Notes: Thanks be to Faramir of Sylum and Jaderose for the prompting. ::handing back the bunny:: I believe this escaped from you two?
A Very Tony Hollywood.
"The only thing I ask," Tony said as he looked at the director in front of him, "is that Kate's part be played by a spunky, pretty brunette. It's our tribute to her."
"Sure, I get that," he agreed. "Any other casting ideas?"
Tony grinned. "The kid who played Xander on Buffy for McGeek...sorry, McGee. Pet name," he offered with a grin. That got a smirk. He handed over a photo. "That was us."
"Then that guy you've been seen hanging around with now and then really was your former boss?"
"Yup, that's Gibbs."
"Hmm. It's not exactly like anything else on television but it's actiony, which tv could use."
"That's because there's too much pre-scripted reality out there."
"True." They shared a look. "How much input did you want?"
"Scripts. I know Abby wanted to talk to the person who plays her so she gets her closer to right. I did tone down the bouncing some because it's probably tiring if you're not a caffeine junky." That got a small snicker. "Seriously, she is. The one who came about the security alert yesterday? That was Abby."
"Yeah, that was bouncy." He put it down. "I can fully see this one. I'll pitch it for you. How many other scripts do you have?" Tony handed him a box. "Hmm, a whole first season. Will we have to get releases?"
"Already in there. The new director said it'd be good for the agency even if it wasn't totally factual. He doesn't believe some of the stuff we got into either."
"Sure. Because you've always had those issues in your life."
"Being trapped in a moving cargo container full of counterfeit money with a former Mossad agent?"
"Never mind," he admitted, going back to reading. He could see the humor and the strength in the characters and it was buzzing in his head about who would fit the roles. "Did you want to take a minor part now and then?"
"No, I'm good with just being the writer. If they need a cameo, I'm okay with that but I don't *have* to. Just getting it out there is tribute enough for her."
"How did she die?"
"Me too." He shrugged. "I was next to her. She was like a sister to me. We'll feed whatever actress all the stories she wants about Kate if she needs it. Because Kate was an odd mix of slightly prudish woman, agent, and little sister to us."
"Strong women can never be typecast."
"True." He grinned. "Please?"
"I'll pitch it for you, Brad."
"Welcome. If it does go we'll need more scripts in case we want to change the order some."
"I can understand that. Especially since we had a run of bad cases in a row. A few times really." That got a nod. "Let me know?"
"I will." He made a shooing motion. "Go. Let me pitch this higher up." He beamed, shook his hand, and bounced out. "That's one happy former special agent and child star." He went back to reading. The script itself wasn't the absolute greatest he'd seen but it was funny and touching and very action oriented. He'd have to get a second angle from Gibbs if they went through with this. Because he came off as a very stern father now and then and Tony as a goofy kid.
Tony found the restaurant he was supposed to be eating lunch at, parking and getting out, finding Gibbs waiting. "Sorry."
"That''s all right. How did it go?"
"Pretty good. He likes it, he'll pitch it higher up the ladder. I gave him the other scripts in case there's one he'd rather start with." He grinned and Gibbs snorted at that. "Well, you wouldn't want to bore viewers with our down months or with our hellish ones either. Not to start with." He walked over to where the entrance was with him, nodding politely at the starlette standing there. "Hi. DiNozzo," he told the receptionist.
"I was here first," she sneered.
He looked at her. "I have two Emmys, an academy award, and another nomination. Step off," he sneered back. "I'm not here for your publicity, sweetheart, just to have lunch with an old friend." She huffed. He smiled at the receptionist again, getting a nod and being taken back to a table. "Sorry about that."
"That's all right, Mr. DiNozzo." She seated them. "Your waiter will be with you shortly." She left their menus and headed back to seat the starlette.
"Sorry about that, boss."
"Not a problem. I guess it happens."
"Being here is all about being seen and recognized," he agreed dryly. He opened his menu. "Do I want to be a good boy or not?"
"Be a good boy. I tried to make you a good boy for years while you were my agent." Tony snickered at that, leaning on the table. "I did."
"You did, very hard," he agreed, smirking at him. He looked at the menu again. "Then I should probably have a salad of some kind."
"Have a sandwich."
"What? He has to pick out your food for you?" the starlette sneered when she paused by their table. "Why does he get the good table?"
"Because his manners don't need work," Gibbs said while he read. "Are the burgers any good?"
"They're really good," Tony offered. "They use the really expensive and tender beef, the stuff you don't have to chew."
"Hmm, I don't need dentures yet. I like my meat with chew." He went back to looking. Then he looked at the actress, scowling some. She backed up and stomped off again. He shook his head. "Thankfully you didn't turn out like her, DiNozzo."
"Even when I was spoiled and pampered I wasn't like her. I had manners. Because manners gets you good job reviews and those do get passed around." Someone came up to their table and he smiled. "Hi."
"Thank you. Gibbs, this is one of the directors I worked with on the soap I did." Gibbs nodded and Tony grinned. "I'm just now done pitching a script and looking over a new movie role," he said proudly.
"Then you are making a comeback?"
"I never really left, I just went to voice roles so it wouldn't interfere with my other career as an officer."
"I heard." He looked at him. "Want to go back to soaps?" Tony's eyes went wide but he shook his head after a minute. "You sure?"
"A small role maybe. A long-term, thirty year role? I'm not sure I could handle that. It's a lot like marriage."
"I understand. There's a few new spots opening up on the CBS front."
"I'll have my agent look into it for me," he promised. "Thanks, Todd." He shook his hand and got up to give him a hug. "I saw the other Emmy last year. Congrats."
"Thanks, Tony. Have a nice day, you as well, Gibbs." He went back to his table.
"It's like marriage?" Gibbs asked.
"Yeah, when you start on a role, you start to internalize it. You become more like that person the longer it goes on. Doing a long term soap role can end up being like you're married to the character." He went back to the menu. The starlette came back. "What?" he asked dryly.
"Who are you?"
"Go ask someone."
"I don't know you," she sneered.
Tony looked up at her. "That's because you've never watched anyone else's work a day in your life," he pointed out patiently. "Go ask your agent. He knows me. I'm sure he does. Hell, I even left the business to do voice roles for a while and I'm pretty sure if you mention the name everyone's said around you today, if you had been listening, he'd be more than able to tell you who I am." She huffed. "Anyway, it's not like we're up for the same role, princess." He went back to his reading. "I really don't want to be a good boy today, Gibbs."
"It happens. Get a sandwich."
Tony sighed. "I can do that." He glared at her and she stomped off again. He shook his head and got back to contemplating his stomach. "I asked that he get a spunky brunette to play Kate and that we'd probably all tell her stories about her. That it was a tribute to her."
"Good." He let out a soft smile. "Somewhere that woman is probably screaming at us for even thinking about it. She probably wants me to smack you around."
"Probably," he agreed with a small, wicked, evil, smirk. "But yay." He cackled and got back to it. The waiter came over. "Can I have the number ten?" That got a nod. "With cheese fries?"
"Sure. Water to drink or would you like to change that?"
"No, I'm good with water. Boss?"
"Uh... The number twelve. No mayo." He handed it back. That got a nod and he walked off. "This is a nice place and fairly reasonable."
"It is. And hey, better than hospital food we were both eating this time last year."
"True. Because this time last year I was going to smack you around for the new head injury."
"You're the one who ran after her."
"Yeah, well, someone had to so she wouldn't get away. Not my fault she picked up a board." He sipped his water. "Or yours." Gibbs smirked at that. "She would have gotten away."
"True." He looked around then back at him. "What role did you try out for?"
"Oh, a new drama. I seem to get a lot of those these days." He shrugged. "The action movie's coming out in a few weeks so we'll see how it does. I may get more action offers afterward."
"I hope so. You get broody when you do dramas."
"I know," he sighed. "So, what're we doing this afternoon?"
"Maria said she didn't care as long as you didn't interrupt her shampooing the carpets."
"I heard. Anything in particular you want to do? Go down to the marina, anything?"
"No, I've done a lot of work on the boat recently. Abby thinks I'm nearly done." Tony snorted and shook his head. "You do remember we've got a trial we've got to go back for next week?"
"Yup, and I already told Martha and Maria both."
"Good. We need to make reservations." The starlette came back. "What?"
"You're not an actor."
"Yes I am. I just went to be other things as well." He shrugged and stared at her. "Real people can do multiple things. That's why I did voicework, so it didn't interfere with my schedule as an officer, and later as a Fed." She gave him a horrified look. "But you're right in your thinking, my more voluminous roles were when I was younger. Then again I've also done four movie roles since I came back about six months ago. I've got one coming out in a week." She snorted. "Plus I had one come out about two months ago now, boss?"
"Yeah, about two months ago. We took the whole team out to see it," he agreed. "Ducky was charmed by how you played minorly evil."
"It was pretty nice. I can make a decent enough bad guy," he agreed happily. She tapped a foot. "What?"
"You're nobody," she sneered.
"Not true. If I was, I'd have your table." She shrieked and Gibbs gave her an impassive look. "Now, go back to your table, miss. You're bothering the nice people who have manners."
"No! I should have this one. I'm the bigger star."
"Have you even starred in anything?" he asked.
"Outside of porn?" Gibbs asked. She glared at him. "Had to be asked."
She huffed and sneered at him. "Who're you, his lover?"
"No, I'm his former boss. That would make me a former Special Agent in a federal agency." She blinked at him and he stood up. "Go back to your table, miss. You're causing a bad scene. You don't get good publicity that way." She snorted and rolled her eyes. "Tony."
"Go away, whoever you are."
"I've been on the cover of every tabloid known to the US."
Gibbs smacked her on the head. "That's not an accomplishment to brag about, little girl." She looked ready to cry. "Oh, please. I trained Marines with that swat. I trained DiNozzo here with that swat." Tony nodded. "I trained a lot of agents with that swat. If you can't take it you obviously can't take this life. Now, go sit down." She whimpered and went to sit down again. He sat down. "Sorry."
"Not your fault you had to hit her." One of the other tables looked their way. "I got smacked like that every few days while I worked with him. Usually for bad jokes in the office." That got a smile and they went back to their lunch. He sipped his water. "If Mary calls, you answer the phone."
"Fine," he agreed, taking Tony's cellphone from him. "I've been wanting to swat her anyway."
"Did you hear from your old trainer?"
"I did. He's down the coast in Mexico. I invited him up for a few days."
"That's cool." Their orders came with the check and he smiled at that blatant attempt. "She started it."
"She did and she did deserve it but we don't want anyone arrested."
"Not like it hurt her," Tony assured him. "I got swatted every single day for six months, and I had a concussion during part of that. It's his method of correction and training."
"Being a Special Agent must be tough work."
"It is. Long hours too. He expects near perfection and manners. Neither of which she has."
"Eat, DiNozzo. This isn't an interview," Gibbs ordered.
"Sorry, boss." He grinned and dug in, putting down his debit card for the lunch after checking the bill. It was taken the next time the waiter passed by. He signed it when it came back and they got down to eating. Halfway through his phone rang and Gibbs looked then sighed and answered it with a growl. Apparently they hung up very quickly. "Good one, boss."
"No, she said she'd call back after I hand you the phone. She said it wasn't vital." He handed back the phone and Tony put in his ear bud, chatting quietly while they ate. He finally hung up and pushed the phone back. "Anything good?"
"Critics reviews are in. They all said I looked damn good for my age."
"You do. Did they like it?"
"Mixed. One called it a predictable storyline with a major plot twist from the bubble gum idea machine, but the rest more liked it than not. So we're in the B range of grades." He ate another bite of his sandwich. "Which isn't too bad considering it's an action movie."
Another waiter came over. "Mr. Nubbins, sir? My manager wanted to know if you'd sign your picture from when you were younger after the Emmy celebration," he asked quietly.
"Sure, I'd love to. Be right back, Gibbs." He got up and walked that way, taking the pen. "As my stage name or as me?"
"Stage name please," he offered with a smile. "You did well with her."
"She'll get her ego busted, the same as I did," he said with a grin. He signed the bottom right corner of his photo, making sure he didn't obscure the cake's writing with his. "There you go." He handed it back. "I don't owe money do I?"
"No, your mother paid for it all in advance." He smiled. "Thank you, sir."
"Welcome. I've always liked eating here." He went back to his seat and smiled. "I had my first Emmy celebration here. It was the only wild party I'd ever been to and that was during *my* spoiled days. A bunch of us child actors were in and it got a bit rowdy."
"So you guys tore up the place?"
"Not really. A couple tables because two of the girls with us got into fights. Another one because two of the parents and agents got into fights. My mother had apparently paid it in advance so I didn't owe anything from back then." Gibbs smiled at that. "Ehh, at that age I was a little snot."
"It shows now and then."
"It was my mother's fault."
"Having met your mother, I can agree to that."
The woman who had looked over earlier smiled at him. "You have no idea, Gibbs. I worked with Tony when he was fifteen, right before he bought his house. We were all thinking about pooling some money together to hire an assassin to take out his mother for him. Before she ruined his career."
"She's back in Rhode Island," Tony offered. "I have a restraining order against her now."
"Good idea. How is your sister?"
"She died a few months back," he admitted, looking at her. "It came back again. It was while I was fighting for my last job back so both Gibbs and I were with her and her wife." That got a smile. "Now Gibbs lives up where she did."
"Awww." She got up and came over to hug him. "What's on your plate, Tony?"
"Hmm." She considered it. "I'm trying out for Basil next week."
"I've already talked with him and he said I'm not posh enough," he said, mimicking the well known director. She giggled at that. "I pointed out I was already a playboy but he said I wasn't a good enough one. But hey, if you want me and he'll take me, I'll do it. I hardly ever turn down roles."
She smiled and stroked over his hair. "You were always one to lighten a boring set. I'm sure your former bosses miss you terribly."
"Only when we're having a quiet day at the office," Gibbs said dryly. She giggled at that and hugged him too. "He was a good agent."
"Because you smacked me into it."
"True," he agreed. She laughed again and went back to her seat, leaving him to smirk at him. "Finish lunch. You didn't eat dinner last night."
"I fell asleep in the yard last night." He ate the rest of his lunch, nibbling contentedly.
"You really should have that sleeping problem checked."
"I only sleep like that when I'm without stress."
"You should still have it checked. You nap like a cat."
Gibbs looked at him.
"Fine, I'll see my doctor, make sure it's not a problem," he sighed.
"We don't want it to be about the blue lights you had to visit a few years back," he said quietly.
"No, it's from before then. I've been like this since I was twenty-four."
"Good to know." He finished up his lunch. "Am I getting the tip?" Tony nodded so he put it down and Tony added to it. "Overtipping?"
"Pricier place." He grinned and they cleaned up their small mess and finished their drinks before leaving. He waved at the manager, who smiled and waved back, then got Gibbs into the car since he had been wandering around all morning, his own words. "Where to?"
"I don't care."
"I jogged this morning."
"I jogged last night before my unscheduled nap." He got in to drive. "Let's just drive then." Gibbs nodded and got in with him, letting him show him the places where he worked most of the time. And Gibbs even got to talk to Mary when she called, growling at her before she could start.
Tony looked up when a paper landed in front of his eyes, reading the headline. "Well, she got her wish. Though it does look like they pointed out she was being a spoiled brat." He took the gossip rag to look over. A few things made him laugh. "They liked your head smack." He got another one and looked up at his boss. "It pointed out you're my former boss, not my lover, even though the starlette did accuse you of being my dom." He went back to reading. "It's fairly harmless, Gibbs. Sorry if they bother you."
"Hopefully they won't. Especially when we have to travel?"
"I made the reservations last night online, boss."
"Thank you." He looked at them, nodding. "That'll work. How long are we expected to be out there?"
"Few days. Do we have any idea what I'm wearing to the opening tonight?"
"What does one wear to those?"
"Something nice." He leaned back in his desk chair, considering it. "Maria?" She stuck her head in at his pitiful call. "The opening's tonight. Are you going?"
"No, Tony." She smiled. "Wear the blue pants and the nice shirt."
"I would but they're fading."
"Then go shopping." He looked hesitant. "I mean it."
"The last time I went I overspent grandly." She nodded at that. "Gibbs?"
"I hate shopping, DiNozzo."
"If you're coming you do have to look decent." He stood up and looked at himself then at Gibbs. "Go change."
"You have to look decent to go shopping?"
"No, but I don't recommend wearing a Marine sweatshirt. Maybe a t-shirt?" That got a nod and he went to find it while Tony changed into that outfit. Gibbs looked at him. "I know, I haven't been shopping in a while." They headed out to his Z, going down into the city to shop. He looked at him. "Higher end or not?"
"Up to you, you're driving."
"Point." He considered it and headed to the Valley of Checkbook Death, AKA Beverly Hills. They parked and got out, heading up the street. He did duck around one woman to get away from a reporter but that was fine. He called his bank to get his balance on the checkbook he had with him. "Well, we can't spend like a starlette." Gibbs snorted at that. "Last time I was up here, I spent about ten grand, Gibbs." Gibbs stopped to stare at him. "Really. I took Mary shopping with me."
"You looked nice but there's less expensive places to shop." His entire life's wardrobe hadn't been that much, including the uniforms the military had given him.
"Feel lucky I'm not a woman, boss. Some of the dresses on this street cost that much alone. Not to mention the two and three grand for shoes or a purse." He called Maria, getting her to do something at the bank, and got a nod. He hung up. "Okay, we're set. Where to start," he sighed, looking around. "Well, let's start with the basics." He walked Gibbs into the nearest shop, nodding at the salesgirl, who smiled at them. "Time to update."
"It's always a good idea to do it at least once a year," she agreed happily.
Gibbs looked at her. "I've always wondered how clerks could be so perky."
"Some of us work on commission. Others of us get a kick out of watching people shop. I get to people watch and say I helped a star buy new undies." Tony smiled at that. "I do."
"You do. Unfortunately I'm pretty plain about mine." He got a few things and handed Gibbs a few things, getting a nod. "Opening tonight."
"Try the store on the corner. They're new and hip."
"Thanks." He paid and she put their things in a bag, smiling at them. "Have a good day."
"You too, Mr. Nubbins." He grinned and walked out with her. "They're so cute together!" she squealed once they were gone.
"It's part shopping, part ego boost," Tony told him once they were outside. "Which is how Mary talked me into buying so much stuff last time."
Gibbs shook his head. "You don't need more things. Your closets are full."
"Very true." They looked in that store and found rappers taking it over so nothing in there spoke to them. They went further up the street, finding a nice, quiet coffeeshop for Gibbs' addiction. Even at seven dollars for a cup of coffee. Then they kept going, finding a better place for them. Unfortunately the rappers were there. He went to browse.
"Yo, we're in here," one of them called.
Tony looked over and shrugged. "That shows you have decent taste in everything but that necklace. A baby's pacifier done in platinum? Just have one?"
"You know, I can almost see you doing that with your first kid if you ever have one," Gibbs said dryly. "You're going to be a scary parent some year, DiNozzo."
"Thanks, boss." He looked at the pants, holding something up, then shaking his head. He found another pair and held them up. "I didn't know they still made houndstooth." Gibbs put them back with a head shake, heading to things that looked more like what he'd wear. He shrugged and went back to browsing. One of the guards came over to stare at him. He looked at him. "I'm a former Fed. I've seen worse than you." The guy backed off. "For that matter, I was Homicide in Philly and Baltimore. I've seen a lot worse than you." He nodded and backed off. "Thanks. Just needing something for an opening tonight."
"Are you attending?" the salesclerk asked with a small smile.
"No, it's my first action movie in a while," he admitted with a small grin for the older man. "I've totally forgotten etiquette for what to wear to those things." He went back to looking, coming up with a few shirts. Gibbs gave him an odd look since he had found an outfit. "Not that, boss. You'll look older."
"I will not."
"You will too. Can someone help him?" That got a nod and one of the girls with the rap group came over to help them both, making him a happy boy. "Thank you."
"It's not good to see fine looking men looking lousy." She smiled at him. "Philly Homicide?"
"I'm Tony DiNozzo," he said, shaking her hand.
"Felicia. You found the person who killed my sister. Even if the judge was an idiot and let him plea."
"Sometimes they do that," he agreed, stroking her cheek. "Is your family doing okay?"
"Pretty good. One of the cousins is a little shit and in trouble. Thinks it makes him a man."
"No, it makes him a target." She smiled at that. "I hope he gets straightened out and tell her mother I thought about her recently." That got a nod and she went back to her boyfriend's side, telling him. He came out in one and she nodded at that so he had an outfit for tonight. "Thank you for your help, Felicia," he called after checking out. He and Gibbs walked out and headed to look around some more, putting the bags back in the car. "Do I need anything else?"
"Only if you need a new suit."
"I hope I don't." He looked in his favorite suit shop, then hesitated. Gibbs gave him a nudge so he went inside with a small sigh, getting a smile. "The boss says I need a new one."
"You've killed at least two in the last year and a half, DiNozzo."
"True, I did," he agreed. "For very bad reasons usually." That got a nod and he was led back to the darker suits. "I'm not that sort of Fed nor do I need the four thousand dollar suits." That got a smirk. "I came to you guys for my last six." He pointed at a section and they went that way, letting him pick out what he liked. It was still expensive but less than the top, name only suits. Then they headed back to the house to have time for dinner and to shower and change before the opening. He came out and found Gibbs shaved and relaxing by the car. He put on his shoes and kissed Maria on the cheek. "You sure?"
"I'm sure. Go." He smiled and headed out. "Those boys," she muttered, going back to her scrubbing. They'd had an influx of crickets and it had driven her insane.
Tony parked them near the theater and got out, waving a hand at his boss. "Up the carpet, Boss."
"Yup. It's all part of the machine. Martha would kill me if I didn't." He walked up with him, smiling at Mary, kissing her on the cheek. "Hi, dear."
"Tony!" She beamed at him. "You bought new clothes."
"I did. I had no idea what I was wearing tonight until we got some help from a very nice young woman with the rapper in the store with us."
"You know, I don't follow rap so I don't know his name. I know he had a platinum baby pacifier on a necklace if that helps."
He grinned. "Okay. One of the ladies with him helped us."
"Ah, I see you brought Gibbs. Anxious to see him in this one?"
"I know what he can do while chasing down someone," he noted dryly. "I've seen him do it plenty of times."
"What's this I heard you had to smack a starlette for bad manners?"
"She was rude. It's how I trained DiNozzo and all my other team members. Plus some of the Marines in my group. She needed the correction."
She laughed. "Have fun tonight, boys. We haven't seen your costar yet."
"I hope she's okay. The last time I saw her she had sniffles."
"I'm sure she'll be fine." She smiled and they walked on, letting others take their pictures. Tony presented their special tickets, getting a smile and making Gibbs buy his own popcorn and drink so no one would say it was a date. She smiled as the leading lady in the film came down. "Tara." She smiled at her. "I just saw Tony. He said you had the sniffles?"
"Last week." She grinned. "Did he drag Gibbs with him again?"
"He did. He even went shopping." They shared a grin. Sometimes Tony was just...Tony. "So, how do you think the movie turned out?"
"It was fun. I had a lot of fun doing this role. Tony had a lot of pointers about how to tackle people right when it came to that scene and other helpful insights."
"Gibbs said he saw him in action a lot."
"I bet. With some of the stories he told on the set? I'm sure he saw a lot when he was an officer." She looked down then back up. "Am I underdressed?"
"No, not in the least," she promised, giving her a hug. "They're already inside and so is your director."
"Thanks." She waved her dog's paw at her. "Say hi to Mary, Boogie."
The dog barked on cue.
"Awww." She patted the small head. "Hi, Boogie." The dog wagged his tail. "Go ahead on in. We're about to get the paying people." She laughed and headed in, so Mary got to interview the next one who wasn't in the movie, just there to watch it.
Gibbs looked down when the tiny dog barked at him, picking it up to look at. "Did you escape? I'm not a hydrant."
"Boogie," Tara complained, coming over to get him. "Sorry."
"It's okay. Dogs like me," he offered, handing her back. "Good work from what I saw."
"Thanks, Gibbs. Tony helped a lot with the action scenes." She smiled and went back to her seat, talking with her agent about upcoming roles while she petted her dog. About twenty minutes into the movie her dog got free again and she heard the bark back by Tony but no one brought her puppy back so he was apparently happy. She did hear Tony laugh at something, when it was a dramatic scene on the screen. So apparently her puppy was being cute. At the end she clapped. It had turned out well. The lights went up and she looked around. "Tony?"
"Yeah, Boogies' back here. She's loving on Gibbs' ear." That got a laugh from some of the others in the audience with them and he accepted congratulations from some of the other stars, gushing at a few who were much better than he was. One of them patted him on the shoulder for it. Then they were left with the cast and crew. Gibbs handed back the dog. "Boss, maybe you should get a beast. It'd give you something to do besides the boat."
"I wouldn't mind." He nodded politely at the director. "Good job."
"Thank you, Special Agent Gibbs." He smiled at Tony. "I think we have at least a minor success on our hands. So let's go be cheerful, children." They walked out and somehow Gibbs ended up with the dog again, making him shake his head. The reporters pounced and Gibbs had to hand it back but she kept coming back to him. The reporters ate it up and it was good publicity for the actress and Tony. Even if he did feel like an idiot. So the next day, Tony took him to the pound and he found a bigger dog, something he could run with. The German Sheppard mix was much better than some starlette's dog that fit in his palm. It could run with him when he got bored. Plus Tony got playing rights to it as well while he was with him.
Tony moped around the house, looking at Maria. "He went home."
"I heard. But you'll see him again in two days when you've got to go back for the trial."
"True." He went to find food, making her smack him. "Ow! What was that for!"
"Out of the kitchen. It's not meal time."
"I want to nibble!"
"Go watch a movie. I'll bring you popcorn and the cordless." She watched him go, shaking her head. "Either he's got it very bad or he's just bored." She made him some popcorn and put the butter he liked on it, taking it and the cordless phone to him. She even picked out one since he was still trying to decide. Then she sat him down in what had become his recliner, watching as he fell asleep to the old movie. She took the phone back. He'd never hear it while he napped. The popcorn was hers too apparently so she had a good snack.
Gibbs looked around his house then at his dog. "Go find a napping spot." He released the leash and the dog trotted around to sniff and get comfortable here at home. He found it later on his bed, taking up most of it. He shook his head. "I should've named you Tony." He went to the kitchen to fix dinner and had an instant friend as soon as he opened the refrigerator door. "Definitely should've named you DiNozzo." He handed him a treat and got back to work on his own dinner. The dog had dog food and he was immune to begging. He was immune to Tony's begging even. Abby came in and squealed, and his dog took off running for the back porch. "She's not that scary," he called after his dog.
"Sorry, Gibbs." She kissed him on the cheek. "Why are you home?"
"I wanted to come home for a few days before we go back for that trial."
"Oh." She nodded. "Can I puppysit?"
She smiled and got to work helping him cook. He gave her a few odd looks. "I'm bored and I miss my Mass Spec."
"Then go help the local office," he said dryly. "I did." She hugged him and went to call. He shook his head. Sometimes he did wonder how he had ended up here. The dog came back and nudged his leg with his nose, getting another treat. "No more." The dog sat and stared. He stared back. So the dog decided maybe Abby had a freer hand with the treats and went to help her call. He did find out what her nails could do for his itchy spots and moaned while she petted him.
She looked down. "No, that was Gibbs' new dog. He's loving the nails." She smiled and laughed at something the tech there said. "Well, technically I'm up with Gibbs at the moment but I can be in LA tomorrow." She beamed. "Sure, I can do that. Thank you! No, I'm having a missing my lab day." She smiled. "Good man. Let me know." She hung up and went back to petting the dog. He appreciated her and loved her.
So in the morning, Gibbs had to find the local pound around his house and get a new dog since his had abandoned him for Abby.
Tony looked over as Gibbs came off the plane after him, shrugging. "How's the dog?"
"Abby stole him so I had to get another one. I think she named him after you since he's a bed hog and a begging, treat stealer."
"We can't all be perfect, boss," he teased, heading to get their bags. He handed Gibbs his and headed off with him. "Same hotel?"
"Didn't you book those?"
Gibbs looked at him. "Got hit in the head again, DiNozzo?"
"No, boss, napped on the plane."
"Didn't I tell you to get that checked out?"
"I did! It's nothing. I was talking to Ducky most of last night."
"He showed up at your place?"
"No, he called." They walked out of the secure area and found FBI agents. "Morning, Fornell," he called, waving a hand. An agent stepped in front of them so he looked at the lead FBI agent. "Let me guess, you're our escort?"
"You got it in one," he said dryly. "There were threats made."
"Sheppard or my mother?"
"Neither. The defendant." His team walked them out. "We've already had your rooms checked."
"Thanks, Fornell," Gibbs said, glancing at him. "What threats were made?"
"The standard. He's going to kill you two so you can't testify. We already picked up McGee since he was up visiting his family." That got stereo nods. "So, how's Hollyweird?"
"Strange," Gibbs admitted. "I haven't had anyone ask me about my past lives yet."
"I gave her a dirty look before she could, boss," Tony said dryly, giving him a look. "He got to head smack a starlette," he offered. "She was being rude."
"I saw," he said with an evil smirk. "You're lucky she didn't file assault charges."
"Wouldn't have done her career any good," Tony told him with a small smirk. "Your rep and image is everything when you're in the business, Fornell. If you're smart that's always a thought in the back of your head whenever you leave the house. I got nagged for leaving the house in plaid pajama bottoms and a t-shirt at two in the morning for a midnight snack. Even though I only drove through somewhere." That got a snort. "Really, I did."
"He did. It was in today's paper," Gibbs agreed, shaking his head. "When are you flying to England?"
"Next month." He grinned as he got into the car. "Remake of an old English Lit novel." He got settled. "I'll even get to ride a horse."
"Wonderful," Gibbs sighed.
"I'll call most nights, Gibbs," he promised. "That way you don't get too lonely out there with the dog."
"Dog?" Fornell asked when he got in to drive. "What dog?"
"His second dog. Abby stole the first."
"She named it after him since it's a bed hog and a mooch," Gibbs agreed dryly. They took off to the laughter of the other agent. "He is. Never, ever be put into a situation where you have to share a bed with him unless you want to become a pillow."
Tony looked at him. "You could've slept on the floor."
"So can you next time, DiNozzo."
Fornell snickered at that. "Fortunately our budget means we can get separate rooms."
"We were with my sister when she was dying and there was only the one room," Tony told him quietly.
"Not your fault. Brain tumor." He shrugged. "She was at peace and our mother was in town." Gibbs rolled his eyes. "Then she won the award for overacting. Even the Razzies would've given her a special award for it."
"Speaking of, when do they come out?" Gibbs asked.
"Two weeks." He looked at him. "I'm not up for any, I hope. Unless this new one is that disliked by the public."
"It's doing modestly well," Gibbs reminded him.
"Better than we assumed. I thought it was nice my old boss in Philly said that 'yes, that's how you take down suspects for real' when he was asked. So did my boss in Peoria. OH!" He beamed at his boss. "I'm talking to the Criminal Justice program at UCLA when we get back," he said proudly.
Gibbs nodded, smirking at him. "Good. Give them the realistic viewpoint and make it funny."
"I do try." He grinned. "They said it wasn't often they get someone with knowledge and charisma to do the yearly talk. Brenda did it a few years ago and talked about me. So when they heard I'm taking a few classes in the film historian track they asked politely."
"Thanks, boss." He smiled at him. "You should see if they want you to. I know we have an ROTC unit but it think it's Army ROTC."
"As far as I know it is." That got a smile and they settled in to watch the city they had both lived in. "When did that go up?" he asked, pointing at the scaffolding around a monument.
"Last month," Fornell sighed. "It needs to be cleaned."
"Good luck and more power to 'em," Tony said. Gibbs nodded at that.
Maria looked up when Gibbs came in a few weeks after they had gotten back from DC. "Is Tony coming home early?"
"No. The director guy wanted to talk to me about the scripts."
"Oh." She smiled. "Go ahead up to your usual room and I'll get dinner, Gibbs."
"Thanks, Maria. How is he doing? He didn't call today."
"The last I heard he was all right but an old friend was at the local office out there so he was having dinner with her tonight."
"Hmm. Must be Cassie." He went to put his bag up and came back down. "Can I help? Oh, the dog's outside, I didn't think you'd mind."
"Of course I don't." She went to open the door, letting the dog in. "Good boy, Ranger." She closed the door and went back to the kitchen, the sheepdog following her. "Are you letting him roam the woods at home?"
"Yeah, he's been good so far. Scared off a hunter recently." She smiled at that. "I have deer apparently. I'll have to file for a hunting permit this year. It's been ages since I hunted." He petted his dog, getting a quiet woof and the dog went to investigate the pool area since it had a small fence around it. He washed his hands and came over to help. "I need someone to tell me where I'm going tomorrow."
"That's fine. I know where most of the offices would be," she promised. He handed over the address and she sat down to write out directions for him, earning a smile. They both heard the gate open and went to watch, seeing Tony coming in. "You're back early."
"My part got cut down. Instead of second leading guy I got one of the more minor characters when I got over there. Someone local had gotten free just in time," he said dryly.
"Isn't that breach of contract?" Gibbs asked.
"Yeah but if I sue it looks bad on me," he sighed. "Now, if it happens a second time I'm going to. I won't let it become a habit." He walked inside, looking at the dog. "Hey, Ranger." The dog submitted to his ear pets with a groan of pleasure. "Good boy. Go play." The dog went back to the pool area. Tony dropped his bags upstairs and came back down to call Martha from the kitchen. "It's me. I'm home. I'm assuming you got the email?" He smiled. "Thanks, dear." He hung up. "She's going to make sure it's quietly known and that I'll never work for him again." He came over to help chop. "I don't have more than a few shirts for laundry. I used the hotel's, Maria."
"Thank you, Tony."
"Welcome." He looked at the directions on the counter. "Hmm, the director." He got back to work with them.
Gibbs got the phone when it rang. "Gibbs." He listened. "Hi, Mary. No, he's back. He's chopping food. Ask him yourself." He handed over the phone.
Tony took it, cradling it between his shoulder and ear while he continued to chop. "What's going on now? No, Peter got done just in time to take over the role I had been promised so I got a very minor, background role instead." He smirked. "I'm not going to cry in public about it, Mary. You know that. It looks bad. Now, it had better never happen again and I'm not sure I'd ever work with him again. No, don't quote me. Thanks." He hung up and shook his head. "If she blows that up in the press I'll never hear the end of it."
"It happens now and then," Maria reminded him.
"It does. Usually when someone's favorite actor comes open for a project they had wanted to do but were unavailable for." His phone rang again. "DiNozzo." He listened. "Hey, Bob. What's up? No, Peter got free suddenly." He nodded. "That's what I figured. Sure, I can do that. Want me at the same time as Gibbs?" He smirked. "Thanks, man." He hung up. "They've gotten a green light. They're casting for a trial ep." Gibbs smiled and clapped him on the back. "Which means I've got a decent check coming in." Maria nodded behind her. "Really?" He kissed her on the cheek and wiped his hands off so he could look, smiling at it. "Very nice." He put it away and went back to work. "Has the one come from England yet?"
"Direct deposited according to Martha."
"Not when I checked this morning."
"We'll see tomorrow, when you go to cash that one," she promised. He nodded and got back to his chopping duties. The phone rung again and it was her turn. "DiNozzo residence." She smiled. "Tony, did you want to make a comment?"
"Sorry, he's not commenting at this time," she told him. She listened again. "How about the switch in London?"
"What was the first one about?"
"The new show."
"It's a tribute to the agents I worked with," he said loudly enough to be heard. "They deserve the recognition and maybe it'll help them on later cases. Even if they can't all be as scary as Gibbs without caffeine."
"DiNozzo!" Gibbs complained.
"You are, boss."
She laughed and listened. "That's what he said, yes." She smiled. "Anything about the switch in London?"
"I was a bit disappointed but it was still a good shoot," he admitted. "I know these things happen and I'll start complaining if it becomes a habit around my career."
She listened and nodded. "That's what he said. No, he's chopping tomatoes at the moment, young man."
"Is that Patty?" She nodded. "Tell him I said to tell the wife hi."
"He said to tell your wife hello for him," she said, making him grumble. "Apparently they're having a bit of a spat."
"It happens to all marriages," he agreed.
"Some more than others," Gibbs agreed.
She giggled. "Thank you, Patrick. I'll tell him. No, he's not pouting. He was very philosophical about it. He knows that it happens now and then. You behave too." She hung up.
"How do the reporters get your home number?" Gibbs asked. "I know it's unlisted."
"I worked with his wife when I was younger. So either she had it or he got it from Martha." They looked at each other. "Martha," they agreed in unison. Then Tony got back to work chopping. Maria took it from him and put it into the pot. "You only needed that one?"
"I've done the others. Go get your laundry for me, Tony." He nodded and went to do that. She rolled her eyes. "Sometimes he's still a teenager."
"At least he doesn't leave underwear and things lying around."
"True. I did teach him better than that." Tony gave her an odd look. "What?"
"Who called?" He held up the slip.
"It sounded like Abby but she was babbling too hard for me to understand. That's what it sounded like to me."
Gibbs took it and held it out at arm's length, looking at it. "The dog's gotten the neighbor's poodle pregnant and she's going to be a grandmother." He handed it back.
"I can do it in person but not when I can't hear it," Tony said. "That's a skill, boss." He went to put his things into the wash.
"I can do that!"
"You're cooking!" He came back out. "By the way, yours are in the dryer. On delicate since it looked like underwear and things." He walked off again and soon they heard piano music. Not happy music but it was music.
Gibbs and Maria shared a look, shaking their heads. At least he could retreat to that.
"You should've seen it when he broke his arm," she told him, shaking her head. "Six weeks without his piano. He was going insane. Bouncy, edgy, telling really horrible jokes."
"I saw that now and then on the team. Then he'd go out on a date."
"He never seems to do too much of that out here. I guess it's the press issue. He doesn't want them hounded or anything." Tony came out looking confused. "What?"
"What was on my piano that leaked? There's water spots."
"I was watering the plants. Didn't I get them all?"
"Maybe not. Is the roof leaking? Or were you doing it in the last little while since there's still liquid drops?"
"No...." They went to look.
Gibbs found a ladder and went up to look at the roof. "You've got a hole up here," he announced. "Looks like a bird." He came back down. "It's fairly easily fixed." Tony gave him one of those 'are you weird' looks. "I fixed the one at the cabin, DiNozzo."
"Thanks, boss. How much will it cost me to hire you to fix this one?"
"It's part of home ownership to fix it yourself, kid."
"Not if you can hire someone who can hammer in a nail straight. I got kicked off a Habitat for Humanity project for being unable to do *anything* right."
"Let's go to the home improvement store." Tony sighed and went to get the checks from the kitchen drawer, taking them down to his bank. They even took Gibbs' car since it had the better trunk and back seat for carrying big things. Gibbs shook his head when Tony went inside to deposit the money. "That boy is hopeless at some things."
Tony came back out much happier. "It did get direct deposited." He got in and handed over the package of money. "For whatever we need."
"You could use a new dryer too."
"Should I take out more?"
"No, DiNozzo." He headed for the nearest home improvement place, walking him inside. He even got a cart to push, which was nice of him. Gibbs found the section for roofing, going back that way. The salesman gave them an odd look. "He's got a hole. Looks like a bird."
"It happens to the best of us. Roofing shingles are the next aisle over, sir." That got a nod and he went that way. He found what he needed and got some, then a new piece of plywood for that section of the roof. Just in case. Some new tarpaper as well to go under the shingles. Then he let Tony look at the dryers.
Tony stared at one, calling Maria. "The boss said we needed a new dryer. Any particular brand? We're at the home place. I'm looking at rows and rows of them, Maria." He found the ones with the features she wanted, then nodded. "Okay, top or front?" She said something and he looked at those. "They're really expensive, but okay." He took a slip for the dryer and gave it to Gibbs. "She said so."
"I'm sure she did. Did she want you to replace them both?" Tony shrugged so he called her back. "Maria, is the washer that broken? Because the dryer's eight hundred and the set's only fourteen." He listened to her splutter. "Exactly." He looked around. "Just a normal dryer? Features?" He put that slip back and walked down the row, finding something more reasonable. "Kenmore?" He nodded and hung up, taking that slip. "That was a dream until she heard how bad it was." Tony nodded and they looked through that section in case they needed something else for the house. Tony found a coffeemaker that could launch space missions. "Your old one works just fine and it makes good coffee. You don't need to be able to hook your dish up to it. Coffee doesn't watch tv, DiNozzo." They found a few new lamps. A new rug for the room with the piano, though how they were going to get it under the piano he wasn't sure. He led him away from the other scary electronics, letting him look at grills. Tony was a guy, he should have a grill. He found one he petted, again it was almost Enterprise level of technology and Gibbs got him away from it and to something better and more useful. The other one didn't even have a burner externally. You could smoke meats in it but you couldn't do a pot of veggies. This one was better and more practical, even if it wasn't technical. It only had two knobs and a button. Tony gave him the begging look. "Practical."
"But it's prettier and it'll go better on the patio."
"DiNozzo!" he barked. Tony pouted and nodded. "If you don't have that burner, you can't do as much and you have to use the kitchen. Which means you're not near the guests you've got over."
"Point," he pouted. He pointed at one. "How about that one? It's even got an oven built in and a burner."
Gibbs looked then at him. "Just put in a kitchen outside!"
"I can do that on that corner we can't get plants to grow," he offered. "Put up an awning or something?"
Gibbs looked at him. "That's a major renovation, DiNozzo." Tony found the catalog and he put it into the cart with the lamps. Then he made him leave the store. Before things got really involved. He arranged for the dryer to be delivered the next day and drove Tony home to make him help him with the roof. Maria got handed the lamps with a bright Tony smile and then the rug got put into the proper room. Gibbs got him up onto the roof to help him, leaving Maria to mutter in peace about the boy. Because she had to be.
"That's why I don't let him do the furniture shopping," she called a few minutes later.
"I kept him from buying you an outdoor kitchen," Gibbs called back. "Plus the grill that was like a star ship and the coffeemaker from NASA."
"It even have the Star Trek symbol on it," Tony joked.
She went back into the kitchen shaking her head. The boy was sweet but sometimes he was pretty dumb.
Gibbs and Tony both looked at the director then at his choices for them. He liked the guy who was going to play him. He was a good actor. The one playing Kate looked just like her. Down to the smile. The guy playing McGee was joking around and a lot more like Tony than not. He'd seen him somewhere in Tony's DVD collections. The other one, the guy playing Tony? Well... He wasn't having a bad or a good feeling about him. He had no idea who he was. So he sat down to talk to his actor. He even showed him how to smack someone properly by hitting DiNozzo when he started talking about conquests and movies. "He does that at work too. All the time," he complained. Kate's actress came over to help them, getting another perspective on Kate. Gibbs finally looked at the director. "Couldn't find anyone to play Abby?"
"I'm not sure. Goth?"
Tony looked over. "You know Meridian Security?" He nodded. "Heard anyone talk about their scary goth consultant?" That got a nod and a grin. "That's Abby. Literally, I brought her out with me and McGee's working for the same people."
He smirked and called someone, taking it out of the office to get them in there.
Tony looked at his actor and beamed. "You can have however much access to me as you want. Especially since I'm writing this thing."
"Why?" he asked quietly. He pointed at Kate's actress. "A tribute?"
Tony nodded, looking more sober. "We lost her in the line of duty to a sniper," he agreed quietly. "Somewhere she's swearing at me for doing this but it's a good tribute to her."
"Good. What about McGee?"
"Babbling, blushing consultant and hacker buddy?"
"Oh, him!" He nodded and looked at the other guy. "Hey, Nicky, you know the guy who came out to wire your whole house system?"
"That's McGee," Gibbs agreed. That got a gape. "He went from shy computer guy to the more confident agent he is now. Only took me a year and a half of smacking him straight."
"Plus me teasing him a lot," Tony agreed happily. "Cyber McGeek even got our team watched for 'net sex at the office." Gibbs smacked him again. The actor tried it and he looked over. "Don't cup your hand as much." It got tried again. "That's it." That got a smirk. His phone rang and he looked at it. "Sorry, agent." He flipped it open. "I'm at the studio, Martha. What's up?" He listened. "I'd even be a dead body. What do they need me for?" He grinned. "Sure, send it to me. I don't mind. Whatever's good." He hung up. "I've got a part on one of the CSI shows," he said proudly. Gibbs patted him on the back. "Thanks, boss. Am I buying dinner?"
"No but you're getting lunch, DiNozzo. Maria said she wanted you far away from the house before you decided on more renovations."
"Okay," he said, giving him a sheepish look.
"He didn't get to do that while we were working together." That got a smile from the guy playing him and he could see the resemblance. "If you guys need us, just yell. I got to read the scripts, we all did." That got some smiles. He looked at Kate's actress. "You do look almost exactly like her."
"Good. So I can be a shrew to Tony?"
"Sure, when he's here."
"I meant ours."
"Now and then," he agreed. "It was like siblings after the first month. At least until she died and we got Ziva. Then it was a rivalry."
"She wanted my job, boss, of course it was."
"Point." He looked at her. "He's your annoying older brother. That's how they played. Nothing got either of them if the other was there, but at the office they were horrible. Tony often threw baskets at hers and McGee's trash cans. And missed. He kept the boring days lively and goofed off now and then but he was always working in the back of his head. No matter how immature he seemed at times. Or how many times we had to listen to him about his dates and conquests, or his days playing ball at Ohio State, or anything movie related." That got nods all around the room. Someone walked in and he blinked at the actress. "Like pigtails?"
"I'm okay with them." She came over. "Why?" Her voice and walk were a bit less bouncy than Abby's but she did look very close. Gibbs showed her a picture and she smiled. "I think I've got more tattoos than she does too. Cool." She put her hair up and Tony sent a picture of her when she was done to Abby, getting a squeal back and her calling. He just handed the phone over and she went to talk to her. It took her a few minutes but the babbling got more understandable.
The guy playing McGee smiled at Tony. "So, you asked for me?"
"He's a little bit goofy and there's some action. Besides I saw you on Buffy and I thought you were underused a lot."
"Thanks," he said with a grin. "McGee doesn't have a twin, right?"
"Not that I'm aware of. He doesn't really talk about his family of big brains. Boss, does McGee have any siblings?"
"Little sister that occasionally annoys him," he answered absently. "She's dating a biker."
"Okay." Nicholas smiled at Tony. "I would've went for yours but man! How often did you get shot?"
Tony thought back. "With Gibbs? It was more concussions but three grazes, two real ones. Ten concussions if I remember right. Oh, and a cause of the plague." The guys gaped at him. "Really."
"SWAK?" the woman playing Abby asked.
"Sealed with a kiss," Tony told her. "The envelope was." That got a nod and she went back to talking about it. He grinned. "I didn't even inflate my own part. I did inflate Kate's but she'd only blush and swat at me."
"Often," Gibbs agreed dryly. He shook his head, looking at her. "Feel free to smack him too. She and Tony both learned how to give a proper head smack." She smacked Tony, making the others laugh and her grin. "Good job."
Tony looked at him. "I'll get back at you later when I feed your dog barbeque pork again and give him the runs so you're out all night in the rain we're supposed to have."
"Do that and I won't get to finish the roof in time so your piano will get wet, DiNozzo."
"Did you play on the job?"
"No, I play at home for stress relief. I never mentioned it at work until Ziva got us trapped in a cargo carrier."
"She took over after Kate died."
"So was I on occasion but we were busily sanding down the bad sides. We almost had her at 'tolerable' unless she was driving." He looked at the guy playing Gibbs. "He drives like a maniac. Like he's always in pursuit. Around traffic, through traffic. One handed with his coffee in the other one. Sudden u-turns and all."
That got a smile. "You drink that much coffee, Gibbs?"
"He keeps Columbia's legit side in business some years," Tony said dryly. "Abby's thing is Caf-Pows. The big-gulp size." That got a shudder. "Seven, eight of them a day. Not counting overtime." That got nods. "Sometimes you just gotta get used to them." Gibbs smacked him again. "Ow! Meany! I'm being good."
"Abby said to hit him again," she called over. "She also said Tony's celebrating his thirty- sixth birthday."
"You are. She said you are. That way she can bake a cake."
"Okay, so I guess I am throwing a small party and you guys can come meet the others." That got some smiles. "It'll be fun. I live in some trees." That got more smiles. His phone went off again. "What, Martha?" He listened and nodded. "Sure. Whatever's fine. Like I said, I'll even take the dead body spot." He smiled. "Thanks." He hung up. "The first one fell through." He shrugged and got back to telling him stories, making them smile. All he could say about McGee was 'if Oz, Xander, and Willow had a technological child, it'd be him' and that was close enough apparently.
Tony walked onto the new set, smiling and shaking the lead actor/director's hand. "It's an honor, sir."
"Thank you." He smiled back. "So, I heard you wanted to come work with us?"
"I think I said I'd do anything, including being the new body of the week." That got a brighter smile. "Then again, I did the work for a few years."
"NCIS. I was a detective before then." That got a nod and a smile. "So, what am I doing? I only got the script last night."
"You accepted without a script?"
"Sure. You're a detective of the week."
"That works. How like me am I?"
"A bit more dour, somewhat jaded."
"So like me after my first year. That's fine, I can do that." That got a smile. "I've been working since I was nine. I'm only professional on the set. I'll be a squealing fangirl later." That got a louder laugh and he smiled and waved at the guys who stared. "Hi."
"I've heard you're doing one of our things."
"No, our team was more about scenes. We never analyzed. That was Abby. We were part detectives and part crime scene guys." He smiled at him. "And usually fully put upon by Gibbs for not being superhuman."
"So, you did the work?" the lead detective actor asked. Tony smiled and nodded. "How?"
"I'm also Tony DiNozzo." That got some understanding nods. "So, yeah, did it and wrote the new series that just got picked up," he said proudly. "It's a tribute to one of our fallen teammates."
"Understood. Maybe we'll be doing a crossover show like we did when we first got started," he offered. He shook his hand. "Let's show you wardrobe."
"Sure." He grinned and followed him. "By the way, I really like how you guys come off as humans. Some of the shows, not so human."
"True. We're all humans around here. Well, maybe except for Gary."
"He and Gibbs would get along great."
"You and Gibbs..."
"My former boss."
Tony nudged him with a grin. "Liking doing the work?"
"A lot. It's a great show. Great guys I work with." They ducked a golf ball. "Do you mind?"
Tony tossed it back. "At least you have a fun hobby."
"You play golf?"
"No. I sucked at geometry. I can't play golf or pool very well." That got a laugh. "Really. My first house had a dent in the wall from the geometry book. I can't plan shots. Miniature golf, I took many dates there." That got another laugh and he was let into Wardrobe. "Hi." They stared at him. "What?"
"What size are you, sir?"
"Thirty-eight." That got a nod and they found him something but he kept his own shirt since it was okay. He went over his lines while they made sure he looked okay. Then he went back out there, losing his smile. "Where am I?"
"Over there, with Eddie," Gary ordered. He went over there and they ran through it with the scripts then went over it without them.
Later on, someone from one of the trade magazines came over to talk to them. "So, I saw you had Bradley Nubbins here," she said.
"We did. He said he wanted to work on the show. He was very professional. Two takes and we had it perfectly in." He smiled at his coworkers. "No matter how often someone tried to make him laugh."
"He held it," Eddie promised. "Got right down to work after a few quick jokes and to see how close to himself we wanted him to be."
Gary nodded. "He was great to work with. Why?"
"The guy in Britain who switched him thought he was too charming and too joking for the role, that's why he supposedly had them switched."
Eddie shook his head. "That's the beauty of being a good actor. You don't bring yourself to the role too often." He walked off. "We done or we getting dinner on set tonight?"
"We're done for the day," he called. That got a smile and he looked at the reporter. "He was great to work with. You could tell he was experienced and had been doing this nearly forever."
"Thanks, guys." She walked off, going to file that report.
The actors on the set shook their heads. Sometimes directors were stupid and didn't understand. It's the reason so many actors became directors, so they could fix that problem.
Tony looked around his house, which Gibbs and Maria had made sure Abby couldn't decorate. It was a good party and all his new and old friends were here. Gibbs had already smacked Martha for being a pain in the ass, making her gasp but get over it with a look. With his luck, head smacks would become popular. Then again, he had heard rumors that some of the younger actors were looking at him like a cult leader - being Gibbs was the way to righteous life and many roles. He'd been told that there hadn't been a 'real man' icon in Hollywood like Gibbs since John Wayne. He saw Mary drive in and went out to stop her from getting out. "If you're here, you do not work," he ordered. "If you try to work or I hear one thing said about this birthday party, I'm never speaking to you again and I'll start passing around the rumors of the *other* reason we broke up," he said more quietly.
"Fine, I'll just be your ex." She slid out and walked inside with him, weathering the odd looks. "Believe it or not, I nearly married him," she said dryly, getting some laughs from Abby and the lady playing Kate.
"Seriously. She didn't want go to go Peoria with me," Tony agreed. Gibbs and Maria both nodded. "She knows she's not here to work, guys. Because otherwise I'll let Gibbs' cult have her."
Gibbs choked on that. "I have a what?"
The guy playing him shrugged a bit but smirked. "They think being like you is the way to get a lot of really good roles and a good life."
"Let them join the Marines."
"I've suggested that to a few. They're in the Reserves now." That got a small smile. "I heard Tony had something to do with it."
"No, no! Nope, not me, boss. All I said was that if he was less of a toy and more of a real man, like you, he would have better luck getting roles. That's all I said."
The smack echoed around the backyard.
"Man!" he complained.
"Suck it up, DiNozzo."
Tony looked at him. "I'm trying to be good."
"Try harder," McGee and Abby called together. Then they stuck their tongues out at each other.
Gibbs shook his head. "Children."
"Sorry, Gibbs." Abby bounced over and hugged him. "We love you anyway. Even Tony." She hugged Tony next and went back to helping Maria.
"See what you started by going to work for NCIS?" McGee teased. "You warped me, you warped Abby. You warped Kate and Ziva while we had them. And hey, you got Gibbs a cult." Gibbs reached over and smacked him too. "Sorry, boss." He grinned at him.
"Next time, I'm going to announce who I am up front so all I get is awe and 'this isn't a film, DiNozzo' like the old days." Gibbs gave him a look. "You would've said it at least once."
"I did say it at least once," he agreed dryly. He smacked him again. "Behave."
"Try harder before I spank you."
"Yes, daddy," he said with a smirk. He got a third smack and had to back down from the look on Gibbs' face that promised he'd get it later too.
"Oooh, I'm sensing birthday spankings!" Abby called, making a few people choke and others laugh. "Of course, Gibbs would never do it in public so I'll just have to log into the security cameras and tape it." Gibbs glared at her and she wilted. "Would you spank him in public?"
"I'm not like that, Abby, no matter how much that little mannerless creature thinks I am."
"Sorry, Gibbs, but you'd do really great at it."
"Sorry, boss." She blew a kiss and cackled at Tony. "You're still getting spankings." He took off running and she ran after him. "Come on! I can't spank you while you're in the tree!"
"That's the point," he called back. "No, Abby. Boss!"
"Down, Abby." She pouted and he gave her a look, making her behave again. "Thank you." He looked at Tony. "Down. Now." He came down out of the tree. "Now, go be a good host."
Tony shrugged at the other guests. "She's sorry. She's just like that and very entertaining on the long days in the lab."
The others smiled. It was a very entertaining family. There was no other way to describe it.