it was in the open if the trunk had been open and the garage door as well. He offered that she had opened the garage door and had seen the body then started to protest on her husband's behalf. He had advised her to buy a better lawyer, one who had already graduated and passed the bar. That did get a smile from him. It was appropriately mean. "You've done good teaching Ryan how to be sarcastic," he offered quietly, letting him see the text messages.
Speed smiled. "I'm so proud." He texted that to Ryan and got back a snort. Then he texted the fact there was a body to Eric and to watch out for the law student.
Horatio walked up to where the cult leader was waiting, smiling and nodding at him. "I'm sorry you had such trouble getting to us. It won't happen again. Shall we go inside?"
"We should and I brought him. He's presently very uncomfortable. I let the child hold the switch to the shock collar he's wearing. It was making her feel better."
Horatio nodded. "That's reasonable," he decided, going to get her and let the officers arrest the other guy. She giggled and shocked him again, making him smile. "Are you having fun?"
"He hurt me. He's a bad man," she said simply. "He should hurt like I did."
"I agree. We'll make sure he does in jail, young lady. Now, let's go talk about how he hurt you, all right?" She nodded and held up her arms. "Want carried?"
"Walking still hurts." She smiled at the head of the cult when he picked her up. "Thank you, Pappa." She stroked Horatio's hair. "You have pretty hair."
"Thank you. I like yours as well." She smiled and ran a hand over her pigtails, letting her be carried inside. "Watch for glass. We had someone drive in earlier."
"I saw on the news," he admitted. He gave him a look. "Was he scared and confessing?"
"He was. Unfortunately he left the body at home. We still had to retrieve it." He hit the button for the elevator and used his pass on it, getting a smile from the guard. "Should you see Stetler in the next hour, page me." That got a nod and a note made. They all got into the elevator again and the guard giggled when the suspect screamed in pain. "I think that's enough for now. He'll get punished worse later."
She handed over the remote. "If you promise he won't be able to walk either."
"Oh, I'm sure he won't," he promised. He walked her out of the elevator and into an interrogation room, letting the officers put the guy in another one. He sat down with the file once Speed brought it in with a lollipop for her. "Thank you, Speed."
"Not an issue." He smiled at her and winked. "Some year soon there's going to be a huge surprise in your life." She smiled at that and nodded eagerly. "Now, talk with Horatio, tell him what happened. Tell him the truth, okay?" She nodded. "Good girl." He left, going to work on the other guy since Eric was off with the guy's house from this morning. He stepped in and the prisoner stared in horror. "Detective Taylor made sure the information got to those of us who are loyal to Don," he said calmly. "As he is." He sat across from him, staring at him. "Would you like to give me your side of the story? We did Miranda him, right?" he asked the officers in there with him. They nodded. "Thank you. Start a tape if you haven't."
"We did, Speed, just to make sure we got his Miranda and agreement on record," one offered.
"I figured with the shock collar he was wearing when he came in and the little girl who said it hurt her to walk, there was a good reason."
"Oh, there is," Speed agreed. "Well?" he demanded, staring the cult member down.
"They are inferior!" he sneered. "They're female and made only for use. Even the Father uses them thus."
"No he doesn't. I know the officer you call Father and he doesn't use women, even when he was seeing women socially." The officers gaped. "Remember a few months back when we had the Cult of Flack in here? He's another purged member." That got some evil smirks. "Then again, Don also has two male lovers and one who's special." He looked at the suspect. "Do you think he would use that one like this?" He put a picture he had taken from the file down in front of him and pushed it over. "Who was she?"
"Some nameless woman," he spat. "She is there only to be used and then tossed away so we can cleanse ourselves afterward."
"If you have to clean yourself afterward, you're doing something wrong," Speed noted dryly. Horatio walked in and got the picture, walking it off. "Something to do with the young lady in the other room?"
"She knows her place," he said smugly, relaxing. He suddenly screamed and grabbed his neck.
"Huh. The kid must've gotten the collar again," Frank said from the doorway. "Pity. Boys, maybe we should figure out how to open it?"
"We can't, sir, it's padlocked," one offered with a shrug and a grin. "I can't pick locks and I don't know who can."
"Don't look at me," Speed offered. "Frank, anything?"
"Oh, lots and lots of stuff. Those were just hints of the evidence they had. When Stetler wouldn't let them through, they kept gathering it while they figured out how to get hold of you guys. Horatio was thinking about arresting him as an accomplice to multiple homicides." He walked in. "Boys, as of this moment, he's to be booked on three counts of brutal homicide and one count of buying a child to rape her." That got a nod and they walked him off. "More to come later," he called after them.
"The Father will protect me!" he screamed, struggling.
Speed called Don, who brought his lunch down and came off the elevators. "Don? Would you like to refute that?"
Don looked at his cult member and the officers turned him around, watching his former person as he fell to his knees while he chewed on his sandwich. "No one of my chosen do that to women. That is not my way," he said coolly, walking closer. "Somewhere your mind warped what I said." He tipped the guy's chin up with his foot. Then he ate another bite, letting him see the hate and derision he had for him. He swallowed then shook his head. "You're fucked. I told them to purge the members hurting women. Disliking them is fine, hurting them is not."
"He hurt a child too," Frank offered. "At least once." He handed over the file he had gotten from Horatio.
Don looked at it, then finished his sandwich, handing it back. He chewed, swallowed, then shook his head. "You're not one of mine. I would never allow that. Consider yourself excommunicated and outcast." The man started to wail. "I protect children, all children. You knew that. The same as you knew the order came down to not harm another woman. You knew better. Maybe next go-round you'll have learned better with how your life goes in prison." The man gave him a begging look. "Fat chance. You hurt a child. An innocent."
"She's been using the shock collar," Frank offered, enjoying this.
"Good. That means he tainted her so she'll damage others. Probably men." The man gave him a horrified look and stood up, still slumped. "Me and mine all protect children. Any child is safe from all of us. You broke orders knowing that. I hope like hell they tell the guys on your block what you did." He turned his back on him, looking at Frank. "Horatio need help with him?"
"No, he's got it. The girl's giving a statement on camera. We've got her medical records. You might wanna tell whoever helped this morning that Stetler may be charged since he hindered stopping him." The man shrieked and lunged but the officers caught him just after Don hit him. "Nice," Frank offered.
"Thank you. Most of the cult I like. They're pretty nice guys and I still have moments of confusion now and then about the faith. I did make it very clear when it was brought to my attention that some of them were hurting women that they were to stop or be stopped. Being stopped means a worse end to this life cycle." The man was drug off babbling and shrieking. "Shut up!" Don yelled. He quit babbling and just gave him a hurt look. "You did it and I told you not to. Pay for it. Learn better. Come back next time." The man bowed his head and started to cry, nodding. He looked at the curious looking officers. "To them I'm the newest incarnation of their Father and Patron Saint." He shrugged. "They're mostly nice guys except for a few." He looked down when someone tugged on his hand. "Hi."
"Hi, Father." He squatted down to be on her level, letting her hug him. "Thank you for adopting me into the family."
"You're welcome, Precious. Now, did you tell Horatio how he came to have you? That way he can stop them too?" She smiled and went to do that. He looked at the leader down here. "Protect her. She's special."
"As I was informed," he assured him, nodding at his actions. "It was very just."
"Thank you. Even I get confused now and then."
"It is still new to you. You're still awakening memories from your last incarnations." He went back into the room with the girl, shutting the door.
Frank looked at him. "Tell me this isn't always like this?"
He stepped closer so he could hiss at him. "It's a cursebreaker thing, Frank." That just got a nod. "Ask Speed."
"He usually refers me to Horatio."
"Or him," he offered with a grin. "Most of them are really nice guys. The one in New York I deal with all the time? He's a great guy. Love him to death. He's in booking at my station. He comes to ask me fashion advice too." He grinned. "They ask Tony to take them shopping for suits. We get invited over for dinner all the time. It's a nice set of guys who believe with everything in them that I'm their patron saint."
"At least you're weeding out the bad ones."
"Yup, first thing." That got a smile. "The group in LA nearly got decimated from it. They had about forty members and thirty-three got busted for crimes against women. There's been very few who hurt children. Then again they went to ask my mother for baby pictures. They write hymns about me, Frank." That got a wicked grin. "Seriously. Speed knows the website." Speed nodded from where he was standing. "They've got a new one."
"I heard. One of the guys sent me an audio file. It was pretty and lyrical."
"It was. I liked that one." He walked over there and leaned in. "Tell whoever wrote the new hymn I liked it a lot. It was very nice and lyrical. Easy on the ears and gentle." He grinned at the girl. "Make sure we hear if she needs stuff for school." That got a nod and he nodded at Horatio. "Need me again?"
"Not yet, Don. Thank you." Don just grinned and closed the door, heading off, disappearing from the elevator.
"Where do I apply to get my own cult?" one officer complained.
"First you become a detective, then you show that you're one of the great ones," Speed said, looking deadly serious. "Then there's a form Horatio has. Frank turned down his chance when he was still young and pretty." The officer walked off grumbling.
"Actually, I think I missed that offer," Frank teased back. "You're so bad," he mouthed. Speed just smirked and nodded, heading off to go back to his case. Horatio came out with amended charges. "He's already in booking waiting on the rest of them."
"Thank you, Frank." He walked off, finding one officer with a detective's test study guide. "Good luck with that," he offered.
"Thank you, sir. How long after I pass the test and get my gold shield do I have to prove I'm one of the better detectives so I can get the paperwork to start my own cult?"
Horatio looked at him. "At least five years." He walked off mentally berating Speed. That was his style. Speed cackled. He'd let the guy's supervisor straighten him out someday. Unless he was that dumb and then he was going to be transferred quickly. Before he got a headache from him. He handed over the amended list of charges, getting a nod from the booking sergeant. The rest of that form was filled out and they processed him. Horatio was even nice enough to take off the shock collar after setting it off again with his wand, which was up his coat sleeve.
Speed landed at Danny's place, looking at him. "No one's told the poor guy he can't have a cult yet."
Mac looked at him. "Horatio told me what you told him. He does know it's not automatic approval?"
"He does," he agreed. "He also knows he has to come up with a basis for them worshiping him. I made the rules list for him when he asked. Told him it was unwritten but that I'd print it out as I remember it." He flopped down beside him and looked at him. "Are you over your jealous snit?"
"I am. I know you can't really steal Danny from me, Speed.
"Unless you treat him bad then he's mine and he'll be coming to Miami permanently." Mac growled at that. "Tough. Treat my boy right. I'm as close as you'll get to a threatening family member. Tony will let it go unsaid but he'll be there if you hurt him and he'll get you in the middle of the night. Like he did his girlfriend when she cheated on him once. It wasn't pretty and Danny sniffled on him for the four days she was in the infirmary." Mac shuddered at that. "Understood?"
"Understood. I'd never hurt them."
Don walked in and slammed the door. "The local guy said I should have more memories by now. I told him I was too tired to do anything serious like meditation to find them. He asked my boss if I could have a few days off."
"Did you get them?" Speed asked.
He nodded. "I did. She likes my cult too." He flopped down next to Speed, giving him a hug. "Did you tell him how to get his own?"
"I did. I even typed the unwritten rules for him." Horatio and Eric appeared. "Hi."
"Home, Speed. You need spanked for that," Eric said dryly, pointing toward Miami. "Now."
Speed grinned sweetly. "I was behaving."
"I doubt it," Horatio warned. "Speaking of, we seem to have a new alligator?" he asked dryly. "Would someone like to explain why we have an albino alligator?"
"No," he and Eric said in unison.
"Should I spank you two or you two and Ryan?" he asked blandly.
"Marisol," Eric said sheepishly. "She went off on him." He shrugged. "Taps thought he was cute and he was feeding him chunks of chicken."
Horatio looked at him. "That is not cute, Eric." He just grinned brightly. "Home, now, both of you." Speed disappeared. He sent Eric home then looked at Mac and Don. "Can I come up here for a vacation?"
"Gibbs and I suggested we send all the young ones to one city and then me, you, and him all go to another one for a vacation from them," Mac reminded him. "You thought it was a bad idea."
"Did Sheldon get onto Tony's spot on the show?" Don asked.
Mac moaned and nodded. "He did."
"Don, you and the other young ones are more than welcome to Miami all next week. Mac, Gibbs, and I will be up here." Don smirked at that. "I'll make sure it's all right." He went to DC to tell that to Gibbs, getting a moan from Tony for that idea. Then he went home to spank Eric and Speed for encouraging Marisol to turn Rick Stetler into an albino alligator with very few teeth. Even if he did have a nice habitat set up so he was comfortable. He also made Eric call Yelina to tell her since they were dating.
He knew the unholy trio were making plans over their special bond on how to party in his city, but he wouldn't have to deal with it. He'd be hiding with Mac in New York. Gibbs would be a day late but they didn't mind. Sometimes paperwork got in the way.
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