Date:Tue, 10 Apr 2007 02:09:57 -0000
Subject:[imaginings] Re: NCIS plotbunny of creepdom
Here are a few more thoughts....
Having the newest DiNozzo heir gets him back into his parents good graces. They'll realize that he's got the DiNozzo drive and determination, it's just turned towards catching criminals rather than Corporate life.
With the people/contacts from his childhood, as well as his frat contacts, he could have made enough money in stocks and investments over the years that he doesn't need to work. I can see his broker/frat buddy sending him a "congratulations, you've made your first ten million" gift basket at work and stunning the team.
He doesn't seem sleep much, so he could have several college degrees.
His original Bachelors may have been in PE, but he could have earned other degrees in Criminal Sciences, Film, International Business & Accounting, etc. (whatever caught his interest). I can see him doubling up on on-line classes and testing out of several because of work experience and sheer focus. While in the various PD's he worked at he must have had a lot of time on stakeouts, waiting for court, recovering from injuries, etc. that he could have filled with studying. Can you imagine his team's shock if they found he had something like a Doctorate and a couple of Masters?
I could see the Director, after signing away ALL parental rights, now trying to ingratiate herself because it turns out the DiNozzo's are a VERY influential political family and/or MUCH wealthier than they thought (someone misread the zero's in his file - instead of a millionaire, his dad's a billionaire or something). It's always amusing when suck-ups try to back-pedal after they've written someone off as useless and undeserving of basic common curtesies.
Gibbs was an experienced parent, so he and Tony could get closer while he's helping Tony deal with the change from clubbing single to single father. He could also help block Jenn's suck up attempts, and Tony's family trying to take over raising the baby.
Well, I got some of it in there....
Tony looked up as the elevator door opened, frowning at the woman coming off it with the little girl in tow. "Madeline." He stood up to kiss her on the cheek. "What are you doing here? I'm not supposed to see you for another week."
She handed him the small suitcase then the child that was following her. "My new husband says that she goes as part of the prenup, Tony. I'm sorry but he's worth more to me."
He glared at her. "So you're going to abandon your daughter because of some ass you're getting?" Gibbs glared at them. "How could you! You're not the woman I met and liked."
"He's a senator," she sneered.
He slapped her. "Get out of my face. I'll expect full custody paperwork by tonight or you're going to jail and so is he." She huffed off and he looked at the girl, smiling. "It's better if you stay with me anyway," he said, sitting down with her in his lap. "Are you okay? Did she yell at you?"
"He's a mean puppy," she said quietly, staring at him, making him smile but nod. "Can I come over?"
"All the time, sweetie." He gave her a hug. "Don't you worry, we'll get back at them for you. He won't be a senator ever again thanks to you." She smiled and nodded, snuggling into his arms. He saw the three curious looks. "Not talking about it," he announced. "Boss, I need to take a few personal days please?"
"Is she yours?" he asked bluntly.
Tony nodded. "She is. This is Caroline." He poked her on the side, pointing at Gibbs. "That's Gibbs. I told you about him." She waved shyly then hid her face again. He stood up, closing down his computer and taking her bag. "Be back Monday, boss. After I plan how to tell *everyone* about it right after the wedding." He strolled off, taking her down to his car. He found his back door open, two more bags in there and a car seat. "Well, your mother was efficient. Come on. We'll go home, watch a movie, then we'll figure out where you're sleeping tonight." He strapped her in, turning to find his director standing there. "For obvious reasons I need to take a few personal days on an emergency basis."
"She just dropped her off?" she demanded.
"She's marrying a senator and it was part of the prenup," he said grimly. He closed the door with a smile for her, then smirked at his boss. "The rest of them will know once they're married. That way she can't back out because they deserve each other." She smirked back. "I've got to take her home."
"Go. Come back a week from Monday. You have the family leave time too if you need it."
"I'm gonna have to move," he admitted. "I've only got a two-bedroom place and the other one's my gym. Not really suitable for my daughter. Thank you, Director." He walked around and got in, looking back at her. "Did we forget anything?"
He called her as he started the engine. "You forgot her bear." He listened, putting the car in reverse and backing out. "Then he'll pay for it," he said simply, hanging up. He grinned. "He sent it to the bear hospital?" She nodded, looking very serious. "Then for tonight we'll get you a dog or something, okay?" She beamed and nodded. "At least until we can find out where he sent him." He backed out of the parking spot, heading to his house. He was going to ruin the man for cutting up his daughter's teddy bear in front of her. Senator or not. Pity.
Tony smiled, getting up to get the door. "Hey, boss." He let him and Abby in. "You too?"
"Of course me too!" She hit him on the arm. "You didn't tell me you had a daughter." She howled in pain when she was hit.
"Do *not* hit my daddy again," Caroline sneered. "No one touches Daddy!"
"She didn't mean to hit me like that. It was like a bop on the head, like I get from Gibbs."
"I'll hit him too," she said, glaring at Gibbs, hands on her hips. "Do not hit my daddy."
"Not unless he needs spanked," Gibbs said, smiling down at her. She snorted and went back to the movie. "She's very stubborn, DiNozzo."
"She gets that streak from her mother, boss." He let them into the living room. "She told you I've got an extra week?" Gibbs nodded. "Thanks. Gotta move us soon." He smoothed down her hair. "Where's your brush?" She shrugged. Abby looked in the bags then shook her head. "Mine's on my dresser," he said quietly. She went to get it for him, letting him brush her hair for her. "You've got knots, Caro."
She looked back at him. "I'm sorry."
"Why? Because you have knots? I'm the one who put the car windows down." He grinned. "Knots happen in life. You get used to them when you have long hair." He got back to work on her hair, making her a happy three-year-old. He saw Abby sit on her other side. "Caro, this is Abby. I told you about her."
She waved. "Don't hit him again."
"I won't hit him again," she promised. "I like your shirt."
"Daddy bought it for me."
"It's very pretty," she said with a smile. She gave her a hug. "We'll be good friends and I babysit."
"I'm not a baby," she said regally.
"Even if you're a teenager it's still called babysitting," Gibbs said, sitting down in the chair. "Her mother?"
"Madeline? Don't get me started on that rant, boss. Not in front of her."
"Former girlfriend?" Abby asked.
"Nope. Former date a few times. Not former girlfriend. Former oops." He braided her hair, making her beam at him. "Now all I need is a ribbon or something." Abby pulled down her pigtails and gave him one of her hair things. "That'll work. Thanks, Abby. I'll give it back tomorrow."
"I've got plenty." She smiled at the young girl. She had Tony's eyes and nose but she was a darker brunette than he was. Her hair had a few reddish tints to it and her chin was almost pointed. "You're very pretty. Plus very smart." The girl beamed her father's happy grin at her and she grinned back. "Do you like being read to?" She beamed brighter and nodded so Abby found a book and pulled her into her lap to read to her once Tony sealed off the braid. The girl clearly needed a good female role model and she was an excellent one.
Tony looked at Gibbs. "She's three," he said bluntly. "Her mother and I had seen each other casually on and off for a few years. She accidentally on purpose got pregnant so her mother would get off her back about grandchildren."
"Where are her grandparents?"
"Died six months into the pregnancy. She's named after her grandmother." Caro smiled at him. "We call her Caro. I sent an announcement to my mother. She sent it back unopened." He shrugged. "The usual crap." He smiled at his daughter. "This is about her second time here. Usually I take her to a hotel for the weekend so I have a bed for her."
"She can sleep on the couch tonight or cuddle up with you," Abby informed him, glaring at him. "Then we'll work on getting you moved, Tony." She went back to reading to the young lady, getting a smile. "When he moves into somewhere bigger with your own room, what color are you going to want him to paint it? We need to plan that now so he knows what to get. Sometimes he picks odd colors," she shared with a smile.
"Bear?" she asked her father quietly, staring at him.
"I forgot. We'll go get you a dog or something tonight." He looked at Gibbs. "Her mother's *friend* sent her favorite bear to the teddy bear hospital with a pair of pinking shears." Gibbs growled. "Caro, do you want me to pick it out or would you like to come with me?"
"I should come, that way I make sure we get along. Not like his housekeeper's kitty, who hates me." She looked at Abby. "Mommy said the kitty's demonic."
Abby smiled. "Sometimes they are." She gave her a cuddle. "Come on, we'll go get you a friend to hold while we figure out where yours went." That got a smile and a shy nod. "Tony, car seat?"
"Back of mine," he said, getting up and heading into the bedroom. He came out with his cellphone and wallet plus his shoes. "C'mon, Caro. We'll go find you a friend who'll love you until we can find Bahbah Bear." She nodded, taking his hand to walk out with him, letting the others get the door. "Lock it, boss. I've got my keys."
"I'd expect that." He followed them down, looking at the young lady. He even got in to drive, even though it was Tony's car. He looked back at her. "Comfy?"
"It's too small," Tony said, frowning some. "We'll have to fix that. Abby, did you see a jacket for her?"
Tony muttered something in Italian, making his daughter giggle. "We'll have to fix that too," he decided. "Boss, toy place please since you're driving." He called someone in his phone book. "Bob, it's Tony. Don't sound so happy. Huge problems that I'm begging for help with. Madeline walked up to me at work today and dropped off Caro without a warning and without custody papers. Said it was part of the prenup for her marriage to a senator. I told her I'd have the papers by tonight or she'd be in real trouble. No, I want them married, Bob. I also want her to fucking suffer for hurting her. He sent her bear to the bear hospital with pinking shears. She literally dropped her off with three bags of clothes and an old car seat. I'm not even sure if the clothes in the bag fit her. Yeah, I want them both when they're married. Draw up custody papers and I've got to move. No, it's still outside call-in here in DC. Wish it wasn't." He smiled. "Uncle Bob said hi, Caro."
"Hi, Uncle Bob. Daddy braided my hair," she called, giggling at the end because Abby was tickling her. "Stop it!" She swatted her but she gave her a fond smile. "Are you like a stepmommy?"
"No, I'm a friend of your father's but I'm not in love with him. So I'm like an auntie that you're not related to."
"She's an aunt like Bob's an uncle," Tony explained. "You can call her Abby or Auntie Abby, either one."
"Okay," she said, giggling as Gibbs sped around a corner. "Wow, we're going fast."
"We are," Abby agreed. "Tony's mustang has a very powerful engine."
Tony listened to his lawyer speak. "That'll work. No, I'm off work until a week from Monday. Find me somewhere local? Thank you. Room for her, room for me, room for the office and the gym. If I have to I'll sell the other one." He nodded. "That'll be fine. Thanks, Bob." He hung up, grinning back at his daughter. "You are in luck. Uncle Bob's sister *really* wants the townhouse in Baltimore." She beamed at that. "Which I know you didn't like anyway and it's too far away to live since I work with Gibbs. So we'll find somewhere locally that's nearly as big. We'll find you a very good daycare for when I'm working."
"We work insane hours," Abby warned.
Tony looked at her. "You're right, we'll find you a nanny who'll cook when I'm not there." His daughter gave him a trusting look and a nod. "And then we'll find you whatever color we want to paint your new room." She beamed at that. "Okay?" She nodded. "Now, tonight we're picking up a new friend for you. Uncle Bob is going to go get your other friends and see if he can beat the name of the bear hospital out of your mother's friend. Plus get your other clothes and furniture and stuff." She shook her head. "No?"
"Too small, Daddy."
"Okay, well Bob should get it anyway. I don't want her to have anything of yours, even pictures, sweetie. I'm going to make her *very* sorry her new friend doesn't love you. He must be stupid because everyone else does." She beamed at that. "Then, tomorrow, we'll make sure the clothes fit and take you shopping for new stuff if we have to. Including a new car seat because that's clearly too small." They pulled into a parking lot and he beamed at Gibbs' idea. "The Teddy Bear Factory. I love this spot and this is where I got you BahBah. Only in Baltimore." He got out, grabbing her too to walk her inside. The saleswoman smiled at him. "Her almost stepfather sent her Bahbah," he said quietly, pointing at one model, "to the teddybear hospital."
"Oh, dear." She looked at the child. "Would you like a bear like your Bahbah or some other friend tonight, young lady?"
She smiled. "I'm Caroline."
"I'm Stephni." She shook her hand. "Come see what sort of friends we have." She led her around, letting her pick out what she wanted. She picked out a spotted dog, smiling at her father. "Okay. We can fill that one up so he's very hugable."
She looked under the tail. "He's a boy?"
"Here," she said, handing over another one. "She's a girl." That got a beaming smile.
Tony squatted down. "Sweetie, should I go ahead and get a Bahbah junior? Just in case it takes a while?"
She shook her head. "He'll come back to me."
"Okay, he'll come back to you," he agreed, smiling at her. "Come on, let's go stuff your new friend. What's this one's name?"
"I don't know yet. She'll tell me tonight while we nap." She took his hand, letting Stephni help them fill her new friend and picking out a ribbon for around her ears. She was a girl, she needed ribbons. The pretty gold and rose one went around her neck as a collar and a blank tag was put on it for her. "We'll name you in the morning," she told her friend, hugging it. "Still a bit smooshy." She let Tony add more stuffing and massage it into the right spots, test-hugging it again. "A bit more?" He did it again and she nodded, beaming at him. "Just right." They sewed up her new friend's open part and Tony paid for her, taking her back to the car. She smiled at her father. "Ice cream like usual?"
"Want to get some to take home so we can share or aren't you tired?"
She considered it. "I'm tired I think."
"Then we'll get some to take home." He led her up the street to the ice cream store, the one that had gotten her attention, taking her inside. "Do we want mint or butterscotch?"
"Both?" she suggested.
"Doesn't really go together," Gibbs pointed out. He looked in the case, picking her up. "Pick one that looks good." She looked and pointed at a few, getting small spoons of samples from the waiter. She smiled and waved one. "A pint?" he suggested.
Tony snorted. "She can eat one of those on her own," he said dryly. "Gallon please." The man nodded and got it for them, letting Tony pay for it. "Thank you. Caro?"
"Thank you," she said, beaming and waving her new friend's hand. "Come on, Uncle Gibbys."
"Gibbs, sweetheart, or Jethro."
"That's what I said, Gibbys." She walked out holding Abby's hand, letting her put her into the carseat. She held her new friend and the ice cream on the way home, ignoring Tony's odd smile back at her. "Am I going to be home when Uncle Bob goes to torment Mommy?"
"Yup. Though I'm thinking about going in there with FBI agents."
"Oooooh, Uncle Donald?"
Tony beamed. "I love your evil mind, Caro."
"I get it from you," she reminded him, then they cackled together.
Gibbs had to smile at that. He really did.
Caro smiled as she got out of the back of the mustang, taking her father's hand. "Hi, Uncle Bob!" she called, waving at him. "Uncle Donald!" She ran over to him, giving him a hug. "I love you. Can you beat Bahbah's hospital room out of him? You did so well getting me back from Mommy that one time when she tried to 'nap me to Thailand with her boyfriend."
"I can do that," he agreed happily, smiling at Tony. "Bob told Denise. She's coming too." They looked over as a limo pulled up and an elegant woman got out with another one behind her. "Denise, new friend?" He let her hug Caroline like she had lost her. "He knows where Bahbah is. And you are, ma'am?"
"The despicable bastard's ex-wife," she said dryly.
"Welcome to the hunting party," Tony said, shaking her hand. "I'm Tony DiNozzo."
She stared at him. "Why have I heard of you?"
"I'm on Gibbs' team at NCIS. Maybe from there?"
"Perhaps. Your parents?"
"Stupid," Denise told her. "Up on Long Island but stupid."
"Ah, that's where." She patted him on the arm. "Come along, Caroline. Let's see what pain and misery we can cause."
"Wow, you're even more evil than Daddy," she said in awe.
She smiled at the girl. "Only when it matters, dear." She opened the door. "Helga!" She came running, giving her a shocked look. "My ex-husband is being served with papers. Gather this young, adorable one's things immediately. I will *not* have that filthy bastard near her!"
"Hi, Helga," Caro said quietly, waving at her.
"Oh, baby, I was hoping your Daddy had you." She gave her a hug. "Everything's in the garage and Bahbah's with a friend who does some very good stitching of injuries, baby." She got a smile. "You are?" she asked the others.
"Supervisory Special Agent Donald Turnover," he said. "This is our attorney, Robert Lakeland, and my wife, Representative Carlisle. I'm here to make sure Mr. Lakeland gets his point across and that there's no problems getting her things."
"They're in the garage, sir, not that most of them fit her but they're in the garage, and I can tell my friend where to send Bahbah to her," she agreed, leading them that way. She opened a door without knocking. "Sir, you're being served with legal papers. This is Attorney Robert Lakeland and Representative Carlisle." She led them to get the girls' things, helping the men put it into the limo's trunk. Then she hugged her again. "Be strong, sweetie. Your mother was very dumb to toss you away. You are the most special girl, that's why my kitty doesn't like you, because you're more special than a cat."
She smiled. "Thank you, Helga. Daddy has me and he loves me and she's going to be in misery when Uncle Bob deals with her."
"Good girl." She patted him and smiled at Tony. "I tried."
He handed over a card. "That's Bob's home number on the back. Should it be necessary, call him." He grinned. "Thank you for taking care of her."
"You're welcome. She's a wonderful young lady, very intelligent."
"Yeah, she gets it from me," he said, smiling at her, getting one back. "Just clothes?"
"Her other friends minus one china doll that broke last month," she admitted quietly. "I've got that one with the same friend to see if she could repair it."
"That's good. Thank you, Helga. You saved her for me." She nodded, going back inside. Bob and the others came out, and Bob was smirking. "All done?"
"All done. She cannot ask you for palimony, she can and will pay you child support, which will be going into a trust for Caro's future, and every picture of her daughter outside of two photo albums will be in your possession by tomorrow. Or else." He handed Tony the papers, letting him look over and sign them, getting a nod. "Also her trust from her grandparents has been turned over into *my* name as executor." He let him read and sign that one. "Denise is saying that she's definitely looking forward to the wedding." He smirked. "And then she'll react," he finished quietly.
"She deserves him," Tony told him. "Thank you, guys."
"Welcome," Donald called, picking up Caroline to hug. "I've missed you."
"I've missed you too. Have you met Donna yet? She's my newest friend. Daddy and Gibbys helped me pick her out last night."
"Gibbys helped? Really? I didn't know he knew how to pick out new friends." He smiled at Tony.
"He tried to get her to call him Uncle Jethro," Tony said dryly. They got back into the cars, Don riding with him since he had ridden over with Bob. "Did you find another car seat?"
"Nope. And a lot of baby clothes, Tony."
"We'll look through it, put what we can't use into storage, and then find her new clothes and a new carseat. I can afford it," Tony reminded him. "Speaking of, did Bob find us somewhere to live?"
"Denise may have. We'll have to look at it later to see if it's nice or not. How is Gibbys?"
"Growling probably. We had weekend call and I'm here." He headed home, taking her to spoil her with attention for the day. His friends piled in to help him sort through the clothes. Tony's bed ended up looking like a puppy and bear farm tended by dolls riding the odd farm animal. His closet sprouted pink, purple, and yellow dresses but no fun clothes because they had all been outgrown. It also grew a silver velvet cloak with a tag saying it was from Abby. Caro wrapped herself in it while she petted her friends to fall asleep.
Bob looked over. "You sure you want to sell the Baltimore house, Tony?" he asked quietly.
"This place is really tiny and it was meant to be temporary," he reminded him. "I was going to find somewhere locally and I never had the time to look."
That got a nod. "Okay." He pulled out paperwork. "I got with the realtor, she signed an offer this morning." Tony looked at it then at him. "I knocked ten percent down. She *is* family and did nearly marry you as a beard when she was dating Renee."
"That's fine. I would've gone down more than that for her. I'm surprised it's worth that much."
"The area's in renewal. It's a good time to sell." Tony nodded, signing it. Bob handed over the check. "That's yours."
"Thanks. Now all we have to do is find somewhere locally."
"Harvest House is up for sale," Donald offered. "It's up the street from us, Tony."
"Call-in, guys. Call-in."
Donald grimaced. "Yeah, I'm outside mine too," he admitted. "With you guys at the shipyards...." He frowned. "Is there real estate out that way?"
"Industrial mostly," Tony said, considering it. "There's a bad neighborhood about six blocks past the shipyard's gates."
Bob called an agent he knew. "It's Bob. I'm looking for a move-in condition house for a friend. He has a young daughter, three, and he's with NCIS. He does have funds. He's recently sold a townhouse in Baltimore in the art district." He listened. "Is she going to preschool?"
"She'll have a nanny," he noted. He nodded, making notes on the paper in front of him. "Thank you. Please. Call me when you've done some looking. Preferably within thirty minutes call in, can't be past forty-five of the shipyard. Thank you." He hung up. "She has three good suggestions in a good school area. She thinks she knows of a few better ones, depending on whether you want a house, townhouse, or condo."
"I don't care," Tony offered. "Somewhere nice for her where she'll have her own bedroom." He looked them over, frowning at the prices. "I can swing that. Even though housing is atrocious around here."
"You're looking on the cheaper side too," Bob agreed.
Donald looked then snorted. "That full list is half of what we paid for ours in Arlington. There a house that's got two bedrooms can go for a mil."
"I know," Tony sighed. "I don't want to take that much out of my funds."
Bob looked at him. "You can use your trust from your grandfather."
"I try not to touch it. I like living on my own investments." He smiled, calling his investment guy. "Hey, Steve, it's Tony DiNozzo. I just got custody of my daughter. I need you to expel me some funds for a house." He listened then nodded. "Call-in is within forty-five from the shipyards. Yeah. I've got a check here for two for my townhouse." He smiled. "Thanks, man. Yeah, this week. Thank you." He hung up. "He'll do that." He looked into the bedroom, smiling and taking a picture of her. "She's so adorable. How did I make something that precious?" he asked quietly.
"Good genes and luck," Don said, patting him on the back. He looked at his wife, who was napping on the couch. "I believe we've had an oops of our own." He beamed at Tony. "So you're my role model for later parenthood."
"She used to complain that Caro kept her up all the time," Tony offered.
"Probably kept her from dying from her partying," Bob said. "I'll present these to the judge in the morning?" Tony nodded. "Thank you for letting me get even with her, Tony."
"Welcome. I enjoyed watching you guys be evil in my behalf. I feel like some emperor or something." They all laughed and the party broke up. When she got up from her nap they were gone but he took her shopping for clothes that fit and a new car seat.
Tony walked in his first day back, going to HR since he was a bit early. He waved at the girls he knew, stopping at a desk, handing over the judge's decision. "I have custody now."
"You have kids?" she demanded.
"One, a daughter. She's very much my clone," he said dryly. "Her mother had custody and liked to keep me away from her. Fortunately she's marrying and he didn't want her so my clone and I are moving in a few weeks. I'll give over the new address when I've closed on the house." She nodded, making copies of those and handing them back. "Thank you. Oh, don't gossip yet. Please? We want them to get married." He smirked evilly. "They deserve each other quite a lot."
"Who is she marrying?"
"A senator." He walked off, heading to his desk. He handed Gibbs the papers once he had copied them again. "Keep these in my file please, Boss?"
He stuffed them in there. "Any luck house hunting?"
"We've narrowed it down to two. She likes one, I like the other, and she hates the neighbors on one side because they're nudists and they have a thick fence she can't see through." He sat down, looking at his very clear desk. "Did the desk fairy show up?"
"No. I had McGee clean it for you."
"Thanks," Tony called, knowing he was nearby. He looked at him. "I'll either be within ten or thirty minutes from the office for call-in. Mine's the thirty minute one." That got a nod. "She's got a very good nanny and I have a nanny cam. The judge wanted to beat Madeline's ass when Bob went to file the papers. Oh, and my mother somehow heard from my friend's wife, who is a Rep in Congress. She's not amused. She is making sure the mother of my child knows she is not amused. She does not consider me fit to raise my daughter because I'm *here*. Mother is in for a very rude shock in about thirty minutes when a restraining order is delivered." He beamed at Ziva when she came in. "Morning."
"Well past. Where were you?"
"Human Resources," he said dryly. He looked at Gibbs, smirking again. "The wedding is in a month. It gives me just enough time to plan my revenge. Oh, her bear was saved by the senator's housekeeper. She sent it to a friend who sews very well and we're expecting her soon. All ninety of her stuffed animals and dolls are presently on my bed holding a sleep-over as she called it." Gibbs smiled at that. "You may be hearing from Fornell. One of my friends is an SSA with the FBI and he came to help pick up her things."
"Already did," Gibbs admitted. "Any luck getting her to quit calling me Gibbys?" Ziva burst out laughing. "He's got a very smart daughter. She's three."
"I saw. She was adorable."
"She kicked Abby when she swatted him and warned me not to hit him again," Gibbs told her. McGee came back. "He said thank you for cleaning his desk."
"I heard, I was filing. You're welcome, Tony. How goes the house hunting?"
"I've got it narrowed down to two choices. One I like, one she likes, and a restraining order against her mother, my mother and father, and her mother's brother because he's an asshole bigot who founded a cult based on hating others." Gibbs looked at him. "That's why I told you I couldn't work that one cult case, boss. I knew the leader and it'd make it harder."
"I thought you went to school with him," he complained.
"No, you assumed and I didn't correct that one. Won't do it again," he said with a smug look. The director paused in front of his desk. Tony dug out an envelope, handing it to her. "A thank you card for the pretty flowers you sent her. My daughter is every bit a girlish little girl and she squealed."
"She's very welcome." She opened it, smiling at the large letters. "She's got the start of good handwriting."
"Her new nanny helped her. They practiced first." That got a smile and a nod. "We'll be moving in about two weeks, Director. I'll need a few days off then but I'll fill out the forms."
"That's fine. How did you find a nanny so fast?"
"I called my old one and asked her recommendation and then a friend's and asked for the name of the agency she went through. We had six very suitable candidates and she bonded with one while I was talking with a few others. I've also got nanny cams all over the apartment."
"That's fine. It's better than the college butt site you surf when you're bored, DiNozzo. She's all settled?"
"She's considering it a sleepover until we move."
"Then she'll be fine. Which senator?"
He beamed. "It's in a month."
"Ah. I know him. One of the ones from Iowa?" He smirked and nodded. "You're doing something afterwards?"
"Oh, yes, and next year's his election year," he said smugly. She walked off laughing. "She's going to pay and pay and pay for a very long time for this." He looked at his boss. "Case?"
"Downtime," he said dryly. "Check on her."
Tony logged into his computer and pulled up the nanny cam, smiling at the happy dancing his daughter was doing. "She fed her chocolate for breakfast. My daughter's a genius in the making with a silver tongue." His desk phone rang. "DiNozzo. Hi, Fornell." He smiled. "Yeah, I did have Bob file the restraining orders. Why?" He nodded. "He can stay on that side of DC," he said dryly. "No, the new nanny fed Caro chocolate for breakfast apparently. She's dancing around with Hunny, the care bear." He smiled. "That's my girl," he agreed. "Oh, I know. Yeah, the picture in the silver frame in Don's office is Caroline. Why?" He nodded. "That's reasonable. Thank you for warning me he was in town. No, he can go to the teddy bear place and stuff himself," Tony said dryly. "Thanks, Fornell. Yup, we're here. Welcome." He hung up. "Boss, fair warning, my father's in town for a SEC meeting. If he shows up here I'll push him off the roof so Ducky's not bored."
"That'll work," he agreed dryly. "Did he know?"
"Yup, I sent them an announcement. I sent them a second one when she was a year old and this one came back opened. Their loss." He checked the cameras, snickering. "They're both dancing around now." He checked his company email. "Ah, we got the third house on the list that she hated and I hated if we want it." He sent a note to the realtor, who sent back a link. He looked it over, then sent it to the house, watching his daughter run to the computer and the nanny teach her how to follow it. She beamed at her and babbled something, calling him. "Hey, Caro. Do we like that one? No, no naked neighbors with a high fence so you can't see the sunset. It's also a bit bigger than the other two. Yes, including your room, princess." He smiled. "Then I'll look at it during lunch?" He snickered. "No you can't yet. I'll make sure it's somewhere you'd like. I'll tell you tonight which one we're moving to. Good girl. Make me proud and behave today. Of course I am. You saw me put up the cameras." He laughed. "Good girl. Love you. Be good for Jane." He hung up and sent a response back to the realtor, who promised he could see it after work. "This one's a bit nicer and nearer to a park."
"Condo?" McGee guessed.
"Townhouse. All of them were. I finally got around to selling my old one in Baltimore too so it's easily afforded. That one's twenty from here, boss."
"I know that park. That's a nice area," Gibbs admitted. "Expensive."
Tony shrugged. "And? I just sold one in the art district in Baltimore."
"Then you can definitely afford it," McGee agreed. The director came back and dropped something on Tony's desk. "More paperwork?"
Tony looked then nodded. "My father's upstairs." He got up. "Be right back. The camera's set up to flash my screen if something serious happens." He walked up the stairs, going up to find his father lounging in the director's office and her waving him in there before going to hide. "Father."
"Anthony," he said, looking him over. "How dare you."
"Shut up. I don't want you near my daughter so you can't ruin her like you tried to do to me."
"You can't afford a daughter," he sneered.
Tony walked over and logged into something, turning the monitor around to show him. "Really? You sure about that?" His father gaped. So he closed it and cleared the browser history and the cache. Then he looked at his father again. "Get out. You don't love me, you only wanted a trophy. You're not getting near my daughter, especially since she's just like me," he sneered, watching him back off. "Anything else? I've got to plan how to ruin the senator her mother's marrying."
"Why?" he asked calmly.
"Her giving her up was part of the prenup."
His father sneered. "You're going to leave her living?"
"Yeah, that way I can see her life crumble and end in misery when he divorces her. Anything else? I'm sure I've got a case coming in."
"Why are you working here?"
"Because I like helping people and this is how I've chosen to do that. You'll never understand because you hold money higher than you do people, Father. Now, is there anything else? The restraining order is against both of you getting near her."
"I saw that." He stood up, facing his son down. "I should hit you."
"Try it, spend the week in jail," he offered. "Then watch me go to the SEC about the Japan deal, Father." His father nodded once at that. "Too bad you never wanted a son." He walked out, heading back to his desk. "Case yet?" he asked calmly.
"Not yet," Gibbs said, glaring at the man coming down the stairs. "Did she write Abby a thank you note too?"
"I dropped it on her table on the way up," he said, smiling at him. His father came over. "People, this is my father. He's a confused man. Try not to make it worse."
"Anthony," he snapped. "That is not how you introduce people. We taught you better."
Tony looked at him but Gibbs said it. "Normally you'd consider us beneath you. Why would you want to know our names?" he asked. His phone rang. "Gibbs." He listened, taking down information. "Be there in just under an hour." He hung up, tossing the keys to McGee. "Go gas the truck. We're going to Arlington. Dead sailor on a lawn." They grabbed their bags and headed out. Gibbs stopped in front of him. "You did a good job on Tony. He's a great agent. He's very good at the work and with the victims. You should be proud your son gives a damn about people. It's a rare thing in the world. Though I wouldn't piss him off again. He's already in a plotting and evil mood. You'll only make it worse."
"When will he be back?"
Gibbs shrugged. "Depends on how long it takes us to document the crime scene and bring the body back here, plus question witnesses. Could be later but he's got an appointment after work." He walked off, heading down to the truck. Tony's phone rang before they made it out of the garage. "Don't forget your appointment."
"Won't," he said, opening his phone to answer it. "DiNozzo." He listened. "I'm looking at a townhouse tonight, Father. If you want to talk you'll have to follow me around." He hung up and put his phone back, adjusting his hat. "I hate him."
"It happens," McGee reminded him from the middle seat. "It could be worse. He could be like her mother."
Tony looked at him. "No, he's worse in different ways. But thanks for the pep talk, Probie. You tried."
McGee smiled. "He could be a mass murder and a pedophile."
"No, his mistress is always over eighteen and never over twenty-four." He shrugged. Ziva gaped at him so he smirked. "It happens." He got out when they got to the scene, grabbing what he needed from the back and getting to work. "Want me on sketch, boss?"
"Yes." He let him do that. "McGee, find witnesses. Ziva, start on this side." She nodded, going to do that while he looked at the body. Ducky got there ten minutes later and got out. "Looks like he was stabbed, Ducky."
He looked then nodded. "It does appear so," he agreed, getting down beside him to examine the wound. "With the amount of blood he died here, but it looks like someone rearranged his shirt a bit. Anthony?" He came over to take pictures of that. "Thank you. I heard you had a visitor?"
"My father's in town to beg forgiveness from the SEC," he said dryly. "There's a restraining order in place. Not an issue."
"Not him. I meant before you went on leave," he said, looking at him.
Tony smiled. "You didn't come over, Ducky."
"I figured you were busy with meetings over her custody," he said patiently.
Tony shook his head. "I called my lawyer; he went with a few other friends the next morning and got it signed. The judge got it the next day. It's all filled out. You can come over for the new housewarming party." That got a smile and a nod. "Just don't bring your mother's dogs. You'll end up leaving most of them."
"I won't. Mother would be most upset." He got back to work. "His belt's on upside down as well."
"Got that already," Tony said, helping him slide it off and bag it for Abby to find fingerprints on. He looked over eat McGee, finding him up the street. He texted that information to him, getting a giggle from the girl who saw. McGee looked at him so he looked back, nodding a bit. He asked about that, finding out who had redressed their poor naked victim.
Tony's father followed him around the new offering, sneering a bit. "You can afford bigger than this, son."
"She doesn't need bigger than this."
"She needs room to play."
Tony rounded on him, glaring a bit. "She'll have plenty of play room. Unlike me she won't be rattling around a house that's full of things she won't be able to touch. She'll be playing with more than the staff and her nanny, and we only need this size, even if I can afford something the size of the White House." His father backed off at that. He looked at the realtor. "I am a bit worried about the plaster in the dining room."
She looked at the inspection she had been handed by the owner. "They said that's not a moisture problem, it's a cheap paint problem, Tony," she said, letting him see it. "It will need a new roof within a year probably. The basement could be repainted. One room had a few flakes of lead paint that'll have to be scraped off and redone. Mostly it's painting problems that you'll be fixing anyway when you paint it whatever color you want before you move in."
Tony's father snorted, calling someone. "Find my son and my granddaughter a home in DC. Has to be close to that *place* he works."
Tony snatched the phone. "I'm doing just fine, Terry. I have a good realtor. Thirty minutes from the shipyards. Those, yes. NCIS." He listened, then let the realtor hear. "I don't need the help, Father."
"They say lead is bad for kids. She's not some poor baby who has to put up with substandard things."
Tony looked at him. "This is far above substandard if all I have to do is paint and replace a roof in a year. That's what makes a house a home, fixing things in it. It's the same thing I did with my townhouse in Baltimore too." He looked at his realtor. "Anything I should hear?"
"Do you need a six-bedroom house?"
"No. I need a three-to-four bedroom place. One for the nanny in case she stays over, an office in the other if it doesn't have one."
She nodded. "She found one that might fit." She drove them to that one, letting them see it. "I don't have an inspection on it." Tony looked at the outside, then shrugged and headed inside to look. "It's new construction. I've looked at one other in this area but I didn't get an inspection there either."
"It's in a decent neighborhood. It's a full service community. They're a bit picky about who they let in. You being a federal agent may work in your favor. You're considered good for the neighborhood."
"Like cops are, we protect where we live," he agreed. He looked in the kitchen, shaking his head. "This is tiny."
"Which is why I didn't sell the other one," she admitted. "It's mostly singles starting in their careers."
Tony called his little girl. "Would you rather have the park or the naked people?" He listened to her complaints. "The other one is nice but it needs some extra work and we couldn't move in as fast." He took her notepad and wrote down an address, letting her look it up. "Where did you see that one? Oh, the realty show. I forgot we had one of those at noon on the local channel." He looked at her. "Well?"
"Within your call-in, four bedrooms, office area, living and dining room, nice kitchen, ugly carpets, current inspection recently done. New plumbing and carpets put in."
Tony nodded. "We can check. Thanks, princess. Yup, I'll be home soon. Long before bedtime." He smiled. "Love you too." He hung up and followed her out to her car, going to look at that one. It was nice. It had some yard attached. It was bigger. It had a good kitchen. It had industrial carpet but that was fine. "This might be better with kids anyway. She'd lose toys in shag." That got a nod. The bedrooms looked sound. The realtor over this one brought over the inspection details and he looked them over. "What still needs updated?"
"The basement is unfinished, it's bare concrete and concrete walls." Music came on from next door. "That's why they're moving," she admitted.
"I have surround sound and a movie habit," he said with a smile. "We'll see who annoys who." She laughed. "Other kids?"
"There's seven other families in this area. There's a small play area up the street at the community center that the kids are more than welcome to play at, and they do have security. The area's friendly. There's another officer who lives here. That's who's making the noise actually. The house is solid. No glaring corrections. Could use some paint slapped on in a few rooms. No lead paint. It was built about ten years ago."
Tony took another tour around, coming down the stairs nodding. "Sold." She beamed and his realtor handed over the check, letting him sign the paperwork. The new realtor walked out to talk to her clients, coming back smiling. "They accepted the offer?"
"More than happily, Agent DiNozzo. We can do the paperwork tonight."
"Please." He wrote out a check for his realtor, kissing her on the cheek. "Thank you."
"Welcome. Think of me if you need anything like investment properties."
He smiled, handing her a card, getting a gape. He shrugged and she nodded, heading back to her car happier. He let her drive them to her office to fill out the paperwork with the other family. Money and keys changed hangs. "How long before we can move? I'm in a small apartment and I just got custody of my daughter. She's three and she umpteen billion stuffed friends and dolls."
The couple smiled. "It's cleaned out. How fast can you paint and move your things?"
"I'll have the deed amended for you, Tony. It'll be about two weeks?"
He nodded. "I can handle that. It'll give me enough time to hire movers and pack things up." That got a nod and he shook hands, calling a cab to take him back to NCIS so he could pick up his car. He looked at his father, who had remained silent. "What?" he asked.
"It's still small. A community center for your daughter?"
"It means she'll learn how to get along with others," he said patiently.
"She'll get sick."
"All kids get sick. You tried to keep me away from people and look how sick I ended up." That got a nod and a sigh. "Anything else? I've got to hand my boss the new address and head home for supper."
"Can we meet her?"
Tony snorted. "After the way you treated me? Hell no. You or Mother. My daughter will be a nice, normal, loved little princess with a lot of stuffed and real friends. I won't have your warped values coming near her, Father. Maybe, *maybe*, I might consider letting you show up somewhere we're having a vacation sometime in the future. When she's old enough to understand that you're a bastard who treats your son like shit because he likes to help others." He walked off, getting into the elevator, slumping against the wall. He got off on his floor, dropping off the address. "We're moving in two weeks. I'll be hiring movers."
"It's a nice neighborhood," Gibbs said. "I can't remember getting a call from there."
"Another cop lives there, there's a good community center with security for the kids to play at. It's got a bit of lawn I'll have to mow or weedeat. I can almost take scissors out to trim it. She'll have her own suite and I'll have mine. Could use some paint, has industrial carpet but that's not a bad idea with a kid, and it's got a darker, older kitchen. I'll have that updated some weekend soon." That got a nod. "I'm headed home for dinner. I'm told we're having spaghetti-ohs." He smiled and walked out, heading home. "I'm home!" He heard a squeal and his daughter pounced him. "You will have your own room," he teased. "And bathroom."
"Is it pink?"
"Not yet. Your bathroom is yellow and green." He walked her into the kitchen. "We'll have to update the kitchen sometime in the future. It's not a bad problem, just a bit dark." She gave him a hug. "There's other kids in the neighborhood and a place for you guys to play safely."
She looked at him. "They won't like me."
"Bull. You're my daughter; they'll love you," he corrected. "You'll learn to make friends and all sorts of good things. Jane will be watching over you to make sure they're not mean." She nodded, cuddling him. "It'll be fine. There's an officer who lives next door. You can help me pick out paint colors, all right?" She smiled and nodded. "Good girl. Plus we'll have to get you a bed and things, huh?" She nodded faster, smiling a bit more brightly. "We'll figure that out after dinner." He put her back in her chair. "Say grace and eat." She did that and dug in, letting him smile at Jane. "How did it go?"
"It went really well, Tony. She was great for me all day. Community center?" He wrote down the address, making her smile. "A bit loud but lots of kids nearby," she agreed. "Decent neighborhood. Pretty middle class. When's the move?"
"Two weeks. I'll hire someone to pack us up and move things for us." His daughter gave him an awed look. "You can do that."
"Wow. Does that mean we can watch?"
"Yup. You can watch, I can watch, and I'll take those days off work." She beamed and nodded. "Did your grandmother or grandfather call?"
"Both and I hung up on them after reminding them you didn't want them to call you here."
"Father ghosted behind me while I looked at the places after work. He showed up at work too." He ate a bite of dinner after mumbling a grace of his own. "I'm hoping I made it clear." Someone pounded on the door so he went to get it. "Fornell." He let him inside. "What's up?"
Tony snorted. "Let me guess, he's trying to get custody from me?"
"No, he's trying to lynch the senator."
Tony found his phone and called him. "Father, I want them to marry before we destroy them," he ordered. "She deserves him and then we'll get him out of office. I'm going to have fun doing it. Fine, you can help then," he sighed, hanging up. He shook his head. "He's sulking that I won't let him help destroy the senator."
Fornell snickered. "Carlisle deigned to come down off the hill and handed over new pictures."
"She's Donald's wife."
"I know that now. Can I meet her? She's about the same age as mine."
"She's three." He led him back there. "Caroline, this is Tobias Fornell. He works in the FBI like Uncle Donald but he's above Uncle Donald."
"Wow. Does Uncle Don give you headaches?"
"Not usually. He works in another floor." He smiled and shook her hand. "You can call me Fornell or Tobias."
"That's cool." She beamed. "We're moving."
"It's a good idea. This place is very small." He sat down next to her, pulling out his wallet to show her a picture. "This is my girl Emily. She's five this year." She beamed at that. "Maybe if your father is nice he'll let you two play for a while?"
"Will she like me? Mommy said other kids wouldn't like me because I'm spoiled."
He stroked over her hair. "Every little girl is a bit spoiled. It's part of being a girl, princess." She beamed at that. "I think you'll learn to make friends very well." Tony wrote down the address and handed it over. "Good choice. Good neighborhood. Bit loud but pretty safe."
"I heard the neighbors," Tony admitted. She beamed at that. "You can play with Emily if we can arrange it. His little girl is very nice."
"Okay." She smiled at him. "I'd like that, Tobias."
"Good girl. We'll arrange it for when you've moved and unpacked. Give your father a few hours off." She nodded and gave him a hug. "I'll let you eat while I tell my daughter. She's seen your picture in your Uncle Donald's office and wondered who you were."
"I'm me," she said proudly.
He smiled. "You definitely are." He patted her head again. "Eat. That way you have time for a story before bed." She dug in again, letting him look at Tony. "When are you having another discussion with her mother?" he asked quietly.
"After the wedding," he said smugly.
"Good choice. Looking forward to it." She got up and went to get something, coming back to show him. "That's a very pretty cloak. Abby?"
"How did you know?"
"I've met Abby before. We've worked together."
"Wow. Does that mean Daddy and Uncle Gibbys works with you?"
"Sometimes cases take both agencies," Tony told her. That got a nod and she climbed back in her seat wearing her cloak. "Cold?"
"No, just wanted to wear it. It's soft and fuzzy. I feel like a puppy in it." That got a mass smile and she looked at Fornell. "Would you like some supper, Tobias?"
"No thank you, princess. My daughter is making cookies tonight for dinner." She giggled and he stood up. "See you in a few weeks, DiNozzo." He left them alone, going to talk to his daughter. She was adorable and clearly needed normal kids around her.
Tony smiled at her. "I'm very proud of your manners." She beamed and dug in again, making sure nothing got on her favorite clothes. He looked at Jane, who grinned. "I've got bathtime and stuff."
"Of course." She finished up and gave her a hug. "I'll see you in the morning, all right?" She nodded, walking her out, then closing the door and locking the knob behind her before coming back to finish dinner.
"Good girl," Tony praised. She smiled shyly. "What?"
"Bahbah came today."
"Is he okay?"
"He's got some stitchies."
"Sometimes that happens to bears. I'm sure it'll heal all right with time." She nodded, giving his arm a hug before he dug in again. When they were done and the dishwasher was loaded they went to get her a bath while he looked at the bear. It was well healed. The stitches weren't too noticeable. He put him carefully back into his spot and went to help her scrub stuff. She was yawning so he got her out once she was clean, then into pajamas, then into bed while he sat beside her and read a story. She fell asleep on his stomach and it was nice. Even if part of his mind was caroling in fear of being a real father. He had no idea what to do from here! He calmed himself down and decided he'd ask Gibbs.
Tony looked around the townhouse once everything was painted, going to let whoever was knocking in. He smiled at Gibbs. "Come on. We're waiting on the movers and a few delivery trucks." He waved and whistled at someone, getting them over there. "It's the head mover," he said fondly. "This is us."
"Okay. Let's see the stairs again." Tony pointed and he nodded. "We can do your headboard easily enough. We couldn't break it down because of a stripped bolt."
"Hey, we've had to move couches up stairs half that narrow," he said dryly. "The little one?"
"Jane has her for another hour and a half at the community center up the street." He beamed. "She's going to make friends."
"Good. Let me get these slackers started. Okay, guys, you know where things go." They nodded, taking them up to the room they should be in. Tony had drawn out a diagram for the current rooms then marked off the boxes as they had been done yesterday.
Tony drew Gibbs outside. "There's a case of bottled water in the fridge, guys," he called before leading him outside. He shut the door, looking at him. "How do I make sure she's not the next DiNozzo princess?" he asked quietly. He sat down once the lounger he had in storage was brought out, looking at the older man. "Boss?"
"Were you the last one?"
Tony nearly snickered at that question. He had been a bit princessly earlier that week at work during a bad case. "No, one of my aunts was. She's more regal than the Queen of England and about as uptight. She nearly beat my mother senseless with her fork for having bad table manners." He curled up, looking at him. "I don't want her to be the heir to the throne I was. I know I'm not going to coddle her like I was."
"If you want her to be a normal girl, treat her like a normal girl. Make sure she understands about people and money not growing on trees."
Tony nodded. "All she knows about my finances is that selling the old place in Baltimore got us this one."
"Why didn't you sell it before?"
"I first met her there," he said with a fond smile. He looked inside then at him. "It's sappy but yeah, I care about those things."
"Most parents do." He sat down on another chair that was brought out. "Storage?"
"Yeah, from my apartment at Ohio State."
"I know your background check came back with a trust fund."
Tony nodded. "I took ten thousand of that and started investing it way back when. I've had to borrow a few times for some bigger investments, mostly from friends and all, but I've always paid it back." He looked around then at him. "I realized fairly quickly I hated being poor but I wasn't about to crawl back to my father and give up everything that I am to be his proper little heir. So I learned how to invest and how to get someone better than me to help me."
"You're worth how much?"
"Um, a lot." He grinned. "I don't count that trust fund. With any luck, barring really horrible emergencies or running for our lives from my mother, it'll go onto her grandchildren. I split my net worth when she was born to put half into a trust for her."
"Probably a good idea," he admitted. "Stocks?"
"Some, some bonds, some real estate. A house I was using as rental property just got bought by a new mall." That got a nod. "I'm not Forbes rich but I'm well off. Very well off."
"Make sure she doesn't feel any different from the kids around here," Gibbs ordered. Tony nodded. "Her things?"
"Coming later today. I ordered them with her approval." He smiled when he heard kids squealing at his daughter. "I'm hoping she's making friends. I didn't have many of them."
"Your parents kept you from it?"
"My mother hired a nanny who convinced her germs were bad for kids. Plus my father would pull me out of school and take me places when he had to travel. It was a convenient way to show off to some of his business partners that he was just like them, a working guy with a family."
"I remember you telling me about Hawaii."
Tony nodded. "That and one in Russia, one in Milan. They found me in the room when Housekeeping came up. The manager called my father and let him have it. He never took me on another trip again but he also never lost me again. Mother beat the snot out of him with a slipper for losing me that time because the hotel called the embassy and they called CPS. My mother was mortally embarrassed."
"She should have been. What about her education?"
"She's going somewhere good. She's too smart for public schools. They won't want to push her very much."
"Catholic school, prep school?"
"Haven't decided yet," Tony admitted. "I'm still considering the options. Bob likes his wife's former school. I think it's about to fall in and it looks more creepy than even Abby could stand. There's a good one out on the ridge that's a prep school. It's very good academically. It's also very expensive and she'd learn how to ride horses, which she'd love most likely."
"You can take her riding without that. Don't let her live the moneyed lifestyle or you'll spoil her."
"I'm trying, boss, but I've got to spend now to set up things and I don't want to seem like I'm buying her trust. Even though half the things she owns I've bought for her. I'm the one who bought most of the stuffed animals and dolls. I'm the one who bought most of the former clothes and that old car seat. Hell, I was paying child support for a long time. Bob wants her to prove what she used it for."
"Is he a frat brother or an employee?" Gibbs asked.
"Both. I have him on retainer for various things. I've got a few others. A guy who watches my money for me. He's brilliant but a bit strange. I have a guy who handles all the rental stuff I have."
"How many rental properties do you have?" he asked, looking amused.
"Eight, ten, something like that."
"We've only had one case at one of my buildings and I'm the one who got you the manager."
"Good to know. Anything else I should know?"
"Yeah, if the director starts to dig, we're going to see her backpedaling quickly about the sneering stuff. She's just now figuring out who my father is. Even with me being disowned, she's going to try sucking up a bit."
"Are you wealthy enough to have bought something the size of the house they showed on tv last night on the news?"
"Six or eight times over," Tony admitted quietly.
"Why be here?"
"There's no great housing areas near work, boss," he said quietly. "The others were in bigger, more expensive neighborhoods but I like that this one has kids she can play with. One of the others had a park. The other had people who would dote on her but no other kids nearby."
"Think about daycare?"
Tony shook his head. "No. I'm sorry but I'd have to do a background on each and every single worker and parent there. I don't have the time for that and I like Jane. She's going to start bringing her around to events and things where there's other kids. That way she gets used to being around others." He gave him a gentle smile. "Fornell came over my first night back and offered a play date."
"I know. He wanted to know what her mother was like."
"A bitch," Tony said bluntly. Someone tapped on the door and walked out with a covered dish. "Hi, I didn't expect the neighbors to pounce before all the stuff got moved in." She laughed. "Tony DiNozzo and this is my boss, Jethro Gibbs."
"Hi, I'm Angela, the loud, brunette heathens are mine. Dessert?"
"We all have a sweet tooth," he promised, taking it from her. He checked and beamed. "Caroline's going to love the gooey brownies."
"You're welcome." She shook Jethro's hand. "So, just a daughter? No wife? Divorced?"
"She was accident prone when she got pregnant to get her mother off her back," Tony admitted. "We never got more than tolerably close to each other and she gave up custody recently."
"Poor thing. Where is the darling?"
"With her nanny at the community center. I wanted her to be around kids. That's why we moved here."
"She has a full-time nanny?"
Tony smirked. "I'm also known as Special Agent Tony DiNozzo, NCIS."
"Ah! So you work long hours."
He nodded. "Sometimes overnight too. So Jane's got her when I can't be here." He smiled at his daughter when she came out, Jane faithfully trailing her. "Bored?"
"No, wanted to see." She gave him a hug and peeked then beamed at the woman. "I like you, you're feeding me chocolate." She gave her a hug too. "Uncle Gibbys." She gave him a hug and climbed into his lap. "I falled off the swingset."
"You okay?" Tony asked.
She let him see her knee. "Am I?"
"Looks like a bandaid would do," Tony offered, smoothing down some shorter pieces of hair that hadn't made it into her ponytail that morning. "Jane, can you see if the bathroom stuff is in yet?" She nodded, going to do that. "We'll spray it and then bandaid it and it'll be just fine so you can go back to playing. Because your room won't be here until later."
"Shoot." She let Jane take care of her knee. "Thank you, Jane. Can we have a brownie now?"
"Sure," Tony agreed, letting them take them inside so she could have some. "That was Caroline. She's three."
"I noticed. She's adorable," Angela said with a bright smile. "I'll make sure my heathens are good to her." The neighbor's music started and she winced. "I'm sorry about them."
Tony grinned. "I'm a movie person and I have surround sound. It's pointing that way." She walked out laughing, only stopping to hug the little girl. That way she could tell the others he was single, cute, tragically overworked, and his daughter had manners so far.
Gibbs shook his head. "You'll be making new friends too I'm sure," he said dryly.
Tony smirked. "Of course I will be. I'm like that." He gave his little girl a hug when she came back out. "Going to go play some more?" She nodded. "Okay, be careful. No more falling." He kissed her on the head. "Have fun and make new friends." She nodded, letting Jane walk her off again. He looked up. "Please let the other kids like her somewhat?" he requested.
"She'll be fine. Even though kids can be mean she'll be fine, DiNozzo." He looked inside the house. "They're efficient."
"Why get the other place if you could've bought a house?"
"I got that one temporarily to make sure I wanted to stay, Gibbs. Then I never had the time to go looking."
Gibbs would've apologized but it wasn't his fault and he didn't like to apologize. "So, you had her all the weekends we had clear?"
"And all the times I was at home on med rest," Tony agreed. He heard screaming and groaned, getting up to head outside and look. "Caro? Problems?"
"He tried to pull her hair, Tony," Jane called.
Tony walked over there, smiling at the scowling father. "Hi, Tony DiNozzo."
He looked at him. "Moving in, huh?"
"Yeah, today. This is my daughter Caroline." He looked at the young man, then smiled. "This is my daughter Caroline. Can you be a bit nicer to her?"
"No, she's a girl," he sneered.
Tony laughed. "Girls make up half the people in the world, kid. Including mothers."
"Nah-uh! Mothers aren't girls! Girls are icky!" he shouted, running for his mother.
"Sorry about him," the father said.
Tony shrugged. "It happens now and then. He'll get out of that stage and move on. Caro, you okay?" She nodded, wiping off her cheeks. "Let me look, dear." He looked at her head, kissing it. "There, all better?"
"Soon," she promised, taking Jane's hand again. "We're going to swing."
"Okay, you go swing. I'm sure he'll figure out you're more than a girl he's afraid of sometime soon." She nodded, walking Jane off. He smiled at the mother stomping out. "Hi, Tony DiNozzo and that's my daughter Caroline and her nanny Jane."
"You have a nanny?" the father snorted.
"I'm also a special agent with NCIS. I'm a Fed," he said at the confused look. "I work long hours."
"Oh!" the mother said, nodding like she understood that. "So it's probably easier than daycare since you're never home on time."
"Yup, basically," Tony agreed. Gibbs came out. "This is my boss, Jethro Gibbs. He's one of Caroline's favorite uncles so he's helping keep her from bouncing into the movers."
The mother looked at him. "Most of us would've moved ourselves. Shot recently?"
"No, just tired," he admitted. "Long week with a double robbery and a gay bashing case." She shuddered. "Before you ask, I'm very tolerant, my daughter is being taught tolerance, and I'm a nice guy as long as I've had some sleep and some coffee." Another father came out and he shook his hand. "Hi, Tony DiNozzo. You're the one with the music, right?" That got a grimace and a nod. "I've got a movie habit and surround sound, unfortunately pointed your way, so let me know if it interferes or gets too loud, please?"
"Sure, I can do that," he agreed, relaxing some. "Gibbs," he said, nodding politely.
"Officer. This is my senior agent."
"No wonder you're hovering over his daughter."
"Expect to see Fornell now and then too if the kids get along," Tony offered.
"Sure, I can do that." He turned to show the baby in the carrier on his back. "This is Timmy. He's the one who likes the music."
"Hi, Timmy," Tony said, shaking his hand. "How are you today?" The baby beamed at him. "Caro?" She jumped off the playset and came over. "This is Timmy. He lives in the house with the music." He lifted her up so she could see.
"You're nearly as tiny as my Bahbah bear," she said in greeting, touching his head. "You'll be adorable when you're older, just like Daddy is." She wiggled down and went back to playing. "Nice to meet you," she called as she ran.
Tony smiled. "I'm trying to teach her manners too," he offered, cracking the mother up. "If she's having problems, let me know. Her mother kept her a bit isolated."
"I can do that," she agreed. "Have you met Angela?"
"She brought over some fantastic looking gooey brownies that Caro dug into over some cookies."
She smiled. "She makes them like that all the time."
"They're good like that, especially over ice cream." He smiled at Angela. "That reminds me, I've got to stock up on ice cream." Gibbs snorted. "She'll want some comfort later."
"I'm sure she will," he agreed dryly. "That's spoiling her, DiNozzo."
"Every kid needs ice cream and she runs off the calories, Boss." He smiled at Angela. "Brownies like that make the *most* excellent and decadent topping over french vanilla ice cream."
"Haven't tried that yet." She smiled and patted Timmy on the head. "You should be wearing sunscreen and a hat, young man."
"Caro's got hers in her lotion," Tony said happily. "One less step in the morning." They all laughed at that. "I'd invite you over but they're still setting up stuff, but I'll be throwing an open house in a few weeks, once I've finished unpacking." He watched a delivery truck pull into the driveway. "I hope that's her bedroom instead of the entertainment center."
"She moving up in size?" Angela asked. "Never mind, you told me you just got custody."
"Though her last one was too small," he admitted. "Excuse me for a few. We're in the back yard if you guys want to come sit on the grass." He jogged over. "Hey, her bedroom?"
"Her bedroom and your entertainment center," the driver said, letting him sign for things. "Where do we go?"
"Entertainment center goes on the wall that houses the stairs. Go ahead and block off the top two sticking out, I need to finish that wall. Her bedroom goes in the rose pink suite."
"I can do that. Diagram?"
"I can help her move her stuff later."
"She's got the canopy that'll hang from the ceiling. I was going to put that up for you."
Tony whistled, pointing at Jane when everyone looked. She nodded, bringing Caroline back. "Tell the nice delivery man where you want your bed and canopy, sweetie." She beamed and led him up there to show him. She had a small alcove that looked out one of her sets of windows so he put it across from there and let her arrange her room with the rest of everything. Including how she wanted her bath mat and things. Tony led the way out back, going to collapse again. "I love moving this way," he quipped. "It's a lot easier on my back." The other parents and Gibbs laughed. "I learned my lesson back in college. Moving couches hurt." They got a few others over and they had an impromptu party once Tony handed Gibbs his wallet and gave him a plea for chips and drinks. The movers took a water break before getting back to it and it was nice. Definitely a better way to move.
"All moved?" the director asked Tony that Monday.
"Everything was painted before we moved, all the boxes and furniture got there, she loves her new bedroom enough that we can't wake her up anymore. We had to tempt her with muffins this morning. My clothes are all unpacked, all the movies are unpacked. Everything but my personal gym is unpacked and half the kitchen stuff that I won't be using anytime soon." He grinned. "We met most of the neighbors and they all think she's very mannerly. A few of their kids didn't like her yet but they'll learn. One thinks she's got cooties because she's a girl but he'll learn. Jane's already taken her to play and a few of them have come to play with her. It's going all right so far."
"Good. Anything I should know?"
"Not yet. Why would you?"
"Your father's back."
Tony muttered something, shaking his head. "Where?"
"Where do you think?"
"Kick him out. It's your office."
She gave him a look. "He's a favorite in the banking and investment industry. We don't need that headache, Agent DiNozzo. Go run him off."
"You're busy," he noted. He went up there to talk to him. "Mr. DiNozzo, Tony is trying to work and we have to solve an assault case. It can wait until lunch," he ordered, staring him down before leaving.
"Well!" Tony's father said, glaring at his back.
"You sound like a Southern damsel in a romance novel!" Gibbs called before leaving the outer office. He sat down at his desk again, going back to work. "Did you know your father acts a lot like Scarlet O'Hara?"
"Yeah, but he looks bad in a hoop skirt," Tony quipped, cracking Gibbs up and making the director rub her eyes as she walked off.
"I did not need that mental image," McGee said, rubbing his eyes. "Or of him in a corset for some reason."
"Corset, waist-cinching back belt, same thing," Tony said flippantly. Ziva moaned and he smiled. "What?"
"Work," Gibbs ordered. "We still have to find the person he claimed he assaulted."
Tony smiled and put something up on the main screen. "How's that, boss? Area hospital reported to LEO that they had one male assault victim, Army Reserves? Said they got into a grudge pool match and the grudge part came back."
"He said it was a female and he beat her for turning him down and supposedly being a lesbian," Ziva said.
"Crap, never mind then." He went looking for a different search string, finding one. "Here we are. One CPO Hellstat.... Didn't we deal with her on another case?" Gibbs nodded. "Beaten fairly severely. Would not give a reason. Is in DC General under observation."
"We can check," Gibbs said. "Take McGee with you."
"Boss, wouldn't she respond better to Ziva?" McGee asked.
"She hates women," Tony told him. "Especially women who question her. She lives up to her last name, Probie. She'll like you because you're nice, sweet, and gentle. The sort she likes to chew up and spit out." He grabbed his bag and a copy of the report the guy had made when he stumbled onto base drunk and the Shore Police had caught him. He nodded at his father as he walked past him. "I'll probably get off on time tonight," he quipped. "If we're lucky and this is our victim." They got onto the elevator. "Just remember that you're a nice guy, she can't really hurt you no matter what, and it'll be fine, McGee."
"If you say so."
"She was the one who nearly sent Kate through the wall," he told him.
"Oh, her!" he said, remembering that case. "I can play nice and gentle. But you know, we could bring Abby and freak her out again."
"Nah, she's already in a hospital bed and bruised. Let's not torture Abby that way."
Back at her desk, Ziva smiled. "So *that's* what a hoop skirt is," she said, having found it online. Gibbs gave her an odd look. "Not like I read those sort of books."
Gibbs looked at her. "Never read _Gone With the Wind_?" he asked.
"In school. It kept putting me to sleep. She should have handcuffed Rhett and drug him to bed. Any real woman would have when he woosed out." Gibbs shook his head. "Especially about having a son. No matter how much my parents nag I would not take up with a man like him."
"If you wanted to go on maternity leave you'd have to have at least a one night stand and a few forms filled out by the fourth month, Ziva."
"I think I'll wait and be the ....icy princess, is that the word, one of my dates called me."
"Ice princess," Gibbs corrected dryly. "You can get around that too. That's why we have sperm banks."
She gave him an odd look. "My mother would wail for years and my father would pout because he's expecting to turn my future husband into a Mossad agent as well," she told him. "I would never hear the end of that and they'd get the Rabbi to nag me too. Even having the child wouldn't stop the wailing and moaning I'd have to put up with. I'd end up shooting them all and then have to take over some of my father's duties. Or he'd reward me for a son by giving me desk duty somewhere safe, where I'd shoot myself." She got back to work. "We do have two other assault victims reported. One was a stripper who was wearing a sailor's costume when she got a bit bruised by a lapdance. The other was in the Coast Guard and no, never mind, that was a male and he said the person mistook him for being female and then beat him when his...beer goggles broke?" she asked.
"Beer goggles is how you say that the beer is making ugly people pretty," the director said as she came back. Ziva said something in Hebrew and she nodded. "That's beer goggles." She looked at that report. "I've seen him on his guard post. He is a pretty little boy. If we find it was him, I'm sure we'll be figuring that out."
"Local law enforcement hasn't filed a further report yet," Ziva admitted, calling down there. "This is Officer David, NCIS. I'm calling to follow up on a case that was reported to your precinct last night by a member of the Coast Guard? Do we have a lead yet?" She listened, making notes. "We can check on that for you. No, we had a person who stumbled in drunk saying he had assaulted a young woman in uniform for being..."
"Uptight," the director and Gibbs said in unison.
"Uptight," she said, nodding at them. "That's what I was wondering. Did he give you a name?" She wrote that down. "Yes, we can pick him up and bring him down to you. That way your officers don't have to get attitude. Thank you for your cooperation." She hung up. "Not ours, same base."
"Go for it," Gibbs ordered, waving a hand. "Have fun. Remember to get his file if he has one."
"I will." She grabbed her gear and handcuffs, heading out to arrest him. Sometimes the local bases were not very nice when local officers came for someone who had done something stupid. She smiled when she got there, holding up her credentials and the man's name. "Is he in the brig yet?"
He checked. "He's on the restricted list. Restricted to barracks. B-5, Officer David."
"Thank you." She drove that way and parked, getting out and showing her credentials to the MP standing there. "Good morning."
"Morning. Problems?" She held up the name. "We know he did something. He came in and burst out crying on his commander but wasn't making any sense since he was stone drunk."
"Yes, he beat a member of the Coast Guard for being too pretty of a man and thinking he was a woman."
"Excuse me?" the MP asked.
"Ah. That explains everything. Let me escort you and get his CO so you can tell him, Officer David." He radioed that in and led her up to the right room, letting her handcuff him and read him his Article 31 rights. The commander got there and he smirked at him. "Sir, NCIS is here for your man, sir."
Ziva smiled at him. "Apparently he beat a young man for not being a pretty girl while drunk. We were working on the other one who stumbled in and confessed to beating someone when we found his."
"Son, you're going into rehab," the commander said. "Just as soon as the locals let you go."
"Yes, sir. Please, sir, I'm not gay."
"I don't care," he snorted. "Need help walking him down there, Officer David? I had him shower and clean up if you need his clothes for evidence."
"We might." She went to get them from his basket, bagging them for the nice local officers. She walked him down to the car, putting him in the back. "Thank you for your cooperation."
"Not a problem. You figure out who the other guy hurt?"
"Special Agent DiNozzo is on that one. She's in DC General. A CPO."
"He beat a Chief Petty Officer?" the MP asked. "The only one off base I know of is Hellstat...." He burst out laughing. "That does make sense."
"She's not in good shape," Ziva said dryly.
"That's another boy who'll be entering rehab immediately," the commander said. "You ready for him yet?"
"Let me call Tony." She did that. "Should I bring in the other assaulter? Yes, further looking lead me to another case." She nodded. "I can do that." She hung up. "She did identify his intake picture as her assaulter so if I could please."
"I'll get him for you, ma'am," the MP said, calling for him to be brought over. A few minutes later a jeep pulled up and another MP pulled a handcuffed man out of the front, getting him into the back of her car. "You two have a good talk about why beer's bad, boys." He saluted her. "Have a better day, ma'am."
"You as well." She made sure the doors were locked and they were both buckled in before backing out and heading off at her normal driving speed - faster and worse than Gibbs. By the time she got there they were both green. Gibbs came down to help her get them when she texted him. "I don't know what's wrong with them."
Gibbs looked at them. "This is why you shouldn't drink." One started to dry heave. "Finish that and be on further charges," he snapped. The man choked it back down. "Thank you!" He took theirs upstairs, letting Ziva drive the other one to the proper station and hand him over. Tony strolled in with pictures and a formal statement, letting him read it over. He looked at the guy. "You're in deep. You want to confess or should I tell you why?" He swallowed and headed for the trash can to throw up. "Good. Sounds like you had way too much to drink last night." He looked at Tony, who was smirking. "Other news?"
"He was so drunk he called her a blonde supermodel."
"She's blonde," Gibbs said dryly. "She could be considered pretty by some I suppose."
"She was highly insulted and she started the fight when he said that but he still beat her that way. We have an MP standing guard on her room in case we're charging her since she admitted she started the fight."
Gibbs thought about it. "Let JAG sort that out."
"I'll call." He went to do that. They could call off the MP on her room if it wasn't necessary. His father was lurking by the windows when he got back to his desk. "Still here?" He sat down to call over there. "It's DiNozzo. We have a strange one. Not aliens strange this time," he admitted, making her laugh. "We have a CPO Hellstat who was insulted by a very drunk Corporal. The very drunk Corporal beat her pretty badly after she started the fight because he called her a blonde supermodel and tried to hit on her. He stumbled in and confessed this morning. I have an MP on her room at DC General in case you want to charge her too. He's here. Please. I knew you could use a laugh," he teased lightly. "Hellstat. Yeah, her. Tried to throw Kate through a wall. She's fairly bruised. They were saying she had a concussion and she'll get out today. Gibbs said charging her was up to you guys. He was throwing up when I left them. Sure. Come on down. I know you do homicides but think of the laugh potential you'll have. Thanks." He hung up and started on the report, shaking his head. "I'll have to remember this when I start talking to Caro about liquor being evil," he muttered.
"It's what made you," his father said dryly.
Tony looked at him. "If you needed to be so drunk to sleep with Mother, then you should have married someone else." He got back to work, handing it to Gibbs when he walked in. "JAG is on their way in."
"Already here for him. Decided to leave her alone. Figured she was in enough pain." He looked it over. "Grammar?"
Tony grammar checked it, handing over a new copy, getting a nod. "Didn't mean to hand it in so soon the first time," he quipped. "Ziva?"
"Taking another one in who mistook a Coast Guard boy for a Coast Guard girl. McGee?"
"Cleaning up and changing. Hellstat threw her lunch at him for walking in first. She was not in a kind and generous mood by any means." He smiled at the JAG officer. "She threw her lunch at McGee too."
"I'll talk with her once we've got his charge sheet done," she promised, dragging their suspect off.
Tony shook his head. "I haven't been that drunk since my second frat party."
"It took you two times to realize the hangover was bad?" Gibbs asked dryly.
"What hangover? I ended up sleeping with a girl who was affectionately nicknamed the zit patrol and that made me shudder enough to swear off getting that drunk. No more beer pong championship marathons with the ping pong team for me."
Gibbs shook his head. "Figures."
Tony smirked at him. "You know, boss. I could have other kids out there. I could have a son just like me."
Gibbs looked at Tony's father, who was very white and shaky, then at the agent. "Don't wish that on the world, DiNozzo. He'll end up being the playboy you think you are." He got back to work when McGee came back. "Report?"
"Hospital food is nasty and won't come out of shirts?" he said grimly, sitting down to type his report. "JAG?"
"Has him, walked off giggling," Tony told him. "Probably won't charge her."
"Maybe she'll throw food at them too and that'll change," McGee said dryly, typing up a quick version of the report and sending it over for approval. He got a nod and it was printed and put into the 'going on' box. "Ziva?"
"Case of gender beer goggles," Tony told him.
McGee shuddered. "I've never been that drunk in my life. Mistook a transexual once but never that drunk." Ziva came back. "Need to clean the car?"
"No, his commanding officer made him clean up when he got caught stumbling back onto base. He was mostly sober and they had him confined to barracks because he had cried on his commander but they weren't sure what he said." She grimaced, sitting down to do her report. "We would never put up with that in the Israeli army. The commanders would beat you senseless if you came back to base drunk. Then they'd have you digging holes in the dessert while hung over. In full uniform."
"Mine made me dig a latrine, used it, then made me cover it up again," Gibbs told her. "I learned that lesson very quickly just like the others."
"I'm so glad I never drink that heavily," McGee said. He gave Tony an odd look.
"Can I have my son for a discussion now?" Mr. DiNozzo said politely.
Gibbs looked at him then at Tony. "Anything backlogged?"
"No, boss. Did it to check the router at home. By the way, thanks for setting that up through Abby, Probie."
"Welcome," he said dryly. "That way you can mommy track some days."
Tony looked at him. "Don't tempt me to do paperwork from home in my pajamas while eating ice cream. She'd love that." He stood up. "Let me walk my father to his car."
"Take him to lunch," Gibbs ordered. "Make sure he knows when you get off work." Tony nodded, walking his father out. "McGee, your parents aren't stopping down, right?"
"I'll give fair warning so Abby can hide if they come down for a visit, boss."
"If mine comes to town I'd probably never know about it and he'd tell the director to get me," she pointed out. "Or he'd have me kidnaped overnight."
"Let me know if that happens." He got back to work on his own report. He got Ziva's report to proofread, putting it in the box to go on too.
Tony looked at his father across the table at the place he had chosen. It was simple, inexpensive, but good food. The waitress smiled at him. "Can I have a number two on the lunch menu? Fries. Coffee?" She nodded, looking at his father. "Don't get the number six, it's got a spicy sauce."
He looked at it then the waitress. "Number twelve. No lettuce unless it's Romaine and water please." She took their orders and walked off. "You like this one?"
"I do. I've eaten here a few times when we had late night cases. They make a good dinner at one in the morning." He sipped the water on the table, putting down his glass to look at his father. "Why did you come back?"
"I'd like to meet her."
"She's still in shock over some of the fast changes we've had. We're still talking about her mother as well. I don't think she needs another one."
"More loving support...."
Tony's snort cut him off. "What loving support? Mother telling her how much of a screw up I am because I use my brain that you guys paid various schools thousands of dollars to train? Mother terrorizing her with redecorating her room without her permission? Mother dressing her in a sailor suit?" He took another drink.
"She was a bit over zealous but she's been crying non-stop, Anthony."
"Sedate her. That'll stop it." He smiled as their lunches were brought. "Thank you, Tiffany." She beamed and walked off. He salted his meat and dug in. "I don't think she needs that sort of drama in her life. Ever. Beyond the fact that you two still think I'm stupid and weak for being happy and myself. Personally you're lucky I'm sitting here today and not in jail for beating you." He stared his old man down, getting a nod and him digging into his lunch. Tony took another bite. He had to eat and he was hungry. He'd go work on the heavy bag later. "She doesn't really need anything from you two."
"We can set up an educational trust fund," he offered.
"She's got one."
"It can't be enough...."
"Father, I split off half my net worth when I found out about her. It's in an iron-clad trust for her that's monitored by my attorney. Even if she has to buy her way into school, she can do that before the interest."
He nodded at that, eating another bite. "I want to make amends."
"Spoiling my daughter into the next DiNozzo princess like your sister won't do that," he said, putting down his sandwich so he could sip his coffee and start on his fries. "She's never going to be a princess like your sister or Grandmother DiNozzo was. I don't see how Grandfather stood that woman but my daughter will not be like that."
He nodded. "That's probably reasonable. Especially since she could be in danger from your job," he said dryly, staring at him.
Tony ate another fry. "Jane's a hand-to-hand combat instructor and a former drill instructor in the Army. She's well protected, Father. Even if we do get another terrorist she's well protected."
"You've hunted terrorists?" he demanded.
"A few of them," Tony agreed dryly. "One of them took out a teammate." He stared him down. "I still do what I do because I feel the need to help people. Even if you don't like it."
"You could have helped people by being a doctor. Even done some charity work now and then."
"I don't like looking at insides, Father. I can't stand hospitals either. Mother made sure of that." The older man slumped. "The same as I really don't like the sight of blood. There was not a chance you were getting me into med school, even if I had been able to pass all the biology classes."
"You had good grades."
"I sucked in biology," he said patiently. "Did in high school too." He ate another fry. "Any other arguments?"
"What will your daughter learn about how to be a DiNozzo?"
"The same thing I did. How do it the best way possible, serve others who need it, and not be a princess like you tried to make me." He stared him down again. "I'm sorry you feel that I wasn't a good enough one, Father, but I don't care. I'm happy at the moment."
"By your age I was married."
"And on your second mistress," Tony reminded him. He went pale. "I remember her coming into my room to tuck me in one night because Mother was having another episode. It's nice that you married a woman like your mother." He ate another fry, then finished his coffee, getting back into his sandwich. Their waitress brought him more, getting a smile since he was chewing. She disappeared again. He swallowed. "She'll be the person she wants to be and I'll be proud of her, no matter what field she ends up in. If she wants to go into business I'll introduce you two then."
"She is our granddaughter and we can get visitation rights."
"I can prove Mother is unstable and prone to violence," Tony pointed out. "You might be able to get visitation but she'd never get more than supervised, though I doubt it since my lawyer and your legal team would never allow it, Father. Bob and Terry both dote on her."
"Yeah, she's the one who opened the announcement and told Mother when I sent the second one. The first got sent back unopened so I sent it to Terry in case you guys suddenly decided to care. Since you didn't." He shrugged and ate another bite. "Too late now," he said when he swallowed. "Much too late for you to be sucking up to me and you're not turning her into your clone."
"She is. She's very bright. I'll be sending her to some very good schools because she's so bright. By the time she's eighteen she'll figure out what she wants to be later on and I'll help her go toward it as long as it's reasonable and she's thought it out. If she still doesn't know, a year of college should help that." He finished his sandwich and went back to his fries, sipping his coffee every few. His father finished his lunch and Tony got the check, adding a nice tip for their waitress knowing they didn't want to be bothered. He walked him outside, looking at him. "She's a good kid, Father. I don't want you two to ruin her."
"I would like to meet her."
"Her mother's told her how you kicked me out. She'll probably scream at you."
"Her mother severed her parental rights?"
"And then some," Tony said smugly. "I had Bob do it."
That got a nod. "I still want to meet her. Even if she does scream at me."
"I'll think about it after Christmas. That way you and Mother can't spoil her then either." His father opened his mouth. "One, single present. Under a thousand dollars, not a computer, not a pet, not a horse," he warned.
"Your mother will fuss."
"Mother needs to go back to Betty Ford. It's even fashionable these days." He walked off, heading back to the gym at the office. He clocked back in down there and got to work on the heavy bag to wear out some aggression. By the time he was done he was sweaty but oh well. He walked back to his desk. "Sorry I'm a bit late, boss. I was in the gym." He sat down, looking at him. "I laid down the law about the holidays too."
"It is something to worry about," he agreed, looking at him. "You better?"
"I want to scream and yell but I don't want to panic anyone."
"It'll be fine. Ducky wanted to know about the housewarming?"
"When's our next weekend off?"
Gibbs checked the calendar. "Two weeks."
"Schedule it for that Saturday night." Gibbs nodded, writing him an email while Tony wrote one to Abby and McGee since he wasn't at his desk. Ziva looked over. "Yes, you can come."
"Thank you. How is your daughter?"
"Doing very well. Father was worried a case would come after her."
"It is a worry," Gibbs said quietly.
Tony looked at him. "Jane's a former DI, boss. She taught hand-to-hand." That got a smirk. "Unless it's a sniper or a bomb, she's got it."
"Even better. By the way, she called pouting."
"No, Jane. Caro made her sulk because she was throwing a princess fit."
"She gets that now and then from her mother. I showed Jane her mother when she was out one day." He called home. "What was her mother's 'tude about?" He listened, nodding slowly. "No, she's not allowed to do that. Handle it like you would any other fit but be gentle. That's all she's known, Jane. We're trying to prevent her becoming like her mother or my mother, the drama queen. That's a reasonable way of handling that," he agreed when she said something. "Put her on please?" He listened. "Caroline." She sniffled. "Sweetie, that is not how *my* daughter does things. That's how your mother does things. We want you to grow up like me, sweetheart." He smiled. "Of course I still love you but you're still sitting in the corner for the next twenty minutes and you will not do that again. Am I clear?
"No, not that. That's up to Jane to punish you for getting into her makeup. You two can talk about that after you've done your time in the corner. Now, apologize and do that." He nodded, smiling when Jane came back. "She'll learn, just be gentle. Remember, her mother was the Princess Bitch and her stepfather is worse. She had her for three years and I only had weekends until recently." He nodded. "Thanks, Jane. No, I was warning off my father again. Talked about the holidays too," he agreed. "Warned them and told him why I got the restraining order. Thanks." He hung up. "She's handling it well." He made sure the phone hung up, he could hear some giggling. He unplugged it then plugged it back in but he still heard giggling. Ziva pointed at the next row. "Ah." He looked at Gibbs again. "She threw a princess fit."
"Spanking? My mother would have," Gibbs offered.
"Gee, boss, I can't see you as the tiara and scepter sort," Tony quipped dryly. "And no, spanking's for harder things. She's still adjusting to being around real people."
McGee and Ziva both wandered off at that bad mental image. They did not want to see Princess Gibbs. At all. Ever.
Tony flopped down next to his neighbor Angela later that night. "She's sorry about the fit earlier."
"I figured it was from her mother's bad teachings," she said, waving it off.
"Oh, yeah," he agreed dryly. "Almost a direct copy." He settled in, watching the night pop out. "I've got to decide what school I'm sending her to in a few years." She gave him an odd look. "She's a bright little girl."
"I agree and public schools suck, but already? She's three."
He smirked. "Some of the best have waiting lists five years long. I'd like to not move her once she's started somewhere unless we do a total move."
She stared at him for a minute. "It's pretty clear you're working because you *want* to work, not because you have to, Tony." He nodded. "Where are you from?"
"Long Island. My grandfather left me some money. I've done some careful investing over the years. So I can send her to anywhere she wants and needs to go. I just have to pick it."
She shook her head. "Pick a good school and make sure she likes the uniforms. The rest of the stuff she'll hate at least half of it every year. They all do. Everywhere is going to have teachers she won't get along with and ones who want to dumb it down."
"There's a really good one out on The Ridge. It's got an after-school equestrian program and she does like animals."
She gave him another look. "It's how much?"
"Ten grand a month." She gasped. He shrugged. "My high school was fifteen a month. There's a bunch more schools like I went to if I was in the New York office instead of this one. DC has some great schools but I'm not sure if I want her in town or with the other kids of senators."
"No, her mother's marrying one. That's why there's going to be a position coming open in Iowa." He smirked. "In about ten days."
"Part of the prenup was that she give up total custody."
"Ooooh," she said, looking a bit gleeful. "I have a friend in Iowa."
"Tell them if they want to run we've got plenty of reason to make him commit suicide."
"Why did you move *here* instead of some grander house in Arlington or somewhere?"
"Call-in. It's mandatory that I be able to get to the office within a certain amount of time if there's a case. Plus I wanted her somewhere there's other kids. I don't need a full house. A townhouse is always what I've gotten. I really did sell the one I had in Baltimore's art district to pay for this one. My frat brother's sister wanted it and he does my legal stuff for me. Plus I wanted her to be a normal kid, not a princess of the line." His phone rang. "DiNozzo. Yes, director?" He listened then snickered. "No, I'm more than satisfied being on Gibbs' team. I don't need a promotion no matter what my father thinks. Nor do I want a Deputy Director spot at the FBI since he can blackmail someone over there to give me one. Thank him for me please." He hung up. "I don't want her to have that discussion with anyone," he said dryly. She smiled and nodded at that. "All she's going to know is that we're well off."
"Then I'd pick a cheaper school or complain about tuition."
He grinned at her. "She'd offer to switch. She's like that." She smiled and nodded. "I'm still gathering information on the various schools. Oh, two weeks we're having the housewarming. My whole team and our ME is coming over, plus Abby."
"I'll make sure my son doesn't stare at her this time," she promised, kissing him on the cheek before heading home. She smiled at her husband. "You're right, he does come from money."
"Knew it. Why did he move here?"
"He wanted his daughter to be a normal little girl."
"It's a good place for that. He get her straightened out from earlier?"
"He said it's from her mother's influence. Which is why he has full custody."
"Even better." He smiled at her. "What's he planning now?"
"He's looking at schools."
He shook his head. "Maybe he'll give ours a recommendation to get into a decent place."
"I'll see." She kissed him again. "There's a housewarming party in two weeks."
"I'll warn the older son to leave his strange little friend alone." He went back to the tv. "She down?"
"She's in bed and he's relaxing. Fighting off the evil father."
"Sounds like he's got his head on straight. Carl's heard of him and his boss. Said his boss is a hardass Marine type. His senior agent, our new neighbor, is nicer but still fairly focused and scary when he has to be."
"I'm sure it's only on the job." She heard something come on over there and smiled when it got turned down. "He said he had surround sound."
"Apparently he's got THX like the movie theater," he joked. They settled in to watch their shows while their kids finished settling in for the night.
Tony watched the girls playing, giving Fornell a sideways look. "Where are you looking at for her schooling?"
"There's a good day school up the street from us. I'm sending her there. It's reasonable and decent enough. You?"
"Still trying to figure that out."
"She's three, you have time."
Fornell shook his head. "You're sending her somewhere you would have gone?"
"I had a great education," Tony offered, giving him another look. "It doesn't mean she'll be the new princess of the line."
"They'll reinforce that attitude."
"Not at all of them." He smiled when Emily came running over and handed her father her jacket before running back. "It's good she's making friends."
"She have problems with the ones in your neighborhood?"
"Two of them. One thinks she's got cooties and nearly cries when she comes near him. The other she was helping me balance my regular account and was confused so she was talking about having three zeros instead of two in the checkbook. One of the kids started to call her a stupid princess who's only there because of the money. So she hit him. Twice. Jane broke it up and got her straightened out and his mother beat the snot out of him for it." That got a happy smirk from Fornell. "They've made up but we agreed it'd be better to keep those two and her apart since the first one's having panic attacks about girls. Sweetie, do not move from there," he called. She grabbed the flowers she wanted and put them in the sand castle they were building, smiling and waving at him. "Thank you." He looked at Fornell. "I have no idea how I managed to get a girly little girl. Her mother fences and is one tough, mercenary woman."
"She is," he agreed. "Saw her on the Hill when I was in to testify in some scandal going on. Ethics committee stuff. I turned someone in for having their panties down at the wrong time and with the wrong person." Tony nodded at that. "She was one cold bitch, DiNozzo, and I speak from experience."
Tony grinned. "She wasn't like that before. She was much sweeter when we dated." Caro came over to give him a hug and a flower then went running back. "Thank you." He sniffed the flower, putting it behind his ear. "I've still got to get more information from schools for her."
"There's a pretty good one in your class of people on the other side of the Shipyards."
"I've heard of them but they've been having a violence problem." He grimaced. "I really like the one out on the Ridge."
"She'd love the horses," Fornell agreed. "Then she would definitely be a princess of the old money sort."
Tony looked at him. "Technically she is." He smirked. "Has anyone else realized that my father's so high because we're filthy rich?"
"A few have. Your director hasn't. Thank you for turning down the job by the way."
"Welcome. Don't want it anyway. I had to set down the rules about Christmas too."
Fornell snorted. "Good luck enforcing it."
"If they don't follow the guidelines it's going to be a chilly day in hell before they see her. I'm not having her turn into the Princess DiNozzo my mother is." He smiled at one of the neighborhood boys who came over. "Hey, Brad. This is Agent Fornell. He's out of the FBI and that's his daughter Emily."
He smiled. "She's cute, sir." He looked at Tony. "The mailman was looking for you so Officer Carl accepted the package."
"Thanks. I'll get it in a few." He nodded, going back home. He looked at Fornell, getting nodded off. "Girls, I'll be right back. Want some water?"
"Please?" his daughter said with a bright, happy smile. "Then we can have a moat too! The handsome knight has to cross a moat, Daddy."
"Okay, we can do that." He went to get the package, smiling at his neighbor. "Thanks."
"Welcome. The knocking was annoying."
"I've got an agent's kid playing with her. Can they make a moat in the sandbox?"
"Mine have," he said dryly. "It'll rain later anyway." He went back inside.
Tony went to his place, looking at the package. He tossed it down and went to get them some water, bringing it back to the play area. "It's supposed to rain later?"
"It is," Fornell sighed. "I've got a new leak in the roof."
"Donald's brother does great work." He handed Emily three of the bottles with a grin. "There you go. Go ahead with the moat too. I asked." She beamed and went back to help with that.
"Is that who you get to handle your rental places?" Fornell asked quietly. Tony nodded, smirking at him. "Then I'll call and ask him to recommend me. It's annoying, it's in my kitchen."
"Plastic sheeting on the roof?"
"I tried, it opened too. I've got a stupid tree that keeps having branches break off and the neighbor won't trim it."
"Cut off anything that's over your house, Fornell. That's probably within the law." He opened his water, taking a sip. "My mother sent something. Bigger than a VHS tape width wise."
"Want bomb squad to look at it?" he taunted.
"No, I think it'll be safe. Mother's not that bright. She can't cook at all and wires make her faint." He took another drink. "How did I come from that woman?"
"I have no idea," Fornell said, smirking when Gibbs joined them. "Bored with the boat?"
"Yup. Got invited too." The girls squealed and came over to hug him and drag him over to play with them, babbling about their castle. So he settled in to help them build a castle to protect the flower princesses from the mean wizard until the handsome knight could save them. "What did your father try this time?" he called.
"Tried to give me the open DD spot at the FBI," Tony called back. "I turned it down."
Gibbs shook his head, sighing a bit. Caro smiled at him. "Don't you worry, Uncle Gibbys. I'll smack Grandfather if he bothers you or Daddy ever again," she said, looking very serious. "Just like I did you and Auntie Abby for hitting Daddy."
He patted her on the head. "It's all right. I'll swat him. I'll enjoy it more than you would."
"If you're sure."
"I'm sure." He gave DiNozzo a look, getting a shrug. "Why do you want to swat him?"
"When?" Tony asked.
"Yesterday. I answered the phone. Jane took it from me and we talked about how you didn't want him around me yet, that I still had to get over Mommy first. He was saying strange stuff about horsies and schools." She shrugged and got back to playing. "Jane said to tell her if he called back or came over if she wasn't here."
"Thank you, dear." He took another drink before he started to swear.
"Do it in Italian," Fornell said quietly.
"She speaks some of it already," Tony noted dryly. He swore in Arabic. He was learning it in his spare time. The girls giggled at that and Gibbs gave him a look. "Blowing off steam, boss."
"You're learning Arabic?"
"Have to do something when I'm on med rest."
"Good point. How far?"
"First CD." He made himself relax. "Remind me it's a bad thing if I burn them to death?"
"I'd hate to have to adopt her when I arrest you," Fornell reminded him.
"Good point." He finished his water, tossing it away. "Two more days and I get to start cackling gleefully." Fornell patted him on the back. "I still can't believe she'd do that."
"She's a lot like the wife Gibbs and I shared. Selfish."
Tony nodded. "She is." He smiled at his daughter. She was so great. He didn't understand how anybody couldn't love her.
Gibbs looked over at the stack of mail on Tony's desk the next Monday. "Don't you have a home?" he demanded.
"I had to give them both addresses, boss." He got into the first one, smiling. "Schools." He put them aside and got back to work on what he had to clear up. McGee brought over a few more he had gotten for him. "Thanks, McGee. Computer heavy?"
"Project and block learning. Magnet schools mostly. They looked good and they've got good stats." He went back to his seat. "New email from HR about the dress code, Boss." Gibbs groaned, getting into his email to look at it. He looked at Tony. "Ties?"
"Fat chance most of the time," Tony said dryly, reading it for himself. "Permission to ignore, boss?"
"Granted. All of us. Ziva can wear one if she wants." They nodded, getting back to work. "Speaking of, where is she?"
"Her apartment was being sprayed for the funky roaches her neighbor had been raising until he died and they got free, boss," McGee told him.
"Oh, yeah, hissing bugs." He shuddered. "I wish them luck."
"Me too," Tony agreed. He finished his official email and got into the stack of school folders, making two piles. Some he liked the looks of, some he wasn't so sure of. "Probie, this one on Grant. Is it nice looking? There's no pictures."
"It's small, one floor. Very open and airy. I pass by it on the way to work. It's that white building that reminds you of a newer church."
"Oh, that one." He nodded, putting that one into the maybe pile. The others he opened. He frowned at a few letters about their charity programs but ignored them. A few had sent letters saying that they didn't accept anyone on a charity program. He put those aside in the 'no' pile and kept going. "Well, all but one of yours made the maybe pile," he announced. McGee looked over. He held up one. "Whites and only white history."
"That's a reasonable reason," he agreed. Tony trashed the no pile after crossing them off his list. "What was your school like?"
"A transplanted English manor house that had been turned into a school. Behind huge wrought iron gates with stone walls. Very private. Even with a warrant the local cops couldn't get a full list of the students one year when some of the high school kids got into trouble. Most of the teachers were like nuns in Catholic school. My knuckles and their rulers met many times. There was still corporal punishment, still is actually, and we had a high rate of kids who bought their way into Harvard or Stamford. I'm looking for the same quality of education but nicer teachers." They nodded at that so he went back over the information again, smiling when Abby came up to add hers. He looked it over then at her. "Low graduation rate?"
"It's for elementary school, Tony. Not the high school. The elementary is great. I'd send my daughter there." She kissed him on the cheek and he put it into his maybe pile. She looked in the trash. "Already weeding them out?"
"The snotty ones and a few who had educational issues. Then we'll start taking off to look at them after work, a few each week, until we narrow it down." He smiled. "It'll be fine by the time she's ready to go. Even if six of them do have waiting lists of over a year."
"Waiting lists?" Gibbs asked.
Tony nodded. McGee answered. "The best schools often have waiting lists, boss. They have limited spots each year and a lot of parents apply to two or three different schools to make sure they get in somewhere good. It's more competitive than college in some ways."
"Sending them to a school like I went to almost guarantees you'll be accepted at an ivy league college or any other one in the country," Tony agreed. "Ohio State got me even though I was offered USC and a few others based solely on where I went to high school. We raise test scores and we become the alumni that support colleges later, boss." He went back to looking it over. He tossed another one. "Snobby people. I went to school with some of their kids. They're going to be just as bad." He tossed out another one based on the 'who we know' alumni list. He narrowed it down to six schools and felt like he had accomplished something great. "I'm almost glad we don't have the same choices we do up north. I'd have to sort through thousands of schools up there." McGee gave him a horrified look. "If she wants to board when she's older I'd let her but I'd fuss and throw a fit," he admitted. "Plenty of them have day options as well."
"Kate went to one of those," Gibbs admitted. "She complained about it often."
Tony nodded. "I remember. She assumed about mine being like hers." He shrugged and found his phone, calling someone. "JD, Tony DiNozzo. No, not an emergency," he said with a smile. "I know you've got a girl who's about to start school and I just got custody of my daughter Caroline. That's what I'm working on, yeah. Can I have a copy of your final list? Thanks, man. No, she's settling in much better. Nah, her mother gave up custody due to the new husband." He smirked. "Thanks man. I'm at work but you can email me if you want. Thanks and kiss the wife so I don't get punched by doing it for you." He laughed, hanging up. Then he called someone else. "Peter please. Tony DiNozzo. I went to school with him. No, just a bit of information I needed." He waited while the secretary checked, looking at his nails. "Hey, Peter. It is. No, I'm not moving back up that way. Hell no, I'd have to bomb my parents, man. No, I just got custody of my daughter." He smirked. "That congratulations was me," he agreed proudly. "And then other things are going to slip too." He laughed.
"Exactly. I take it you heard?" He smirked. "Yup, that's my girl. Schools. I'm in DC. That's what I needed and I remember hearing your ex moved down here with your daughters. I thought I could get at least a list of good ones from one of you. Thanks, man. Email's fine, or mailing it to me. No, I'm still at NCIS. No matter how much my father pushes. He tried, you heard right. I told him off too. Thanks and cuddle the girls for me. Last time I saw them they were adorably confused and wrinkled looking." He laughed. "Even better. Caroline's three. I know, a late start but I had expected her mother to do that stuff. Surprised me when she showed up here one day with her. Yeah, out of the blue, no warning. Dropped her off saying it was part of her new prenup. So if you know someone who wants a seat in Iowa....." He smirked. "Thanks, Peter. I'll let you get back to work making money for others." He hung up and settled back. "That should get me any that I've missed."
"Frat brothers?" Abby asked.
"One was, one was high school. He's running a small firm on Wall Street and I'm Godfather to his oldest child." He smiled. "The plot has started to leak. People are very curious why his stepdaughter wished him a happy marriage."
"You're leaking the custody papers?" Gibbs asked.
"Bob put in a clause saying that I was taking custody due to her prenup agreement. He ran on a 'good to families' ticket." Gibbs moaned. "Bob's having fun being a bit evil. He always wanted to be." He got back to his email, seeing if the new lists had come in. One had. He looked it over, nodding at them. A few he hadn't heard of yet so he found them online. "Six letters of recommendation?" he muttered at one. "Way too strict." He crossed that one off the list. He ended up with one new one from that list and an email from one of the ones he had already crossed off for their brush off letter inviting him out for a tour of their wonderful school. He laughed and sent back a polite declining email saying he would not be sending his daughter anywhere that had sent him a letter like he had gotten earlier because he chose to work. Gibbs got a call and they went out, him leaving those on his desk for now.
The director came down to snoop, adding a few to his maybe pile as well. She liked those if she had children. Plus one his father had sent down. Just to get the old man to quit nagging her. "No wonder Tony won't talk to them," she muttered as she walked off.
Tony hung up giggling and cackling later that afternoon. Everyone was staring at him. He got it under control. "Heard from my friend Donald's wife. She's over in Congress. She overheard a few headmistresses up for the education conference talking about how I had sent a brush off letter to one school and how they had misjudged, not looking my family up in the Who's Who books before sending brush off letters. They were moaning that they lost a powerful alumni family." He burst out laughing again and shook his head. "The best part was that Denise pointed out how very much they lost with my daughter and how I knew half of the town's better sort. One burst out crying." He went back to giggling.
"He's enjoying being evil a bit too much," Ziva told Gibbs. "Can't we hose him down or something?"
Gibbs gave her an odd look. "Why would we hose him down?"
"You calm rioters with a water hose. Plus I've seen in the movies they do that in asylums."
He shook his head. "Giggling has a different cure. DiNozzo!" he snapped. He quit giggling and got back to work. "Is your stack bigger?"
"Yeah, the director added to it I think," he admitted. He glanced through them and tossed out three of the four. The other one he kept. He found a pouting woman on the stairs behind him. "High educational standards. She's already starting to read, Director. I'm using Binghampton Day School as a guideline."
"I've heard that's where you send the young, rich, and genius children. The other was your father's."
He looked at it, then grimaced. "It's got animals and a good education. That's why he stuck me in Mercator." He put it aside. "I'd hate to make him happy but if it's the best choice it is." He smiled at her. "Thank you anyway. How many have called to make sure I'm one of the *the* DiNozzos?"
"Three schools have called Human Resources. Two who sent you brush off letters." He smirked at that. "Representative Carlisle ripped them a new one?"
"She overheard them complaining about a normal person daring to apply and one corrected who I was, shocking them. Then she ripped into them," he said proudly. "Her husband's an SSA over at Quantico."
"Good to know." She smirked at him. "Anything else I should be aware of?"
"Brush my father off if you want."
"It'll create more problems if I do."
Tony gave her a look. "Which is why he likes fishing hooks, Director." She nodded at that, going away again. He got back to work. "Boss, her BOLO is still empty." He went back to looking for her car in other ways.
"We'll find her," Gibbs said, keeping his opinion about those sort of people to himself. Tony smirked at him. "Should we be expecting flowers?"
Tony shook his head. "They've burnt that bridge. They're smart enough to know that. We might get one or two from the ones still on my list. I can let them go to a hospital or a nursing home." He found something and smiled. "Probie, expand the BOLO to Kentucky. She has a sister down there."
"On it," he agreed, typing that in to expand it that way. He waited, watching it. He nodded. "Found an hour ago an hour outside Lexington." He called them, getting the information they needed. "She's in the hospital down there, boss. Was shot."
"That explains the blood," Gibbs said. "Let's go." They packed up and headed. "Not you, DiNozzo. This is going to take more than one day."
"I can do that. Jane knows I might have to work overnight, boss."
"Stay," he ordered. "You can trace evidence here if we need it." He left with the others.
Tony sat back down. "Fine," he muttered, getting back into the background information. He sent it to McGee's PDA and started on a background of her too, just in case.
Tony was kicked back with his feet up when they got back a few days later, looking over the edge of his magazine at his boss. "Welcome back. I did the weekly and monthly paperwork for you, boss, and there's two emails you have to read and approve or laugh at from HR. Slight rule changes about hours and traveling. I forwarded them to you since they sent them to me because they know you don't read them unless we do first." He went back to his reading. "The director wanted a talk about this time's traveling expenses and your father snuck into town, Ziva. He wants dinner." He handed over that message. "She left it when she had to head to the Hill for a budget meeting with the other agencies."
"You make a good secretary, DiNozzo, any coffee?" Gibbs taunted.
Tony looked at him. "You know how to make coffee. If I was a secretary I'd have quit by now." He went back to reading. "This office is thinking about getting another team. One of the western offices is shutting and rearranging on Director's orders and she wants to move the full teams out here and move one of ours to Texas. No word yet on when. The office out there shuts in a month. I'm assuming it'd be within a few weeks of that."
"Rearranging the floors?" McGee asked.
Tony shrugged. "We'd definitely lose our spare desk." He looked at Gibbs. "They're closing the office with the two hotshot teams. The one with the whole team who took flight lessons and goes paragliding and parachuting together? That office is being closed."
Gibbs shook his head. "As long as they don't expect the rest of us to do that. I took jump school in basic. More than enough for me."
"Bungee jumping is fun, boss, but too dangerous for me," Tony agreed, going back to his reading. "Fornell called yesterday, I told him you were in Kentucky. He said to call him back when you get in and have new coffee. Something about your shared former wife by the way he was huffing and it sounded like he was pacing." Gibbs called him before getting coffee. He looked at Ziva. "I'd call over there. The director did not look happy at the knowledge your father was in," he said more quietly, getting a nod. He looked at McGee. "You may have two voicemails. I've only heard you ring twice." That got a nod and he dialed in to listen to them. Tony looked over as someone came off the elevator, smiling at the delivery guy. "For...."
"DiNozzo?" Tony waved a hand. It was put in front of him. "Here you go, sir. Sign please?"
Tony signed his name and he left. He found the card and smiled, tucking it into his shirt pocket, picking out a piece of fruit to nibble on. "Steve has good taste in fruit baskets." He nibbled on another grape and went back to reading. Gibbs hung up with a growl. "My report's already on your desk, boss. Has been all morning."
"My ex-wife just died."
Tony looked at him. "Should I plan an Irish wake or a regular one?" he asked, looking serious. Gibbs glared. "Want some fruit?"
"A school?" he demanded bitterly.
"No, my investment guy." He ate another grape with a smile. Gibbs stared at him. "I'm not sharing. It's not sharing sort of news. Just a good milestone being passed as long as the one investment stays above where it is for the rest of the day." He ate another grape. "Anyone want an apple or something?" Ziva came to get one and tossed McGee a banana. "Boss?"
"Card?" he smirked. Tony let him see it. He blinked then looked at him. "Excuse me?"
Tony plucked it from his hand, smiling as he tucked it back into his shirt pocket. "As long as oil stays high today I'm over that mark," he said happily. He went back to his seat. "I've been conservative but I told him to ramp it up for the rest of this year. School is really expensive." He finished hat bunch of grapes while he read his magazine. The director came back. "They're back and I passed on everything you wanted, Director."
"Thank you, DiNozzo. Your father just ambushed me coming out of the meeting, fortunately where no one else could hear. He offered me a half million if I'd give him a grandson."
He looked at her, then burst out laughing. "No offense, ma'am, but you're not my type." He went back to reading. "If you really wanted to I can tell you which sperm bank I used."
"No thank you. The basket?"
He smiled. "My investment guy."
"Good." She took an apple and walked off shaking her head. "Stop him, Agent DiNozzo."
"I've tried for years, Director. Tell him no. Be firm about it. Or tell him you can't have children. That might work." He called his father's lawyer. "Terry, be a dear and do something mean to my father? He's trying to bribe my director to give him a grandson. Half a mil. Yeah, her. Not my type but her. No, something mean. Mess up his hair, rearrange his office on him, something he'll growl at and tell him why. Thanks, Terry." He hung up, looking in the basket and plucking out a plum to nibble on. Gibbs stomped off. Tony got online and ordered two bottles of the good bourbon, sending them to the grieving former husbands. It was the least he could do. Gibbs came back from another call with Fornell and had his bottle in his hand. He smacked Tony on the head as he walked past him. "Welcome, boss. Figured you could use it to salve the hurt later." He ducked his head at the new glare, getting back to doing something constructive.
He checked the price of oil and smiled. "It's gone up three cents." He did a mental happy dance and got back to work, looking over his portfolio. McGee came over to get more fruit and he lowered that screen. "Go ahead. Save her some of it." He nodded, getting another banana and going back to his seat. He emailed Steve about something, getting back a spreadsheet. He looked at it, nodding in appreciation. His building choices were very good ones apparently. All but one. He sent back an email about that one being sold and Steve said he'd talk to the Bob, who would talk to the tenants to see if they wanted to buy it at value. It was a nice small, new family home. He smiled at the end net worth total and closed it. He was a happy man. Very secure. Even if Gibbs was coming over to look over his shoulder. "Emailing Steve, boss."
Tony looked at him. "Why do you need to know?"
"Because it's affecting your work. Let me see." Tony opened it, letting him see it. He blinked then looked at him. "Nice choice for that."
"I'm going to let him sell that one," he said quietly, highlighting one. "It's gone down, there's a family living there. I'll be nice."
"It's a good thing." He looked at him. Then he glanced at Ziva then back to him. Tony only smirked and closed it again. "Her birthday?"
"We are having a party at a kid's place. She asked if she could invite Emily and some of the neighborhood kids."
"I didn't think she was old enough for Chuck E. Cheese," McGee said.
"She's not yet but there's a kid's play area place on H that's really nice inside. It's got good security and they do nice chicken and pizza too. We went there Sunday and she begged. Promised she'd be good, she'd even invite the boy who thought she had cooties and the one who she got into a fight with. All the parents could come. It'll be nice."
McGee smiled and nodded. "Having a separate one for us?"
"No, you guys can come celebrate too. Abby loves it. She's the one who introduced us to it. She goes to play whack a mole and skeeball."
"I know that place," Gibbs said, going back to his desk shaking his head. "Does he work for others?" Tony nodded. "Give me a rec?"
"Sure, already did. His card's in your top desk drawer, boss. That way you can retire on the boat." That got a nod and Gibbs looked at it. Tony forwarded his email address too, getting a nod of thanks.
The director came down, staring at Tony. "What?"
"Computer services," she said bluntly, staring at him.
He shrugged. "And? They're nosy. I know that. Oh, they saw...." She smirked and nodded. "Steve's brilliant."
"I saw." She stared at him. "You never claimed that."
"I don't have to. If you didn't find it in my background check I don't have to. It's not criminal to have a healthy stock portfolio, Director." He stood up and leaned closer, handing her another apple. "Just think, I did all that without my father's money," he said quietly. She went pale and stomped off. He sat down and went back to looking at a few things. His email beeped and he opened the new message, then burst out laughing. "Hey, boss, Bob wants me to marry a foreign bride. Is that frowned on?"
"Only by those with good taste," McGee said dryly. Tony beamed him the address, making him blink. "She looks like your daughter's mother, Tony."
He looked at it and nodded. "She does. She's pretty and she's a graduate student. Romanian." He hummed and put it aside. "Is it against the rules for security reasons, boss?"
"I don't know, DiNozzo. Are you ready to settle down?"
"Nope. I should tell Denise," he muttered, thinking about it. He sent it to her even though it was mean of him. She sent back one saying that he should settle down soon and better her than some floosy he had dated locally. "Huh. Denise agrees I should settle down and better her than some floosy I've dated."
"Since you've dated half the city, she might have a point," Gibbs said dryly. "Work?"
"What work, boss? Me being stuck here meant I've got no backlog and haven't for a day, even though I did get called on a minor theft case and cleared it too." He stared at him. Gibbs stared back. "That's why I hired Jane, boss. In case out of town calls happened." McGee and Ziva both cleared out, going to hide in the break room. "She's well taken care of and she knows that sometimes work means I've got to be gone overnight or even for a few days now and then. She's more than happy to stay with Jane and email and call during those times. You wouldn't do it to Ziva or Kate, or any other agent, you can't do it to me."
"I was trying to be decent. She's still adjusting."
Tony snorted. "She'd think it was a great treat not to be nagged and use it as an excuse to make Jane let her have more ice cream than I let her have. She's already told Jane that."
"You're putting up with the manipulative streak?"
"We're working on it. We thought it was cute she told Jane that she was going to try." He continued to stare at him. "I'm still your senior agent, Gibbs. The only difference is I'm going to have my vest refitted. It's too loose." That got a nod and Gibbs went back to work. "Thank you."
"Should've had that talk in private."
"No I was going to smack you on the head for it when you came in but I decided I'd wait and those two could run like the boy who thinks my daughter has cooties." Gibbs smirked at that, shooting him a look. "Coming to the birthday party, boss?" That got a nod. "She wants to know about your boat. You might think about bringing her a picture too."
"I can do that." He got back to work, looking at the two case files. "Good work with that one."
"Not that hard, boss. It was like the old days again." He went back to his magazine. "I have two school tours next week after work on Wednesday and Thursday. I'm back down to five choices."
"That's fine. That horribly expensive one?"
"Is on the list. It's a good school and she'll love the horses. It's got everything I would expect." He turned to another article. He texted McGee without looking, making him bring him a new bottle of water. "Thanks, McGee." He sipped it, looking at it. "Flavored?"
"It's in the machine," he said blandly, sitting down again. "Should I hide again?"
"Sit, do your report," Gibbs ordered. He nodded. Tony gathered things and got up, heading out. "It's time already?"
"It's five, boss. Not like I have to stay late to do paperwork," he said with a smirk for Ziva. "Have fun. I'm off to make dinner." He headed down to the garage, going home to teach his daughter how to bake chicken tonight. Plus make rice again. She liked rice. Security paged him so he detoured, finding a woman there. "Yes?"
"Yes, are you a process server?"
"No, sir. Reporter. Your daughter...."
"Is staying out of the press but I'm not letting her mother get away with that. Anything else?"
"No, sir. Thank you. By any chance you wouldn't have a copy of her prenup would you?"
"I don't know. Ask my attorney. Robert Lakeland." She wrote that down. "Now if you'll excuse me I'm teaching my baby girl how to bake chicken tonight for dinner. Have a good night."
"You too, sir. Thank you." She watched him walk off, leaving much happier. She called her editor to share that and get the attorney's address. She called his office, getting a comment from him. If it had been her child's father she'd have ruined him in court first and then done this. Then again, waiting until after the wedding meant the senator couldn't dump her to get it off his reputation.
Tony woke up to pounding on the door, grumbling as he went down to answer it. "Fornell. Problems?" He let him inside. "Hey, Em. Go up and nap with Caro." She trudged that way, going to nap with her friend. "Rats?" he guessed.
"Press. The senator committed suicide with his wife. Drove her off a bridge intentionally it looks like."
"Did he get out and walk away like a Kennedy? I know most senators want to be a Kennedy."
"Not with the way the steering wheel broke his neck," he admitted. "I've got press camped at my house for some reason."
"Second door on the right. Guest room." He yawned and went back upstairs, going back to bed. In the morning he called Gibbs. "It's me. Fornell's hiding at my place." He listened then nodded. "I can do that. Any idea why?" He smirked. "That'll work. Thanks, boss." He hung up and went to check on the girls, finding Fornell trying to get his little one up. "It's like there's a sleep spell on it. Caro won't get up either. I'm off work today," he called loudly. "If you want to go for a drive or do something, get up!" His daughter got up and trudged into the bedroom, dragging Emily with her by her wrist. The girls giggled in there. He smirked. "Breakfast?"
"Please." He walked down the stairs. "Camped out at NCIS?"
"Yup. Called and woke Gibbs up at four this morning. I'm feeling really sorry for the first one who tries him." Fornell snickered at that. "You get the commiserating present?"
"I did. Thanks. I needed it."
"I figured you two would either hold a wake or an Irish wake. I offered to plan either one for Gibbs." He started eggos and pulled down cereal and bowls. Then the milk. "Food!" he bellowed. The girls came tramping down the stairs, dressed in their pajamas. Caro also had on her favorite cloak. "Looks cute, princess. Eggos or cereal?"
"Eggos!" she said, taking off the cloak so she couldn't get syrup on it. He fixed them and looked at Emily, who pointed at a box. "He's not mean about food," Caro assured her. "He'll make you eat until you puke." Emily giggled and let her father hand her cereal. "Are you going to play with us day, Uncle Tobias?" She dug in with her fingers. Cutting was a bit beyond her. Tony came over to cut it for her so she'd get less messy but she didn't care. She still ate it with her fingers.
"I remember Emily going through that stage," Fornell said with a smile for her. "I haven't checked in yet. I have no idea why they came to the house." He called in. "It's Fornell.... With DiNozzo, sir. No, sir. I got woken up to find there were news vans outside my house for some reason. I took a strategic withdrawal since I had my daughter at the house." He nodded, listening to him. "That makes more sense. Thank you, sir. I'm here, yes. I will." He hung up. "We're free too, Emily." She beamed at her father. "Swallow." She swallowed and he accepted a cup of coffee and an empty bowl, getting his own breakfast. "The ex-wife sent a note saying she passed over because of the men she had tortured," he said quietly. "It wasn't as fun as it used to be so she ended it."
"I hate selfish women," Tony sighed, shaking his head. "You laying low?" Fornell nodded. "We can do that. Someone wanted to know what the boat looked like. I was going to bring her over there to let her see. They're gathered like vultures at NCIS but there's only four at his house and he's already walked outside with a shotgun to get them to get off his driveway." He sipped his coffee, watching the girls. "She have clothes?"
"Not in the car. I've got my emergency bag."
Tony smirked at him. "Caro's got some bigger clothes. There's not that much size difference height wise. Especially if she likes rose gold and purple." Emily perked up at that. "We'll see if her dress will fit you, princess." That got a beam and a nod, and Emily stealing a piece of eggo. Caro stole a bite of her cereal and they giggled, hugging each other. "Finish up so we can clean up and change then visit Gibbs." They inhaled the rest of breakfast and went to clean up in her bathroom, Tony following to find the dress he was thinking of. It was a bit big on Emily too but it fit her better than it did his daughter. So he let her wear it for the day while Fornell picked out some panties for her. Tony went to dress in jeans and a t-shirt, coming out to sit on the stairs and put on his sneakers. His daughter pounced him from behind, making him smile. "Hi, pretty one." He pulled her around to hug her and kiss her on the head. "Go watch tv while Fornell finishes cleaning up and gets dressed." She went down to do that, her friend with her. She was still wearing that cloak too. He shook his head a bit but smiled. His daughter was very unique at times. He loved her anyway but she was strange. Fornell came out and Tony pulled himself up, heading down the stairs. "Meet you there? I'll get coffee."
"That'll work," he agreed. "Come on, Emily. We'll head to Gibbs' now." She waved and they headed out.
Tony smiled at her. "We're going, we've got to stop and get coffee."
"Okay." She handed him his wallet and keys, earning a grin. "You're welcome."
"Thank you, princess. Come on." He locked the house and followed her out, taking her to drive through the nearest starbucks so it'd be cool enough to drink once they got there. Gibbs came out at the sound of his car, giving him an odd look. "The girls wanted to see the boat. No Fornell?"
"He called. He had a flat. He's sending her in a cab while he waits for the auto club."
"I can change a flat, boss." He handed over his daughter and the coffee. "Be right back. Where?" Gibbs pointed the direction and he went that way, smiling at the pouting girl. "Hey. What's this I hear your father can't change a flat tire?"
"I could if I had a spare." He called the cab company back. "Never mind. This is. A friend stopped by to pick her up. Thanks." He hung up. "Take her?"
"Of course. Come on, Em." She climbed into his car, letting him buckle her up and take her there. She got out and ran squealing inside while he followed, making sure his car was locked. "No spare, boss."
"I've had that happen," he admitted. "Come on, Emily." She looked up from hugging him around the waist. "Let's go work on the boat." She let him walk her down there, where Caroline was already sanding something for him. "With the lines," he ordered. She changed direction and Emily joined in while he filled in a hole. Tony sat on the stairs with his coffee. "Not helping?" he taunted.
"The last time I tried you told me you'd break both my hands if I touched her."
"Forgot about that." He handed him a tub of sealant. "Here, work on the seams. I'm assuming you can push in putty?"
"Probably." He came over to do that, putting his coffee safely out of the way. Fornell came in a half-hour later. "What're we doing the rest of the day?"
"I've got to take Emily school shopping," Fornell admitted. "I've been putting it off. It'll look bad if I go today though."
"You're an ex-husband. It'll look perfectly normal for you to take her shopping; you go shopping to get something to wear too, and then get fudge," Tony told him. "It only looks bad if you're the grieving present husband." He shot Gibbs a look. "Didn't she hate your court suit, boss?"
"Am I starting school too?" Caro asked.
"No, not until you're five," Tony told her. "I'm figuring out where now."
"Can I go where Em goes?"
Tony looked over at her. "That's on my list too." She beamed at him. "Sand with how the board's laying, girls." He came over to show them. "See these, that's the grain of the wood. You want to sand with that." They nodded, stopped sanding in circles, doing like he had said. "Good girls." He went back to his patching holes. "I haven't gotten her any winter clothes either," he admitted quietly. "She's only got her cloak and a light coat."
Gibbs looked at him. "I'm sure you can take her shopping."
"Will you tell me if I look pretty in stuff, Uncle Gibbys?" Caro asked.
He looked at her. "We'll see." She pouted, giving him a pitiful look with it. "We'll see," he said more firmly. "I've got things I have to do around here today. Like mow the grass."
"Can we help?" Emily asked.
"No, the mower's not for kids. It could hurt you," Fornell said. "Like the guy who comes to do our lawn." She nodded, going back to it. "Speaking of, DiNozzo, yours was looking a bit high."
"I'm going to pay one of the neighborhood kids to cut it for me. Not like I own a mower." He shrugged, getting back to work.
"What was the package in your living room?" Fornell asked.
"It was a present from Grandmother but Daddy said to leave it alone in case it bit me," Caroline told him with a bright smile. "I said we should get the guys with the dogs, like on tv that chase the bad guys, but Jane said that was better left to Daddy because he can make it not bite us."
"I think you're right, Caro. He'd make a good dog handler. That'd give him someone to romp and play with when you were tired." She beamed and nodded, getting back to work. "With the grain," Gibbs ordered. She quit going in diagonal lines and went back to sanding with the grain.
Tony checked his watch at the first 'I'm bored' from Emily. "An hour, I'm impressed. The boat does have super powers." Gibbs swatted him on the head. Caroline came over and kicked him in the leg, making him swear and grab it. "Caro. He wasn't hurting me, sweetheart."
"Still shouldn't hit you," she said firmly. "Just for that you should have to tell both of us what we look pretty in. It'll cure you of being mean by seeing more pretty things."
Tony handed Gibbs back his coffee. "Here, boss." He walked his daughter off to talk to her about how he wasn't mean, it was like an affectionate swat between them.
"She's definitely his daughter. She's got his smart mouth," Fornell said dryly, walking his daughter off. "Come on, let's get you some water and a bathroom break." She nodded, going upstairs to do that while Gibbs calmed down his temper and finished rubbing the sore spot. She had a good kick on her.
"She's as much of a smartass as her father is," he muttered, finishing his coffee and going to get some more.
Tony walked her back down. "Daddy said I should apologize for kicking you, Uncle Gibbys. I didn't understand it was like a hug between you two." She hugged him. "Don't swat me, just give me hugs please." She went back to sanding. "Where's Em?"
"Potty break," Tony told her. She ran up to do that too. He looked at him. "Sorry," he said quietly. "That's as close as she's understanding, boss."
"She's only three," he sighed. "It was close enough I guess. Even though it's not the same as a hug."
"You should hug him, Uncle Jethro. He gives good cuddles," Emily told him from the stairs. Fornell coughed and went to get some water to calm himself down and keep himself from laughing. "He does, Daddy!" She smiled at him. "He reads very good bedtime stories too." She came down to hug Tony, getting squeezed. Then she hugged Gibbs. "See, he hugs nice, but he squeezes harder."
"I'm afraid I'll dent you," Gibbs teased. He let her go, letting her read to Caro since she had found a catalog to look at. "Shopping's sounding better," Gibbs muttered. Fornell came down. "You done?"
"I am and the reporters are gone."
"Thank God," Gibbs said. "Shopping?"
"We probably should." The girls smiled at him. "Come on."
"Can I ride with Emmy?" Caro asked.
"Sure. If your father doesn't mind."
"No, I don't mind. Gibbs can ride with me if he wants," Tony told him. That got a nod and they switched the car seat over for Caroline, letting them head off first. He looked at Gibbs, smirking when his hand was held out. "It's my car."
"I drive." Tony handed over the keys and got in to buckle up. It was going to be a long morning with the girls. Especially when Caro threw her first temper tantrum in the store. It took Gibbs to calm it down because Tony being reasonable wasn't helping. She pouted but she'd get over it. She wasn't as cheerful even in the supermarket but that was fine. When they got back to Tony's both girls went down for a nap and Emily explained about school uniforms. It made her feel better.
Tony looked at the package, frowning but settling in to open it. He looked at the three tapes bundled together, looking at them. "Boss, pop in the top one?" he asked since he was up. He turned on the VCR and retuned the tv to the right station, watching as a beauty pageant came on. He groaned, covering his face.
"She's giving you beauty pageant tapes for some good reason?" Fonell asked, looking confused. "Your daughter's too young even for the little girl ones."
Tony looked at him. "That's her way of giving me a list of women to date." They looked as one was crossed out. "See?"
"So if you pick one she'll give them to you?" Gibbs asked. Tony nodded, getting up to eject the tape and put it in the trash. "You sure they were all like that?"
"Yup," Tony agreed. "She wouldn't put different tapes in the same package." He held his head. "First my father tries to bribe the director to give me a son and now this."
"He did?" Fornell laughed.
"Half a million to give him a son," Gibbs agreed. Fornell gaped. "She announced it the day I found out about the funeral." He flopped down. "What guideline did you set for the holidays?"
"One single present, under a thousand dollars, no living pets, no horses, no computers." He looked at him. "My father looked horrified at such a low limit. He said my mother would complain. I said if he followed it I might let them meet her after the holidays."
"Good luck with that," Fornell said. "Especially since he's called."
"He tried again but Jane answered," he said with a touch of smugness. "She told him *why* there's a restraining order." That got a smirk from both older men. He heard the sniffle. "What's wrong?" he called. Emily came down and gave her father a hug. "She kick you? I know she's got pointy toes."
"I think she had a nightmare. She's had a few recently," Fornell said, taking her to talk to her in the back yard.
Tony looked at Gibbs. "I love her," he said quietly.
"Now and then you want a vacation?" he guessed. Tony nodded. "Every parent hits that spot. Then again, you're not home with her all day every day. You'll get over it when she's in school."
Tony sighed, nodding a bit. "I haven't been on a date since I got her."
"Then have Jane come over for a night."
"Point. I do have one trying to set me up." He smiled as Caroline came down. "Hey, Caro." She came over to sit between them. "Listen, sometime next weekend we're going to have Jane staying late because I'm going to go out on a date. Okay?"
"What's a date?" Gibbs got up to give them some privacy.
"A date is where I go out with a woman who I might find interesting. We'll go out to dinner, maybe out dancing. It's so I can learn about her and maybe move into a cuddling relationship."
"You can cuddle me, Daddy."
"I know I can but dating is for women my own age."
"Why can't we date?"
"Because you're daughter and that's wrong if I cuddle you *that* way, instead of the way I usually cuddle you. Also it's because it'd be a woman my own age."
"Oh." She considered it.
"See, adults need to have special cuddles sometimes. Someone who understands when they're having nightmares in the middle of the night. Dating leads to girlfriends, who lead to fiancees, and then wives. Which would be a stepmother for you."
"Why can't you cuddle Uncle Gibbys? He would understand if you had nightmares." She gave him such an earnest look.
"Because Daddy would rather cuddle a girl. I'm not sure Uncle Gibbs would cuddle."
She got down and went to find him, tugging on his shirt. "Uncle Gibbys, wouldn't you cuddle Daddy in the middle of the night if he had nightmares?" He gave her a look but nodded slowly. "Then why does he have to give me an icky, evil stepmother like Cinderella?"
"Not all dates lead to stepmothers," Emily told her. "Daddy dates now and then too but most of them I don't even have to see."
"Because dating is so I meet interesting women who I might like," Tony said from the doorway. "Remember how we had that talk about why the people were kissing in the park?" She nodded. "Well, I might be able to find someone I want to do that with too."
"Oh." She pouted. "I still would rather you kissied Uncle Gibbys." Gibbs choked. "If the swatting stuff is like hugs then it should go to kissies from there, right?" she asked Emily, who nodded and smiled at her logical thoughts. She smiled at Emily's father. "So they should be able to kissy and that stuff, right, Uncle Tobias?"
"Right, but I don't think they're well suited. They'd fight, princess." He gave her a hug. "Why don't you go get some juice?" She went to do that. He let Emily follow and he ducked out before Gibbs finished choking and started to yell. "I'm taking the girls for ice cream!" he called, leading them out to the car. It was better to be out of range.
"At least she didn't say McGee," Tony said finally, shaking his head. "Am I shocked that she used logic for that?"
"Not my fault, boss! I was explaining how I was going to go on a date. She's the one who decided it should be with you. I said woman. I said woman my age even. She somehow decided on you."
Gibbs shook his head. "Your daughter has the same strange mind Abby does."
"Let's hope she doesn't share that with Abby, boss." Gibbs pulled out his phone to call her, finding it busy. "Well, they are allies." He sighed, sitting down on the lounger, covering his head with an arm. "My daughter has a brilliant mind. She's a very bright, warped girl."
"She's still a menace," Gibbs told him. He sat down in the other one. "I'm not cuddling you when you have nightmares."
"Wouldn't expect you to, boss." Angela peeked over the fence. "My daughter decided I should date my boss."
"She's got good taste, he's cute and smart." She smiled at Gibbs when he growled. "Plus he looks like he'd spank in the fun ways too." She ducked back into her house before he could retaliate.
"No I don't," Gibbs told him. "Don't expect that."
"If you tried I'd let Caro kick your ass," Tony assured him.
"Good. As long as we understand."
"Perfectly. I'm still surprised she didn't say McGee."
"He's closer to your age," Gibbs agreed. He shook his head. "I don't need that thought either."
"Ice cream in the freezer."
"That'll do until I can have a drink later." He went to get himself some. Maybe the brain freeze would take the bad thoughts out of his head. Hopefully. Unfortunately it would come back later on when he went home but he could drink it away then.
Tony came in the next morning, finding his desk had black roses on it. He opened the card, then walked them upstairs, handing them to the director. "Here. Give them to someone you want to rip out the throat of with your teeth." He walked back downstairs, finding Gibbs looking confused. "I got sent black roses for Caro. I gave them to the director for the people she wants to rip the throat out of." He sat down, turning on his computer. It wouldn't boot. "Um, boss? Is your computer working?" He looked then shook his head. "Huh." He called computer services. "It's DiNozzo, why won't our computers work up here? Mine and Gibbs' at the very least." Gibbs went to turn on McGee's getting a nod. "Well, McGee's works but who knows what he's done to it. No, won't boot. Thanks." He hung up. "He'll be up within an hour. Does Ziva's?" Hers started. "Huh." He shrugged and got into his desk. "I'm missing stuff."
Gibbs looked in his. "Me too." He called the director and then security. "Get here now." He hung up, scowling when the director got there. "Who started to clean out my desk?"
"Someone did what?" she asked.
"Mine too," Tony admitted. "Neither of our computers will boot. Probie!" he said, spotting him coming out of the stairs. "Get over here. Someone went into our desks and computers."
"I heard the computers were down from Computer Services." He put down his bag and his coffee, coming over to look inside the case. He moved the monitor and pulled out his pocket knife to get the screw driver, opening it. "No hard drive." The director swore.
"Get some fingerprint materials," Gibbs ordered. McGee nodded, heading to do that. "What are you missing, DiNozzo?"
"Gloves, boss?" A pair was tossed over. "Personal phone book. My day planner." He carefully opened another drawer. He pulled out the stuffed animal, bagging it when McGee got back with a kit. "Not mine or hers." He looked in there. "Neither is the lingerie." He bagged that too. He kept looking. "My spare phone and ATM card are missing." He moved, letting McGee at his desk while he went to dust Gibbs' desk for him. "What're you missing, boss?"
He looked. His special flask was there. "Looks like my spare shirt and my contact file," he admitted. "Plus one file I had in my bottom drawer." Tony nodded, getting down to dust around there and the places he'd normally grab. He glared at the head of security. "Who was up here?" he demanded.
"I'll go over the security footage personally, Jethro," the director promised. She went down there to get it. Ten minutes after she got back Tony walked a report in. "Fingerprints?"
"One of it looks like three." He handed over the report. "Press corps." She growled a swear word. Tony nodded. "Plus the stuffed animal and the nightie in mine. Stealing Gibbs' shirt? The black roses?" She pointed at them. He carried them down there carefully. "Abby, another place to take samples from. At least mine." She nodded, pulling out a brush to get to work. "The other two?"
"Running." She pointed. "If we have them I'll find them."
Tony went to watch it run, arms crossed, staring imperiously at the monitor. One beeped and he sneered, printing it out. The other one came up empty. But that was fine, they had two of the three. The other would be found. Abby ran another two prints against the ones they already had. One came up the director's. One came up the same guard. Tony smirked at her. "Love you. Try to tell Caro why I can't date Gibbs since she's stuck on that?"
"I'll try but I want popcorn if you do," she said.
He gave her a look, walking off shaking his head. He found the guard and pulled out his cuffs, grabbing him and slamming him against the wall. "Hands up," he snarled. The man shook but did as ordered. He cuffed him and took his sidearm, then drug him off to interrogation past Gibbs' desk. "Got two out of the three, boss. He's one."
"Coming." He followed, accepting the new reports from Abby. "Do we know this one person?"
"No but that's who did the flowers. His print was on one of the flower water pods that they stick on the end of the stems. Can I have them?"
"Ask the director," Tony said, shoving him into the interrogation room, then he walked in. He stared at him for a minute. "I found your prints on Gibbs' desk, Paulie. Why would that be?"
"I...I don't know, Agent DiNozzo, Tony."
"No, it's Special Agent DiNozzo since someone broke into our things." He leaned down, hands on the desk. "I already know why you were in there, Paulie. I got a report on one of the others," he said with a sneer. "Who was the one we don't have?" He gave him a scared look.
Gibbs came in. "How much did they pay you, Paulie?"
"I want a lawyer."
"I'm sure you do," Tony agreed. "It won't save you. Nothing is going to save you if this endangers my daughter. Even the director will bow at my feet if I have to make her to save my little girl," he said, staring him down. "Am I crystal clear?" he hissed coldly. He nodded, backing away. "Still want a lawyer?" He whimpered. "Well!" he snapped.
"Please, we make crap wages! All they wanted to do was to look at your phone books!"
Tony slammed a fist onto the table. "My private phone book. Do you know how many people are in there?" he demanded. He whimpered. "Who!" he demanded. "Now, because it's the only thing making sure you get out of here without me crawling down your throat, Paulie."
He swallowed and wrote down the names. "One had gloves," he whispered, looking at Gibbs. "I didn't think it'd hurt anyone. They said they only wanted to ask questions. I swear!"
"Reporter and who?"
"Working for who?" Tony sneered. The man swallowed. "You'll tell me if you know, Paulie."
The director walked in. "Agent DiNozzo."
Tony stared him down. "If I have to find out and I find out you know, you're going away for a very long time for conspiracy, Paulie."
"Your mom," he whispered, backing away from him when Tony went throbbing blood pressure red in the face.
"DiNozzo, go sit," Gibbs ordered. "Now."
Tony stomped out, calling someone. "Fornell, my mother hired one of our guards and at least one reporter to go through mine and Gibbs' desks. They stole things. Conspiracy like that across state lines is yours, right?" He nodded. "Good. No, I'm calling Donald. He's got my backup phone book and that was one of the things taken. Along with a bottom drawer case Gibbs has, his spare shirt, and his contact file. Oh, and our hard drives." He nodded. "Be safe." He hung up and called another number. "Don, Tony," he said, trying to sound calm. It obviously didn't work since his friend panicked. "Mother hired someone to get into my desk. My phone book's gone. My ATM card, my spare phone. Someone left me a stuffed animal and a nightie. Someone stole our hard drives, someone broke into Gibbs' desk too and stole about the same things from him plus a bottom drawer case. Well, it is interstate conspiracy. It is involving federal agents. Call Steve to warn him please?" He held his head, then checked his pulse. "Because my pulse is at about one-sixty and I'm going to kill her if you don't arrest her, Don. Thank you. Love you. See you later. Can't wait to tell you Caro's newest ideas." He hung up and slammed his fist into the wall, going to find someone. He knew a few hitmen. He had went to school with one. He kept in contact with one of his frat brothers who had went from Army sniper to one. He sat down at his desk to look up the number but McGee took his phone. "Give. It. Back," he snarled.
"Calm down first," McGee ordered. "Tell Jane." Tony snatched his phone back, going back to looking. "Fine, I'll tell Jane. Let the system work, Tony."
"I'm going to have her killed."
"Who?" Ziva asked as she came in. "Why is Gibbs' desk covered in fingerprint powder?"
"Someone broke into their desks and stole stuff," McGee told her. She went pale. "Tony, let us handle this."
"My mother hired at least one of them. One was a reporter." He looked at him. "There's no *handling* this." McGee took his phone. "I need that," he said impatiently, trying to get it back.
"Not until you calm down and let Gibbs help you kill her," McGee said. "We can't have you in jail; who would raise Caro?"
"I was going to hire someone!" he snapped.
"Which is even worse," McGee said calmly. "Calm down. You're at the scary stroke stage of red in the face, Tony. Please calm down?" Tony snarled. "Please?" He handed back the phone but he had removed the battery, taking it with him.
Tony found his charging cord and plugged it plus his spare battery in. "Know it all," he muttered. Ziva took the charging cord and phone, walking off with it. "I know the number, thank you," he called.
She came back to take all the desk phones too. "Someone broke into DiNozzo's desk to get information on his daughter," she announced. "He may not borrow a phone yet." The others nodded at that. Gibbs came back and she plugged back in his phone but he had handed Tony his cellphone. "Gibbs, he's going to hire someone to kill his mother!"
"Good. She deserves it."
"Pay you for it, boss?" Tony asked, dialing. Ziva took the phone from him and slammed it on Gibbs' desk, then came over to nerve pinch him no matter how much he struggled.
"Don't try that with me," Gibbs warned.
McGee came back with Ducky. "See, his blood pressure is out of control."
"I had to nerve pinch him," Ziva told him. "He's calling a hitman."
"Good. I'd rather like to do that myself since someone tried to get into his medical file I keep." He checked Tony over, frowning at his pulse. "Jethro, help me get him downstairs in case he has a stroke." Jethro gave him an odd look. "His blood pressure is through the roof. It's my office or the ER. Your choice."
"Take him, McGee." They helped him down there, Ziva knocking him back out when he started to wake up.
Gibbs looked at the number still on his phone. All but the last number was input. A very pissed FBI agent came off the elevator. "You are?" he demanded.
"SSA Don Turnover."
"His friend Don?" Gibbs asked. He nodded. "He's in the morgue. Officer David knocked him out before he could call a hitman."
He looked at the number. "Perry would do it for him without charging him." He walked down there. "They're on their way back, Gibbs. The reporter is already under arrest and I got the other names from your director." He got onto the elevator, getting off in the morgue. He found Tony on a table. "I'm hoping he's napping."
"He's snoring so I should hope so too," Ducky said, looking at him. "A friend?"
"SSA Turnover, FBI," he said, shaking his hand. "In charge of arresting his mother and the other conspirators. Plus Tony's friend." He came over to check his pulse, nodding. "Last time it got this high Perry said he'd kill her without a fee. Good choice to start to call him, Tony." He smoothed down his hair, making him groan and shift. "Don't make those noises at me. You weren't allowed when we roomed together, you can't now. I'm still straight even if my wife does want you come fuck the both of us." Tony blinked at him. "Got the four down here, talked to the local office up there. I'm sending the file and then I'll fly up to arrest her myself. They'll figure out where she is for me." Tony gave him a hug. "It's all right. Your things are on their way back. Was your phonebook missing a page?"
He nodded. "Madeline's page. I wrote Cynthia's somewhere else."
"Good." He smoothed down his hair with a smile. "It'll be okay, Tony. I promise." That got a nod and he curled up on his side, going back to sleep. "You rest, I'll guard you until you're reasonable and able to go back to work then I'll fly up with the full folder."
Ducky called Abby. "There's someone here for the proof you have, my dear. Yes, him. Thank you." He hung up. "She'll bring in a copy of the confession our guard gave and the fingerprint evidence."
"Thank you." Gibbs strolled in. "They should be here by now?"
"They are. Thank you."
"Least I could do. My wife's in there too." He went back to petting Tony until he fell into a restful sleep. "He sleeps best with someone there," he said quietly, looking at Gibbs. "I'm going up to arrest and charge her."
"Welcome." Abby walked in with a file. "Mine?" he asked. She nodded, grimacing some. "They probably had to knock him out."
"You're petting Tony."
"I was his roommie for a few weeks. It calms him down." She started to but he shifted away. "Sorry. Now and then women don't help him sleep."
"That's okay. I understand." She smiled at him. "Which friend are you?"
"Oh." She gave him a hug. "Swat them once for me too please." She left them alone.
"Take over, Gibbs." He quit petting Tony, smiling when his hand patted around until it found one and put it into his hair. "He's a bit demanding now and then."
"I can tell." He scrunched his fingers a few times, making Tony purr. He quit and Tony growled. "Quit," he warned. Tony shifted.
"Petting, Gibbs. It helps him."
He groaned but petted him, making Tony fall deeper into his nap. "How long do I have to keep this up?"
"Ten minutes after he starts to snore in a baritone voice." He looked at the confession, smiling some. "That's very nice of them. The black roses?" He turned the page. "There it is. His mother sent them." He kept going, nodding at that. "The guard?"
"Thank you. Makes my job easier. I'll call with an update later tonight." He walked out, heading to tell Fornell and his boss so they could approve it. Fornell shuddered and told him to go for it. His boss wanted to send someone else but he pointed out this was going to be a media festival so he got sent. He was prettier and better with reporters.
Tony came home that night to find Jane in tears. "Which one bellowed?" he asked.
"Your father called."
"Before you could spare her the tirade she answered it?" She nodded. "Then she threw a fit?" She nodded again. "Caroline!" he called. "Now!"
"Do not make me come up there." She came down the stairs, giving him a defiant look. "No matter what your grandfather said, I had to have her arrested."
"Why?" she demanded. "She was only trying to get to know you better."
"She had better ways of doing that than trashing mine and Gibbs' work computer and stealing from us." He stared at her. "She hired people to steal from us." She slumped at that. "I'm sorry you're being caught in the middle but this is why I didn't want you near them for a long time. My parents can be unreasonable about what they want and how they get it. I had Uncle Don go talk to her about it and he had to arrest her since she paid people to get information that could hurt the both of us."
She pouted. "But they said it's mean of you."
He picked her up to cuddle. "If I was mean it was because I had to be. If they hadn't been doing bad things I wouldn't have to be mean. Like any other person I arrest, sweetie." She nodded, resting her head on his shoulder. "Now, are we done with the fit?" She nodded. "Apologize to Jane?"
"I'm sorry. I didn't understand," she said quietly.
"I know. It'll be okay." She kissed her on the head. "You be a good girl?" She nodded. "Then I'll see you in the morning." She patted her head and kissed Tony on the cheek. "See you tomorrow too."
"Sure." He sat down with his daughter, looking at her. "We should get dinner."
"I made you pasta," she said.
"Really? I love pasta. Let's go see." They went into the kitchen to find Jane had helped her make a cold pasta salad. "This look yummy." He dished them both out some, letting her pick out what they were going to drink. They settled in at the table. "What else did he say?"
"That you were a bad son and a bad man who didn't love his parents. That he was right to dis...some big word." Tony nodded at that. "Then he said that he was going to have you killed." She looked at him. "He said that to Jane but he was yelling so I heard him. He doesn't mean it, right, Daddy?"
"No, sweetie, he was yelling in anger like you did at Jane."
She nodded. "I don't want to turn out like that, Daddy."
"I'm not going to let you turn out like him or your mother." She smiled at that. "Now, eat dinner so we can get on with the rest of the nighttime rituals." She nodded, digging in again, sipping her juice. "Long day?"
"I got new books."
"Cool. The library?" She nodded, smiling at him. "Then we'll read one of them tonight." She smiled and ate faster. She knew she had to get through her bath to get read to. She tried to rush through her bath too but her daddy made her wash all the spots she had missed. Then she got into her nightgown and snuggled into her bed to lay on her father's chest while he read to her. She loved listening to him this way.
Tony walked in the next morning, looking at his boss and the stiff woman in front of his desk. "Let me guess, my father called CPS after threatening to kill me?" he demanded, putting down his bag. She nodded. "Pity. So you need to question me or my nanny? Because you get near my daughter without her nanny about the same time I fire a shotgun up your ass. Especially since he likes to pay people."
"I'm not here to threaten you, Agent DiNozzo." He snorted. "He did lay some serious allegations."
"That's what I'm trying to do."
He called Jane. "Bring her here please. Yup, like you thought, called CPS. Thanks." He hung up. "They'll be over in an hour. Boss, case?"
"Then you have me until we get a case," Tony told her. "Conference room or interrogation?"
"There's no need to be hostile," she warned. He snorted. "I know this is stressful."
"No, I'm making plans to destroy him," Tony assured her. "I'm going to have fun cackling over his broken spirit." She smirked at that. "My mother hired people to break in here and steal information. I had her arrested by the FBI." She shuddered. "Then my father calls up screaming and my daughter had the misfortune to answer the phone before her nanny. I've gotten *no* sleep thanks to her nightmares and her hearing my father threaten my life. This is the *wrong* day to piss me off."
"I understand. Can we speak?"
Tony nodded. "Conference room or interrogation?"
"Conference room would be fine," she said, following him up to one. She nodded at the redheaded woman. "Coworker?"
"His boss," she said dryly. "Special Agent DiNozzo?"
"Ah. A common ploy I'm thinking?" she asked the social worker, getting a nod. "If you need his work history, let me know. He's a very good agent and Gibbs would've shot him by now if he thought he was as bad as his father probably said he was."
"Good." She walked in with him, sitting down and turning on her tape recorder. "I'm here with Anthony DiNozzo at his office, NCIS, to do a preliminary interview." Someone knocked then came in. "You are?"
"His attorney." He put down his briefcase and handed over something. "That's the case against his mother that started off the false complaints."
"I'll certainly take that into account. He really doesn't need legal representation."
"Yes he does. You're here. It proved he needed it before this." She nodded at that. "I'm assuming we've just started?"
"Good. You'll be seeing me when you talk to his daughter as well."
"That's reasonable if he agrees."
Tony nodded. "That would be fine. He's one of her favorite uncles. Though I would ask that you not intentionally confuse her. She's only three. She lost her mother recently. She's still getting used to not living with a drama queen."
"That's not my style."
"Good. What did you want to know and what charges were laid against me?" He crossed his legs and got comfortable, staring her down.
"He said that you've started an inappropriate relationship with her. That you've kept her away from the rest of the family so they wouldn't find out. That you're keeping her a hostage in your tiny house."
"First, I just bought a townhouse when I got custody of her," Tony said calmly. "It's a four bedroom house. She's got her own suite and I have mine. Secondly, I filed a restraining order against my parents because they're like this, as you can attest to now. I filed one against her mother coming near her as a precaution as she gave her to me suddenly one day when her fiancee demanded it as part of their prenup." She gaped. He nodded. "She showed up here and handed her over, told me that, and went to put the rest of her things in my car before leaving. I had my attorney draw up paperwork for total custody then I got to work ruining their reputation after the wedding. That way he wouldn't back out."
"You seem a bit vindictive."
"Only when you hurt my child," Tony said dryly. "I take a very old world attitude about that. Including that I'd like to sink some people in cement shoes at the moment." He looked at Bob. "My mother?"
"Out on bail."
"Pity." He looked at her again. "As for an inappropriate relationship? A father should hug his daughter, help her with her baths, cuddle her when needed or wanted, braid her hair, and sit on her bed at night to read to her in my opinion. If that's wrong, I'm sorry for society but I understand why my workload goes up every year."
"No, those are all appropriate ways of showing affection toward your daughter. You don't like me very much, do you?"
"I've been a cop now for almost twelve years total. I've worked with others in your profession. I've seen good ones, bad ones, and ones who went hunting and were vindictive when they couldn't find anything. I've seen social workers who have asked very leading questions that have led good parents to be accused of doing horrible things. Including other cops that weren't. Including one that led to a good, kind, gentle officer who hadn't done anything wrong committing suicide because of the false accusation by a perp who wanted to discredit him right before the trial." She went pale. "I would consider those sort of questions harmful to my daughter by the way."
"Relax, Tony. I won't let her ask questions that could hurt Caro," Bob said gently, patting him on the arm.
"Thank you." He looked at her. "Next question?"
"I can assure you, Mr. DiNozzo. I am not in the business of accusing good parents. The system is overtaxed as is."
Tony nodded. "So I've seen. Many times."
"Thank you." She looked at the door then at him. "No child yet?"
"It takes about twenty to get here from the house," Tony told her. "That's once you get Caro into the car."
"Ah. Still getting dressed?"
"No, she was probably playing. Jane was outside when I called."
"It was said you had money?"
"You bought a townhouse?"
"Unlike my father, I don't need to state my wealth and penis girth by buying a mansion. I'm totally secure and don't need that sort of show. The same as I drive a mustang instead of a porsche or anything faster."
"Good. Most men aren't that secure."
Tony shrugged. "I'm secure in my manliness."
"Are you in a relationship?"
"Not at the moment. I was trying to explain dating to her recently before I went on one and she decided I should date my boss because she likes him." She smiled at that. "I'm sure you'll be talking to him later. She's got a very close uncle in the FBI and a new friend whose father is a Deputy Director over there."
"I would like their names." Bob wrote them out for her. "Thank you." She put it into the folder. "Has she seen her mother since you got custody? Even with the restraining order?"
"Kinda hard to do. Me discrediting her stepfather made him drive them off a bridge while he was drunk one night shortly after the wedding." Someone knocked and walked in, letting him smile at his daughter. "Hi, Caro." He pulled her into his lap, letting her snuggle in. "This nice woman is going to ask you some questions in a bit about things your grandfather claims I've done. I want you to answer her questions honestly, all right?" She looked at him and nodded. "Uncle Bob will be there with you. That way she can't confuse you."
"Okay," she agreed, looking at her. "Grandfather was mean. He said he was going to kill daddy when Jane took the phone that I answered. I made Jane cry because I threw a fit," she said sadly, looking down.
"It's all right, sweetie," Jane promised, smiling at her. "You didn't understand and your grandfather was dumb to pull that stunt." She nodded. "Do you want me or her first?"
"Let's go ahead and talk to her. That way I can address specific points to both of you," the social worker said. They nodded and Tony gave her a hug, kissing her on the temple before handing her to her uncle and leaving to sit out in the hallway. "There's no need to be afraid, young lady. I'm not going to be mean to you."
"You're a stranger and strangers are bad," she told her simply, snuggling into her uncle's arms. "Besides, he's nice, comfy, and he smells good."
"All right. If you're comfortable there?" she asked the adult, who nodded.
Tony came down the stairs, shaking the social worker's hand. "Thank you for that advice."
"It's not a problem. She's a very smart young woman, Mr. DiNozzo. I've seen some three- year-olds who can barely speak a sentence and reading is well beyond them. You're doing very good with her." She smiled at Caroline, getting one back. "If you need help with this problem, you tell your father to call me. All right?" She nodded, shaking her hand like a grown up. "Good girl. I'll file my report tonight," she promised, heading off.
Caro smiled. "Uncle Gibbys!" She pounced him to hug. "She said I was very mannerly and very smart."
"Good. That's a good thing to be," he agreed. He let her climb into his lap and give him a hug. "What are you two doing today?"
"Children's Museum this afternoon," Jane said with a smile. "After lunch and a nap."
"It might be a late night. We caught a case while you two were busy." That got a nod and he looked at her. "I'll make sure your father is all right."
"Good." She kissed him on the nose. "Now can you make Daddy not give me a wicked stepmother?" Ziva choked on that. She looked at her. "I don't need one. I've got plenty of Aunties and Uncles. Besides, Uncle Gibbys swats him to show that he loves him so he should date Daddy," she finished with a giggle, getting off his lap and letting Jane walk her off. "Bye! See you soon!" she called with a wave.
"Sure," McGee called, smiling once they were gone. "Those show love?" he asked Tony.
"I'm still trying," he said, sitting down. "Do I work?"
"Your computer does," McGee offered.
"Thanks. Boss, we're in the clear."
"She giggled through most of the questions. The few she didn't understand I supplied for her," Bob said, putting his briefcase on Tony's desk. He pulled out something and handed it over. "From that one place. About the house." Tony looked it over then at him. "They lived there for four years, that gives them some credit for the rent they've paid and it'll count as a capitol loss, which will help on your taxes." Tony nodded, signing it. "Thanks, Tony." He checked, handing him something else. "Your checkbook you left over after the last basketball game." He put the paper in there and closed the briefcase. "Do you want me to start looking at daycares?"
"Next year," Tony said gently. "Let's get her to the point where she's not like her mother anymore." That got a nod and Bob left. "Thanks, man. I owe you."
"Not a problem, Tony." He smiled from the elevator, heading down to go back to his office.
Tony leaned back. "She gave us a few good suggestions to help with the primadonna fits she's prone to now and then."
"Drama class?" McGee asked.
"No, she thinks more socialization with a more varied set of children would help her. She'll do pre-K next year and it'll help some of that but we'll have her attitude remapped by then too." That got a nod. He smiled at Gibbs. "Anyway," he sighed. "What did I miss on the case?"
"Not a lot. Major theft. Six jeeps from a base overnight."
"Probably." Tony got up to take the list of VIN and part numbers, going to run them. "She okay?"
"Fuming at my father. The social worker said she didn't mind me giving her backrubs because she had cramped up the other night. That's all she mentioned to her."
"Good," Gibbs said, nodding a bit. "So you're totally clear?"
"Yup and she'll pass back that it was a false report since he reported me to New York's CPS and they passed it on."
"Good to know," Gibbs said. "You got a delivery a while ago."
"Your mother," he said, looking at him. "In kid's birthday paper."
"Of course she thinks it's all better and swept under the rug now," he said dryly, going to see what it was. They had sent it to Abby's lab so he walked in there. "Tacky present?"
"My office, Tony." She looked at him. "It go okay?"
"Fine. She's impressed, I'm doing good for only having visitation before and under some trying circumstances. She's surprised I haven't snapped yet and went on a single night drinking binge." He went into her office, looking at the large package. He sighed and opened the top, frowning. He tapped a foot, then sighed. He called his mother from in there. "The present doesn't make up for you or Father hurting her. Stay the hell away from my daughter, Mother. No presents, no Christmas, nothing." He hung up, carrying the large stuffed horse upstairs. "Should I give it to her and say it was from someone else?"
"She'll go nuts," McGee said, looking at the horse.
"She will," Tony agreed, looking at it. "Boss?"
"Tell her it was sent for her birthday without telling her who sent it." That got a nod and Tony put it behind his desk. "Anything like a card?"
"No but I did call her and tell her not to send her anything else. Including Christmas." He looked at him. "I'm having cement shoes feelings, boss. Stop me?"
"I'd hate to arrest you for real this time," Gibbs told him simply, looking at him. "No pizza this time."
"Good point." He got back to work, jumping when someone cleared their throat from behind him. He looked back at the director. "We're clear."
"Good. What is that?" she said, pointing at the horse.
"My mother's idea of a making up present, Director."
"Uh-huh. Why did it come here?"
"Because my mother does not have my home address and I'm sure Don told her how that would violate the restraining order." That got a nod. "I'm expecting my father to try to file for visitation or full custody but the social worker will back me up. So we're good."
"Good. Take the horse home tonight."
"I'm going to tell her the guys at the office gave it to her."
"That'll work," she agreed, looking at Jethro. "Anything yet?"
"We've only been back an hour, Director."
Tony raised a hand while he was typing with the other. "One VIN came up as registering this morning in a scrap yard. They upload automatically after each batch. Came in on the batch that got processed this morning at eight, boss." He checked the batch. "Three other part numbers in there. One frame, one carburetor, and one back bumper. So far."
"Boss, I know cars," Tony reminded him.
"They need the experience and you need to calm down before you snap," he told him. "If you still want to mix cement for shoes you're too angry to question someone who's not under suspicion." He walked out with them.
Tony waited until they were gone. "Do we do this to single mothers too?" he asked the director.
"Now and then some men can be boobs about that," she agreed dryly. "It's a nice horse."
"It is. She'll adore it. I'm sure my mother went to talk to someone about the best present there ever was." He got flicked on the back of the head with the horse's tail. "And it moves," he said dryly, shaking his head. "Help me find the off switch, please?" She nodded, coming over to help him find it beside the tail. "Thank you. I did call up there and order that they were not to contact her again. Ever." That got a nod and she walked off smiling.
Tony finished searching out the part numbers, sending Gibbs another list of parts that were at another scrap yard. "Definitely not a chop shop operation." He frowned, finding some other cars that had went missing from the same base. So he called McGee. "There's been seven other cars that have went missing from that base, Probie. Missing, no parts listed, no VINs showing up. Looks like they are fronting a chop shop but they wouldn't take military issue. Yeah, I've tagged the records in the local auto theft unit. Doing that once I hang up with you." He hung up and called over there. "Hi, I need to speak to a Detective Stephens or his partner please? Special Agent Tony DiNozzo, NCIS. On Gibbs' team. About a rash of auto thefts on a certain navy base." He was put on hold then transferred. "Hey, Gill. I didn't know it was you. Tony DiNozzo. On Gibbs' team at NCIS? Yeah, we had six jeeps stolen and they ended up in various scrap yards," he said, going back to searching. "I am, and I wanted to know if you had anything. Yeah, but I figured it was probably the same guys and if so it'd save you paperwork. Well, better me than Gibbs showing up, man. You know that." He smiled. "Please. I've gotten into the online reports. Yeah, anything you can would help and if we catch more mundane ones we'll toss it back to you or let you bust with us. Thanks, Gil." He hung up and went back to searching. He sent another part number and explanation of it to McGee's PDA and where to find it. Plus what the other seven cars were. Just in case.
Tony smiled at the people at the birthday party. It was going well. The kids were making a shrieking racket playing on the gym and ball pit, plus with the other games. The food was tolerable. The parents were relaxing and they had the whole place to themselves for the next four hours so no security worries for them or the staff. She had loved her presents and had hugged everyone who had given her something. Even the boy who thought she had cooties, making him have a full blown panic attack but Abby helped him calm down with his mother so it was all right now. He was relaxing and joking with Angela when someone came to the door in a delivery uniform. He tracked the movement of one of the guards going to answer the door, standing up when he was looked at. "Us?" he mouthed, getting a nod. "'Scuse me." He went to the door, finding the delivery driver had a large box. "From?"
"Long Island, sir."
"They're not supposed to contact her. Bob?" He came jogging over. "From my parents."
"Of course they're still trying." He looked at it and signed it, then wrote a note and handed it to him. "Have your boss put that in the records please? There's a restraining order."
"Sure, I can tell him that," he agreed. "Want me to take it back?"
Tony looked at the size of the box then at Bob. "Let's drag it into the entry. If I have to, I'll ship it back to them once we've opened it. Paid and all that," he promised. That got a nod and they drug it inside, letting Bob open it with his pocket knife. The thing inside started to inflate and Tony squeaked. "Oh, hell no!" he said. "Quick, pop it before one of the kids sees." Bob popped it and the naked female doll with the hair like Tony's deflated quickly, but balloons came up and started to pull her up again. They stuffed them in the box and the guard got them some tape. Tony retaped it and handed the driver a fifty. "Please and let the driver embarrass the hell out of them? Please?" he requested with a small smile.
"If I can, sir. Sorry about that."
"It's all right. My father's asking for cement shoes." He kept that small smile before he grit his teeth. "I'm going to go out back and scream," Tony told the guard. "Don't mind me."
"Sure, sir. I'll make sure you're all right." They walked back inside.
Tony stopped to talk to his daughter and Gibbs since she had pulled Gibbs to push her on the automatic swing. "Sweetie, your grandparents sent a very tacky present that's not appropriate for you. I sent it back but I'm going to go rant at them for a minute. Please listen to your uncles?" She nodded, beaming at him. "Thank you." He followed the guard out back, having a screaming, jumping up and down fit in the alley way. Then he smoothed himself out and walked back inside, looking much calmer. He sat down next to Angela again. "My father sent her a naked blowup sex doll," he said, sipping his soda. "With balloons." He took another drink.
"I was wondering why you sent the UPS driver off with a box," Carl said dryly. "Your father's a bit strange, DiNozzo."
Tony looked at him. "There's a restraining order. That guy who followed me around when I looked at the house? Him. If you see him, warn Jane. Please?" He nodded at that. "Thank you."
"Have a good fit?" Angela asked.
"Yeah, I did. And I'm having a beer after she's in bed." He took another drink of his soda, smiling when his daughter came over. "Had enough of the swing?"
"Come play, Daddy!" she said, pulling him up to go play with him. "Should I write a note for the horsey?"
"No, sweetie, I'm not sure which agent gave it to you so it's fine this time." She nodded, bouncing around happily and humming. It was a good party as long as he didn't think about that present. Gibbs took his cellphone when he started to think bad thoughts again. "Thanks, boss."
"Welcome." He handed it to Angela. "Hand it back later."
"Sure. A blowup doll?"
"His mother had our office broken into and ransacked, plus had our harddrives stolen. He had her arrested. His father called CPS and made a false statement."
"Ah. So he was probably expecting to use that."
"Probably," Gibbs agreed. He sat down to call the social worker Tony had talked to. Bob had given him her card. "It's Jethro Gibbs, DiNozzo's boss. No, something happened. His parents sent their granddaughter a naked blowup sex doll with balloons to the place she's having the party." He nodded. "Yes, I thought you should know. Thanks." He hung up, getting comfortable. Emily Fornell made him come push her in the automated swing and it was fine for now. Tony would calm down tonight. The party wound down a few hours later and the kids who had won tickets went to get their prizes from the counter. He helped Tony gather up all the presents while Caro rested on Bob's lap. The packed up the families and went back to their houses, leaving the staff to have the leftover cake if they wanted it. Tony tipped them and was last out, making sure no one had left anything. Then he went home, fed her dinner, and put her to bed so he could go up to the community center and scream and rant some more while Gibbs watched Caro and the house.
A cop pulled up next to the playground. "Sir, why the noise?"
Tony looked at him. "My parents sent my four-year-old daughter a naked blowup sex doll at her birthday party."
"You're not armed, right?"
"They're in Long Island and I went to prep school with mafioso." That got a nod. "It won't happen here, Officer. I'm a Fed. My boss is keeping me from calling anyone I went to school with."
"Probably a good idea, sir. Try to keep it down a bit. You scared someone."
"Sorry," Tony called. "My parents sent inappropriate presents to my daughter's birthday party." He went back to his fit, quieter this time. Then he walked home and had some beer with Gibbs. "A cop stopped me for a few. Can't wait to see that report."
"I called the social worker. Just in case he tries something."
"I'm glad I had the forethought to open it in the entryway before anyone else saw."
Gibbs nodded. "Me too. Carl probably would've laughed but Angela seems like the sort of mother to scream and rant."
"Oh, yeah. Ranted at her younger son the other day. Two hours for flunking math." He took a drink of his beer. "I needed this."
"We both did. Those places are great for kids but I think I found my version of hell."
Tony punched him on the arm. "Could've been worse. Chuck E. Cheese is worse. More active games for the older kids."
"Let's hold her next one outside?"
"That'll work for me," Tony agreed. He looked at the tv, then at him. "Movie?"
"Sure. Put in something funny. Not stupid but funny." Tony got up to put in something he thought was funny, letting Gibbs complain a bit at the stupider parts but he still laughed.
The director stopped Tony on the way in the next morning. "Blow up doll?"
"To her birthday party," Tony said dryly. She shuddered. "In a box. Set up so it would automatically inflate when you opened it. With balloons to pull it up faster." She whimpered. "I sent it back after popping the doll and asked them if they could humiliate my father when they delivered it."
"Good. How did it go?"
"Loud but they all enjoyed it."
"I'll keep that in mind if I ever have children." She walked off shaking her head. One of the guards had the police report already tacked to a wall and she wrote Tony's name on it. "Make sure they can't do it here. They've already sent one present for his daughter."
"Yes, Director," the head of security agreed. She left. "I'd hate to be his parents when he finally flies up there."
"Think DiNozzo is drinking already?" one of the guys quipped.
"Yup," the boss agreed. "He came in looking like he had a hangover."
"Don't blame him," another guy said. "I'd have let someone babysit her. It's only a two hour flight. An hour to drive there, one to cut them up and hide the bodies and evidence, then back by work this morning." The head of security gave him an odd look. "Just saying, DiNozzo can probably hide crime scenes."
"Probably," the boss agreed. "And if he can't, David probably could." He wrote the notice to check Tony's mail for a while and sent it across the department to the mail room. They didn't need his parents sending him another case of the plague or something.
Tony flopped down at his desk. "Morning," he told Ziva.
"What does one do at a child's play place?" she asked him.
"Listen to the kids scream while having fun and watch them having fun while talking to the adults when you're not helping."
"Is that why you look like you have a headache?"
"No, I have a hangover thanks to my parents. Thanks for asking though."
McGee coughed, looking over at him. "I saw the crime report in the paper."
Tony nodded. "I was the screaming one. They sent it there. Fortunately I opened it up outside. I'm surprised no one called about my one during the party." Gibbs walked in and sat down. "Morning, boss."
"Morning," Ziva told him. "Do you have a headache too?"
"Hangover. I spent last night keeping DiNozzo from flying up there. By the way, one of the guys said he didn't blame you if you stabbed them and then covered it up."
Tony looked at him. "Don't tempt me." McGee laughed. "Not joking, McGee." He got up and handed Gibbs his phone. "Just in case." He went back to his chair, finishing the report from yesterday. He sent it over. "The one on finding the VINs."
"Thanks." He looked it over. "The auto theft detective was very nice."
"I told him we'd share, boss."
"That's fine. Backup is nice." He read it over then put it into the inbox and got into the official emails of the day since he had a memo saying he had to or he was going to be on desk duty for a month for ignoring them. "DiNozzo, you're going to a sensitivity lecture."
Tony snorted. "Why?"
"It was a random draw this time. It's your time."
"Yay me. I'll bring up sunglasses and sleep through it again, boss."
"If you can get away with it. I think it's a waste of time in your case." He sent him the memo and got into the other things. Tony groaned and got up, grabbing some paper and a pen to doodle and make lists on while he pretended to listen. He also took his sunglasses with him, sliding them on as he walked up the stairs. The lecturer glared at him. "Don't. Just don't."
"Hung over?" she sneered loudly.
"After someone sent a naked blow up doll to my daughter's fourth birthday? Hell yes. Feel really damn lucky I'm not still homicidal." He stared at her until she backed up and ran from the room in fear. "Which sort of sensitivity did we all get busted for this time?" he asked the other unfortunate people, sitting down against the back wall so he could lean back and nap. "Hit me if I snore."
"DiNozzo!" the director snapped.
"Do you blame me?" he called. "Could be worse! I could have bit her!" She stomped in. "What did I get busted for this time?"
"Staring at someone in HR."
"Not my fault she wore the shiny red thong and the see-through skirt. Or the purple push up bra and the see-through top." She went pale. "Next time, don't wear it in front of me. I am a heterosexual man. Of course I looked! She's lucky only one person took pictures."
"Not her," she said, glaring at him. "The one in the white top."
"Ah, her. Yeah, nursing is doing good things to her body. She came to flirt. I turned her down because of my daughter and she huffed off because I'm now a father." He shrugged. "Her loss. Anything else or can I nap through this again?"
"Leave the lecturer alone."
"Gladly." He went back to tipped back with his eyes closed. He did get poked once but he quit snoring so he guessed it was fine. He was poked again when everyone left and headed down there. "I feel better now. All I need is some chocolate." He went to get some before heading back to his desk. "Anything yet, boss?"
"Nope. What did you get busted for?"
"Brenda's nursing and it does great things for her figure but she didn't want a daddy to hit on when she came up to pounce me. She turned me in when I told her I had Caro."
"Ah, vindictive woman," McGee said dryly. "Your reputation proceeds you, Tony."
Tony looked at him. "If I had dated her, she wouldn't have turned me in, McGee," he said dryly. He looked at his email. He shot off a form apology letter to the lecturer for threatening her and sleeping through it. Then he answered one from Caro, smiling a bit. "Jane's teaching her how to email from the library."
"Aww," McGee said. "Maybe she'll go into computer stuff."
"Only if you dated the same woman I did," Tony snarked.
"No, I like mine *nice*."
"She was before Caro was two. Then she turned into my mother after dating some splotch artist." He shrugged and got back to his emails, writing a few of his ladies that had written him. A few wouldn't ever write back now that he was bragging on his daughter. Some other playboy could have them. He had enough that he could share his ladies. "Caro's doing a countdown to Christmas. Are we doing anything special?"
"It's august," Gibbs pointed out.
"I know that, boss. Are we doing anything special?" They all shook their heads. "Dinner, lunch, anything? Am I cooking?"
"I can host a small dinner," Ziva offered. "My place isn't that large."
"You can help cook at my place," Tony told her, getting a nod. "You also get to tell her about Chanukah. Abby can do the Solstice lectures." That got nods. "Thanks. Turkey, anything special?" Everyone shrugged. "Then we'll talk about it in December. Do we realize she'll be starting kindergarten next year?" Gibbs smirked at that. "I just realized she wins the birthday cutoff lottery."
"By ten days in DC," Gibbs agreed.
"Wow. She's going to be in school next year. It'll make her happy."
"Pick one yet?" Gibbs asked.
"I've got it down to four. I'm going to let her make the final decision. Before you ask, yes, the expensive one made the list. The others are all in town with good security. Mostly nice. Probie, one of yours made the final cut." He beamed at that. "I need to schedule interviews." He checked his calendar. "I've got court next week?" Gibbs nodded. "Then I'm taking the next day," he decided, writing that up for his boss to sign and send up the ladder of command. He called the schools on his final list. "I need to set up an interview and tour with my daughter please." He smiled. "DiNozzo. She turned four yesterday. I know that and she's fully ready. She can read simple sentences, write her name and other things. Addition? We can work on that." He smiled, making a note of what he'd need to bring. "One of my last four," he admitted. "That's what I was going to do. Thank you, ma'am." He hung up and called the others to do the same thing. She'd get into one of them.
Tony came in after his day off. "She was accepted to two of them. One has a sixteen week waiting list if someone drops out, if not it's a year. She's going to the one I liked up on the hill." Gibbs groaned. "Sorry, boss, no waiting list. I did tell them I wanted her to be a normal girl and they agreed. They've got community service requirements starting in fourth grade."
"That's good. What about the princess factor?"
"If she can't stand it there her second one will take her in at that point. They told me that because that school is very rigid academically." McGee looked at him. "Yours is the second one. The other two she had a bad reaction to the teacher for kindergarten. Didn't click at all. Cried at one's huge, hairy mole."
"Even better," Gibbs agreed. "She's excited?"
"Very and we stopped to get her some new workbooks to work on the math stuff. She's got to prove she can add and subtract single numbers to get in. She passed the rest of it." He sat down, smiling at Ziva. "Have fun without me?"
"No. It was a boring day," she told him. "Paperwork. How was court?"
"Sucky the same as usual," Tony said, grimacing. "The prosecutor decided to get smart with me. The judge called her on it." That got a smirk from her. "She loved the horses up there, boss. Cooed and tried to cuddle the one on the tour. The older girl riding her was very nice about it."
"All girls?" McGee asked.
"That one. The other one is coed."
That got a nod. "I hear that can help in the earlier years."
"I'm planning this as elementary school. Junior high is another matter. There's a few that only start at junior high. One that only starts at high school. We'll have to see. Especially if she plays a sport. In second grade she can learn how to fence and knit."
Gibbs shook his head with a small moan. "It's not my idea of PE for kids."
"It's good workouts though, boss. I loved fencing. I got to stab people I didn't like. I got to work out some frustration. I got to hide behind a mask that made the girls squeak in fear sometimes." He smirked at him. "It was great!" The mail cart came around and he was handed a package. "What's this?"
"X-ray showed a jewelry box, Agent DiNozzo."
"Thanks." He took the letter too, looking at the memo enclosed. "Hey, boss, the director is still getting nagged by the old man. Someone's got to help her. Want to growl at him?"
"Be glad to if she needs me to." He took the note. "He upped it," he said dryly. "Two mil now." Ziva choked. "Ziva, go see if she needs a beard. You'd do good at that." She walked off shaking her head, but went to tell her that he had said that.
"My father's not real tolerant. That might work," Tony admitted. He opened the box, looking at the wooden box inside. "This is pretty." He flipped open the top and stared. "Um, boss?" he asked, pointing and backing up. "Someone's playing dirty. McGee, could use Ducky." He called while Gibbs came over to look, plucking gloves out of his desk to pick up the box and wrapping. Ducky came hurrying up. "It got mailed," Tony said. "Before anyone asks, I didn't put out a hit on them. Haven't yet." He looked up then went to find the director. "Someone sent me a set of balls in a box," he told her, leaning into her office, clutching the door. "Ducky has them. It's a pretty box they're in."
"I'llll......" She shuddered. "Hitman?"
"I never asked but you never know." He walked back down there, giving his boss a look. "Ducky, need blood to do a DNA match to me? Just in case?"
"I'll draw some should we," he promised, taking it off.
"We need better x-rays," Tony said, calling down to security. "Hey, Gus. Why did the x- ray machine not hit on the balls inside the box?" He smirked. "Yeah, I said that. Ducky. Thanks." He hung up and flopped down, covering his face. Then he sat up and looked up a number online, calling it. "Hi, I'm Tony DiNozzo. Oh, hey, Deborah. Long time no hear. No, doing a wellness check on my family. Because my parents are psycho and someone just sent me a set of balls in a box. Yeah, that's what I said. Please." He was put on hold, letting him pinch the bridge of his nose to stop the headache. She came back. "So he's fine? Anyone up there missing some? Thanks," he said before hanging up. "As far as they know my father's fine. They've seen him in his limo a few times." He put his head down, shaking it.
"Call your other male friends," Gibbs ordered calmly.
Tony got up and got his cellphone out of his pocket, calling Bob. "It's me. I got sent balls in a box and they may not be my father's. Anyone we know missing?" He listened then nodded. "Thanks." He called another number. "Steve, are you okay? Because we hadn't heard from you in a while and I got sent balls in a pretty wooden box. Yeah, that's why I'm checking. You still okay?" He smiled. "Good. Let me know if we're missing someone." He hung up and put his head back down, shaking it. "All whole as far as we know, boss."
"It could be an ex-girlfriend getting back at you," McGee offered. "Though that could be a huge list."
"Not funny, Probie," Tony said bitterly into his desk. Ziva came down the stairs. "No jokes please."
"Not really in the mood to. I'm glad I don't have any," she complained. She had noticed McGee was checking his under his desk and Gibbs was sitting with his legs crossed. It was a funny but unconscious reaction most men had. She went down to talk to Ducky and Abby. "Post or pre death, Ducky?" she asked as she walked in.
"Pre. There's evidence of blood flow I'm afraid. Is his father still alive?"
"Not a clue." She came over to look. "They're larger than I would expect."
"It's how they're laying." He lifted them up and she nodded. "They are human. They are a brunette by the hair. I've sent blood to Abigail for blood typing and DNA analysis, plus toxicology. I'm rather hoping the poor sod was drugged."
"Tony too probably." She patted him on the back. "Have fun showing Palmer."
"He's getting a bit ill. It bothered him."
"It bothered them too," she said with a grin, going to bug Abby. "How long before you know something?"
"Three hours," she said firmly. She looked at her. "Isn't that so cool?"
"Not really," Ziva admitted. "But it's better than chopping off their head."
"Well, they do call the penis the little head," Abby reminded her happily. Gibbs turned and walked off. "Sorry, three hours, Gibbs." She smiled at her. "Did you get to see them?"
"I did. They looked larger than most I've seen."
Abby smirked. "I've seen Tony naked once by accident. They're smaller than his. That's why he's got such a pretty and smart daughter. Which school is she going to?"
"The one up on the hill and then there's a second choice in case she can't handle that one. McGee's choice."
Abby beamed. "She'll love it. I took a tour as a concerned aunt and it's a great looking school. Looks like a mini college campus where they teach fencing in second grade."
"Then I'm sure she'll love it," Ziva agreed. She left, going back to her desk. "Three hours, Tony, but it's a brunette if that helps. They're of good size."
"I don't usually go looking at that part of men's bodies, Ziva, but I'll keep that in mind when we call the hospitals."
"Was it sent locally or from Long Island?" McGee asked, pulling up a search.
Tony called down to the morgue. "Long Island or locally, Ducky?" He listened to him look at the packaging. "Thanks." He hung up. "Postmarked New York City. He'll have Abby scan it in within a few minutes."
"Then I'll search police reports up there," McGee agreed, getting into that search. He whimpered. "There were three in the greater New York City area in the last month."
Ziva giggled. Some women had gotten even. "Call their people and see who had theirs recovered."
"Go right ahead," Tony told her. He found the number for SVU and handed it to her. "I worked with a guy who went up there from Homicide. His name is John Munch. He's Jewish as well but he's an older guy."
"That's fine," she agreed happily, making the call. "Hello, I'm Officer Ziva David, NCIS. May I speak to Detective John Munch please?" She waited while they connected her. "Detective Munch? Agent DiNozzo suggested I talk to you. He was sent a most unkind present. No, a set of balls in a wooden box here at work. He's across from me."
"She's my coworker, Munch," he called. "I'm having a headache. Call me later. I've got Caro full time now."
She smiled. "He's praying for your sanity." She laughed. "I'm on assignment from Mossad actually," she admitted. "We were and our search pulled up three possibles within the last month. We know he's brunette and they're of better than average size so a full grown male. We're doing DNA and blood typing now but won't have it for three hours or so. It came postmarked from your city."
"It's marked Downtown Manhattan, Broadway," McGee told her.
"I'm told it's marked the Broadway station in Manhattan." She smiled, making notes. "Brunette. Our ME said so." She nodded, scratching out one and writing another one. "Well, they didn't smell like they were decomposing very much and it was overnighted. I'd say fairly fresh or kept on ice possibly. I do know that it was pre-mortem. We're also doing a toxicology screening." She held out the phone. "Tony?"
He got up to take it. "No kidding, John. I thought my mother sent it," he said dryly. "Well, my father sent Caro a blow up sex doll to her fourth birthday party. Sure, I'll email pictures. Thanks, man. Yeah, delivered in a wooden jewelry looking box. No fabric inside. Plain stained wood. Looked professional instead of home done. Dovetailed and glued joints and tiny gold hinges. Met well at the opening. Sure. No, I've got a headache. Ziva can deal with this. She's female. She won't have to shudder." He handed the phone back. "Email me later," he called, going back to his desk. He sat down and put his head down again, then got up and found the lysol wipes and got to work cleaning his desk, just in case there was blood spatter or something. Including his forehead, because he didn't want that on him.
"Thank you. We will keep you informed when we know something." She smiled. She hung up. "He seems very nice, but a bit sarcastic."
"Yeah, that about describes him," Tony admitted. Gibbs popped him on the head when he came back. "Sorry, boss, having a headache."
"I called New York since it was postmarked up there. They're doing a records search based on what we know so far. They'll get back to us and I said I'd call when we had blood type and DNA," Ziva told him. "They're searching state wide in case. Tony knew someone up there in the SVU department. Which one is that?"
"Sex crimes," McGee told her. "Special Victims."
"Oh. Sounds like a difficult department to work in." Tony nodded, bouncing his head on the desk. "Are you all right?"
"Yup," he lied. "Just peachy." He looked at her. "John is older but you two are a bit alike." He looked at Gibbs. "Should I warn Jane?"
"I called her," he said. "She's keeping her close to home today." He looked at her then at DiNozzo. "Did I meet him?"
"Older guy, dressed in all black?" Tony reminded him.
"Oh, Munch. Yeah." He nodded. "He's a good guy. Really sarcastic."
"He seemed nice," Ziva told him. "Very professional."
"Then you handle this one and we'll handle any case that comes in." She nodded, taking the notes that McGee had and going back to bug Abby and Ducky.
Tony looked at Gibbs. "Maybe it's someone else my father bribed to have my son?"
"Anything's possible," Gibbs agreed. "Especially with the insane ones up there." His phone rang. "Gibbs." He listened. "No, Ducky. Ziva's taking it and we'll take the real case. She's gotten in touch with SVU up in New York. Thanks." He hung up. "He's guessing a rough age of fifty or so somehow."
"I didn't know you could age that body part," McGee told him. "Is it by use? Like joints?"
"I don't want to know," Gibbs told him. "Report?" He sent it over and went back to his computer. Tony's head thumped on the desk. "DiNozzo, don't you owe me a report?"
"Not unless you didn't get it when I mailed it that day after court," he said into his desk.
Another agent stomped over. "Gibbs, I demand you make DiNozzo quit talking about his balls," she ordered.
He snorted. "He's not talking about his. He's talking about the ones that got mailed to him."
"I haven't talked about them at all," Tony said, looking at her. "When and where was I talking about them?"
"In the NCIS chat room."
"No, that's not me," he told her.
"On it," McGee said, logging in and shutting the room so he could trace the person responsible. He finally got it and gave it to Tony, who whimpered. "Thanks for the confirmation. Boss?" He let him see the address. "I'm guessing it's his hometown."
"No, that's our guest house," Tony told him. "Where the only 'net access is at the house actually." The other agent gaped. He nodded. "Next time I get sent some, I'll give them to you," he promised. She huffed off. He shook his head. "Are we all going to New York, boss?"
"No. Not you. You stay here so we can't claim it's contaminating the evidence."
Tony snorted. "I can navigate the city like a native. I spent plenty of time there, boss." He called Jane. "It's me. Going out of town. New York. Thanks." He blew a kiss and hung up, grabbing his bag. "Come on. McGee can do the flight on the way." He called Ziva. "We're heading." He hung up, looking at Gibbs.
"Fine. You stay in the office up there."
"Sure. Always happy to help," he said dryly. They got onto the elevator and headed out.
Tony walked the others into the SVU unit. "No John?" he asked one of the guys at his desk.
"He's at lunch." He looked at him. "Do we know you?"
"Special Agent DiNozzo, Gibbs, David, and McGee, NCIS. We called him earlier."
"Let me page him for you."
"Tony, it's faster," he said with a grin. That got a nod and he looked around, finding John's desk. "That's his area, Ziva." She went to sit there and get to work on what Abby had sent to them. Someone walked in and he looked at him. "Damn, the last time I saw you, you were a lot younger," he said dryly. The black man looked at him oddly. "Tony DiNozzo. You came up to Holly Haven to bust a few wannabe hos who came into the city to let some Crypts humiliate them."
"Oh, yeah!" He shook his hand. "You asked a lot of questions about being a cop. You one?"
"Special Agent now," he said proudly. "After Peoria, Philly, and then Baltimore. I put my teammate in with John earlier."
"John's my partner." He called him. "Yo, get back here. Your consult is up." He hung up. "What you got for us?"
"We have DNA," Ziva said, smiling at him. "Officer Ziva David."
"Fin Tutolla." He shook her hand. "John might mind if you touched things."
"I did not look at any of the cases. I would not do that to another detective's work." She stood up when an older man came in. "Greetings."
He smiled and said something in Hebrew, making her beam and respond. "Got something I take it?" He looked at Tony. "Well, no gray hairs."
"Yet. Caro's brilliant. She keeps trying to get me to date my boss." He nodded at him. "Gibbs and McGee, our super brains. McGee tracked the person in our agency chat room."
"Even better." He walked McGee over, letting them talk about it. "Tony, your dad said hi."
"Can't I shoot him yet," he asked Gibbs.
"I still don't want to have to arrest you, DiNozzo." He walked over there. "We'd like to take him off your hands when we do catch him."
"Less paperwork for me as long as our DA doesn't mind and he doesn't have any outstanding warrants here," John told him. "Yours was in bad taste, ours might be homicide."
"That's fine," Gibbs agreed. "I can make her see things my way."
"He scares half the FBI," McGee said quietly. "They all hate us down there and hand things to us when they see it's Gibbs without coffee."
Tony got him some from the machine and made more. "Decent coffee, boss, not your usual Marine sludge." He shook his head, shaking the captain's hand when he came out. "NCIS."
"Someone sent me balls in a box." He handed over the photos. "To my desk."
"That's... gross," he decided, handing them back.
"I put my teammate Ziva with John since I used to work with him. I'm also semi native even though I'm not technically on the case. So if you need help or we're being annoying, tell me."
"You want to help, jump in. We've got so many cases laying around it's not funny."
"Here, you can have one of mine. I need someone new to interrogate," the first guy said, holding up a folder. "I'll have him brought up."
Tony looked it over and smirked. "I hate people like this. Sure. Can I drop my bag here?"
Elliot put it under his desk for him and led him to an interrogation room. Then he went to watch his style. Much smoother than his. He psyched him out within minutes and had him tripping over his story. Then he smoothly asked him a question that he answered truthfully. He gave Tony a horrified look but blurted out something else. Tony turned on the camera and went back to talking to him. The man kept tripping himself up and Tony kept running him in knots until he blurted out more information, getting a full confession they had been working on for over an day. Stabler looked at the man beside him. "He's good."
"That's why I hired him," Gibbs agreed, sipping his coffee. "We tend to threaten these types more in our woods."
"I tried that. He's been in the system so many times jail is closer to home for him." He shrugged. "Can I borrow him for a few more interrogations?"
"Go ahead. He does well charming women too." That got a smirk. "He's had one break by sitting in there playing games on his cellphone until they got paranoid." He walked off, going back to helping the others. They had narrowed down a victim and it was in their jurisdiction. Therefore they went. They'd pick up Tony later. They didn't want to bother his father with seeing him. He might snap and do something rash. Gibbs got the warrant on the way up and he tapped on the door even. An older woman opened it, clearly not Tony's relative. "NCIS and SVU, New York. We have a warrant to search the premises and guest house, ma'am. Get out of the way." She let them in and he walked in. "The man of the house?"
"He's in bed, sir. He's got the flu."
John looked at her. "Jackson Henry Thoreau?"
She blanched. "He's in the guest house, sir." She led them that way. McGee and Ziva looked for the weapon in the kitchen and the study, the usual places you put daggers, swords, and sharp knives. "Jackson?" she called before opening the door. "Cops are here, Jackson." She let them inside and got out of the way, shaking her head, going to tell the master since the mistress was out. "Sir, the cops are here for Jackson," she said from his suite's doorway.
"My son?" he demanded.
"No, sir, not Master Anthony. His boss Gibbs from the pictures you left on your desk, sir. Also SVU from the city, sir."
"I'm coming." He got up and put on a dressing gown, heading down to stop them. "What gives you the right to barge in here...." Gibbs handed him the warrant. "Well!"
"You still sound like a damsel in a southern novel," he sneered, going back to the questioning. He stared at his perp for a minute. "What would've happened if his daughter had seen that?" he demanded quietly. He went more pale. "Why send it to him?"
"The mistress paid me fifty grand and I don't need more kids. I got treatment and everything, sir."
Gibbs looked at John. "Yours?"
"Take him," he agreed. "Her too. She sounds batty."
"You have no idea," he groaned.
McGee looked at Tony's father. "You do know that Tony was mortally embarrassed when your present showed up at her birthday party?" He went pale and grabbed a door frame. "I'll take that as a yes. If he could have charged you with that, we would have."
"Where is my son?" he demanded.
"At SVU helping us," John told him, sneering a bit. "I worked with Tony in Baltimore. Now I see why he wasn't impressed with your ways." He helped Gibbs cuff the injured man, letting Ziva walk him out to he squad car that had accompanied them. "Find the knife, McGee?" He went to do that. John looked at him. "Now I see why Tony had us deliver a restraining order. I'm glad you're not my old man." He walked out, heading back once McGee had found the bagged, bloody knife in the fridge. "So, how is Caro?" he asked Gibbs. "Last time I saw her she was just barely starting to crawl around. Came to work with him once when he got called in on an day off; crawled around and tried to eat my shoelaces and then the Cap's fingers for a few hours while Tony finished up what he needed for a plea bargain hearing."
"She's good. She's brilliant. Starting school next year at some overpriced prep school that has horses. She loves the horses." That got a smile and a nod. "She's a girly little girl. Has a pink bedroom with a princess canopy and things. Loves all things Disney. She's DiNozzo's smarter clone even if she does want us to date." John laughed at that. "She claims that she doesn't want a wicked stepmother, she's rather have me. She likes my boat."
"We knew she was going to be a smart little thing. How's her Mom?"
"Dead, thankfully," McGee told him. "She walked in one day, handed Caro over, said it was part of the prenup, and left."
"Oooh," John said, shuddering. "It's better she's dead. Tony do it?"
"Her new husband drove them off a bridge when Tony started to ruin his life," McGee said happily. "I can almost see him slurring 'you were the worst decision of my life' as he did it too."
"That senator?" he demanded, looking at him. McGee and Gibbs both nodded. "Wow. No wonder she went evil. She wanted the power." He shook his head. "Well, I hope purgatory is teaching her how stupid she was to throw over Tony when he offered to marry her. We all loved Caro." Gibbs pulled out a picture, making him grin. "Yup, that's our girl. I'll have to tell the guys I heard from her." He handed it back. "I'll get a new one from Tony." They got into the cars and headed back to the city. The prison doctor looked at the prisoner before he was released. They waited on Tony to finish up with the current perp. His third one wasn't being very obliging. Tony was starting to lose his cool. Then Tony hissed something and the man went pale and shaky. Tony offered him a chance to confess or face him. He confessed to Stabler's partner. Tony came out wiping off his hands. "We know. We spend a lot of time washing our hands around here. Good job."
"I told him I was going to call someone in my family since he claimed he was doing the daughter of a Russian mobster. I'm really sorry for the innocents caught in the crossfire if they hear that since he said she's thirteen." He shook Stabler's hand. "Let me know if you need me. We get him?"
"Your father's gardener took fifty g's to have it done and send it to you," John said.
Tony shook his head. "Charming. I emailed you a lot of recent pictures so you can spread it around." He gave him a hug. "Write, asshole."
"I will now that I know where you are. Have fun playing Fed reindeer games."
"Oooh, not really. Gibbs scares them for some reason." He grabbed his bag and waved at Fin. "Later, man." He followed the others out to the car, sliding into the back next to the prisoner. "Aww, did you miss me?" he asked dryly. "You obviously wanted me with the part you sent me." He started to cry. "Won't save you and neither will Mother. So, did *you* send the sex doll or Father?"
"Him," he said weakly. "I'm sorry, Master Anthony."
"I'm sure you'll feel more sorry once you're in jail, Jackson. But don't worry, they might pick you a good protector." He checked him. "We're in, boss." He sped off, taking him back to airport to get the first flight back. "So, why did Mother send that to me?"
"She said it's wrong of you to have a man," he said weakly. "She heard your daughter wanted you to date your boss."
"We'll sweep for bugs when we get home," McGee told him.
Tony smirked at him, then at their prisoner. "Where are they?"
"Your kitchen. It's the heart of a home."
"That's funny, she never went into ours," Tony said dryly.
"Please, Master Anthony. Can I cut a deal?"
"Up to our prosecutors. Tell them how faithfully you've served Mother, it could help." That got a nod and he slumped down. "Sit up straight. Gibbs takes corners sharply." He did that after the first one knocked him into Ziva and she looked disgusted. "Anything else I should know coming up?"
"No, sir," he said, looking at the floor.
"Thank you." He relaxed against the door. "Boss, I broke three of their harder cases for them," he told him.
"Good. They could use it. They've got to be backed up."
"Yeah, a lot. I told them to let me know if they needed me for trials." That got a nod. They got to the airport and turned in the rental car, heading to take their prisoner back to DC.
Tony smiled at Jane the next morning when she came down from the guest room. "Morning."
"Morning. How was New York?"
"I spent most of it helping SVU crack some people threatening hadn't worked on." He sipped his coffee, hugging his daughter when she ran in squealing. "Morning, princess." He smiled at her. "Were you good for Jane?"
"She was excellent. We put in a movie and she fell asleep on the couch. What time did you get in?"
"One." He smiled at his little girl. "It has to happen now and then for work."
"Did you see anything pretty with Uncle Gibbys?"
"No, I saw the inside of the police station. Uncle Gibbs had to talk to your Grandfather."
"Ooooh. Was he naughty?"
"Well, one of the staff up there sent me something bad and nasty. So we had to go talk to him. I let Gibbs do that while I talked to bad guys for the local detectives."
She gave him another hug. "It'll be okay. I promise it will be." She climbed into her usual chair, looking at her plate. "Did the plate get hungry?" she asked, looking at her father. "It's empty."
"What do you want to eat?"
"Pancakes?" she asked hopefully.
Tony checked his watch. "I can do that and only be five minutes late but I can't stay to eat them with you."
"Never mind. We'll do it when you can stay and eat them with me." She beamed. "Toasties with the special magic sugar dust?"
"I can do that." He pulled them out of the freezer, putting two in for her. Once they came out he put butter on them and handed it over, making her a happy cinnamon toast munching girl. "We may not be busy today. If so, call and then come over for lunch?" The ladies both nodded. "Then I'm off to complete a report." He kissed his daughter on the head, patting Jane on the arm as he walked around her. "Unless we get a case I'll be home on time tonight, Caro."
"Yes, daddy." She waited until he was gone. "There needs to be less bad people."
"That's what your daddy does, sweetie. He's cutting down on the bad people population so someday they won't have any work." She beamed at that. It was a special job. "Want to play or work on your workbooks this morning?"
"Workbooks? That way I can show Auntie and Uncle? They're very smart."
"They are and we can do that." She poured herself some coffee and made her own cinnamon toast, sitting down to nibble on it. When the dishwasher went off she emptied it. She hated leaving them in there. Then she and Caro settled out back to work on the workbooks she had gotten her. She noticed her squinting and tipped her face up. "Are the letters blurry?" She nodded, looking upset. "We can get you glasses to fix that, sweetie." She nodded, getting back to work. Around lunchtime she called Tony. "Busy or do you have time for us?" She smiled. "We can do that. Where?" She smiled. "I can do that too, Tony. Sure." She hung up. "We are going to pick up your father's lunch order and take it to them so we can eat up there. Agreed?" She beamed and gathered everything to go back inside. Jane found a green crayon in the grass, bringing it inside too. She found Caro scowling at the box. "It was hiding in the grass." She put it into the box and shut it, letting Jane go up to rob Tony's desk of money like he had said. Then she got Caro into the car. Picking up only took a minute. When they got there the guards all gave her confused looks. "This is Tony DiNozzo's daughter. We're in for lunch."
"Oh! He said two pretty ladies were delivering to them," he said, hand-wanding them and letting them have visitors passes. "Third floor please, Ma'am."
"Thanks." She walked Caro that way, letting her look around at the artwork on the walls and the people. She smiled at the person they got into the elevator with. "Ma'am."
"You're... Tony's nanny." She smiled. "Lunch?"
Caro smiled at her. "We are. Daddy needs a good lunch to finish ridding the world of bad guys for a while."
"He does," the director agreed, smiling at her. "How was your morning, Caroline?"
"I worked on my workbooks." She looked at Jane. "I forgot them."
"We can show them when they come over next time."
"Okay." They got off the elevator and she waved. "Nice meeting you, ma'am." She saw her father and squealed, running over to pounce him.
He stopped talking and smiled. "Hi, Caro. Give me two minutes?" She nodded and he pointed. "Sit in my chair. Don't touch the computer." She went to do that. "Anyway, boss, I think this is going to be our best bet. They have no idea we'd be coming and the building has no windows."
He considered it. "That could work."
"Entry through a roof or vent system?" Jane asked, putting the box down on Ziva's desk since it was clearer.
"Too noisy. We've got hyped up people making meth," Gibbs told her. "On a base. Beside the autopool storage area." She winced. "We'll be going right after lunch?"
"We can wait," Jane told him.
"No, we need to finish figuring out how to take them."
"If I was being less charitable I'd say collapse the roof," Jane offered. "I hate drugs."
Tony shook his head. "There's an explosion risk."
"Pity. We'll have a fast lunch."
"It broke faster than we thought," Tony admitted. He came over to pick his daughter up and sit her in his lap, taking their lunch. "How was your morning?"
"Very good. I did six pages in my workbook."
"Only made two mistakes," Jane told him. "Both times overcounting on her fingers."
"That's reasonable at her age."
"She's also squinting, Tony."
"Hmm. Sounds like we need to visit the eye doctor. I know your mom wore glasses and contacts."
"Sorry." He kissed her on the head. "Dig in, guys." They dug in and Tony nibbled and talked with her, letting her talk with the others when she wanted to.
Before they left she walked over to Gibbs, giving him a hug. "Be very careful so you can come over for supper soon," she said, giving him a very serious look. "Please?"
"I'm always very careful," he promised.
She beamed and nodded, heading out with Jane after hugging and kissing the other two. "Can we see Auntie Abby?"
"I'm guessing she was too busy to come up for lunch, Caro. We'll see her soon."
"Okay. Maybe we can invite her to the park this weekend?"
"She's on this weekend, next weekend," Tony called, pulling out his vest to put it on. "Be good for Jane and I love you," he told her. She blew a kiss and waved before getting on the elevator, making him smile. He hitched a side strap. "Sorry, guys. I didn't expect it to break that fast. We got the tip after they had left the house."
"No, it was good. We needed to untense for a few minutes," Gibbs assured him. "It should have been a paperwork day and wasn't." He pulled on his own vest and they headed out. "I think it's cute you're some superhero ridding the world of crime to her. The spandex comfortable?"
"It's never comfortable, it rides up too far and it cuts off the circulation in my feet," Tony complained, following the joke. "But I like that my daughter thinks we're special enough to rid the world of bad guys." They came out and got into the car, heading out with Gibbs driving them back to the base. "Probie, who do you use for eye exams? I don't have to go to them."
"Herscht. I'll find the card later."
"Thanks. Got to get the squint fixed before it gets worse. Her mother used to have coke bottle glasses."
"She'll get a pair that make her look smarter," Ziva told him.
"I know. I have a pair for show," Tony said with a grin. They pulled onto the base and he dropped back into serious mode. It was time to take down bad guys and he had to stay focused.
Tony limped in that night, looking at Jane. "I'm okay, I tripped," he said when his daughter gave him a horrified look. "I tripped, it's all right." She gave him a hard hug, clinging to him. "Tripping happens to all of us," he promised. "I've only got a few scratches and I tripped." She nodded, giving him the most trusting look then cuddling in again. Tony sat down with her, letting her lay on his chest for as long as she needed to.
"Neosporin or did the tripping include a bigger booboo that needed stitches?" Jane asked quietly. Tony nodded at his arm then nodded. "Okay. I'll find it for the later bandaid change."
"Thanks. They were playing when we got there and the chemicals combined funny." She winced. "We got to the doorway." She nodded, going to get the neosporin and bandages for his bathroom. He looked down at her. "See, all I did was trip and I even tripped over Uncle Gibbs."
"Is he okay?" She grabbed the phone and called him. "You get over here right now! That way I can take care of your boo-boos!" She sniffled. "Because you don't have anyone to kiss them and make them better."
"I don't mind, boss," Tony called. "I told her I tripped both of us."
"See! So you need booboos kissed better," she said. "Please? That way I can help you and Daddy." She smiled. "Thank you, Uncle Gibbys." She hung up. "Can I call Em?"
"No, you can call Uncle Tobias and Em tomorrow. When you're calmer." She nodded, cuddling on his chest again. It was nice, she wasn't wailing. She had only gotten half the drama queen tendencies both sides carried apparently. Jane came back down. "Gibbs is coming in. She said she wanted to kiss and make them better."
"I'll let him in then go. There's a pasta salad in the fridge." He nodded, smiling at her. "Paycheck?" she mouthed. He nodded at the entertainment system, letting her go look. She found the envelope with her name on it, smiling at the check inside. "Thanks, Tony. I'll see you tomorrow, Caro." She waved but didn't move her head. "Okay, you cuddle." She walked out, smiling at Gibbs when he pulled in. "She hates that I get paid to watch her."
"She's a sensitive little girl."
"Who's going to fuss you to sleeping," she agreed dryly. "You okay?"
"Yeah, they lit some of the chemicals on fire while they were playing around. It became Hazmat cleaning after that." She nodded. "How stressed is she?"
"On her daddy's chest but she's not wailing, crying, or heaving a fit. He told her he tripped over you. So you both tripped."
"I did," he agreed. "I just got blown down first," he admitted more quietly. Carl got out of his car next door. "Long day too?"
He looked at him. "In that explosion?"
Jane looked at him. "She thinks they tripped."
"Good cover," he admitted. "They good?" She nodded. "Then I'm going to cuddle the wife. I had a fourteen-year-old girl who committed homicide because the boy liked her best friend. Stabbed him thirteen times to be symbolic of how evil he was. Night, all."
"Night," Gibbs said. He went inside, closing and locking the door behind himself. "Hey." She got up and ran over to look at him. "I'm fine. Your daddy knocked me down so I'm a bit more bruised than he is but I'm okay." She led him into the living room by his hand and curled up in his lap to cuddle him too. He smiled, stroking her hair. "Your Aunt Abby would do the same thing if we let her. She rushed up to cuddle me too when she heard we had been tripped." She smiled at that, giving him a squeeze. "It's all right, Caro. We're both okay."
"Better be," she warned. The phone rang and she flinched.
Tony looked at her. "It's probably a survey guy," he soothed, groaning as he grabbed it off the base to answer it. "DiNozzo." He listened to his mother rant. "No, I don't want to do a survey tonight. Thanks anyway." He hung up on her huffing. She called back. "DiNozzo." He listened. "I don't think we need to switch our mortgage coverage either. I don't have one of those. Thanks anyway." He hung up again. It took a few minutes but the phone rang again. "DiNozzo. Hey, McGee. Cuddling Gibbs. Not me, her. You asked about her. Thanks. Yeah, I told her we tripped. Thanks. Yeah, we'll be in. What did the director want?" He groaned. "Whatever. We'll see her tomorrow. She can call one of those showing off meetings in the morning. Thanks." He hung up and put the phone down on his stomach. "The director is announcing tomorrow how she's rearranging the office. We're having a private meeting and I'm not going to Texas if she sends us."
"What's Texas?" she asked.
"The big state at the bottom of your puzzle map."
"Oh, the leaf frying pan state," she said, nodding and putting her head back down. "Why would we go there?"
"The director's sending a few people down there," Tony said with a smile. "Not us."
"Good. I don't want to move. I'd miss my friends and the horsies at school." She looked at Gibbs. "Would you do my puzzle with me? There's a bunch of square states and I get confused."
"Sure. Don't they have names though?"
"It's kind tiny and blurry," she said sheepishly, hiding her face again.
"Don't worry, we'll fix that in a few days," Tony promised with a smile. "You're going to see the eye doctor."
"Shots?" she pleaded. She hated shots.
"No shots. They're going to pull over a big mask looking machine and make you look through it and read letters, all right? It will not hurt."
"Okay. As long as it doesn't hurt." She snuggled in again. He was more injured, he needed more cuddles. Eventually she got up and pulled no his hand until he stood up, walking him over to the couch so they could both have her. Daddy still needed cuddles to. "Now you can cuddle me between you."
"Or we can pass you back and forth," Tony said, snatching her to tickle her. She giggled and laughed, getting free with a swat for him. He went to get her US puzzle map, looking at it. "You're missing Florida."
"It's under the couch and I haven't found it yet," she called. He brought it down and found Florida and Hawaii's missing island that had broken off. "Thank you, Daddy."
"It's not a problem. I don't mind rescuing Florida."
She and Gibbs sat there, him reading the small words for her when she needed him to. She had some cute names for some of them. California looked like a pickle. West Virginia looked like a pot to her. Florida looked like a pointy finger. Nevada looked like some guy on tv's badge. Texas was still the leaf frying pan state. Vermont and New Hampshire were the cuddled twins states. It was cute and a good way to destress after the day they had.
The director looked at her lead team the next morning. "DiNozzo, get your father away from me."
"What makes you think I can make him do anything, Director? I can't even make the man like me. He's not going to listen to me."
"He's promised me six million now if I do give him any grandchild, daughter or son." Tony groaned, shaking his head. "So please, try? Anything?"
"Try telling him you're infertile," Ziva offered.
"He got my medical records somehow. He knows I'm not."
Tony called his father's assistant. "Terry, it's Tony. Can you tell the old man my director is a carrier of a rare genetic disorder? That any child she has carries a seventy-five percent risk of having it and it'll kill them within six years? Thank you. Driving her nuts and got her medical records, Terry. Yup. Thanks." He hung up. "His lawyer is very apologetic she got those for him, ma'am."
"Thank you." She looked at the rest of the team. "As you know I'm doing some shifting of teams."
"I'm not moving to Texas," Jethro told her.
"No, you're not. You're staying here but the floor is going to be a bit emptier. The one out west that's being closed is going to either England or Japan." He nodded once at that. "One of our teams here is going to Texas to augment that office. There was a scandal at the Japanese office that led to most of them retiring suddenly before they were charged with something." Tony winced at that. "So the people I would have brought in to replace them are gone. That means more work for your team."
"Or hiring a new team," Ziva pointed out.
"That would mean I'd have to promote a new team leader which would be Tony," she said. "But with a daughter he doesn't have the time to spend doing that."
Tony looked at her. "I'm satisfied where I am for right now," he assured her.
"Good. I am hiring new agents and stealing others. Fornell growled at me last night when I signed one of his. Jethro, you're going to hate me. One of them is a good friend of your third wife." He growled lightly. "Exactly. Though she doesn't blame you. She might hit on you but she doesn't blame you."
"If I have to, I'll go with Caro's plan," he said dryly.
"That's fine. I know you two aren't dating for real," she agreed, shifting in her seat. "Otherwise, I'm sorry you're all going to have to pull some overtime. Tony, will you have problems?"
"As long as it's not too chronic. Which team are you moving? Perdette's team does almost no work since they're newest to the office. It won't make that big of an impact on us. If they've got something open we can probably step in or they can close it before they leave. Moving the other three teams would cause more problems and headaches."
"I've thought about that but I need a team in Texas who can jump in and be nosy. They don't call us down there, we have to go butt in."
"Then tell Perdette that. She's nosy," Gibbs told her. "Plus she's from down there somewhere."
"New Mexico, boss, and one's from Louisiana," Tony offered. "So nearly native. They'd understand the subculture. Sending Brady's team would cause dissent and them being lynched. You've got two strong, outspoken feminists going to bases where the good ol' boy principle can abound."
"It's the military, DiNozzo. They're all like that," she assured him.
"Yes, but the locals can sometimes be worse," Gibbs reminded her. "There was a memo going around last year sometime from the office down there stating they needed a new male agent to question the locals in one case because they wouldn't answer the female agents. Only hit on them and refused to give them a real answer because they were pretty girls."
She nodded. "That does make sense. Purdette's team would better handle that. Cryia has a native Texan on hers."
"Transplanted and she's a city girl, from Dallas. Which is like New York Southwest," Tony told her. "Purdette's team are mostly good folk from the same sort of country. Or see if Cryia will move to her team for Patrick. He's scared anytime he runs into anyone with a shotgun. He really needs a city post, Director."
She considered it. "Mix up the two teams? If the leaders agree?" she asked when Jethro opened his mouth. "I learned my lesson there, Jethro."
Tony nodded. "Could help them. Patrick needs somewhere he can be charming and suave, a city boy from a good family. Purdette's team goes fishing now and then."
"Good point." She made that note. "I'll talk to them. If she'll agree that might be for the best then." She looked at him. "Will your nanny stay over if you need her to?"
"Yeah and Caro knows sometimes cases mean I've got to stay late or go out of town for a few days. As long as it's not more than three days she'll be fine and so will Jane. As long as I can call and email." That got a nod. "She thinks it's important that we're ridding the world of crime so that we'll all have nothing to do someday soon."
She smiled at that. "She's a very special girl."
"Who needs glasses," Gibbs told her.
"It happens. Did you have Ducky get her mother's medical records?"
"Yup. Doctor to doctor for Caro's doc. I didn't look at them at all."
"That's fine. I won't yell about that."
"Especially since her mother's family is prone to cancer," Tony said dryly.
"An even better reason. How did you explain the injuries?"
"I tripped over Gibbs."
"That'll work." She looked at Jethro. "Any problems on your end?"
"No. Shouldn't be. Let Tony talk to Purdette for you first. Get her prepared."
"I can do that," Tony agreed. "We done?" She nodded and they filed out so he went over to their pod, smirking as he leaned on a wall. "Pretty ones." They all glared at him. "Head's up. We're all having meetings with the director."
"About what?" Patrick asked.
"The team down in the office in Texas is having problems. The natives won't talk to them because they're girls. They're not being told things, they've got to go hunting for cases. She put six kids from the northeast down there." They all laughed at that. He nodded. "Which is why Jethro wanted you guys warned he suggested we send you guys. It's your people, you understand the cultural dynamics and won't come in crying when one of the guys calls you a pretty girl." He looked at Purdette. "Though she is open if you wanted to suggest a slight staffing change."
"Is it a done deal?" she asked.
"No, we suggested you guys because you guys speak the lingo. I can't speak Texan. I can't even speak city Texan. I don't understand the undercurrents, the local issues, the small communities that grow up around bases, any of that."
"True," she agreed, leaning back. "But we can. What about Cyria?"
"She was thinking if you wanted to transfer someone or steal her it might be okay. We're closing an office out west and they're going to fill in where people have had to retire or be charged. Namely Japan."
Purdette moaned. "I'd love to go to Japan."
"Then tell her. This office is losing a team and there's two teams in the closing office. Someone has to go to Texas, someone has to go to Japan, and someone has to go to England."
"It'd be nicer to get closer to home," one offered quietly. "I could drive home so my mother could nag in person." She looked at Purdette. "We'd stand out in Japan, Purdy."
"We would," she admitted. "Those are the options?"
"Yeah and that's why we suggested you guys. If anyone can make a stubborn DI listen, it's you two."
"Gibbs?" she asked.
"He had to go down there when they sent a memo last year. Remember that one?" She smirked and nodded. "He came back swearing. Besides, he's got a house, I've got Caro and a house. Ducky and Abby were brought in by Gibbs."
"Point. He's too high in the hierarchy to move. We're all in apartments and native."
"Which is what we were thinking, that you guys might like that. No more people looking at you oddly for a cowboy joke," he offered, making her smile. "Oh, is there a riding stable that lets you go on afternoon rides in town? Caro won't get equestrian studies until fourth grade and she's already horse mad."
"There is." She found the card and copied it down for him, handing it over. "She's a cute girl. I saw her when she came up for lunch."
"She's also a brilliant little girl. She still thinks I should date Gibbs so she doesn't get a wicked stepmother." They all burst out laughing. "She's a bit warped. It's from her mother."
"Sure," Purdy said dryly. "We'll talk with her about it. When is our turn?"
"Soon. All we're asking is to consider it to see if you want to request it."
"We'll do that, Tony. Have a better paperwork day."
"As long as I don't get blown up or shot at? I'll do that." He walked off, going to stick the card in his wallet and get to work on his report. The ER trip had kept him from doing it yesterday. "They're thinking about it."
"Which is what they wanted," he agreed. "Did you have to tell them that?"
"They think my little girl is only brilliant. Now they know she's an evil genius in the making," he said happily.
McGee gave him an odd look. "I don't think the warping came from her mother, Tony." He nodded at the desk. "Not a clue but it's not human, no blood."
Tony looked at it then grabbed gloves and his pocket knife to open it. He looked then swore, getting up to take it upstairs. He handed it to the director. "Look at the card." She looked and went pale. "Are you missing time, Director?"
"I...." She swallowed. "I'll get checked out this afternoon, DiNozzo. Thank you for the warning." She handed it back.
"Welcome. I do want to know. It'd be mine," he said quietly. She nodded and he left, going down to bag the card and note in Abby's lab, just in case. Then he carried it up to Gibbs, handing it to him, holding up the card so he could read it. He snatched it and glared. "I told her first. Abby didn't see the card."
"I'll keep this as evidence," he said, putting it into his locking desk drawer. "You okay?" Tony gave him a look. "Phone." He handed it over and went back to his desk to seethe. Not that he blamed him. That was one very expensive thank you gift. "How much is it worth?"
Tony looked up, frowning. "About three. Probably. I can ask someone who would know." Gibbs nodded, letting him have it back. Ziva's eyes went wide. "Another parent- gram." He went to Purdy's team again, coughing. He held it up. "Patrick, how much is this worth? It was a parent-gram before anyone gets ideas. He's trying to bribe someone to bear me an heir."
He took it to look over, then handed it back. "Three and a quarter to a half, Tony. That's pretty."
"It is but I'm still going to kill the asshole," he said. "Thanks." He walked back to his desk, tossing it at Gibbs. "Three and a quarter to a half according to Patrick."
He marked that down on the form, letting Tony sign it. Then he carried it up to the director, handing it to her but ignoring the team in there. "Patrick did the worth."
"That's fine. Thank you, Jethro." He nodded. "I'll let you know." He nodded, leaving again. She put it into her top desk drawer. "Give me ten minutes and then we'll get into this? Get some coffee or something. We're rearranging a few offices. This is going to impact that." She left, going down to the morgue. "Ducky, I need a pregnancy test for another agent. It's going to impact who moves where." He got her one, handing it over. "The standard, pee on it and wait?" He nodded. "Thank you." She took it to the bathroom and used it, pacing until it came up. She growled. "I'm seeing my doctor tonight," she decided, tossing it out. She walked back to Tony's desk. "He jumped the gun." He relaxed. "I will have him arrested if he does something like that."
"Please. I'll give you a map and his current mistress's residence. He goes every Wednesday and Saturday nights."
"Thank you." She went back upstairs, looking much more calm. "Sorry about that." She sat down. "As you've heard through scuttlebutt, there's an office closing, and we're losing one team here. I haven't decided which team is going where yet. There's an opening in Texas, Japan, and England. Plus two teams to move around in the now defunct office."
"Ma'am, half my team speaks Japanese," the leader offered. "We use it as bonding. We go out to eat and take the language lessons. The two who don't may or may not want to learn. They're new." He looked at them. "Do you two?"
"I'd rather stay in DC. My mother's ill and I'm her caretaker," one admitted quietly, shifting in his seat.
She nodded. "I would allow some shifting of team members if that's the best fit." She got smiled at. "Are you sure? The Japanese office is being cleared out under a stink cloud."
"I've heard," the leader assured her. "I'd be more than happy to and I'm very interested in their culture and language."
She made a note of that. "I'll put that in for the change then." She looked at the one agent. "Your choice?"
"I'd rather go to Texas, ma'am. I've got family down that way in Oklahoma."
"That's reasonable." She made a note. "Purdette's team also has people from down there."
"I'd love to take Patrick," the team leader offered. He called Purdette's team. "Purdy, Brady. About the Japanese opening. Well, three of us speak it, dear." He smiled. "What was thinking was that Hollister wants to move to Texas, I'd love to have Patrick." Her 'my man' made him laugh. "Would you like Texas?" He smiled. "That'll work. Want Hollister?" He beamed. "Thanks, dear." He hung up. "Hollister, you'll go to her team. She's keeping Patrick, Director, and she does want Texas. They talked her into it."
"That's fine. Think the other team wants England?"
"No. Two of them hate tea," Hollister told her. She nodded. "Are the two out west any good?"
She looked at him. "I was going to originally move one of them to Texas. They're adrenaline junkies and said to be very cowboy in their dealings."
"Oooh, they're going to fight with Gibbs." They all shuddered. "Send them to England?"
"They'd take over and make their own fun. They'd blow up important monuments." She grimaced. "I might send them to New York and get their secondary team down here. They're steady and know how to play politics." That got a smile and a nod. "Thank you for the suggestions." She made notes on that. "We'd be doing the switch in about two weeks. It's short notice, I'm sorry."
"Deployed people get the same," the team leader assured him. He looked at his new guy. "I'll be sorry to see you go. I'll make sure your new leader knows what your strengths are."
"He can intern with Jethro while we switch things out. He's got DiNozzo, who's a single parent." That got a nod and they left. She called up Purdette's team, smiling when they came in happy. "Patrick, are you sure you want to go to Texas?"
"We need a token cute man," Purdette said. "How long?"
"Done deal then. We'll gather the new child tonight and make sure he'll do too." They went to do that.
"Well, that went well." She made the other team come up and talked to them. They wanted to stay and might accept the one holdout from Brady's team. It was a good switch and the other two would do fine when she moved them around. She got them all on conference in MTAC when she was done. "Gibbons, your team is coming to New York. It has attractions you would all like and has a lot of other stuff to broaden your perspective. Watch out for the politics, you'll be tertiary team."
"Yes, Director. Better there than DC. Gibbs would kill us."
"You're right." She looked at the other team out there. "You're moving either here or England."
"England," she said. "More educational opportunities and we've got three book nerds who'd love the time in the libraries."
"Done." She made a note of that. She looked at the New York team. "In exchange you're losing your second team to DC."
"That's fine. They'll enjoy the politics and spies. We let them handle it up here."
"Ooh, we love spooks," Gibbons' second-in-command said. "We've had Russian ones recently."
"We've got the UN. We get it all," he said dryly. "Plus the local politics. Some that resonate for generations before being resolved."
"That's fine. Can we find us a good bungee jumping?"
The team leader there smirked. "Around here jumping has turned into bungee sex. I'll expect you to not be arrested for it and I don't want to know about personal relationships." That got a nod from them all. He looked at the director. "Thank you for not sending them to Texas."
"We have a team here who's from around there, they're going. Your team is replacing them," she said with a smile. "They asked."
"That'll work better anyway. They speak the same language. I sure don't. Two weeks, Director?"
"Two weeks, those going to England have an extra week due to shipping things over there. We'll make sure you have military transport."
"Thank you, Director," he said, smiling at him. "Have a better afternoon. Are you feeling all right? You look a bit pale."
"Political stress," she said. "See you in a few weeks." She hung up and went to call her doctor. "I need to get in tonight if possible," she said quietly. "Someone sent me a letter telling me congratulations on being pregnant and the home test came out negative." She nodded. "Thank you." She got up and walked out. "Hold my calls. I'm going to the doctor's."
"The board meeting this afternoon, ma'am?" she called after her.
"Tell them I'll be late, it's an emergency consult."
"Yes, ma'am." She made a note of that and called the secretary over there. "This is Cynthia at NCIS. Director Sheppard had an emergency doctor's appointment and might be a bit late this afternoon. She just left for it. Thank you, Horace. Sure. Let me know. We're doing some shifting of teams. It's probably the start of a migraine. Thanks." She hung up and got back to her normal duties. She heard the whoop and smiled, shaking her head. "It's good when you get posted where you want to go."
Tony leaned in. "Where's the adrenaline junkies going?"
"I don't know. I wasn't told." He pouted. "Who?"
"Gibbons from the office that she dismantled."
She went to check in her office since she made notes. She came out. "New York and you didn't hear it from me."
He beamed. "Love you. Caro said hi and thank you for the cookie recipe." He ducked down, going to tell Gibbs. "New York," he said quietly.
"Better there than annoying me," he said, sounding happy about that.
McGee's email beeped and he smirked. "The list from a spy in MTAC. Since it's not confidential." He printed it and handed it over.
Gibbs smirked. "They're a good team." He got up and looked around. "Brady?" He looked over. "And?"
"Some of us are going to Japan," he said proudly. "You're getting Crankshaft."
"Temping until he gets a team."
He looked up. "I've got a mother I'm caring for and the director said you'd understand with Ducky and DiNozzo around you, Gibbs."
"That'll work. We'll figure out where you're going after that." That got a nod. He nodded him over, showing him the list. "From a spy someone got."
He smirked. "That'll do. I'm losing two. Hollister's going with Purdette."
"Cassie's got a temporary team, you could request her or her people. She has traveled extensively," Tony offered, looking over at him with a smile. "Congrats."
"Thanks, man. It's a great job." He looked at Gibbs. "Have fun."
He went back to his desk. "Up to you about moving."
"I've got a spare desk over here," Gibbs told him. That got a nod and he came over. "How long?"
"Two weeks," Purdette called. She smiled and waved. "We love you. We'll miss you."
"Send us postcards," Tony called. They giggled and got to work on their desks. The other team pouted. He got up and went to look at them. "Could be worse. The other opening was England."
"No, we'll stay. Who are we getting?"
"One of the teams from New York."
"That'll work. They understand politics. At least it's not the cowboys from the west coast."
"No, they're going to New York," Tony said dryly. She snickered at that. "You want Crankshaft on your team or not?"
"We're full on our team. Let's see which team comes down and then we'll figure that out." That got a nod and they went back to work, Tony coming back to his report. She smiled at Crankshaft. "It'll be all right."
"I'm not picky. Gibbs can bark at me for a while. Can't be worse than my former boss." He put his box down on the desk, looking at the postings notice. "That's a good team. I'll talk to them."
"I'll talk to them first," Gibbs promised. That got a smile and a nod. "You've been here how long?"
"Eight months, Gibbs."
"Then we'll finish straightening you out for them." That got a nod. "We've got reports. Do something." He sat down, smiling at the parties going on. He'd hate to have to pack everything to move offices. That was the bad part of being deployed, packing. The official notice came over an hour later and he nodded. He looked at Crankshaft. "How sick? Caretaker sick, hospice sick? Just living with you?"
"She's getting forgetful. I've moved her in and I've got a daytime caretaker and a nighttime nurse if I can't get home."
"That'll work. Ducky's had that now for almost a decade." He swallowed and nodded. "Talk to him. He's been where you're heading."
"I have a few times. Thanks, Gibbs. DiNozzo, how's your daughter?"
"Brilliant but a bit warped," he said proudly.
"She's his smarter clone," Gibbs said dryly. That got a smile and a nod. "Kids?"
"And a wife," he agreed. "Who stays home all day. She's the daytime caretaker."
"Good. It's better and easier that way." They started to hand in reports and he looked at McGee's. "What language is this in?"
"Um, the printer's screwed up, boss. That was to announce the printer's screwed up. Let me fix that. Whoever's printing stuff over here in Kanji text, please quit?" They switched printers and he switched it back to English, reprinting his report. Tony printed his and handed it in then took some tylenol. "Sore?"
"Yeah, my arm aches." He rubbed the graze, relaxing for a few minutes. "Am I backlogged with other reports, boss?"
"Not that I've seen."
"Thanks." He got into his email. "Want me to get info on the New York team?"
Tony wrote up there, getting a lot of information as a primer and the promise to talk to the orphan agent because they could use another person. He smiled and nodded, getting one back. He printed it, handing it over to Gibbs. "Their secondary team, boss."
"They play politics. They can do it for us." He handed it over to Crankshaft. "Here, get to know them."
"Yes, Gibbs." He took it to look over. "Wow, an eight man team?"
"That means they can split off into two and we won't be backlogged," Tony told him. "They pull their own weight too. Offered to take a recent one from us."
"I'll probably like working with them then." He put it aside and wrote an email to the same address introducing himself and what he was good in so far. Plus about his mother. He got back a nice one saying they'd see him in two weeks and he was sure they could use him. They'd figure out where he'd be sitting later on. He smiled, going to get some coffee, getting Gibbs some too since he knew Gibbs plus coffee was a good thing. Gibbs minus coffee got people growled at.
"Thank you," Gibbs told him. "Go flit that way." He went to do that by helping the other teams arrange for moving companies and things. Tony walked over a recommendation. "He'd know," he said dryly. Ziva walked over the name of who had moved her from Israel. That got sent to the team going to England too. It was a nice, easy day. Even if they would have to help move furniture around in two weeks. He knew that team acted as two teams under one single commander and it'd be fine with him. They pulled their own weight and complained if they sat idle for too long.
Tony looked up as the director paused at his desk later that afternoon, near quitting time. "New news?"
"Still not and no reason it should be. I changed things so it can't and won't happen."
"Welcome. Anything good happen?"
"Crankshaft will have a seat on the new team coming down. We'll have to arrange a few desks for them since they seat two teams under one team leader. We've given movers recommendations, thrown them a going away lunch, and it went well."
"Good. Anything else I should know?"
"I heard from Terry. He's going to stop now. She hopes but he did walk out pouting."
"Even better. The disease...."
"Was enough. He doesn't want that to sully his bloodlines."
"Even better. Thank you for making him stop."
"I tried before, ma'am."
"Your parents need shot."
"Yes but Gibbs doesn't want me arrested for it."
She smirked. "I know someone who'd do it for fun." She walked off, going to think about having that done. They were clearly a menace to her best team. That meant they were a menace to the agency. Her agency was one of the ones responsible for the security of the United States. Maybe she could get them charges as being menaces to the US? She'd have to suggest that to someone later. She'd have Tony make a subtle call to his father about liking Cuba maybe? That might scare him off. She did call around for information on him in case someone had something she could use. She was sure his presents to DiNozzo had gotten around by now. Scuttlebutt was rampant around DC. They fed on it around here.
Instead of a new parent-gram Tony got an officer he knew in late November. "John," he said, getting up to give him a hug. "What brings you here?"
"Notifications," he sighed, staring at him. "Your mother really was a drama queen." Tony sat down, staring at him, frowning slightly. "She drama'd herself into using a fencing rapier to stab her husband while shrieking about him ruining the family for making her bear you. Then she fell on her sword like some knight."
Tony sighed and nodded. "And? I can sense worse news."
"Killed the whole staff. She stabbed herself after a short speech to the officers who responded." Tony moaned, closing his eyes. "She told them why her husband was an evil demon for making her bear you, who was the downfall of the line since you cared about people and wanted to be one of them, you know the lesser cop-like people?" Tony let out a whimper. "And then she fell on her sword after her soliloquy." He handed over something. "She also killed his mistress-slash-lawyer and her husband the night before and his other two mistresses for daring to be barren. Your mother was the definition of diva at the end."
"And many other times," he said dryly. "What do I have to come up to handle?"
"Not a clue. It closed a good few cases. One of the officers had the forethought to ask her if she had killed anyone else after she said she had killed the staff and his mistresses. She killed all his old mistresses for not having kids for her too. Apparently that was their job in her mind since she had bourne a defective heir." Tony let out another sigh. "So there's paperwork ahead and a few judges probably."
Tony looked at him. "And insurance agents and real estate agents," he muttered, getting a smile. "Thank you."
"Least I could do. Think Ziva would want to go to lunch?"
"I don't know. She's coming back from a scene right now." He called her. "Ziva, me. John's down. Wanted lunch. Telling me how much of a diva my mother was before she died. Yeah, here. I'd shower then, yeah. Thanks." He hung up. "She'd love to but she has to shower first. She ended up pouncing him and they fell into a sewer opening."
"I can wait," he agreed. He nodded at the redhead coming over to snoop. "You would be?"
"His director. You are?"
"Detective Munch, SVU," he said, shaking her hand.
"Ziva said nice things about you," she said with a smile.
"They're on their way back, Director. She had to pounce him into a sewer opening. She'll shower before taking him to lunch." He looked at her. "My mother went drama queen."
"Again?" she asked dryly. "Does that mean I'm going to get another bribe to bear you an heir, DiNozzo?"
"No, she's gone," John told her. "She killed him, his mistresses, all his past mistresses when they wouldn't bear him a better heir for her to raise, his staff, her staff, their lawyer and mistress." She gaped. "Then she gave a nice speech to the officers before falling on the rapier."
She looked at Tony. "Wearing plaid to the funeral would be wrong," she told him. "I'll do the paperwork."
"I'll only have to fly up for the funeral." He called someone from his desk, shifting his bruised and swollen ankle. "Bob, me. Mom pulled a Hamlet." He grimaced. "Complete with speech to the cops, man. John's down. Bob said hi, John."
He took the phone, talking to him quietly. Then he laughed. "That'll work. Thanks, Bob. Sure. Loved the pictures of her from her birthday party. Thanks." He hung up for him. "He'll handle it. Go to the funeral."
"With a noisemaker like it's Mardi Gras," Tony assured him. Gibbs walked in, well stomped in. "Boss, my mother pulled a Hamlet."
"With or without the skull?" McGee asked, staying downwind. "Director, I'm going to go change and Ziva's going to do the same." He smiled and waved at John. "Hi again."
"Hi. Please change." He went to do that. He looked at Gibbs. "He's got to go to the funeral."
"Don't wear white," he told Tony.
"Mardi Gras, boss. It's a happy event."
"If you feel like it. I'll watch Caro for a few days if you need me to."
"Thanks. She's going to cheer. Mother called early last night and babbled at her for over an hour with Jane listening just in case." He looked at the director. Then at John. "When?"
"The ME's want to study her brain for a few days. Probably early next week. They called in all the ME's in the city to look at her brain over lunch and read the report."
"Thank you." Ziva came up with her wet hair wound up. "Ziva, you remember John. Make sure he has a happier afternoon? He deserves it after having to do that amount of paperwork."
"Locals," he said smugly. "They remembered we had come up with you guys so I got called to see if we could tell you and I told them I would since I needed out of the city for a few days."
"I've got a spare room," Tony assured him, getting a nod and a tip of the hat. Then John walked Ziva off talking to her about where she used to live. He had only visited a few years back. Tony looked at his boss. "I've got to tell Caro."
"Tell her the truth. She died."
"I know. I will." He looked at the director, who nodded. He got up and grabbed his crutches. "Hopping home, boss. See you in about a week or so. I'll let you know when it is. Won't come in that morning with a hangover from the going away party." He grabbed his bag, his keys, and headed out, going home. When he got there he found them eating and sat down across from his daughter, watching her eat.
"Did you fall again?" she demanded once she had swallowed.
"No, I had to come talk to you."
"Why? Did Grandma do what she said and off herself? I don't understand that one."
"That's what I wanted to talk to you about," he said, glancing at Jane. Then back at her. "Caro, you know that sometimes people die?" She nodded, eating another bite. "Well, your grandparents went last night, dear."
"I'm not sure yet," he lied. "It doesn't really matter. When did she say she was going to off herself?"
"Before Jane picked up. She said hi, I'm going to off myself so I wanted to talk to you, dear one. You're my only grandchild. Then I told Jane."
"That's very good to do," he said, smiling at her. "I have to go up for the funerals."
"Am I going?"
"No. I don't think you need to be in that stressful of an environment. It'll be a lot of crying people who'll want to hug you."
"Eww. I don't like crying people."
"So you'll stay with Jethro while I'm gone? Be good for him like you are for me?"
"I can do that, Daddy."
"Good girl." He gave her a kiss on the head. "I'll have to leave in a few days and he said you can stay with him. But tonight we might be getting a visitor. A detective I used to work with named John. He hasn't seen you since you were crawling."
"Wow, I must've been little."
"About eight-months-old," he agreed. She beamed at that. "If he doesn't have to go back tonight I told him he can have the guest room. How did you get the code to answer the phone?"
"Jane was mumbling it to herself the last time she changed it." She finished her sandwich. "Can I go play with the others at the community center please? They've got a day off school and the snow looks like fun."
"Sure," Jane agreed, taking her to clean her up and dress her warmly to go play in the snow. She came in to get some coffee to take with her. "Good job," she said quietly.
"She pulled a Hamlet," he said quietly. She whimpered. "With cops watching."
"Ooh." He nodded. "Then it's definitely better she stay with Gibbs. I'll make sure I know where he'll have her." She walked out, taking her up there. The other kids greeted her and she sat down with the other parent to keep warm and watch the kids with them. "Tony's got to go out of town for a few days, Angela."
"More problems with a parent?"
"Fine. She went a bit drama queen after calling last night." That got a sigh and a nod. "So he's got to go up for that. Crutches and all for his sprained ankle. She'll be with Gibbs."
"That's fine. I'll make sure no one breaks in and we'll tell Carl later to make sure he knows too." That got a nod of thanks. "He need more brownies?"
"I think he was going to start laughing. She pulled a Hamlet according to him."
Angela looked at him. "Soliloquy and all?" She nodded. She burst out laughing. "Damn, that's not funny but.... Just the image of her in the costume with the skull."
"I know." She smiled, straightening out Caro's jacket when she caught her. "Leave it on." She nodded, going to pounce some of the other kids in the snow. She went back to sipping her coffee. "If you wanted to tease Bob again I'm sure he's coming over soon."
She grinned. "He is fun to make blush." They shared a smile. The lawyer was very nice and very sweet. Very cute when he was tomato red too.
Tony came back from the funeral, tossing down his bag and looking at Gibbs. "The judge invalidated all the wills. They found ten for my mother and one for my father and he invalidated it all."
"When's the probate?"
"They're doing an announcement in two weeks. Bob pointed out I worked for a living and I was being aggravated to no end by this crap."
"Why did your mother have ten wills?" McGee asked.
"She forgot some stuff in the original so she made out a full new one just for those specific items. In one, she even started it off 'as I forgot from the last one, I'm going to announce who gets my dragonfly pin'." He sat down, looking at his boss. "Caro?"
"She's fine. She got up this morning bouncing around because you were going to be back today. She was good and had Emily over once without warning but it was fine. She watched while I shoveled and helped by playing in the snow pile." That got a smile. "She was good for me. Abby stayed on the couch most nights and she was still good for her."
"Good. Thank you, Gibbs." He put his head down, looking up when he got patted on it by the Director. "The judge invalidated all the wills, even my father's."
"I'm sorry. How bad is it?" Tony let out a slightly hysterical laugh. "Your attorney need help?"
"No. He's got a whole law firm behind him and he's dealt with wills before for one of my exes. It's going to get insane. There's going to be press."
"Ignore them or use someone to tell them to go away," she ordered. He nodded and put his head back down. "Does he have your wishes for the estate?"
"Already given over. It went with my father's will and my mother's bequests. The judge doesn't like it. They're doing an heir search."
"I'm so sorry."
"My father got fixed after I was born. Two days after I was born." She smiled, walking off. "So, boss, if I come in panting in rage, it was a reporter."
"I'll help you handle them," he promised patiently. "Get into the new case and see if you can find me one of those miraculous links between the kidnapers?"
Tony got the file from McGee and got to work, looking at Ziva when she came in. "John said hi." He got into his bag, tossing over something. "A letter and a birthday present since you sent him one." He got to work. "Have we seen that they're in the same Klan chapter?"
"Not yet," Gibbs said, coming over to look. "That's how they met. How old is this?"
Tony scrolled back up to the top of the page. "They'd have been late teens."
"Find them in the present day." Tony nodded, getting into the DMV and other databases to do that. An hour later he had three possible addresses for one and one for another one. "Better than we had. Let's go." They left, Ziva wearing her new scarf. It was warm, soft, and fuzzy, she loved it.
Tony knocked on his boss's door a week later, handing him Caro. "You let her play in the peanut butter?"
"No, I let her make her own sandwich but she played. I was feeling tolerant." He looked at her. "Get in trouble?"
"Only a little bit." She gave him a hug. "Hi, Uncle Gibbys." She wiggled down and went to check on the boat.
"She did what?"
"Claimed you let her fingerpaint the peanut butter onto her sandwich."
"She couldn't handle the knife." Tony nodded, coming in. "You look depressed."
"The judge made a decision when no new heirs came forward from his college or high school years. He's keeping the school bequests. He's keeping mother's jewelry bequests. The rest, he sneered and handed it to Bob."
"Yup. Claimed he'd have fun taking the house for fees. Bob told him flat out that he was on retainer, he didn't need more fees, and if he did, I could do him for it. The judge was anti-gay and my father's business partners decided I am." That got a slow nod. "With you and McGee, plus Ziva as our beard and baby provider in the future."
"Why?" Gibbs asked.
"Because apparently I'm such a slut I need four people, boss. Didn't you get that memo?" he asked sarcastically. "So I'll be doing paperwork tomorrow if it's all right."
"That's fine. In the office if you can." He nodded. "He leave the director anything?"
"No, that one got cut out by the judge. If she had agreed to bear me one the eight mil was in an account for her held in trust for a live birth and her handing it to me."
Gibbs moaned, going to watch his 'niece' work on his boat for him.
"This is why I didn't want to become a lawyer. Can I get you to babysit? I'd like to go out and wear this out during a date?" he asked quietly. Gibbs nodded for him to go. "See you in the morning, Caro. I've got a date."
"Okay, Daddy. Don't get banged up again." She smiled and waved as he walked up the stairs groaning. "Last time his head got a boo-boo because he banged it on a wall."
"That happens now and then," he admitted, helping her with what he was doing. It was good for her, made her smarter. He got her into bed at a decent hour and stayed up waiting for Tony to come home, smirking when he came in rumpled and happy, almost too happy to drive. "Nap on the couch, DiNozzo."
"Thanks, boss." He fell face down and fell asleep with the keys still in his hand.
Gibbs covered him and took his shoes off but otherwise left him alone. Then he went to his own bed for the night. Hopefully this was the end of the insanity.
Tony came in the next morning a bit late, having had to go change at home, but he looked presentable. Didn't look like he had a hangover. He smelled like he had eaten breakfast in the car. "Jane and Caro okay?"
"They're fine. Angela asked if I was going to sell the mustang and get something flashier now that I was wealthy. I told her the truth, real money means that you don't have to buy dubs and a stretch Escalade. She giggled." He sat down. "Nor am I buying bling. She wanted to help me shop."
"Making her husband jealous?"
"Yeah, she wants a daughter and he's not being obliging."
"I can see why," Gibbs said dryly. "Their two are really active."
"Yup, that and other reasons." He smirked at McGee when he came back from the fax machine. "Nothing for me, right?"
"Nope. How was the final probate hearing?"
Tony snickered. "You don't want to hear that complaint period. Really. The judge was anti-gay, my father's partners decided I was gay, and doing at least the whole team, and using Ziva for future heirs, and Bob had to shoot back that if he needed more than his usual retainer he'd just bend over." McGee turned pink. "Exactly. You don't want to hear that complaint period."
"No, I've got a fair idea how it went now," he admitted. "Getting lunch for us since you're filthy rich?"
"I was mildly muddy rich before," Tony joked. "We'll see." He looked up as Bob walked in with the director. "Telling her she's off the hook?"
"At least the judge had sense about the baby clause," he agreed. She groaned, walking off shaking her head. He pulled a spare chair over. "Can he sign papers now, Gibbs?"
"We're not busy at the moment."
Tony took the stack of papers with a whimper. "At the little flags, Tony." He went through, signing his legal name about every three pages to the foot-high stack. Bob looked each set over, making him initial in a few places. Then he tucked everything back into his briefcase and pulled out a slim black card case. "Yours."
"Oooh, presents?" He looked inside then at him. "All my accounts?"
"Yup, I had Steve move them. So cough up the old cards, dear." Tony pulled out his wallet to do that. "I already told Jane since she's got your old emergency card in case something happens and she has to escape with Caro or something. Did you miss her birthday?"
"No, I sent her fruit since she likes fruit. I got it a day late but she forgave me when she saw me this morning." He finished handing over his cards, getting one back. "Really? I get to keep this one?"
"Steve said to keep it. It's got good interest and it's easily paid off." He nodded at the card case. "That's your debit card, good later today, your two new credit cards, and your new license since yours expired." He patted him on the head with a smile. "Also, call Don. He's worried since he saw you out last night."
"What was Don doing in the club?"
"Stakeout." He smirked. "Stress relief?"
"Hell yes," he agreed. "After this? Uh-huh. Holidays?"
"We will be doing a dinner, your team can do lunch." He gave him another pat. "Let me know if more problems crop up. I've already told the reporters you let the business partners buy out your share of his businesses. All of them."
"I could use the spa," he said dryly.
"Well, that one you own a bit of stock and part of the price was a permanent pass to the services for free." He smirked. "For you and Caro. Anything else, Tony?"
"No, I think you cured my headache, Bob. Love you."
"Love you too. That's why the judge thought we were together." He smirked and waved. "Later, guys." He headed out, going back to file all the paperwork - and forge Tony's initials on one spot he hadn't caught earlier. Tony wouldn't care. He had to do it in the past and Tony hadn't cared. He made sure everything was fine. Nothing invalidated it, nothing that asked for a soul, nothing asked for future heirs. It was all good. He sent it back up there and told his senior partner what he had done, letting him see the copies. This was only a formality since everything had already been turned over. His partner signed off on the hours and let him get back to his other clients. Including McGee's new will.
Tony leaned back, playing with the card case. It ended up in his wallet and he went back to work. "Thanks for the indulgence, boss. It's over with now."
"Hopefully," he agreed. "Nothing off-shore?"
"Covered," Tony told him. "All my mother's. She had a shrewd mind for being slightly insane and a drama queen."
McGee nodded. "I got the report on her death scene. Very Hamlet. She was dragging your father around for a few minutes too."
"Mom always wanted to go out with a bang and be unique," Tony said dryly. "She got her final wish there. So, now what?" he sighed, looking at Gibbs.
"Find her a stepparent, settle down, get her through school," Gibbs reminded him. "That should have enough drama for anyone."
"Don't wish a wife on me yet, please? I'm having enough problems with that already." He called Bob. "I didn't miss a marriage clause, right?" He waited while Bob checked, then groaned, holding the phone up. "Gibbs? You might want to hear this. He found something in the last paragraph of the thing." Gibbs came over to take the phone, letting Tony lean back in his chair, watching him go pale. "Ask him where that came from?"
"He said the judge included it at the partner's request as part of the mandate of the will," he said, handing it back. "It has to be ...." He took it back. "It can't be *anybody*?" He listened then groaned. "What about what..." He blinked. "I didn't think that was legal. Good thing he checked. How long? For show fine?" He nodded. "Thank you." He hung up. "You suspected?"
"They kept pushing the thought that I was gay back way too many times," Tony admitted. "I didn't hear anything and I didn't think I saw anything or signed anything."
"It was in the small text of the remade will," Gibbs admitted. "He did say the judge put it in there."
"For show," he ordered.
"If you think you can. Thank you."
"We are doing good things with it?"
"You mean like my charity donations each year?" Gibbs nodded. "Most years." The others were staring at them. "My father's former business partners told the judge that not only was I a slut, who was sleeping with all of you, Ziva unfortunately you were the beard for my gay lifestyle, but the judge decided to include that clause in the will. I have to marry one of my present lovers, as he put it, or lose everything." McGee made squeaky noises. "Even for show and it has to last at least a year?" Gibbs nodded, going back to his seat. "I can challenge that but if even *one* person steps forward to say I've been with a guy it'll go to hell. And I do have at least one girlfriend who will claim that I broke up with them for a guy. Just because I know them." He heard a cleared throat and looked back. "Practicing eavesdropping?"
"I had the misfortune of walking past. The judge can't undo that clause?" Tony shrugged. "Can you talk to him?"
"I tried talking to him. He wasn't going to listen. Apparently good boys from my sort of families marry by my age to have the heir unless they're gay. Since I have my heir and I'm not married...." She groaned. "It's one last stupid hoop. Bob said there weren't any more and somehow he missed that one." He called Bob back. "We didn't miss any other clauses, right? Check, please? I know we're both tired." He nodded. "I can give you the twenty minutes. Thanks, Bob." He hung up. "He's taking that matter to the senior partner since it was included and we weren't told outright it was in there." He looked at Gibbs, then at McGee, then at Ziva. "Not a clue, people. It would have to be for show and I have no idea why they think I'm sleeping with all of you." He grimaced. "You're not even really my types."
McGee looked at him. "Jealousy from the old white guy patrol that he had as partners?"
"Quite possibly," Sheppard agreed dryly. The phone rang and Tony answered it. "Jethro?"
He shrugged. "I don't know. This ambushed him."
Tony looked over at him. "Do you want to tell the judge you're only playing with me?"
"Would it help?"
"Maybe. Not really sure. Though, he's wrong about something." He listened. "Bob, I was married when I was younger. It lasted all of six hours after she met Mother." He waited while Bob and his senior partner conferenced him in with the judge. "Your Honor, we just found a clause you slipped in. I'm well aware of what they thought. Sir, I'm here with my team. I'm not sleeping with my team. I haven't had more than a one-night stand since I offered to marry the mother of my child and she turned me down. I was married once, it was annulled. My mother did it actually. She made my wife go insane and start seeing purple spots so she had it annulled the next day. I'm sure someone could. It was in the papers if someone would do a search. We did that so her parents couldn't undo it." He listened while that got looked up, holding his head. "Sir." He put him on speaker. "You're on speaker here, where my whole team can hear you, Your Honor. I'm quite sure they want to know that as well since I'd never sleep with any of them."
"He wouldn't," Ziva agreed. "Nor would we sleep with him. He's not my type at all."
"I'm a Mossad officer," she said in a deadly voice. "Am I clear?"
"You are," he agreed coolly. "The others?"
"We're here, sir, and I'm still straight," McGee told him.
"And I've been married and divorced three times," Gibbs told him. "All to women, Your Honor. I'm not marrying DiNozzo. I'm not in a sexual relationship with him. I'm a favorite uncle to his daughter. McGee likes to teach her how to use the computer."
"The other gentlemen...."
"Haven't seen me since I was ten," Tony reminded him. "How would they know?"
"There are rumors that you and Jethro have been getting together for stress relief," the director noted calmly. "It's never been true because I know very well where Jethro's tastes lie."
"You would be?" the judge asked.
"The Director of NCIS. The one his father was trying to bribe to have his son," she said blandly. She came down and pulled a chair over, motioning the others closer. "I'm sorry someone misled you, Your Honor, but none of us here are sleeping with Agent DiNozzo. A good portion of the women in the office have but not Ziva, not myself, and he's not gay."
"I dabbled a few times in college but it wasn't my thing," Tony told her. "Though three exes will probably claim that's why they were dumped to salve their own prides." Gibbs gave him an odd look. "Better to admit it now than have it bite me later, boss."
"True." He leaned on the edge of the desk. "I have no idea who told you that BS that we're sleeping with him but we're not."
"They claim they had pictures. His lawyer gave them a horrified look."
"That was in shock for their lies," Tony told him. "I doubt they have any pictures, sir, and that's beyond the fact that you can't make me marry my boss or enter into an illegal relationship that would get me fired from my job. That is against the law." Bob came off the elevator, waving something. "Bob?"
"My boss sent it over, Tony. It's precedent."
"Can he make me?"
"Technically, the only one he could *make* you marry would be Officer David or your director. Doing so would endanger your life and job and therefore he'd better have a very good reason." He put the document down to show him. "He can't force you into an illegal relationship."
"I do not believe him being such a slut...."
"I've been on three dates total since I got my daughter," Tony complained. "She never saw it before and doesn't now."
"I'm very sure. She still wants me to date Gibbs because she doesn't want a stepmother. My mother was the one who decided I was dating Gibbs, Your Honor. She had bugs in my house and caught my daughter having a Disney flashback to Cinderella."
"She's how old?" the judge asked.
"That's about the right age. I would like to look at their proof."
"So would I," Tony agreed. "The only thing it could possibly show would be a movie night at my house with my boss once or twice when he was trying to keep me from flying up there to kill my parents over some stunt one of them had just pulled. I think once I fell asleep on his arm but that and being smacked on the head is as close as it's come to a physical relationship. I respect the man but I don't want to go on my knees for him."
"DiNozzo, be less graphic," the director ordered.
"I'm trying. Really." He looked at the phone again. "That is a totally illogical clause, Your Honor."
"What about your female coworker?" he suggested.
"I'd kill him within weeks," Ziva said coolly. "I barely put up with him here. He tells bad jokes, he's loud, he's late, and his daughter does not like me. That would not be in her best interests."
"Your director?" he offered.
"I'd have to fire him," she pointed out.
"He can afford not to work."
"I *like* to work," Tony said firmly, glaring at the phone now. McGee took his cellphone and handed it to Gibbs. "Thank you, McGee." The director looked at him. "Goes back to when my parents were sending parent-grams."
"That's reasonable. With some of your contacts taking your cellphone and private phone book when you're upset is a good idea." Jethro nodded at that. "I'm sorry, Your Honor, even if I was suitable and a coworker instead of his boss, I'm in a relationship and I'm not going to give it up for him or his money."
He sighed. "Let me put you on hold and talk to them."
"Do remind them that they don't have to care about me," Tony pointed out. "I don't want to see them. I'm not going to go near them. I'm not going to do anything with them. For all I care, they can all float on the ocean in their nice buildings."
"You don't want to join society?"
"No, I'd like my daughter to have manners," Tony said firmly. "She's not going to be turning into my mother. Ever. She may have some of the dramatic tendencies from both sides of the family but I'm training her better now."
"Let me call them." Music came on.
Tony looked at Bob. "Please tell me he can't?" he begged.
"If he tries we can appeal it, Tony. You still have your other funds. I checked, there was no clause to give up anything else." He called his boss. "Sir, I know you're still on the conference with us. Do you have any ideas?" He listened to him, nodding a few times. "Thank you, sir." He hung up. "Take one if you have to, Tony. Make it a marriage of convenience."
Tony shook his head. "I can't do that to my daughter, Bob. She'll hate it and it'll hurt her if the woman ends up leaving. Besides, I'm not going to marry someone I don't give a damn about. I'm not like that."
"They can live somewhere else. She doesn't have to even meet her," Bob offered.
The music stopped. "That would be ill-advised," the judge told him. "Though I do think that the girl should have a mother."
"If and when she allows me to date I might find her one," Tony agreed. "For right now she's got a few very strong female role models and she's enjoying it. What proof did they offer?"
"Photos that look like a night in watching movies."
"Sir, I don't watch movies with my lovers. I work very hard here. I work very long hours here sometimes. I take cases that make others cry and beg for justice. Watching movies is for when I'm with friends, my daughter, or alone. My lovers I have for stress relief and grief release."
"You work homicides?" he asked.
"We work any major case that comes along," Gibbs told him. "From grand theft, through rapes, to homicides and local terrorists."
"Oh. Yet, he wants to keep working?"
"I'm taking some very bad people off the street and making the world a safer place for my little girl, Your Honor. I know you spent some time in criminal courts?" He got an assenting noise. "Then you know why I do what I do and have done what I've done through the years."
"I can understand that. I would rather you settle down."
"I'm doing good most days to date," Tony told him. "I've had to cancel quite a few for cases. I'm also very particular. She's got to be good for me, understanding of my job, good for my daughter, and willing to help me instead of use me or nag me like my mother did. I did offer to marry Madeline when she came to me with Caro. She refused. Twice."
The judge was silent for a moment. "No way you'll find them attractive?"
"They're straight, sir. Even if I did, it wouldn't matter. Nothing would ever happen and it would put undo strain on my daughter. She doesn't need that."
"You do know your parents wanted her declared not an heir?" he asked.
"Your Honor, you knew my mother for years. Do you really think my mother was sane enough to make out a will of her own free will? Considering she left a few things to the pixies that drove her out of the kitchen in one will and she managed to kill eighteen people before making a grand speech and killing herself?"
"No," he admitted. "Which is why I invalidated her will. That clause came from your father's."
"My father sent my daughter an inflatable sex doll to her fourth birthday party. He was trying to pressure my director into giving me another child when I'm fully satisfied and love the one I already have. He even sent her a gift for potentially being knocked up against her will, Your Honor. He turned me into CPS because I wouldn't let them buy Caro presents or ruin her life."
"Point." He sighed. "I should..."
"Should you, we will be appealing, sir, and not even the Supreme Court could make him marry a man. It's still illegal where you live and where we live," Bob pointed out.
"Agreed," the judge said.
"Not to mention the strain of that pretend marriage on the child in question's psyche and ability to grow and form lasting relationships with others. We're already working on her issues her mother gave her. This would make sure the child would never marry and be able to hold down a steady relationship."
"That was probably his father's intention," Gibbs pointed out.
"Quite possibly," Bob agreed. "Since he ruined his son for ever having one by all his mistresses and his mother claiming her womb had been tainted by having Tony so therefore the mistresses should be bearing heirs she'd ruin by taking them to raise. She killed them because her husband had been fixed."
"She was a bit batty," the judge agreed.
"Also, making us do something that would get him killed down here is not very legal," the director said. "We are a military based operation, Your Honor. 'Don't ask, don't tell' is still in effect for us. There are quite a few agents in this office that would beat Tony and Jethro if you tried to make that happen. Since Jethro is about fifth behind me at the moment, that would be detrimental to the agency and national security. At one point in time I thought about filing against Tony's parents because of how upsetting they were to this agency as a whole and how his father tried to blackmail someone in the FBI into giving him a desk job over there."
"Who's the girl your daughter plays with? The blonde one?"
"That would be Emily Fornell. Her father's a deputy director at the FBI," Tony said quietly. "He and Gibbs share the same ex-wife."
"Oh. So you're truly not gay?"
"No. I dabbled a bit in college and decided it wasn't worth the effort to finish going all the way. I've never done more than attempt a blow job and I was pitiful at it; I sent him to the emergency room."
"Ow," McGee hissed.
The judge let out another sigh. Jethro had to keep himself from saying something about more dramatic tendencies. "I would like for you to settle down, Anthony."
"I might some day but it's a longshot, especially if you press the issue."
"I can have it all removed," he warned.
"Then I would gladly appeal, Your Honor, and have you disbarred. Forcing me to do something illegal would be against ethical and moral codes, correct?"
"That is something your mother would say."
"She did teach me the fine art of vengeance," Tony said dryly. "That's why my daughter's new stepfather drove them off a bridge."
He shuddered, you could hear something move on his desk. "We would have to rewrite things, Anthony."
"No, you don't. I already sold my interest in his companies. There's only two heirs outside of that material. The house is already sold. All their various possessions were gotten rid of so I could get back to my life. All I want is the harmful clauses taken out."
"I can agree to that." He paused. "I can not enforce it. If it does happen it would be good. Even your daughter thinks so."
"She thinks Tinkerbell is real," Tony said dryly. "She also thinks she's a true princess instead of a duchess."
"Good point. At her age it's not unheard of to live in that sort of fantasy life." Another pause. "Is she in therapy?"
"No, her nanny, her uncles, and I have been working on that. She's right on target emotionally and socially. That fairytale syndrome will pass when she's older."
"The social worker said so," Gibbs agreed.
"He truly called?"
"He truly called," Tony agreed. "She cleared us that morning. All I want is an end to this, Your Honor. I'd like to put the bad days behind me."
"I can see why. Very well, I will remove that clause from the will. I will also remove the clause about her education and her marrying someone suitable."
"Thank you. Where were those?" Tony asked. "I didn't see those and my lawyer is looking a bit clueless."
"They..." He found them. "They're on the paper you did not get," he admitted. "As is that clause. There's another one of them in the papers you did sign I'll have them removed and send down new copies. Are you looking forward to more children?"
"Maybe some year. I love Caro and she's more than enough daughter for me," Tony said quietly.
"Then I'll leave you alone on those matters. I'm sure you're old enough to know your own mind. I was only going to enforce them if your gay tendencies ran to orgies or something else that would interfere with a good, solid upbringing for your daughter."
"If he was like that I would've fired him by now," Gibbs told him.
"I suppose that's reasonable as well. I'll send down new copies without those clauses. Would that suit you?"
"Thank you," Tony told him.
"It's better to do this quietly instead of in the press." He hung up.
Tony ended the conference call and Bob walked over to the window to talk to his boss again. "I'm very sorry my parents were a bit demented and you guys got sucked into it."
"Can we dig them up and abuse them?" Ziva asked.
Tony wrote out a cemetery name and handed it over. "Go right ahead. Make sure they're put back so I don't have to hear someone complain."
"Does everyone up there sound like a gay drama queen?" McGee asked.
"It was popular in his generation," Gibbs said dryly. "Fortunately that ended before mine." He went back to his desk. "Now, can we get back to business?" Everyone nodded. "Good. Director, when will the new team be in since they're late?"
"Next month, Jethro. They caught a last minute case and it was a bad one so I left that team working on it." She looked at Tony. "You all right?"
"I have a headache. I'm sure it'll go away sometime soon," he said, waving a hand some. "But now you know where I get my theatrical experience from."
"Hmm, natural abilities," she agreed. He smirked and nodded. "Did your mother ever think about acting on Broadway?"
"It wasn't socially acceptable for a woman of her class to do such things," Tony said dryly. "School plays, church plays later on, but not for real. She would have been shunned and Father would have been mortally embarrassed, plus no one would've done business with him. So instead we got to see it at home. Plus she had this thing about there being pixies in the kitchen that drove her out of there. Always did." That got a single nod. "I survived, it got diluted in me and diluted farther down in my daughter. I hope." He looked around. "People, Caro is salivating over the holidays. No one's told me what I'm cooking yet." That got some lists being made and handed over, including from Bob. "Thank you yet again."
"You know I like saving your pretty behind, Tony," he teased. "It makes my month and makes my wife giggle." He gave him a hug. "Make sure you call us if you get called out on the holidays for a case." He winked and left, heading back to the office.
Tony relaxed then called someone. "Anyone want something other than pizza for lunch?"
"Pizza's good," Gibbs told him. He called Abby. "Pizza?"
"Are you having a boring day?" she teased on the speaker.
"Hopefully it'll start soon. Pizza?"
"Sure. Tony, pizza." He hung up. Tony finished dialing and made the order then went to hand the guards the money so they could bring the food up when it got there. Gibbs did hope that the boring day started soon. He could use a boring day. An hour later a coffee mug with a small plant was brought up and put in front of him. He looked at the large 'congratulations' on the front. The card finished it off with 'for escaping the grip of Tony'. He laughed. "Bob?"
"Steve," Tony said dryly. "Bob told him a plant instead of candy." He smiled but shook his head. "Getting away from the nefarious plans?"
"Escaping your grip."
"I didn't think I held that tightly," Tony quipped, cracking McGee up. "You know, this has got to go down in the annals of NCIS history, boss. This day and the day the one guy offered Morrow six goats and a pig to marry Kate."
"Don't remind me," Gibbs said dryly.
"Depending on where he was from, that could have been a very generous offer," Ziva pointed out.
"It was," Gibbs said, shaking his head. "She still made high-pitched squeaky noises for over two hours after he was gently turned down for her. Then she let out a shriek that set off the alarms all across the building."
"Fortunately those of us in the know knew she was going to blow and evacuated," Tony said smugly. "Abby finally got her calmed down after she nearly destroyed the office upstairs. She literally broke the old conference table with her feet. I was very impressed."
"How long before I got here was that?" McGee asked.
"About six months," Gibbs told him. "At least you were never dumb enough to pick on her about it after that first time when she tried to gut you, DiNozzo."
"All I did was send little plastic farm animals, Gibbs."
"She couldn't gut him?" Ziva asked.
"He did it on a day she was wearing heels," Gibbs said dryly. "He could outrun her."
"It was right before two days of vacation too," Tony said with a smug little smirk.
"How long did it take you to undo whatever she did?" McGee asked.
"You know, the guy she offered me to and I are still penpals," Tony admitted. "He's a nice former murderer. Said he'd do nearly anything for me. Reminds me a lot of Jack from that show Profiler." They all stared at him. He just smirked. "She did have *good* taste in men." Gibbs moaned, putting his head down. "So yes, I wasn't too sure he didn't send me the balls at first. I talked to him later that night and he said he would if I needed him to but he had been a bit tied up that night. Seems he found his new girlfriend tasty."
"In a literal sense?" McGee asked, giving him a horrified look.
"I never asked," Tony admitted.
"McLean, Virginia." They both got to work searching it then Gibbs smirked. "He in jail?" Gibbs nodded. "Huh, then sending them the letters was a good idea, huh, boss?" He went back to his surfing. "Angela teased me and asked if I was going to sell the mustang. I nearly spanked her for it."
"If you come to work in a high end sports car I'm spanking you for it," Gibbs assured him. Tony gave him a look. "I would. You can't fit a baby seat in those. They're dangerous."
"Well, they can be," he admitted. "I don't need that sort of statement anyway. I'm secure in my masculinity." He went back to surfing. "Hey, boss, what are we doing with that one piece of evidence from the last parent-gram?"
Gibbs looked then in his drawer and moaned, tossing it at him. "Do something with it, DiNozzo."
"That's what I was asking you, boss," he said, tossing it back. "Not like I'm going to give it to Jane."
"Why?" McGee asked. Gibbs held it up. He blinked. "Never mind. I remember that last parent-gram now." He shook his head quickly. "Donate it to a charity auction?"
"If he did that he'd probably be haunted," Gibbs said dryly.
"Don't even *think* that, boss," Tony ordered, glaring at him. "Unless you want me to bring them to help with the boat."
"No, not particularly." He looked at the necklace. "Give it to Abby?"
Tony looked at it then at him. "She'd fuss. It's not her style."
"Every woman loves diamonds," McGee said dryly.
"Not really," Ziva told him. "I wouldn't accept such lavish gifts from anyone. That amount of money could better be spent doing more practical things. Smaller gifts yes, that much no."
"You're not exactly the average woman, Ziva," McGee pointed out.
"You said every woman." She smirked at him. "I do fit into that category. Therefore your supposition is wrong."
"Okay. Almost every woman would loves diamonds."
"She didn't say no to diamonds, Probie, just to extravagant diamonds," Tony pointed out. "She said she'd accept smaller ones, just not necklaces like that. Don't blame her really. Why be a walking sign saying 'rob me'?"
"Where would you wear it?" Ziva asked.
"Balls, fancy parties, things like that," Tony said dryly. He looked at Gibbs. "Any ideas other than as a frisbee, boss?"
"Not at the moment. Though the charitable donation angle might help."
"I don't know anywhere that's doing a charity auction that would accept it. I'm not famous. It'd only go for retail value. Most of them want things from someone more famous because the name attached would bring in more money."
"That is an heir present, have another one," Ziva suggested.
"I love the heir that I have and no, I'm not going to go knock some woman up on purpose just to get a son, Ziva. Thanks anyway. I have my heir. She's adorable and smart." He went back to his email. "Jane wrote." He got into that one, smiling a bit. "Bob called to tell her everything was all right again. She was almost worried. Caro's down for a nap after wearing herself out in the snow. Jane's dipped into the movie collection and is telling me I have good taste in flicks." He answered her and got back to his other email.
"Any chance of any other kids?" McGee asked patiently.
"One came up and tried that with me but the DNA test came out negative," Tony said with a smug look. "Hadn't dated her, knew it wasn't mine. Turned out to be another guy on the football team's baby. Cute baby but nope." He got back to work. "If one does show up, you can change diapers if you want."
"No thanks." He shook his head quickly. "Boss?"
"If one suddenly shows up we'll fix him and make sure the kid isn't warped," Gibbs told him. "Two's plenty in his case."
"One of the guys I went to school with has nineteen among two ex-wives and six mistresses," Tony said, making them all give him horrified looks. He beamed. "There may be number twenty and twenty-one on the way. Last I heard mistress number seven was having twins."
"If you ever do that, I will put you out of their misery, DiNozzo."
"They're like a harem, Gibbs. They all know each other, the kids play together, the mothers get along pretty well. He takes decent care of them."
"Someone needs to fix him," Ziva told him.
"He'd never let them. One of them went after him with a knife during a mood swing and the other women stopped her. There's four sons and the rest are daughters so far. Haven't heard back about the twins yet."
"Is he starting his own cult or something?" McGee asked.
"No, but he has thought about it. He's a lawyer. He'd run for congress but he'd have to hurt anyone who said something about his kids."
"We'd be nice and let Ducky use anesthesia if you *ever* have more than three, DiNozzo," Gibbs told him.
"Thanks, boss. Knew you loved me," he quipped, blowing a kiss. The director moaned so he looked over at her. "Talking about my friend in upstate New York who's a lawyer and has nineteen kids, Director."
"How?" she demanded.
"Two ex-wives and six mistresses. They all get along really well too. Mistress number seven was new and having twins last time I heard." He wrote him a 'long time no hear' email and smiled when he got one back a few minutes later. "Oops, I was wrong. Mistress number seven has popped twins, girls, and they're adorable. Mistresses number five and two are both pregnant with singles and ex-wife number two came back for another one as well, he thinks she might be having twins." He grinned at them. "He's a very proud papa."
"Someone should explain the concept of birth control to that man," Ziva complained. "Is he in trouble with someone like John?"
"Nah, he's someone who defends rape victims and does some corporate law. He's well able to protect and take care of all his kids." The director whimpered. "He's a former high school buddy."
She just nodded, walking off shaking her head. "You're not allowed to have more than one more, DiNozzo."
"Not planning on it, Director."
"Good!" She went up to her office to take a nap.
Tony smirked at Gibbs. "No hovering," he said quietly.
"It gave me a headache too. You should tell Abby so she can make sure he's not wanted."
"Nah, he's too straight," Tony told him. "Besides, she's met him and nearly joined his harem once, boss." He sent back a reply about Caro and all that had went on recently.
Ziva and McGee shared a look and gave themselves reminders why having children was bad. Very, very bad. It was especially bad for Tony.
Gibbs looked up at Emily Fornell when she ran up and pounced him behind his desk. "What are you doing here?" he asked tolerantly. Security had warned him she was there.
"Daddy's a shithead," she said dryly. "So I'm running away but I didn't know the address to Caro's house. I knew where you were so I came to get it from you."
Gibbs blinked. "Does your father know you're running away?"
"That would be stupid," she told him very seriously. "He was being mean and snarly again. I didn't want to hear him be snarly." She shrugged and climbed into his lap to cuddle him. "Caro said that her daddy was having a bad day too so we agreed we would run away together once I got to her house."
Gibbs called Jane. "Do you have Caro?" He listened. "Emily. Thanks." He hung up. "She's going to go pick up Caro and then come get you to take you both to her house while I smack both fathers. How about that?"
She beamed and hugged him around the neck. "I love you, Uncle Jethro. I knew you'd understand."
"I know sometimes your father can be very growly. What was he growling about?"
"Mistress Serena?" She shrugged. "It's another woman and I don't want a stepmommy either. They're never concerned about me, only Daddy's position." She rested her head against his shoulder. "Thank you for understanding."
"It's important. How did you get here?"
"The agent he had watching the house drove me." She smiled at him. "I told him I was going to visit you to give you a message from Daddy. I snuck out."
"Hmm." Jane walked off the elevator and he smiled. "You sure?"
"I'm sure. Caro told me Tony's been growly after hours because of a case." She picked up Emily to give her a hug. "Come on, princess. We'll go play with the other one." She beamed and nodded, heading off with her. Her apartment was small but the girls could share the couch for all she cared.
Gibbs called both parents on a conference call. "Boys," he said dryly. "Come here." He hung up and finished the paperwork. Tony stomped in a few minutes later. "Where is your daughter?"
"Jane came to get her for some reason. Something about a play?"
"Something like that." Fornell stormed in. "Where's Emily?"
"At Jane's," Gibbs said, standing up to smack them both. "The daughters were hatching running away plots because both of you are growling over something. Fornell, she thinks this Mistress Serena is her next stepmother. DiNozzo, I don't care why you're growling, stop it." He looked at Fornell. "She didn't remember Caro's home address, that's why she came here and *I* called Jane so you two could both have a night off and fix it. Whatever it is."
Tony looked down then at him. "Boss, my problem has been the bitch hitting on me. You've heard that complaint. I got home earlier and she had sent Caro chocolates."
Fornell looked at him. "Emily said something about chocolates." Tony shrugged. "Who is she?" Tony walked over to his desk, finding the file and handing it over. He looked at it then at him. "She's not sane."
"I know that. She reminded me a lot of my mother."
"How did Emily get here?" Fornell said.
"She said the agent you had guarding the house brought her. She lied and said she had a message for me." Gibbs sat down and leaned back.
"I don't have an agent on the house," Fornell said dryly. "No one's guarding my house." Tony frowned, going to pull up the local security footage. He came over. "Who is that?" he asked when Tony snorted. "You know him?"
"Yeah, he's the one Kate set me up with." Gibbs growled. "He doesn't hurt kids. I have no idea why he was watching you two."
"How did he get out on murder charges?" Gibbs asked.
"Prosecutor error three different times," Tony told him. "He's very good at mind games."
Gibbs sighed. "All right, let's take this one step at a time, boys. Tony, he won't harm the girls?"
"No, he wouldn't ever harm the girls and I told him about Jane being a bodyguard trained nanny. Nothing further than that." He called her. "Remember your briefing when I hired you?" He smiled at her 'of course I do, it was comprehensive'. "The guy that I told you about in McLean?" He nodded. "He's the one who brought Emily to Gibbs." He smiled at her short rant. "Do whatever you have to do. Thanks." He hung up. "Okay, she's turning on the security system and calling a girlfriend who's in CID." Gibbs shuddered. "You know the blonde one who likes you? They're buddies." He looked at Fornell. "What's your issue?"
"A madam who does Congress."
"There's ten or twelve of those," Tony pointed out. "Including whatever you want to call a male madam who services some of the congresswomen and wives." Fornell gaped. He nodded, making out a list for him. He handed it over. "As of three years ago but..." He trailed off and shrugged. "The second one down used to be my father's so she might be dead now."
Fornell sat down at Ziva's desk to call his people. "I want everything you have on a few names I'm going to fax over. Yes, I mean right now." He hung up and went to do that, faxing what Tony had given him. He looked at him. "Kate set you up with the mass murderer?"
"Yeah, after I sent her toy farm animals that one time. She wrote him in prison to set us up and he showed up one day here to take me out for a beer when he got free. He's a nice enough guy. He simply hates stupid people. Greatly. Usually with a knife."
"I knew I should have spanked you both," Gibbs told them. "Have I seen him?"
"Twice now. That day you gave him the hairy eyeball for picking me up here and the other time we ran into you out bowling. Abby likes him too, boss. He's on another team in her league."
"Did you warn her?" Gibbs asked impatiently.
"Yeah. She's a sweet girl and that's a quote from him. He thinks she'll never be the sort of stupid that'll set him off and make him kill others." He sat down, looking at Fornell. "Are you trying to bust her or get her to hand over her black book?"
"Bust her. She's using a few illegals and one has information we think."
Tony nodded. "You can't go after her money?"
"The IRS's Chief Auditor and she are close," he said grimly.
Tony considered it. "Then tape her."
"I tried. The judge turned down the evidence. Said it was entrapment."
Tony looked at him. Then he snickered. "Vice wasn't like that when I worked it in Peoria." He put his arms behind his head and leaned back while he thought. "Well, if you can't go that way then there's only one way left. Public health." Fornell gave him a confused look. "Anyone have anything?" He slowly shook his head. "Are you sure?" He nodded. "Because sixteen members of Congress are walking disease factories. Have someone force them into a public health situation where they have to be tested. Depending on what they have, they could lose their protections."
Fornell smirked. "It's a baby step but it could work." He called his people on his cellphone, walking off to order that set in motion. He came back. "Your stalker is your penpal's new wife."
"Charming," Gibbs said dryly. "Can we stop it?"
Tony and Fornell shrugged at each other but Tony made a phone call. "I had someone do a background search on the woman who's been sending me things. She sent my daughter candy and I'm fairly paranoid thanks to the job, Johnny. Congrats on the new marriage." He listened. "Up to you but she's been all but stalking me. Of course I sent them to Jane. Why were you watching Emily Fornell? Because I'd hate to have to shoot you for touching my daughter's best friend." He listened then nodded. "That makes sense. Thanks. No, leave the ladies alone. I would consider it a personal favor if you left Jane and the two girls alone, Johnny." He smiled. "Thank you. Do you want me to handle your wife or would you like to?" He smirked. "Even better. Thank you." He hung up, making sure the line had cleared. "He's going to handle his own wife. He's *very* mad with her." Fornell's eyes widened and he went to have her found. If they could stop the man in the act, no prosecutor error would matter. Tony looked at Gibbs. "Did I ever tell you about Canada?"
"No, my ex in Peoria." Gibbs shook his head. He found the picture and walked her over to him. "That's her. She used to have the same sort of anger problems. Mostly with men who dumped women who were pregnant. I was dating her when I found out she had recently gotten into an assault situation. We had been together nearly two weeks at that point. I looked it up in the computer and my boss caught me, wanted to know why. I told him I was dating her and he gave me a horrified look, asked me how old the child was. I told him I didn't have any. He relaxed. Then I told him why I was curious about her and breaking the rules to do a background check on my girlfriend using the PD system. He had her file found for me and had me trap her." He put the picture back. "She's getting out in two weeks. I don't think she knows where I am, but fair warning." He walked off smiling, heading home to work on his anger issues. A night off would help him greatly.
Gibbs moaned, looking her up in the system. He found her, her probable release date, and then a notation. He called Tony. "I wouldn't worry about her. She died two days ago when she was released a few days early. She walked out, got to her overnight hotel room, and was found stabbed the next morning. It's still an open case." He hung up and printed that one out, just in case. Fornell stomped back. "Tony dated that one."
He looked then moaned. "There's evidence his stalker was there." He looked at him. "Did you warn him?"
"He told me she was getting out in two weeks so I checked," Gibbs said dryly.
"That's probably a good idea." He pulled up another file, pointing at her. "She was found dead by the same weapon and in the same manner as Canada O'Toole was." Gibbs moaned. "So I've got two killers who're in love. She married her accomplice and teacher. They think she's been stalking Tony for years and went to him because he knew Tony. He saw the spark and took her in." Gibbs shook his head. "Jane's a good bodyguard, right?"
"Former DI," Gibbs said quietly. "She's got a former Army buddies over too."
"Even better." He went to call her, just to keep her updated and get her to explain things to his daughter. She did it so much easier than he did. Sometimes he didn't understand his very girly, princessly little girl. He came back frowning. "Caro's a duchess?"
Gibbs frowned. "Tony said that. I have no idea." He ran her mother's name through a google search. Nothing but the wedding and death announcements, things related to that. He read one, figuring her wedding announcement would have that noted. He did one on Tony, frowning at something. "I'll be damned. His mother was a duchess." It was in her death announcement. He looked at Fornell, who walked off shaking his head. He called Tony. "You're a Duke?" Tony did a bad John Wayne impersonation and hung up. Gibbs put his head down on his desk. Sometimes DiNozzo drove him insane. Others, he wasn't sure he hadn't already been driven there and now he was further into hell. Fornell got him some coffee. "Thank you," he said without looking up.
"Could be worse. He could be a prince."
Gibbs looked up at that. "Don't wish that on my team." He sipped the coffee, waiting on Fornell's people to find her address so they could wait and see if Johnny Flagg took out his new wife for wanting Tony. It only took an hour. It was nice how he gave up and didn't make them shoot him when they found him stabbing her repeatedly.
"Your Highness," Gibbs said with an evil smirk the next morning. "Hangover?"
"I'm not a prince, boss. You're also not a serf." He gave him a look. "No, no hangover. Thanks for asking." He sat down, putting his feet up. "Tripped and fell. Mild painkillers so I can walk normally. The ER insisted." He turned his release papers into a paper airplane and sent them over. "Por vous."
He looked at it then logged it.
"You're a what?" Ziva asked.
"A Duke technically. My grandmother was a Duchess of the old school. She fainted at the sight of ants."
"Phobia?" McGee asked.
"Her way of getting attention. My grandfather left me my trust because I could get her calmed down faster than he could when she pulled a stunt or had vapors." He grimaced. "I sent over Mother's death certificate to the proper offices in Britain and now it's Caro's." He smirked at Gibbs. "If you really wanna get technical, my father's grandfather was the equivalent of a baron in Italy before the Mussolini regime toppled the old nobility." Gibbs stared at him in a horrified way. "Yeah, so it's on both sides. My grandmother was *the* grande dame of having vapors, especially at the sight of ants since she had convinced herself they were the spies of Satan. She taught my mother." He shifted. "She thought I was going to be a girl too. I'm the first born male in her family in nearly eighteen generations." Gibbs and McGee both shuddered.
"I can't imagine what you'd be like as a girl," Ziva said, squeezing her eyes shut. "Never mind, I don't need that vision."
"Go, share, make the director happy since someone at MI-6 wanted to talk to her." He handed over the letter he had gotten from home when he had changed. "Official notification."
She carried it up there, looking at the director. "Did you know Tony was the only firstborn male in eighteen generations? That he's a Duke?"
"I did find that part in his background when I did one," she admitted. "Which means Caro's now a Duchess." She took the notice. "I take it they heard when he filed his mother's death certificate?" She nodded. She looked at her. "What's wrong?"
"Tony's father's family was a baron in Italy. His grandmother used to have vapors at ants. They thought he was going to be a girl and I'm stuck on the mental image of what Tony would've been like as a girl."
Jen Sheppard stood up and smacked her on the head, then sat down. "Did it help?" she asked, working on a response to the generous invitation.
"No. Now I'm seeing him as a model." She walked off pouting. "I hate you," she told Tony, going to get some microwave popcorn to nibble on.
"It's not my fault your mind went there," he called after her. He smiled at Gibbs. "Boss, is there a problem?"
"I'm going to fire you if you don't quit," he warned.
"Abby will pout. She got me a tiara a few years back. It's even got green stones. Wanna see the pictures?"
"Suspended," Gibbs growled. "Go away, DiNozzo."
"Fine, boss. Make me go play with my daughter." He packed up for the day and headed home to rest and sleep off the pain killers. They did make him a bit goofy.
"Boss, I'm seeing bad things," McGee complained. "Please make it stop?" Gibbs got up and smacked him hard enough to start a headache. "Thank you." He gave him a look. "Think Caro would like a stepmother sooner instead of later? It could only help to have someone to wear those urges out on. He's gone strange since he's not out having meaningless sex every few nights," he explained at the dirty look. "Remember the last time he couldn't date for weeks on end? It's worse this time."
"He was out the other night, McGee."
"I saw him. He, Bob, and another guy were out," he complained. He put his head down. "Can I nap, boss?"
"Go nap in the lab with Abby."
"Thank you." He went to do that, finding her farting hippo doll and taking it into the office to use it as a pillow on her floor. She came in looking very confused. "I have bad thoughts about Tony."
"Well, he is cute and all. It's natural you'd start to question your sexuality around him, McGee."
"Not those sort," he said dryly. "Princess Tony thoughts."
"Oh, those thoughts." She nodded and smirked. "It took me four pints of Ben and Jerry's to cure mine."
"He's not dating or sleeping around regularly and it's turning him strange. Even Ziva got thoughts she shouldn't have."
She gave him a hug then went back to work. He'd get over it soon enough. She looked online and found a sash and scepter set that would match the tiara she had sent him, ordering it for him so it'd say he was the new DiNozzo Queen of Drama. Then she clicked the rush button. It'd take a few days but Gibbs would get a laugh out of that since she had it delivered to the office. Then she got to work finding some woman she could set Tony up with. McGee was right, Tony got odd when he didn't get sex often enough. If he got too bad one of the team was going to have to bend over and take one for the good of the rest of them. Since Gibbs was the team lead......
Otherwise she'd have to take Caro and raise her as her daughter, that way she'd be normal and not the next DiNozzo Princess of Drama.