Tony looked up as his phone rang, grabbing it since he was at the filing cabinets. "DiNozzo." He listened then shook his head. "Uh-huh." He checked his watch. "You know it's early for April Fool's right?" He frowned then glared. "All right," he said calmly and quietly. "When and where?" He made a mental note. "That's fine." He hung up and went to get his things, including his gun. "Boss, having to take off early," he shouted, heading for the elevator.
"I know you're not leaving to see some woman," he called.
"No. Not exactly." He stabbed the button, looking at the person who walked in to join him, stopping the elevator. "I just got a call from someone who claimed I needed to rescue her from her grandfather because his wife has scary decorating tastes."
"And...why is this your problem?"
"It's my old childhood bed." Gibbs stared at him. "I have no damn clue," he admitted hotly. "This is the first I've heard of it, boss. Therefore I'm going to go figure out what the hell is going on before I lose my temper on McGee. I'll be back tomorrow unless I call and say I'm in jail for homicide."
"Call me later, tell me what's going on," he ordered. "If it's a social services matter, maybe we can have something worked out." Tony snorted at that. "I'm serious, DiNozzo."
"Do you think they'll actually go against him? With his money? He'll appease them by hiring a nanny and he'll taint them against me because of the job." He restarted the elevator. "I'll let you know what's going on when I get back. She thought I was still in Baltimore." The elevator ended and he walked out, heading for his car. "I'll call tonight, Gibbs."
"Do that." He pushed the button to go up to Abby's lab, watching him until the doors closed. He found her bopping along to the music and turned it off, making her pout at him. "Trace the call DiNozzo just got at his desk," he ordered calmly. "Tell me where it's from, and then search for any birth records with his name on them."
"He's got a kid?"
"One just called and complained her grandfather had horrible decorating taste. He had no idea."
"You got it." She pulled over her keyboard and got to work, starting with the phone records search while he waited. "She's calling from Baltimore, his old precinct." She got into the tapes of the call, all calls were automatically taped, and listened to it. Gibbs' face tightened up. "She's not that old."
"No, she can't be. Find her for me, Abby, let him know who he has to kill for not telling him."
She nodded and got back to work. She finally came up to no records on any birth records search with the last name DiNozzo since Tony was born and tried to trace his family history through the agencies they could search through. Then she grimaced and tapped her foot. "Hold on," she said finally, holding her forehead. "Sperm bank. He donated a few times." She got into that database at his amused look, finding it. "There were two withdrawals under his code," she said finally, looking at their boss. "Both to someone in Massachusetts. Which isn't where his family is from but pretty darned close. It was done in an doctor's office from what it states, but that's as far as I can get without finding the mother and it doesn't give the doctor or the mother's name."
"Search his financial records back that far, see if there were any large payments out." She nodded and went that route, finding a few. "What the hell?" he asked. He pulled out his cellphone, calling Tony. "Pull over, DiNozzo. I'm having Abby look for birth records and we came down to sperm bank withdrawals and payments to a few different women. Abby found six without trying, DiNozzo. How far out are you?" He nodded. "Fine. She's at your old precinct. She sounded pissed by the way." He hung up. "He's already on the interstate. Copy that and send it to his phone or whatever." He crossed his arms and stared as she found another one. "That sounds about the right time," he offered.
"Let's hope there's not more than one," Abby said quietly, glancing at him. "What's Tony going to do?"
"Besides kill his father? I'm not sure." He looked over as the lab's door opened and Mr. Palmer, Ducky's assistant, walked in with a few samples. "Thank you. Tell Ducky to come here please?" That got a nod and the younger man hurried off to do that. Ducky came in a few minutes later. "Ducky, look at this."
He looked at the information she had gathered. "Do we have birth certificates to match to anything?" he asked, seeing the family name at the top of the tree.
"I haven't found any but IVF does have a high rate of failure," Abby offered. "I can't get the mother's names without a warrant to the clinic probably," she told Gibbs, who nodded. "Tony would be easiest to get that."
"Possibly. This is going to be bad, Abby. Just do it on the side until we know more." He walked out and went back to his desk, waiting for the dreaded phone call. It'd only take an hour or so to get to Baltimore from DC. So by lunchtime someone was going to be higher on his shit list. And topping Tony's.
Tony walked into his old precinct, nodding at a few of the guys he remembered. "I got a call from someone claiming she's my daughter from here, Sarge, where is she stashed?"
"She looks just like you, DiNozzo. Didn't know you had kids."
"Me either," he said grimly. "I'm about to fix that though. Where?"
"Cap's office. He's pumping her for information since she said she's a runaway."
"They're not to call my folks," he ordered calmly, heading up that way. "If they do, she's no longer here. Someone in a suit and tie took her away."
"Sure," he called after him. He looked at the guy next to him. "He used ta be one of our detectives."
"Wonderful. What's going on?"
"If he don't know, I don't know." He shrugged and got back to work.
Tony tapped on the door to the office, giving the man standing there a bland look. "Morning to you too. Thank you for letting her use the phone." He walked inside and looked at the young lady sitting there. She was scratched and a bit bruised, looked like she hadn't had a bath in two days. "Hi," he said quietly, sitting next to her. "Cap?" The older guy left them alone. "I have no idea where you came from."
"Your father never gave you that speech? He's already given it to me."
He smirked at that. "I'm already good on the mechanics, but I have no idea who your mother is or that you existed until you called. What's your name?"
"Hannah." She shifted and looked into his eyes. "Grandfather said this was the least you could do and he paid my mother to have me, then sent her away," she said calmly and quietly. "He called her a whore and a slut now and then for sleeping with ice cubes, according to him. I don't know why. All I know is that I wanted to do something and he said I was worthless and like you, so I thought maybe I should look you up so I can see what mold I'm chipping out of."
He smiled and nodded. "Okay. We can work on that. Technically, I live in DC right now. It'd be safer and further away from him if I take you back to work with me." She nodded at that. "Do you need to go to the bathroom or anything first? It's a short trip."
"Please. I could use a shower and stuff too."
"You can shower back at my job. We've got a pretty decent gym and I've got a big t-shirt and stuff you can borrow. Plus Abby's only a bit bigger than you." He stroked her cheek. "How old are you, Hannah?"
He nodded. "Okay. We'll do that. Let me show you where the bathroom is. Then I'll lead you down to the car and we'll disappear. He might call my work but I've got people there to cover for me." She nodded. "And we'll look around to see what we can do to stop you from going back."
"He'll come for me."
"He did that to me once or twice," he agreed. "Doesn't mean I'm going to be nice about it." She gave him the mirror of his evil smirk. "Okay, let's go." She nodded and he led her to the bathroom, then down to the car when she was done and cleaned up a bit more. "How did you get to Baltimore?"
"Bus. I saved up my allowance since I wasn't allowed out." She looked at him. "Did you have to sleep in that nasty bed too?"
"Yup. I still shudder at gilt tassels." She giggled and he smiled, letting her into the car. "Come on, let's go back to NCIS." He walked around to get in, glancing around. He saw someone watching him and glared, making them back off. He walked over there. "Who're you?" he demanded.
"Internal Affairs. You?"
"Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo, picking up a witness."
"Oh, that's fine then, Special Agent DiNozzo. Do you have paperwork?"
"I don't need it." He walked off, going back to his car. He called his boss. "Boss, me. Someone from IAD here just tried to intimidate me when I brought Hannah to the car. No, we're on our way back right now." He looked at her. "She's about as tiny as Abby, and she's been on a bus for the last few days. I'm going to let her get cleaned up first. Can you get Abby to pull my spare t-shirt out and maybe lend her something too tiny from her own closet? Thank you." He hung up and started the car, heading back to work. "It's going to be just over an hour, Hannah," he said calmly. "You'll like my coworkers."
"Are they like us?"
"No. Well, Father would probably approve of McGee, he's a giant computer brain, but otherwise no. Abby's a goth. Ducky's a nice older guy who is our ME. Gibbs is a former Marine."
"Dark hair, loud music, black clothes?"
"Oh, freak," she said, nodding. "I'm not allowed to associate."
He glanced at her. "Abby is one of the nicest people in the world, Hannah, and she's not a freak. There's more people who think Father is one than are actual freaks. Abby is a very sweet person who's helped me through some very bad cases. She's also a genius and I'll expect you to at least be respectful to my coworkers, even if you don't understand."
"Don't...sir me," he said quietly but firmly. "Tony's fine."
"Tony?" He nodded. "Grandfather only called you Antonio."
"Father needs his ass shot," he assured her firmly. "Just forget most everything he ever told you and you'll be fine. The real world and Father's expectations are vastly different. Got it?" She nodded at that, sitting up straighter. "Don't do that either. Be yourself. I got sent away from the family for wanting to be a cop and play football. You can be whoever you really are and I won't care."
"Are you sure?"
"Very." He got onto the interstate, noticing the car following them. "Huh, FBI," he said dryly, calling his boss. "Boss, get Fornell onto whichever field agent is following me please? Dark hair, looks like Mulder with bomb scars. Growling at me for speeding up. Thanks." He hung up and sped up more, which got him pulled over but the agent had to keep going. He smiled and pulled his credentials. "I'm bringing a witness back to work, officer."
"Agent DiNozzo. Was there a desperate reason for speeding that way?"
"We were being followed," Hannah told him. "By the stupid suit guy that my Grandfather hired to steal me back."
"All right." He saw Tony's look and gave him a quizzical look. "The truth?"
"Quite possibly. We're talking on the way back to headquarters." He gave him his most winning smile. "I'll gladly take the ticket, officer. It's a fair pop." The officer smiled and wrote it out, handing it over. "Have a good day." He took everything back and rolled up the windows, pulling out at a more sedate speed. "You think he did?"
"Yup. The captain checked, there's no missing person's case filed on me."
"Interesting. That does speak of him wanting it done quietly. Well, if they shoot at us, hunch down as much as you can, all right?" She nodded and he sped up, going just over the speed limit. By now the agent had been found and stopped but he wasn't going to put it past anyone to have more than one after her. Especially with his father and mother involved.
Gibbs was waiting in the elevator when Tony came up to it with his daughter, nodding at her. "Hannah. DiNozzo."
"I go by Fletcher," she told him, looking at him. "Which one are you?"
"I'm Gibbs, his boss." He shook her hand. "Abby ran out to get you something to put on so you can take a shower in the locker room. We're heading there first, then we'll go sit in an office and talk while you eat lunch."
"If you want." She looked at Tony, who nodded.
"I trust him with my life," he assured her. She nodded and let Gibbs push the button on the elevator. "So, boss, anything?"
"Hannah, do you know your mother's name?"
"Fletcher?" Tony asked. She grimaced and nodded. "Listen," he said, looking down at her. "I know things are different and odd, but just go with the flow for now. We'll see what we can do after you've had a shower and a meal. Okay?" She nodded and lifted her chin a bit higher. "Good girl," he said quietly, patting her on the head. They came out in the gym level and he walked her to the locker rooms. "Abby, this is Hannah; Hannah, this is Abby, a very good friend."
She waved silently. Abby grinned. "I know, I'm not the usual sort you're used to. I get that a lot," she shared with a grin.
"Grandfather said people like you were freaks but Antonio said you're not," she said honestly, tipping her head off to the side a bit.
"Well, I'm not, but I consider people who refuse to see other ways of life as valid to be freaks."
Hannah smirked at her. "Good answer, Abby. What did you get me to wear?" she asked, taking her hand and letting her walk her into the locker room. "Stay," she ordered when Tony tried to follow. "I'm a girl, you're not." She gave him her most regal look, earning a smirk. "Thank you." She walked off with Abby. "Is it black? I only get to wear black blazers."
The door closed and Tony turned and hit the wall where she couldn't hear it land. "My mother gave me that same look when she kicked me out," he shared. He boss clapped him on the back so he looked at him. "Can I go search her background?"
"Go. Abby's already got it pulled up." He pulled off his earbud. Tony smirked at him. "Saves time. Go see what she and McGee pulled up." He nodded, heading that way. He waited against the wall, glaring at anyone who came near him. At least until the director came. "Jen."
"What's going on?"
"A young girl called DiNozzo today and asked to be saved from his father. She's supposed to be his daughter. We're figuring that out and seeing if it's a valid problem."
"And the reason you're lurking outside the girls' locker area?"
"She's taking a shower."
"Ah." She nodded. "How did she get to DC?"
"Baltimore and by bus," Tony said as he came back, handing over a printout. "Birth certificate with my father's name on it. Two calls to Social Services about her attitude showing signs of abuse and neglect. New nannies were given over as the cure. Mother was paid off and then disappeared. No missing person's report or death certificate but she's no longer listed in any driver's licence database in this country. McGee's digging deeper for the mother." He looked at the director. "Sorry, boss. If this is true, I'm going to have to take some personal time for court issues and the like." The door opened and Abby came out with Hannah. "Hannah, this is my director, Director Sheppard."
"Charmed," she said, holding out her hand.
The director smiled and shook it properly. "I'm just as pleased to meet you, Miss Fletcher. I hope that this can be worked out quickly so you have some peace of mind."
"I just don't want to go back to that horrible room and the bitchy woman who keeps trying to make me perfect and inhuman." She looked at Tony. "I was always told it was faulty DNA from my paternal donor that made me less than admirable."
He shrugged. "I'm happy with myself, Hannah. If he's not, that's his narrow viewpoint."
"I'll think on that." She looked at Gibbs. "You said we were talking about this situation?"
He nodded. "I did. McGee get lunch yet, DiNozzo?"
"Not yet, boss. He wanted to know if she was a vegetarian or not."
"No, I'm a firm carnivore," she assured him, looking at the director. "Are you aiding in this interrogation, ma'am?"
"No, I leave all interrogations to Agent Gibbs. He's very good when necessary at finding the smallest details with the tiniest of clues."
"Good. Then I won't have to say too much." She smiled at Gibbs. Then at Abby. "Thank you for your help, Abby."
"You're welcome, Hannah," she said with a bright smile. "I'll be in the lab if Gibbs needs me to help with anything else. I don't expect him to understand much about being a girl."
"I'd hope not, unless he's one of those odd and wrong people who had an operation?" Gibbs shook his head. "Then that's good then. Grandmother would throw a fit if I so much as saw one of them."
"Your grandmother needs the...." Tony took a deep breath. "Never mind, that was an uncharitable thought," he said, taking her hand. "Boss, which room?"
"The meeting room upstairs, Agent DiNozzo," the director ordered. "That way it's more comfortable and has a bathroom nearby." He nodded, taking her to the elevator to go that way. She looked at Gibbs. "Jethro, can you handle that opinionated little one?"
"DiNozzo was raised the same way and look how he turned out," Abby pointed out. "Anything on her background, Gibbs?" He handed over the sheet. "Way to go, McGee," she said happily. "I'm going to find more." She headed that way.
Gibbs looked at the director. "We're on downtime anyway," he noted.
"Thankfully. Will he be able to house her?"
"I'm sure we can figure that out as well." He headed to the meeting area, running into McGee, who was bringing food. "Good job."
"Thank you, boss. I was listening while she was talking. If she's nine and spouting that strong of views, is that counted as abuse?"
"Borderline, but I think so." He took the food. "Go help Abby." He nodded and took his back, heading back to the lab while Gibbs went up to the meeting area. He tapped before walking in, putting the bags on the table. "McGee just got back." He sat across from her, then got up and got a tape recorder, putting it in front of her. "Okay. Go ahead and dig in, we'll talk during the meal."
"Idle chitchat and socially polite talk?" she asked.
"No, I don't do polite," he told her. She smirked at that and grabbed a burger. Tony switched with her and she looked at him. "DiNozzo."
"This one is mine, it's got barbeque sauce," he said, showing the marks on it.
"What's barbeque sauce?" she asked. He held out his burger so she ran a finger through the dripping sauce so she could taste it. "That's odd. What type of people eat that?"
"A lot of different types. It's middle of the country stuff," he told her. "Midwest." He took a bite and put his feet up into a spare chair. "Eat, Hannah." She dug in and chewed slowly and consciously. "Eat like a normal human," he ordered suddenly. "Like I said, he's not coming in without me shooting him." She relaxed and went back to eating, this time eating like a normal kid. "Thank you." He looked at Gibbs, who shrugged subtly. "Hey, Hannah, tell me where you're going to school?"
"St. Peter's School for Girls. I hate the uniforms. Black blazer with blue shirt and pants. I look menial and the blazer itches."
"I went to their brother school," he offered. She smiled and nodded. "He told you?"
"Yup. I mean yes, he told me last year, Antonio."
"Tony," he ordered calmly.
"Sorry, Tony. Are you sure it shouldn't be Father?"
"Not yet. Not until we're both comfortable with it," he offered gently. She nodded, sitting up straight and taking another bite. "When you've swallowed, tell him what you're taking. Gibbs, go ahead and start that." Gibbs hit the record button. "Tell him what your usual day is like."
"Yes, Tony." She cleared her throat. "I get up at six when my nanny comes in and forces me to get up and bathe, then clean my room. I eat breakfast with Grandfather, Grandmother never gets up that early, and then I'm driven to school by my nanny, then once I'm there I usually eat something like a danish at the morning tables since it's so early. Once I'm done I go to math, English, French, and then lunch, then PE, Science, and History this term, Agent Gibbs."
He nodded. "Then what?"
"Then I'm picked up by Nanny right after school so I have no time to get involved in after- school activities, because only menial and lesser children participate in those, and then I'm driven home, where I do my homework. Grandmother occasionally helps, though she isn't very much help, and then Nanny makes me clean up and we have dinner with Grandmother and Grandfather, but of course Nanny eats in the kitchen with the rest of the staff. Then I'm allowed an hour of the local NPR radio station while I do any remaining homework or I work on any of the special projects I'm assigned by Grandfather before I go to bed at nine in the horribly over-decorated and gaudy bed with candelabra scattered around my room."
He blinked. "What sort of special projects?"
"Sometimes I'm gauging the benefits of certain companies to see if I want to buy their stock, sometimes I'm gauging it to see if I want to buy the company. Recently I've been given a make-believe budget and told I was to manage it and handle all the stock and purchasing for the pretend company I run. Right now I'm going through a rough spot. The company's profits are down from our manufacturing sector but up from our stock and bond dividends. Grandfather said it showed wrong-thinking and was obviously a flaw passed on from my paternal donor. I asked him if that meant his was warped when he donated and he huffed off after saying a few very mean words about him." She glanced at Tony then back at him, staring into his eyes. "They really don't give a damn about me."
"And on the way here, tell him about the guy who was following us," Tony ordered calmly, finishing his burger and taking a drink of his soda. She looked at him. "Go ahead, I saw you looking."
"My job is to observe things, Hannah."
"Then why didn't you know about me?"
"Because no one told me there was a chance of you coming to be. The sperm bank that had my seed told me no one wanted it and they were destroying it last year."
"Oh." She grimaced. "No one told you about me?" He shook his head. "But Grandfather said you knew and didn't care."
"I don't talk to my father and he never told me. I never met your mother that I know of. I never dated her. We were never together to make you. I had no idea you were alive or even possible. If I had, you'd have never seen that gaudy bed, never had a nanny, and sure as hell would be acting like a normal child instead of a young princess in front of some servants."
"I'm not," she said quietly.
"Not quite," Gibbs assured her. He shot a glare at Tony. "Calm down."
"Sorry, boss." He sat up and looked at her. "Since I didn't know about you, I have no preconceived notions about who you are, how you should behave, or what's proper for you. You don't have to act or anything."
"But Grandfather said this is how proper people act."
"Do you see me and Gibbs acting that way? Or Abby?"
"No," she said quietly, looking confused. "But that's not right. He said only menial and lesser peoples were like that."
Tony sighed and crossed his hands on the table, leaning his chin on them while he stared at her. "Hannah, my father has a flaw in his mind that makes him see someone as lesser. The only lesser people in the world are those who hurt people for and games. Everyone else is supposed to be equal. The only menial people are those people who have really nasty jobs cleaning things and working in fast food. Unfortunately that's because they don't often get a good enough education or other things got in the way of them finding a better life. That's not a *choice* someone makes."
"So, let's get this straight now, there's no such thing as a lesser person unless it's a murderer, a child molester, or a rapist, okay?"
"Okay. I can accept that viewpoint as being valid."
He smiled and she relaxed. "Good. Now, relax. We're not going to eat you. Gibbs can growl and be as mean as necessary but he's not going to be that way with you." She smiled at that. "What we're doing is asking you about things that might mean that my father, your grandfather, is treating you badly. You're more than old and smart enough to know what could count for that, right?"
"I am. Is him refusing to let me have a dog one?"
"Only sometimes," Gibbs asked. "Why couldn't you have a dog?"
"Because they're shedding beasts, unfit for me to play with, and it would teach me to care for things that were lesser and dirty."
"You mean it'd make you care about something?" Tony asked.
She nodded. "Basically. Grandmother went off on the dirty factor, not that I mind. I got some riding lessons out of it but I had to quit when I got scared because I was obviously not ready to be around anything or anyone outside the family because I showed fear."
Gibbs kept himself from turning off the tape recorder. "Everyone feels fear now and then."
"Yes, but we're not supposed to show it," she told him firmly. "Tony can tell you about that. Showing fear means that you're going to be counted as a lesser being, even if you're not, because only lesser beings show fear and let it rule them."
"She's right," Tony said quietly. Someone knocked on the door. "Go away!"
"Can't," McGee said, walking in and closing the door very quickly, leaning on it. "There's an FBI agent here claiming you kidnaped her."
"I made my way to Baltimore since that's the last place I knew he was," she assured him firmly, going back to her princess act. She stood up. "Show me to this plebeian being." He stared. "Now. Please." He looked at Gibbs, who nodded and turned off the tape recorder so they could follow. She walked down the stairs, one hand on the railing lightly, mostly for show, until she got to the bottom level, then she walked over to where the agents were waiting. She stared at one, then at the other, moving toward the older one. "I was not kidnaped." He opened his mouth and she glared, making him back down. "I left my house to find my biological father, who apparently had no idea I was living. You may tell my Grandfather I was very safe when I took Greyhound. When I got to Baltimore I asked the nice transit officer to take me to the proper precinct that he was listed as being part of, and from there I asked for the highest officer to talk to so I could find him. He thoughtfully gave me a soda and let me call my biological father, who drove up to pick me up and then brought me back here. Where he was nice enough to allow me to shower and eat before speaking to me about what was going on and who I was. Now, please report that to my grandfather before I'm forced to talk to your supervisor and make your lives a living hell and your next posting be in the Arctic Circle," she finished coolly.
The agent snickered. "You're a little brat and you're coming with us."
She knocked his hand away. "I did not give you permission to touch me." She saw someone else come off the elevator then stomped on the guy's foot, hitting him in the stomach. "You do not touch me, you lesser, menial creature! You have no right to touch me." She stomped over to the older agent, who she knew. "Special Agent Fornell, arrest these imbeciles for *daring* to touch me!" she ordered.
"I'd rather send them to the Arctic Circle," he said dryly. "Miss Fletcher."
"I left. I will not stand for being treated that way and he obviously lied to me because my father said he had no idea I was in existence or that Amanda had been until she died."
Fornell nodded. "Had I known he didn't know, I'd have told him," he assured her quietly. He looked at Gibbs. "Jethro, we need to talk. The usual spot?"
"Meeting room upstairs, now. Cuff your bastards there."
"Sit!" Fornell ordered and they sat, looking very attentive. "I'll trust you to stay with your father for the moment," he ordered calmly. She nodded at that.
"We're going to talk too," Tony assured him coldly. He handed over a CD. "What's this?"
"A file you should have seen long ago, and if I knew you didn't know, I would have given it to you when I met you." He followed Jethro up the stairs and into the meeting room, spotting the tape recorder. He rewound it by a few minutes and listened, then looked at him. "That's fairly light. She's the last one. One died in a car crash with her nanny. One died of a mysterious illness. He paid a doctor to implant them. I really didn't know he didn't know."
"Okay, anything we can use to get her away from him?"
"Much. That file is circumstantial but more than enough to remove her to DiNozzo's care. Then they'd go to court to get her back. Money against his job."
"Which is what he said would happen," Gibbs agreed.
"Small glitch in that problem. He's dying. She's not a match. DiNozzo himself is." Gibbs' face hardened. "You can blackmail him." He pointed at the door. "By the way, she's the less evil one. Amanda had all the hallmarks of being like that kid in the books who could take over the world." He smirked at him. "Good luck getting her calmed down."
"He's already trying to break her of the 'lesser being' problem."
"Good luck. Both grandparents are on that kick now and so's the school." He smirked at him. "She needs a good parent with a lot of patience and it'll take you too. She's used to that feeling of steel around her throat. He's got her on a very tight leash."
Tony stuck his head in. "Why does her nanny remind me of Frau from Austin Powers?"
"Because she's about as nazi," Fornell admitted. "Frau was nicer."
"Have I seen this movie?" Gibbs asked.
"No, boss." He withdrew and hurried back down there, glaring at the agent who was talking to his daughter. "Want me to shoot him for you, Hannah?"
"No thank you, Father. I think I can hurt him quite well on my own." She pointed at his phone. "May I?"
"When Fornell gets back down here."
"Of course." She sat down, staring down the agents until they looked away. She smiled at Abby as she came in with an older man. "Hello, Abby. Did you come up to join in on the torture of these two DNA-challenged beings that recently climbed out of the primordial ooze?"
"No, I leave torture to Gibbs and Ziva." She smiled at her, patting her on the head. "I brought Ducky." She pointed at him. "Hannah Fletcher, this is Doctor Donald Mallard, better known as Ducky. Ducky, this is Hannah, who is Tony's daughter." She held up a needle. "I'm also going to draw blood to make sure you're all right and everything if that's all right."
"That would be fine." She rolled up her shirt sleeve and looked at Ducky, only wincing a bit. "What sort of doctor are you, Doctor Mallard?"
"I'm a Medical Examiner." He pulled a chair over and sat in front of her. "I let the dead tell me why and how they died."
"Ah. Then you won't be seeing me for many years, but I may have some business for you when my grandfather croaks relatively soon."
He smiled. "I do hope that you'd never end up on my table at all, young lady, and that you live a long, natural, and exciting life."
"I would like some excitement," she agreed, sounding happy. "It was *thrilling* getting on that bus. I had only been to the airport and on business trips with Grandfather, but the bus went many other places and there was a whole slew of people I had no idea actually existed. I thought my Grandmother was sneering at people she made up."
"No, there are many types of people in the world and you should not sneer at them," he said gently, patting her on the hand.
She frowned at him. "You touched me. No one ever touches me." She noticed her father had just snapped his pen. "Are you all right, Tony?"
"I'm fine, dear, and it's normal to get hugs and things. I'm going to do my best to make sure that you're used to normal things, like hugs."
"All right. What's a hug?" Ducky enfolded her in his arms, making her stiffen. "What are you doing?" she asked, her voice squeaky.
"Hugging you," he told her. "Just relax." He gave her a gentle squeeze, then sat her back in her chair. "That's a hug."
"Oh. Why do people enjoy that?" She noticed a new woman coming in and stared at her. "Is she one of the bad sort?"
"No," Abby assured her. "That's Ziva, she works with us. Ziva, this is Hannah Fletcher, Tony's daughter."
"Hello." She shook her hand.
"It's a pleasure to meet you," she said, giving her a firm, yet polite handshake. "Are you an agent as well?"
"I am, but I trained in Israel. Do you know where that is?"
"Yes, and I've studied the socio-political ramifications of the occupation of the Gaza strip recently. Do you see any end in sight for the turmoil?"
She blinked. "Not at the moment," she admitted calmly. "I wish there were."
"We all wish for peace."
"It's a wise woman who knows what to do to bring more to the world," Ducky cautioned her.
"I didn't mean to insult you, ma'am, or make you uncomfortable. Please accept my apologies."
"Of course." She smiled at her. "I wouldn't have expected Tony's daughter to be as smart as you."
"Really? Considering his grades during his tenure at home, I'm shocked at that." Tony gave her a long stare. "I did snoop, sorry, Tony."
"Don't spread that around. No one here knows about my former education."
He grinned. "Don't sir me, kid. Or Gibbs, he hates being called sir. Boss, Gibbs, or hey you is better than sir for him."
Abby smiled and patted her on the head. "That's what you call when you don't know someone's name but you want to get their attention."
"Ah. I see." She nodded at that and looked at Ducky. "I have the feeling you grew up in a fashion similar to how myself and Tony were raised?"
"Indeed. I attended Eton."
"Ah, a wonderful school. I considered asking to go over to England for my secondary education but Grandfather said it wasn't safe to travel at the time when I suggested we start looking that far ahead. Then he said I'd be attending Priori Academy."
"Over my dead body," Tony said firmly, staring at her again. She smirked a bit at that and tipped her head in acknowledgment. "Abby, please come take my phone away before I call someone," he ground out. She came over and unhooked his cellphone from his belt and moved his desk phone further away. "Thank you." He got back to work on what he was reading. Then he glared at Fornell when he came down. "I want to talk to you," he said with a cold smirk.
"If I had known you didn't know, I'd have told you when I first met you, DiNozzo."
"You couldn't ask to make sure I knew?"
"I couldn't find a way of doing it subtly. How does one ask how your child, which your parents were raising, is doing?"
Tony growled and stood up. "Sit," Gibbs ordered. Tony sat and clasped his hands on the desk. "He didn't know you didn't know, Tony. I didn't know it at all. It never showed up in your background."
"Yes, well, we had to dig a bit deeply to find anything about this charming young lass," Ducky noted, standing up. "Jethro, I'm going to help Abigail run those tests to make sure she's healthy and all that."
"Plus a DNA comparison or did you take some hair that I shed in the shower?" Hannah asked.
"No, I already took hair for that," Abby assured her with a grin. "We'll know for sure in a few hours."
"You're welcome." She walked Ducky back down there, Tony handing Ducky the CD he had been looking at once he had downloaded the contents to his computer.
"DiNozzo, go throw a fit in the garage," Gibbs ordered.
"I can't do that yet, boss. I'd rather give it to the person who deserves it. I'm sure he'll be here soon since his lackeys have failed." He glared at the agents, and they shifted away from him. "Permission....."
"Denied, you may not hurt them, no matter what you want to do," Gibbs said firmly. "That's Fornell's fun and we can't play in his sandbox yet." He glared at him. "But I will expect an invitation soon."
"Gladly. I don't want to deal with his father."
Hannah coughed. "I wanted to call someone, Agent Fornell, may I? Tony said I had to wait until you got down here."
He handed her his cellphone. "Every number you could ever need is in there." He pulled out a chair and smiled at her, waving a hand. "Go ahead, my dear. I don't think Jethro there understands just how you've been trained."
She smiled evilly and got into the phone book, finding a number he wanted. "Uncle Evan? No, this is Hannah Fletcher DiNozzo. Please. Thank you, Miss Hilary." Jethro stiffened at that name. There was only one combination of an important Evan with a secretary named Hilary that he knew of. Fornell nodded that he was right in his assumption, smirking just a bit evilly himself. "Uncle Evan? No, I'm fine. I couldn't *stand* it anymore so I left. He told his lackeys at the FBI I was kidnaped but Agent Fornell is here to take care of that. Did you know my Grandfather hadn't told my father about me or the others? Yes, oh of course, take his call, Uncle Evan. Let Uncle George know I'm perfectly all right and right where I belong, with my father. Who is quite the man from what I'm seeing. Even Agent Fornell seems to appreciate him. Why thank you, Uncle Evan," she said with a happy smile. "I'm not sure yet if I'm staying with him or not but I'll certainly let him know that you've offered to let me stay with you this evening if he has to arrange a room for me. Of course, and kisses to Maggie and the puppy as well, Uncle Evan. Thank you. Should I call Auntie Marie or anyone else? Of course." She smiled. "Love you too. See you soon, dear."
She hung up and called the other number she found. "Aunt Marie please. Yes, I know she's a busy woman," she said blandly. "Tell her this is Hannah Fletcher DiNozzo and it's quite important. I need her to help me since I've run away from the horrible bastard, and repeat it that way please, Miss Georgette." She tapped a foot a few times. "I'm sorry to bother you, Auntie Marie. No, I'm with my father actually. No, but apparently Grandfather lied about a great many things. He didn't know." She looked at her father, then at Gibbs, then at Fornell. "No, I'm quite sure he didn't know. Agent Fornell said he wasn't aware my father didn't know about any of us and just handed him the information packet your office has. Of course! No, some lackeys he sent but Agent Fornell has agreed that they should need ice and snow protection for their soon to be reddened asses after you spank them for me. No, I'm quite fine where I am, Auntie Marie. I left of my own free will. Yes, and did you know that there's no such thing as a lesser being?" she asked sarcastically. "My father seems to think so." She smirked at Fornell. "Of course, Auntie. Here you go." She handed it over. "Aunt Marie."
Fornell sighed and stood up. "Ma'am," he said respectfully. "No, ma'am, she took a greyhound away from there and headed to Baltimore because that's the last place she knew Agent DiNozzo to be. Yes, that one on Gibbs' team. Yes, him. He had *no* idea. He's already threatened my life a few times for not telling him actually." He smirked at the girl. "No, she called her Uncle Evan as well."
"The SecNav?" Gibbs asked quietly. She nodded. "You know him?"
"I've had him over for tea a few times. Grandmother thought it was quite appropriate that I know him and his grandchildren; she desperately wanted me to fall in love with someone like his youngest grandson."
"Oh." He sat back and looked at DiNozzo, who was seething. "Calm down," he ordered.
"Fuck calm," he mouthed, glaring at him. He glared at Fornell. "May I?" He took the phone. "Ma'am. Yes, this is. I had no idea," he ground out. "And now that I do, please congratulate my father on being a grandfather and assure him that I'm taking charge of my daughter's life and her education since he's so far turned her into some little pod person who didn't even know what a hug was. And you can quote me on that." He hung up and looked at his daughter. "Anyone else you want to call locally?"
"No, I'm sure Uncle Evan will make sure the warrant for your arrest for taking and helping me is gone; Auntie Marie works at the CIA so I'm sure I'll be covered there as well. Did you know she raises Siamese kittens and she's promised I could have one whenever Grandmother relents?"
"I didn't, but when I move somewhere with more rooms we'll talk about a pet."
She smiled and bounced a bit, then schooled her features and nodded. "Thank you, Tony."
"Bounce and be happy, kid, it's normal," Gibbs assured her. "Emotions can be a good thing as long as they don't rule your life. You can be happy and sad and all that and even show it." She gave him an odd look. "Really."
"It took me two years to undo that training, boss, drop it," Tony assured him. He looked at his daughter. "I do need to move somewhere bigger but I can arrange that later this evening when we head home. You can have my bed tonight and I'll take the couch. Just in case he tries to have you brought home by force."
"He wouldn't," she said firmly.
"He would, he has in the past. He tried to have me kidnaped from Ohio State."
She glared at him, tapping a foot. "That's not particularly nice or fatherly of him."
"You doubted with how he's turning you into a Stepford DiNozzo?"
"Well, no," she admitted. "I read that book for English class and Grandfather complained, got the teacher fired for not making me read the classics."
"That is a classic," Tony assured her. "And hey, I watch movies."
"What are they?"
"I'll show you later," he promised calmly. He walked over and stroked a finger over her forehead. "I'm going to throw a fit, dear. You stay here and threaten the agents into better behavior and into not taking bribes from Father, all right?" She nodded, tilting her chin up again. "Listen to Gibbs until I get back."
"Start by slouching a bit before your back hurts," Gibbs ordered. She frowned at him. He called down to the lab. "Ducky, come here for a minute." He looked her posture over. The older man came in. "Ducky, I can see a curve."
He pulled her over to check her spine. "A small one. Does it ache when you sit up straight, dear?"
"I always have to sit up straight. Is that why I get that tension knot there?"
"It is and there's a very nice treatment for it that's non-surgical," Tony assured her, walking back to the elevator. "I'll be back in a few minutes. I'm going to the gym. Can I borrow one of the agents, Fornell?"
"No. I'm sure they're going to be sore enough later when someone spanks them." Tony glared at him and he knew he wasn't off the hook for this but hopefully he wouldn't die. He waited until Tony disappeared. "We'll be sitting surveillance on his apartment, Jethro, just in case something is tried."
"You think he would?" Hannah demanded. Ducky let her go with another of those strange hug things and headed off again to make notes by what he was mumbling.
Fornell looked at her. "Do you really doubt it?"
"That wouldn't be very mannerly, but I suppose he would want me back," she mused, considering it. "Oh, dear, he would because I escaped," she sighed. He nodded. She looked at him. "My father will be safe?"
"Your father will be very safe. Gibbs and I will make sure of it, as will your Aunt Marie. Now, do you want to press charges with Social Services and the police, Hannah? There's probably more than enough in your life to do so."
"He'll just take Tony to court and push his job back in his face. After all, Grandfather disowned him for turning his back on the family."
"Yes, but that too can be contested," Fornell reminded her gently. "After all, he's not well and your father is the only match." She gaped and he nodded. "I can call Peter and have him start on a blackmailing letter for him."
"I'd ask him. I'm not sure if he wants to go that far. A child is a big responsibility and I'm not exactly the most easy person to like. My nanny hates me," she admitted quietly, moving closer to him. He gave her a shoulder squeeze. "Did you know what hugs were?" He nodded. "I didn't until Doctor Mallard gave me one."
"That's one reason why Jethro wants to shoot your grandfather for Tony," he assured her. "Consider your options carefully. Whatever you do will mean he'll try to fight dirty and to lock you out of the family as well."
"Only if he wishes to die and be buried among the lesser people he loathes," she said quietly.
"Everyone dies sometime," Gibbs told her. "Even him, even you."
She nodded. "I know that. I've had two older siblings die already, Agent Gibbs." She looked at Fornell again. "Do you think Peter would help me or him?"
"I think Peter wanted to get you free before," he admitted quietly. "I know he did."
"May I use your phone?"
He smirked and hit the buttons, holding it up to his ear. "Peter, Fornell. Hannah Fletcher just ran away and found her real father, who had no idea. Tony's a match to him." He smirked. "That's what I was thinking and her father is *livid* at the moment about this. Please. No, he's the same DiNozzo who works for Jethro Gibbs. Yeah, that's where we are. Thank you." He hung up and smiled at her. "He'll be here in a few minutes. Once he makes it from the Capitol." She nodded and sat down again, swinging a foot while they waited.
"Hannah, why don't you get the rest of your lunch and finish it," Gibbs ordered. She looked at him. "It's still up there, go get it and eat it." She nodded and headed back up the stairway in her most regal fashion and he glared at Fornell. "Explanations?" he demanded.
"Peter Blocovich, under secretary for the White House Council." Gibbs opened his mouth. "He wanted to go against her grandfather years ago and couldn't due to the politics of the situation. Now he can."
"And he's coming here?" Ziva asked. "For a little girl?"
"Anthony's father is in the financial world," Ducky explained as he came back. "He's the power broker behind some very powerful mergers and people listen to him about such things," he explained. "The tests show she's very healthy but she does have the usual pre- pubescent issues. A bit of anemia and the like. Easily cured with some dietary improvement, which would help Anthony as well. That curve is a bit worrisome but a tinge unit would help that relatively easy and painlessly." He smiled as she came back down. "Jethro, do not mess this up," he warned, looking at her. "I've heard her mentioned in some of the same circles I've been in over the last decade or so. As has the Director I'm sure if she thought about it." He smiled at the young lady as she rejoined them. "That is a very good idea, my dear, you really should eat more iron-enhanced foods."
"I'm anemic? Again?" she demanded. He nodded. "Is that normal or is it my liver going odd?"
"No it's normal for a young lady of your age to show some anemia now and then. It's part of what happens as your body changes to that of a woman."
"Oh. That icky, nasty shit," she muttered. "If I must." She sat down and put her food on the edge of Gibbs' desk. "May I borrow this edge?"
"Go ahead." He looked at Ducky. "She's expecting some helpers soon. Can you help her smooth out any wrinkles?"
"Of course. It'd be my pleasure." He smiled at her. "Evan or Peter, dear?"
"Peter." She smirked at him. "I hadn't known Grandfather was more than cranky."
"Yes, well, some illnesses can be hidden easier than others," he noted patiently. "Eat." She nodded and dug in, eating daintily. "Where is young Anthony?"
"The gym," Gibbs told him. "Wearing out some stress and anger."
"Ah, I see. Probably more healthy for him than driving home tonight." He grimaced a bit as the elevator opened and the director came out with a young African American male, nodding politely at him. "Peter, my boy, how have you been?"
"Ducky," he said happily, hugging him then shaking his hand. "I've been good and I hear the end of my struggle is at hand?" He smiled at Hannah. "Here you are. Your grandfather was pulling strings everywhere to have you returned."
"I refuse to go back. Father called me a Stepford DiNozzo."
Peter snickered and nodded. "You can be at times, but Amanda was worse, dear." He looked at one of the agents, who gave up his chair and sat on the floor. "Thank you." He sat next to her. "Now, Hannah. I know some of the reasons for your departure, but to make it stick, I need enough to blackmail him and walk him into a corner he can't fight very hard from. Do you have anything like that?"
"Do SEC violations and him having me do some of his recent homework count? Oh, by the way, is the company he set up for me real or not?"
"Real." He smiled at her. "You are a very smart nine-year-old."
"I figured it out earlier today when I saw the paper in Baltimore. Would the SEC count it against him for having me do his research since I'm only nine?" He nodded. "Good. Can we also count the nanny and the other two's deaths? Father didn't even know that any of us existed. Plus, did you know he's dying? You could use that and his fear of being stuck with lesser beings and no one being able to tell the difference."
He smiled. "That is a very good point," he promised, smoothing her hair back down. "Where is your father?"
"Disposing of his anger in the gym so I didn't have to see him throw a fit like Grandfather the last time."
"Ah. Good idea." He smiled at her. "Anything else I should know?"
"She didn't know what a hug was," Gibbs said quietly, staring at him. "There's a tape upstairs in the conference room." The director handed it over. "Thank you, Director."
"You're welcome, Agent Gibbs. Should I take Hannah to my office to work out the arrangements?"
"She can do it down here."
"I'm sure there's things that Agent DiNozzo doesn't want spread around," she countered.
Gibbs called down to the gym. "Tell DiNozzo someone's here to work out a blackmail agreement between him and his father." Someone yelled that so apparently no one was getting near Tony today. He got an answer. "Thank you." He looked at Peter. "He did say to please take only Fornell and myself with you. He'll be up once he's finished calming down. To please tape it so he can have his father arrested if possible, and to not let anyone outside of Fornell, myself, yourself, and him know."
"Agreeable, Agent Gibbs. I want to protect this young lady as much as he does. He didn't know?" Gibbs shook his head. "Pity. Amanda could've used him. So could Junior when he was alive." He stood up. "Come, Hannah. Let's kick the nice Director out of her office."
"I'm sorry about this, ma'am," Hannah said politely. "I'm sure it won't take long."
"That's fine, Hannah. I'd rather have all my agents at peace and happy than have this hanging over their heads while he's trying to solve a case." She nodded and took Peter's hand to let him walk her up there. She looked at Fornell, then at Gibbs. "I want to know what's going on later," she said quietly.
"Brief her," Gibbs ordered to Fornell. He got glared at. "Consider it a practice run for the SecNav." He headed up after the young girl. There was no way this kid was going to be turned into some robot if he had his way about it. This was nearly as bad as beating someone, to destroy their free will and mind until they had nothing but orders.
Tony let her into his apartment later that night. "This is home until I can find somewhere bigger."
"It's charming and quaint," she assured him.
"Don't play that game with me, Hannah. I know I need to clean it and it's tiny." She frowned at him. "Remember, I lived in the house first. The maid's quarters are bigger than this apartment if I remember right." She nodded that was true. "I'll find somewhere bigger and better tomorrow and then we'll talk about schooling. I'm sure I can get a list of decent places from someone who's going to be randomly popping up to check on you for him in the next few days."
"Are you sure you want to save him?"
"Yes, because it means getting you where you belong and will be able to be a real girl." He sat her down on the couch and sat beside her. "Do you want the truth?" She nodded. "No, if you weren't alive, I wouldn't consider saving him. He didn't like me as I am, wouldn't accept the man I wanted to be, and wanted to make me miserable and unhappy for life. I refused and he kicked me out. He hasn't seen me since the day he tried to have me kidnaped from the college. That's apparently how he wanted it and I'm fine with that. Since he hasn't come to me before about donating bone marrow to save his life, I'm assuming he wanted to die knowing he still hated who I am and the man I became. You, however, are a more than precious enough reason to go crawling back to the old man. For you, I'd do anything. You're my daughter and I want to get to know you and help you turn into a good, strong woman with a life you want to live. I'm not going to force you to become anything you don't want to be. I'm not going to force you to continue doing his SEC research for him. I'm also not going to take his money to do more than afford your education. If, when you're older, you wish to go back to that life, you can. I'll make sure you get into an excellent college and you can play family heir all you want. All right?" She nodded at that, smiling just a bit. "Good. Now, with that said, I want you just because you're you. You're my little girl, something I thought was mythical. To find out I actually had two little girls and a son, but two of them died, well, I'm grieving."
"As is proper. I did, even though I wasn't allowed to show it." She shifted closer and he pulled her against his side, hugging her. "This is still very strange."
"Hugging is nice, it shows affection and comfort," he said quietly. He gave her a squeeze and let her go. "I would do anything to save you, Hannah. You're my daughter. You may not understand that until you're a mother yourself but for now that's all that matters to me. You're mine and I'm your daddy." His phone rang and he answered it. "DiNozzo." He frowned. "No, Lisa, I can't. Because I just found out I have a daughter and I'm getting to know her tonight. Sorry, can we reschedule?" He smiled and nodded. "If I'm free and not on a case. Call me the day before, okay?" He grinned. "Sure, I miss you too. Later." He hung up. "Sorry, the woman I'm presently dating."
"It's where you go out and do things with someone to see if you're compatible and if you like each other enough to go further. So far I've dated a whole lot because none of them are right for me."
"Is that because you don't tell them things?" He looked at her. "You didn't want me to tell Agent Gibbs about you going to Priori Academy. You didn't want anyone to know that you went to another school before Ohio State. You didn't want your grades or your upbringing mentioned. Do they know you?"
"They do, what I show them. What I gave up to become the man I am today isn't as important to me as how I got where I am now. So you're right, I haven't told anyone very much about before I went to Ohio State. Nor did I tell anyone that I was legally married once and Father had it annulled on me. Or that he paid her a lot of money to go away because he didn't think she was good enough for me because she was smart and not helpless, weak, and willing to push out babies every two years upon his command." She giggled at that. "Seriously." He shrugged. "That former life of mine has nothing to do with the man I am today, with the exception that I gave it all up so I could get to the point where I'm happy and content with myself," he said gently, stroking over her hair again. "That's what I want for you, princess. To have a life that makes you happy. If his life is that life, then I'll let you go back there when you're old enough to not need to run to others to protect you. If it's not, I'll gladly help you find the life you want to live. I had to find mine on my own and it took me a while before things clicked. Then again, I didn't have anyone sitting there giving me options. I want you to think about things before you do them, especially before you start spouting off the shit he's told you to parrot over the years."
"No, honey, Father is for when you're mad at me. It's Tony, daddy, or dad. Father is what I call him because he's not worth the nicer name. Father is my clue that I've done something stupid and you're calling me on it, okay?" She nodded, smiling a bit and straightening up. "Slouch again until Ducky can get you in to see someone about your back. You'll like the tinge unit, it's like a massage. I loved it when I had to have mine fixed."
"You had a curve?"
"It marks you as one of the family," he sighed. "It's from my mother's side of the family. We had some cousins who have horrible ones. Have you ever met them?"
"Grandfather said I'm the last in the family. He said there's no more cousins after Cousin Atty had that drunken crash."
Tony picked up the phone and called his boss. "Boss, what happened to all my cousins? I know at least two of them promised to leave me pictures and stuff, yet I never knew they were dead. Yeah, I'm thinking he had someone there to act in my interests without telling me. It's one avenue Peter could like, yes. Thank you." He hung up. "He's outside watching the house in case there's a rescue attempt."
"You think he will?"
"Yeah, I think he will," he sighed. "Unfortunately, he sees us as his possessions to hold and make into mirrors of himself. Anyone who takes that from him is usually in for a fight and a world of hurt. I'm not letting him hurt you." He smiled at her. "What did you want for dinner?"
"The delivery place. I'm too exhausted to cook tonight. Plus, hey, I'm the only one who can around here," he offered with a grin.
"There's no maid?" she asked, looking horrified.
"Do you think this place would be this big of a mess if there was?" he asked, giving her a look. "Consider it, Hannah."
"We need to get somewhere cheaper so we can afford a maid, Dad. Really. I'm too young and smart for cleaning."
He smirked. "We'll see." He found his file of take out places and handed them over. "Find something you want and I'll order."
"Okay." She flipped through them, frowning a bit. "I have no idea what any of this is!" She gave him a panicked look.
"Calm down. What did you want to know about? Some even have pictures." He leaned closer, pointing at one. "Americanized version of Chinese cuisine. Noodles, vegetables, and meat in various combinations with either a brown or a white sauce. This one is Mexican. Meat, corn or flour tortillas, beans on occasion, and some limited veggies and rice. That one's Greek food."
"I know a little bit about that. We hosted a businessman from Greece and our cook tried to make his native food. There were grape leaves, right?" Tony nodded and she put that aside. "I hated grape leaves." He chuckled and ruffled her hair. "Hey! Mr. Paul would be very upset," she complained, smoothing it back out. "He said I look cute."
"You do look cute, but a bit old for your age. Most girls your age have ponytails and things, and they're out playing or in the band."
"Band?" She looked at him. "Like *music*?" she asked, shifting closer. He nodded. "I could join the band and learn to play music? Even stuff I might enjoy listening to?" He smiled and nodded. "My new school will have a band?"
"Probably. If not, I'll see what I can do about getting you private lessons." She smiled at that. "And a cat." She hugged him and he patted her on the back. "It'll be okay, Hannah. We'll work it out and everything will be just fine," he soothed, stroking her back. "Now, let's get back to dinner. Food is usually good." Someone tapped on the door. "Who is it?" he called.
"It's Gladys, Tony dear."
Tony winked at her. "That solves dinner." He got up and opened the door, smiling at the woman standing there. "Need the oven?" he teased.
"Well, yes, but I wanted to meet the young woman I heard you brought home." She walked the casserole into the kitchen then came out, looking at the young child. "Oh my, you have a daughter?" she demanded, swatting Tony. "Why didn't you tell me that when I asked!"
"Because he didn't know, ma'am. My Grandfather had me created and kept me from him so I couldn't be unduly influenced by him."
She blinked, then glared at Tony. "Is he living?"
"To date. That's why there's an FBI agent and my boss sitting outside, so I can't go fix that." He smiled sweetly. "The boss doesn't want me in jail for homicide, he said he'd miss my special skills and wit at work. So we're blackmailing him instead."
"Good! Get in at least one good slap for me!" She hugged the poor dear, noticing she stiffened. "I'm Gladys, I live just below you, child. What's your name?"
"Hannah. I'm nine."
"You're a very special young lady and the whole building will be spoiling you rotten shortly I'm sure." She smiled and pinched her on the cheek. "Now you be good and let your daddy and Agent Gibbs figure out how to let you stay. Because those two could probably even make the president see sense with enough yelling and the right incentive."
"Uncle George doesn't like to see sense, he's a bit stubborn and focused on what he wants," she told her. The woman gaped. "My Grandfather is presently doing bad things to the SEC."
"Oh, my." She smiled at her. "Then you let your daddy and Uncle Gibbs protect you as well as figure out how to keep you. Now, Tony, that casserole cooks for the next half an hour then turn it to broil until it bubbles and browns a bit, all right?"
"Yes, Gladys. Is there a two-bedroom open?"
"In the next building but we'd hate to see you move that far." She pinched him on the cheek. "You be a good boy and we'll see what we can work out. You know Mr. Henderson just got divorced and he doesn't need or want that big of a place and he's now got alimony to pay for. You might be able to switch with him. His is about eight hundred more a month."
Tony nodded. "That's about what I figured I'd pay anyway." He smiled. "Thank you, dear. You remembered to light the oven, right?" She nodded. "Thanks. I'll feed her and let her have my bed tonight and then we'll worry about the other stuff tomorrow. But if you hear gunshots, stay inside. I'm not putting it past my father to try to take her back."
"If he's so evil, how did you turn out so well?"
"I made myself into the man I wanted to be and he hated it."
"Then he's a stupid fool and deserves whatever he gets in the afterlife, Tony. You just let Jethro handle that stuff for you. You've got more important matters to attend to. What about school?"
"She's going to a very exclusive school at the moment. I was going to see if they had any local recommendations and then got for the nicest, easiest, happiest of them. The one with the least amount of kids on prozac."
"Good idea, Tony. Excellent idea." She pinched him again and walked out. "Oooh, I've got to tell the girls!" She slammed the door.
He grinned at her. "Gladys likes me like a son because she wants to date Jethro."
"She'd smother him and make him eat."
"Exactly." He grinned and patted her on the head. "Go look around. I'll clean up the living room." She smiled and went to snoop while he cleaned up a bit. It wasn't like he hadn't slept on the couch before. His phone rang and he smiled. "DiNozzo." He chuckled. "But she loves you, boss." He snickered. "Sure, I'll consider myself smacked in the head, boss. Should I save you some of the casserole? It's the ham one." He nodded. "Sure. About a half hour or so." He hung up. "Gibbs is coming in for dinner, Hannah."
"Thank you for the warning." She came out of the bedroom. "What's this?" she asked, holding up something.
"Um, a condom. For when I have sex with my girlfriend." He took it and walked it back into the dresser. "We'll have that talk another time."
She shrugged. "The school's health teacher said they were used by sleazy and diseased people who had loose and amoral sexual conduct with things like sheep."
He looked at her. "Well, I may have had many girlfriends, but I'm not sleazy, I definitely don't like sheep, and morals are a matter of opinion. She was another issue I'd like to take up with my father." She giggled. "I'll have someone give you a really good sex talk when you're ready for that, okay?"
"Okay. Auntie Marie said that she uses them on the job when I found hers, she said they were job aids."
"Not usually and my job's not quite the same as hers." He went to check on the casserole, finding the timer already on. He looked out the back window and called Gibbs. "Did you see the special ops van out back, Gibbs? Yeah, there. Sure. We'll be in the closet." He hung up and took her with him, going back into the bedroom and putting her in the closet, holding a finger up. "Quiet, let us handle it. Duck and do not come out." She nodded, closing the door while he got his gun and made sure it was fully loaded. He put on his bulletproof vest, then took it off and handed it to her, closing her back in the closet again so he could answer the fairly polite knock on his back door. He opened it and pulled his badge. "NCIS. You're in a world of hurt, boys." They paused. "Gibbs!"
"Freeze, Federal Agents," Fornell demanded, Gibbs right behind him.
"Bloody hell," a British voice complained. "We were told one of our native children was taken by you."
Tony looked at him, then pulled his hood off. "The only child here is my daughter, who is a DiNozzo, and I know my father has British interests, but really. Talk to the agents behind you and work it out with your people so I don't have to shoot anyone but my father." He slammed the door and checked the casserole. "It's safe, Hannah. He sent MI-6 after you."
She came out. "Why?" He shrugged. She opened the back door and glared at them. "I'm not British!" she shouted. "You aren't even supposed to be over here!" A few gave her a sheepish look. "Unless you're here for Ducky!"
"Ducky?" one asked. "Mallard Ducky?"
"Of course you know Ducky, everyone knows Ducky," Gibbs sighed. "Close the door, Hannah."
"Yes, Uncle Jethro." She closed the door and looked at her father. "They knew Ducky."
"Ducky knows about everyone," he agreed dryly, kissing her on the head. "I have no doubt Ducky dropped in on the SecNav tonight for dinner and a chat about you."
"Uncle Evan wouldn't mind. He's been kind of bored recently."
"Not today he wasn't." He gave her a look. Then looked at the timer. "Go clean up for dinner, you can help me set the table afterward." She nodded and went to do that. He looked up and silently prayed for patience before he went and bombed his childhood home. Gibbs came in ten minutes later. "We all set?"
"With them and Ziva is calling her old boss to talk to him about it, just in case he has contacts over there too."
Tony looked at him, leaning on the counter. "It's a scary thought but I wouldn't rule out him knowing her father. He always did know who to suck up to."
"Who's Ziva's father?" Hannah asked from the doorway.
"The director of the Mossad," Tony told him.
"Nope, Daddy doesn't like Jews. He said they're taking away his job." She shrugged. "I've never met one so I'm reserving judgement since Tony said that he was wrong on other things."
"You met one earlier today, Ziva is Jewish," Tony told her.
"Wow. Really?" Gibbs nodded. "That's kind of interesting." She looked at him. "I'll have to think about that. I hope I didn't insult her too badly."
"You didn't," Gibbs told her. "Tony likes to piss her off, she should have expected you to do worse." She smiled at that. "Should we worry about any other countries?"
"Well, I know Grandfather has interests in Germany. I know that he's got some in Ireland and Australia, plus a new one starting in Canada, but that would all be under the same people I suppose. He has some business friends in Russia, trying to open up their markets by force. Some Japanese guys he knows and respects, but he doesn't understand their thing about shoes in the house. He said it spreads bad foot germs around when everyone walks around in socks." Gibbs smirked a bit at that. "We hosted one guy from South America somewhere for an oil deal."
"When I was younger he had some friends out of Saudi and Qatar, boss," Tony offered quietly. "He kept trying to make me marry one of their daughters for a business deal."
"No, he said since everything went slush and boom, as he called it, he doesn't like or trust them anymore," Hannah told him. "Plus you upset them horribly and they didn't like him as much because you couldn't be made to marry one of them." Tony nodded at that.
"You forgot the Greek guy he had over for dinner," Tony reminded her.
"Yes, but he rather upset him when he offered him the cook for his sexual bedmate while he was in. She was a bit older and obviously married, but he said I was the only young woman in the house, but I was too young and he was looking more for an alliance, then they talked about young men that would be of a proper age when I was. He wanted me to marry some really old man in Egypt for a bit or his nephew, who'd be taking over."
Tony pulled her closer. "Hannah, what I want from you is that you figure out what you want to do, nothing more, nothing less. I will *never* force you to marry someone you don't like. I will never force you to cooperate with someone for a business deal and I would *never* use you as a piece of bait to draw someone in. If you want to go to school for business stuff, you'll let me know. If not, then you'll let me know that."
"How did you know you wanted to be a cop?"
"I saw a few making a real difference and I decided I'd rather make a difference than be a shadow of my father. I talked to a few people and they gave me the downside of the job and all that stuff, but I made my own decision. That's what I'm expecting you to do. To think and when you're old enough to make a decision about what you want to be when you grow up." She nodded. "Good girl." He gave her a hug and she slid out of his arms. "Plates are in the second cabinet; Gibbs, clean up. Timer's nearly done." He helped her set the table, then adjusted the oven, watching the casserole until it was perfect. Then he removed it and let it sit for a few minutes. Gibbs came out of the bathroom wiping his hands off. "Are we good for tonight?"
"We should be. I doubt the Germans are sending someone to bring her home. I talked with Fornell over the earpiece and Abby looked up his major business dealings. Either we're clear for the night, he'll have someone from the CIA jump ship and come, or he'll have some Japanese officers come. I very muchly doubt the last two will happen. Marie is not one to mess with."
"She'll spank them if they do. She'll get to spank those agents from earlier before they're put on the plane to Alaska too. The director over there lets her spank them while he watches, he said it's good for them to know what corporal punishment is. I asked when he was a bit drunk the last time I saw him."
Gibbs held his earpiece, snickering a bit. "Tobias is choking right now," he said fondly.
"I guess no one's had to spank him recently then," Hannah said with a smile. "He's always been very nice and respectful whenever I see him, dad."
"Good. I like that about him. He may piss us off, but I like that he respects you, dear." He dished up the first helping and handed her the plate, then handed Gibbs his. He sat down with his own and looked at her, she was saying Grace. "He found God again?"
"Uh-huh. The school makes us now. He said it was important."
"Ah, so he does know he's dying," Tony said dryly, getting a soda from the fridge. "Boss, water, soda, milk?"
Gibbs tasted it. "Milk. It's a bit salty this time." Tony handed him the jug. "Thank you." He looked at Hannah. "Want some milk or soda?"
"Milk please. I like milk, even if it does make my tummy hurt."
"Get into the cabinet we got the glasses from and take a pill from the small bottle. It'll solve that," Tony assured her. Gibbs looked at him. "I'm mildly lactose intolerant, boss. I figure she's about the same."
"Oh. I didn't know that."
"You never asked."
"Apparently there was a lot of stuff I should've asked about," he said, staring him down. Then he looked away and finished pouring her milk, putting it in the middle of the table. "Eat, Hannah."
"Dad really didn't tell you anything about his past?"
"Not unless I get pushy." He ate another bite and she picked up her fork and started to eat as well. "Tony doesn't talk about a lot of stuff that others would. I don't blame him now, but I have wondered."
"Again, you never asked," he noted blandly, eating a bite. Someone knocked on the door. "What!" he called.
"It's me," McGee called.
"S'open!" McGee walked in using his key and headed back to the kitchen. "What's up, McGee?"
"The door was unlocked?" Gibbs asked. McGee held up his key. "Oh, that sort of unlocked."
"I didn't have the chain on it yet," Tony told him, then looked at McGee. "Hungry?"
"No, Abby and I ordered curry. Boss, transcripts from her school, including the psychological evaluation they've done." He handed over a folder. "Plus," he said, looking at Tony. "You were right. There was someone at a few legal events to act in your interest. The lawyer who was up earlier is rather upset and swore enough that Abby covered her ears and hid. The director turned pink and hid. Apparently he's not known for swearing?"
"No, Peter only swears when there's a gun in his face or he's about to kill someone for something stupid," Hannah assured him. "Are you sure you're not hungry, Agent McGee?"
"I'm very sure, Hannah, but thank you anyway," he offered with a smile. He looked at Tony again. "You'll want to look at that. They included the other two's transcripts and files in there. Also, someone in the New York DA's office just called. He tried to hire someone with... connections to the harsher realities of life to come down and...negotiate on his behalf."
Gibbs looked at him, then at the young girl. "Stick your fingers in your ears." She did so. "Plain English, McGee."
"He hired a hitman to come shoot Tony just enough to put him into a coma so he could have the bone marrow he needs and to kill her," he said quietly. Tony's fork bent. "Also, Tony, you should know that your mother is the sole recipient of his will at this time. There's a small trust listed as being from your grandmother that's being held for her benefit but it's put into the hands of her nanny."
"Won't be for long," he noted dryly. "The nanny's going to jail and my mother's not sane enough to deal with reality most of the time. She held a benefit to clothe whales once." McGee smiled a bit at that. "Seriously. I was about seventeen at the time." He ate a bite of his casserole and waved his fork so his daughter took her fingers out, wiped them off on her napkin, then went back to eating. "Any other interesting news?" He unbent his fork.
"Yes. The director was faxed a list of very good schools in the city for her benefit. She's also said we're off case rotation until this issue is solved as long as we do it in a timely manner. Meaning by this weekend."
"It's Tuesday," Hannah offered. "You can't make major business deals in that amount of time."
"Hannah, honey, I'm not that patient," Gibbs assured her with a small smirk. "It'll be done by Friday if I have my way. And I will have my way about this matter." He looked at McGee again once she looked awed. "Any other news?"
"Abby decided to get sneaky and do a more thorough background than the one Tony had put into place. She did say it was ingenious how he had things added into the right systems here and there, and covered his educational tracks very well, but she's found the small snag and wanted to make sure Tony wasn't going to hate her for being curious and tugging on the snarl."
"Yes I will."
"My eyes only," Gibbs ordered. "She can send the snag to me and I'll unravel it. She's not to get any deeper than she already is."
"Yes, boss. I'll tell her you said that when I get outside. Should I offer to get Agent Fornell dinner?"
"He can order. His thumb's not broken."
"Yes, boss. Sorry, Tony. She thought it might be pertinent."
"It's not." He ate another bite and made 'shooing' motions. "Go home, McGee. Forget you saw any of that."
"I didn't look, Tony, and she's kept the Director out of it as well." He left.
"The Director can't find anything anyway and Abby's running into either the second or third layer of brick wall I had built," Tony told his boss, then he smirked. "I planned it very well so I wouldn't be related back to him, boss. Have fun with that though." He stuffed his mouth again.
"We'll see, DiNozzo. It may have fooled a general, FBI done background check, but it won't fool me."
"We'll see, boss." He ate another bite.
Hannah giggled. "Uncle Jethro, if he was taught like I was, I already know how to do that as well. It's beneficial to give new business partners things that they want to know about you that can benefit your negotiations but nothing that could hurt you, unless you can turn a small weakness into something that makes them believe they've got the upper hand in your business deal so you can sucker them into an attitude of overconfidence. Because then you can yank the rug from under them and use it as a shroud once you've destroyed them and taken what they have as your own profits of war." She ate another bite.
"What she said," Tony agreed happily, smiling at her. "If you need one, we'll work on it together."
"No wonder you do so well undercover," Gibbs said, looking at his agent in a new light. "How many layers are there?"
Tony shrugged. "They've been built up over the years, boss."
"Give me the name of one actual school you attended, that way I know when I've hit the final layer."
Tony shrugged again. "They're here and there on all of them, boss. The best lies incorporate the truth at least as much as the lie itself. I don't even remember how many layers there are now, I've just added and tweaked here and there when I wanted to practice and play."
"Did you actually attend Ohio State?"
Tony nodded, fork paused before taking a bite. "I did. I just didn't claim any credits that might have come before then. That was my last stop on the educational train except for refresher and skill courses." He ate that forkful. "Gladys did a really good job this time."
"May I please have some more milk?" Hannah asked. Gibbs nodded and poured it for her. "Thank you, Uncle Jethro."
"Which one told you to call him that?" Tony asked.
"Uncle Tobias. He said it'd irk him and make him snarly later when he needed it."
"Not really. I don't mind being an honorary uncle," Gibbs assured her. "If you're comfortable with that, I am." She smiled at that and nodded. "Finish up so you can head to bed later on."
"Yes, Uncle Jethro." She finished her dinner and milk, putting everything into the sink when she was done. "What should I sleep in?"
"Grab a t-shirt out of the second drawer down and use that. I'll wash your stuff from earlier," Tony promised. She nodded and headed to do that. "Night."
"Good night." She closed the door and locked it, making both men smile.
"She's one hell of a kid, DiNozzo."
"Yeah, I nearly turned out like that," he said dryly. "I'd have been hell on the world and a playboy." He finished his dinner. "Want more, boss? I'm going to sleep on the couch tonight."
"Have your gun next to you but the safety on, just in case she startles you. I'll go back to the car and cranky FBI agent."
"At least he isn't going to get spanked for this."
"No, not yet," Gibbs agreed, listening to Fornell mutter and complain about him. He snickered. "Maybe a small bit for seconds first." Tony handed him the serving spoon then got some more for himself.
"It's weird, there's no candles in here," she called.
"I know, there's none in the house. Go to sleep," Tony called back.
"Do you have a fear of candles?"
"No, just a great distaste for them." He grinned. "Wouldn't you?"
"Yeah, probably bordering on a phobia if what Tobias told me was true. No overhead lights in your old room?"
"I had one when I turned ten. Her Rococo phase meant the whole room was like that. For the longest time I had nightmares anytime I saw anything gold. Especially gold tassels." Gibbs shook his head. "Seriously!"
"I believe you. That's too weird to make up." He finished his seconds and cleaned up his mess, then went back to the car. "Candelabras?"
"Everywhere. She's regressing back through his childhood. We think it's alzheimers but we can't be sure. Pity, she was a strong woman when she was younger." He looked at him. "You didn't bring me any?"
"I thought you would've ordered. Your thumb isn't broken, you can dial your cell."
"On a stakeout?"
"It's not like everyone doesn't know we're here."
"Good point." He dialed his secretary. "Send me food at DiNozzo's parking lot. Yes, I'm here with Gibbs, why?" He listened, humming a bit. "Thank you. We've already taken the Brits away too." He hung up. "Japanese hit team as well. Stopped at Dulles."
"She said her Grandfather respects them but he thinks they spread athlete's foot germs."
"Basically, yeah. He believes that they're bad feet germs. How your DiNozzo ended up the man he is, I have no idea."
"Me either but I should find out. Soon."
"Look at her transcripts and search for the all-boys equivalent. That's where he did his primary education," he said wisely.
"You have a full one on him?"
"No one has a full one on him. I looked at the background we did for you when I realized he was who he was and it's laughable. By the way, that snarl is the harder path." He pointed at something on the screen. "I know he went there. That's a family thing." They shared a look. "Look for the all-boy equivalents, Jethro," he advised wisely. "Trust me on this." He got back to watching the building. "Hitman?"
"Yup, but apparently it was stopped or at least is being stopped. If not, we'll let Ziva have a new toy. She's been bored recently."
"That's mean, Jethro, I knew I liked you for some reason." Someone pulled up next to their car and he rolled down the windows. "Yes?"
"Sir, we were told to relieve you," one of the agents in the car said.
Gibbs looked over. "No thanks."
"Orders from the president, sir, and he said he wants to see you both."
"Then he can drag his ass out here, boys. I'm not leaving my agent here with anyone but my personal team. I don't abandon my team that way." Fornell looked at him. "What?"
"They're not kidding, Jethro, they are Secret Service."
"And?" he snorted. He called his team. "McGee, get Ziva and come here to take my spot. I'm going to have to talk to some Secret Service agents and their boss. Ten is fine." He hung up. "Ten minutes."
"We don't want to hurt him or the child, Agent Gibbs."
Gibbs looked at them. "What makes you think I believe you boys? So far he's sent some dirty FBI agents after the kid. We know he's tried to hire a hitman to kill her. What makes you think I'm going to trust you two?"
"Point," the passenger in the other car agreed. Another car pulled up and a woman got out, bringing Fornell his dinner.
"Thank you, Patty."
"You're welcome, sir. Anything else?"
"Can you please get DiNozzo a list of where his daughter should go shopping and where she'll want to go?" he ordered. "Plus a list of worthwhile schools? Someone sent one to Jethro's director but they're all schools like she's in now." He unwrapped his sandwich and took a bite. "Perfect, thank you."
"Welcome, sir. I'll email that to you, Agent Gibbs. Anything else you needed for Hannah? She's always been such a darling when I talked to her in the past."
He shook his head. "That should be fine. Email it to Abby so she can add some fun places to the list."
"Yes, Agent Gibbs." She went back to her car and headed back to the office.
Fornell took another bite, smirking at the envious looks on the Secret Service agents' faces. "Sorry, I had to order in. Gibbs wouldn't bring me out any of the good casserole." He ate another bite, watching as McGee and David pulled up. "Your remaining team."
"I can see that." His laptop beeped with a new IM message and McGee sent him everything new he had. He responded. "Okay, we can go. Any particular entrance, boys?"
"Main one's fine, sir. He's really upset about this."
"It's DiNozzo's daughter. His father kept him from knowing she existed. That's all that needs to be said to me." He looked at Fornell, who started the car and drove one handed the whole way back. "We going to have someone new against us?"
"Yup. He's a major political contributor and he's all about those from good families getting good lives." He finished his sandwich and tossed the paper into the paper bag he kept for trash. "He's not going to be happy but his wife hates DiNozzo's father. That's an option. Also, Hannah herself ran away due to mistreatment. It might be enough if everyone else has put pressure on him. Not to mention he's already gotten a report on the various charges the legal council is looking at. Last I heard, Peter was up to twelve SEC violations and ten criminal charges, plus the neglect and other charges. He's still digging for more. First thing tomorrow he's filing against him, going straight to the grand jury. He's been waiting a long time to bring him down for turning that sweet little girl into a robot.
"She used to be the cutest, cuddly thing whenever her grandparents weren't watching, Jethro. I don't know how they stopped it but she used to climb into my lap whenever I got assigned to their protection detail. Never hugged, but would sit in your lap and read to you until you fell asleep." He glanced at him at a light. "He doesn't have the climb he would've had with the other two. When his son died, he was all DiNozzo. Exactly like his grandfather, but that last month he was having doubts about his upcoming arranged business marriage. I don't know why. I know Amanda's was an actual crash, but nothing else. She was truly evil. Had a desire to take over the family business and run it her way so she could play the real power politics."
"He'd never have let a woman do that," Gibbs admitted. "Not by what I've heard."
"Nope, but she told me once he was only an obstacle and nothing more to her. She had no problems building a blackmail file on him. I wonder if Peter has that," he mused. He called him. "Peter, Tobias. Who got Amanda's blackmail portfolio?" He smirked. "It would be, yes. Need help with that warrant? Since I know that house so very well? No, we're heading to the White House. The Secret Service came to relieve us and told us to report. We're on Pennsylvania now, but the other end. Sure. Thanks." He hung up. "He'll be there too, once he makes a note about where that file would be. I doubt anyone opened her laptop ever again and it'd be on there. She was playing very hard at being her Grandmother's clone but learning every single thing she could about everyone around her. She's probably got stuff on me that even you don't."
"Sounds like I'd have liked that one."
"Oh, she could be evil, Jethro. Not even Kate and Abby together being evil could match that little girl." He pulled up to the gate and pulled his credentials for the guard. "We were told to report."
"I've got you on the list, sir. Please park and head to the West Wing for the meeting."
"Thank you, son," Gibbs said, shaking his head as they pulled inside. "I've only been here a few times before."
"I do, but I almost expect Ducky to come out of one of the offices smiling and chatting with someone."
"No, he's still with the SecNav having brandy over their long chat about how to help the poor thing. The SecNav thinks she's sweet and could be the best little wife to his nephew Thomas once they're both older."
"With everyone's luck, she'll be a lesbian painter who only dates Rasta chicks," Gibbs said with a smirk as he got out.
"Don't even wish that on the world. Not that she doesn't have her father's eye for beauty, she does, but please don't wish that on the world." He took an antacid and a deep breath before walking inside. He flashed his credentials at the door and it was opened for them. "Thank you. Head office?" That got a silent nod. They walked down the halls, finding the office in question and a few lawyers waiting on them. Peter was grandly pointing out all the charges he was going to be filing in the morning. "Who got her laptop?" he asked.
"Hannah mailed it to me a few months back," he said with a smirk. "You were right, it's on there. Abby broke the password within minutes." He smirked at Gibbs. "She did find Tony once but hadn't contacted him. Her diary said that she was considering it when that very odd crash happened."
"A woman who never drank and never touched drugs suddenly has a DUI crash that kills both driver and passenger?"
"Odd," Gibbs agreed, nodding at that. "Any payments to her family?"
"A life insurance policy that got hesitated over. Her last paycheck and severance pay. Not much. Then again, his father is a cold and heartless bastard with a bad habit of pissing off the wrong people." The doors to the Oval Office opened and he waved a hand. "Shall we?" The other lawyers went first and he escorted the two agents. "Sir," he said politely.
"Sir," Gibbs said, saluting.
"At ease, Agent Gibbs. Close the door, Fornell." It was closed. "What the hell is going on?" he demanded. "I get this panicked call from my old friend saying his daughter was kidnaped."
"Escaped, sir," Gibbs corrected. "She took a greyhound and ran away to find her actual father, who didn't know she was alive."
The President blinked. "Why not?"
"His father kept her from him, the same as he did the other two, sir," Fornell said blandly. "He had no idea until Hannah called him earlier. Mr. DiNozzo had their mothers implanted and paid them off. The only one who came about naturally was Junior and his mother was never heard from again after she came out with the pregnancy. They broke up, she found out a few weeks later, and she disappeared before she could tell Agent DiNozzo."
"He's on my team, sir," Gibbs said firmly. "My second-in-command." He looked at the shocked looking lawyers, then back at his boss. "Who I'm going to have to stick up for. At least then his daughter would know what human emotions were. No nine-year-old should ever have an emotionless mask for social situations, sir."
"I don't like that insinuation," the President said firmly.
"Unfortunately true," Peter told him, crossing his arms. "We've got proof and we have Amanda's blackmail file, sir. We have more than enough proof to indict him in the morning and add SEC violations that will also send him to prison."
"He's a sick man," one of the other lawyers said harshly. "How can you do this to him?"
"Easy. He's already destroyed two lives and is halfway there with her," Peter shot back. "Or haven't you heard her going off on her grandfather's rant about lesser humans?" He shut up at that. He looked at the President again. "I'm sorry, sir, even if you fire me I'm having someone file these charges and helping that young girl. Agent Gibbs is right, she's nine. Her nanny is a nazi. Her older sister was killed in a very suspicious crash. Her brother was starting to wise up and he suddenly got ill. That speaks to me, sir, and not in a good way."
"You won't drop this?"
"Not even if you put me in jail, sir."
"He's a fine man."
"Who kicked his only son out for wanting to make a difference in the world by becoming an officer," Gibbs told him.
"Are you sure about that? He said Antonio walked away."
"Tony said he was kicked out and since he's not living the high life, even though he could be, I'd say he had it right, sir. Sorry but I'm going to believe my guy's side in this case, especially after seeing and hearing that little girl go on about lesser beings and menial people."
"Who has her now?"
"Her father, as it should be."
"According to our searches, she's out of the country and has stayed out since his father paid her to have Hannah."
"Oh. She wasn't from some dalliance?" Gibbs shook his head. "Then how did he get the father's contribution?"
"DiNozzo donated at a sperm bank in his youth."
"Oh." He frowned at that. Then he sighed. "You're putting me in an awkward spot here, Agent Gibbs."
"Not really, sir," Peter offered. "He's got so many charges coming down he'll be dying in prison even with the bone marrow transplant. I can guarantee his supposed friends will start coming to give evidence once they found his time's up. That's the way that level plays, he's now a liability to them. Hannah agreed with me." He smirked. "Also, sir, I didn't know you lied to President Regan about liking his favorite jelly beans." He glared at him. "Amanda's blackmail file, sir."
"I see. Fine, you do what you must and I'll distance myself. Is there anything I can do to help?"
"Publically and professionally distance yourself, sir. My boss is livid at what I've found and if you're implicated, it could get fairly messy. Especially considering his dealings with Qatar during his son's youth. Apparently he was willing to let his son's life go to hell to make the arranged marriage that would further a business deal, including letting his son use drugs or any other means. There was a paper trail on that one and his son publically told him he wasn't going to do it and walked away."
"Shows some brains and some balls," he said patiently. "What sort of agent is he?"
"A damn good one," Fornell assured him. "I'd recruit him if he would leave NCIS."
"Fine. Then we'll do this your way but that girl had better be just as pampered and spoiled as she was before."
"No, sir, she's going to be a real little girl," Gibbs assured him. "With choices that she makes and thinking for herself from now on. Agent DiNozzo was very firm on the subject of her not being some mannequin spouting rhetoric."
"We'll find her a good school. Probably not a boarding school."
"Fine. Let me know if I can help? Laura has a soft spot for the young thing. Thinks she'll make a good First Lady some day."
Fornell snorted. "With all due respect to your wife, sir, she's much more likely to be the first female president if we don't elect Hilary next year. She's got more than enough brains and balls for that on her own. Now, we've heard he asked the Japanese government for a favor plus he's hired a hitman to kill his own granddaughter and injure his son in a nearly- fatal way so he can still get his bone marrow then have him killed. We should really get back to her protection detail."
"I can have someone assigned," the president offered.
"I think we can handle it for now, sir. After all, it won't be too much longer that there'll be a threat," Gibbs assured him, looking at Peter. "Correct?"
"Correct. I'll be talking with him in person tomorrow, Agent Gibbs. By the way, he's across the street." He smirked at him. "He's not happy either."
"Yay. Color me shocked." He looked at his boss. "Sorry, sir, but I need to get back to my agent's residence."
"Are you two in a relationship, Agent Gibbs?"
Jethro raised an eyebrow. "No, sir. The thought hadn't occurred to me. Should it I'll be sure to say you suggested I date my male second-in-command." That got a heated look. "By your leave, sir?"
"Go." He got saluted at and waved it off. Fornell left with him. He looked at Peter. "I don't need another scandal."
"Then distance yourself, sir, and start bailing the rowboat now. There's going to be some issues but less than if the press found out you were liking the way she was turning out." He nodded politely. "I've got to finish typing the charges, sir, may I?"
"Go." He looked at the other lawyers. "Do you have anything to counter that?" They shook their heads. "Then disappear and let me tell my wife the bad news." They left and he sighed, heading upstairs to talk to his wife. She was not going to be happy with this and with any luck he wouldn't be sleeping in a guest room.
Tony walked into work with his daughter the next morning, nodding politely at Ducky. "Hi."
"Good morning, Anthony, and Hannah." He smiled at her. "Did you sleep well?"
"Very well. Nothing was painted faux gold and nothing had tassels, plus there were no candles!" she said happily.
"Then I'm very happy for you. Anthony, Abigail has a list of places to take her shopping, as mostly compiled by Tobias's secretary." That got a nod. "Also, your father is in the director's office."
"Oh, joy," she said blandly. "Shall we, Uncle Ducky?"
"If you wish, my dear. Anthony?"
"Please, I'd like to have this meeting. Where is Gibbs?"
"Already up there as well. I believe he put your father in handcuffs and told him to get used to the sensation." He smiled and led the way up to the office, nodding at McGee to let them in. "He had him stand guard so no one else could get in."
"Beats the guy I had to make go away this morning," Tony noted dryly. He walked into the outer office, nodding at the secretary, who gave him a scared look. "Why do you think I left?" he muttered as he walked past her. He tapped on the door once then opened it. "After you, Hannah."
"Thank you, daddy." She walked in and looked at the director. "Director Sheppard, thank you for hosting this very awkward meeting."
"It's nothing, my dear. Like your father and Agent Gibbs, I look forward to a happy resolution."
"He's living, it's not going to make him happy," Tony assured her with a nice smile, turning it to icy cold when he looked at his father and his lawyer. "You and I need to have some words, Father. Director, may we have a few minutes? And then you can bring my boss and my daughter back?"
Hannah looked at him. "I'd rather stay."
"I need to clear the air a bit first, Hannah." He smiled at her, that same friendly, nice smile. "Please."
"Very well," she complained. "Uncle Jethro, we should let Daddy vent. I hear it's very good for one's blood pressure." She took his hand and walked out with him, the director right behind them. "Uncle Ducky?"
"No, dear, I'll be here in case Anthony needs medical support from his venting."
"That's fine, Ducky, I have the feeling you knew more about my childhood than anyone, even before Gibbs and Abby got nosy." Ducky nodded. "Lock the door, Ducky." He sneered at his father, moving closer. "It wasn't enough that you tried to have that little princess hook me on drugs so I'd be forced to marry her and further your business agenda but you had to take my only children away from me? You had two of them created without my permission? You kidnaped my son and kept knowledge of him from me. And gee, from my investigation, it looks an awful lot like you killed him too, father. Why I haven't changed my name in shame yet, I'm not sure," he said icily.
"I'm the one who...."
Tony snorted, shaking his head. "You know what, father, your posturing impresses no one in this room, except maybe the man you hire to clean your ass with his tongue. You know what? You're never seeing Hannah again. Also, as of this moment, the only thing that will save your life is in me. Do you really think I want to save you?"
"You won't get a penny," he sneered.
"Yay. You kept the stuff my cousins left me. Have you realized that's against the law?" He looked stunned. "And the funny thing is, I only expected some pictures. My morning briefing from Peter and Abby was very enlightening, father, and you're about to go down so majorly you'll be spending your last few months in prison. Not the nice club Fed prisons like your buddies play golf at, but a real one. I will do everything in my power to make sure you die in a cell. Trust me, that's more than you think." He smirked at him. "You forget, father, I've spent a lot of time in many police departments gathering my own file on what you've done. I'm a *very* good investigator and I still know where Uncle John hid his blackmail file." He went pale at that. "It's already on its way over here. Sending MI-6 meant that I could tell them that and your companies over there are being raided as well." He leaned down to get closer to him, staring into his eyes. "Your only choice in this matter is to die a slow, painful death and drag this out while I shower my last child with all the love and attention all three of my children should've had, or to do it quickly while I shower her with all the love and attention all three of my children should've had. Once I take Hannah out of this room today, nothing and no one will ever help you get close to her again."
"No court would give you custody of her over me," he sneered.
"Father, mother's terminally ill. Alzheimers from what I hear. She's not competent to take care of herself anymore. Hence my old nightmare of a room being redone. You're terminally ill and, oh, that's right, no one told you that the Y Pestis I got exposed to might make me a bad donor, right?" He went pale. "Yes, I know. Gibbs told me he called but that you never showed up. Pity about that. Maybe you should yell at the secretary you told to hold that message because it wasn't important. Ducky, would that make a difference?"
"I'm not sure," he admitted. "It was blood bourne," he said thoughtfully. "I'd have to check with a transplant specialist, Anthony."
"His name is Antonio."
"No, my name is Special Agent Tony DiNozzo, Father. Second-in-command on the best team in NCIS, ever. That means I save lives and solve crimes in case you had a blind spot to that. Pity about that one too. How does it feel to have your whole legacy and life crumble in front of you?"
"You can stop anytime now, Agent DiNozzo," the lawyer huffed. "We get the point."
"Really?" He smirked at him, then at his father. "Is he one of the lesser beings you told Hannah about or a menial?"
"A menial." His lawyer looked stunned. "It's not like you'll go any further than this."
"Pity about that too, father. You just lost your last ally." He stood up again and looked at Ducky. "Did your contact get you that file?"
"Indeed and I handed it to Jethro about an hour ago. He faxed over everything to Peter and Evan. Needless to say, Evan was not impressed with his former golfing buddy." He smiled at him. "Is there anything else you'd like to mention before they come back in?"
"Oh yes." He looked at his father and pulled out something, holding it up. "Remember this, father?" He looked horrified and tried to grab the key but Tony snatched it away. "Pity about that too."
"I can." He handed it to Ducky. "That goes to my safety deposit box in Connecticut. Have it retrieved for Peter's benefit. I used to have a sister. She died of a mysterious illness as well. What's wrong, father, did my son realize what a bastard you are?" He walked over and opened the door. "You can come in. Peter, Ducky has my safety deposit box key."
"For which one?"
"The one in Connecticut."
"You have a sister?" Hannah asked.
"Had, honey, had. She got sick and died at twelve." He gave her a squeeze around the shoulders. "That'll never happen again." He glared at his father. "I look forward to seeing you in prison orange, father."
Hannah sneered at him. "You really are a lesser being, Grandfather. Being brought down by a common ailment that can attack anyone. Being buried among the lesser beings; soon no one will be able to tell the difference. You're no better than the average child abuser. Pity about that." She looked at the director. "Ma'am, did you get my sister's blackmail file?"
"I did," Peter assured her. He smiled. "Did you need to say anything else to him?"
"Hmm, no. Not really. I don't care enough about him to say anything truly nasty and foul myself with that language, but then again he taught me that as well." She looked at Jethro. "May I sit at your desk and call Uncle Evan to make sure he's not mad at Daddy?"
"I know he's not mad at your father. He woke me up this morning to tell me he's not mad at him and to say he was sorry for not telling him. Your grandfather told everyone your father had given you three to him to raise because his life was too dangerous and you could get hurt by someone he was hunting down."
"Bullshit," Hannah said. Her grandfather gasped. "Yes, I heard you use that word, Grandfather." She looked at her father. "Some day, when you find a woman that you want to do more than dating with, can I have siblings again?"
"If at all possible," he assured her with a happy smile. "You'll make a fantastic big sister." She smiled at that and nodded. "We'll look at the schools that've been suggested the rest of this week and look for somewhere bigger to live."
"If you quit this silliness of a job, you could have the house as long as you take care of your mother," his father ground out.
"I'm never stepping foot in that house ever again, father, and she can stay there with her caretaker. That way she's comforted by her surroundings as she fades." He looked at his daughter. "Unless you wanted it?"
"Ick, no. Can we sell it when she's gone?" He nodded. "Thank you. There's some really ugly paintings."
"There are," he agreed. Ducky nodded at that too. "See, even Ducky agrees, and I'm waiting on him to give me some school recommendations as well."
"St. Augustine's," Ducky offered. "It's a very good day school." She smiled at that idea. "There's a few that're boarding or day schools, in case she needs to stay over due to a case, Anthony. I'll gather that list later and we can weed down the other lists you've been given."
"That would be fine."
"You mean I won't have a nanny?" Hannah asked.
Tony looked at her. "Do I seem like the sort to hire someone to take over my job? If I did that, Gibbs would get really upset when my secretary made his coffee for him."
Gibbs shook his head. "I'd never allow it, DiNozzo."
"See? He's the one who says I can't do that. Therefore I can't," he offered with a grin. "You, me, him, Abby, Ducky, McGee, and Ziva now and then should be enough. And hey, you can even ask Ziva all sorts of questions about girl stuff and sex."
"Can she take me bra shopping?"
"If she'll agree. If not, maybe your Uncle Jethro can. He needs to find a pretty girl to date," he shared.
She giggled and looked at him, but he shook his head. She hugged him tentatively. "You could find someone nice and tell me what boys like, that way I can find a decent one who's not like my grandfather," she offered.
He gave her a squeeze around the shoulders. "I'm not taking you shopping, Hannah, but I'll tell you what sort of boys to avoid and make sure you can kick their ass by the time you're ready to date."
"You mean I can kick butt like on the movie we watched over cereal this morning?"
"You can some day, by the time I'm done with you," he promised. "I might even turn you into a Marine."
"Over my dead body," her grandfather shouted, standing up. "She will not be some menial little slave in the machine!"
"Oh, do shut up, Grandfather. If that's what I want to be, my father has assured me I have that right to decide to be such. So bugger off as my former classmate said." He gaped and blinked, then slowly sat down, grabbing his chest. "Oh, dear. Did I make you have a chest pain again?" She looked at Ducky. "Is the proper thing to do CPR now or call someone?"
"Call someone," Gibbs said, not reaching for a phone. "But of course we should get this finished first." His adversary glared at him. "It makes no difference to me. He's going to be contesting all the other wills, he can add yours." Tony's father gasped and bent over, clutching his chest now. "Ducky? Maybe you should call someone so he's well enough to make a new will out." He pulled out a tape recorder and turned it on, putting it in front of him. "Go ahead and recant anything you want as a last confession and/or make a new will."
"I will." He hissed and forced himself to sit up. "It's only legal if it's written."
"Not with the witnesses in this room," the director noted patiently. She handed him a pen and a notepad. "But there, you can borrow some of mine if it makes you feel better."
"I will not give my son any of my money. He turned his back on me."
"Why would I want it, father? I make a very nice salary and I'll be contesting the wills you had me cheated out of."
"You wouldn't have taken it anyway."
"I would've sold the controlling interest in the companies back," he assured him. "You're right, I wouldn't have kept that part. I did want the family pictures you cheated me out of though. I also wanted my Cousin Abby's afghan that she was knitting for me." The old man glared at him. "Yeah, that's all I was expecting really." He shrugged. "You misjudged it horribly, father. Pity about that too." He waved a hand at the paper and rewound the tape, then restarted it. "We're witnessing the writing of the last will and testament, amended version, of one Angelo Michael DiNozzo. In attendance are Special Agents Leroy Jethro Gibbs and Anthony DiNozzo, Director Sheppard of NCIS, Doctor Donald Mallard, ME at NCIS, and my father's attorney."
"And myself, Hannah Fletcher-DiNozzo," she said firmly, looking at him. "Father, can I legally change my name?"
"If you want. It will come with some pressure to join the business world," he offered quietly, walking her off to the side. "Are you sure you want to do that?"
"I do. I'd also like to talk to my mother."
"She's in Italy with her new family," he said gently, straightening out her braided pigtails for her. "I'm not sure she ever told her husband about you, princess. We'll write to her first and see if she's willing to talk to you." She smiled and nodded. "Any other demands?"
"Can I have two kittens?"
"We'll see," he promised, smiling at her and ruffling her bangs. She beamed and walked over to hug Jethro. "I don't know, boss, two kittens?"
"That way they're not bored," she told him.
"As long as you go to the pound and rescue some," he agreed. "Plus your new building has to accept pets legally."
"Yes, sir," she sighed. "You mean not all places do?"
"No. DiNozzo's current place doesn't. I asked."
"Looks like Gladys is going to pout at me then, huh?" Tony agreed dryly. "We'll do the clothes shopping thing this afternoon, princess."
"Thank you. I hate my school uniform," she said, looking down at herself. "It really is icky and hideous."
Her grandfather stared at her, then started writing, handing it to his lawyer once he had signed it. "Have it notarized."
"We can do that," Ducky assured him. "I am one." He came over to read it then signed it. "Most fair, Angelo," he said quietly. "Thank you."
"You think he won't contest it?" he sneered.
"I do. He's never been one to be greedy for things. Besides, I hear he's getting a raise." He smirked at him. "Anthony, this is done. We should let Peter have him arrested now." He got out of the way, handing it to Tony, who read then snorted and shrugged. "Are you sure?"
"Not like I care. I don't need the money and she'll need it for a good education. That's all I care about." That got a nod. He could stand having a very small allowance per month for himself with the bulk of his estate going to his children. "Anything else you need us for, boss?"
"No, go ahead and take her shopping, DiNozzo. We'll arrange the change of name paperwork with Peter since he's already acting in her behalf."
"And Anthony's," he agreed dryly, smirking at him. "Those wills are going to be reopened since there was criminal tampering. Perjury is bad." Tony smirked at that. "Also, think about a house?"
"Houses are expensive." He looked at his daughter, then at him. "I've got a place in mind." He walked her out, talking quietly in her ear, making her giggle. "You think you'd like it there? There's lots and lots of pretty women there for me to date and maybe find you a stepmother."
She smiled at him. "If that's what you want, as long as I don't have to see a single thing that's painted gold."
"Nope, but you know, my mother wasn't the worst about that. There was a famous pianist who was so much worse than Mother about the decorating stuff. It was so bad they even made a museum out of it!" She gave him an awed look. "It's in Las Vegas, but maybe we can go during some vacation."
"Are you going to try to date a showgirl?"
"Maybe," he agreed with a grin for her. She gave him an identical grin. "You'll enjoy dating a lot, Hannah."
Gibbs sighed and shook his head. "Now there's two of them, Ducky."
"Indeed," he said fondly. "I'm sure Ziva will enjoy telling her about boys and such matters."
The Director looked at him oddly. "I thought he was joking."
"Would you want DiNozzo telling her about dating and sex?" Jethro asked.
She shook her head slowly. "Not with his dating record. She'll end up dating people who think she's easy or who stalk her." The old guy clutched his chest and groaned again. "Ducky, call someone for him before he dies and I have to replace the carpet again," she ordered.
"Yes, director." He pulled over her desk phone and called 911. "This is Doctor Mallard at NCIS. We have a visitor in the director's office having a small heart attack. Yes, that would be most darling, dear. Thank you." He hung up. "On their way, director."
"Thank you, Ducky. Are we done with this meeting, gentlemen?"
Peter looked at the will, then at the father. "That's not very fair to him for the loss of his other children." He slid it down. "Try it again before they get here? Or else I'll be filling it after you die anyway to totally destroy your legacy."
"I have my own blackmail file on my partners," he gasped. He wrote out another few lines then signed that paper and handed it over. His lawyer looked stunned but signed it and Ducky notarized it. "There! Content now!"
"Yes, thank you." He smirked at the other lawyer. "The ambulance should be here within a few minutes. Ducky, should he have water?"
"Water and an aspirin if we have any."
"I've got a few in my desk," she admitted, getting some for him.
He smiled and got the old man some water, helping him swallow it and the aspirin as the paramedics arrived. "There you go. I've given him an aspirin," he reported. "He's steadily gotten worse."
"Of course, Doctor Mallard." They took their patient away fairly quickly.
Gibbs smirked at Peter. "I like it when you're evil."
"Thank you, Special Agent Gibbs. Sometimes the mood strikes me at the right moment. Director, thank you for the lending of your office for this meeting. I'm going to follow him to the hospital in case he lives so I can charge him." She smiled and nodded, shaking his hand. "Have Anthony call me about this stuff later, Gibbs." He gathered everything and walked out, letting his own lawyer handle his will. After all, there was no one to contest it. His wife wasn't able to and she'd be taken care of. Tony wouldn't at all. Hannah would only cackle at it. It was a good job done quickly but efficiently.
Gibbs looked around the new apartment complex Tony wanted to live in, then at him. "Do you think the three dozen nearly naked coeds are going to be a good influence, DiNozzo?"
"Yes, boss, I do. She wants siblings and I wouldn't mind."
Gibbs smacked him on general principles.
"I rather like it," Hannah offered. "It's got a pool and a very cute lifeguard. The ladies are ever so chatty and nice to me. Plus it's a very nice apartment."
"It's not secure, it's not going to let Tony do more than date, and you'll end up a mindless bimbo," Abby assured her, patting her on the back. "Tony, did you even look at the one I suggested?"
"Was that the one with the guy who was playing rock music on his psychedelic painted tuba?" Hannah asked.
"You met Bert?"
"I did," she agreed. "He seemed very...interesting."
Abby beamed. "He's a very nice guy, even though he is trying to play Hendrix on his tuba."
Gibbs looked at her, then swatted her. "You introduced her to Bert?" She beamed and nodded. "No, Abby. No." He shook his head. "Come on, kids." He got them back into the car and took them to a nice place, one that had some pretty women for DiNozzo, one that allowed pets for Hannah, and one where Abby could gladly get all the attention she wanted from the fussy people in the building. He parked and got out, walking them inside. "DiNozzo's here to look at the apartment?"
"Let me get the manager," the doorman agreed. He made a call and soon a portly man came out.
"Jethro," he said, shaking his hand. "This must be your teammate." He nodded at Tony and Hannah, then at Abby. "Which one of you is looking?" Tony raised a hand. "Is the little girl yours?"
"Yup. This is my daughter, Hannah."
"That's wonderful," he agreed, leading him further into the complex. "We're mostly like a family here, Agent DiNozzo."
"Tony, please." He looked around, pointing at a painting on a wall. "Who did that? It's excellent work."
"I like the color composition," Hannah agreed. "The subject matter is a bit risque for my tastes, but then again I am only nine. I'll probably appreciate it more when I've crossed into that dreaded state of puberty."
"Probably," Abby agreed with a long look at the naked guys eating grapes that was painted on the wall. She looked at the manager. "How many residents are there?"
"There's a good mix, miss. There's a few elderly couples up on the top floor and the artists generally like around there as well. Better light and that stuff. The one open apartment is on the fifth floor." He let them into the elevator. "Notice that it takes an apartment key to get in and it'll only go that floor unless the doorman sends it specially." He sniffed the elevator. "Sorry, Mr. Perkin's dogs were apparently in here after the rain we had earlier. He's got a pekinese and a doberman. Somehow they get along. We're not sure how, but they manage it somehow. I think the doberman uses the pekinese as a pillow personally." He hit the button and it went up, letting them off on the fifth floor. "This way, everyone." He opened an apartment. "I'm pretty open on painting as long as it's white when you move out and in good repair." He let Tony wander around the spacious area.
Hannah pointed at one room. "I want this one, dad."
He went in there to look, smiling at the huge closet. "I like that too. Let's go look at the bigger one." She giggle and nodded, following him to his room. "Wow. I like this." He came out. "How much a month?"
"Eleven hundred. You pay all utilities." Tony nodded and pulled out his checkbook. "It's all electric so it's water and electric."
"Works for me. Washer in the building?"
"There used to be but we had problems so you're allowed to have one. There's a small closet for that in the kitchen," he said, showing him that area. "It's got all the hookups and everything." He smiled at Hannah. "Where are you attending school?"
"We're figuring that out this week. Are there pretty women for my father to date? I'd like siblings some day soon."
He smiled. "There's a few, but we've also got two lesbian couples if that doesn't bother you."
"No, not in the least," Tony said with a shrug. "First, last, and deposit?"
"Is great," he agreed. Tony let him put his name on the check. "Let's go to my office so we can sign the lease." He smiled at her. "Jethro said you wanted two cats. As long as they're well trained I don't mind." She beamed at that. "Some day you'll be a heartbreaker," he sighed. "Oh, one of the older couples upstairs gives piano lessons, Tony. I don't know if she takes 'em but she'll offer as soon as she sees her. It's been a while since she's had a constant student. It would do her good."
"I'd love to!" Hannah said happily, bouncing a bit. She stopped and her father looked at her so she smiled again. "I'm trying to find a happy medium between bouncy and the mask Grandfather had me put up."
"You're doing good, Hannah. It took me two years to get over what he did." He gave her a hug. "Come on." She nodded and walked out holding his hand.
Jethro looked at him. "His father had her without telling him," he said quietly. "She's being turned into a normal girl."
"That's fine, I'm pretty sure I heard Tobias talk about her when I worked with him. We've got some very nice women in this building, including the one who teaches piano with her wife." He let them back out, locking the door again. "So, Tony, when did you think you'd want to move in? I can make sure all the smoke detectors work and all that tomorrow if you'd need it that soon."
"I was hoping for this weekend since I've got it off. That'll give me enough time to pack and cart most of her clothes over as we buy them." She smiled at him. "You need more clothes."
"Ooh, can I help?" Abby asked, bouncing a bit. "Please!" she begged. "I'll be good, only get her a little bit of black stuff. Pretty please?" she begged at the look Hannah was giving her. "That way you understand me a bit better and we can talk about boys."
"Does that mean I should ask you instead of Ziva about boys and sex?"
Abby giggled. "I'm not sure she could give you much on either subject, Hannah, but if you have more questions of course you can come to me. Or to the Director," she said with a wink for Gibbs. "She's offered I know."
"I think she got those lessons from Aunt Marie," Tony said quietly, pinching her on the arm. "Behave. It's my right to torture people with my daughter's awkward questions. Or else I'm letting McGee tell her about boys."
She giggled. "Oh, I so wanna tape that," she said happily, smiling at the manager, who was chuckling. "He's a very sweet guy, but he stutters a lot."
"You'll fit in here very well, Tony."
"Do you have a pool?" Hannah asked.
"We do have a small gym in the basement. It's not great but a lot of the residents like it since they don't have to go outside in the rain to run."
"Cool." She looked at Abby. "That's the right expression, right?" Abby beamed and nodded, patting her on the head. "Cool." She smiled at Jethro. "Uncle Jethro, can you help me find how I want to decorate? I have no idea what I want, as long as it's not gold, has tassels, or candles."
"My mother went through a Rococo phase in our rooms," Tony told the manger. That got a shudder. "Exactly. My mother took out the overhead light in her room and put in candles."
"I'm so sorry. We've got nice overhead lights here, Tony. She could even try a colored bulb, but watch out for the purple ones, they show up as red." He smiled and nodded at that. He led the way off the elevator and to his office, letting him sign all the forms and putting the check with it. He handed over the keys. "There you go, Tony. I'll do an inspection tomorrow for you."
"Thank you." He looked at Hannah. "I say we have Chinese food for dinner."
"If you show me how to eat it properly."
"Of course." He smiled at her then at Gibbs. "Coming with us, boss?"
"Better than paperwork. Abby?"
"Sure." She smiled and winked at him. "I'll be listening for an open spot," she assured him. He smiled and nodded. So she followed them back to the car, going to call McGee and talk Hannah into asking her questions over dinner so she could see his face too.
Tony yawned as he opened the door, looking at his boss and McGee. "Why are you here? It's Saturday."
"We're helping you move, DiNozzo."
"Boss, I learned long ago to pay people for that. It goes better and I don't break things." He let them inside, pointing at all the boxes. "See, they're doing their last load today, but you can help me unpack. We painted Hannah's room last night." That got a smile from McGee since he had helped her pick out her decorating scheme. He waved a hand. "Sit while the couch is still here. The movers should be here any minute now. Let me get her up." He went into the bedroom, then had to duck the flying shoe. "Sorry, Hannah. Everyone's here. You think you wanna get up?"
"Must I?" she complained. "It's early!"
"Yeah, and? The sooner we get done, the sooner you sleep in your new bed tonight." She squealed and got up to hug him then into the bathroom to change clothes. She came out and he changed, then their dirty things were put into the laundry bag.
McGee answered the door. "You're the mover?" he teased Ziva.
"No, but they're following me." She got out of the way and watched as they got right to work. "That's efficient. If I had more than two duffle bags and a box, I'd want them." She came in to see if she could help.
"We're going to the new place to unpack," Gibbs told her.
"All right. I need to know where I'm going."
"You can follow me or ride with me if you took the bus," McGee promised. "Abby gave me the address. It's a really nice building." Tony nudged him and handed him something, getting a smile and a nod. "Thanks, Tony."
"Security is necessary at times," he noted dryly. He nudged Gibbs and gave him one too. "Boss, wanna ride with us?"
"Can I ride with him? I like how he drives," Hannah asked, smiling at him. "I want him to teach me how to drive some day."
He patted her on the head. "We'd like to have him teach Ziva to drive too," he promised, heading back into the kitchen. "What did I have left to do?"
"Throw out the wrinkled vegetables and hand Gladys back her last casserole dish," she called, taking Jethro's hand. "Come on, Uncle Jethro, the coffeemaker is already over there and programmed. Daddy taught me how to make coffee last night."
"That's always a good thing," he agreed, smirking at her. "We'll see you over there, DiNozzo."
"'Kay, boss. Save me some coffee or make a second pot." He looked around as the movers hefted down another load and his couch. Once their truck was filled, he made sure everything was being brought, doing one last turn. He found a spot under his bed, pulling up the small flap of carpet to get the stuff he had concealed in there, stuffing it into his work backpack. The other hidden spots were found once the movers had filled the second load and everything was gone. Once they were all emptied he got the glue out to fix the holes he had created, filling them in so they couldn't be seen. It was a good job, even if he did say so. He stood up after the last one and turned to find his boss standing there. "Boss."
"Next time, buy a safe, DiNozzo." He punched him on the arm. "Hannah hates to decorate."
"Coming." He looked around then walked out with his backpack. Which got taken from him and Gibbs rifled through it. "Hey!"
"Just checking to make sure there's more stuff I don't know about." He handed it back. "Why do you have a Swiss bank account?"
"I have had one. I started it when I was ten on a business trip with my father. It's earned great interest over the years, boss." He zipped it back up and held out a hand. "The transcripts please." Gibbs smirked and leaned against his car to flip through them. Tony snatched them. "Try asking, boss."
"Okay, I'm asking. How did you go from science nerd to football?"
"I liked football." He shrugged. "I'm odd like that." The transcripts were snatched back. "Hey! Mine!"
"Shut up, DiNozzo." He read through them, then blinked at one and looked at him. "You minored in gay studies at your first school?"
"Yeah, I met a lot of women in there. Many who wanted to watch a gay guy have sex, but plenty of women. The same as I took a lot of women's studies courses too." He took them back. "Anything else you wanted to know, boss?"
He smirked at him. "The President wanted to know if we were together. I said if it happened, I'd credit him."
"Not like I care, boss, but I still like breasts just a bit more than guys. So you've got an uphill climb," he said smugly.
"Funny, your daughter said you called my name last night."
"Fuck." He got into his car and honked as he started it, then pulled out and headed for his new home.
Gibbs fingered the ID case he had taken out as well, flipping through it. Just that little bit of information was very helpful to him. It even had an alias of his. He'd have to search that out later. He got in and drove over to the new place too, nodding at the doorman. "We should be all done with the moving."
"A third truck showed up, sir, but Hannah had it sent away because she said it was ugly crap."
"I'm not sure, sir." He shrugged and handed over the invoice. "It came from here."
He took it and headed up to the apartment with his key, getting off and walking down the hall. "DiNozzo, did you order the gilt candelabras?"
"Hell no!" he complained, snatching that.
"Grandmother sent it for us," Hannah called from her bedroom. "I've already called and told them we couldn't use them, our apartment was filled. They'll let us exchange them for things like a new entertainment center and a desk for me."
"Thank you," Tony called, shaking his head as he went back to reading the invoice. "My mother has horrible taste. I swear she's Liberace's girlfriend."
"He way gay."
"Almost every single gay guy has one girlfriend that he gossips with, Gibbs. We go to them for validation and help when we get stuck for ideas."
"Then Abby's yours?"
"No, actually, Ducky's mine," he taunted back. He held out a hand. "ID case. Now." It was handed over. "Thank you." He went into the kitchen. "He thinks you're my gayboy girlfriend."
"Well, I'm not really into being a faghag, but if he wants to do you, I'll gladly stare at his butt," she offered. Ziva choked and spluttered from where she was putting up the food and spices. "Sorry, Ziva."
Hannah drug Gibbs into the kitchen. "If you three get together I won't mind, but I will expect siblings, Abby, so either you or Uncle Jethro will have to have a baby sometime in the near future so I learn how to do it before I have one."
"Far in the future," her father reminded her.
"Of course, father. Ziva, daddy suggested I come to you about help figuring out boys and sex." Ziva whimpered at that. "What? You don't know about boys and sex?"
"Not a lot," she offered, hurrying away. "Ask McGee."
"I've never seen her date," McGee agreed.
"Tim!" she shrieked. "Not like that! Answer her questions!"
"I answered the set last night about why women wear thongs and bras that make them stand up that way since it looks so uncomfortable."
Abby looked at her. "Because guys like that stuff and sometimes you've got to make them happy or they whine."
"Oh, okay, that makes more sense than his talk about fashion being fickle and sometimes odd. How we got onto orange knitted sweaters from bras I'm not sure." She walked back into her room. "I'll still expect a sister or brother, or both!"
"She really needs that talk if she thinks I can get pregnant," Gibbs noted dryly, going for more coffee.
"Grandmother said someone in Sweden was working on it!" Hannah called. "They needed test subjects who were tough enough to endure the hormones."
"Sounds like a job for the Marines to me," Abby agreed. Tony pinched her, making her yelp. "Hey!"
"Think how cranky he would be with mood swings."
"No thanks, mine are bad enough," she assured him, heading to help Ziva unpack the bathroom.
"Hers are pretty bad," Tony agreed. Gibbs smacked him on the head. "Sorry, boss, but truth. You'd be horrible if you had mood swings like that." He ducked and got out of range. "I'm hanging up my clothes."
"Do you need help?" Abby called.
"No, I've got hangers and stuff." He opened his closet and found them already put up. "Wow. The clothing fairy helped." He frowned and looked. "Hannah, where's my blue suit?"
"It was ugly!" she shouted. "It's still in a box! I refuse to let you wear it or I'll never get siblings because you look like a dork in it."
He sighed and shook his head, unpacking the rest of his clothes, finding some stuff he knew he didn't have before. "Why did you buy me silk boxers?" he called.
"The saleslady said they were good for getting siblings, that women liked men who wore them."
"She's really focused on that," Tim said from the doorway, smirking ta him. "So, you, Gibbs, and Abby?" Tony shot him a look. "Well, at least he'd be less grumpy at work."
"No I wouldn't," Gibbs said from behind him, making him squeak. "Work and home have nothing in common in my life." He came in and looked at the wardrobe. "No graduation robes?"
"No, I got rid of them when I was done. Sorry to spoil your snooping in my past." He smirked and got back to work sorting out his new clothes and his old clothes.
"I can't believe she packed that shirt. You usually look good in it."
"It's got a bad stain," he said, putting it on the 'bad' side of the closet. "I'm sending it out to see if someone else can get it out for me. I do it about once every two months." That got a nod. "You?"
"I usually home treat and then toss it out if it's that noticeable." He looked around, then at him. "You know she's going to pounce any woman you date for siblings, right?"
"Oh, I know, but that's all right. I don't often get past the first date recently. It'll make it go faster. Like speed dating only spread out over a few days." Gibbs gave him a look. "What?"
"I found the root of the layers."
"Really? Prove it?" Gibbs moved closer and whispered something in his ear. "Nope that was part of the third layer I built, boss. Sorry. Closer than Abby got though." He smirked and got back to work. "McGee, see if I've got any more boxes of socks out there. They seem to have disappeared." He went to do that. He looked at his boss. "Why are you pushing on this? It's not like I lied, I just rearranged and excluded."
"Which is a lie and you can do more than you let on, DiNozzo. That's not fair to the team."
"I'm honest when I can do something, boss, I just excuse it at something I learned in my downtime or at a convention or something." He shrugged and then gave him his most wicked smirk. "You know she knows the director's phone number, right? Sheppard gave it to her in case she needed any help. That way she could travel in the same social circles."
Gibbs groaned and went to remind the little girl not to tease him about that in front of her.
Tony smirked evilly and got back to work, finishing his wardrobe. He came out and McGee was still looking. "No sign of my socks?" He shook his head. "The dryer got really hungry then. I guess I'll put that on the shopping list for tonight." He shrugged and started one, including some food and cleaning products since he had left them there. His daughter came out and hugged him, making him smile. "Did you throw out my socks?" She shook her head. "Did you take them?"
"No, but I'm missing a few boxes too. We should go back to the old place and look."
"I can," McGee promised, heading back there.
He patted her on the back. "It was probably Gladys giving herself a reason to pop around tonight." She nodded, giving him another squeeze. "What's wrong?"
"Jethro said I can't call Jenny to talk to her."
"You probably shouldn't. You can talk to her at work when you come in during the long afternoons." She smiled at that. "You start school in another week, right?" She nodded. "We still have to pick up uniforms."
"Are they nicer?"
"Blazer's less itchy and the colors will look better. I promise." He smiled. "We've got to get your hair trimmed too."
"Mr. Paul will not be happy with me."
"You can go to my guy," Tony assured her smugly. "You'll appreciate him." She smiled. "Gibbs, I've got to get her uniforms and buy socks. Did you and Abby want to come with us? We're going grocery shopping afterward. That way Ziva can relax and snoop for you."
"That'd be fine. Beats unpacking her clothes." Abby came out blushing. "Sorry, she found something she picked up last night."
Tony looked at her. "I was wondering where my new Playboy went."
"I wanted to know what I'd look like when I was older."
"Less enhanced. You won't have plastic surgery before you're eighteen unless it's absolutely necessary to correct something." He kissed her on the head. "Okay, shopping, hair cuts. Find me my cell?" She nodded and went to find it. "Thank you." He found the number. "Bryon, it's Tony. No, my daughter and I both need a trim. Can you work us in?" He smiled. "Yes, I said daughter. I just found out about her and stole her to regain custody from my father. Please?" He smiled. "That's a good time. Thank you." He hung up and called McGee. "We're going uniform and food shopping, then doing haircuts if you wanted to come back and hook up the tv and computer, then play for a bit." He smirked. "I think Gladys or one of the nice ladies probably has them as a reason to pop around. Tell them I won't be back until eight. Thanks, McGee. Yeah, go ahead and order in, then veg in front of the tv. Cable's on." He smiled. "That too." He hung up and looked at her. "Change. Put on clean underwear and everything." She nodded, going to do that while he did the same. Abby tapped and walked in while he was pulling on some better pants. "You can come too."
"Thank you. Can I take her goth shopping again?"
"Well, her uniform shirt is supposed to be a black button-up," he offered. She squealed and hugged him. "Thanks, Abby. Let me put on a shirt, your bracelets are cold." She giggled and let him go, going to tell Hannah that. He pulled down a shirt he liked and would be comfortable to get in and out for hours on end. Then he found his shoes and stepped into them, grabbing his wallet and keys on his way past his dresser. "Boss, I wanted to ask you to give her the extended gun safety lecture. I don't want to miss anything on it," he asked quietly.
"I can do that tomorrow, DiNozzo."
"Thank you. I can take her shooting and stuff, but I'm shaky on how to explain it without worrying her."
"That's fine." He smiled at the girls as they came out. "St. Augie's?" She sighed and nodded. "It's a good school, kid." He walked out with her, letting Tony close and lock the door. "The uniforms aren't that horrible."
"All uniforms are icky."
"Yes, but these aren't that bad. It's navy blue and black, with a skirt," Abby assured her.
"Skirt? Can I wear pants?"
"Yup, now and then but there's mandatory skirt wearing at least once a week," Tony told her dryly. "They told you that, you tuned them out." She sighed and nodded. "It'll be fine. You'll look adorable and Abby will make sure of it."
"Okay. If I must."
"Consider it practice for when she's got to help you dress up for a date," Tony suggested. "I'd probably put you in a turtleneck and pants that were impossible to get out of. She'd make it look cuter." Abby swatted him but she was smiling. "You could."
The girls shared a look. "When it's time to be cute, I'll make sure you're adorable." She smiled at that. "That'll be about the same time we talk about sex."
Tony led the way into his hairdresser's place, waving at the crowd. "All here to see the princess?" He let her inside and waved a hand. "This is my daughter Hannah. Hannah, that's my hairdresser Bryon, his boyfriend Kurt, Kurt's ex Boris and his new boyfriend Toddy. And the last one is actually a woman named Devine, but right now he's in man- form so he's Danny."
"Hi," she said, staring at them with wide eyes. "I've never met people like you before, not even on the bus." She walked up to Bryon, holding out a hand. "Hi, I'm Hannah. He just found out about me. Can you make him cute enough to date and get me siblings someday soon?"
"You're adorable!" he squealed, hugging her tightly. "Ooh, sweetie, you're so one of us!" he cooed. He patted Tony on the cheek. "You need a moisturizer, yet again, Anthony." He pointed at his chair. "Sit, now!" he ordered, going into high drama mode. "Your totally delish daughter is *so* right, your hair is a *wreck*! You need to quit wearing a hat!"
"Sometimes he's got to wear a hat," Abby complained as she came in. "Hi, Toddy!"
"Abby!" he squealed, hugging her. "Oooh, and a studly man sort. Did you bring me a present?"
"That's daddy's boss and I'm trying to see if he'll help the nice woman in Sweden who wants you guys to have kids for women like me and Abby."
"Oooh," he said, shivering a bit. "I've heard of you, Jethro Gibbs. You're a very...strong man." He shook his hand with a smile. "Agent Todd Bradley, FBI. Agent Fornell says some very nice things about you behind your back, including that you should spank Tony there more often."
"I only hit him on the head. Spanking probably wouldn't work on him." He looked at Tony, then smirked at Bryon. "She's got to have better hair."
"Oh, I know, and poor little Abby needs a trim too. Sit, Missy, now!" She skipped over and sat. "It's a good thing I scheduled you four at the end of the day."
"I just got a trim," Gibbs defended.
"By what? A blind man wielding a weed whacker? Sit! Now! You should be at least as pretty as our Tony is!" He looked at Hannah, tipping her face up. "How short were you willing to go, pumpkin?"
She shrugged. "Mr. Paul did my hair this way because it made me look very suave and smart."
"Yes, but you're about to embark on a wonderful journey to adulthood and you've got to look more your age and less your father's. We'll figure out something cute for you. Abby, let the poor girl look at the books, please."
"Sure, Bryon. I really don't need a trim."
"You do so, you've been chewing on the ends of your pigtails again!" he said firmly. "I will spank you." She smiled at him. "Even though you would like it more than I would."
Gibbs looked at Hannah, then at Tony. "Think he knows more guys like that?"
She shrugged. "That depends on who Raul was, the guy with the fake accent the other night."
"College buddy on a binge," Tony called. "Not a boyfriend. Sorry, dear." He smirked at them, then hissed as Bryon finger-combed his hair. "Easy, I'm still delicate."
"I know you are, precious. Don't worry, we'll treat you like the delicate little queen you are," he promised. He found his water bottle. "Am I doing the full treatment today, sweetie? Your nails could use the work."
"No. We're in the middle of moving to a new building."
"Amber and Viola said you were moving into their haven," Toddy teased with a grin. "I can only imagine why." He smiled at Hannah. "Do you play piano?"
"No, but daddy promised I could learn if I wanted to. Does St. Augies have a band?" Tony nodded. "You shouldn't move so much, he might get mad."
"I won't," Bryon assured her with a wicked smirk. "Your father hasn't been still since the day he found forward momentum and pretty girls and boys, dear."
"I only had pretty girls at home and most of them wanted my father's wallet so I wasn't interested," Tony reminded him. He glanced back at him. "Don't let Gibbs pump you for information, Bryon. He's found out I didn't confess every single sin on my background check."
"Oh, sweetie, the sins I could tell about our time in college," he moaned. "Hell, even I was straight back then."
"Which college?" Gibbs asked as he joined them.
"Ohio State. He was my frat brother," he offered with a smile. "But my darling little one here used to have a very *bad* tolerance for alcohol." Tony moaned and covered his face. "I know all about Elizabeth and Bethany both, plus other juicy stories."
"I'll let you do whatever you want to me, pay for it gladly even, if you spill. He's mocking my deeper checks into his background so I need reference points." That got a smirk. "I might even talk my director into coming here to have her hair done. She's recently gone with something shorter and spikier."
"She needed it, it looked like a bad wig before," Toddy noted dryly, making the others laugh. "Seriously, his director is Sheppard."
"Oooh," Boris sighed. "I saw her at the Marine Ball. Total bagger at that time thanks to her hair. She fixed it?"
"She went with a pixie cut," Abby offered. "Personally I think someone snuck in and made her go under penalty of telling everyone what she did as Gibbs' trainee. Even though Ducky claims he didn't and he's not that psychic."
Toddy laughed. "Oh, Bryon, you would *adore* Ducky," he assured him. "He tells these great long stories about *everything* but he's adorable for a guy his age."
"Ducky, like Doctor Ducky?" Devine asked. Everyone who knew nodded. "I know him, he is adorable," he promised. "He's the sweetest old coot there ever was. The poor dear took the director to the Ball for social climbing probably." Gibbs nodded at that and so did Tony, earning a pinch.
"I swat him, make sure his hair won't get too messed up when I do it next time, or else he'll probably pout," Gibbs ordered.
"Kate said the same thing," he shared with a grin. Gibbs blinked. "You didn't know he brought her to me?" Tony shook his head. "Why not?"
"Kate didn't share hair dressing tips with me." He sat down up there. "She thought I was all bastard about that stuff. She and Abby gossiped."
"How did you think I knew these guys, Gibbs? Kate dragged me here a lot for massages and things." She looked around. "Tabby's not in?"
"No, honey, Tabby finally went for his surgery," Devine told her, smiling at her. "She'll be back soon and simply marvelous as a real woman. I hear she's going to throw a party for some of her best clients when she's fully healed. Maybe you and Kate can go?"
"Kate can't. She got shot," she said quietly, coming up to get a hug.
"The person who did it paid," Gibbs said at the cool looks he received. "We were on assignment. Sniper."
"He's paying in prison or he's paid the final price?" Bryon asked, glaring at Toddy. "You didn't tell us?"
"I thought Tony would've."
"I still can't talk about it," Tony admitted quietly. "Sorry."
"S'okay. He's gone, Bryon. He came to face down Gibbs in his basement beside his boat from what I hear."
"Good." He swallowed and looked at Gibbs. "You've got a boat in the basement? Is that the new bi-boy toy this year?"
"I'm building her and no," he offered. "Three ex-wives and dealing with DiNozzo every day make me retreat to it for peace and quiet."
"Three ex-wives? Man, no wonder you needed to turn to men," Toddy said, shaking his head. "One was more than enough for me. I gave up after that."
"My second wife married Fornell," Gibbs said with a smirk.
"Ooooh, then she must be the one who tried to stab him."
"She took a golf club to him," Tony told him. He got another pinch. "Sorry, Bryon."
"I told you not to move or you'd make him mad," Hannah called. She came up with a book. "What about this one, daddy?"
He looked then at her hair. "I'm not sure a perm wouldn't ruin the texture but Bryon's got the final decision with you."
"Okay." She went back there, holding her finger in that spot. "Maybe you should go shorter, Abby."
"Nope, I like my pigtails," she said with a smile. "They make me happy."
"Bryon, my daughter was totally helpless yesterday," Tony shared, smiling at his daughter, who moaned. "She could do a french twist, she could put her hair in a bun, but she didn't know what a ponytail was."
"Your father should be shot and buried while he's still alive and bleeding," he said firmly.
"Heart attack, died on the way to the hospital," Tony said proudly. They shared a smirk. "Do not give him anything blackmail worthy, Bryon."
"Yes, love. But only if I get to add my initials to the tattoo."
"That's a special club you never joined."
"So? I just want my initials there," he said dryly. "You're not really my type, dear. You're much too butch for me to top."
"Fine, we can add your first initial to the tattoo," he agreed with a smile. "But you can't brag about it."
"That's fine. I can do that. Kurt, you don't mind, right?"
"Depends on how you put it there, baby."
"Nothing more than my fingers, I promise, and Tony would never have me that way. He's got specific needs." They shared a smile. "Good for you?"
"Fine," he agreed. "Can I count and see?"
"There's four," Tony told him. "Including his." He looked back. "You know I love you if only because you make me pretty for my many dates over the years."
"I know, baby, but you're still not my type. If only you were a bit less butch, but you're very good as our big, bad protector."
"Hey, anytime you need me to," he promised. "Never an issue, guys." Toddy smiled at that. "Yes, even you. Oh, Hannah wanted to make sure the agents who came to steal her back got spanked by Marie."
"Oh, they certainly did." He smirked. "For a very long time. Marie wants your baby to follow her into the job, hopefully without the bedroom requirement."
"I'm letting her make her own decisions about her future, guys. Whatever she wants to be, she'll be."
"That's good," Toddy decided. "I'll tell Fornell to pass that back."
"I told him to already," Hannah assured him. "Does he need to be spanked for not doing so?"
"I'm sure they're doing it tonight while all your aunts and uncles are gathered for dinner, dear."
"Am I going?"
"No. They're talking about you behind your back."
She snorted and rolled her eyes. "Bet me."
"No," Tony called. "You can't go to The Property. It's a bar. You're not old enough. Call in, dear."
"Can I have Ziva teach me how to break into places?"
"When you're at least fifteen."
"Okay." She considered it. "When should I start asking about boys?"
"When you start getting curious about them," Abby told her.
"When will that be?"
"Over the next few years. Just remember, you can't threaten the guys who make you cry with Gibbs. You've got to use your own daddy for that."
"Is he as scary as Uncle Jethro?"
"Depends on how much sugar he's eaten that day," Gibbs called, giving her a look. "You can threaten the really mean ones with me. Even though I'll have you able to kick their asses by the time you're allowed to start dating."
"Awww. She's going to be as tough of a woman as I am," Devine said happily. "I'm so proud someone's going to be carrying on my finer traditions."
Boris looked at her. "Gibbs is a former Marine too, he'll have her kicking ass like I do, not like you do. Though, maybe you can teach her how to do it in five-inch heels and a sequined gown." She threw a magazine at his head. "Easy! Toddy banged my head on the wall last night during sex. I'm walking wounded."
"Is that why you're sitting like that?" Tony teased.
Toddy nodded. "Definitely, Tony. My poor boy deserved every single scratch, bruise, and bite mark too. He flirted with a *woman* last night." He smirked. "Your new coworker."
"Well, Ziva did say she didn't do much dating," Abby offered dryly, cracking the guys up.
Gibbs looked at her. "That's too mean, Abby." But he was smirking. "Are you and McGee still dating?"
"Um, no but he's seeing her."
"That little geekboy of yours?" Boris asked. She nodded. "Why?"
"He's cute, shy, and she can dominate him."
"Oh. That explains it then. She hit on me horribly so I was killing time until Toddy got there."
Kurt looked at him. "You're such a slut."
"Guys, the daughter is only nine," Tony said firmly. "No details in front of her."
"Of course not, we'd never tell her what a slut puppy you are," Kurt said in his ear. "Or where you go to pick up boys." He patted him on the head. "Now, let Bryon finish making you pretty so you can pick up someone, dear."
"What's a slut puppy and I want siblings," Hannah called.
"Yup, she's a DiNozzo, she's got Tony's hearing," Abby said dryly. "Slut puppy means that your daddy's dated a lot of women, honey. It's a bad term but because he's among friends, they're teasing him about it."
"I know about teasing. Even good teasing. I'll miss Cassandra."
"You can still write her and call sometimes," Tony promised. His bib was taken off and he stood up to look at his hair. "Thank you, Bryon."
"Now, sit your ass in my other chair while I work on Abby's pigtails so we can do a moisturizing treatment. She'll never have siblings with your skin in that condition."
"Yes, sir." He sat down and got comfortable. "Abby. Your turn."
She skipped up the stairs and planted her butt in the seat. "It feels weird to be sitting up with my legs crossed in here. When is Tabby coming back?"
"Three more weeks, sweetie. Three more weeks, then you can get shaved and waxed again." He put the apron around her and undid her pigtails, combing through it. "You've got some bad breakage this time," he tutted. "I should pare back to the healthy stuff but then you'll have a pixie cut too." She pouted at him and let out a small whimper. "We'll have to grow some of that out, but I'm going to have to take two inches, Abby love."
"If you must," she said with a bigger pout.
"Oh, I must." He got to work wetting down her hair. It was easy enough to cut, it only took him ten minutes, then he put her pigtails back up and tied ribbons around the rubber band, making them stick out a bit more before falling. "There, baby love, horns again." She giggled and slipped money into his pocket. "Thank you, dear." He blew a kiss. "I'll make Tabby call you and set up an appointment." He looked at Gibbs, then at Hannah. "Let's do you next, princess. Let me do your daddy's face first."
"Oh, let me," Devine sighed, getting up to do that. As he had intended all along. She found the bottles she wanted and the one he definitely needed, mixing small amounts in a plastic bowl. She carefully washed her hands then smoothed the potion over his face and neck, then into his hands, taking the time to do a hand massage to make sure it sunk into all the right spots. He moaned and went limp, letting her spoil him. "You are so easy to spoil," she teased. "Just a few touches and you're a puddle of ...goo." He smirked at that, keeping his eyes closed.
Bryon smiled at them. "Behave." He played with her hair, looking at the pictures she had brought up. "Well, I think you could do the twisted curls without needing a perm now and then, but probably not every day. But this second one would suit your face more," he offered, tapping it.
"I liked the redheaded picture."
He frowned and looked at it, then down at her. "Honey, that's old lady hair. Be young and free." He picked up another book and turned back to the kids' section, finding one he liked. "Like this one," he offered, handing it over. She looked then frowned at him, staring into his eyes. "Your father gave me that same look back in college when I first did his hair."
"I needed to be clipped to my scalp when you screwed up. Thankfully you've gotten better," Tony called. He moaned and shifted when she hit a nicer spot on his palm. "Ooh, Devine, I'd date you in a heartbeat."
"You hush, Tony. I don't need some butch thing like you. I need a nice girl of my own." She smiled at Abby, winking a bit. "I was thinking about hitting on Tabby actually."
"I won't ask for the special treatment if you do."
"Oh, honey, I'd never stop her from doing specials. She enjoys it much too much." She smiled at Tony again, letting Abby take his other hand to work on. "You could use a good moisture treatment too, dear."
"Yeah, but it's not as fun when I can't go with Kate. That's why I haven't been in lately."
"I'm sorry, baby." She kissed her on the cheek. "It'll be okay, I promise." She nodded, still pouting a bit but making Tony moan with the action his hands were getting.
Gibbs looked over there then at Hannah's chosen picture, taking the book to look through. Toddy smirked at him. "I had to do this with three ex-wives who all wanted outrageous hair they weren't willing to do the work on." He found one he liked and handed it over. "How about that? It's closer to her present one but still younger and she can curl it later if she wants."
Hannah looked, then nodded. "I could stand that. I can still pull it up too."
"You can," Bryon admitted, tipping the chair back. "We'll do the full treatment since your hair's a bit dry. You need your own conditioner instead of your dad's. His hair tends to run a bit greasy but you're very dry."
"I guess I get that from my mom then." She looked at Gibbs. "What does she look like?"
"You never knew your mother?" Toddy asked.
Kurt coughed. "Tony, dear?"
"My father hired her mother to have her for him. Hence me not knowing until she called Tuesday. We're tracking down her mother now. Hannah, we'll let McGee find her old drivers licence photos for you tomorrow, okay?"
"Okay. When can I write the letter?"
"How about we work on that Monday? After I get home? That way we've hopefully got an address by then and we can put it in the box that night."
"Sure. That makes sense and gives me a few days to decide what to say." She looked at Bryon. "Can we trim me now please? Before I relapse into my princess conditioning because I'm fighting being mushy."
"Of course, princess." He started the water in his wash basin, testing it on his wrist until it came out the perfect temperature for Tony's head, figuring she was a lot alike. He worked on her hair, hearing the content noises she was making and looking back at Tony, then at Gibbs. "Were are you four going after this?" he asked, rinsing out the soap and working a conditioner in.
"Home to finish unpacking and eat dinner," Tony said, sounding a bit sleepy now. He even yawned. "I need spoiled more often. Maybe I'll come visit Tabby for a massage soon."
"I'm sure she'd like that," Devine promised, making him smile. She continued until he drifted off, then got up to start cleaning off his facial treatment. She waved Abby to sit and continue. "I'll clean that hand last," she promised quietly.
"I've never known him to fully drop into sleep with others in the room," Gibbs said quietly.
"He probably hasn't since college. He got hazed a bit and doesn't really sleep well since then," Bryon offered quietly, rinsing out the conditioner. He dried her hair off then sat her up to get to work on it, smiling because she was asleep too. "She is so very muchly Tony's daughter," he said fondly, working around her head. "Tip her chin up for a minute, make sure I've got it even." Gibbs came over to do that and he had to trim one side a bit more, but that was fine. He got finished with her hair and winked at Jethro. "Go ahead and take her to the car, Abby. I'll let Sleepy there come out to nap too while I work on this one." She nodded and finished cleaning Tony off, tossing over his wallet. Bryon ran the card and smiled, scribbling Tony's name on it like usual, then tucked the wallet back into his pocket before Abby walked him out to the car, and came back to get Hannah. He looked at Jethro. "You wanted how much blackmail?"
"I'd rather have background. I had no idea Tony was that complex and I've worked with him for years. He hides a lot behind his goofy exterior." They stared at him. "I knew he was smarter than he let on and I knew his family had money, I had no idea about the special academy he graduated from or the first college he went to that he never claimed, or the classes he took under an alias."
Toddy smirked and nodded. "Tony doesn't talk about it but if you come with specific questions he'll usually answer."
"Where's the tattoo?"
"He's got a small line of first initials on the inside of his right cheek, the ones he's loved. Elizabeth and Bethany, the one he married and the one he almost married and would have married if she hadn't walked out on him. There's one with a T but I've never heard his or her name."
"Then he is bi?"
Bryon snickered. "Oh, yes, dear." He pointed at the seat and Gibbs sat, letting him deal with his hair. "Has been for as long as I've known him. He's very discreet but now and then he gets that urge. I'm still not sure if T was a male or female. I've never really asked." He shrugged. "Tony's a very private young man."
Gibbs pulled something out of his pocket and handed it over. "That's what I've got so far on his background."
Bryon looked and smiled. "Well, you're missing one academy and I didn't even know about a few of those classes. Makes sense he majored in women's studies though. The boy really is a slut puppy of the highest order. A true knight to the cause of getting laid if you know what I mean."
Gibbs made more notes when he got it back. "Any other tattoos?"
"Yes, but he had it lasered off a few years back," Toddy sighed. "He had one on his upper arm. Something to remind him of Liz." He shrugged. "I saw it but I don't remember what it was."
Kurt smirked. "It was a small ring of thorns hanging off a heart. It was where she got sent away after his father forced a judge to annul it on him."
"So he married her?"
"Yup, without permission and his father ended it for him and sent her away. She was in Scotland teaching the last time he heard anything and she told him she's not mad at him, she's found a new guy with less problems in his background. But she said she didn't blame him for what his father did."
"Huh," Gibbs said, wincing as his hair was combed through.
"Sorry, dear." He wet down that section and went back to it. "You could be doing so much more with this than a bowl cut." He got to work trimming it up, making it look much better. "Devine, dear, come see what you need to do to him. He did say the *full* treatment after all."
"Of course." She came over to test his skin then went to get her bottles and mix what she needed.
Tony groaned as someone tapped on his door very early Sunday morning, trudging out to answer it since Hannah slept like the dead. He found Gibbs and Abby standing there. "I like your hair like that," he decided, then turned around and went back to bed.
"Hannah and I are going to brunch with Ducky and then we're going to browse at the furniture place you've got credit at," Abby said happily. Tony grunted and waved a hand. "Cool." She headed that way, going to wake her up and help her get ready. She had to duck a flying lamp but that was all right. It wasn't something that would break easily. She did decide to move the night table away from the bed so the little girl couldn't throw things as easily next time though.
Gibbs watched Abby fuss and cajole the young lady into real clothes and then out with her, shaking his head at the power of Abby. He went to start coffee, getting a slammed bedroom door from Tony's room, but he didn't care. He finished his coffee and poured him a cup as well, taking it into the bedroom. "You majored in art?" he asked dryly before sitting beside him. Tony glared at him. He held out the coffee cup. "You majored in art at a small, private finishing school before starting your first college, which you attended for two years and earned a BA in Humanities. Then you switched to Ohio State and didn't claim any of your prior credits, setting up your official cover for your future life. I'm guessing your choice of field was solidified at your first college, but I can't be sure it wasn't earlier. By the way, Bethany was Junior's mother," he offered quietly. "She's in Madrid working for your father's company." He took a sip and looked at him. Tony sighed and sat up, taking his cup to gulp out of, making a face. "Sorry, thought you could use it stronger this morning, DiNozzo."
"I could use more sleep than anything. We were up late last night teaching her how to play a video game. McGee ever make it home?"
"He wasn't on the couch."
"That's fine." He looked at him. "Why are you still pushing this?"
"I wanted to know." He finished his coffee and put the cup down, looking at him. "You still didn't let me know what you knew. I count that as lying."
"I didn't lie. If the opportunity came I did use those skills and explained it with a lie. I never lied about my skills, Gibbs." He put his coffee aside and shifted, making sure the sheet covered him. "I've never really lied about anything to you. Only the origin of my skills."
"You never said you were married for a month."
"I'm not particularly happy remembering it."
He nodded. "I can see why." He shifted closer. "We should get all this cleared up. I need to know these things to trust you, DiNozzo. You knew that before."
"I gave you hints and you never asked. This time you didn't ask."
"Then tell me."
Gibbs shook his head. "How about all of it?"
"A lot of it I don't talk about. I did my stint with a therapist and I got most of it dealt with, boss. I'm not sharing about my childhood."
"Fine, what else did you learn in those fancy schools?"
"How to read people mostly. They were business oriented. For the kids who wanted to be my father, even though I didn't once I realized what a bastard he was. That's most of what I learned. That and how to read contracts and things like that."
"So you know a bit about the law?"
"No but I know how to interpret legal documents and make sure there's loopholes to benefit myself and others. Plus how to stretch them in ways that no one thinks about and do so mostly legally. I got actually got given lessons in how to ride the legal limit and only step over now and then for balance on the highwire." Gibbs nodded at that. "It doesn't mean I use that skill."
"It's never come up?"
"Oh." He shifted some and stared his agent down. "Anything else?"
"I can do a mean nude figure drawing."
"Which is how you identify people by a bodypart I assume." Tony nodded at that and finished his coffee, putting it aside. "Did you learn anything else, DiNozzo?"
"The finer art of dressing better. I looked horrible in the suits I used to have to wear. Taking all those art classes led me to appreciate color and style more. Then the humanities classes branched out my viewpoint to include different ways of life. I started seeing a larger picture, one I wasn't familiar with. It's how I read people so well and why I'm so open-minded now."
"At least that's useful to the job. You do read people very well and you're good at making people do what you want them to do. It comes out in interrogation."
"Thank you. Anything else you wanted to know, boss?"
"You don't have to make this so hard, DiNozzo. I'm trying to get to know my man so I'm sure I can trust him in the field."
"The way I see it, I'm still the same Tony I was before, only now you know more about my childhood and we both found my daughter. I haven't changed, only your perceptions of me have. Now, if you'll excuse me, I didn't get to bed until four. Abby's in for a cranky day with Hannah and I should rest to deal with her later." He laid back down and covered up. "If you're staying in here, you're going to become a body pillow."
"Who does the T stand for?"
"No one you'll ever hear about or meet," he said firmly. "I don't ask you about any women you didn't marry, boss."
"Point. You have heard about my ex-wives though." He stared at him. "Male, female?"
"None of your business, boss," he said dryly, smirking at him. "I may like and trust you but I'm pretty sure we've already stepped all over my privacy issues for the day. It's your choice to stay and be a pillow or not." He closed his eyes and forced himself to relax, letting the lack of sleep take him away again.
Gibbs got up at the first snore and headed out for a long drive. Was Tony really the same guy he had been before he had started to dig?
It only took two weeks for Tony to get fed up with it. Things had definitely changed around the office. But the final straw was when Gibbs took McGee to question someone and not him. Ziva gave him a sideways look and he shrugged. "He needed the training." He looked at his computer and got back to work finding what he could for the case. Which he printed and put on top of his boss's desk with a very nice note about how he'd see him some day. Then he gathered his bag and his coat, taking a few things out of his desk. "I've got to pick up Hannah. Tell him I left the information on his desk that he'll need to break the cadet." He slammed a desk drawer and headed out, going to pick up his daughter. Maybe they'd take a short vacation before he switched departments, or maybe he'd call Fornell tonight and talk to him about his standing offer to join the FBI. He hadn't decided yet. Hannah came out of classes and saw his car, smiling as she bounced over. "I take it it was a good day at school?"
"Fairly. The girls who've been picking on me for being poor did a background search on me and found out who Grandfather was. They're very impressed and sucking up now. It's nice, I have them in the palm of my hand and they're begging to be friends."
"Yeah, but you need real friends, not just ones who like you for the family name."
"I know, but those take time to build and I haven't been here long enough." She looked at him as he started the car. "Bad day at work?"
"To say the least," he sighed. "And no, I wouldn't expect Gibbs over tonight for dinner, but Abby will probably be crying."
"Did you quit?"
"Yup, right after he decided not to take me with him yet again." He put the car into gear and headed for their place. "I have a standing offer with the FBI but I'm not sure I want to take it. I thought I'd wait and see who popped up in the next few days. And no telling anyone, Hannah. I don't need that sort of help."
"No, you probably don't. Uncle Jethro said you're one of the best agents he's ever seen."
"I may be but he doesn't trust me so therefore I can't be on his team anymore." He shifted higher. "Wanna go for a long drive?"
"Can I change clothes first?"
"Of course." He checked traffic and cut someone off, heading back to the apartment to let her change. "Don't call him or talk to him," he ordered quietly. "It's not your situation to fix and he can still be your uncle if he wants." She nodded, going upstairs to change and write him an email to make sure he'd still want to stay in her life. After all, she knew he didn't check his email regularly. It'd be days before he got it, which wouldn't break her orders not to call and talk to him about this. She finished getting dressed and headed back down, making sure the door was locked behind her. She slipped back into the passenger's seat of the Mustang and gave him a hug. "Thanks." He smiled and started the engine. "Email?"
"Yup. He never checks it but when he does it'll be waiting on him."
"True, he only checks it once a week. That'll give him time to calm down." He slid back into traffic and headed out into the country for a drive. It was a nice day for a drive. He even put down the windows so they could get some fresh air. "If I don't go to the FBI, is there any city you'd like to live in for a while?"
"This one. I like having Ducky and Abby around."
"Okay. I'll look locally. There's tons of investigative agencies around here."
"You could take a short vacation."
"I was thinking about that too," he admitted, shifting up as he headed off the main highway to a smaller road. "Remember where we've been, okay?" She nodded and curled up, watching the scenery. He just drove and thought. She'd make sure they got back home.
Gibbs walked in and found Tony's desk empty. "Where's DiNozzo?"
"He said he had to pick up Hannah but he left information on your desk," Ziva reported, getting up and clicking the remote for the big monitor. "Gibbs, I'm not sure about this connection but it looks to be something on the surface. The deeper I dig it seems more circumstantial."
"Based on the fact that it's ten former fraternity brothers who get together and play poker. I found an online chatroom where they hang out and got the transcript from their last meeting from the site's moderators; it was them arranging a poker game. Texas Hold'em?"
"That's the one they show on tv as a sport," McGee offered. Gibbs finished looking over the information, then he walked off. "Boss, need me?"
"No. Finish this. The information you need is on the desk. Yes, Ziva, it is a poker game." He slammed his fist into the elevator wall once the door was closed, heading back down to his car. McGee knew who it was and was more than ready to interrogate someone without him watching over his shoulder. He had other problems to fix on his team. Because he was going to kill the little bastard this time. He got to his place and the doorman smiled at him. "Are they home?"
"No, Agent Gibbs, I'm sorry. Hannah ran upstairs to change and then they headed off again. She was wearing jeans and a t-shirt so I guess they're off to have some fun and relaxation. It's probably a good thing. Tony's been looking a bit uptight and tense when he gets home for the last week or so. Bad case?"
"Something like that. Thank you." He went back to work, going to find him one way or another. He parked and considered what he was seeing. What Tony was seeing. That's when he realized what he was seeing and why. He got out and headed to find Abby. "Track Tony's phone," he ordered as he walked in.
"Why? Is he in trouble?"
"Just do it. I want to know what he's doing on this case."
"I thought you had him doing background stuff," she said, frowning at him. "What happened?"
"Nothing." He watched while she pulled up the GPS tracking software they used, getting into his inbox. There was Hannah's email and he read it, his chest tightening. He sent her back a message saying he was still her uncle, to kick her father's ass, and to make sure they got some time to talk, even if she had to arrange it herself. Then he sent that and checked the others, finding one from the boss. He read that one and answered it, then looked at Abby. "Well?"
"They're driving in Virginia." She pointed. "Still driving. He just switched towers a minute ago." She looked at him. "What's going on?"
"He thinks I don't trust him and he cited me stomping on his right to privacy when he quit," he said quietly, staring at the location. "When did he leave?"
"Um..." She got into the security cameras for the garage, speeding backward to the point where Tony's car had driven off. "About an hour ago."
"Is Hannah with him?"
"Then he's out for a drive, Gibbs. She'll make sure she gets back tonight. There's no way she's going to stay in some crummy motel." She heard the elevator door open and cleared everything, then closed his email as well. "Talk to him," she ordered, staring him down.
"I plan on it, but I need to know where to find him first."
The door opened and the director walked in. "You're letting McGee question a suspect?"
"He's done it before, he can do it now. Abby, I need you to pull back up that phone trace."
"He was about out of range, Gibbs." They shared a look. "Go over there. He'll be home by tonight."
"Personal business?" the director asked patiently.
"Something like that. Friend who's off doing stupid stuff and I'm trying to find him."
"Would that be who you sent Agent DiNozzo after? I heard he left the building. I also heard that left a resignation letter on your desk, Jethro."
"No, he left a 'get it straightened out or I'm leaving' letter on my desk, Jen, get it right. He always quits in person." He turned back around, finding the Abby getting into a different GPS tracker. "He's out of local range?" She nodded and pulled it up. "Thank you. Where is he heading?"
She pulled up the larger map. "Mae's diner. He told me once it's got some of the best pecan pie." She looked at him. "He'll be back tonight so you can talk to him."
"If he's not at his desk tomorrow I'll have to consider him as having given up his job," the director told him.
He glared at her. "Gee, I wonder why he would do that, director? Something about lunch dates?" She flinched at that. "Go away."
"I don't take orders from you."
"In this instance, it's my team and I'm dealing with it." McGee came in. "He break yet?"
"Yes, boss. He gave me who it was and his address. I was coming to get you so we could get that one, while this one stays in custody."
"He didn't kill the cadet?"
"Well...not exactly. He's the guy who chased him and shoved him, but he claims another car pulled up and someone in that one shot him. He knew who it was, and they're another cadet, which would match the ballistics Abby gathered. I was going to get that cadet and bring him back here to make sure he wasn't the actual shooter."
"Go for it. Get Ziva and go, McGee." That got a nod and he left. He glared at the director. "Leave my team alone. Even the ones that can be beneficial to your career." She stomped off. He glared at Abby. "How long before they're back?"
"Hours. Mae will let him sit there for hours and think while she feeds Hannah to bursting. She's that sort of woman." He nodded. "Go stake out his place, Gibbs. I'll check every half an hour or so and call when he's moving this way again. You had better fix this," she warned. "I will not be a happy Abby without Tony being here and I'm not letting Hannah out of my life."
"I have no intention of losing him," he assured her.
"Then why haven't you taken him on any cases?" she asked. He glared. "That doesn't work on me, Gibbs. He's the same guy he was, only now you know more about his childhood. If Kate had something like that, wouldn't you have trusted her?" He nodded. "Then why is Tony any different? Just because he went to some fancy boarding school and was miserable there doesn't mean he's not the same guy he was before Hannah called." He walked out and she glared at his back, then threw the fit she'd been holding in now for weeks. Men were so stupid sometimes. The more stubborn they were, the more their IQ lowered during these sort of moments.
Tony parked the car and got out, walking around to pick his daughter up and carry her upstairs. The doorman got the elevator for him with a smile. "Too much pie," he offered quietly. That got a smile and the elevator doors closed. He finally got his key out and ready by the time he got up there, mentally cursing the slower elevator since she was heavy. He headed to the door, noticing it was barely open and groaned. There's only a few people it would be and it was not the moment he wanted to do this. He walked in, glancing at his living room before carrying her to bed. He got her down to her t-shirt and underwear, sliding her under the covers and tucking her in. Her alarm was set and he backed out slowly and carefully. He ran into a warm body while h was closing the door, turning to glare. "What do you want and I want the key back."
"No. We've got to talk."
"No we don't. I made myself clear earlier when I gave you my letter of resignation."
"You never quit via letter, Tony, you never have before."
"Fine, then I Quit," he said firmly, glaring at him. "You don't trust me, we aren't a team, and you don't value me. There, better?" He headed into the kitchen to get a beer. "I want the key back now please. McGee can send me his."
"No." He took the beer and put it down, looking at him. "It's not that I don't trust you."
"You obviously don't. You took McGee for the last two weeks. You took Ziva. You didn't even let me go out to the scene today, boss."
"That could've been to protect you, DiNozzo. Remember, you've got someone else to think about now."
"That's my decision to make," he said calmly. "Not yours. If I feel it's too dangerous and I'm endangering her well-being and my life, I'm more than capable of telling you. I have been for a while now, Gibbs." He took his beer back and headed for his living room. "Go away."
"I'm not leaving until we talk."
"I have nothing more to say to you, Agent Gibbs."
"Well, apparently you do, DiNozzo." He made him turn to look at him. "You're being irrational."
"Me? I'm being irrational? You're the one who pried into *my* past for no reason and didn't like what you found. You're the one who's changed. You're the bastard who doesn't trust me suddenly. It's not my issue, it's your issue. Now, if you want to remain in Hannah's life, that's also your issue, and up to you, but I will not be yelled at over your decision to invade my privacy in my own apartment. You chose your path and you're walking it, Gibbs. I'm not following on this one."
"You didn't tell me, that's lying."
"That's not lying and what didn't I tell you? That I knew more about art than you thought I did? That I took a few more humanities classes than you thought I had? What did I lie about that you haven't seen me use?" He glared at the stunned look. "Yeah, you've seen me use it and you never bothered to ask. Even if I felt like explaining it, which I don't usually, you already knew I could do that stuff. You counted on me to use it. Now you know I got a piece of paper saying I paid for it too. So what's the difference, Gibbs? I haven't changed. You've changed."
"Shut up," Hannah said from her doorway. "Uncle Jethro, do you trust him?"
"He's hiding other things...."
"No, he's not. He can't be with the prying you've done," she said firmly. "He's also right that he's used this before for you. He majored in things that make him a better officer and agent. As you've seen very well in his transcripts. Just because he didn't tell you he attended a finishing school before a better college doesn't mean he lied. He may have concealed, but that's not lying. Lying is telling you he majored in Business or Ethics or Math. Which he didn't. He never has lied to you and yet you're forcing his hand and him to do rash things because you no longer trust him after you pried into a history that you had no reason and no right to get into. His past was good enough to hire him and to be considered one of your top agents. What's the difference now?" She looked at her father. "Let him babble for a bit. Maybe he'll come out with a reason."
"Hannah, I love you dearly, but this is my fight," he ordered calmly. "Just because we're not working together doesn't mean you can't see him whenever you want. Or anyone else for that matter. You've still got them in your life if they want and you want. So let us fight this out. Go back to bed."
"Yes, sir," she complained, going back there. "I make a better negotiator than you do, father." He winced at that name and she walked over to give him a hug. "Give him a chance to explain," she offered quietly. Then she went back to bed.
"She's a smart little girl."
"Thank you. She gets it from me." He looked at him again. "There was no reason for you to pry into my past, other than morbid curiosity and muted horror. You violated my privacy by digging into things I don't want to remember. Then you blamed me for what you found when I didn't do a damn thing, Gibbs. So if you've got a reason, I'd give it now before I toss you out and have the locks changed."
"I have to know my team, Tony."
"I didn't change."
"No, you changed. I didn't change. I'm still the same guy I was, only now I have a daughter and a few upcoming court battles to go through."
"You did change."
"No, your perception of me changed when you found out I could play politics and I don't," he snapped. "I've never counted on the family name or anything else. I earned everything I've got, Gibbs. I thought I had earned your respect but apparently I was wrong." He noticed the flinch and quit yelling. "Now is not the time for this," he said more calmly. "Go away. Think. You made your bed, now you can lie in it."
"If I leave, the director's going to consider you having quit."
"That's her issue."
"It'll be yours too. She'll tell the others to blacklist you. You know she doesn't like you and you'd be taking her chance at the higher levels of service away."
"I'd never help her anyway," Hannah called from her bedroom. She opened her door. "I'm not using my aunts and uncles for anyone's benefit but my own safety and happiness, Uncle Jethro. Not to further anyone's career, not even dad's."
"I don't need it."
"You don't," she agreed. "If you wanted a higher office, you'd have taken over instead of Sheppard." Tony nodded at that and Jethro gaped. "It's an appointed position. Do you really think he couldn't have played the family's strings and gotten it, Uncle Jethro? I'm sure he knew that the old director was moving before he did." Tony nodded at that. "He could've gotten a word in the right ears to have himself considered, pointing out his years of service in the agency, which means he knows how it should be run, and his years as an officer as well, which means he knows the job and how to cooperate with local law enforcement. He could've easily set himself up for that job."
"I didn't want it," Tony assured her. "Bed. You have school tomorrow."
"It might be better if I didn't, give the little power freaks some time to contemplate how I'm not taking them in because they're begging for my attention."
Tony looked at her. "Don't you have a literature test tomorrow?"
"Well, yes, but I suck in there."
He snorted. "Yay. I sucked at business law but I still passed it."
"Fine." She went back to her room. "I'm cramming then."
"Fine. When is the test?"
"Right after lunch."
"Call me if you can't stay awake after that. Since I'll be here all day."
"You'll be back at your desk, DiNozzo. I'm not accepting your resignation."
"You know what, Gibbs, I could care less." He held out a hand. "Key. Now. And I'm still getting the locks changed tomorrow."
"I can pick locks."
"I can get the doorman not to let you up." Jethro glared and he glared back. "This is your shit, Gibbs. You changed, not me. I'm not going to work where I can't be trusted. It'll get me dead, at the very least of boredom sitting around the office waiting for you to pull your head out of your ass again."
"I don't let my team...."
"I'm not part of your team. You've been treating me like the secretary who comes up once a week to do our filing," he said coldly. "That'll get me dead on the street because your unconscious mind would make you cover McGee more heavily than you would have my back. I'm not taking that risk. Nor am I taking the risk of dying from a papercut infection because you don't want me out of the office. If things were normal I wouldn't have a problem with it, but you don't trust me to have your back, you don't trust me in the field because you found out I went to a nicer boarding school, and you don't trust me because I can hide in plain sight. Really, I should've expected this," he finished bitterly. "You met my father, that's all it usually takes. Now, give me my key and please leave." Someone knocked on the door. "What?"
"Let me in," the doorman called. Tony walked over and opened it. "Are you all right?"
"Yeah, he's having a perception problem and I quit earlier today."
"I am not."
"You are, Gibbs. You don't trust me. That's going to get us both killed." He looked at the doorman. "I'm sorry if someone complained."
"No, not really. Just Anise saying that she heard some raised voices and she worried you and Hannah were having it out about the boy who waved at her from the bus stop yesterday."
"I hadn't heard about that, but no, she's a young lady and I trust her to come to me when she's ready to talk about boys."
"He's the one who did the background and figured out who I was. I'd never see him socially because he's counting on the power helping him in life," Hannah called from her room. She came out. "Do you know anything about Trotsky and Tolstoy?"
"Can't say as I do," the doorman admitted. "Test?" She grimaced and nodded. "Well, you can't pass everything and they sound boring."
"She can at least pass with an average and there's a book on the textbook shelf that covers them and their major themes, Hannah." She went to look and pulled it down, heading back to her room. "We're fine. Thank her for me and tell her what she said about the boy."
"Sure." He smiled at him. "Should I not admit him for a while?"
"He'd sneak up," he said dryly. "He did covert ops. It's fine," he said at the amused look. "I promise it's fine. Just hurt feelings right now and he'll get over it, move McGee into my spot, and pick a new Probie to train." He shrugged. "Thank you, Phil."
"Welcome, Tony. Oh, the ladies upstairs are running a bakesale for the building's benefit so we can have another building picnic this summer. I'll have candy and stuff all week downstairs."
"I'll remember that and try to rein her in," he promised with a smile. "Thank you."
"Welcome." He walked off, going to his post to call the worried neighbor and assure her it was all right, just a work issue with Gibbs.
Tony held open the door and pointed. "Have a nice night, Gibbs."
He walked over and closed the door. "I'm not leaving until we've worked this out."
"It's your issue. I don't have anything to work out."
"If you didn't, you wouldn't hide what you used to be."
"That's because I'm not him anymore. I'm not the spoiled prince to the financial throne, nor am I the pawn that was being used to further a business agenda. The only one who's trying to use me is the director."
"At least you know I'm not."
"You don't want further up the food chain," he noted dryly.
"True, I don't. I still don't understand how a spoiled little rich boy gets to be you, DiNozzo. Maybe if I did, I'd be sure you weren't going to go back now that the means are at hand again."
Tony snorted. "I had the means before, Gibbs. I could've borrowed from any of my first college's buddies and had everything I ever wanted and paid them back on the interest of the investments. I've done it before to make sure I could. So yeah, I could've been building my own mansion and had a staff full of cute girls in short maid costumes if I wanted, but I don't want it. Me fighting for what's mine and hers has nothing to do with that."
"So, what made a rich little prince decide to be a cop?" he asked, arms crossed as he leaned against the wall.
"Some things are meant to be private, Gibbs. You don't need to know the event as it happened, just that it did and how good of one I am. You knew I was a rich kid when you hired me." He opened the door and it got pushed shut. "One of us is leaving," he ordered. "Since I don't have to work, it can be me, but I'd expect you to lock the doors and help her with her studying."
Gibbs looked at him. "You're coming to work tomorrow, even if we do snap at each other all day. Our last case wrapped with McGee earlier."
"Good, then you've got a new lead agent."
"Shut up and listen." He moved closer. "You are coming in tomorrow, even for appearance's sake. Then we will go fight about this after I've had some sleep and you've had some sleep."
"I've had plenty of sleep. Maybe you should do that instead of working on the boat."
Gibbs smacked him on the head. "Shut up, Tony. You will be coming in tomorrow if only to keep Abby calm and happy. If we can't work this out during lunch, you can announce you're leaving at the end of shift and cite the danger or whatever new lie you want to think up." Tony opened his mouth and he held up a finger. "You owe me a chance to work this out."
"I owe you?" he snorted.
"I saved your life."
"Goes both ways, Gibbs."
"Then you doubly owe me a chance to explain and straighten this out. Got it?" Tony shrugged. "I'll see you at the normal time. Ignore Ziva. She told the director."
"Yeah, well, her collar is a bit tight," he said dryly.
"That's loyalty and her having trained Ziva. You did the same thing for me many times." Tony shrugged at that. "Let me think and we'll talk at lunch."
"And if we get a new case?"
"We won't. We're not next up."
"No, but if McGee cleared, we're free and that takes precedence."
"Then find Borton for Miller's team," he said dryly. "I have."
"So have I, and I emailed him his address, he didn't use it yet."
He rolled his eyes. "I'll talk with Jen, tell her we need the day off."
"Just call in sick," Hannah called. "You're making it too complicated."
"Then she'll think we're together," Tony called back.
"Yes, well, Uncle George asked if you were from what I heard."
"Ewww." He glared at Gibbs. "Don't say things like that around her."
"What? I'm not cute enough for you?"
"He probably wants to watch and that's sickening, thank you." He found his beer and took a drink. "Go."
"I'll be here. If I'm calling in sick...." He smirked. "Make McGee do it too."
"Fine." He walked closer again. "I do trust you."
"Your actions speak louder than your words," he said simply.
"I've always had questions about your motives for becoming a cop, DiNozzo. Rich little boys hardly ever become good officers without a reason. Since you are, I've always wondered what the push and shove behind you was. This just made it more apparent."
"Yeah, well, the actual reason is one you'll never know. Content yourself with that knowledge. No one does." He stared him down. "No one ever will."
"If you trusted me, you'd tell me," he said quietly.
"That's not a matter of trust, that's a matter of privacy. We all have things we don't want to remember, Gibbs. That's one of mine. If you can't accept it, then don't bother showing up. I value my privacy a lot more than most people because I've had mine taken away now." Gibbs stiffened at that. "Now, go away."
"Fine." He left, going home to work on the boat and think. He remembered to call McGee. "Call off sick tomorrow. You, me, DiNozzo. He and I have to talk and it looks better if it's all three of us. No, leave her and Abby out of the loop." He listened to the quiet question. "I don't know, McGee." He hung up and got back to work, still thinking. He knew Tony was right and it was his fault for pushing it this far, but he needed to know to understand him. That's why he had Kate profile him when they had first worked together. It was that last remaining doubt that was going to keep making him doubt DiNozzo's reasons for being there and whether or not he'd leave him high and dry in the middle of a case someday. He thought and sanded for a few more minutes before he realized he had already left. He had driven him off with his suspicions. He could almost smack himself for that. "Somewhere Kate has got to be bitching about me," he told himself. "She always said I miss the obvious when it's too easy an explanation."
Tony remembered to call in and actually sounded sick since he had a headache. He looked over at his daughter as she came out of her room. "You look tired."
"I am tired. Russian Lit sucks."
He smiled. "Pretty soon you'll be on German Lit and then onto French Lit. It gets less sucky until you get to Irish Lit and then you'll get depressed."
"Wonderful. Just what I need to look forward to." She looked at him. "You're going to lunch to talk to him?"
"He'll be coming over."
"Fine. Thank you. I finally have a normal life and I'd like to keep it." She walked out, heading down to catch the shuttle to her school. The boy that kept trying to flirt with her got a glare this morning. "You're too damn chipper."
"I take it you crammed for the Lit test?" he teased.
She punched him on the arm. "Shut up. Don't talk to me. I'm not in the mood for people who only like me because of my grandfather's name." He looked stunned. "You're the one who did the background for them." She got onto the shuttle.
"Yeah, but that's not why I talk to you. I could care less about financial stuff," he assured her as he followed her. "I want to meet Doctor Mallard. My father said he's a nice guy." He sat across from her. "You thought I was sucking up to you?"
"Everyone else has," she said quietly.
He shook his head. "Why would they?"
"Because he had control of me until I ran away." She faced him. "There's always been people like that. At school, randomly dropping by the house, his business associates and their kids. It's always happened and I hated it."
He nodded. "I'd hate it too. That's Pam's clique, which neither of us is a part of. You need to relax."
"I'm getting used to real people."
"Good point." He shifted over to sit next to her. "Listen, Princess, I could care less who your daddy and grandfather are."
"My father works with Ducky if he and Gibbs can work out their issues," she said quietly.
"Really? Oh, shit, he's that DiNozzo. My old man said he's a great agent."
"Yeah, well, Gibbs did a background check and suddenly doesn't understand or trust him because of Grandfather. Everything Grandfather touches turns to shit."
He gave her a hug. "I'm not like that. I like you more than enough just for being you." She relaxed and let her go. "Are we okay now?" She looked confused. "You're less stressed, right?" She nodded. "Think you can pass the lit test?" She shook her head. "Me either."
"I read it in the english and the original language and I still didn't understand what he was talking about."
"They were talking about people like your grandfather holding down the common masses."
She snorted. "I got that part. Just think, I almost became one of them."
He looked at her. "You've still got some stretching to do because you're really close." She glared at that and he held up a hand. "If you thought I was sucking up to you because of that reason, you're still really close."
"Dad said it took him years to heal from what Grandfather forced him to be," she said quietly. "I've only been working on it for a month."
"You're doing better than some. Most kids from your strata wouldn't even be talking to kids like me. You'd be hanging with the other rich kids and snubbing kids like me."
"I've never been that way."
"Most of the kids in your former social circles are though, right?" She nodded at that. "Why don't you hang out with Pam and them?"
"Because they want to use me to get ahead." Her cellphone rang and she sighed, looking at the number. "Speaking of. Hello?" she answered. "Hi, Jen," she said with a faked smile. "No, dad has a headache and Uncle Jethro had the sniffles when I saw him last night. Yeah, he came over to talk and they worked it out. No, he was being pushy and driving Daddy insane. Of course I will," she said, shaking her head, making him laugh. "No, one of my classmates. We're going over stuff before our Russian lit test. Of course I will. You have a good day. I may pop in later to see Ducky if that's all right?" She smirked. "Thank you." She hung up and turned off her phone since they were passing through the gates. "You want to meet Ducky today? I trust him and I need to give Dad and Gibbs time to work things out."
"Sure. I'd have to call my dad though." She shrugged. "Good point." He smiled. "You're sure?"
"Yeah, because if you're going to change, it'd be after you got to meet Ducky. I could use someone who's normal to show me the way now and then and if you don't change, I can relax and learn to trust you." He nodded, understanding that. "I hate my old life." He gave her another hug. "It just sucked."
"It did," he agreed, patting her on the back. "It's over with now. No one will expect you to be anything but your father's daughter and I heard he doesn't play those games."
"Others will. They still want me to come over and have tea like the old days, or to play with their kids in hopes I'll marry one of them." She looked at him. "Daddy even had all the money locked in a trust for me. I don't know why they keep going when I can't access it."
"For the same reason you thought I was sucking up," he reminded her. "Did any of them care about you?" She nodded, wiping her face off. "Well, then maybe they're just checking up on you and they'll ease off once they see you're happy and adjusting well. Right now you're going to be babied by everyone. Doesn't your father?"
"No," she said. "He's always treated me the same. He escaped too though." She gave him a look. "Sometimes I wonder if anyone likes me for me."
"I think you're cute and someday I might even ask you out, but I could care less about your family. I just wanted to meet Ducky because my father said he was a really good doctor and I'd like to be one of those some day." He stood up when the shuttle stopped. "Come on, we'll be late." She nodded and grabbed her things, following him inside. "Maybe you should talk to someone about that stuff."
"Dad said about the same thing you did, to relax and let them see I was turning into a normal girl," she offered quietly.
"I meant about the stress stuff." He looked at her. "You could use it before you end up snapping and going off on your father some night. Not that he probably wouldn't understand, but it'll cause you both pain. Besides, they're paying the therapist here for sitting on her butt anyway and I hear she's okay."
"Sisa. The younger one." He tugged on her sleeve and led her that way. "I talked to her after my mother died. She sat there and let me ramble on for hours on end a few times about her."
"Maybe it could help." She waited while he tapped on the door and a woman in a long gypsy skirt and a t-shirt answered. "Hi."
"Come in, kids. I can excuse you from home room." She smiled and patted him on the head. "Matthew, how have you been?"
"Okay. She knows Ducky."
"Most everyone in the city seems to know Ducky," she offered with a smile for the young girl. She tipped her face up. "Ducky suggested I'd be seeing you soon. Having problems adjusting?"
"She's still stuck on the fact that everyone used to suck up to her for her grandfather's power and money." He sat down and pulled her down next to him. "I told her I only wanted to meet Ducky and maybe get his advice on medical schools that were good. She said she'd see because if I didn't change she'd start to trust me."
The therapist sighed and nodded. "It's a tough transition from the highest of high peaks down to the normal people levels."
"I'm still the majority beneficiary to the estate," Hannah said quietly. "Dad put it into a trust."
"Yes, dear, but he had you living like his heir. That's why everyone deferred to you," Sisa reminded her. She nodded at that. "Now you're a normal girl and I applaud your father for making it a cold-turkey transformation instead of one with small steps paring back to a new life. He's done an incredible job helping you see normal people things."
"When I first found him, I was spouting off Grandfather's rhetoric about lesser people and menials," she admitted. "He stopped that one immediately."
Sisa nodded. "Good! That means he gives a damn and wants you to be a good, well- rounded, healthy young woman." She nodded at that, swallowing a bit. "Trust me, dear, if you can. We all want that."
She looked at her. "I'm not sure I trust anyone but dad and Uncle Jethro. Even if he is having problems trusting daddy because he found out he was richer and more spoiled when he was younger."
"That's an argument you can't get in the middle of," Matthew sighed. "Gibbs will have to work out his issues with your father on his own. Yours need to take precedent in your life." She nodded and relaxed against his side. "I thought maybe you could help her and be there to talk to her. Her daddy's boss just called her to see what was going on since they all called off sick today."
Sisa sighed. "I'm going to call Ducky and get him to stop that immediately. Are the other uncles and aunts starting to smother you yet?" She nodded. "That's to be expected. They're still adjusting to this new life of yours and making sure you're all right. I can stop the director. I'll let Ducky chastise the others into being more gentle and less obvious."
"I'm used to obvious," she admitted. "I wouldn't know what to do with subtle people. Thankfully Uncle Jethro has never heard of the concept." The bell rang and she winced. "Sorry, I was up studying Russian Lit all night."
Sisa laughed. "The key is in the oppression and the hunt for reality within the system. It's all philosophical."
"I don't understand philosophy either," she admitted. "Daddy probably does."
"No, not really," Sisa said dryly. "He's more a people person from what I've noticed around." Her head popped up and she smirked. "Ducky dated my mother for a few months and I saw a lot of your father and Uncle Jethro there for a bit. Your father understands people. That's why he's setting boundaries and letting you explore them with very little guidance from him, except when he sees you need it. He knows you need a new framework but it's one he can't impose, he's got to let you build it at the same time as you two build your relationship and trust. Jethro never saw you as the princess you were so he's not expecting you to be anything but an exceptional young woman. I'm sure he treats you like he does every other girl in his life. A bit protective and all that, but figuring you'll tell him if you can't do something. He'll expect you to try your best and to tell him if you can't do anything." She nodded at that, relaxing a bit more. "Ducky probably saw you as the princess at least once, but he knows that you hated it. He's watched your father through the years he's been there too, he told me he has. Your father rarely slips back into the prince mentality, except when he's pissed off. Then the attitudes and all that come back fiercely."
"So Uncle Jethro is going to be seeing that today?"
"Probably not. I think he's probably more disappointed in him than anything. Jethro probably got stuck on a thought and it was like your father wasn't the man he was."
"He said daddy lied because he never admitted going to a private boarding school and stuff."
"Jethro's got a very firm view of the world at times," she advised. "Jethro doesn't read people, he reads situations. He likes to have his people open to him so he knows exactly what they'll do in any situation. This coming out threw him for a loop. Let me call Ducky so he can chew him a new one before they talk." She walked behind her desk and called. "Uncle Ducky?" She smiled and put him on speaker, motioning the kids to be quiet. "Good morning."
"It is, yes," he said happily. "What's wrong, Sisa? Has Hannah been having problems adjusting?"
"Nothing I'd call unusual. A few of the little brats realize who she is and are doing what her old schoolmates did, but she's got a few good friendships starting," she said with a wink at Matt. "One of them brought something to my attention today. Well, two things really. Is her father having problems at work with Jethro?"
"He's rather stuck his foot in his mouth without having to say a word from what I gather. I suspect they called off sick to talk about it."
"You're probably right, he's that predictable," she agreed when Hannah nodded at that. "The other problem dovetails both observations you've made this morning. Your director called Hannah to see what was going on."
"Bloody hell," he muttered. He cleared his throat. "Sorry, didn't mean to say that out loud." He heard a giggle and smiled. "Yes, even I swear, young man. Which one are you?"
"Matthew. She said she'd introduce us because I wanted to ask your opinion about medical schools. Then she said if I didn't change my attitude towards her she might relax around me."
"Yes, well, it is a hard transition but one she'll do very well I'm sure. I have every confidence she'll relax and realize that the whole world isn't like her Grandfather's. He had her insulated from it to control her opinions and views of the world so he had a willing accomplice and puppet handy for him to use. Much as he did her father from what I gather. Has she said anything about her aunts and uncles?"
"She said she's not sure that they're not doing the same thing and sucking up," he admitted, looking at her. "She said she's been told that they're more checking on her."
"That would depend on the person and it can be a fine line in some of them, but I will get onto her Uncle Evan to make sure he knows how to separate those out. Him I would trust to be looking out for her and not her family name." She smiled at that and nodded at that good advice. "As for Jethro, I'll call him immediately and let him have it with both barrels. I expect he'll need the buckshot in the cheek this time with how her father quit yesterday. Perhaps some time locked in a room might help."
She whispered in Matthew's ear. "She told me earlier her Uncle Jethro was getting very uptight and nosy, wanting to know things that her father said he doesn't share with anyone. Something about a tattoo? Needing every detail of why he wanted to become a cop in the first place? Things like that."
"Jethro can't really understand how someone who was privileged enough to be able to call the White House and get through to the president to invite him out to lunch, and he'd show up, would turn out that way. I can't say as I blame him, I've wondered a few times what the catalyst was myself, but I respect Anthony's privacy. I figured if he wanted me to know, he'd tell me. Then again, Jethro is probably shoving when he should be inching along. Yes, that does make sense doesn't it." He hummed. "I'll yell at him in a moment. Thank you, lad, and I look forward to meeting you. Always good to get young doctors started off right. Sisa, I'll expect a call for dinner that has nothing to do with business very shortly."
"How about tonight?"
"As long as I'm not being sobbed on by someone that would be wonderful. Once I get mother settled for the night we can go out to eat. Charley's Grill?"
"Perfect, Uncle Ducky, thank you."
"You're most welcome. Just guide her for now. She's got some very hard decisions to make and she's doing splendidly from what I've seen. Have young Matthew bring her with him so we can have tea, dear. Ta-ta. Off to yell at some people and all that." He hung up.
Sisa hung up on her end and smiled at her. "Ease some fears?"
"Ducky really does know everyone," she said, looking amused.
She nodded. "Pretty much, yeah." She grinned. "I'm here whenever you need to talk, Hannah. I won't tell Ducky or anyone anything that you don't want me to. Not your father, not Gibbs, no one if you don't want me to, unless I find out that you're going to do something stupid. Okay?" She nodded. "Good girl. Let me write you both a pass. If you need to sleep later, you can borrow the couch." She wrote out passes and handed them over. "There you go, go to first period." They smiled and left, and she leaned back. The kid would be okay, she just needed an outside viewpoint and Matthew was certainly one of those. Plus he was a good kid, he wouldn't let her swing to the other end to compensate.
Tony looked up as his door was knocked on. "It's open." Jethro walked in and shut it, handing over a bag. "Thanks. He sat up and looked inside then at him. "You gave me yours." They changed bags and he relaxed again. "So, you wanted to talk?"
"Yeah. I need to. By the way, did you call Ducky?"
"No. Hannah was talking to the school's counselor today and you know he still dotes on Sisa." He unwrapped his sandwich and took a bite. "Apparently the director called her on the way to work and she nearly broke down earlier. Matthew Grant, we worked on his mother's case last year, he's going there and he took her to see Sisa since she helped him with his grief." He ate another bite and chewed, staring at him.
"Ducky called to chew me a new one this morning." Tony shrugged, that was a pretty common occurrence whenever Gibbs needed a swift kick. Only Ducky could do it, he'd hurt anyone else who tried. "He said I did violate your privacy."
"You did." He ate another bite. "You don't need to know why I chose this path. It never mattered before."
"It did," he told him, staring him down. "It has and I've wondered in the past. It's a radical shift, Tony. It's not what you usually see and I don't understand what would make someone have such a radical shift. Like you said, you could be living like a king even without the family money. You could spend all day day-trading and be making your own fortune or being a stock broker or any other high-paying job that probably wouldn't get you shot. I don't understand why a guy like you would choose to become a low-paid, undervalued cop. That's always been a thought in the back of my head, especially with the way you changed departments. It looked like you were getting bored and moved on at the drop of a hat until I got to know you a bit better."
"They got nosy and tried to dig deeper whenever I ended up being a bit too wise about humans." He finished his sandwich and checked the bag before balling the paper up and putting it in there, then putting the bag on the couch beside him. "In Philly, someone found out I was one of *those* DiNozzos when my father came to town," he admitted. "The funny looks started and I left after a week of it. I told my boss then that I wasn't part of that family, not really, and that I couldn't stand being watched to see if I was going to break out in stock quotes. One of the guys came up to me a few days after my father's revelation and asked me if I could help him with his retirement fund. I said I couldn't, not being licensed, but I did refer him and got him a good deal on commission fees." He shrugged. "I'm used to people wanting me to do things for them, the same as Hannah is."
"I've never done that."
"Yeah, you have. You may not have done it consciously, but you have. You expected me to handle it anytime we had to get anywhere near someone with money and money-oriented goals in life."
"I don't understand them and you do. I realized that before."
"Then why did you shove and break into my privacy, Gibbs?"
Gibbs looked at him. "It's partially my need to be in total control and have total knowledge of my agent. That's why I let McGee babble at me about his newest video game now and then even though I have not a clue what he's talking about. That's why I let you babble about your women and Kate babble about her dates. I learn from that." Tony nodded at that. "But you were still hiding a lot from me. I've always had reservations about what you were hiding. I knew it wasn't criminal, but I knew it was important enough that you could take off in the middle of a case on me. Which you did."
"Because you shoved. If you hadn't, or if you had respected me, which is part of trust by the way, I wouldn't have quit." He shrugged. "That's what it comes down to for me, Gibbs. I have a need for privacy about some things. I don't go over my former life before Ohio State if I can help it. I never will. You will never hear about it from me. The same as I don't hear about your childhood and what you and your wives went through during your divorces. Everyone's got things they want to keep private and personal. Mine's just a bigger field."
"Is anything criminal?"
"My father tried to get a woman he wanted me to marry for a business deal to hook me on heroin so she'd have a stronger line into me and could control me. What do you think?"
"Anyone dead? Did you pull a Kennedy?"
"No. I walked away from that situation in a very crowded restaurant and embarrassed my father's dealings. He almost lost that contract and merger because of me." Gibbs nodded at that. "That's when I got sent to the finishing school in case you were wondering."
"I was. I'm guessing that's the rich kid alternative to beating you into submission."
"That and disowning is the usual path. The occasional help from a therapist that you've gotten on your side and who is more than willing to make sure you get the drugs your parent thinks you need to control you." He let out a bitter sounding snort. "Who wouldn't want that life really."
"Some people do. They want the power and the control."
"You get more than enough of that," he said sarcastically.
"I had to work to get it. You almost inherited it."
"I did inherit it if only because I went to the right schools. Like I said, I can still call upon some of the people I went to elementary school with and have them help me. That's the way the power game works: favors, information, and power."
"But you're not like that."
"I don't need the power, the only information I need is pertinent to a case. I have more than enough to be comfortable, which is all I wanted. I didn't want the stress of the high powered deals. I didn't want the stress of cheating and finding a new mistress to go with each new deal because it suited my image more than the society wife I was forced to take would. I didn't want to be the one who looked at someone across the table and told them I had just taken everything they held dear so I could shit on it if I wanted to. That's not the man I am."
"Which is what got you thinking, but what sort of thing led to you being a cop? I *need* to understand this, Tony."
"There's a high death rate in my former social circle, Gibbs. Most of it suicide, some homicide. But then six of my friends from my secondary education died in a year. All in the same manner, and no one thought anything about it. I brought it up and my father thought it was stupid and that they had deserved it. So I went to one of the investigators and he laughed at me. I went to a second one and he listened. It turned out I was wrong about two of them, but his checking got the other investigators to look for the links between them and find who was killing them, who was another classmate."
"You always did have good instincts," Gibbs agreed. "You decided then?"
"No, I decided after my father sneered at me for breaking the code of silence and getting one of my classmates arrested for thinning the herd. I truly decided after another incident that was more personal to me. That one just got me thinking."
"Oh." He thought about that. "You could've said that months ago, or even years ago when I first asked you."
"Yeah, well, some of us want things to remain private," he reminded him. "Not only because the more I share the weaker some of my background distorting becomes but also because I was trained from a very young age that privacy is gold. And now that I've had it stripped from me I can truly see why."
"I didn't mean to strip it from you, DiNozzo."
"But you did. Then you quit trusting me after having met my father and comparing me to him. What did you want me to do, clap and get giddy and happy that my father had turned something else that had been good in my life into a nightmare?"
Gibbs looked at him. "You were thinking about leaving when you went to pick Hannah up."
"Yup, for her safety and mine I was. Also because I knew that all this crap with my family would be coming out. My father can't stand to lose. He's only done it once and he's done everything in his power since then to make sure it didn't happen again." He shifted, stretching out now. "I had no doubt that I was now a rival for something he wanted and I'd probably end up dead, by my hand or his, depending on if he could make my life miserable enough for me to end it all. Hannah and I were going to end up in South America with an old first college buddy who hates him because he screwed him during a business deal, then run when we became too tempting of a piece of bait to get him back. That would've given me enough time to borrow some cash from a few other friends and set us up a new background, plus a whole new life so she could've been safe. I have no idea why I brought her back to work with me. I seriously intended to leave from Baltimore after I picked her up."
"You needed to make sure and the team is your family, Tony. Of course you came back. You wanted us to help protect you, and we did."
"You did," he agreed. "If I didn't say it before, thank you for protecting my daughter for me."
"I protected both of you, DiNozzo, not just her. Both of you."
"You know, on the drive back, all I could hear was Kate's voice going 'I knew you'd have an accident some day, Tony' over and over."
"She would've loved Hannah and only would've said it in teasing," he said quietly.
"Actually, no, she would've said it and meant it at least the first few times. Especially about my son since he came to be naturally. Then she would've seen how they came to be, figured out what a bastard my father was, and stuck up for me for that reason alone."
"Kate would've stuck up for you because you're you," he assured him, standing up to look down at him. "She would have. I know she would have."
Tony stared at him. "Inside Kate was this little kernel of person who wanted to be better than everyone around her. That competitive edge that made her so hot on the cases."
"We all have that."
"No, some of us solve cases for other reasons. You don't do it to prove you can. Kate started out that way and then you infected her."
Gibbs nodded and walked into the kitchen. "I saw that now and then. Especially when she thought someone got what they deserved. Coffee?"
"Make some, I don't need any."
"Thank you." He made a small pot and took half of it back with him. He sat down across from him. "You changed the subject." Tony gave him a 'duh' look. "You don't have to run now, Tony."
"He left deals undone and there's still people he screwed over who would want to hurt us, Gibbs. I'm still considering the implications." He shrugged. "One's already called the SecNav about it."
"When did you hear this?"
"He emailed Hannah last night and she printed it off for me." He pointed at it. "My father screwed him over on an oil deal trying to get back into his former friends' good graces. The ones I screwed him over on."
"The ones in Qatar or the ones in Saudi?"
"Same family really," he admitted. "Distant relation to the king."
Gibbs read over the email, then looked at him. "You can't run to Brazil."
"Why not? Rio's pretty this time of year."
"It'll uproot her life."
"She's the one who suggested Chile instead." Gibbs groaned at that. "She knows the reality of the power-filled life, Gibbs. She never had a friend that didn't want something. A few stayed afterward because they only wanted something little, like the boy today who only wanted to be introduced to Ducky to talk to him about medical school. He'll be good for her, give her a guidepost to measure her reactions against. Besides, she speaks Portugese much better than I do. I'm still working on it."
"Um...." He blinked at him. "Portugese?"
"Half of Central and South America speaks Portugese, the other half speaks Spanish. I speak Spanish, she speaks Portugese, but we're both learning the other one. She also reads Russian because my father was working on some deals with them recently and she was supposed to start Japanese next year." Gibbs stared at him. "Not all business dealings are done in English, only the more shady ones it seems. It puts you on a better footing to speak your potential partner's language so you know when they're screwing you over. You use a translator as a cover."
"Oh." He nodded once at that. "I never thought of that. I guess it makes sense."
"I've done it a few times in interrogations too. It gives them a false sense of security when they talk with their lawyer or if the official translator tones down what they're saying."
"That makes more sense. I've seen that happen," Gibbs agreed. "Still not on subject, DiNozzo." He smirked at him. "Better try this time." He sipped his coffee, looking the body language. He could see the signs of tension in him. "Relax," he said suddenly. "It's not like I'm going to hit you."
"No, you keep wanting to talk about shit I don't want to talk or think about. Not much different, just an emotional or a psychological hit. I'm not a suspect."
Gibbs nodded. "You're right, you're not, but I still need you to be more open with me so I can fully trust you."
"You trusted me for three years to cover your six, Gibbs. Even knowing you had gaps about my background."
"Yeah, but I didn't realize how big of a gap I had. All I knew was that suddenly it seemed like you changed in front of me. You weren't the same DiNozzo who went to Ohio State on a sports scholarship."
"I did do that."
"Yeah, but first you went to two other schools and took classes at a third one."
Tony nodded that was true. "That still didn't matter to trusting me to have your back, Gibbs."
"But it did, Tony. I felt you had lied to me about who you were. Like I was just another target in an undercover role. That any minute you could snap the trap shut and suddenly be yourself instead of who you pretended to be."
"It's got to be the longest undercover in history," he said dryly, smirking at him. "That didn't mean you had to lock me to my desk and make it very clear you didn't trust me to McGee and Ziva."
"True. I should've handled it more subtly. But really, you have changed. You're more tense now. Even those first few days you were tense. Even after your father died and it was all worked out you were tense. I felt like I was a suspect suddenly, one you were watching for a false step. Even though you know I'm not the sort to use that information."
"Aren't you? What did you do with it, Gibbs?" he asked calmly. "I'd say you used it and then dug and pried until you made yourself paranoid."
"We're going around in circles."
"We may be," Tony agreed, "but it still comes back to the point that you didn't trust me. Yeah, I was watching to see who'd take advantage of that. Interestingly enough, McGee was the most calm about it. I had no hint that it mattered to him." Gibbs nodded at that. "Maybe because he saw other kids like that at MIT, I don't know, but it didn't seem to matter to him."
"He said you scared him when you were willing to let your father die in the office."
"Ducky would've prevented that."
"No, he said he would've let him die." He leaned forward, resting on his knees. "Yes, I admit I took a new look at you and the old doubts about your past came up. I did invade your privacy, I did snoop and pry, sometimes openly and sometimes not, but what I found made me want to know the real Tony that you've hidden so deep down no one sees. Trust has to be built and when I peeled back layers on you, it didn't go as deep as I thought. Otherwise you wouldn't have thought about running."
"Do you think that's the first hitman he's hired?" he asked bitterly. "He had me kidnaped from Ohio State and I woke up in a hotel room with my supposed new bride waiting on me to tell me how it was going to be. It would've furthered his interests in Russia right after the wall fell and we both know who was in charge then. I ended up fighting my way out of there and hiding in a local police station. It was the Russian's father who convinced me I'd be safe if I went back, that he had thought I'd be more willing and amenable given my upbringing."
"I would've shot someone."
"The cop said the same thing when he heard it." He grimaced. "I told him then I was thinking about law enforcement but he thought it was a bad idea because this stuff would come back to haunt me, and it has."
"So what'll you do instead? Stock broker?"
"I think hiding and saving our lives will be more than enough excitement in my life, Gibbs."
"Then she'll never get to be normal, Tony," he said quietly. "She'll think it's because of her and she'll end up one of those kids with the dead eyes who need the drugs they're taking."
He shook his head. "There's ways around that. Like I said, she knows the reality as well as I do. No one says we have to stay DiNozzos."
"Point. You could go deeper underground, change your name and all that. Witness protection even if Fornell could pull some strings. Which he probably would. He seems to like your daughter, considers her a good replacement for him some day." He grimaced a bit at that thought. "Then what?"
"Then, I'll start a new life. I've got more than enough money saved if I have to run and hide with her. I can hold out for the six hours it'd take me to move the emergency plans into place."
"How long have you had them?"
"Since I got back to Ohio State."
Gibbs nodded at that and finished his coffee, getting up to get some more. He came back and sat down again. "I'd rather you stayed and let us help you watch out for her, Tony. It's going to be hard enough when she's just started to form bonds."
"I can't do that. You don't trust me."
"I do trust you. If we were to go into the office right now, you'd be back in your normal spot. Right on my six and right over my shoulder. McGee asked me yesterday if you were on desk duty because of me or because you were worried about the court cases."
"I am but not that much. It's not like they can refute that he lied about me agreeing to those conditions he set."
"Point." He sipped his coffee. "What're you going to do with the estate?"
"It's hers. It's already in trust. My small allowance is more than enough for me. If I had to, I could live on that for a few months in one of the lower rent states."
Gibbs nodded. "Will you consider staying?"
"I would but I still don't think you trust me."
"Give me a week to prove it."
"And then what? We go back to where we were?"
"I'd like to continue this talk, but you're getting more and more defensive. Is it so hard to understand that I'd like to get to know the guy I thought I already knew and called a friend? I didn't even know you dated guys until your hairdresser told me."
"It's not like I was going to come in on a Monday morning and tell you how I took it up the ass that weekend because I needed to be anyone but myself for a few days."
"So you go out to the gay bars as Pedro, get some that way, and then come home and be Tony, who's only straight?"
"No. Antonio is only straight. Anthony is fairly indiscriminate but with a leaning toward women. Tony is straight for work reasons. Otherwise Tony would have had the hell beaten out of him a few times by his fellow officers who are less than open minded at times."
"Okay, so Anthony, when was the last time?"
"Six months ago."
"The Pereti case or Kate?"
"I couldn't. I wanted to and I couldn't." He shrugged and shifted some. "I wanted to yell and scream and beat the hell out of someone but I couldn't. None of my contacts could bring Ari in faster or else I'd have shot him for you and presented you with his severed head. Then I would've headed to Rio so you could have covered up the homicide by saying I snapped and fled jurisdiction while you were still in shock."
Gibbs shook his head. "I'd rather you had brought me him living and bruised so I could've finished him off myself." He took another drink, just staring at him. "Do you want to be Anthony at work or Tony?"
"It's the same guy, Gibbs. Not like I have split personalities. I have to categorize it sometimes so I don't get my ass kicked by you, but nothing further."
"I have no problem with you being bi. McGee might flinch. Ziva might want to watch. Abby definitely would want to watch at least once."
"She's asked to watch before. She caught me out hunting one night."
"She never told me."
"I made her promise not to."
"How? I can't get her to keep her mouth shut."
"I slept with her that weekend and it was good. Now I've got blackmail on her because she's got a tattoo she doesn't claim and doesn't want anyone to know about."
"Of?" he asked with a smirk.
"Can't tell you, boss."
"Not like I don't know that you're bi, Tony."
"No, but the others don't." He shifted again. "How about you, boss?"
"I've been bi. Well, more like whatever was needed at the time. Mostly after bad cases to ground myself," he admitted. "Then again, I also slept with Sheppard once upon a time. The reason for rule twelve."
"It's usually a good rule but sometimes some people can handle it. I've seen couples that could work together as a tight team. I've seen others that turned into twittering worrywarts over each other too."
"She turned into a worrywart." He finished that cup of coffee and leaned back, just looking at him. "You didn't leave your badge. That's how I knew I had a few minutes of leeway to talk to you."
"I figured you'd be showing up that night and I could hand it over then since I forgot to leave it and it would've been really obvious when I thought about it." That got a nod. "I wonder how long it took Ziva to read it."
"Probably by the time the elevator was to the garage." He stretched out some, staring at him again.
"Like what you see?"
"Not really. You're still too tense." He looked into his eyes. "You could relax."
"You're scaring me. You're not that touchy-feely sort."
"No, but you're still calling me Gibbs and I feel like we're not quite finished yet."
"We're not. You said you wanted me back."
"Not that sort of finished, Tony." He leaned forward again. "Would you please relax? Before you cramp up or something." Tony relaxed by force, you could see it. "Fine." He got up and walked around the coffeetable, moving his feet and sitting under them. "You're coming back."
"You already said that."
"We're going to rebuild the trust, because you're still acting differently."
"That's because I've got to make sure no one gets near her now. People will be trying for years."
"Again, we're going to help with that."
"It's my duty, she's my daughter."
"So? I'm good at protection details. Or Uncle George did offer her one."
"I'd be more worried that they're trying to push her back into her old life."
"Ducky said she had that fear as well. He said he's talking to the SecNav about weeding them out to protect her a bit more. Apparently he just wants to make sure she's all right."
"I got that feeling off him. Though he wouldn't mind if she married his nephew some year."
"She's a good little girl, DiNozzo. We can protect her together. It's not like the team isn't a family. We change a bit when new things are added but she makes Abby have someone to talk to and McGee gets to smile and joke with someone who understands video games. She'll end up being all our kid by the end of the school year. Even Ducky's."
"Ducky's known her for years," he said quietly.
"Yeah, I realized that too. I yelled at him for not telling me more about this stuff. This morning he told me now I knew why he didn't tell me." Tony nodded, agreeing with that. "If you have to take her out of town, we'll take a sudden vacation so she doesn't realize it's about her life being in danger."
"She's in danger from the cases too."
"We're all in danger from that." He looked around. "I haven't heard a cat yet."
"We're going Saturday to pick two out. The pound's having an open house 'please come save us' event. She's handing over a large donation at that time as well." Gibbs smiled at that. "She said it's the least she can do since she can't bring home the pound."
"I don't think you could handle fifty dogs and thirty cats."
"Me either. Two cats. Two litter trained cats that she will be taking care of."
"I'm sure she'll find loving ones." He patted the legs. "How about you? Anyone new?"
"Nope. Lisa was doing okay but she found Hannah kind of off-putting because she didn't think I'd be an okay dad."
"So far you're doing really good," he assured him. "Even Ducky said so."
"Thank you." He grinned at him. "So we're good? It's going to go back to normal again?" Gibbs nodded. "You're sure?"
"You answered the last question I had, DiNozzo. It'll be fine. I can trust you." He patted him on the leg again. "Is she still on her sibling kick?"
"More quietly but yeah. She's so loud about it to tease you and Abby. She thinks you two would be good for me." Someone tapped on the door. "Who is it?"
"Director Sheppard, Agent DiNozzo."
"Fuck," he muttered, looking at Gibbs, who wasn't moving. "Taking Uncle George's advice?"
"Please. It'll get her off my back," he muttered back. "It's open, Jen." She walked in and looked at them as she closed the door. "We're working things out."
"This was a lover's spat?"
"No. This was a matter of perceptions," Tony assured her, looking at her. "What's wrong? Did something happen at Hannah's school?" He checked his phone, no unanswered calls.
"No, nothing like that." She sat in the chair Gibbs had used earlier. "I had a talk with Ducky. I didn't realize I was doing more than being thoughtful and considerate. I didn't think she'd take my checking up on her as a sign I was looking for more connections up the food chain. I've apologized to her and now I'm doing it to you."
"Apology accepted, Director. Right now, she's got a lot of people watching her to see what she's going to do. We were making plans a few minutes ago in case one of his former partners comes back to try to hurt her."
"No, my father," he said patiently. "His ex-wives only get near my daughter with me standing next to them with a shotgun." She smiled at that. "My father ruined a lot of lives in the business world with his mergers and he showed a lot of favoritism as well. There's always the chance that one of them will come hunting for us now that I've got us in the open. If so, we'll send you a postcard from South America before we move on."
"Thank you for the warning. Do you think it's likely?"
"I don't know yet," Tony admitted. "They're still watching her to see if she stays interested in the business stuff. Of course, some of my father's contacts weren't that legal anyway. I know two of the ones from Qatar are on the Watch List." She shivered at that. "I nearly married one's daughter by force."
"I'm sorry." She stood up. "Any help you could give us would be appreciated."
"Fornell asked me a few years back and I told him all about it. He and Peter also know about all my father's former deals so you might check with him to see if he's got anything to help you, Director."
"Thank you, Agent DiNozzo. Are you coming back?"
"He is, we're all watching over him and Hannah," Gibbs assured her. "He's got emergency plans in place."
"That's fine. Would you like to update your background?" He shook his head. "Are you sure?"
"Quite. There's a few former school buddies who probably shouldn't find me either. One of the special schools he sent me to wasn't exactly full of people like my father, but close enough to count. There's a reason why the SEC told me to go through a brokerage for any trades I made and warned me they were watching me particularly hard."
"You're good with stocks?" she asked. He nodded. "Interesting. If I have a question I know who to call."
"They said I'm not allowed to give advice," he told her, pulling out his wallet and finding a card, handing it to her. "I use him whenever I need to do any trading."
"Thank you." She smiled and tucked it into her pocket. "It'll be good to have you back. Ziva was pouting all day." She smiled at Gibbs. "Is there anything I need to know as a director?" He shook his head. "That's fine. Please inform me if either of you have to enact any emergency plans." They nodded. "Then I'll let you to finish your talk and healing your work relationship." Gibbs stroked over Tony's leg again and she blushed. "Or whatever." She hurried out.
Tony looked at him. "Subtle, smooth, I liked it."
"Thanks." He smirked at him. Tony just grinned. "I like this more relaxed and open you so far."
"I'll try not to crack dirty jokes around the office again, boss."
Gibbs smiled at that. "Thank you for calling me that again. By the way, Bryon told me about the tattoo and what it meant but that no one knew who the other one letter was. Were they special to you? Without having to add more detail than you're comfortable with."
"They were. They definitely were. My father blackmailed him into leaving me because his father wouldn't understand he was gay. He threatened to out him in the national media." Gibbs moaned at that. "So, yeah, he was special until it got to be too much for him."
"He's gone now. He can't do that to you any more."
"Doesn't mean I've got anyone to put their initial there."
"Where is it? All he said was right butt cheek."
"Right inside the crack, just barely over the curve. I'd show you but you might get bad thoughts, boss."
Gibbs shrugged. "Had 'em before, DiNozzo. You wouldn't be the first I saw that bodypart on either."
"It's just a line of letters going down."
"Is Bryon getting his wish?"
"He already has. One has to make their hairdresser happy when they're as good as he is and has known you as long as he has me. Besides, this way he can't tell you anything else about me."
"Their waxing girl. She likes Abby a lot too."
"Twenty-eight, dark hair, dyed that way, and has a mouth to die for. For the special clients she'll make sure you're very well groomed." Gibbs blushed at that. "Yeah, Kate and Abby were some of her favorite customers. I like Devine better, she gives great massages."
"I noticed you felt comfortable enough to sleep while she was working on you." He touched his cheek. "You are softer now."
"I am. She takes good care of me. I'm surprised she didn't hit on you. She's just recently given up the Marines."
"She did but I pointed out I had to be able to drive you two home and I didn't trust Abby to drive while pouting. She laughed and said next time to wake you up so you could drive." Tony smirked at that. "How good at it is she?"
"She lives up to her name," Tony assured him with a smug look. "Believe it or not, she was down at Paris Island until last year."
"She was a DI?"
Tony nodded. "Helped a bunch of us going in to camouflage ourselves in plain sight and showed them how to avoid the usual pitfalls."
"Good. Someone should. I still can't imagine her being scary."
"You've never seen her in five inch heels chasing down a purse snatcher, Gibbs. I'll show you around this weekend so you know where she hangs and can see her in full drag. I couldn't tell the first few times. She's that good. We're talking stripper good." Gibbs nodded at that. "Do you even go into the local hangouts?"
"No. I've picked up a few at the gym over the years, but no. I don't usually do pickups."
"Pity. I have some friends who would drool for you to top them. By the way, Devine is a top and that's why she'll never go for the final surgery."
"I've never met a trannie who was a top before."
"She said it's from where she was a DI. She got used to making all her cadets bend over and take it up the ass anytime she got it from the higher ups. Then again, she was sleeping with her commander," he admitted. Gibbs snickered at that. "Seriously. They were together almost ten years when she opted out." That got a small smile. "I didn't really know her then. She'd come in on leave but never for more than a few days." He shrugged, grinning. "She was so fabulous last year in the drag show for charity."
"When is this year's? I almost went last year."
"This weekend. I've got tickets. We can go. Abby or McGee can babysit."
"I wouldn't mind." He looked him over again, seeing the relaxed body, nearly sleepy really.
"Liking what you see better now?"
"Much. You're relaxed, you're about to fall asleep, and we've worked things out." He shifted, letting the feet fall off the other side of his lap. "We're good?"
"We're fine, but if Hannah catches you like that she's going to start asking if we're together."
"Does that mean you're one of the ones who'd drool on me?"
"I only drool when I'm giving head. Kinda hard to swallow during it." Gibbs gave him a long stare. "Yes, Pedro is the bottom slut part. He's the part Bryon likes to tease." He yawned. "He's the part Devine likes to tease too."
"What about Abby? Any blackmail you can give me for the next time I need to spank her at work?"
Tony smirked. "Never let her have a Caf-Pow before she brings out the strap on or she'll ride you through the bed. If she brings out the inhaler, you're getting deep throated but it'll be quicker."
"She has a what?"
"That was part of the blackmail price," he said with another yawn. "Sorry, Gibbs."
"Go ahead and sleep, Tony. It's probably the first uninterrupted sleep you've gotten recently." Tony nodded. "You need to put a security system on the windows and the door."
"It's being installed next week." He yawned and stretched some, then closed his eyes. "Are you staying to watch me nap?"
"I'll make sure nothing happens." Tony nodded and curled up on his side, getting comfortable. He watched him fall asleep then shook his head. At least they were better now. His phone rang and he answered it quickly. "What?" He listened. "That's fine, Ducky. No, he's napping," he said quietly. He listened again. "Did you have to pick her up?"
"Hannah had one of those 'I can't do this' moments, threw a small fit, and one of the girls asked her if she was mentally retarded. Hannah beat her ass. Ducky said he's picked her up and Matthew went with her because he pulled her off the girl. The Headmistress thought she was in the mafia after hearing both her siblings had died. Sisa typed in a google search and came up with his bio, so now she's preparing for princessly demands that Hannah won't be making. Hannah's got two days out of school suspension at the moment. She's sitting in Ducky's office talking with Matthew about her sister."
"From what Fornell said, Amanda would've stomped the other girl and the headmistress for fun for outing her." He took the phone. "Is my little girl okay or is she kicking her ass over this?" He listened and nodded. "We'll be right in. Thanks, Ducky." He hung up and tossed the phone back. "We should pick her up before someone sends him a body."
"We should," he agreed. "We can bring Matthew home too." He stood up and hauled Tony to his feet, looking at him. "She can hang beside your desk tomorrow."
"That's fine. Thank you, boss." He found his shoes and stepped into them, following him down to the car. He looked at the doorman, seeing someone new. "Where's Nathan?"
"He's out sick today, sir."
"That's fine." He headed out with Gibbs, considering it. He looked back inside. "I don't know who he is. The landlord said we've only got two doormen."
"It'll be fine. If he's there for more than today you can call. I know Nathan was in when I came in." He got into the car and started it, waiting for Tony to buckle up before taking off. After all, he knew Fornell was still having the building watched to make sure no one and nothing happened to Hannah. "You know Fornell wants her to take his spot, right?"
"I heard that and I leave it up to her. She did ask what I do and what he did. I told her what I do and told her to call him to see what he did, mostly because all I knew he did was kiss ass to his director, bother the younger agents, and piss you off."
"That is most of his day," Gibbs agreed. He pulled into work a few minutes later and parked in his usual spot. "Come on. She's probably traumatized Palmer by now."
"Poor guy. My little girl is bad when she thinks she can embarrass you." He got out and headed for the elevator, using his ID to get them access. "Boss," he said when they were safely inside and started on their way. "She wasn't seriously thinking I'd believe her, right?"
"No." The doors opened and he walked back to the morgue. "Hey, Palmer."
"Gibbs, Doctor Mallard is in his office with both the children. I...I was told to make sure no one bothered them for a few more minutes."
"Ducky, am I considered a bother?" Tony yelled.
"No!" Hannah called back, opening the door. "Sorry, dad."
"Not an issue. It was going to happen sooner or later. Of course you were frustrated. You're taking stupid classes that you're not used to." He gave her a hug. "Jethro said you could sit beside my desk for the next two days and see what we do."
"Okay." She gave him a shy smile. "Are you mad at me, Uncle Jethro?"
"No, at the little brat who picked on you because you're having a bad day." He patted her on the head. "Come on, let's go back into the office." She nodded and let them in there, following them. "Only two days, Ducky?"
"Sisa ripped the Headmistress a new one," Matthew admitted. "Special Agent Gibbs, I'm sorry to intrude."
"You're doing a good job helping her adjust, Matthew, not like we mind," Tony assured him. "It's good that she's making friends." He sat down and pulled her into his lap, getting a glare. "I'm not sitting on the floor so it's either my lap or Gibbs' lap, princess."
"Fine." She snuggled in. "You're not mad?"
"Nope. At the other girl and your headmistress. Not at you. Did you get to take that stupid test?"
"No, it won both of us a makeup next week. I called my dad and told his secretary I was heading home with her since it was closer." Matthew smiled at them. "I figured I could at least catch a bus from here."
"Not a problem, Matt. You can have a ride home," Gibbs assured him, smirking at him. "So, did Ducky tell you which schools are the best choices?"
"He did and I think I could handle John Hopkins, Agent Gibbs."
"Good. More than I thought I could do," Tony assured him. His daughter gave him an odd look. "It was. That's why I went to Ohio State."
"Oh." She snuggled back in again. "I have to write a paper explaining my motives on why I thought physical violence against her plastic surgery nose was correct and helpful."
"You can do that tonight. I'm sure you can write an astounding paper on why she was being stupid and hurtful on purpose. Did she get it too?"
"She got three days for starting it and making me hit her. Her mother was already there and shrieking when Ducky came in. Ducky kindly explained to the mother how her daughter needed mental help for picking on other students and how she was an evil bitch for saying such things to me when I was grieving. Using politer words however because Ducky said he hardly ever swears."
"He hardly ever does," Gibbs agreed. "I only swear a little bit now and then. Usually along the lines of 'damn' and 'hell'."
"Devine swears more than that, boss. Trust me."
"I'm not surprised. Most DIs do."
"DI?" Hannah asked.
"Devine used to be a drill instructor in the Marines, Hannah."
She giggled. "I'm sure that was funny. Did she give lessons on marching in heels?"
"Not quite," Tony offered dryly. "She helped a lot of very gay cadets hide themselves in plain sight when they came in. It helped a lot of them." He stroked her back. "Did you get lunch?"
"Yup. Plus Abby gave me the rest of her soda when we came in."
"Wow. She must be having a mellow day," Gibbs said dryly, shaking his head. "She lives on her sodas." Matthew snickered at that. "Yes, that Abby."
"I liked Abby when she helped find who killed my mother. She was very nice and sweet." Gibbs nodded that was usually true. "We should probably go home. Hannah's got that paper to write and school's out so dad could be wondering if his secretary conveniently forgot I had called again."
Hannah smiled at him. "Can I bitch her out?"
"No," Tony said patiently. "Did anything else happen today?"
She looked at him. "She called you?"
"Just to say you had been in her office, that she had let you talk about a few things. Nothing else. She suggested we talk about the other kids sometime soon."
"I'm not ready for that yet."
"Me either." He gave her a squeeze. "I went over some of the emergency plans with Gibbs today," he said quietly. She looked back and nodded. "So we'll have to see who shows up."
"I know. I don't want it to happen."
"It won't be. This team is a family and you're going to be protected by this family," Gibbs said firmly. "Got it?" She nodded at that, her chin tipping up slightly. "Good. Ducky, where are you heading tonight?"
"To get Mother settled then Sisa and I are heading out to dinner to catch up. I haven't seen her in months."
"Uncle Ducky, has Uncle Evan said anything?" she asked quietly.
"No, dear. He thinks your observations were quite correct and he's started to weed them out so that those who want to do more than simply check on you are stymied. He wasn't sure about Agent Fornell however."
"Fornell thinks she's the greatest thing and that she'll take his spot some day," Tony said, poking her on the side to make her laugh.
"I wouldn't mind. He's always been a nice guy to me." She smiled and snuck out her phone, calling him. "Hi, Uncle Tobias." She smiled. "No, I'm okay. I got two days out of school suspension because I went off on a girl who asked me if I was retarded and the headmistress thought I was in the mafia because both of my siblings died, but Uncle Ducky picked me up." She smiled at his comforting words. "I know. No, I wanted to make sure you were going to take me out for pancakes this Sunday. Of course. Because you could use the real food and I'm still nine so we can't go to a bar and talk. Because someone told Dad and I that you were thinking about suggesting I follow you in your job instead of dad's but I have no idea what you do besides live to piss off Uncle Jethro, that's what daddy said you did." She smiled at her father. "He says he works more cases a year than you do."
"He may," he agreed. "I have no idea what his daily job is, that's why I'm referring you back to him for those questions."
She listened then giggled. "I'd like that. No, I'm probably grounded while I'm suspended." Tony nodded at that and so did Jethro. "So I'll be beside dad's desk for the next two days." She smiled. "I don't mind helping out uncles and you've always had my best interests at heart and you never tried to fix me up with your relatives or anything. So of course I think you're a decent guy. You and Uncle Evan both. I'm not too sure about some of the others but I like you, Uncle Tobias. Therefore, daddy said I get to go to you when Uncle Jethro confuses me about boys and you can explain what he got me confused about." She giggled at his spluttering. "Well, I *am* nine, and I'll want to date in a few years." She beamed. "Plus you can meet my two kittens. The pound is having a 'save us' event this weekend so I'm going to pick out two of them and give a donation. If you want you, you and Uncle Jethro and Matthew can all come. No, he's a new friend from school. Uncle Jethro found who killed his mother and he's been very good to me. I might even consider him a friend if I knew what a real one was." He said something and she listened, then nodded. "Yes, by that standard I would consider him a friend." She smiled at Matthew and he grinned back. "Thank you, Uncle Tobias. I'll see you this weekend. I'll let you get back to soothing tempers."
"Tell him I told Sheppard to call him about Father's dealings in Qatar."
"Did you hear that? No, Daddy said he told Sheppard to call you about any information he gave you about Grandfather's dealings in Qatar. Of course you can go raid the house. It's not like I care. Well, the probate is next week," she admitted. "I'm leaving the house with Grandmother until she dies, then I'm selling the gaudy estate. Sure. Thank you. I'll see you then." She hung up and looked at him. "Peter wants a call about the probate for some reason."
"That's fine." He pulled over Ducky's phone and called his office. "It's Tony DiNozzo and I got told to call Peter?" She connected him. "Hi, Peter." He listened, then smirked at her. "Up to you, man. I'm more than happy with the arrangement he worked out before I walked out. Why?" He snorted and looked at Jethro, who shrugged. "That's fine. I don't care. What about the others?" He nodded. "Same judge you think?" He smirked. "That would be fine. Thank you. Of course I'm taking time off for it. Tell me where and when I'm expected. No, she's getting kittens this weekend. Yup. Thanks." He hung up. "He thinks he can get the same judge to go over all the other wills and invalidate whatever thing my father did against me. What other clause, Gibbs?"
"Basically it left you with everything from the other wills and you were responsible for dissolving his business interests."
"Oooh, I wanna do that!" she said, bouncing a bit. "Please! I want to do that!"
"We can do it together and I'll let you play hardball when I can," Tony agreed, giving her a squeeze. "Did you want to stay at St. Augies?"
"Yes, daddy, I do. Matthew is there and most of the kids are all right. It's just that one idiot rich girl clique that bothers me."
"That's fine then." He made her stand up. "Okay, let's let Ducky have a few hours of privacy while we take you and Matthew home, and you're right, you are grounded while you're suspended." She nodded at that. "But you and Matthew can play after we get back from Rhode Island." Both kids smiled at that. "Thank you, Matthew," he said quietly, earning a nod and another grin. "Come on, let's go home and figure out what I'm doing for dinner."
"Can we hire a part-time maid?"
"No," he said patiently.
"She could do the laundry and make sure I didn't have to clean the bathtub," she offered.
He wobbled on that. "Maybe someone who came in once a week," he sighed. She beamed at him. "Maybe. You're still taking care of the litter boxes."
"Yes, dad." She walked out next to Matthew, smiling at him. "See, I told you I wouldn't have to clean the tub."
"I wish my dad would relent."
"Oh, she'll have plenty of other chores," Tony assured him with a smirk. "Really. She's still got to keep her own room clean and tidy. Help with the dishes."
"Shoot," she said, leaning on her friend's shoulder with a yawn. "I think I'll have a sandwich and go to bed early, dad."
"That's fine, pumpkin. I'd do the same." He stroked through her hair, having to carry her out to the car because she was asleep before they hit the garage.
Gibbs walked Matthew up to his front door, tapping on it. His father gaped when he saw him. "He's friends with one of my agent's daughters and he helped her earlier when one of the other girls picked on her. He's been with her all afternoon talking with Ducky."
"Sure," he said, looking at his son. "You called?" That got a nod. "Which agent?"
"I heard about Hannah. Is she all right?"
"Better now. The girl apparently picked on her about being unable to understand philosophy and that crap. Called her retarded. Hannah had a go at her with her fists. Matthew there pulled her off and stuck pretty close to her today. I'm not sure if he's in trouble or not."
"No, I only got the rest of today off because I slapped her when she started again," Matthew admitted, looking at his father. "She did deserve it and I can't classify her as a girl, dad. If I had, I wouldn't have hit her, but she's not a girl. She's an annoying simian offspring."
His father looked at him. "We'll be talking about this later," he assured him. He looked at Gibbs. "I don't mind the kids playing together."
"They've got to probate her grandfather's will next week so Tony said he'd arrange for Matt to come over and play after that if it was all right."
"That's fine. I don't mind. He could use new friends. His old ones were why I changed his school." That got an understanding look. "She's okay?"
Matt looked at his father. "She lost both siblings within the last two years plus her grandfather, who was a bad man turning her into a bad person. She ran away to find her father. She knows *everyone*. Nearly as many people as Ducky does, dad. She even brought me with her so I could talk to Ducky about medical school."
"Good. I know you're not using her for her contacts." He shook his head quickly. "Good man, son. Thank you for bringing him home, Agent Gibbs. Where is Agent DiNozzo living?"
"The Comdex building," Matt said with a smirk. That got a smile. "So we're okay?"
"You and I will still be talking, son, but yes. It's fine that you've made a new friend, even if she's still healing. A good friend will be good for her." He smiled at Agent Gibbs. "Thank you."
"Not a problem. We like Matt too." He shrugged and headed back to the car, taking the sleepy people home. Hannah got carried up and put to bed. Tony went back onto the couch, and Gibbs decided to make sure they ate sometime that night before he left. Of course, that same doorman was still there when he left, which wasn't right. So he called Fornell himself. "Did you put a new doorman in Hannah's building? There's an odd one there. He took over for Nathan and Phil wasn't in yet." He nodded. "Heading home. No, he agreed that you were an okay role model and that you weren't using her like some did. Sure. See you then. We'll walk behind her and ignore the pitiful looks together." He hung up and headed home to his boat to get some work done.
Tony heard the shouting and got off the couch, pulling his gun out and checking it before heading to the door. He walked out, keys in his pocket just in case, and found someone running up the hall being chased by someone with a gun. "Federal Agent!" he said, pointing his gun at him.
"FBI!" he shouted back, showing his badge. "Agent DiNozzo?" That got a nod and Tony lowered his weapon. "Sir, there's a man loose in your building who we think is a danger to public safety."
"The new doorman?"
"No, he was an agent. We're looking for a Mr. Hale?"
Tony pointed. "526."
"Thank you, sir. Sorry to have upset you, ma'am." He walked past them, going to kick in that door.
Tony looked at her. "Who is Mr. Hale?"
"Retired hitman." She shrugged. "I don't know why they'd want him now."
Tony shrugged back. "Who knows. I'm going to check on Hannah."
"How is the little darling? I saw her being carried up earlier."
"She had a long day. Got into a fight at school and crammed all last night for a Russian Lit test." She smiled at that. "She didn't understand Tolstoy any better than I did." He grinned. "I should check on her. You have a better night and go inside before he calls for backup." She nodded and rushed that way. He went back inside his apartment and locked the door, including the chain. Hannah came out of her bedroom rubbing her eyes. "Hey, pumpkin. Let's see if there's food."
"Sure." She padded that way, finding the food in the fridge. "Uncle Jethro cooked."
"That's very nice of him. I'll have to pick on him tomorrow." She smirked and hit him on the arm. "Ow."
"Tough." She pulled out the hamburger helper and got down two plates and glasses, letting him get forks and anything else. "Can I call McGee to see if he can get me past the next level of Halo?"
"No, not until you're ungrounded. No video games."
"Thank you." He kissed her on the head and handed over a plate, then got out his own. "Eat on the couch, I am." Someone pounded on the door. "Who is it?"
"Abby and the FBI guy is scaring me."
Hannah giggled as she went over to let her in, waving at the agent. "Hi."
"Miss DiNozzo. I'm sorry if our agent pretending to be the doorman scared you."
"That's okay." She let Abby in. "Have a good night with the paperwork daddy complains about." She closed the door and locked it again, including the chain. "Hi, Abby."
"Hi, Hannah." She gave her a hug. "What're we doing?"
"Dinner. Uncle Jethro made pasta and stuff with meat."
"Hamburger helper," Tony explained. "There's enough for you if you want some."
"Please." She took off her cape and came over to grab a plate for herself, smiling at him. "How was your day off today?"
"Productive. I got a nap."
She pinched him. "That's not what I meant and you know it."
"We worked it out, Abby."
"Good, because the Director said you're not to come in until after the probate. SecNav's orders. Gibbs and all of us are on stand-down."
Hannah picked up her phone but her father took it from her hand. "Hey!"
"No calling him. Call Gibbs instead."
He looked at her. "Remember, that's only when you're pissed at me. I'm sure he has his reasons." He grabbed his plate and some milk, coming out to eat and listen while she talked to Gibbs.
"Uncle Jethro, it's Hannah. Why does daddy have off until the probate ends?" She looked at Abby. "No, Abby's here and she said the director said so. Daddy wouldn't let me call Uncle Evan directly to see why." She smiled at him. "He doesn't know yet. Let him call the director and he'll be over in an hour. He just fractured a board."
"Sure." He ate a bite and nodded. "Tell him to rent a movie." She giggled and repeated that before she hung up. He looked at Abby. "She deigned to talk to you again?"
"On the phone so she didn't have to look at me. Ducky was there too. She gave him a few days off as well."
"Uh-huh," Tony said, considering it. "Interesting."
"Very." She smirked. "She said it wouldn't even count against our vacation or sick days."
"That's very big of her." He ate a bite and shared a look with Abby. "I hate politics."
"Me too," Abby agreed, snuggling against Tony's side. "Hannah, is your hand okay?"
"Just fine." She wiggled her fingers and got back to eating. "Do you think they'll have cats on Saturday, daddy?"
"Yup. They've always got cats. We'll look at the ones that have the least amount of time first." She nodded, accepting that. "Your Uncles can walk behind us and ignore the pitiful and hopeful looks."
"Maybe I'll run a no-kill shelter when I get older," she said. "If I can't sell the stupid estate, it'd make a good one."
"It would," he agreed. "There's plenty of rooms up there for pets." She giggled and nodded. "Finish up." She dug in again, and so did he. He nudged Abby and she ate too. "What did you do today, Abby?"
"I moped all day because I only had Ducky and Palmer to talk to until McGee came in hand in some paperwork he had done." She ate a bite, bouncing up to get the door when it was knocked on. "Hi." She let Gibbs in. "She called me earlier, it was nearly scary."
"She claims it's part of grief leave. I'm not sure why the rest of the team is on stand-down. We can function without Tony being there."
"Just slower and with less class," Tony teased. Gibbs gave him a look so he smirked at him. "It would."
"It might. I'm sure we could get McGee into undercover roles." Abby burst out giggling at that. "He could."
"No he can't. Timmy's got one personality and it's very firm. He can't warp it to be another person, Gibbs." She gave him a hug then led him over to the couch, taking her plate back to finish it. She got up and Hannah held up hers so she took it with her.
"Welcome. Need more milk?"
"No, I'm good." She shifted over to sit between the two men, smiling at Jethro. "How long are you on vacation for?"
"Probably until you guys come back. She's claiming we're behind on paperwork and there's a few trials we're going to be called on soon." He shrugged. "I think she's trying to be nice and thinks we've got stress and burnout." She giggled at that and hugged him. "Thanks, pumpkin." He handed over the movie he had carried in. "There."
"Thanks." He got up to put it into the DVD player. "Abby, make popcorn."
"I am." She found the butter and poured the microwave popcorn into a bowl, melting some butter in the microwave to go over the unbuttered stuff. She came out and sat on Tony's other side, handing him the bowl. "Hey, I remember this one," she said happily, snuggling against Tony's side to use him as a pillow.
Hannah pulled Jethro's head down to whisper in his ear. "Do you think we can stay this way?" she whispered. "This is the family I want and it's comfy."
He put an arm around her shoulders. "I don't know, kiddo. We'll have to work that out among ourselves." Tony looked at him so he smirked at him. "She likes this family this way."
"Awwww," Abby said, grinning at him. "I'd be a very tired Abby if they put me between them." She reached over to hold her hand on Tony's lap. "We'll talk about it, Hannah. Even if we would have to dye our hair for Gibbs."
"He only likes redheads for girlfriends," Tony said, stroking over her own brown hair. "We'll talk about it after you go to bed." She nodded and relaxed again, yawning a bit. "If you fall asleep, we'll tuck you in," he assured her quietly. She nodded and snuggled into his side, then frowned and switched sides, making Tony move the popcorn so her feet could have his lap and she could rest against her uncle's side. Once she was asleep he grinned at his family. "She's definitely a DiNozzo, she only wants the best." Abby giggled and kissed him. "Thank you." They shared a smile. "I told him you blackmailed me that weekend."
She smirked at Gibbs. "I had a lot of fun."
"I'm sure you did." He reached over to stroke over her hair. "I'd have to think about it, kids. I'm an old guy and you two would kill me in bed."
"We'd be very gentle and make sure you weren't going to have to move," Tony assured him with a wicked smirk.
"I'm not one to be tied down and this could still affect things at work."
"Boss, Tony's always been your faithful puppy, right on your heels and protecting your tail," Abby reminded him. Then again if they were both dogs, they'd be sniffing tails but she banished that mental image before it infected her and made her get a bit too happy. "We'll think and talk."
"Remember, she wants siblings some day," Tony assured her with a smirk.
"I wouldn't mind *some* day but not this decade."
Gibbs smirked. "I'm much too old for that discussion."
"Bet me," Abby said, staring him down. Tony giggled and paused the movie, eating some popcorn.
"Having fun, DiNozzo?"
"Loads. This is cuter than any fake FBI agent doing things that would make Fornell scream and shriek in horror."
Gibbs snickered at that, you just had to. He could almost see Fornell screaming at the tv at home about procedural issues and how he was breaking the rules. Abby climbed over Hannah's feet and gave him a kiss. "Thank you, Abby." She smiled and kissed Tony, making him moan. "You're easy to please today."
"She's good, boss. Having flashbacks to my blackmail weekend." He ate another piece of popcorn, handing the bowl to Gibbs. "Your turn."
"My turn? We're taking turns?"
Tony pulled his head over and kissed him as best he could. "We are, and you just forfeited," he said fondly. "So, talking or watching the movie?"
"Finish the movie and we'll talk once she's in bed," Gibbs ordered quietly. He nodded and started the movie again, having to go to scene selection to get to their stopping point. "This will not change a damn thing at work, either of you."
"Okay. Does that mean he can't bend me over the desk and pound into me?" Abby asked.
"Very muchly so," Gibbs agreed firmly. "No sex at work, no showing it at work, nothing at work."
"Yes, boss," they agreed.
"It will stay casual for now. I'm not ready for a real relationship."
"Agreed," Tony assured him. "That way if it's too weird we don't ruin our work relationship."
"Good." He looked at him. "You've done that before?"
"Yeah. Why?" He ate a piece of popcorn, looking at him.
"Not saying, boss."
"Please tell me you didn't sleep with McGee," Abby begged.
"Nope. Probie's a bit too uptight for my type."
"Good." She smiled at him. "Kate?" He shook his head. "When you were a cop?" He nodded. "Good job, Tony!" She hit him on the arm and stole the popcorn. She looked at Hannah. "We didn't mean to wake you up. Go back to sleep."
"Okay," she moaned, getting up and heading into the bedroom. "Night, all."
"Good night, princess." Tony smiled at her, then at them. "So, boss, you and Abby have a stress relief habit too?"
Gibbs smirked. "Not in quite a while."
"So that was before you got that tattoo, huh?" he asked her.
"Don't you dare."
"I'll find out anyway, Abs."
"It was a drunken thing," she said with a pout. "Kate talked me into it when she got hers."
"What is it?" Gibbs asked Tony.
"A pocket monster, boss."
"A pokemon. That's what the name translates to."
"Kate thought it sounded dirty and taunted me until that's what I got," Abby said, still pouting. "At least I got a fierce one."
Tony nodded, smirking at her. "You did. You didn't get one of the squishy and nice ones." He gave her a hug. "It's usually hidden by her hair, boss."
"Okay, this I gotta see," he demanded. She shook her head. "No?"
"Hell no. I'm not ready to get naked in front of you yet, or let you shave me."
He blinked at that. "Oh, it's in that hair." She nodded at that, smirking a bit. "Is it at least cute?"
"Very," Tony agreed happily. "She had just visited Tabby when she found me out hunting at the club so I got to see it very clearly."
"Tabby thinks it's cute." She smiled at him. "She likes to put a little curve around it so it's fully uncovered."
"Maybe I should start going with you and meet her," Gibbs said.
She smirked. "Sorry, Devine does any boy waxes. Tabby only does girl waxing."
"She did my chest once," Tony told her. "I had to have it done for an undercover so the tape wouldn't yank it out." She giggled at that and stroked over his chest. "Devine was off so I let her do my chest. She said I had pretty man-boobs."
"You do. They're very nicely defined," she assured him happily, stroking over one. "You've got good definition for not being bulky and nasty like some of the bodybuilders. Plus you don't have the vein-sticking-out problem a lot of them do." She stroked over him again then smiled at Gibbs. "He's a great pillow. Very comfortable." She heard a sniffle and got up, going to check on Hannah. "Hey, what's wrong?"
"Nothing," she said quietly.
Abby gave her a hug. "We've all lost people, honey. You can grieve and talk about it with us. Even though we didn't know the others, it's all good and your daddy might want to know more about them." She nodded, looking at her. "We'll do that tomorrow, okay?" She nodded. "Good girl. Now you rest and we'll have a good girly cry tomorrow." She tucked her back in and stroked over her hair. "Night."
Abby walked out, running into both men. "I heard her say Junior," she offered quietly, leading them back to the couch. She sat between them and they both cuddled her. "I say we spend tomorrow talking. There's tons we don't know about each other." She looked at Tony. "Without getting pushy."
"Thank you." He kissed her again and snuggled against her. "She's the best pillow ever, even if her stomach does talk to you all night." Gibbs smirked at that and let them snuggle in against his side. At least until Abby pulled him down and made him lay on her shoulder, which made him shift his body before his back started to ache.
Tony walked back into work two weeks later, smirking at Gibbs as he handed over the decree. "Got all but two fixed, boss, and I can't get them fixed until next year. I didn't think you wanted to be on stand-down that long." He took off his jacket and sat down, smirking at him. "All done."
"Congratulations, DiNozzo. Where's Hannah?"
"Called Matt and she's in front of the computer at home emailing everyone to tell them how it went. The new security system was set up while we were gone and it's on, plus she knows how to get out of the building if something happens."
"Even better." He looked at him, then around. "Someone call upstairs to let her know he's back."
McGee hung up. "Already told her secretary, boss, and she wants to know if Tony was staying."
"I'm here, aren't I?"
"She said you got offered a deputy's spot at the FBI?" he prompted.
"I did? News to me. No, I'm staying."
"Good," Gibbs agreed. "Pray for a case then, I'm thinking about playing a video game." Tony snickered at that. "Do you have anything that I still have to sign and pass on?"
"No, I did all mine before I left." He looked at Ziva's desk. "She's off today?"
"Dentist." Gibbs rolled his eyes. "We weren't expecting you until tomorrow."
"Hey, it's not like I wasn't bored. I'm so sick and tired of judges." His phone rang. "DiNozzo." He smiled at Gibbs, mouthing 'Fornell'. "No, we're back for all but two of them but it'll take about a year to get to those since they're presently in probate, plus we've already signed agreements about selling off his part of the company and those things. Hannah was very evil to his partners." He smirked at that. "Exactly. She even got to cackle pleasingly at Toby and Petrov. So, I hear this rumor....." He snickered. "Nope, I'm happy where I am. You can assure the person trying to get on Hannah's good side that I'm happy where I am and I like being on Gibbs' six. And yes, you can make it sound however dirty you want it to be since I'm known for being a lech. Then remind them I'd probably be hounded by harassment suits and the like for dating the pretty girls." He smirked and leaned back. "Really? Well, tell them I don't like it when people suck up to me. If they do it to my daughter, I'm going to let her kick their asses and make them cry, and if they do it to me, I'm going to start pushing against them for it. So no, I'm perfectly happy and Hannah wants me to date Abby." He heard the horrified choking and moaning. "Sorry, Fornell. Yup. You too. How were our cats and yours?" He smiled at that. "That's fine. She's in front of the computer or making a snack. Expect one soon. Sure." He put him on hold. "Line three, boss."
Gibbs picked up the phone. "Fornell." He got a quick rundown of the offer he had been ordered to make. "Tough, I'm keeping him, you can tell them you butted heads with me again." He smirked at something. "She did say that. Said any new siblings would be cooler that way." He leaned back, looking at Tony. "I doubt he wants it, Fornell. Yes, I'm sure he doesn't need a medal or anything this year. Even if he does deserve it for having patience with people like the bosses who offer stupid jobs." He nodded. "Deal. Thanks." He hung up. "His boss offered you the Meritous Service Medal this year."
"Gee, boss, but I've already got your seven," Tony taunted.
McGee moaned. "Please, no more. I'm still stuck on baby Abby and Tonys."
"They'd be brilliant little smartasses," Gibbs assured him.
"Could be worse, boss. Hannah said if I don't date her, I have to date you or you have to date her. That's the only way she would accept Abby dating."
McGee thumped his head on the desk a few times. "Now I'm seeing little Gibbs and Abby babies. They're brilliant but stubborn enough to make Marines cry."
"Hell, I could almost wish that on the world," Gibbs said with a smirk at Tony. "Is she still on that kick about getting Devine to help the person in Sweden with her transgender baby bearing?"
"Yup. Devine has the pamphlet she requested too. Thinks it's a fabulous idea."
McGee looked down at him. "The same Devine I met when Abby drug me to have my hair done?" They both nodded. "How do you know Devine?"
"Bryon's an old frat brother. He's been doing my hair for years, McGee. I knew Devine before I introduced the whole gang to Kate, who introduced Abby, and then I drug Gibbs there to have his hair done. He wanted blackmail material from my old frat brother."
McGee sighed and shook his head. "They're very good at what they do," he agreed quietly, getting up and heading for the breakroom. "Boss, I'm robbing the tylenol box. Need any?"
"No, I'm fine." He looked at Tony once they were alone. "Not in the office," he mouthed.
"Just teasing, boss," he said with a wicked, evil smirk. "I'm in a playful mood. I've had to be serious for the last few weeks. The judge was just as stodgy as my mother was when she was well. Pity because drama queen looked so much better on her than it did on him. He threw a fit on my father's attorneys and threatened to disbar them." Gibbs snorted at that. "She gave you daily updates too?" Gibbs nodded. "Good. I thought she had." He leaned back again, whistling and nodding towards the stairs. Gibbs looked and opened a new document. Tony started his computer, catching McGee's eyes as he came back, nodding toward the director, who had paused to sign something. McGee hurried back to his computer to switch his game screen to something else.
"Agent DiNozzo, I heard you were taking the job offered at the FBI," she said happily.
"Sorry, Director, I like working with Gibbs. I don't need a desk job with ten grand more a year. I like what I do now and Hannah would be *very* upset if she didn't get to see her Uncle Jethro or Aunt Abby as often. Or even her Uncle Ducky."
"Oh, I see." She looked at him. "The director over there bragged quite a lot that he was getting you."
"I heard. Agent Fornell called to offer it to me and I gave him some very good reasons, including that I wouldn't want to be his boss." Gibbs choked on that, bursting out into laughs. "Yeah, they offered me the spot he wants, boss." He smirked at her. "I'm perfectly content where I am and I just reupped, ma'am. The only way you get me out of this seat is to fire me."
"Thank you for staying. Your work has been excellent with us and I know you protect Agent Gibbs for the rest of us."
"From or for, ma'am?" he asked with a teasing smirk.
"For, Agent DiNozzo. No one can protect people from Agent Gibbs. Trust me, I tried." She smiled at him and moved closer. "Your daughter has the thought of you dating someone at the office?"
"She thinks either he or I should date Abby, ma'am. Then again, she's working on getting a Marine Gibbs and I know to help this nice scientist in Sweden who's working on a transgender birth process." She went pale so he grinned. "She thinks she wants to be a big sister soon and she likes Abby, trusts her even, so she wants them to come from her. Though she did say that if it turned out to be Gibbs and her some day that she'd accept the kids as if they were her siblings." She went a bit more pale. "Sorry, director, but she's got high expectations of me at the moment. We're still talking with her about how work relationships can go sour when you start dating at work."
"Thank you." She looked around then at him. "Someone is truly working to let men have babies?"
He nodded, digging in his desk. "Here, she asked me to pass this on to Ducky so he could talk to her and see if he knew any candidates."
She looked at it, then handed it back. "I'll have you put on the on-call roster again, Jethro." She walked off, heading for the tylenol stash herself. Then she went back to her office to gloat she was keeping Tony to the FBI.
Tony got up and handed McGee the pamphlet. "Make sure Ducky gets that after you're done, Probie." He smirked at Gibbs. "Problem fixed," he hissed as he walked past him.
"Unless she calls with nightmares tonight," he complains. McGee squeaked so he looked over there. "If you're interested, I'm told she's accepting candidates."
"No, boss. Not me." He got up and went to hand it to Ducky and see if he had anything medicinal in his desk. He walked into the morgue, handing Palmer the pamphlet since Ducky was working on a body. "Ducky, do you have any liquor?"
"Top desk drawer, the small flask, don't take more than a shot, Timothy." He glanced at him. "What's going on?"
"Tony just handed me the pamphlet and suggested I could do that." He went to find a paper cup and then get a shot. He needed it.
Ducky came over to look at it. "Oh, that's charming! I know a few very nice young men who would adore helping her."
Palmer, his assistant, stared at him. "Doctor Mallard, it's talking about men giving birth, sir."
"Yes, I know, Mr. Palmer," he said patiently, getting back to work. "She's working on it for same-sex pairings of the male variety." Palmer shuddered and carefully placed it on the desk for him, then went to wash his hands. "Surely you don't have anything against gay couples, Mr. Palmer."
"No, sir, just the thought of men giving birth." McGee moaned as he came out of the office. "Tim, after work?"
"Meet you there," he agreed as he headed for the elevator. He came back. "Ducky, Tony said Hannah's decided that Tony should either date Gibbs or Abby, that way she'd have cool siblings, or Gibbs should date Abby so she could adopt their kids as siblings."
"Well, they would be very strong children," he agreed happily. "Of course, should it become a trio, as she truly wants and thinks could happen, perhaps we could get Jethro over there. Or Anthony himself."
McGee went to the elevator and back upstairs, putting himself in front of his boss's desk. "I'm going to finish getting drunk, boss. Ducky just said you should go for the experiment. Since I've already had a shot, I'm going to finish that and probably bring Mr. Palmer with me. I'll make up the hours with weekend call." He grabbed his bag and jacket then left.
Tony waited until he was gone to giggle. "Now we know where his limit is!"
Gibbs shook his head. "It's not a good thing to make McGee reach for a bottle, DiNozzo. That's mean and evil."
"We all have that point, boss. Now we know his."
"We do," he agreed, shaking his head. "I'd never put up with the stretch marks." The director turned around and walked in the other direction. "Sorry, Ducky just told McGee I should go."
"Go home, Jethro. Go home now! Work on the boat until all those inappropriate thoughts are gone."
"Wasn't that a cure for homosexuality during the fifties?" Tony asked. "Doing a hobby that took your mind off it?"
"You'd know more about that than I would. You minored in it to hit on the women who liked gay boys."
"Point." He gathered up his stuff and stood up. "Dinner, my place, or boat at yours?"
"Dinner, your place. I've done a lot of work on the boat recently." Tony nodded and led the way out and down to his car. Of course, he would call Abby on the way there and share with her, just because it'd make her giggle and roll around in the lab.