Tony DiNozzo opened the package he had picked up on the way in, looking at the old journal. He opened it and smiled, settling in to read it until they had something to do.
"What's that?" McGee asked as he sat down.
"This is an old family journal that my cousin Volka sent me," he said happily.
"Volka? Russian?" McGee asked.
"Italian, up by the border. It's been a family name since sometime when Rome was an empire. One each generation." He turned the page, going on with it. It was very pretty handwriting. "He even sent a family tree so I'd finally know which way we're related. He's my second cousin. He lives in this huge, mediaeval tower by the northern border of Italy. Family tales say it was gifted to the family by one of the Emperors for services rendered." He turned the page going on. Then he frowned and reread a section. "Huh. Interesting." He filed that fact away for a later date. Ziva came in. "You're late."
"Traffic was homicide today," she complained, flopping down.
Tony looked over the edge of the journal. "Does that mean *you* killed someone in traffic or someone else did?"
"Two someone else's did." She fluffed out her hair once she had her hat off. "What's that? For a case?"
"No, my cousin sent it to me. It's an old family journal." He went back to it. "The boss is in MTAC doing something. We don't have a case. If we have anything backlogged, I'd do it before he growls. It's looking like an unpretty day all the way around." They nodded and got to work on their last reports. Tony was still waiting for his back so he couldn't do much at the moment. So reading was good. And it was interesting. Very interesting. He knew some of the characters in this tale. He turned the page, going on.
"Where did that come from?" the director asked from the stairs behind him.
Tony looked back, smiling a bit. "My cousin Volka sent it to me. It's an old family journal."
"Volka?" she asked, trying not to stiffen up. "Lives in Italy, near the border?" He smirked and nodded. "You're related?"
"Second cousin." He smirked. "Yes, I know the people who live there have helped intelligence things in the past. He said his grandfather helped with the resistance against the Nazis and Mussolini. When did you meet him?"
"Prague and then in Paris."
"It's funny how the world is so small sometimes," Ziva agreed, giving her a look.
"Yes, I did visit him for two summers running," Tony said without having to look. "It was great fun going through some of the stuff in the tower. My kinda uncle showed up too." He kept reading, smiling when he heard Gibbs. "Hey, boss, you done with my report yet?"
"Not yet. Doesn't look too horrible though. What's that?"
"Family history," he said, grinning at him over the top. "My cousin Volka sent it to me."
Gibbs blinked. "Really?" He got a nod and a grin. "Interesting?"
"I think I've dated people like my great-however manys Grandmother Ancelin." He got back to reading. He pulled out the family charts. "Let's see, she's there," he said, tapping a mark. "And we're way down here," he said, finding it on the end of the scroll. "She had seven sons and three daughters by her men. Interesting."
"Men?" Ziva asked. "That was legal?"
"No, and one was a former priest so we're not supposed to acknowledge the line. The Vatican got pissy around the French Revolution about that and demanded it or else they'd revoke the land grant for the tower. Of course that guy died really strangely about a month later of a plague no one knew the origins of or saw anywhere else." He kept looking. "One generation had three kids named Volka in one family. So that mark must mean that they died young." He found the code key and nodded. "Yup." He kept going back to it. "Great Grandmother had his grandmother and my grandfather," he said finally. "I always wondered how that worked." He rolled it back up and went back to it. He found another note in the package telling him to read the journal, that they needed to talk; to call him after he was done reading. He went back to the story until his inbox beeped, carefully putting the journal away so he could get to work on his report. He frowned at the message from Abby. "I swear the girl is psychic. Boss, Abby said your computer is going to fry so please back it up today. She's not sure it hasn't already started since you've got some virus going on."
"Let me," McGee said, coming over to work on it for him. He got him backed up then went to work against the virus while Gibbs logged in at his desk. "Boss, can I adjust your chair?" A look got him to go back to work. "Never mind." He kept typing, frowning. "This is one pernicious computer flu," he complained.
Tony snickered. "Those can get sent through inter-office email. I got one from Paula in accounting but it came up in the virus checker. I deleted it and reported her to computer services so they could check her system." He finished fixing his report and sent it to Gibbs over there, getting a grunt of irritation. "Something to do if you don't want to play his computer games, boss."
"Gee, thanks, DiNozzo, what I always wanted," he complained, getting back to work. He sent it back with a scowl. "Let's try fixing the spelling mistakes too."
"That's how his name was spelled on his dog tags," he defended. He called the file up, walking over that sheet to show him once it was printed. "See?"
Gibbs pointed at a word. "That one, DiNozzo."
He looked then at him. "That's a past tense, boss. I can look it up to make sure." He grabbed the dictionary and showed it to him. "Need more coffee?"
"No," he complained, shoving it back. He finished working on his report, finalizing it and sending it on. Tony was back to reading the journal again. "Whose was that?"
"Volka and the thirteen or fourteen greats grandmother Ancelin," he said, smiling at him. "She was one hell of a woman for her time. They kept calling her an amazon wench by this journal." He went back to reading. "For her time she was pretty liberated. She was teaching girl children how to defend themselves in case of invasion or boys who got gropey. She was very learned. Very pretty handwriting. My ancestor was very possessive of her and their husband."
"A trio?" Gibbs asked. Tony nodded. "How did that work?"
"She married a priest and was handfasted to my ancestor. The priest had just retired and it would've looked bad on a duchess' reputation if that was known so they only knew about the marriage to Volka, my ancestor." He went back to reading. "Who was very possessive of both of them." He turned that page carefully. It had some water stains on one edge. By the time they went home that night he had read it all. They hadn't had a case, he was caught up on his paperwork, the cold cases had been gone through that month. It was more interesting than games. His ancestors had been scarily impressive in some ways. Gibbs waited around while the others left, leaving him and Tony mostly alone on the floor. "So, that head smack, ancient Cofostat family tradition, boss?" he asked without looking at McGee's desk. His computer was now fully down for repairs. He got an irritated grunt so he looked over. "Does that mean that your trainer Mike was family?"
"Distant. I found that out when he smacked me on the head the first time." He looked at him. "You're from that line?"
"Direct descendant of the original line through Ancelin," he said quietly.
"Why did your cousin send it to you?"
"Probably because he's childless, I'm the only other male born this generation out of all of us on this side of the family, and he had testicular cancer when he was younger."
"So that means I might be asked to take up the tower, boss."
"I'd hate to see you go."
"Me too but there's another relative. I've seen him a few times." He shrugged. "I can't find him on here so apparently he's from an accessory line somewhere." He leaned back. "I'm wondering if our sperm banks are the same as their wenching around. They seemed to do a lot of that."
"Not much else to do for fun if you couldn't or didn't want to read. Taverns were social centers."
"Oh, I've heard many stories of wenching from Uncle Vorchain," he said dryly. Gibbs gave him a horrified look. "Remember the scare about having motorcycle riding mice a few years back in Chicago?" He shuddered but nodded. "That was Uncle Vorchain as well. He got a big kick out of that."
"I'm sure he did. Anything else come out?"
"I'm wondering if Abby was reborn," he said quietly, someone was walking toward the elevator. He looked at him. "There's some great paintings at the family's tower, boss. Ancelin made sure there were a lot of her generation since one of them painted. Do you guys still have a wolf cub?"
"Not in many generations. Why do you think Abby...." Tony got up to show him a part, a description of his great-however many grandmother's best friend Severtina, who had been part of the Family Cofostat. He smiled a bit. "That does sound like her."
"And you look a lot like your ancestor, boss. I was going to leave it there if you didn't know."
"No, I do know. The family has tales back that far," he admitted, looking at him. "My father didn't believe in them."
"My father called them old men's fairy tales and kicked me out when I had to save him from something," Tony said quietly. "I would've already lived at the tower but I don't have all the skills necessary." A mist started to form on the floor, making him look at it, frowning just a bit. "Grandmother!" he complained quietly.
"Hush," she ordered, staring at him. "I need you to do something."
"Something the current one can't?"
"He's ill and he can't get there in time. I need you to go to Sunnydale."
"Why am I going to the hellmouth?" he asked, leaning against the front of the desk. "I went once to see what it was like. Charming town. White picket fences. Happy people. Portal to hell. Full of bad things."
"One of the bad things is stronger than ever. Vorchain's foreseen it ending the world. Since all they have is one girl and a Watcher...."
Tony snorted. "Rich British guys with money? Why are they there?"
"Okay. And the problem that she can't handle is....."
"If she dies by Glorificus' hand, then she'll become the pathway for the First Evil prophecies. I need you to go stop the battle or fix it so Glorificus cannot kill her," Ancelin said, floating closer. "There is help. There's a witch," she said quietly, staring him down.
"They associate suddenly?"
"The Watcher was a sorcerer." She saw the woman coming down the stairs. "Interesting."
Tony looked then at her. "I know. Do I have to do anything about *that* one?"
She smiled. "Not at the moment. At the moment I need you there, Antonio." He nodded at that. "There's also an oddity. I'll try to get you some help."
"There's one of Chauvis' line down in Miami. I've met him in the past," he said quietly. "There's another of our line in New York, two if I remember right. Neither's on the family tree."
She smiled, patting him on the cheek. "I do love your mind." He beamed at that. "Now, shoo. I need you there."
"Boss, for obvious reasons I've got to head out," he said, turning to find the director behind him. "Sorry, emergency situation. I'm being called in as a reserve hitter." He filled out the form quickly and handed it over, taking the diary and the other things that had been in the package with him. "See you in a few days, I hope." He headed off at a jog to the elevator, going down once it opened.
The Director looked at the ghost. "Who are you?"
"Tony's ancestor," she said smugly. "Who are you to work on him?" She took a step back. "Do be aware, if we needed two Volkas, he would be our second choice." That got a nod and a small bow. "Good. He's off to the hellmouth to stop the world ending. He'll be back in a few days." She gave Gibbs a sad smile. "I have missed you, Cofostat." She stroked over his hair. "You were nearly this age when I first met you." She faded out, heading back to watching what was going on. She had to find some more relatives and relatives of former friends. Some jumped up little *goddess* was not going to ruin the world while she still survived in some form.
Tony found the shop he needed. His grandmother did give good directions when asked. He walked inside, taking off his sunglasses. What he saw did not amuse him in the least. One small, blonde young woman. A witch who was clearly having issues. An older man. A teenager he had seen in a painting at home. He looked at the young guy for a second, getting a confused look back. "Do you often dream that you're someone else?"
"Is this a bad start to a conversation?" he asked.
"No, I got sent to help you but I know of your ancestors I think." He smiled. "We can talk later." He looked at Giles. "I suppose you're with the group of British assholes with money?" Giles looked flabbergasted. "Volka sent me via my Grandmother Ancelin's orders." The gape got worse. "There's probably a few more of us on the way. Now, what's going on?"
"Why were you sent?" he managed to get out.
"Because, if your girl dies here, then the First Evil prophecies will happen. Do you *really* want to see the world end?"
"We're pretty good at stopping that around here," the boy quipped. "Who are you?"
"Tony DiNozzo, Federal Agent Tony DiNozzo," he said when the redheaded girl reached for something. He threw something form his pocket on her, turning her into a mouse. "There, better. No magicing the others who do the same job," he told the mouse, who went to run up the blonde girl, making her shriek and dance around. "If you kill her she dies like that." He looked at Giles again. "So, I heard the Beauteous One was back?"
"Indeed," he said grimly. "Your grandmother is a bit of a busybody."
"Well, yeah," he said dryly. "Who else keeps the Sorthes around in this day and age?" That got a grim look. "But Volka did send me since he's ill at the moment." He came in farther, looking at Xander. "What position do you play in the team here?"
"Snack support," the blonde one said.
"And planning, plus her backup," Xander said, plucking the mouse out of her shirt collar and putting it onto the table. "Probably not nice to pick on our witch."
"She reacts badly to those with more power coming near?"
"Now and then, Willow reacts badly to any magic," he admitted. "Why? And that didn't explain a whole lot to us."
"The Sorthes are a group that started back in Ancient Rome to fight various things," Giles instructed, pulling down a book. "They've had a varied history power wise."
"We're the ones who hid all the things that could eat the world in the time of the Roman Empire and later stayed around to fight the annoying things that crop up, like succuba, possessions, those things." The boy's mouth fell open. "There's a painting in the family hall of someone who looks just like you named Tobias Chapalet. He was one of the group during my grandmother's time."
"When was this?" the boy asked.
"Right after the Inquisition," Tony said with a small grin. "I'm leaving off a lot of greats in there." He looked up. "Grandmother?" She faded in.
"But... you..." the boy said, pointing. "You were my imaginary friend!" he finally managed to get out.
"That is my great-however-many-times Grandmother Ancelin. She's the strength behind the family's numbers at the moment." A younger brunette girl peeked out of the back. "You can come out. I don't bite this week." She smirked, coming out to look at him. He stared back, then looked at his grandmother, who nodded. He looked at her again. "My ancestors first fought her over you," he said quietly. "We're the ones who made it so she has to use a body." That got a nod from Dawn, and a gape from Giles. "I'm here to protect you."
"That's my job," the blonde girl said.
"Shut up, Buffy. It's his job," the ghost told her. She gaped at her. "Tony is very skilled." The door opened and she smiled. "Son of DuLovaire and a child of Shaun Dolouise's loins, welcome," she said happily.
Tony looked then smiled. "Horatio Caine. I thought she would've sent Ryan."
"Mr. Wolfe said he couldn't come, there's a trial he has to attend, even if the world is ending. What's going on?"
Tony pointed at the young woman in front of him. "She's in danger, we have to protect her at all cots from a hell goddess."
Horatio just nodded once. "Witness protection be enough or are we pulling out something...special?" he asked, taking off his sunglasses.
Tony smirked. "I'm pulling out something special, you're protecting the girl." He looked at his grandmother. "I'm assuming that the package you had Volka give me still works, even over here?"
"Oh, they're around," she assured him happily. "As is one other child of the old lines. He'll be here in about ten minutes." She smiled at Xander. "Tell, me, dear, are you a medium as well?"
"Extra large," he joked, smiling at her.
"Yes, he's possessed very easily," Giles called, looking at her. "I still say we could handle it."
"My ancestors put her away first," Tony said dryly. "Get over yourself." Buffy gaped at that. "Really, it's annoying as hell." The mouse turned back into Willow with a squeak. "Now, are you going to behave this time or should I throw more on you?"
"I'll behave," she said weakly, looking at him. "What did you do?"
"Something my cousin Volka told me to do." He grinned. "It worked, huh?"
"Sure." She looked at the ghost, then scowled. "I banished you once."
Xander smacked her across the back of the head. "How could you! She was keeping me sane!"
"She's a figment!"
"She's my great-a few more greats-grandmother, witch," Tony said firmly, pulling up his inner princess. "Leave Grandmother Ancelin alone!" She shrunk away from him. "Thank you!" He stared her down. "My ancestor wrote a great book for girls like you to learn from so you could actually help instead of warping the natural forces. I'm sure the Watchers have a copy somewhere."
"She's read it. She giggled," Giles told him.
"Interesting," Horatio said, staring her down as well. She glared at him. He scowled back. "I've seen more impressive scowls on hit and run drivers, Miss Rosenburg."
"Who are you?" she demanded. "Are we related?"
"No, I'm not related to you but I do know of you. You've managed to mess up things here that have affected us down in Miami a few times now."
"This," Tony introduced, "is Lieutenant Horatio Caine. Miami-Dade PD," he finished smugly. "The same as I'm still a Fed, Willow. Sit your ass down and shut up. Things are going outside the smaller influence of those demons who're born differently. This is a *god*. This is *our* duty. Not yours. Not Buffy's. The girls aren't meant to take on this sort of stress." He looked at Dawn. "Word of advice, beat whoever put in the highlights. Way too much and so last year."
"I think I look good in them," she defended, pouting some.
"Sweetie, the true secret to being beautiful all the time is to do what makes you look good, even if others don't like it. You can't care what others think or say. Do what suits yourself best." She nodded at that wisdom. "Horatio can tell you the same thing. He's from fake tit central."
"I thought that was New York," Xander said dryly.
"No, Miami has the highest number of plastic surgeons in the US," Horatio assured him. "Legal and illegal."
"Wow. Way concerned with the body image down there," Buffy complained.
"It's bikinis all day," Tony told her. "The only fat women are women who've had kids or recently came to the country." He looked at Dawn. "I trust Horatio with my life and yours. No matter what happens. Understand me?" he asked quietly. She nodded. "Good. Then after we're done we'll figure out how to best guard you from this happening again. Because Glorificus won't get you this time."
"If you say her name she comes," Buffy pointed out.
"How are you supposed to fight her if she's across the city," Tony shot back. "Dawn?" Horatio came over to walk her off to the side, Xander going with him. "Good, I like that." He looked at her. "We should talk when this is done. She's not the only one who'll want her. As long as she's pure, to use the going phrase in the novels you probably read, she's in danger."
"She's fourteen!" Buffy complained.
"Back in Grandmother's days, women were married at that age, Buffy," Tony assured her. "Once your cycle settled in after about a year; if you were poor you were married by then." She gave him a horrified look. "Girls your age were already married and were expected to have at least two kids. You only got out of the early marriage if you were wealthy and that was often a contract marriage. Then they were married off by eighteen. As long as she hasn't known the touch of a man, she'll be in danger. Normally I wouldn't advise this. Normally I wouldn't advise it for a few more years. Do you really want to do this again in a few more months? Because you dying is the start of the First Evil prophecies."
"I've already died."
"I know that. It was written into it by the person who saw it." Her face fell. "If you die now, someone will bring you back. That'll make you a conduit. Not even we can fight the First Evil. Am I clear? Doing it this one time saves everyone a lot of grief. So therefore, don't get dead in this fight. You can protect your sister all you want. I don't care and I don't mind. They won't mind. But if you die we're going to make sure no one finds your body and we'll make sure she's safe. There's a bunch of us around the world thanks to the family's former habit of wenching around."
Buffy blushed. "You're very blunt."
"Today," he agreed with a grin. "Okay?" She nodded. He looked at Xander. "If I have to have someone who can be possessed, can you?"
"Will it hurt me or stick?"
"Shouldn't do either. You get stuck?"
"Yeah, once or twice," he admitted.
"We'll have to see about that."
"It's his mind wanting and needing the information," his grandmother said. "She heard. He'll be here in a few minutes." She smiled suddenly. "And more help."
The door opened and an albino man with a shaved head and a mask on half his face walked in. "I'm magnificent."
"Funny, you don't look like Lockhart from the movie," Xander joked.
The guy smirked at him then shrugged. "He was based on me and a poor imitation, kid." He did a double take. "Chapalet blood. Interesting. I know where your brother is." The boy stiffened, looking at him. "He's got curly hair, blue eyes that make you want to stare into them? Gets into a lot of trouble?" he prompted.
"Leonard," he breathed.
Horatio moaned, "Sandburg." Xander looked at him. "His name's Blair Sandburg. He's in Cascade, Washington. You can see him if we get through this one."
"We had plans for this one," Xander offered.
Tony looked at him. "Would it have involved her dying?"
"Possibly." He looked at the albino guy. "Do I know you?"
"If you've dreamed of your brother I was probably in there somewhere," he said smugly. "I'm Vorchain."
"He's the seer who saw the First Evil prophecies," Tony told Giles, who slapped himself on the face, leaning down to rest that arm on the counter in front of him. Buffy looked confused. "He's had more years of life than you have clothes."
"Hey! I don't have that many clothes!" she complained. Everyone, even Horatio, gave her a look at that lie. "Okay, well I guess I *do*, but not *that* many. Not over sixty outfits, plus shoes and purses."
"He was over three hundred when I was alive," Ancelin told her. "I'm back thirteen generations in Antonio's family, dear."
"Wow. Way past grandma." She looked at Tony. "So, we do what?"
"We call her. After all, if we want to fight her we have to have her here. Then someone makes sure she stays while I get us some higher help." She nodded, getting out of the way, going back to guarding Dawn. He looked at Vorchain. "You ready?"
"As usual." He unwrapped an ancient sword, looking at it. "Spots would be proud, she loved this blade."
"Your cub and all the grandchildren you raised of hers are still complaining in their own afterlife that you cut off the hair they played with," Ancelin said dryly.
Tony nodded. "Was a shame. I liked your hair, Uncle Vorchain. Glorificus," he said quietly, starting a mental chant, touching the small, thin glass vial in his pocket. "You're sure they'll come?" he asked his grandmother, who nodded. The back door slammed open and a pissed off blonde woman stomped in. "Huh, you're not as pretty as my ancestors said."
"Oh, please!" she said, looking him over. "Who are you to summon me?" He gave her a look, staring her down. She sneered. "Sorthes. Oooh, yay, I'm trembling," she said sarcastically.
"Whine, bitch. Oh, and I know crack hos who dress better. Now freeze her, witch." Willow started to chant. Glory shrieked and raised a hand but Tony had dropped the glass vial, letting it break. A small bit of fog came out and with it three more ghosts appeared as Glory was temporarily frozen. "I know I'm not the Volka of this generation, but it's really important, Ancestors." He waved a hand. "The gaudy one doth come. Again."
They looked at her then at him. The one who looked a whole lot like him sneered. "Didn't we put her away?" he asked his brothers.
"I thought we did," the middle one said. He looked at Vorchain. "The monks who kept her?"
"Someone summoned her unwisely," he said grimly. "The monks are all dead. I got there days after they died. I tried but Immigration kept me."
"Then we'll need the blood of The Key."
Horatio pointed at Dawn. "This Key?"
"That Key," he agreed, smiling at the young lady. "It will not harm you."
"Are we talking like virginal blood? Because that was discussed earlier and all the guys here are kinda tragically old except Xander, and he's like a big brother eve if I do have a crush on him."
"No, child, any blood would do," he said, looking at the man who walked in. "Ah, my line," he said happily, bowing to him. "Would you consent? Are you strong enough to push me back out?"
"I am," he agreed. "I open myself fully to my ancestors, though I'm not sure why I got called."
Tony smirked at him. "Mac Taylor."
"Tony DiNozzo. How's Gibbs?"
"Doing fine. He's part of this insanity but not here at the moment."
"We shared a flight but he scowled the whole way so I didn't want to talk to him. He's outside."
"Wonderful. The crappy dressing blonde is Glorificus."
"Huh. I thought she'd be prettier by the stories." He looked at his ancestor. "Inhabit away. I can get you out again."
"Me too," Tony agreed, opening his arms.
"Are you sure you're strong enough?"
"I have enough fear of someone to send you shooting from me when you're done," he said with a grin. "You'll see why soon enough."
The one that looked like Mac slid into him. The other slid into Tony. "Release a bit of the fear so I can stay?" he requested. Tony tamped it down and he settled in with a sigh. "Hmm. Very nice. Very fit for fighting. Well kept, son of the line." His other brother pouted. "See if the other one would let you use him."
He pouted at Xander, his curly hair pushed back some as he moved. "Please?"
"Of course. As long as you don't stay permanently. The others have."
"I can help you with that," he promised, sliding inside him. "Hmm," he said with Xander's voice. "All sorts of clutter. We can help you with that." He looked around. "Watcher, may we trouble you for a sword or three?" He got them all weapons, him a battle axe. "Hmm, the boy's weapon. Good choice, Xander." He moved to stand with his brothers, looking at the new man who came in, beaming at him. "Cofostat!"
"Of the line of," Tony's inhabited body said. "They still hit on the head too." He got one for that. The ghost shifted. "No, release some of it. I have to stay in here," he reminded him. His brothers were moving to get things done right this time. Tony settled his mind again and he lunged, taking her on with the sword. The charm freezing her broke and Mac's body got her from that side while the third brother fixed the spell and capturing circle. Plus the thing to hold her. He smiled when he finally got done, looking back at Dawn and Horatio. "We'll need some."
Horatio handed over his pocket knife. "However you feel like," he said quietly. She walked forward with Vorchain guarding her, slitting her thumb, getting a nod of gratitude as he used her hand to drop the blood at certain points in the circle. Mac and Tony finally got her back into it and he chanted, Tony joining in, holding Mac's hand while he concentrated. Willow came over to join him, getting a nod of thanks from Tony. The last part was wearing their bodies out but Giles came over to help them, reading it from the book itself. The trapped spirit screamed and ranted, beating on her prison walls. Until she was forced to shrink, then slowly got sucked in the circle. Xander's inhabitor put in a small sealing bottle he had found - even though it had liquid in it it'd be fine. She was sucked into the bottle and he capped it, handing it to Gibbs. "In a coke bottle. That's a new one," Horatio muttered. Buffy gave him an odd look. "I've had to trap something in a teapot before. Never a coke bottle."
"She won't be thirsty. Xander didn't get to finish it." She pulled Dawn back, smiling at her thumb. "You okay?"
"I'm fine. Not really any worse than a deep papercut." She handed Horatio back his knife, getting a nod of thanks. The spell was finally completed and the hell goddess trapped. "Wow," she said. "We don't get to do those things. We're doing good to keep up with the vampires."
"In the scheme of things, that's your sister's job," Ancelin assured her. "She's not meant to take on the higher problems. Or the true demons who work for the minions of evil. She's meant to take out the funny looking ones who hunt and the vampires who hunt." Dawn nodded at that and Buffy smiled at her. "Though none of us like Watchers. They do so put on airs."
"They fired Giles for giving a damn," Buffy told her.
"Sounds like them," Horatio agreed. "I love to kick them out of Miami." He coughed when the brothers stared at each other, then kissed.
"Eww," Buffy complained. "Not needing to see gay boy kissing!" She tried to cover Dawn's eyes but she ducked away.
"It's not so bad. No worse than het people kissing, and by the way, eww, you took Riley back?"
"He changed sides," she defended.
"Still eww! He tortured Spike and probably got off on it!"
Horatio moaned. "Can't this wait, ladies?"
"No," Buffy told her, hands on her hips, scowling at her sister. "Riley's important to me."
"He helped the government torture and kill demons who weren't hunting. Even if he did chip Spike it's mean and evil to do that to them. That'd be like making it so a dog couldn't bounce, bark, and wag its tail."
"Technically you can make it so a dog can't bark," Gibbs told her. "It's still considered cruel." He looked at the coke bottle, then at the kissing brothers. He coughed loudly. "Some of the rest of us don't need to see that either. If someone asks Tony and he admits to it, he loses his job," he said loudly. That spirit was sent shooting out of Tony's head, leaving him kissing Mac and his passenger.
Tony pulled back. "Not too bad, Mac, but a word of advice, sesame seeds taste funny three hours later." Gibbs smacked him on the head. "Need help?"
Mac shook his head, letting the spirit out. "Thank you."
"No, thank you for lending me your body, Mac. That one, she's a good one. You should try for her."
Mac gave him a look. "I don't need that stress. No thanks, really."
"She was adorable and Greeks are always fiery."
"I know, she swears at me often," he admitted, getting a laugh from all three spirits. He and Tony looked at Xander, who sighed, then closed his eyes.
"There, that's how you unstick us," he whispered to his host, getting a nod. "Though I did firm up the shields around what you've already done, just in case. We don't want you going primal next time, dear." He slid out, shaking out his hair. "There we are." He beamed at the coke bottle. "Do have fun in your bath! I'm sure it'll do wonders for your hair."
"It's been known to eat rust off a car bumper," Mac told him. "Or oil off engine parts."
"And straight through stomachs as well," Giles said, frowning at Xander. Who scowled back. "No, you cannot have another one today. You'll bounce."
Xander shook his head, looking at the ghosts. "Can we at least know your names?"
"I'm Marcus," Tony's look-alike said. "We're from Rome. I wrote a book for witches fighting for the light to use as a guideline. I would get her the book."
"She has the book, she laughed," Giles assured him dryly. "I do try to keep her from getting into trouble."
"In my day we married those sort off," Mac's look-alike told him. "Preferably to someone who would want a lot of children to keep her too busy to study." Xander snickered at that. "It worked."
"I'm sure but today we have things to make sure girls don't get pregnant if they don't want to."
"Can we go back to the gay boy kissing?" Anya called from the back. She came out and paused, then bowed and backed up a few more steps. "Elders."
Mac's look-alike turned to look at her. "Anyanka. Well met."
"Well met, Antonio Sorthes of Rome." She bowed again. "You as well Marcus and Daedalus." She smiled. "Thank you for helping us today," she said respectfully. "But can you go back to the gay boy kissing? My boyfriend would look very hot doing it too. I've been trying to talk him into it but he's stubborn."
"That's because the only one who could ever be with him is his soul brother," Marcus said patiently. "You didn't recognize the Chapalet brothers when you saw them?"
She pouted. "I saw Sandburg. No woman he breaks up with ever wants to hurt him. Even if he is a playboy. It's not fair that he's like a kitty cat. He's even furry."
Gibbs looked at her, then at the boy. "Take it from my experience. Women like that will try to destroy you and usually will also try to hit you on the head with a golf club or something."
"She's the first who hasn't tried to kill me," Xander said dryly. Gibbs gave him a horrified look. "Really, the others all tried and a few nearly succeeded in killing me. She's the best yet."
"Have a question," Tony asked. "Are sperm banks like wenching in the old days?"
Marcus grinned and nodded. "Much for the same purpose for our lives. Though, in your case, we would have to be able to find and test any children for the Volka's position."
"I was told I was trained but not skilled," Tony offered.
"I know. It's a shame the current one can't bear heirs."
"I know a spell for that," Willow said.
Tony tossed more of the powder onto her, turning her back into a mouse. "I think that's better before she gets bad ideas."
"Probably true," the ancient Antonio agreed dryly. He smiled at his kin. "Ancelin, I see you also attended?"
"Volka sent me to send this one. Tony sent me to gather a few others to help him." The coke bottle rocked in Gibbs' hand. "We'll have to seal that."
"Start a cult, let them worship and guard it to make sure it never opens. Like worshiping Shiva if what I read was right," Xander offered. The ghosts all smiled at him.
"I know a few places I could stick it that it won't ever come to light," Gibbs promised.
"Oooh, you have the keys to Area 51?" Xander asked. "Can I go see the aliens?"
"They're mostly in Colorado," Ancelin said dryly. "They were stolen from here for the most part. A few who look a bit odd but otherwise they're mostly stolen humans." She smoothed down his hair. "You do need a better one than Anyanka."
"If he dumps me I get my powers back but I'll have to smite him," Anya pointed out.
"He's a Chapalet, dear. He could never be with you full time," Ancelin pointed out. "That gives him an out. You're not his brother."
"Even more ewww," Buffy said, plugging her ears, walking off humming so she didn't have to hear any more. "DAWN!"
"No thanks. Not like they're brothers in this life," she called after her. She smiled at Horatio. "You seem a lot more cool and less uptight than Giles is."
"Thank you," he said with a small smile. "I do try." He put back on his sunglasses. "Are we done? I left a lab fighting itself. I need to administer spankings."
"I'll trade you Lindsay and Danny for Ryan," Mac offered.
"Don't tempt me." He walked out shaking his head. "I'll call, Mac," he called before the door shut behind him.
"Interesting how those things work out," Tony said happily. He grinned at Gibbs. "See, important and I didn't even get stuck thanks to you."
"I scared you into living through the plague, I'd hope you wouldn't have died of possession, DiNozzo," Gibbs said grimly. He looked at them. "Question, if the current Volka is getting weaker, there's no male heirs, and the tower's about to fall in, now what?"
"Well, the old saying was that if Rome fell the world would fall," Antonio told him. "We trapped much inside the walls of Rome to save her."
Marcus nodded. "The Watchers and the ravages of time have let loose some of them. Their tombs torn down, new buildings put up. Watchers stealing things hoping they can contain them."
"So I'm taking it it's like the Ghostbusters containment system? After a while a rip will form inside and everything will come back out?" Tony guessed.
Marcus looked at him, going back through the memories they had shared, then he nodded. "Yes. Basically."
"What about your tomb?" Tony asked.
"It still stands. It's under the Vatican proper by feet." That got a smile. "With the way Rome weakens these days it should be moved but we're not sure where."
"The tower should be moved ad well," Antonio suggested.
"Or you could name two Volkas," Mac offered.
"That's also an option. One over the old world, one over the new. The problem is that he can't sire heirs."
Tony pointed at the witch. "Or have him marry and see if the new technology can create a single seed. We can split cells. I know it's possible to do."
"That could work as well. If he hadn't gotten sick it would've been all right."
"I still say that's a plan that the other side used to weaken us," Ancelin said.
"You've grown paranoid in your old age," Marcus teased.
"I'm without either spouse most of the time and I'm still not bedding you two!" she said dryly.
"Chauvis' heir is in Miami," Tony reminded.
"I still can't appear to him, dear. It's the promise I made."
"If I could prove it wrong, would that help?" Tony pressed.
"Yes," she sighed, shaking her head. "You're as stubborn as my own Volka was."
"My own was worse," Marcus told her. Mac shook his head. "Yes you were." He smiled. "Do you have children? I didn't pry."
"No, my wife and I didn't have any children before she died."
He sighed. "This must be a work of the evil ones," he told their younger brother Daedalus. "Can you not fix it?"
"I have sperm in three different donor banks," Tony assured him. "I've slept with many women. I know I work."
The ghosts got together to talk, then looked at them. "We'll come to the family in two weeks with information and a plan," Antonio told them. Tony and Mac both bowed and backed off.
Ancelin gave Cofostat a gentle smile. "Your own Severtina has come back as well."
"Knew I was right," Tony said dryly. He looked at Xander, who looked very confused. He wrote out the information he knew on Sandburg. He had been in the news recently. "Your brother's there, Xander." Xander smiled shyly, looking at Giles, who nodded for him to go.
"Poo, now who'll give me orgasms," Anya complained. She looked at the ghosts. "Can I be a helper since I'm stuck like this?"
"You are, to the Slayer," Marcus told her. She pouted but nodded. He looked at Dawn. "His plan was right, young one. You do need to be less pure to save yourself and others when they come for you again."
"Well, there's a slightly nice vampire, I guess," she said grimly.
"No, not the touch of a demon, the touch of a man," Antonio told her gently, giving her a smile. It wasn't her fault she was warped that way. She was an ageless magical being that had been reborn *here* of all places. There was no way she'd be acting totally normal yet. "Go pounce a boy your own age." She nodded. "Get as impure as you can. Then you can live without it if you decide to. Just don't get pregnant. There's special things we'd have to do to guard the child." She nodded, going to leave the shop and talk Buffy into a trip to the next town and the mall. He smiled at Mac, Tony, and Gibbs again. "Go. Shoo. We'll finish up here then talk about what's needed." That got a nod and they left together. "Vorchain," he sighed, smiling at him.
"I tried very hard to get the current Volka to knock up a few women when he was younger. He was always into his studies." He shrugged. "I tried. I helped teach Tony. I helped teach Horatio and a few of the others. I've even seen his Cofostat knight."
That got a smile from Ancelin. "You always did find the most fun versions of trouble."
"You'd love my motorcycle," he teased.
"I'm sure I would." She stroked his cheek. "Be a good boy. Go watch over our heirs for us. We'll see some of them in a few weeks." He nodded, nodding more curtly at Giles before leaving. She looked at Anya. "I'd offer you the chance to use your womb but we don't want the family tainted by your former taint, child."
"Shoot." She pouted. "Do I really have to let him go?"
Ancelin nodded. "A Chapalet can never be taken as the mate of a demon, you know that rule, Anya. The same as a Volka never can be taken."
She pouted, nodding. "Thank you, ma'am. Elders, I wish you a good and peaceful nap with dreams like Xander gave me." She walked off, going to sulk with some ice cream.
Giles looked at them. "Sorry about her."
"She follows her nature. Even as Vorchain's leopard cubs used to pounce us all to wrestle," Ancelin assured him. "It could be much worse. You'll probably get the boy back sometime, but not soon. Now, we must know what is missing from Rome's foundations, Watcher. It is important if our Volka has to go hunt anything else down."
He sighed but nodded, getting into the books the Watchers had left him.
Tony walked into work the next day dragging some. He hated flying overnight. He flopped down, looking over at McGee's desk. "Huh, is there a case or are we off?"
"I had no choice with two of my senior agents taking off that way," the director said from the end of the row. "Where were you?"
"Sunnydale. The Beauteous One came back." She looked confused so he pulled out something to show her the entry in the even older journal. "Her."
"She's a myth, DiNozzo."
"No, but she's trapped in a coke bottle at the moment." Gibbs came in. "You okay, boss?"
"I'm fine. You look rough."
"I hate flying overnight. I never sleep." He looked at the director. "The current holder of the tower is ill," he said quietly, making her gape. "I'm next in line for that position, Director. This isn't my first call out but I've been able to be more subtle before." She groaned. "We'll know what's going on in about two weeks."
"Fine," she said, shaking her head. "This had better not interfere with work." She stomped off. "The others can be called in if you two aren't taking today as well."
Gibbs looked at Tony, who shrugged. "Go. I'll follow." He nodded, taking all the journals home, giving the stairs a glare. "Missing something?" He held it up. "Ziva left it at my house with a note." He handed it over. "Go home." He nodded, taking all that home with him. Gibbs went to talk to the irrational one upstairs. "If it wasn't important we wouldn't have gone."
"Did it get solved?"
"Yeah. They trapped her in a coke bottle. Still had some in it too so it's not really torture." She moaned, shaking her head. "I handed it to someone who can hide it from everyone forever."
"Charming. They won't destroy it, right?"
"No. They won't. That and an account got sealed into a box." That got a disgusted look. "And I do mean sealed." He looked out at the secretary then at her. "It's not like he has a choice."
"There's another in the line. I did some background checks once Ziva got me that journal."
"I know. He knows. There's two in New York. There's a lot of relatives of friends."
"Charlet's in Chinatown," Vorchain said from the doorway. "To keep Ancelin from touching the same well he tackled her. Tony's met him. His remark of 'no wonder you get along so well with monks' cracked him up. Made his decade." He closed the door, looking at the director. "Witch."
"Vorchain," she said with a grimace. "Your tales spread back very far."
"Back to the start of Tony's line," he agreed smugly. "I helped train Ancelin." He came in. "There is one who has the skills but not training. He'd make a better Volka. We're still talking about the original tower since the Watchers removed so much from Rome. It created more problems. Plus evil is very active this generation. There's much gain they can make. It's strategic."
"They were right about the reason the one in the tower's ill?" Gibbs asked. Vorchain nodded. "He couldn't have one before?"
"He had a love he would have bedded for years if she would have let him before they married. She was taken by Mussolini. He was found to have cancer by the end of the war." He shrugged. "We have tried. There's still lines of Chauvis, some of the lines have crossed over. Chauvis' last true heir actually crossed back with a Daughter of Artemis line from the other couple in that trio. That's why he's so strong and mouthy. A lot like his ancestor. Charlet has met him. Horatio's good and strong. He handles things. His brother hated to do that. He's got a nephew he's quietly training. There's the Chapalet brothers finally reborn at the same time." The director shuddered at that. "They'll be fine together." He looked at Gibbs again. "Your own Severtina was reborn. You're the last of your line as well. The others were of a weaker strain, an offshoot really. Your line comes directly from Severtina's own child. The others ended up coming from Younger's line. He wasn't bad but he had bad taste in women."
"I've seen Gibbs have it too," she said dryly.
"Ehh, the original Cofostat, the one Ancelin knew, was married four times. One pretended to be dead because she wasn't wanting to be a knight's wife, only the wife to a fantasy knight." The director snickered. "The others died on him." He looked at him. "It's one of the signs we knew that the group was being reborn. Which has always been my duty to track."
"Then who's Ancelin in this generation?" Gibbs asked dryly.
"I think Antonio picked her out from his host's mind," he said with a small grin. "Greek, fiery, smart, talented. Not reborn but close."
"That still leaves Tony having to have a child and it's never worked in the past," Gibbs told him.
Vorchain smirked. "It'll happen. He has love at the moment." That got a nod. "Will she understand?"
"Nope," Gibbs said dryly.
"Then it'll be up to him to make her understand. If not, there's accessory women around who can serve as his own guide."
"Are we setting up a second tower?"
"Not a tower," he said grimly. "But there is something that could help us. They're still debating that. Over half of what the ancestors put in hiding in Rome is gone, Gibbs." Gibbs shuddered. "Glory was the worst as far as we were aware. At least the First Evil's prophecies were taken out of play. They could have handled it but it would've changed too many things."
"Good to know. You do know that Horatio has to do what he does? It's a calling as strong as any from God?"
"I know," Vorchain said with a grin. "It'll be fine." He clapped him on the arm. "Relax, we'll have many talks coming up. It's always been a loosely knit family group. Though, I do foresee a woman in your future."
"Not the child?"
"No, not the child or her sister." He smirked. "Though I do agree with her. Her sister's boyfriend liked what he did when he was out there torturing things. There's a lot of information that's been hidden around here that Tony should hear about."
"Can you find it for us?"
"If I can borrow someone to find things in the various systems who won't be found."
"I'll get you to them."
"Thank you, Gibbs. By the way, you're not totally the last in your line. Your own bit of wenching was very amusing. She's very strong." He smirked and left them alone.
"Don't I get to know where?"
"No. Her parents loved her anyway," he called before the outer door slammed. "Have more to benefit the world."
Gibbs shook his head, looking at the stunned director. "Well, you said there was something odd about DiNozzo."
"Now I know why. You met the Sorthes ancestors?" she asked quietly.
He nodded. "Talked to them too. They were really amusing. Still needing family around them. Ancelin's floating around them. Her men are somewhere." He shrugged and headed down to go talk to Abby and McGee. He saw Vorchain's bike following him and shrugged it off. He called Abby. "Meet me at McGee's." He hung up before pulling into the parking lot. No McGee's car. He went up to check on him, finding him writing by the typing noises. "Did you sell your car?" he asked when he answered the door.
"It's in the shop for an oil change. What's up, boss?" He let him and the man coming up the hall stay out there. "Problems?"
"We need you to look up certain files for us. Abby's coming over." He walked inside, making McGee let them in. "We will cover your six for it."
"Okay, what am I finding?" Vorchain pulled out a list and handed it over. "Do I get to know who you are?"
"Vorchain. I helped raise Tony," he said with a smile. "An old family friend."
"Uh-huh." He looked at Gibbs. "Do I want to read these files?"
"Probably not," Gibbs told him. "Before you ask, yes it had to do with some of the information from his cousin. That's also why we had to take off suddenly."
"Good to know." He went to his computer to get to work. Someone with a key let herself in, getting a smile. "Hey, Abby." He handed her the list and she handed over a few folders. "You already found some of it?"
"Yeah, they pissed me off." She looked at Gibbs, then beamed at Vorchain, hugging him. "Vorchain!" She kissed him on the cheek. "What naughtiness have you been up to this time!"
"Helping Tony and his ancestors," he said dryly.
She pinched him on the arm. "Pain in my backside," she teased. She looked at the list again, then pointed at something. "I couldn't get any deeper than that. The others I didn't know I needed to search out." She smiled at Gibbs. "You didn't get nibbled on, right? I know the hellmouth can be like that." McGee choked. She beamed. "You know?"
"Heard of," he complained. "One of the hackers I know is out there."
"Rosenburg," Gibbs said grimly. "Tony threw something on her that turned her into a mouse."
"Of course he did," McGee sighed. "I'm not reading any of this information. I'm already past my 'I don't want to know' threshold on this one, boss."
"Didn't figure you'd want to," he assured him. He looked at Vorchain. "Popped in on her?"
"She found me a few years back in Chicago. She came to ask me why she dreamed of me."
"Then she is reborn?"
"She is as you are," Vorchain agreed.
"I said I didn't need to know," McGee reminded them.
"Sorry, whelp." McGee glared at him so he grinned. "What?" he asked innocently. "We talked much about my former leopard and wolf cubs."
"Uh-huh." He got back to work searching out new information on what they already had and the other topics as fast as he could.
Abby came over to help. "Look at it this way, McGee, you can write paranormal thrillers." She kissed him on the temple. "They're always a big hit. You could be the next Stephen King."
"No thanks. I like action adventure things." He handed over some new information on one. "One's reopened."
"Of course it was," Gibbs said grimly. "How dangerous?" Abby got the stuff off the printer to hand over. He read it over. "You don't have a fax, right?" he asked McGee.
"Place on the corner has one, boss," he said dryly. Gibbs went to do that, leaving Vorchain there. "You can sit. You're very distracting."
"Everyone loves to stare at me," Vorchain said with a bright smirk. "Mostly in awe and lust." He sat down while Abby giggled. She came over to hug him then went back to work.
"How often will this come up in the real work we do?" McGee asked finally, having skimmed one page he was printing.
"Hopefully not often. It would be Tony's job to fix," Vorchain assured him. "You'd be his backup."
"Good. I don't want to know who made deals with the devil in Congress. Though someone has been keeping track." He handed that sheet over, going back to his hacking. An IM box popped up to ask him who he was. "I'm using your name."
"Go ahead. If he knows me, ask who he is. It could be Charlet."
"There's more of you?" he asked as he typed that in. He got back a nod. "Kermit?"
"Kermit," he agreed, smirking at him. "He and I share a curse."
"Last time I knew he wasn't an albino who wore a silver and bronze mask," he said dryly.
"No, his sunglasses hide him for other reasons," he assured him.
"Ah." He typed something else in, getting a laugh. "He said to call him today. He's taking Peter somewhere."
Vorchain pulled out his cellphone to do that. "You're going on vacation? Ah, a trip for his father. Of course it is." He smiled. "Please. No, he's one of the second Volka's coworkers. He works with an end-line Cofostat and Severtina's reborn daughter." He kissed her on the forehead. "Her, yes. Kermit said hi, Abby."
"Hi, Kermit. Send me a postcard," she called into the phone, hearing him laugh. She beamed. "Conventions are cool."
"They can be but I break computers." He listened to him. "Please. Getting Tony up to date. He's at NCIS with Abby," he said dryly. He heard the head slap. "Didn't realize when you met Gibbs?" He laughed. "He is. Very strong." Gibbs came in. "Kermit said hi."
"Kermit.... The one that worked ...." He took the phone. "Kermit?" He listened then smirked. "How are you involved in this?" He said something quietly, getting a shudder. "Better you than me. It is. My guy McGee. Thanks." He handed it back. "He'll send you what he has as well, McGee."
"That could help," he said, leaning back to leave it alone for a few minutes. There was a file downloading in his system. He scanned it first and then printed it out without looking at it. This was going places he wouldn't even read in a fantasy novel.
Horatio got back to Miami, looking at the man waiting for him in the airport. "Something happen, Mr. Wolfe?"
"I was going to ask you the same question," he admitted grimly, walking out with him. "On my end? No. Yours? How was the hellmouth?" he asked quietly.
"A bit dirty that night," he admitted, smiling when he saw his hummer. "Thank you."
"Welcome." He slid into the passenger seat, looking at his boss once he had his seatbelt done up. "What was going on?"
"Someone summoned the Beauteous One." Ryan muttered a swear, getting a nod. "Basically. Though I did get to see some of my ancestor's friends and some near relatives." He started the engine, pulling away from the airport. "It was handled. She's trapped again."
"A coke bottle."
Ryan gave him an odd look. "Tell me you're joking." Horatio shook his head. "Please?" he begged.
"I can't. By the way, I also met one of your ancestors."
"Were they OCD too?"
"Tony described her as an amazon wench," he said dryly.
"For some reason that doesn't really surprise me," he said, leaning his head against the window. "We ran into two problems while you were gone. I had to stake Eric's new girlfriend but he doesn't know yet, and the prosecutor was using magic on the judge. I caught him mumbling and sneezed really loudly to interrupt it. He does not like me anymore."
"No the new guy. West I take as one who was born without one or gave hers away a long time ago but she's enjoying being souless."
"Possibly true," he admitted. "Is Eric upset?"
"I forged a letter saying she ran off with her girlfriend."
"Thank you for that. Did he find out?"
"Nope but he's still sniffing around it. He was giving me evil looks earlier. That's why I came to meet you instead of him."
"That's fine, Mr. Wolfe. We'll deal with it." He pulled into the parking lot and parked, letting them both get out. They found Eric and Stetler waiting on them. "Yes, gentlemen? Is there a problem?"
"There's a tape of your CSI using a sharp, wooden thing on someone invisible and then there's dust," Stetler said bluntly. "I want an explanation and so would CSI Delko."
Ryan sighed and looked at Eric. "I caught her out hunting three teenage girls," he said quietly. "She tried me."
"I saw the defense moves. Why didn't she show up on the tape?" Stetler asked.
Ryan looked at him. "For the same reason you eat garlic every month," he said bluntly, making him pale and back up. "Unfortunately I have family history on my side in this case." He looked at Eric again. "I didn't want you to worry."
"The note?" he asked, glaring at him.
"Did you want me to come tell you I had to deal with her?"
"Okay, fine. Your girlfriend was out hunting others to hurt and I had to deal with her. I'm sorry I tried to ease it for you, Delko." He walked between them, heading up to the lab to get back to work.
"How did he know?" Stetler hissed, glaring at Horatio.
"His family has the same sort of history mine does," he said quietly, glancing around. He looked at Eric. "You two will be talking later in my office, when we can be sure no one will butt in."
Eric nodded. "I've heard about girls who did that," he admitted blandly. "My mother and father both told us stories about that. He doesn't look like a girl though."
"He's not." Horatio smiled gently. "There's other groups, Eric. Not just them." That got a single nod and he walked off. He looked at Rick again. "I'd guess he saw the marks," he said gently. "Does it really make you feel better? You do know it does nothing to help?"
"It's good for my blood pressure supposedly," he said, glaring at him. "You didn't tell him?"
"His family handled those matters long ago, Rick."
"Fine. Where did you run off to?"
Rick's eyes went wide. "Why?" he asked quietly. "I'm not the only one asking that question."
Horatio shrugged. "It was necessary to save an important young woman's life." He walked over to the elevator. "I'll be in my office." He got on and took off his sunglasses once he was inside, giving Calleigh a look when he got off and she was there to meet him. "Problems?"
"No, welcoming you back and making sure you're okay. Usually when you run off like that someone's getting shot."
"No, no one got shot. There was a worse problem and I got called in as backup," he said with a gentle smile. "It shouldn't have to happen again anytime soon." She nodded, leaving it there, handing him a folder. "Your case?"
"Closed, sealed, he confessed and took a deal," she said happily, heading back to her lab.
Horatio went up to his office, finding Ryan in there with Eric glaring at him. He closed the door. "This could wait until later."
"I want to know," Eric told him.
Horatio sighed as he sat down. "Long ago, there was a group that started in ancient Rome, Eric." He sat down, looking at him. "It was started by a pair of brothers and helped by their little brother when necessary. When they died fighting something higher that could have destroyed everyone and everything, their brother carried on their good works and gathered others."
"Okay," Eric said, nodding. "It's still around?" Horatio nodded. "Where?"
"Mostly in Italy though a great number of offspring have made their way over here. I'm from their offspring. Ryan's line married into the original family and he's not quite from the line but accepted as such." A ghost floated in and dropped a scroll. "Who's been keeping track?"
"Vorchain. It gives him something to do besides adopt cubs and cause trouble," Ancelin said before fading out. She hadn't manifested to either of the other two.
Horatio unrolled it. "Ah, the full family tree." He let Eric see it. "Ryan's line comes from this trio," he said quietly. "I come from these two's lines merging at one point." He pointed at his name, then at Ryan's. He looked at Eric. "Ryan wasn't asked to go because of a problem with that line."
"The OCD?" Eric asked Ryan.
Horatio shook his head. "No, the Vatican intervened. Because it was a trio and one was a former priest they made them deny the existence of that line." He looked it over, smiling at something. "So that's how Mac was involved," he muttered, looking further. "Interesting." He rolled it back up, handing it to Ryan. "See if that will scan in. I need to send that to a few people."
"Sure." He went to do that.
Eric closed the door again. "So you're used to that stuff too?"
"Now and then I've had to dabble," he admitted. "This time someone's life was in jeopardy and if they died other worse things would come to be. Then we'd all have to fight to save everyone and everything."
Eric just nodded. "I'm so glad I have a normal family."
Horatio smiled. "We all got yelled at for lack of children, Eric. Have some as well."
Eric shuddered. "No thanks." He left him alone, going to help Ryan with the scanning project. "Up the gray scale so it's readable."
"It's coming out okay once it's in," Ryan admitted, letting him see the file. A diskette landed beside him so he ran it. "Ah, it is on diskette." He went to hand that to Horatio. "It flopped down beside us." He handed back the scroll. "Who delivered it?"
"Your ancestor. The one the Vatican got onto. Someone's trying to fix that so you get nagged for children too."
Ryan snorted. "I'm not even dating."
"They had a fine history of going out wenching," Horatio offered.
"No, that's Delko." He walked off shaking his head. Sometimes family history was a bit odd. He got back to work on his current case, not able to put it off any longer. Eric followed him in, shutting the door. "Problems?"
"Wondering. Why were you there?"
"I was out looking for the same thing we all look for when we go out clubbing, Eric. The three girls had been snuck in by her." He glanced at him. "Come look at this? I'm stumped."
He came over to look, pointing at something. "What's that?"
"That's annoying me. The machines won't tell me what it is."
Eric just nodded. "Let me look at it. Any idea what kingdom it's from?"
"Animal of some sort."
"I'll look at it." He looked at him. "I didn't figure you to be a guy to get it on in the clubs."
"I usually go out to get lost in the music, letting it flow through me to clean out the stress. Getting a quick blow by someone cute is a bonus," he said blandly. He got back to work on the rest of the case. "She had snuck them in, was teaching them how to tease, and then led them and two men back to the bathrooms. She nibbled on all them, nearly killed one of the girls and wasn't going to turn her. I got them help and took her out back to talk to her. I had no idea there were cameras."
"We saw the look around for them. No one was with you until there was dust."
"That part of the legend is true," he admitted dryly. "It's still easier than fighting off a succubus. By the way, two girlfriends ago? You're welcome. She was going to kill you."
"She was a what?"
"Succubus," Ryan said patiently, looking at him with a grin. "They kill their meals once they're drained too dry. That 'flu' you had? It was her working on you. I only banished her so she could come back so try to be careful?"
"I'll be careful," he agreed, shaking his head quickly. "I don't want to know."
"I felt that way once. Then somehow an incubus got stuck onto me and wouldn't leave me alone until my father finally banished it for me." Eric laughed. "No, I wasn't thinking about men but he was insistent." He turned the report's page. "Fingerprints are negative for matches. One's too smudged. Even enhancement can't help there. She thinks they're alike however." He turned the page again. "Negative for DNA matches as well. But it was female."
"Fingerprints the right size for a woman?"
Ryan looked at the originals, shaking his head, holding it up. "Not unless she's got really thick fingers."
"I've seen some but we'll make it a less likely proposition." He got to work on that sample. He could see why Ryan was going insane. It wasn't going to make him happy either.
Mac flopped down into his desk chair, smiling at Stella when she peeked in. "Situation settled."
"Good. What was it?"
"You wouldn't believe me if I told you," he admitted. His computer beeped so he looked at it. "Who turned you on?"
"Danny. One of the prosecutors spilled coffee on your report so he looked up a new copy for you."
"Thank him for me." He opened the new email, looking at the short message and then the attachment. "Someone was very thorough." He enlarged his generation's part, frowning at the name up from his. "What?" he muttered. Stella came over to look. "Something to do with that situation."
"Looks more like a family tree. You're related to Flack?"
"Apparently we're distant cousins." He frowned but shrugged it off mentally. Stranger things had happened. He printed out the enlarged view, taping it together with her help. He traced the links, smiling at the other names he knew on there. "Huh. Very interesting."
"It is. What family is this?"
"It's not so much a family as a former group that was around a long time ago," he said with a smile.
"Are you going to tell Don?"
"Later." She nodded, leaving it at that. He went back to looking it over once she was gone. He frowned at a few of the marks. "Vorchain. Of course he is, he's loud," he muttered. That did make a lot of sense in so many ways. "Crossed in with Chauvis' family line I see." He smiled at it, then at Don when he walked in. "Stella?"
"Yeah, said she found both our names on the same family tree." He came over to look, finding his name when Mac pointed at it. He traced it back. "Volka? That sounds familiar. I don't know from where. Clearly a family name since there's so many sons with that name." A ghost formed and he glared at it. "Yes?"
"Ancelin," Mac said, smiling at her. "Thank you for finding this for us."
"Not a problem," she said happily. "I figured you should know. Did you know Vorchain's offspring was in trouble? He's about to make something explode."
Mac called Danny. "Whatever you're doing is going to explode." He hung up and got back to looking. "He was crossed into Chauvis' line."
"She was a beautiful daughter," she agreed, floating closer.
"You're a myth," Don said dryly, looking a bit confused. "Unless you're not Mary?" he asked at her giggle.
"No, dear. I'm not Mary. She's real but she hides in the attic. Guns scare her." She stroked his cheek, making him look even more confused. "You look so much like my Volka. He was a bit more broad and muscled but so like you." She sighed, getting back to the family tree. "There should be another page, Mac." He checked and printed that page, finding the few new names. "Now, what are you going to do with the half-demon here, dear?" She stared at Mac until he whimpered. "It's possible she doesn't mean the harm she causes but it's innate to her."
"She's doing good work, Ancelin."
Don stiffened, staring at her. "I've seen you before." She looked at him and nodded, smiling slightly. "You were at the academy when another rookie snapped on the firing range. You made me duck so I wasn't shot too." She nodded again. "Why?"
She pointed at a block. "That was me, dear."
"Don. Don Flack Junior," he said, looking confused again. "How?"
She smiled and stroked his cheek. "There's a lot of family history you don't know about." Someone slammed in and she looked back at his shocked look at her see-through behind. "At least I'm wearing clothes. Get in here before you finish blowing up the building."
"I'm telling Grandfather you're meddling," Danny said bitterly. "Again. I needed to do that for the experiment to prove who killed someone."
"What were you doing?" Mac asked. Danny handed over the report so he nodded. "That's fine. Next time use the fume hood?" He gave him a look, tossing it back. "This is the family tree of the whole Sorthes."
Danny looked then pointed. "I know I'm there. Somewhere."
Mac found his name then tapped it. "Here. Crossed from Vorchain's and Chauvis' line."
"So smart and pretty," Danny said with a smirk. "You do know she meddles terribly? He's still yelling about her and his hair."
"He didn't have to cut it all off and it did keep him from nearly dying again. He hates it when he nearly dies and has to change lives too soon," she defended, looking at him.
"Uh-huh. So, you came to see Mac and he had to run off. Why?"
"Glorificus came back," Mac told him.
Danny blinked. "Well, shit," he said finally. "She trapped again?" Mac nodded. "Good! Anything else I should know?"
"The Key's an adorable young woman who we ordered to become impure," Ancelin told him, smirking slightly. "I saved Don's life once."
"Uh-huh." He looked at Don. "She's meddled so often it's not funny. Usually it helps but a lot of them have unintended consequences. Like someone else being hurt. Hair being set on fire. Houses being set on fire. People running off in fear for their lives. My father shitting himself and then trying to kill everyone who saw. Why did you like Sonny?" he asked her.
"He was a cute little stablehand. You could take him in and train him so he's an obedient servant."
"He's not as weak as you think," he said dryly. "He'd kill himself first." He looked at Mac again. "Do I need ta help?"
"No. Situation over."
"Good! Even better. That test means her son killed her. Can't find him now. Haven't been able to since last night. We've got a warrant out for him as a witness, I'm gonna amend it." Mac nodded at that. He looked at Don again. "It'll be fine. Just watch out for her idea of fun. The last time I went with it, my grandfather and I shared a lot of stories about wenching and tequila." He walked off shaking his head.
"He's so adorable," she cooed. "Just like his grandfather."
Don shook his head quickly, walking off still shaking his head.
"He'll get used to it." She smiled at Mac. "Volka's dying," she said quietly.
"I have no one I want to have children with," Mac said gently. She snorted. "Even if I do like them I can't and won't, Ancelin."
"Fine. Do know that you'll have to sometime." She faded back out. "Tony's calling, sweetie. Be back later."
"Sure." He went back to studying it. He knew a great lot of them.
Xander stepped into the classroom since everyone in it was leaving. He watched the man at the front of the room talk to a few of the students, just drinking him in. He finally walked down when he started to pack things up. "Hi." The man squeaked and dropped the papers. "Sorry, didn't mean to scare you, Blair." He helped him pick them up. He grinned. "I'm Xander."
"Hi. Blair Sandburg. Do I know you?"
Xander shrugged. "I'm told it's possible." The man looked really confused. His curly hair was pulled back today, and his blue eyes showed his shrewd mind. "Ancelin?" he called. Nothing. "Ancelin!" She faded in then smiled and waved before disappearing again. "She told me to come find you."
"She's a ghost," he said, putting the papers back down, staring at him. "Do I know you?" he asked again, staring at him.
"Apparently not in this life. Which is still kinda freaking me out because I've had some really strange dreams about that last one in Rome running an inn." Blair gaped so he shrugged. "It happens I guess. I'm used to the strange stuff. I was told to come find you and talk to you."
"Why? My area's tribal culture in Central and South America."
Xander shrugged. "My speciality's demons and vamps." He gave him a goofy grin and watched as Blair's face changed, looking like he got it. "Have you dreamed of that inn?"
He swallowed. "A Holy Knight's Rest," he said quietly. Xander nodded, stepping closer again. Blair shifted nervously. "What's going on?"
"Apparently we were fairly close back then. She said I should come talk to you. Which I know is freaking you out majorly but we should at least talk because it seems to be important. Besides, I know that life doesn't ever last as long as you want it to. Everyone dies with at least some regrets."
Blair stared at him. "I have a class in ten minutes. I'll be done for the day after that. Why don't you go meditate in our meditation garden? I'll meet you there after class?"
"I really didn't mean to freak you out."
Blair grabbed his hand before he could move. "I know, Xander. I need time to think and I've got to give a test next class. The meditation gardens are behind the chapel on the edge of the college's grounds. Go there, wait on me. We'll talk after I give the test?" Xander nodded, beaming at him and heading out. Blair regathered his papers, heading to drop them off and grab the papers before hurrying onto his next class. He walked in and everyone groaned. "You knew you had a test. Come grab one." He put down the stack, then groaned and held up a hand. "Sorry, grabbed the done ones. Give me a minute." He went to grab the other stack, putting those back onto his cluttered desk. He came back and handed over the blank ones, letting them start on their tests. He sat down to think and watch. Something really odd was going on here and he was only used to minorly weird things.
Xander smiled at the man who opened the fence when he rang the bell. "Is this the meditation garden? Blair said to come here and wait on him."
"It is, my son," the Buddhist monk said, letting him inside. He studied him. "You're troubled?" He closed the gate.
"I'm more confused. Ghosts and things of the past coming out."
"I understand." He pointed at a corner. "There's a good spot back there, shady so you don't get sunburned. It's also private for when Sandburg gets here." Xander smiled and went that way, settling in to sit and think. He went to make some tea. Blair always liked his tea and with the way the boy's soul showed confusion they would both need some. Blair finally got there an hour later, letting him have the pot and two cups with a wink. "He's in the corner, Blair." He nodded, heading that way, settling in to sit across from him. He watched Blair study the young man and sighed. "That's going to get messy."
Xander came out of his thoughts, finding Blair sitting there. "Hi," he said quietly.
"Hi." Blair handed him a cup of tea. "He makes great tea." Xander sipped, letting him do the same. "You clearly know more than I do." Xander leaned forward, resting their forehead's together, staring into his eyes. "Tobias?" he whispered.
"Leonard," he said with a slightly manic grin. He kissed him on the nose. "I've been around a few times watching for you."
"We must have missed each other," Blair said, blinking his eyes. "Huh." He finished the tea, pouring them some more. "I'm... tied is the best way to put it to someone here."
"We all have ties on our souls, Blair. I'm not asking to start their relationship the way it had been but I do want to get to know you. The dreams have only gotten worse since I was told you were around and we stopped the hell goddess."
"Hell goddess?" Blair asked weakly.
"Yeah, I'm from Sunnydale." Blair dropped the cup. Xander giggled. "It's not usually as horrible as that. That was an odd situation and we had to have some outside help."
"The Sorthes family," he breathed. "I've run across them in journals."
"We, Blair, we. We were Chapalets," he said dryly, smiling at him.
Blair took a moment to process that then he blushed. "You're right, it's not going to be a soon thing to restart their relationship." Xander giggled. "What are you doing now?"
"Construction and helping a slayer and watcher team."
"Wow." He coughed, picking up the cup, taking Xander's to drain and putting all that aside. He shifted. "Okay, well, I'm working with sentinels."
"Huh?" Xander asked. "I'm kinda stupid about book things." Blair smacked him on the head. "I'm told by Ancelin that's an old Cofostat family tradition," he joked.
"I never knew why I started doing that a few years back." He looked at his hand then at him. "The ghost?"
"Ancelin. Wife of Volka and Chauvis?" he prompted. Blair moaned, shifting some. "The amazon wench got us help when we needed it from a few others of the current generation. One of them told me who you are. Have you ever met Vorchain? I spent my last day in Sunnydale talking to him. He's really kinda cute and funny."
Blair grinned. "Is he the albino guy I keep hearing saying 'knew I shouldn't have touched the well'?" Xander beamed and nodded. "Wow. No, I haven't talked to him." His phone beeped and he groaned. "Jim," he explained. He pulled out his phone, looking at it and nodded. "Jim." He answered it. "Hi, Jim. In the meditation garden with someone who used to be my brother. No, like past lives, Jim. No, not you, Jim. Don't worry about it. I'll introduce you in a bit." He hung up. "Want to eat dinner with us? I'm a great cook."
"I don't want to intrude on your current thing and make you uncomfortable," he said, starting to move.
Blair pulled him back down. "If I thought you'd upset things in my personal life I wouldn't have invited you, Xander." He beamed and nodded at that. "Okay, let me give back the tea set." Xander hopped up and went to do that, getting a smile and a nod from the monk before he could even get up. Blair grabbed his bag, following him back to the parking lot. "You can follow me."
"Sure. I can do that. Police station or the loft on Prospect Street?"
Blair smirked. "Checked me out first?"
"I wasn't going to talk to you if you were some uptight asshole or some right wing fundamentalist or something demonic," he offered. "They don't tend to like me. Well, some demons like me a lot, some way too much, but most of the time they don't like me."
Blair snickered. "We'll get along just fine, Xander. I'm going to the loft." Xander nodded, jogging over to his car while Blair got into his old Volvo and headed back to the loft. He walked in first, smiling at his partner and roommate. "Hey, Jim, I've invited Xander back."
"Do you know anything about this guy, Sandburg?"
"A lot more than I think I do," Blair admitted. He opened the door at the knock. "Come...." Xander gave him a look. "You're right, I shouldn't." He got out of the way. "That hasn't been a problem up here for years. Too much snow."
"That would work in their favor. Less sunlight." He grinned. "Hi. I'm Xander," he said, shaking his hand.
"Jim." He nodded politely, watching the kid who was following Blair while babbling at him. He blinked at one of the topics. "Where are you from, Xander?" he asked finally.
"Sunnydale. Down by LA." He snickered at the odd look Jim gave him. It did not look good on his square face. "I'm not one of those sort of weirdos, Jim. Relax. I got sent to talk to him about this stuff." He looked at Blair, changing the subject to something a bit less controversial - Blair's life instead of his.
"Are you dating anyone?" Jim asked, coming over to watch the new guy. He was making him very uncomfortable.
"Well, I just broke up but I was," Xander admitted. "I kinda probably shouldn't have been but I let her in once and she never really left."
"Younger?" Jim asked.
"No, older. Never satisfied with anything I did. Loud, complained about it often to everyone who didn't want to hear, especially about sex. But it was nice to have someone there in the middle of the night when the nightmares started, ya know?"
"I do," Jim said, staring at him. The goofy kid was a combat veteran? "Which branch were you in?"
"Hometown protection," Xander admitted, looking a bit grim. "Though I was possessed once by someone who was Army." Jim walked off shaking his head. "Sorry." He shrugged, looking at Blair. "You had to be there I guess."
"Jim doesn't get along well with the strange things." The ghost came back. "Welcome," he said dryly. Jim looked then gaped and backed up. "Jim, couch!" he warned before he fell over it. Jim rested against it. "Yes, Ancelin, wasn't it?"
"Yes, dear." She kissed him on the cheek. "I'm checking on the young one. His witch is very worried about him and the blonde one is very worried about gay boy kissing, still."
"Buffy needs to concentrate on her own man before he goes hunting other bodies," Xander said dryly. "You can tell them I'm fine. Blair's fairly nice and we're learning about each other."
"Good." She smiled at them, then at Jim. "You might as well get used to me, Jim Ellison. You'll be seeing me now and then. I'm Ancelin." She floated closer. "When I was alive, those two's spirits were my friends. I'm trying to keep Xander's girlfriend from him too. She knew she shouldn't have been with him but the lure of the forbidden is still as strong as it was in my day." She ruffled his short, military style haircut. "Relax before you die of shock, Jim. Really." She faded out.
Jim pointed, staring at Blair. "Ghosts too?" he demanded finally, standing up again.
"She showed up the other day in Sunnydale while we were having a problem," Xander told him. "The people who came to help us thanks to her helped her tell me to come find Blair."
"No. You two are not allowed to be friends."
"You do not tell me who I can be friends with," Blair said firmly, glaring at him.
"We don't need more strange things, Sandburg!" he complained.
Xander looked at him. "I didn't mean to disquiet you, Jim," he said gently. "I'll try to keep away from you."
"No, you don't move," Blair ordered. "Jim, you can deal with spirit guides. They're like ghosts too. Really. The things that Xander deals with aren't much worse." Xander gave him an odd look. "They aren't up here, right?"
"No, I left most of them back down there. I looked up the town, it's listed as a pretty null area."
"See," Blair said, pointing at Xander. He undid his hair then pulled it back again. "All you have to do is make sure he's a nice guy so you can get along with him too."
"Are you dating him?" he demanded.
"Well, our past selves did," Blair said dryly.
"I thought you said he was your brother," Jim snorted. Xander nodded. He gaped, then shook his head. "Not under my roof, no way in hell, Chief!"
"We're not related now," Blair said dryly. "I can't imagine what Naomi would say about this."
"You think that's bad? I've got a huffy set of female friends who're giving me funny looks. Trade ya."
"Maybe," Blair admitted. "Naomi's my mother, Xander."
"Wow. Mine's ... present. I guess." He shrugged. He looked at Jim again. "All I want to do is to make friends with him, Jim. Really. If we were like our past selves fully you'd already be naked and between us as the toy." Jim gave him a horrified look. "And hey, we fought demons back then too." Jim sat down on the back of the couch again. "So all I want is to make friends with Blair, get to know him. It's nice to have friends, right?" He nodded a bit, giving Blair a hopeful look. "Friends are good, right?"
"Friends are very good," Blair agreed, smiling at him. "I think it'd be a good idea to be friends and Jim can get over it." He glared at Jim again, making him make another noise. "Oh, quit!"
Jim snapped out of it. "Xander, how dangerous are you?"
"Not really. Not unless you attack me." He shrugged. "There's some vampires in some sort of afterlife cursing me for ending their fun and games. Why?"
"Just wondering," he said calmly, heading out onto the balcony with his cellphone. He needed backup.
"I'll make more for Simon!" Blair called, adding more meat to the wok. "It's all right. Jim doesn't deal well with change."
Xander nodded. "Some people need a very firm foundation. It's why they suck their thumbs and things until they're adults."
"I hadn't thought about it that way." They got back to work together, still chatting about Blair's life, studies, and travels. Xander was soaking up his stories like they were nourishment. It was good for him to be admired this way.
Jim, well Jim could find some understanding. It wouldn't hurt their working relationship as Sentinel and Guide to get to know Xander.
Tony woke up a few days later, looking at his grandmother. "I know it's important, but I only got to bed two hours ago," he said grimly. "Is it an emergency?"
She tossed over his cellphone. "You weren't hearing it go off. It's Gibbs."
He groaned, listening to the voicemail, making himself sit up. He dialed him back. "Slept through the phone, boss. What's going on?" He listened to him babble. Gibbs, babbling? He nodded. "I'll be right there. Where are you?" He nodded once slowly. "Give me twenty." He hung up, looking at his grandmother. "You knew he's being charmed?"
"I figured it out, dear. Put on something cute."
"We're not getting together, Grandmother, or there'll be no grandkids." He got up, sliding into a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, then his sneakers, grabbing some things from the kitchen before heading out. Fifteen minutes and four run stoplights later he was at Gibbs' house. He parked and got out, looking at the woman on the porch. "He called me."
"I can't figure out what's going on. I'm not that powerful," she said quietly.
"I'm sure Grandma and I can." He slammed his car door and headed inside, going to the bedroom, finding him tied down. He looked down at him. "I promise, no pictures, boss."
"Just make it stop, DiNozzo. Quit joking around."
"Sure. You're being pulled to do what?" Gibbs hissed something, getting a nod. "Okay, to?" He muttered something else. "We can fix that." He opened the roll of supplies he had, starting with the standard holy water and then moving on from there. He grimaced. "Grandma, can I have the gray book?" The brown one fell next to him. He looked up. "The gray one has all the rituals."
"The one she's using is in there."
"Good." He found it, reading it over, then he smirked and mixed a few of the herbs with holy water, pressing it over his heart. "Director?" She came in so he handed over the book. "Here, into the herbs please?" She looked then nodded, chanting the counter to it. Gibbs suddenly fell asleep. "Next page." She did that and nodded, finishing the cleaning. Then Tony blessed him and kissed him on the top of the head. "A child's blessing," he said at her odd look. "I'm not a priest so I can't do any others." He stood up, taking the book back. "Any idea where the ex-wife is?"
"Somewhere in town?" Ancelin suggested.
"If she has what she needs she could be anywhere."
"She's at the Intercontinental," the Director told him. "She's not that strong either, Tony."
"Good for me." He walked out. "Let him sleep, turn off his alarm," he called as he walked off. He slid back into his car, heading to the hotel. Another thirty minutes of driving and he was there. He walked in, showing his badge. "Gibbs?"
"1215, Agent DiNozzo. Is she in trouble?"
"Yup and she'll be screaming soon." He headed up in the elevator, going to knock on the door until she got up. He stared her down, sneering. "You really are pathetic. You damaged him and now you want him back?" She shrieked, going for him with her nails. But he hadn't dated half the city's women without learning a few tricks of his own. He grabbed her wrists, squeezing them. "Good." He pulled out his cuffs, they had been in his car thankfully, and cuffed her, dragging her off with him. He nodded at the desk clerk. "Hold her room. It might take a few days."
"Yes, sir. Is she a witness?"
"No, she's a bitch," he said bluntly. "We're going to fix some of the crankiness since she attacked another agent who was her ex-husband."
"Yes, sir." He made a note of that in their system. His manager could handle it the next morning.
Tony shoved her into the car, slamming the door, then walked around and got in to drive, heading back to Gibbs' house. He did hit a drivethru for coffee, for him and Gibbs. He finally parked and got out, walking around to haul her inside. The director looked stunned but took her. He went back for his coffee, coming back with both cups. Gibbs was moaning so he put it next to his head, getting a grunt. "The thing's here."
"Why?" he mumbled.
"Because I want the pleasure of watching you yell at her, boss. If only because neither of us got any sleep tonight and we're in the middle of a robbery spree." He sipped his coffee, letting him get up on his own. Gibbs stumbled out a few minutes later, glaring at his ex- wife, who shrank back. "Need me to find pompoms for us, boss?" He took another sip, not dodging the extra-hard head swat. He walked the director out, closing the front door behind him. "Let's let them have an elevator-style conference." He heard something be thrown and break. The director tried to look but he shook his head. "He'd never hit her back." He finished his coffee, looking when it got quiet. That's how he managed to get out of her way when she stomped off. He kept the director from following, watching her huff off. "I'm not driving her back," he said dryly. He looked at her. "Room 1215, Director." She smirked and they went back inside. "Hey, boss, I had to remove all the spells from you. So if you're baptized you might want to do it again just in case. I can only do a child's blessing." He looked at him. "You okay?"
"I don't want to kill her realtor anymore," he said dryly. "Thanks for the coffee, DiNozzo."
"Welcome, boss. Go back to bed. It'll be a long day tomorrow for both of us." That got a nod and Gibbs went to bed, slamming his bedroom door. Tony walked out, leaving the director to make her own way out. He knew she wasn't getting into the bedroom tonight. He went home and walked in, hearing his alarm going off. "Long day," he sighed, heading for the shower once he had turned it off.
Horatio looked up as Eric came in wobbling, tipping his face up. "Just getting home from the club?" he asked dryly.
He shook his head. "Mother." He groaned, heading in to find Ryan. "Can you please do me a huge favor?"
"Sure. What's wrong?" he asked, looking him over. "Another succubus?"
"Poltergeist in my mother's kitchen. Momma made me get the priest and help him for some reason."
"Did it work?"
"I'll head over if H'll give me time," he promised. Eric grinned, going to the locker room. Ryan went to find Horatio, looking at him. "Poltergeist in her kitchen," he said quietly.
"Go ahead. You're on call until you get back."
"Thanks, Horatio." He headed out, going to stop one place on the way. His priest knew enough to let him finish filling the squirt gun with holy water when he caught him. "Poltergeist." That got a nod and he let Ryan go with that explanation. He parked in front of the Delko household, looking at it. "Or maybe something stronger," he muttered. He got out, grabbing a small case he kept in his trunk for emergencies at work. He walked up to the door, giving Mr. Delko a look. "You don't have a poltergeist. You have an imp who's being a pain in the ass. Eric sent me." That got him inside and he went to the kitchen. He set things down onto the kitchen table then found the jar of peanut butter, plopping it into the floor. The 'poltergeist' looked then at him. He found some chocolate sauce and dropped it on top, making the spirit drool. It popped down into its real form, coming over to gobble the treat. He smirked. "You guys are so stupid," he complained, snatching it. He looked at it. "Did you not get told that you're allergic to chocolate?"
The thing started to turn purple and swell. He grabbed the box, carrying it into the backyard. When the imp exploded from every orifice he was ready to send the right mix onto it and the imp to make it shriek and disappear. He sighed, continuing to pour the mix of herbs, salt, and cocoa onto the nastiness until it was fully covered. He put the box back into the case and closed it, turning to find both elder Delkos standing there. "It was an imp. They're allergic to chocolate. That stuff'll make sure it's neutralized." They both nodded. "Also, if it comes back, it'll be found there first because of the cocoa I add to the mix." That got a smile. "The squirt gun has holy water. Make sure I get it back after you've sprayed the kitchen if you want to. I know some people would even though it's not technically necessary."
Mrs. Delko came over to hug him around the neck. "Thank you, Ryan."
"You're welcome. Eric can't ever find you a daughter-in-law if he looks like he did this morning." She laughed and let him go back to his car. He waved before sliding in, heading back to work. He walked in, looking at Delko. "Imps are allergic to chocolate and peanut butter makes them explode grossly all over when they get sick from the chocolate. A real poltergeist would've lowered the house's temperature first. That's the first indication." That got a smile. "Make sure I get my super soaker back, Eric. It's got holy water in it."
"Sure. It's gone?"
"It's banished and the mess it created in the back yard is covered. If it comes back it'll be drawn to it since I add cocoa to my mix. So you'll find it there first." Eric nodded, clapping him on the arm before walking off smiling much more happily. He went to check in with Horatio. "Imp."
Horatio grinned. "One pops up at Yelina's every few months. She swears at the thing until it heads off. My nephew thinks it's adorable, wants to keep it as a pet."
"I add cocoa to my banishing mix. That way they can go home and make other ones sicker. I figure it leads to less repeats and if they come back they'll go for what they spewed thanks to the peanut butter."
Horatio smiled. "We'll have to trade recipes sometime soon."
"Sure, let me know." He went to sign in and head to work. He was happier, he loved to play with imps. They were fun little creatures to torture.
Mac looked at the thing in front of his desk. "What are you doing here?"
"I'm here to give you a choice. Join us or death," she said happily, smiling at him.
Mac frowned. "No thanks. I don't like either option." She pouted. "Tough. Get out of my lab!"
"No, we're here until you take us up on our generous offer."
Danny walked in with a sword from a case earlier in the year, stabbing it in the back. She screamed as she shriveled up, letting him spit on it. "Bitch." He grabbed Mac's coffee. "Sugar?"
"This morning. Why?" Danny poured it onto the remains, making it fizzle. "Danny?"
"Mixed holy water in the coffee pot this morning," he admitted with a shiteating grin. "Sid needed some in the morgue. So I used our coffee pot. Sugar makes it last longer." He handed back the cup and walked out happier, sword over his shoulder. Sheldon Hawkes gave him an odd look. "What? A guy can't be happy?"
"Which case had a sword?"
"Oh, showing Mac it had been used and not cleaned." He nodded, smiling at that. Danny went to clean the sword and put it back into Evidence. Then he got back to work. Mac could clean up the mess in his office easily enough. A good mop would do it.
Mac came in an hour later. "What was that thing?"
"The succuba and incubi have a union now," he said dryly. "Apparently they think you inspire lust, Mac." He blushed, walking off shaking his head, mumbling a bit. He saw Stella stop him to ask him what had embarrassed him. Mac told her to ask him since she leaned in. "A succubus just offered Mac the right to join their union."
"The succubuses are unionized?"
"Yeah, apparently they do it every few centuries." He shrugged. "Whaddiknow?" He said with a happy grin. "She left, it's all right, and we can tease Mac that he inspires lust."
She giggled. "Good to know. Is that why he was cleaning his office floor?"
"Yeah, I mixed holy water in the coffee pot this morning for Sid."
"Even better. Thanks for the warning."
He smirked. "Do you good anyway, Stell."
"If you say so." She went to clean the coffee pot and make a new pot, just in case. Someone might complain and she didn't want to hear the whining. Mac came in to get new. "I cleaned it and made it."
"Thank you." He poured a half-cup and added sugar, walking off shaking his head. "Could've been you," he called at her giggle.
"I turned 'em down last year," she called back. Danny came in a few minutes later, staring at her. "What?"
"Which one came for you?"
"A really hot guy who wanted me to join their side or he'd pout and make the women around me rip out my hair."
"Ah. I've met him. Someone sicced him on me a few years ago. Shocked the hell outta me." He got some more coffee, going back to work while she giggled. Sheldon gave him another odd look. "Stella made new coffee."
"Why do I think I missed something?"
"You did," Danny agreed. "Don't worry about it, Doc."
"Sure." He went to get some more coffee, looking at Stella. "What did I miss?"
"Someone claiming to be a succubus came onto Mac."
"They don't exist," he said dryly, staring at her.
She looked up. "Peter Incuba?" she called. He appeared, giving her a smile. "This is Doctor Sheldon Hawkes. He has no idea what you are but he wants to know. Since you're so good at recruiting, I thought you'd be a good one to tell him."
"We could use him," he said, looking him over. He took his arm, walking him off to talk up the position of incubus. A few hours later Sheldon came back and pinched her hard on the arm.
"You said you need proof to believe in anything like that. You have proof."
"More than I ever wanted to know and he shared way too much about who likes what, Stella," he complained.
"Could be worse, he wanted Mac to join his team too," she said with a grin. "One got sicced onto Danny a few years back."
Sheldon shook his head quickly. "I don't wanna know that," he complained, wandering off. He ran into Mac. "I'm taking a nap. Stella's mean, Mac." He went to take a quick nap to get rid of those images he didn't need or want. He did not want to know which of the lab techs liked to take it from guys while holding his teddy bear. He really didn't.
"Stella, quit picking on Sheldon," Mac said as he walked past the doorway of the lab she was working in. "Or cover his shift."
"Yes, Mac," she called, giggling once he was gone. She could not see him as an incubus. Really, she couldn't picture him having that sort of sex anytime. Even with his wife. Mac wasn't the 'hit it and forget it' sort.
Tony was leaned back napping in his chair when something crashed next to him. "I will kill," he said quietly, not opening his eyes. "I'll have fun doing it."
"This after-work problem of yours is interfering with work," Gibbs told him.
Tony looked at him. "I wasn't doing anything like that, boss. I was calming down the crying thing you used to be married to. She came to my place last night to cry on me." He closed his eyes at the horrified look. "It was a good reminder of why I don't marry. Even the new girlfriend." He shifted some and let himself drift off again.
McGee walked in and paused. "Did I miss a call in?"
"No, apparently my ex-wife decided to bother him last night."
"Do we need Ducky?" McGee asked, ducking the glare and scurrying for his seat.
"No, I'm not bruised. Just tired," Tony said impatiently. "If I could get another half an hour I'd be a chipper person instead of the one who'll rip someone's head off." He shifted again. "Damn it."
"DINOZZO!" the director yelled.
He glared at her, making her back up. "His second wife showed up on my doorstep at two this morning. You know that mood that you and Ziva have when there's not enough midol? I've got it now," he snarled. She backed up another step, running into the opposite side of the stairs. He closed his eyes again, shifting twice, then gave up his quest for a further half an hour, going to find coffee instead. Maybe some chocolate too. Chocolate might help his foul mood. He came out and found a pair of creatures dancing in mid air between the desks. He put down his cup and pulled out his blessed silver dagger, going after one with a growl. They let out a pretty squeal as they disappeared. McGee came over and laid a few hershey white chocolate kisses in front of him before going back to his desk. "Thank you. If they come back, feed them normal chocolate. It makes them spew because they're allergic to it." He flopped down, nibbling on the first one with his first drink of coffee. They showed back up and he threw his dagger, pinning one to the cubicle wall on the other side of Gibbs' desk. "Ha! Still got it." The other pouted and he unwrapped one of the blended kisses, making him a happy imp even if his partner was pinned to a wall. Then he shook and choked and turned purple. She wailed but he fled. She popped out too. "Even better." He got up and grabbed his dagger, going back to his desk. By the time Ziva got there he was in a much better mood.
She smiled as she walked up to her desk. "Good morning." She saw the three men give her odd looks. "What?" She checked herself. "I'm dressed, it's not one of those odd dreams where you show up naked to do things, right?" Gibbs shook his head, going back to his paperwork. "What happened?"
"Tony's in a foul mood," McGee said. He tossed Tony another piece of chocolate when the female imp showed up in front of his desk. Tony tossed it at her and she did the same thing before she too disappeared. "How are they getting in?"
"The big 'Welcome to NCIS' sign out front," Tony said grimly. "Either that or Ducky's conjuring them again. Take your pick."
Gibbs called down to the morgue. "Are you the reason we have the grotesque little creatures who're allergic to chocolate? If so, stop it." He hung up. "He said it's not him before I hung up."
"Huh. We'll find out." He pulled something out of his desk, getting up to steal another hershey's kiss and inject it into it. Then he put it blatantly in front of the filing cabinet before sitting back down. They all went to work, but Ziva, who was looking very confused at the small, silver round pyramid shaped thing. At least until it disappeared. She blinked, pointing at it. "I know," Tony told her. "We'll find out who sent it soon enough." He checked his watch, leaning back to stare at his phone.
"EWWWWWWW!" floated up from downstairs. "Palmer!"
Tony grinned at Gibbs, who went to handle that. Then he looked at McGee. "Ryan Wolfe found out years ago that peanut butter and chocolate is even worse for them. Makes them spew from every single orifice." McGee gagged at that, running to be sick. He grinned at Ziva. "How was your night?"
"Did you and your girlfriend have a fight?" she asked.
"No, I had Gibbs' ex-wife show up to cry on at me two this morning then the boss woke me up."
"I won't tell if you want to go back to sleep. Really," she promised. He grinned and relaxed, shifting so he was slightly on one side. He tilted the chair backwards and was soon snoring. Gibbs came stomping back. "Please don't wake him up. He might torture me next. I'd hate to ruin my good day by having to defend myself."
"Not a problem. I'd rather have him sleep." He sat down, writing an email to Horatio in Miami. Since he knew maybe he knew how to keep them out of his office. Tony was having too much fun torturing the imps and he wanted a second opinion. He got back an answer from another source, printing it off and handing it to McGee. "Gather, mix, distribute somehow." He nodded, looking at it as he went to go grocery shopping. Gibbs shook his head at the first growl from Tony, then he chuckled. He threw something softer at his head. "No dreams like that, DiNozzo!" Tony pouted but switched sides he was leaning toward and started to snore more softly. Gibbs put his head down. He hated his ex-wives. They always brought problems. He heard Ziva move and a few minutes later he had a new cup of coffee. "Thank you."
"Welcome." She went back to her seat, getting to work on something quiet that wouldn't make Gibbs have a worse headache and wouldn't wake Tony. She had been having such a good day until she came to work.
Tony looked up as his grandmother showed up again. "Another emergency? I've got a date."
"No, dear. We finally figured out what we're doing." She smiled. "Is she nice?"
"Yeah," he said cautiously. "I'll introduce you if we make a real go of it." She beamed and nodded. "Come back tomorrow. Or go bother Mac, get him started on it."
She beamed and nodded while he fled. "That poor boy. He needs to wench more." She faded out, going to New York, finding Mac in the middle of a meeting. "Oops? Bad timing?" she asked.
Stella looked at her. "Not really. He's chewing us a new one. You can have him if you want," she offered.
"I can wait, dear. I'm sure he has his reasons."
Danny looked at her. "Grandfather's in town."
"I saw, darling." She pinched him on the cheek, getting a grunt. "Just think, he'll handle things so you don't have to."
"I'm wondering why we have small blobs of herbs, salt, and cocoa around the office," Sheldon asked.
"Imps," Mac told him. "They're allergic to chocolate. The other things banish it. That way it's a bait and a cure."
"Imps are real?" he asked the ghost. She nodded, smiling at him. "Can you prove that?"
"Go to the one with the big, shiny machine. There's one in there nibbling on the cords."
"How many shiny machines?" Danny asked, pulling out his phone.
"One big one with lots of buttons."
"DNA," Stella said, heading out to find it. Sheldon followed her. She walked into DNA, looking around. "Cords?"
"The back of the machine," Sheldon said, looking behind there. He grabbed an arm to pull it out, and the rat it had been nibbling on. "Eww." Stella got an evidence bag, letting him drop her and her snack into it, then seal it. "That's an imp? I thought those were gremlins." Stella gave him an odd look. "Bugs Bunny cartoons. I have no idea where to find books on this."
"I'm sure there's plenty." She handed him the bag, taking the one Danny walked in. "Let's put some in the corner."
"Oh, no!" the tech ordered. "We do not put shit in here! I will not have you messing up my lab!" Sheldon held up the bag, letting her see the eating thing. "What is that!"
"That was under your machine," Stella told her, letting a small bit of the mix drop into a corner behind a table. "This banishes those."
"Get it out of here!" she demanded, pointing. "I don't want that or it's snack in my lab!"
"Then don't touch the herb stuff," Danny told her. "Okay?"
"Whatever!" She moved away from them, watching them leave. She saw movement and something was nibbling on the herbs but it turned purple and disappeared with a pop of sound. "Eww! Mac, I want this place fumigated!" she yelled as she stomped off. She found him staring at the bag. "There was another one in my lab. I want it fumigated."
"I'll have someone do it tomorrow," he promised. She huffed off again. "At least for the rats." He looked at Danny. "No specimen keeping." It finished the rat with a belch. Danny handed the bag to Sheldon.
"What do you want me to do with it?" Sheldon asked, staring at it.
"You wanted proof, make some," he offered.
"They giggle," Danny assured him. "Trust me, they do giggle when you stab them. My grandfather spends days stabbing them and making them giggle when he's bored." Sheldon just nodded, taking it off to pull hair and try for a skin sample. Maybe even a cheek swab as long as it didn't get away from him. When it did finally get free from his helper Adam's hands, it went for one of the piles of mix and disappeared too. Danny looked at Mac, who shrugged. "Could use the rat spraying."
"I'll have someone come in," he promised. "Who gave us this recipe?"
"Ryan Wolfe down in Miami."
"Ah. How are we going to explain this to Lindsay when she comes back tomorrow?"
"Not a clue, but you're the boss, Mac," he said happily, going to spread that around by Flack's desk too. All the detectives were watching the few couples up there dance and have sex in midair. Even the criminals were staring. Danny huffed and slid some of the mix down beside Don's desk. They ran over to get it then squealed and left. He handed the bag to Don. "Banishing solution. Has cocoa because they're allergic to chocolate."
"Do they never learn?" he asked.
"No. They crave it even though it makes 'em hellishly sick. At least one nibbled on a rat in DNA." He walked off again.
Don got up and spread some more of the mix around under the desks and where maintenance didn't clean. Then he stuffed the bag into his desk and got back to work. The captain came in and sniffed. "Hey, Captain, can we go have a beer tonight?"
"You have personal issues?" he demanded.
"No, I just really want a beer and so do a lot of the other guys I think." Most of them nodded.
"Damn it, I hate being on the wagon," one muttered.
"You can have a root beer," Don offered with a grin.
"Good idea." They went to do that, heading out to quit seeing that.
The captain sniffed again, shaking his head as he walked into his office. Someone had been eating chocolate he guessed.
Mac finally got home, settling on his couch. "Grandmother?" She faded in. "You needed something?"
"We're down to two options for the continuing of the lines, Mac." She settled across from him, looking like she was sitting too. "We can either name a second Volka over here and then one over there from more fertile stock. That's the option we like best. Or we can name one over there and let the kids do as they need to without anyone to oversee problems and without a way to meet and talk and do things."
"We have conventions for those," Mac told her.
"But you don't have the library, dear. That's why we like the first plan."
"Who would be in charge?"
"It's not so much in charge; it's more a keeper of the knowledge post. Volka does that for us and protects what's in the tower over there. Here we'd have to have someone to guard the library and protect the ritual area and anything that was stored there."
"Can we bury it in Iowa?"
"If you wish, as long as it's secure," she agreed. "Tony said to come to you about this first. He had a date tonight."
"Then he's doing better than I am," he admitted. He considered it. "I'll talk to the ones I know soon via chat. It'll get us all together."
She beamed. "That's so much easier than riding for so many days and then having a meeting. Plus, no cooking. Or having to put on clothes," she said happily. "Would you please tell my errant Volka that I'll be waiting on them both when they die?"
"Don is?" She nodded. "The other?"
"The nice Ryan boy who I'm not allowed to see or be seen by thanks to narrow minded people at the Vatican."
"I have a solution for that," he offered. "If we can prove to you they demanded it in error, out of stupidity and arrogance, can we find a way around your promise? If it's a good enough reason?" She nodded slowly. "Then come see me in three days." She nodded, fading out. He called Horatio. It was fastest. "We need to all chat soon. Ancelin was up here to talk about setting up our own tower." He smiled. "I'm about to do that. I'm sure it's driving him insane. Yeah. That'd work. Thank you." He hung up, going back to his relaxing. It had been a long day. At least she wasn't trying to push Stella at him anymore.
Mac looked at the priest, then at the spirit, finishing the capturing circle once she was there. "Because I know you're stubborn. This way you have to listen to him." He handed the priest the journal Tony had given him. "That's what happened, by the priest's hand."
He looked it over, then at the spirit. "You weren't well liked?"
"I married a priest who left the order," she said quietly. "Plus we had a lover, another husband."
"Ah." He sat down, going on with his reading. He got up, showing her a line of the journal. "Here, he said he blamed you. You being female, and therefore evil, was the cause of the priest's downfall and the ruin of your family line. He cursed you." She read it, growling. "It looks like it was all to do with you marrying him because you're female and you tempted him. Many men have been stupid that way."
"I hunted along with both my husbands," she told him.
"Good. It's a strong woman who can do that," he agreed, staring her down. "We appreciated what you and your group did, Duchess." She gave him a confused look so he pulled out his pendant, showing it off. "The Watcher's Council is very happy that your group kept some of the worst things off our girls." He put the pendant back, smiling at her. "Let me keep reading." He went on, finding another section. "Ah, here. He said it was only fair. It allowed him to ban members of that line from service because of the taint you gave them." He let her see it.
"Let me out, Mac." He undid the side he had drawn last, letting her have the book to look over. She finally sighed, looking at him. "He made me promise under false pretenses," she said finally. The priest nodded. "Thank you, Father." She curtseyed. "I have a son of my line to introduce myself to. Thank you as well, Mac. Have you talked?"
"A bit. Cases have been getting in the way. We're not as carefree as you guys used to be."
"We worked hard," she reminded him.
"Yes, but you worked from home and you had children to assign tasks like planting to. If I take off, I have to pull someone from their job to do mine and then overwork them the same way I'm overworked." She just nodded at that before disappearing. "Thank you, Father."
"Welcome, Detective." He handed back the journal. "I thought she was allegorical. No women in those days was that strong."
"She was a strong woman who had ten kids and two husbands," Mac said dryly. "Plus fought demons and other things."
"And a small overthrow attempt," the father added with a smile. "She was a mighty woman her line."
"The line started out known as the Daughters of Artemis."
The priest giggled. "No wonder. They were all strong women. We know of her grandmother as well. She slapped two different Popes in her day for arrogance and one head of the Orthodox church in her area." He walked out smiling, going back to his parish to say a prayer for her family's souls. They could probably use it.
Ryan blinked, waking up on his couch. "I've seen you before," he said quietly.
"I couldn't stay away, dear." She sat on the end of the couch near his feet, arranging her skirts so they were decorous. "My name is Ancelin Constantsos-Sorthes."
"I saw you on the family tree," he said, sitting up, pulling his feet back so he was more comfortable. "Why come to me? Is there a problem?"
She called the family tree to her, unrolling it. "See this, my dear?" He looked then nodded, looking at her. "You're of mine and Chauvis' line." He looked confused. "When I fell in love it was a confusing time. I thought I felt of them as I would brothers, had I any," she admitted. He nodded slowly at that. "I was sent to help the Volka of that time. I had asked the Sorthes for admittance as an apprentice but the killing got to me," she said gently.
"So you fell back to a helper status. Makes sense. Less combat for you," he agreed.
"Yes, but at the same time, my own Chauvis, who you look almost exactly like, was my teacher, my friend, and one I also realized I loved."
"So you married one and kept the other?"
She smiled. "Chauvis was a priest, Ryan. He had to leave the order and a Duchess' reputation, as well as his, would have been ruined for that. So, for societal purposes I married Volka. In truth we were handfasted and I was married to Chauvis. Or as Volka put it, we were both his." He grinned at that. She smoothed a hand over his cheek. "You are my heart reborn." She smiled sadly at him. "I do miss you both. No one makes me laugh like you two did."
"Where's your Volka?" he asked.
"He's been reborn in New York."
"Flack actually." He smirked at that. "You both do look exactly like them." She patted his cheek, smiling at him. "Before I couldn't come near you or your line. I broke my promise partially by not letting you see me while I watched you."
"I did a few times, for a second."
"I do have problems with control now and then," she said dryly. "Volka used to tease me when I'd rush off to hunt because I was in a temper at him." He laughed and nodded. "He used to tell me I brought in more and bigger game than him to prove I was the better woman."
"What happened now?"
"Mac showed me that my promise was made for false reasons. The priest who made me promise did it because he thought I was an evil woman, not to protect my family as he stated."
"Ah. So now you're free of the promise?" She smiled and nodded. "That's fine. So, what's been going on?"
"Well, we're figuring how to give you the setup you need over here to protect others."
"What do you have there?"
"The Sorthes were started by a pair of brothers who used to hunt the bad demons for the Emperor. This was back when Rome was still a medium sized empire." He nodded. "They trapped and killed many things that would have hurt their Empire. One eventually got them and their younger brother started a group of people to do the same thing. The Roman emperor at the time gave the family a tower on the border for their good deeds. That way they could protect there as well. He built them an elaborate tomb. He had statues built. He created bonding rituals, gathered information, did everything he could to make sure their legend and ways would live on. All three had children and the first one of Marcus' line, the first born male of their generation, was named Volka."
"So, since then you've used that name for the holder of the tower so they'd know the one who carried on the family name?"
"Yes, but it was also important that he carried on the family's work as well. Since he did, he and his ancestors could talk. The others could if they wanted but his position was special. They were chosen for the ability to do the work, have the training, and also to be inhabited if something so terrible came along that the ancestors had to help." She gave him a sad smile. "I almost lost mine to the one coming after me." She fussed with his collar. "Tony has my journal, you can read it later, Ryan."
"The current Volka?"
"Still exists," she said happily. "He's been sick most of his life and has no heirs."
"But I'm a direct descendant, right?" Ryan asked. She nodded. "That means I need to have children, right?"
"Sometime, though we do have a fine history of spreading the good genes around. All the men in the group went wenching now and then." He snickered but nodded. "For some it was a way of life. For others, not more than stress relief after the battles. Then there's Vorchain. He's a special circumstance." She smiled at him. "You're not the only one of this generation but none of you have offspring and it's important that someone does." She smiled at him. "Soon all the children of this generation and those who are of the last few who're still around and doing the work will be talking about how to set up the same sort of tower over here. That way you have the information library and someone to guard it. Your own Volka."
"Am I in the running?"
"There's three of you in this generation," she offered. "You, Tony, and Mac. Don's got a mind I can't pierce to check so I'll eliminate him for right now. Tony and Mac are open to being possessed. Tony has the training but not the skills that are sometimes needed. His magic is very weak. Mac doesn't have any at all but they both resemble the other's namesake of the ancestors. We don't know about you."
"I can do little things. I'm not open to possession that I've been made aware of."
"That could be the training." She brushed a hand over his head. "You do have a tight mind. Tony's possessor during the last battle nearly got shot out upon impact with him because of the reason he had to get free. Mac's slipped out fairly easily. The other brother was in a reborn Chapalet."
"Why so many rebirths?" he asked.
"My generation was one of the most important of the Sorthes' many generations," she said quietly, staring at him. "In this case I think it means that we're starting a new direction. We have two reborn who are just like the ancestors. We have one reborn who was my Volka. We have you. We have kin from most of the others. Mixed and not in a few cases. We have a helper reborn, she's with her knight, who was also reborn and helps guard Tony. We have the madmen brothers," she said with a smile. "They're driving one's partner insane at the moment babbling at each other. They're getting scary together. Blair's Jim will simply have to get along with Xander or he'll end up between them."
"Not the first," she admitted. "The ancestors were that close. The madmen brothers were nearly twins for all that five years separated them. They also let the ancestors use their bodies so they could feel the touch of another being again. It was a generous offer."
Ryan smiled. "I'm not that upset by it. No kids can come from it. I'm sure they hid it very well. The two now aren't related, right?" She shook her head. "Then we'll be fine." She smiled. "Are there others who would come to us?"
"There is," she admitted, giving him a smile. "There are others who're drawn into the battles. They could come to you for help. By the way, nice work with that imp, Ryan. I'm very proud." She faded out. "I'll let you rest. Mac pointed out that you do work very hard. Call upon me when it's time for the meeting."
"I can do that." He laid back down, considering it. He called Horatio. "It's me. Who's Tony?" He listened to his cautious question. "Because Ancelin just showed up and said he had her journal. She said I could read it to get to know the group better." He smiled. "That's what I was thinking but I know him so I'll write him to get it. Sorry, didn't put it together with the one I know. Oh, she said we're having a meeting soon? To call her when we had it." He nodded. "Okay. I'll be here. No, we just got done talking. Sure, you have a good night too." He hung up, settling in to read some more until he fell asleep again. It was nice, she hadn't said anything about his OCD being harmful to the fight.
Tony looked at the people he had on speaker phone then at his grandmother. "Okay, we're all here, I guess. The current suggestion is that we create a tower-like place somewhere in the US and name one of us Volka over it," he offered. "Ryan, did you read the journal yet?"
"I'm about two-thirds done." He coughed. "I know that the original group had the tower as the home base and library. Do we need that today? Are some of the sources online? I know there's other groups."
"The Watchers horde theirs," Ancelin told him. "They're bad about sharing with their own people, much less us. The current Volka is not well liked either."
"That brings up a point for later discussion," Tony admitted.
"He has a cousin that will do," she told Tony, who grinned. "Worry more about this one. We can get some of the books from there, steal from the Watchers if we have to, but we do need one over here."
"We live in a pretty diverse country," Mac reminded her. "It's not like it was in western Europe in your day, Ancelin."
"True, you have faster means of getting around," she reminded him.
"Yes, but we can't just up and leave our jobs," Tony told her. "We have to get permission, file paperwork, usually have it in at least a week before we have to leave unless it's an emergency." Gibbs walked in. "Hey, Gibbs." He looked at her. "It seems that we're mostly concentrated on the east coast. With the exception of Xander and Blair?"
"There's a son from Vorchain's line in Chicago and one in Las Vegas," she said. "Otherwise I think you're right. Charlet is up north. Did we call him?"
"Um, no, I don't know him," Tony admitted.
"Oh. I'll have to fix that."
"Kermit," Gibbs told him. He pulled out his phone, listening to the smart greeting on the other side. "We're holding a conference about a new tower." He listened. "You need backup?" He nodded. "That's reasonable. What can a monk do?" He shuddered. "Never mind. Call us back when you're free so we can brief you." He hung up. "He's in the middle of Chinese gangsters." He looked at the phones, then at Tony. "If we're putting the tower, or whatever, on the east coast, would it move if whoever was guarding it died? We're all in high risk jobs. DiNozzo's nearly died a number of times on the job, including when he got a plague."
"You haven't managed to wipe those out?" she asked.
"It got sent to me in the mail, Grandma." Tony looked at him. "Thanks for the reminder, Gibbs." He looked at her. "That may mean that I'm not a good candidate for fathering children as well."
"People in our day had children after having the plague if they survived. It usually made them a bit stronger. Vorchain was born to a mother who'd had the plague if I remember his stories right."
"Good to know," Tony told her. "Okay. So how were we going to set that up? We can't exactly build a mediaeval tower anywhere in DC, Miami, or New York."
"Thinking about it, it doesn't have to be a tower," Danny pointed out. "It has to hold a library, storage areas, and somewhere we can work if we need to get together and work."
"Which would suggest a good sized house, which none of us have," Horatio pointed out. "I have a home but it's only got three bedrooms. Almost no room for the library I inherited."
"I own my own apartment," Mac offered. "It's a two bedroom and has very little room."
"You all live like rats in cages," she agreed.
"There's also the problem that buying a house is expensive," Gibbs told her. "I own mine and the taxes are bleeding me dry every year."
"There's some money within the family," she promised. "We've ever been frugal. I think I spent the most money of any wife in any generation in the tower and that was mostly to renovate the clothes I got given." She smiled. "My Volka did so appreciate me in something pretty, or his breeches." Tony snickered, nodding.
"Got that part," Ryan said over the line. "How big are we talking?"
"The tower's about a city block, has three floors above ground and two below," Tony told him. "One's the ritual chamber. Grandmother, the tomb?"
"Would be moved over," she agreed. "It's going to need to be moved within two years' time."
"Miami's a high water area," Horatio told her. "It's hard to even bury a body and most of Miami doesn't have basements."
"Tony and Mac are the better choices for Volka," Ancelin told him. "Tony slightly over Mac because of his skills that Mac doesn't have or have awakened."
"It's also more likely he'll have children than I will," Mac pointed out.
"He's donated at a few sperm banks and no one wanted them," Gibbs told him. "He's had his own version of wenching too. No kids that he knows of."
"If I donated I'm fertile, it's simply never happened, boss," Tony defended. "I was trying to keep it from happening. If my father wasn't such a pain in the ass I'd ask him for the small house they keep locally for necessary matters."
"You could ask him for the house in the island," Gibbs pointed out. Ancelin gave him an odd look. "Tony's father didn't like this stuff so he disowned him."
"All I did was stop him from making business deals with a demon," Tony complained.
"We'll be straightening that out later," she said calmly.
"It's not necessary...." Tony started. She swatted him. "Ow! You learned that off Cofostat!"
"I did," she said smugly. "I also managed to escape him when he wanted to spank me." Gibbs choked. "He used to spank Severtina when she got into mischief." She smiled and petted Tony's hair. "I do favor you for this, Antonio."
"I'll do it but I don't have the time to set up a library and all that," he pointed out gently. "I'm on call with Gibbs no matter what's going on. This can't interfere with my cases or anything, Grandmother."
"I have a suggestion," Ryan offered. "What happens if we set it up like a corporation? Lower taxes, we can count the mortgage as a business expense for tax purposes. It'd give us an excuse if we needed it when things got in the way of cases. We could say we're consultants. It would give some of us the excuse we needed." Gibbs' phone rang. "I'll wait."
"It's one way to do it," Tony admitted. "I'd have to look into that. Unless one of us has stronger business contacts?"
Gibbs smirked as he listened. "You done, Kermit?" He nodded. "We're talking about setting up a tower over here. Why?" He listened, then handed the phone to Tony. "Let her listen to his reasons." He looked at the phones. "Guys, there's a problem at the original tower according to Charlet and Vorchain."
"He's in Miami at the moment," Horatio said dryly. "He stole one of my people's girlfriends."
"Let him date Natalia, Horatio," Ryan said. "That way she's not hitting on either of us. Eric and I finally sat down to compare notes. Us dating her is not working out very well for the lab."
Ancelin moved away from the phone. "We'll get to move the whole library over. I need to talk to Volka. We will definitely have to set up something, children. Figure it out, please?" She disappeared, heading to Italy to deal with the issue. Public works people wanted to blast the mountain to make the road better. They couldn't do that with the tower in the way. Volka was already arguing and her appearing made a few of them scream and cross themselves but it looked like a done deal and they could only get time to move things out. She came back a few hours later, finding Tony watching a movie. She sat next to him. "They're changing the road."
"I'd have thought the tower was so ancient it'd be safe."
"It usually would have been but they say it's in bad repair. Almost dangerous to live in."
"Only on the top floor."
"I pointed that out. So did he. They're still going to do it. I bought us two months, Tony."
"Is he coming over?"
"He'll be dying within the year," she said quietly. "His cancer's spreading to other organs again." He looked at her. "It came back five years ago in his lungs."
"No. Biological contaminants."
He nodded. "Okay. Leave my father alone?"
She gave him a look. "No. I won't. Such pigheadedness is not good for the family." She patted him on the knee. "Are we moving it here or New York?"
"Here would be better. I might have more free time than Mac or Don does. Does he know?"
"Mac told him. I talked to him as well. They had imps too."
"Why so many imps?"
"It's a sign that the tower is starting to slip into bad hands."
"Gee, make me feel confident," he said sarcastically.
"Once we have everything moved, it'll right itself." He nodded at that, sipping his cocoa. She gave him as much of a hug as she could. "It'll be fine, Tony."
"I asked my girlfriend what she thought about ghosts and she laughed."
"I can show up to her as well."
He looked at her. "If you do she'll dump me and she's as close as I've come to a relationship." She grimaced. "I'm working on it but it's slow going."
"Do something in front of her."
"She managed to ignore the imp who came to play with our plates at dinner." She groaned. "She calmly acted like nothing was going on and like she couldn't see anything going on." Someone knocked. "Who is it?" he called. His girlfriend's muffled voice came back so he got up to get it, giving her a look. She settled in more firmly. "Fine." He opened the door, smiling at her. "Hi. Out for a long walk?" He let her inside, giving her a kiss.
"I wanted to talk to you." She looked at the couch, giving Ancelin an odd look. "New woman in your life?"
"She's my grandmother back thirteen generations. She comes to talk now and then," Tony admitted, closing the door and leading her over. "Ancelin, this is Jeanne. She's my girlfriend. Jeanne, this is Ancelin. She hunted down and trapped an ancestor."
"He trapped me, get it right, Antonio. The only trapping I did was game for the dinner table." She smiled at the new woman. "Charming to meet you, dear. We were just talking about one of his cousins who's about to die and leave him his possessions, like the family library."
"Yeah, it looks like I've got to get a house," Tony told her, sitting down and pulling her down on his other side. "I'm hoping for something smaller than I grew up in?" he asked his grandmother.
"The tower was so large because of the library and the guest rooms."
"Point. Well, I guess we'll figure out guest rooms eventually." He smiled at her. "I've found more relatives who actually like me. There's a few in New York, a few in Miami, a few family friends of my cousin's."
"Interesting." She looked at the ghost. "Are you real?" She pinched her, making her yelp. "I didn't think ghosts could manipulate things outside the realm of the dead."
"I'm not the usual spirit, dear," she said dryly. "I'm an interfering ancestor. That allows me to do more than usual, even if I were the usual sort of spirit."
"She's kind of a messenger of doom now and then too," Tony told her. She just nodded, looking at him. "She's why I had to leave on that family emergency that was happening with a friend of the family."
"Interesting," she repeated. "Is this going to happen often?"
Ancelin shrugged. "I can't foresee that. I'm not a seer. That's his uncle Vorchain. He's the albino one."
"I don't think I've met him yet."
"You'd remember," Tony assured her. "He's loud, he's charming, he's cute, and he's who I learned to flirt from. He's in Miami according to someone I was talking to earlier."
"Does your other family know?"
"Yes but my father considers it fairytales made up by old men with too much time on their hands."
"I basically thought the same."
He grinned. "It's not going to interrupt all that often, Jeanne."
"You can't promise that."
"I'm not like my own grandmother, who used to float in to make sure my husbands were treating me well while we had carnal relations," Ancelin assured her with a gentle smile. "You'll hardly ever see me. He might see me more often. Besides, isn't a house something you're looking forward to?"
"I know in your day women were basically thought of as baby making machines, but I'm not looking forward to children."
"I wasn't either. I withheld that for as long as I could," she assured her. "We had herbs back then that could make it so you either didn't get pregnant or you lost the baby. Though I did know that my husbands both needed heirs. It usually happened when we had been playing around in between problems. When the time's right for you two, you'll have some if you stay with him. I won't get too pushy."
"Good to know. Husbands?"
She nodded. "Husbands," she said with a smile. "It's a long and complicated story, dear. Don't worry about it."
"Were you a widow?"
"I lost Chauvis five years before I lost my Volka," she admitted quietly. "A fever took him and one of our daughters no matter how hard we tried. Volka and I held each other together in our shared grief. Volka claimed we both belonged to him and we let him because he was so adorable."
"So that's where Tony gets it from."
Tony found his laptop, logging onto the internet, finding a picture of Don Flack in New York. He showed her. "Her husband Volka looked almost exactly like him." He found another picture. "And Chauvis looked like him."
"The new distant cousins?" He grinned and nodded. "Wow."
"Yeah. I look almost exactly like one of my ancestors. My mother's going to freak out if I finally get around to telling her."
"Are you from his father's or mother's family?" she asked Ancelin.
"Mother's but his father hated all of us. That's why he banished Tony from the family."
"Ah. Okay." She kissed Tony gently. "Now I know why you wanted to know about ghosts."
"She won't be popping in to watch us cuddle. She came to talk tonight about the cousin who's dying very shortly and we've got to move the stuff from the ancient family home in Italy anyway because it's about to be torn down for a road."
"That is a shame. How old is it?"
"Roman," Tony said, giving her a gentle smile. "The family's land and tower was a grant from a Roman emperor for saving him and Rome."
"Your cousin said they're at least going to pay for the land they're stealing. Plus move most of the bodies from the family cemetery."
"I'm sure the local priests would love that," Tony said dryly.
"Probably," Ancelin agreed just as dryly.
Tony looked at her. "If they've gone around, why haven't you?"
"That same bastard priest who made it so I couldn't see my family from Chauvis' line. He cursed me to permanently float around watching over my true family."
"We got that fixed, right?" he asked.
"Good." He put his laptop aside and restarted the movie, letting Jeanne snuggle in. He gave his grandmother a look, getting a smirk before she disappeared. "Do not go bother my father," he called after her.
"Shut up, Antonio. You cannot order the dead around," floated back.
Jeanne giggled. "She's just as stubborn as you are," she teased.
"Putting it mildly. Who do you think I get it from?" She gave him a squeeze. "Well, if my father comes running for his life or sanity we'll know why. Maybe he'll buy the house."
"Wouldn't he want the family library?"
"No, he's more likely to burn it," he admitted. "Which we can't have since some of the books are also as old as the tower." She nodded. "Plus there's the chance they'll be relocating the family tomb over here instead of over there." She looked up at him. "The three brothers who started the line were very tight. Two of them died fighting the same menace and their brother had an elaborate tomb built for them. We cannot let it fall into non-family hands. There's too many people who want to see it destroyed. So she was talking about giving it a corner of the basement under the house."
"Huh. We'll see."
He kissed her on top of the head. "Yes we will." Because really, he'd put it somewhere no one would mind, like Cascade so Xander and Blair could watch over it again. He picked up his email to write to Sandburg. Xander had sent him an email from his address the other day for information on their past. He hadn't heard back yet so he wanted to check in. Then he put his laptop down and snuggled in again. Him buying a house was a scary thought. Especially with the way he had moved around. His phone rang and he groaned as he leaned over to grab it. "DiNozzo. Yes, mother?" he sighed. He listened to her shriek. "Mother, that's Grandmother Ancelin back from thirteen generations ago," he said patiently. "Yes, the one who helped make the family stronger, Mother." He smiled. "Good to know. No, right now we're settling things because Cousin Volka is dying." He heard her gasp and drop the phone. "What did he do?" he asked when she picked it back up. He giggled. "Doesn't really work on them. Oh, I met the ancestors too. She brought them around to say hi. I found out we have some new cousins too. Tell Father that yes, the tower is being rearranged." He listened while she said that and he screamed and ranted.
"Tell him to watch his blood pressure too. It's getting a bit high." She started to nag him, at least until he heard the slap. He pointed at his cellphone, letting her get it for him. He dialed a number he had looked up long ago. "Hi, this is Tony DiNozzo. My father just snapped mentally. He just slapped my mother. Please, before I have to come up there with my super secret federal agent powers to make him disappear into a bog or the oceans," he said dryly. "Yup, that one's mine. Please. No, I heard it, I'll make out the complaint. Thank you." He hung up. "Visitors are coming, Mother." He listened to her complain. "Shut up. He obviously needs help since he hit you. Therefore he's going to get help before I bury him in the family plot without him being dead yet. Am I clear?" She repeated that and both his parents stopped. "Good. I'm glad we're clear." He barely heard his father say something. "Yes, Father, I'm serious," he said, sounding like he was talking to a two-year-old throwing fits again. Which he basically was. "The same as I was serious when I stopped you from making that horrible business deal that would've killed the entire family because your greed was worth more than your soul or my soul or any of our lives." He hung up, going back to snuggling. "Can I be an orphan?"
"I wouldn't care if you were," she promised, giving him a squeeze. "You had the local PD up there in your phone book?"
"Yeah, I call one of the guys I grew up with to check on them now and then. That way I don't get surprise inspection visits. Mom did that once to see if she could find a good reason for my father to take me back into the family. I pointed out I was just like him only I gave more of a damn about people. He's where I get my playboy tendencies from."
"I'll remember that and slap him if he tries with me." Ancelin reappeared. "You all right?"
"He did try to be very rude and stab me with a sword, but I am a ghost, dear." She smiled at Tony. "I like that idea you had about Blair and Xander, Tony." He grinned. "That'd probably work for them too. I'll check. They're presently in the middle of something. Someone kidnaped Blair, apparently again, and Xander's off hunting him with Blair's Jim. Jim's having to prove why Blair is with him and Xander just shrugged and said he hunted naturally so that was fine." She kissed them both on the head. "Let me go check in on Miami. You two rest. I won't be back tonight." She faded out, going down there.
Tony grinned. "See, she does know what cuddling is." Jeanne pinched him on the side but let it go at that, earning a kiss. She'd come to love his grandmother too. Because he had lied. She was more than a bit interfering and nosy when she wanted to be.
Horatio smiled as Ancelin appeared at the foot of his bed. "Duchess."
"Cut the titles, Horatio. You might as well be family." She curled up next to him on the bed, making him give her a look. "We must talk about your niece."
"I do know and the medicines they gave her have unlocked some potential as well. Her mother probably won't believe but that's what drove her to drugs." He nodded, considering that. "How is your nephew's training going?"
"Well enough. He has some disturbing thug tendencies now and then," he admitted quietly. "I do try."
"I know, we all tried with our children. I had one daughter I had to try to keep off Vorchain. Repeatedly. Didn't always work and her husband was not very amused when she finally married." He snickered quietly. "In my day that was a big thing. We had to lie and say we had made her marry a boy she had been seeing when we caught them together but he had tragically died a few days later. Of course, her husband died in a war about seven months after they married."
He looked at her. "Was she more content?"
"Much. She was closer to Court." That got a smile. "She was always one for going out to be seen. Not my thing at all. Volka and she got along much better than she and I did. He actually got through to her and our first grandchild when she turned out much like her mother." He smiled more at that. "Now, what shall we do about the niece?"
"I'll talk to her mother later on," he promised. "Make sure she knows. See if she'll take some training as well. Visions?"
"Now and then. Mostly an herb witch probably. Her mother had a few visions, which drove her over the edge. Today's world really is not friendly for those who live in the natural plane."
"That can happen," he agreed. He shifted some. "Tony busy?"
"Girlfriend. She just met me so she... How did Blair put it. Processing. That's it. She's processing." He chuckled. "It's good for them. She's snuggled into his chest. I went to torment his father for him too. The libidinous, hide-bound, Puritan was not amused. I'm surprised his wife hasn't killed him and his three mistresses."
"Maybe that'll come later."
"Perhaps," she agreed. She smiled at him. "That was a very naughty thought, Horatio."
"Well, it would allow Tony to afford a nice house in DC."
She pinched him on the side, making him smirk at her. "Behave. Or at least try. If not, pick up someone fun to play with. There wasn't a chaste one among the group, Horatio." She faded out, going back up there to talk to them some more. The police were still there but the nice officer smiled and asked if it was important. So she told him why she was back. Tony's father was not amused and started to scream again. She did something over him, finding him already the victim of his own bad decisions. "A deal to sell your soul for what? Power?" she asked sadly. "Thankfully you couldn't take Antonio's." His mother wailed and went to beat her husband but he had picked up the sword and stabbed her. He stared at her, then at the ghost, who stared back. "I didn't stab her. You didn't have to pick up a sword. Officer, be a dear and get someone?" Tony's father got his sword free and stabbed him too, then went running for the kitchen. She followed, tripping him up when he reached for matches.
"No, not allowed," she said dryly. He shrieked. She heard the officer mumbling his last words into the radio and sighed. "Tony is not going to be pleased about this." His father came at her again. "Really. You should realize by now I am a ghost," she said dryly. "You cannot harm me." He found something in a cabinet and she shrugged. "You can try to banish me but that takes a soul. You don't have one." He tried. He tried twice. He tried a third time. By then the cops were coming up the driveway and he was looking very scared. "Your choice, dear." He stabbed himself. She sighed, floating out to talk to the officers. "He's in the kitchen." They rushed that way and she looked at the paramedics. "These two will be fine in their afterlife," she said gently, getting a nod. "I'll escort them personally if I need to."
"Who are you?" he asked.
"The grandmother of the family line," she sighed. "I've been watching over Antonio, their son. I came to share news and he went off, is that the right expression?" The paramedic nodded. "He went off earlier and ended up slapping his wife. Which was why there was an officer out here."
"And you came back to check on the situation and he went off again," the other officer said when he came out. She looked at him and nodded. "You are?"
"Grandmother Ancelin. I'm the grandmother to this family twelve generations ago from Bethany's generation. Thirteen from Antonio's and I was watching over him."
"Good to know. So he had a mental snap and went off on his wife this time?"
"I came to check and he picked back up the sword. He had tried to stab me with it last time. Apparently he wasn't as bright as he thought."
"She was stabbed first?" the officer asked.
"Then your officer started to call it in and he stabbed him, ran for the kitchen, and I stopped him from creating a huge funeral pyre."
"Thank you. For, um, obvious reasons I'm not going to put you into the report."
"I know why. Tony explained it to me. He's a Federal agent you know," she said, sounding very proud. "He's a very good man and his girlfriend is adorable." She smiled.
"We'll find him, ma'am. Do you know about the will?"
"They tried to banish my poor boy. Not that he has other children. There's no others in this branch of the family tree. The rest are all distant cousins, fourth generation or more away. Though, he does have three mistresses currently in town."
"I'm sure some judge somewhere will hate that," he said, making note of it. "Where would it be?" She shrugged. "You didn't hang out up here?"
"Not really. Roberto made a few very bad decisions and sold his soul years ago. Tony tried to stop one of those deals, that's why he banished him."
"Oh. Okay." He made a note of that as well.
"I do know Tony knew to call your officer earlier. He had his name in his phone book. He said that's how he kept track of them. Something about going to school with him?"
"Must be why Kendricks called tonight," the paramedic said. "I know he's laid up with a broken foot and new baby." The officer nodded. "Let me take them?"
"ME? I know Tony has to work with one when there's other dead people," she offered.
"No, ma'am, in this case the cause of death was pretty obvious. We don't have to call them in," the officer said. "Where does Tony work?"
"With that nice Gibbs at NCIS. I think that's the name of the building. Yes, NCIS."
"Thank you," the officer said, writing that down as well. "I'll go open the doors for you, Tommy." He walked out, going to call his boss. He was not going to be happy. The bodies were brought out and he took his hat off for the officer and the wife. She floated out, smiling and helping her out of the bag. "He's already gone?"
She looked. "He's clinging. Come on, dear. It's time." He floated out and she caught his hand. "There we are. We'll walk you there together, dears." Tony's mother started to cry. "Shhh, I'll still watch over Tony and any future children. I'm sure you can too." She nodded, turning away from her husband's body. "He won't be moving, dear. Everything of his was already gone."
Tony's mother looked at the officer. "There's two sets of wills," she told him. "One is with the lawyer. There's another in the safe in my study behind my portrait. The combination is 6-17-78-55." He wrote that down. "Use mine. I will not have his hussies getting anything. He disgraced this family for years." She smiled at the officer. "You tried."
"It's not your fault. A sword to the chest is usually fatal," Ancelin assured him. She let his hand go. "There, now you're steady. Did you want to check on your family, dear? I can escort you later." He nodded, going to do that. She smiled at her grandchild. "Come, let's get you where you need to go and I'll come pick him up later." She nodded, waving at the officer before leaving.
The officer shut the door and headed back to the office, going to talk to his boss. "You're going to hate me. I'm going to have to fix my report."
"A family ghost came to check on this generation, she usually watched Tony instead, and set Robert off. He stabbed his wife and the officer, then himself when we got there. He was gasping his last breath when I found him." The boss groaned. "There's also two wills. One their lawyer has and one Mrs. DiNozzo told me how to find." He tossed over the information he had taken. "She's a very nice ghost. She's been watching over Tony."
"Tony called Kendricks," the boss said, handing it back. "Make one real one, make one fit for public consumption." He nodded going to do that. "Did he make it off okay?"
"She said she'd escort him when he's done seeing his family."
"Thank you." He found the number he needed online, calling down there. They'd have someone on night duty for calls. "Is this NCIS? This is Captain Barton. I need to speak to an Agent Tony DiNozzo about a family matter. No, ma'am, we've just found his family dead." He wrote down the number. "When will he be there?" He smiled. "Thank you, ma'am. No, I'll break the news. Thank you." He hung up and put his head down. Ghosts weren't that uncommon up in New England. They had some stubborn people who were not going to leave their homes or admit they were dead. Didn't mean he liked dealing with them.
Tony walked out of the director's office the next morning, giving Gibbs a look. "You're going to have to do without me for a few days, boss. Apparently Grandmother Ancelin pissed Father off enough that he stabbed Mother and an officer before offing himself."
Gibbs looked at him. "I'm sorry."
"I'm sorry that the officer's family lost him but my father was having issues before that last night. I'm the reason the officer was there. She called to complain and he slapped her."
"It's not your fault."
"No, it's not mine, and it's not Ancelin's, but this is a fair warning because I'm going to have a headache dealing with the estate people." He grabbed a few things. "So I'll be on Long Island for a few days, boss. The director accepted my paperwork for emergency leave." He packed his backpack and waved. "I've got my cell on if you need sanity." He headed for the elevator, ignoring the looks. One gave him a hopeful look. "Emergency leave. My father stabbed my mother and an officer before offing himself." She gaped. He nodded. "So I've got to go have a headache." He got into the elevator when it came, heading down to his car so he could pack and go to Long Island.
Mac smiled when Tony walked in. "Why are you up here? Gibbs too?"
"No, just me. My father snapped."
"I saw that in the paper. Why?"
"Ancelin was twitting him and he was already soulless." He shrugged. "Mother's probably nagging him in the afterlife if she can." He put down something. "I need a good estate lawyer, I think."
He considered it and looked up a case then handed over the name. "We hate him. He's an asshole who pushes," Mac said bluntly.
"That'll work. The pre-probate hearing was a mess. His mistresses, twenty in all, came out to protest they weren't getting anything under either will." Mac hissed. "Yeah. So it's going to be a mess. Dinner tonight?"
"Sure, I could do that. I've got about another four hours of work going on."
"Call me. I've got my usual cell." That got a nod and a smile. "Bring whoever you want. I need to be amused." Mac laughed and nodded. "Thanks, Mac." He picked up the box and headed out, going to the lawyer's office. The secretary gave him an odd look. "Had to pick up something since I'm in the city. I need to see your boss. My father had two wills, twenty mistresses, and now we have a very confused judge."
"I read about that case," she offered gently. "I'm sorry."
He looked at her. "I'm not. He hated me. He would've laughed if he could've stabbed me too." She nodded, buzzing her boss, speaking quietly. He came to the door and Tony shifted the package so he could shake his hand. "Hi, Tony DiNozzo."
"Come with me, sir." He walked him back to his office, sitting behind the huge desk. "What can I do for you?"
"Two wills, twenty mistresses, and Detective Mac Taylor recommended you to help me."
"You know Detective Taylor?"
"I'm out of NCIS," he said with a grin. "In the DC branch."
"Oh. So you're in the same field?" Tony nodded. "Interesting. The box?"
"Some light shopping and I left the rental car at the hotel. Haven't been back yet." He put it in the chair next to him. "There's father's will that leaves everything to my mother and strictly prohibits me from inheriting everything. The judge said at the pre-probate that wasn't legal. There's the one from my mother's safe that lists me as the only heir and any mistresses and/or children from the mistresses are not legitimate heirs and are to be denied anything." The lawyer nodded, making notes. "Her will leaves me everything after a two page legal rant, for lack of a better word, against the mistresses. It's about two- thirds her money and one third his."
"Okay. Who bought the house?"
"He did with her money."
"We'll see what we can do. Who's it in front of now?" Tony handed over the papers from his back pocket. He looked them over, nodding. "I'd be confused if I was the judge too. Do you mind if they get a small something?"
"They had to put up with him longer than I did. They can have a small something." That got a smile and a nod. "I'm not sure what's fair on the mistress scale. I'm also not sure about other heirs. No one's claimed any."
"That may work in our favor. I see you do have an accounting from the judge on the preliminary audit of worth." He looked it over, nodding. He looked at him. "I have two rate plans. I can charge you a thousand an hour I work on this or I can charge you a quarter of the US estate."
Tony considered it. "I'm in DC. How fast can we make this?"
"Depends on the judge." He called up there. "Your Honor, David Maccalvoy. The DiNozzo heir is here in my office retaining me. I will be filing that but he's from out of town and a federal agent so he can't take off a lot of time. He was asking if it could be compacted. He's not against giving the harem something." He listened then nodded. "I can understand that and so will he, but we do have to work around his work schedule." He listened, then nodded. "He did say the predominant amount of money was from her family. Two-thirds was what he mentioned." He smiled. "He said it was his father who bought it with her money, Your Honor." He smiled. "That would be acceptable and we can be up there tomorrow afternoon?" He checked his calendar. "I'm free from two on. It's a two hour drive. Five to be safe for traffic?" He smiled. "Thank you, Your Honor." He hung up. "We'll have another hearing tomorrow at five to see if we can work out the differences between his attorney, us, and the mistresses." Tony nodded. "His attorney is good, but I've eaten him for lunch before."
"As long as you don't do it physically in front of me, don't try to charge me my soul, and don't try to challenge me for my soul, I don't care," Tony said bluntly. The demon across from him gaped. "I'm second cousin to Volka," he said quietly. "I don't care as long as you don't try me and I don't have to hunt."
"I don't hunt," he assured him gently.
"Then we've got a deal as long as my soul isn't part of it. I got banished because I was stopping my father from making a deal with someone who was making that sort of deal if it matters."
He smirked. "That's probably why he has the slug demon as a lawyer, Tony." He shook his hand. "Be presentable."
"I have in the past. I'm used to court," he said dryly, standing up and grabbing his package. "Thank you."
"You're welcome. I'll see you then. We'll have the papers drawn up." Tony nodded, shaking his hand before he left. He relaxed, staring at his door. That had been close. So many of their kind were slay and repeat without checking to see if you were a hunter or not. In this case, expedience was good for him.
Tony walked in two weeks later, giving Gibbs a bag. "Yours. The other presents are in the car since I didn't want to explain why I was bringing Ziva food from the best Jewish deli in New York or Probie a book gift certificate." They smiled and McGee went to do that. "Get Abby's too," he called. He looked at his boss. "Did you know the going rate to pay off a mistress was fifty thousand?" He shook his head. "Father had twenty of them that showed up." Gibbs moaned. "But that's all right. We paid them off. The slug representing him stumbled over his tongue when the lawyer Mac pointed me to glared at him a few times and pointed out children always came over charities. Especially ones that didn't exist. Oh, and I'm going to have to bribe McGee to find the overseas accounts for me."
"Off duty, DiNozzo." He looked in the bag, smiling at something. "Where did you get that?"
"Mac turned me onto the store. It's where he gets his off-time play gear." McGee came off the elevator with three bags, handing Ziva the one that smelled very delicious. "McGee, I'm going to have to count that as a bribe so you can find my father's overseas accounts."
"Abby has the list for you. She went hunting and I've helped a few times," he admitted, settling in to read his certificate and new t-shirt. The _I write, therefore I'm smarter than you think_ t-shirt was very cute. "Thanks, Tony. What did you get, boss?"
"Some off-duty gear from a Marine store." He put the bag down. "Are you back today?"
"Let me deliver Abby's present and I can be," Tony promised, grabbing that bag to head down there. "Oh, pretty one?" he called from the door. Abby beamed at him. He held up the bag. "Want a treat?"
"Do I have to bark?" she asked, snatching it. "Because I will if it's a good enough treat. I might even let you give me ear scratches." She looked inside the bag, squealing. "I love you! I'll even let you have belly lovies for this." She bounced back to her desk to unpack the box of expensive chocolates and the new CD from her favorite underground band that she couldn't find around here. Plus two new collars and a new t-shirt as well. "Awww." She gave him another hug. "I love you."
"I was going to use the chocolates as a bribe." She giggled and handed over the folder. "All of them?"
"All but one. We can't get past the fact that he has one. But we did include their number."
"Thanks, dear." He kissed her on the forehead, looking at the director when she came in. "She found the family money for me."
"I see you paid her in clothes."
"Chocolate. The rest was the general present," he said with a grin. "I'm off to work again." He headed back up to his desk, sliding the folder into his backpack. "Now all I need to do is to find a house," he said dryly.
"Your grandmother found one for you, the realtor's expecting your call, and it's really nice," McGee told him. He sent over an email. "That's the realtor she found. The realtor didn't even sound freaked that it was a ghost asking for you."
"Thanks, McGee. I'll talk to her after work." He looked at Gibbs. "Case?"
"Nope. Paperwork." He picked up the file and brought it over, handing it to him. "From HR. They found inaccuracies in it."
"Aw, crap," he muttered, getting down to fix those. "Can't be any worse than insurance paperwork. His had a mental defect clause and an anti-suicide clause that are now at each other's throats. Then hers had a double indemnity clause if her husband had killed her or she died in a violent crime. They're arguing if it's a quadruple one since both qualify. Their insurance agent is pretty new. Plus six other policies because my mother wanted to make sure she'd be covered if his hussies won his part of the estate." He put a form aside, going to the next one. "Oh, and my father tried to take out a hit on me and you, boss, last year." Gibbs pen snapped. He looked over, nodding. "Yeah. He knew having me living would mean his will could be changed by a judge. He thought we were together because the intel he had was from you making me stay in the ER when I had a concussion. So he decided you were a nagging lover and he had to take us both out. It got stopped by the FBI. They caught the guy and he was sulking about that. We used that as proof he was snapping mentally long before he stabbed them with a sword." He finished another form, looking at the next one. "That's not wrong." He put it aside, calling down there. "What's wrong on my history form? Yes, this is DiNozzo." He found the box, then shrugged. "What do you need to know other than he was in banking and investments? I don't think it's the agency's business how much he was worth." He hung up and weeded out the others with that criteria in mind, fixing the others. Some still had his old address on them.
Gibbs shook his head. "How close was the assassin?"
"He had another job in town for a senator. They caught him doing him first. He thought they'd be easier. The assassin knew we weren't going to be. He couldn't find us that week."
"Charming," Ziva told him, finishing her lunch. "Thank you, Tony."
"Look in the bottom of the bag. They do ship some things." She looked and smiled, looking them up online to find out what she could use it for. "I figured you couldn't get as good of a deli down here as you could up there. Mac took me one day for lunch." He looked at the thing pulling on his pantsleg, smiling at it and handing it some chocolate, letting the imp go away again. "They're back?"
"They're getting stronger too," McGee complained.
"It'll be fixed soon, McGee," he promised. "Just let me get the house set up." He dialed the number in the email. "Hi, this is Tony DiNozzo. When's a good time for you?" He made a note on a sticky pad. "Sure. I'll be there then, cases willing, and I'll call if I can't be." He wrote down another number. "Thank you, ma'am." He hung up and got back to work, finally finishing with them and handing them back to the director since she was walking past. "They don't need to know how much my father was worth. It's a moot point now anyway. Huh?" He sat back down, looking at the house link that had been sent. "Very uptight," he muttered, going to her site to look at others. He found one he liked more and sent that link to her and she sent back it had been sold. She sent him a few more back for his appreciation, nodding at them. He waved Gibbs over, letting him see. "How far out of call-in is that one?"
He looked at the address. "About ten past me."
"So too far?"
"Too far," he agreed. Tony typed that in and he got a few more listings on both sides of DC. He found one he liked the outer looks of, letting him see. "Do you really need eight bedrooms, DiNozzo?"
"Guest rooms, boss."
"Good point. Good library."
"The tower's library took up about as much space as the special collections one at Georgetown does." They shared a look. "I can use a few of those rooms for that too and keep a pull out in there for napping purposes."
"That might be better." He found a link he had been considering. "Try that one."
Tony looked. "Industrial." He considered it. "It's closer too. Has enough room for the library. Parking. A few limited apartments up top. It'd need some renovation but that can be done while I'm there probably." He nodded, sending that link back and pointing out he was inheriting two huge libraries very soon. He sent her the link for the house up in Long Island since he had put it up for sale. She sent back something nicer in the semi- industrial class. He looked at it and sent back that he needed guest rooms for far-flung family members. She found something and sent it back, getting an appreciative look. "It's within call in." Gibbs came back to look. "It's the full building. We'd have a full library area. I could separate out that one and the one from Long Island by using the different apartments. We'd convert two of them into guest space. Has dedicated parking." That got an appreciative look. "Nice penthouse." He got a nod and wrote back he wanted to look at that one. "And hey, it's cheaper," he said dryly. "Living in Alexandria is really expensive."
"All the lobbyists live out there," McGee told him. He came over to look. "That's got a lot more space. Does insurance charge by square foot?"
"No, overall worth. I'll be blasted on the worth of the books instead." That got a nod. "As close as we can get to a mediaeval tower as you can get in today's age since they're tearing down the other one."
"It'll work," Gibbs told him. That got a smile and a nod. "Your girlfriend?"
"Met Grandmother. They had a short talk. So far it's okay I guess." He shrugged and went back to surfing for similar buildings. He found another one that was a bit smaller but had more room inside. He sent that to his realtor too. It wasn't what she thought he'd want but with the libraries he'd need something huge. Plus it had an exterior building that would do nicely as a tomb area if he needed one. Plus it was gated and had a bit of lawn. Still dedicated parking though.
Tony initiated the conference call, getting them all again. "Okay, guys. Got the new tower bought. I closed today. It's mine as of ten days from now," he said, getting some appreciative noise and a few claps. "I'll have the tower's library, the library from Long Island, and plenty of room for visitors. Plus room for the tomb or ritual area," he said when his grandmother faded in. "Do you like the new place?"
"I do. It's cute." She kissed him on the cheek. "The tower's contents are being shipped tonight." He nodded. "It'll take a few days. It's coming by cargo plane. You'll need to hire someone to pick it up and move it for you."
"Already done, I was waiting on the 'how' of it getting here." She wrote it down for him. "I can tell them later." He smiled at the gathered phones. "So," he said dryly. "Someone's got to come bless it. We can all come visit the library and all that stuff. Mac, if you or Don wanted Grandmother's journal Ryan had it last I knew."
"I have it," Horatio told him. "How big is this house?"
"I went for a small building. One apartment will have the library from Italy. Another one will have the one from Long Island. There's another three for guest rooms. Then mine up top. Plus a small bit of grass and an outbuilding for the ritual area. It's also got dedicated parking and a fence for security reasons. I've already contracted with an alarm company to come in and deal with that issue. I told them I inherited a bibliophile's collection and they were priceless. There's a small bit of construction being done to change the sprinkler system to fire foam instead so it can't damage the books. Also to knock down a few walls in the libraries. Other than that, it's in move in condition outside of some painting and moving furniture."
"You're getting the things from Italy there as well," she promised.
"Good to know. Thank you, Grandmother." He grinned at her. "Am I forgetting anything?"
"The original tomb?" Blair asked. "I wouldn't care to have it out here but Jim's going to freak. He's still freaking over Xander. Especially when Willow appeared." Tony snickered. "Xander wanted to know what you used to turn her into a mouse."
"It's the white powder I sent him a few days back," Tony told him. That got a small laugh from there. "How is Jim taking it otherwise?"
"He's good. He's still wary but it's not harming our other work relationship. How is Gibbs taking it?"
"Well enough. As long as I can hire movers it'll be fine. My girlfriend wants to help me paint. I sent her pictures from Long Island and she thought that library was huge. She thought we were talking personal library not like Georgetown's library. But I do think we'll have plenty of room."
"Good," Horatio agreed. "When you're moved in, let us know so we can come up to look around."
"Sure. It'll probably be about a month." He grinned when someone knocked. "Who it is?" Abby let herself in. "Come on in." She handed over another page. "What's this?"
"Your lawyer sent it. They found it in the house." She sat down. "Hi, everyone. I'm Abby. I'm his lab tech and help him and Gibbs."
"Hi," came from a multitude of voices.
"Someone found more of the offshore accounts." Tony put it aside with the rest of the folder. "Does anyone have anything they need me to research right off when the books get here?"
"Not yet," Blair admitted. "But I would suggest we set up a chat room somewhere. That way we can keep in better touch than with email."
"Mailing list too probably," Tony offered.
"Yahoo has many problems with theirs," Abby said. "Google's looking okay but I'm not sure yet. Haven't used them. My bowling friends and the league all use a yahoo list."
"I can set that up," Blair promised. That got a lot of agreement. "Okay, I need everyone's email address. We'll make it by invitation only. That way some kid doesn't suddenly pop up and we don't have to deal with spammers. Then we'll figure out about the tomb, Tony."
"I can handle that," he agreed. He looked at his grandmother, who nodded. Then Abby, who gave him a hug. "I'm getting hugged so I'll let you guys go. Have a better night. You have mine, right, Blair?"
"Your off work one? No."
"I only have the one."
"Ours can be monitored," Abby reminded him. "I'll help him and Gibbs set up one off the federal server," she promised. "Then I'll send it to you, Blair."
"Sure. That'll work. I know he's got mine in his email."
"Okay. Let me know if you need help. I am a hacker," she said dryly, hanging up on everyone. She closed all the phones. "You need a multiline conference system for the new place."
"I'm planning on asking McGee and you to advise me." He kissed her on the head. "Thank you for finding that for me."
"You're welcome. The director was not happy it got faxed to you there. Gibbs told her it was a legitimate personal use since you're still doing the last of the paperwork." She snuggled into his side. "Can I read the journal?"
"Sure, when we get it back." She smiled and nodded. He let her cuddle. "Bored?"
"Very bored," she agreed. "So very bored." He turned on a movie, making her a happy person. "Thank you."
"Welcome. Bags of popcorn are in the kitchen." She went to make them some and came back out to settle in next to him.
A month and a half later Tony looked around his modern day tower. The libraries were crammed with books. Fortunately they had sent the bookshelves as well. His library from his parents was less full. It had more fun reading things too. Tony let the movers put the big table into the main library area for research times. He had even bought one of those reshelving carts to tease the book nerds in the group. Everything was set up. He went to the guest rooms. The furniture from Italy was better quality so he had used them in the spare apartments. He had let the realtor in Long Island have most of his mother's antiques as a payment for selling the house. It worked out to be more than her commission would be but that was fine. She had wanted to buy the house from him. His own apartment was decorated with his things and he smiled at the extra room he now had. He had four bedrooms up here and a great view. Plus the buzzer for the gate. It was going off. He pressed it. "What?" he asked. "I was in the library."
"It's me," Gibbs called.
Tony let him in. "I'm upstairs now." He remotely unlocked the door too, digging out the card passes for the others. He flopped down on his couch, getting comfortable. Gibbs came in so he handed over a card. "For the gate."
"Thanks." He tucked it into his wallet, looking around. "A lot more room, DiNozzo."
"I know, it's spacious and has light. I'm so stunned after living in an apartment complex." He grinned. "Did you see the libraries? By the way, your ancestor and Severtina both wrote diaries."
"They're down there?"
"Yup. Along with your son's. Younger seemed a lot like Draco Malfoy from the Harry Potter books in a lot of ways, boss."
"I'm sure his father smacked him around plenty for it." He looked around again. "Groceries?"
"Not a bit of food in the house," Tony admitted. "I had the insurance guy earlier. He nearly cried at some of the books' ages. He's having a specialist come in to appraise, at his own cost. Everything's here but the shipment from Rome."
"It's going out back?" He went to look down at the building out there. "Will it hold it?"
"I had the guys who knocked down walls expand under it. I told them it was a bomb shelter." That got a nod. "That'll be here in a few weeks."
"It's at customs." He looked at him. "I got called since you were in the library."
"I got lost," he teased. He stood up. "Come see?" He nodded, following him down. "The floor below mine has three spare apartments for visitors. Plus I've got spare rooms in my place too. They're two three bedrooms and a two bedroom." He led him into the library's floor. "On the east side is the new family library. It's a lot less full. On the west side is the old family library. It's full." He let him see, watching him smile at them. "I need new chairs for the tables and McGee promised to help me set up a new phone and computer system around the building so you could log on down here and upstairs or in the apartments. I can pick some up then."
"Good. It's looking good. Could use another table."
"There's two across the hall. There's no more room in here for another table." That got a smile and a nod. "What do you think about me putting some of these in digital format, boss? I have the money to pay someone like a work study grant for a college student."
"Are you going to put it online?"
"No but it might be easier and faster to do research that way," Tony offered. "That way the standard cures and banishing mixes could be found easier and no one would have to call me from work to do that."
"That could help," he agreed. "How much was your father worth?"
"To the IRS? About fifty mil. To the world? He had accounts in the Caymans, Switzerland, and somewhere by Jakarta." Gibbs gaped. Tony nodded. "With all this stuff I'm worth Oprah money. Which was why I wasn't going to fill out those forms for the Human Resources department. I don't want to listen to someone whine. They don't need to know and I don't want it to get out. Besides, it'd probably end up being a lie. Abby found a new account the other day. The director would use it to discredit me or fire me. Therefore it's better to not fill it out on moral ground. Oh, I made it so no listening devices or parabolic mics would work in here. The most they could do would be to tap the phones and McGee said there's a way to tell."
"You're paying him?"
"Eight grand," Tony agreed.
"That's good. Abby?"
"Abby refused to be paid, boss. I offered. I'll get her a great birthday and Christmas present this year." That got a smirk and a nod. "Are we done for the day? Because I could use some help stocking up again. I put in a chest freezer too. You have a bigger trunk," he explained at the odd look. Gibbs snorted. "Hey, I still have to buy a coffee maker and I was going to stop at the good coffee place too. Get some nice blends."
"Get regular folgers, DiNozzo. Not the fancy flavored stuff. Most of us are cops. We drink regular crappy coffee."
"I was going to do that too. My old coffeemaker is going in down here with a sign saying if you spill coffee or anything on the books I will kill them." Gibbs snorted but nodded. "So, grocery shopping?"
"Fine." He walked him out, letting him flip off the lights on the way back upstairs. "I saw the movers left you a pull cart."
"I bought a new one. It'll make it easier to move things like the equipment McGee's setting up for me tonight. Plus groceries. Or injured bodies. I've got to get Ducky's help to stock an emergency kit. Just in case."
"Could be a good idea," he agreed quietly. "I don't want to explain bite marks to the ER again."
"Me either. Or claw marks." He rubbed his shoulder. Gibbs looked then smacked him on the head. "It got me while I was jogging," he complained, rubbing his head. "Not my fault. I can't jog with a sword, boss."
"We'll figure that out. Maybe a treadmill."
"Then I can't watch the other asses bouncing," Tony quipped, getting another sort of look this time. He grinned, grabbing his wallet and keys, plus his ID card for the gate. "So what happened today?"
"Nothing. The director has us on hiatus." Tony shuddered. "She did ask me to ask you if she could borrow a few books to do some research in."
"I'm not sure. She didn't say."
"Have her ask me herself, boss, and what she needs. I could probably find it easier for her."
"I'll do that."
"It'll be another good reason to have them in a digital format."
"It would," he agreed. "I can't see Abby going through that whole library looking for one small fact."
"I can but I can see her temper going off too," Tony admitted, heading back down in the elevator. "I know, it's slow. I thought about changing it out but they don't make them with this size car anymore. So it'd mean more work on the building or a smaller elevator."
"Changing out the motors?"
"Even the industrial ones aren't built for these heavy cars. It's full steel." He tapped on a wood panel. "Wood covering it for beautification purposes."
"It'll do then. As long as it doesn't fall."
"No, I had them go over the motor and make sure it worked very well before I let anyone use it, boss. The cable will be on tomorrow."
"Bored?" he asked.
"Hell yes," he moaned, shaking his head. They exited in the garage and Tony waved at McGee, handing him the gate card. "Yours. We're going grocery shopping."
"I can tag along and then we can go looking at computer stuff, boss?" he offered.
"Sure, McGee. Plus research chairs."
"I'm taking him to an office place anyway. It'll have some." He grinned. "I'll head there and you guys join me?"
Tony nodded, letting him head off. "What am I making for dinner tonight, boss? Or am I ordering?" he asked as they got into Gibbs' car.
"We'll figure that out when we get there," he decided. "Lock the elevator?" Tony used the remote on his keychain to do it like he would his car alarm. "Nice."
"Monitored too," he said dryly. "The pass card deactivates it."
"Even better." He backed out, heading out to the grocery store he liked when he had to stock up. Tony gave him an odd look. "Sam's Club works."
"Sure. I can see that. I need a membership card."
"I've got one." They went inside, Tony grabbing a cart to head to the food areas. He knew he'd have to hit a regular grocery store now and then but he could get the basic supplies here. He saw Tony looking at the industrial crate of toilet paper and shook his head. "Not the full crate, it won't fit in the trunk." he ordered. Tony got the smaller multipack. Then he grabbed three more. Gibbs looked at the cart. "Spare apartments?" Tony nodded. "Not a bad idea. Grab paper towels too." Tony did that. They kept going, making a lot of stops in the chips, snack cake, and frozen food aisles. "Who eats that many snack cakes?"
"Blair said Xander lives on them."
"Is he healthy?"
"Most of the time." He grinned. "He's twenty, Gibbs."
"Never mind. I had an iron stomach then too." They finished and checked out. Tony's debit card declined so he sighed and pulled out something else, running it. It went through. "New account syndrome?"
"The card hasn't worked in two days," Tony admitted. "I've got to pounce the bank tomorrow for lunch. I think something in Abby's lab demagnitized it. It's happened before." He walked the cart out to the car, filling up the trunk and most of the back seat, giving a sigh of pleasure when it was all unloaded. "Ah, food. All but veggies and fresh meat."
"You can do that later while McGee sets up things," Gibbs told him.
"I'm ordering dinner tonight," Tony decided, making him snicker. "I am. Want to stop at my coffee place?"
"Since you didn't pick any up," he agreed dryly. "Probably should."
Tony nodded, getting into the passenger's seat, letting Gibbs drive while he navigated with a quiet 'turn at the next corner'. They walked inside together, him smiling when his coffee girl pounced him with a squeal. "I missed you too. This is my boss, Gibbs. We need a new coffee maker for my house and I'm thinking a good one this time." She led them over to look at what they had. Gibbs tapped one simple pot but Tony pointed at the double pot, getting a head shake of disgust. "You sure, boss?"
"You won't need them most of the time. It's not that hard to make new pots, DiNozzo."
"What about espresso and those things?" she said.
"Most of his friends are cops," Gibbs told her.
"Oh. Well, we do have a number who come here who like it."
"How about the one that you said made the whipped cream for cocoa?" he suggested. She got it to show them. "Boss?"
He looked then nodded. "That'll do. Those who want something other than decent coffee can deal with it and it won't get in the way of us who pour and drink." She nodded, putting that on the counter for them. "He drinks plain stuff."
She looked at him then giggled. "You like yours strong, dark, rich, a bit bitter or less bitter?"
"Less bitter but it's a hard mix to find."
"We blend speciality blends, Gibbs." She showed him the ones she had in mind, getting a nod and a tap of one when he tasted it.
"Give me two pounds of that, sealed in half pounds?" Tony requested. "Then a pound of my usual four in the same way?"
"Just the four? Not the chocolate one?"
He considered it. "Not the tea this time."
"Abby will be hurt," Gibbs told him.
Tony let him taste a small sample of another one, getting a moan. "That's what I feed Abby when she's in a coffee mood, boss." He paid for those with the same card as earlier, going to stash them in the back seat, and pointed at the bakery up the street and the specialty grocery store. "Since we're here?"
"Why not. They won't melt." He followed Tony into the specialty grocery store, watching him shop and chat with the butcher and vegetable person in there like they were close friends. He came out with four bags and went into the bakery, coming out with four more boxes that he let Gibbs carry. They went into the backseat and they headed back. Gibbs dug out his card and used it on the gate, letting them inside. They unloaded everything and called McGee to see which office place he was lurking and waiting in. It had taken longer than they expected but he was still trying to decide between phones when they got there. "Usually he conferences in about six phones worth, McGee," he told him.
"Then we'll need the more lines instead of the less lines one," he decided, putting three of those and four of the smaller ones, plus two normal phones, into the cart. "For the library and the spare apartments," he said at Gibbs' look. Tony nodded. "I've already picked out the router, Tony." He nodded, following along behind him. "How old is your laptop?"
"Two years," Tony admitted. "It's running XP."
"Are you going to upgrade?"
"Not this week." That got a nod so he bypassed it. He knew Tony had a good printer at home so it'd be fine. "Are we hardwiring jacks for people with older systems or only doing the wireless?"
"I'm doing a few jacks on the table for the older systems," McGee promised. "Plus one in each of the apartments. I did talk to Blair since he was the one who made the least amount of money. He said he's still got to plug in for ethernet access. Those'll lead back to the wireless system so it won't be a problem." That got a nod from Tony. He pointed at some chairs. "Try the blue ones?"
"They won't match," Gibbs told him.
"They come in eight other colors, boss." Tony went to try, wiggling some. "Not comfortable? I didn't think we'd need something to nap in."
"True. How about a higher back?" McGee looked and pointed at his third choice. Tony went to sit and smiled at it, nodding a bit. "Those'll work." He looked at the color cards. "They come in light gray, that'll match I think. Boss?"
He considered it then nodded. "Most everything is in a stained or painted wood. It should." Tony nodded, taking the card to go with that, putting it into the cart. "They can deliver those, right?"
"Yeah, boss, they can deliver any furniture," McGee promised. He looked at Tony. "With your idea of putting things on CD for faster research, you'll have to have a system set up for that. That might be a bit more expensive and there's three competing systems."
"I'll let whoever I get help me with that," Tony decided, getting a nod. "That one I won't want able to get online. Just to keep the information from being sent out without permission."
"That's something we can decide when you get the system set up. Did the insurance check come in?"
"Supposedly it's in the bank. My card isn't working so I don't know."
"Call them?" McGee suggested.
"I did. The card still didn't work."
"Abby's lab has eaten about five of mine too," McGee admitted, walking them on. "You don't need other office supplies, right?"
"I shouldn't. I won't have to keep receipts for tax times unless I decide to incorporate myself or something." That got a nod. "We're still talking about that idea." That got another nod and they moved to check out, Tony getting a soda. "By the way, I'm ordering tonight. What am I getting?"
"I don't care," McGee told him. "Too tired from grocery shopping?"
"Definitely," Gibbs agreed. "How are they going to deliver it if you're at work?"
"There's a front door on the street with a door I can unlock over the phone. I can let them into that and let them leave them there. There's a blank, reinforced hallway between there and the elevator."
"That'll work," Gibbs decided. "You did build it to paranoid agent standards."
"I am a paranoid agent," Tony pointed out dryly.
"I thought that was an anime," McGee said.
"That's Paranoia Agents," the cashier told them with a smile. "Deliveries?" Tony handed over the card, letting her scan it in. "How many, sir?"
"Um, ten. Light gray." She checked then looked at him. "That's all?" She nodded. "Good and the rest of this stuff too please." She let McGee place everything onto the conveyor while he paid for it. He did wince at the price, looking at McGee.
"It's upgradable and it'll work no matter what version of wireless you have on your system."
"Good to know," Tony said, signing the slip the cashier printed. Then the one on the screen for the credit card purchase. "Thank you." She nodded, letting them take off the bags. He put his phone number on the delivery slip. "I have a secured area they can leave it in if I'm not there. Have them call and I can unlock it remotely."
She nodded, making a note of that. "I can have them do that. You have a good day."
He smiled and walked off, taking them to his bank for a few minutes. He went in to check his account in person, finding it all in there. He complained about his card, getting a new one started. Then he made a withdrawal for McGee and a few other things. That way he could pay off his credit card tonight. He walked out, handing McGee the cash he owed him, and Gibbs a fifty. "For gas, boss. You ran all over the city for me. It's only fair." He tucked the rest into his wallet and they headed back to the building. McGee was already in there working on setting up the routers. "Pizza, Chinese, or other?" he called, carrying in the other bags that had been in the hallway. "Need the cart?"
"No, it'll be okay," he promised with a smile. "I don't care. Whatever you two want is fine with me." He called Abby once he got the phone set up. "Okay, call me back, make sure it works." He hung up and she did that, making him smile when he put her on speaker. "Can you hear me?"
"Loud and clear, Timmy. Good job."
"Just the first of tonight, Abs. We're here if you wanted to come see."
"Sure, I can come help." She hung up.
Tony got him a cup of coffee once he had the new machine set up, getting a moan. "Oh, you got the good stuff again."
"I got some of that and stuff Gibbs liked too." He grinned, going to make another pot once he filled his cup and a cup for Abby. He buzzed her in, giving her a passcard too. He'd send the others one later on. She bounced over to help McGee set up everything while Tony and Gibbs made up the bedrooms all around the building. Most likely anyone would be tired when they got in. It was mean to make them make their own beds the first time. "I have a washer somewhere," Tony quipped. "I have no idea where they put it."
Gibbs called McGee. "Can your security upgrade find the washer and dryer?" He listened then nodded, hanging up. "Basement. You have a blown lightbulb down there too."
"I'll fix that tomorrow." They went back to making beds. They were very nice old beds with more modern mattresses. It was nice of his cousin to have updated them. Gibbs pushed on one. "I know, it's not the ancient mattresses that you used to have to stuff with hay. I'm very glad of that." His cellphone rang. "DiNozzo. Hi, Jeanne." He smiled. "Making beds. Where are you? McGee, Abby, and Gibbs are over. We're ordering dinner. Sure. Come on over. Buzz the gate when you get here and we'll let you in." He hung up, smiling at him. "She wanted to gape in horror at the library too."
"Didn't have her over last night to christen the place?" Gibbs asked.
"She had a double yesterday." They walked out of the last bedroom and found McGee putting in the wireless adapter plug. "My girlfriend's on her way in."
"Abby's upstairs rearranging your cabinets while she searches for more chocolates."
Tony walked off shaking his head. "Pizza, boss? Or Chinese?"
"Pizza's good." Tony nodded, calling it in on the way up. He was closest to the gate panel when it buzzed so he looked at the camera then hit the open switch. She drove in and it closed automatically. "Good upgrade."
"I got the people who do abuse shelters. I figured they'd be the best and I do have to be a bit paranoid since there are people who want the books. Or to destroy the books." He hugged Abby, opening the freezer, making her squeal. "Jeanne's here."
"Your girlfriend?" Tony nodded. "About time I meet her, Tony." She swatted him and went to meet her at the elevator. "Hi, Jeanne. I'm Abby." She shook her hand. "We're in Tony's apartment."
"This place is huge," she told him when they finally found him in the kitchen. "Did we need all this room, Tony?"
"There's a few spare apartments for guest storage, but yeah," he admitted with a grin. He led her around, taking a picture of her face when she saw the main library. McGee giggled from where he was working. "She thought I was talking about a library like yours."
"So did I at first. That's why we were suggesting houses. Now I see why you went with your own tower."
"It's as close as I can come to a mediaeval tower," he said dryly. She gave him a curious look. "The tower that got destroyed was built back in Roman times and some updates were done in Grandmother Ancelin's time. Chauvis did them for Volka." That got a nod. She ran a hand over a few of the books. "Some of these predate the Roman empire," he said in her ear. "It's why we have good security." She shivered, looking at him. "That and so no one sneaks in. All I have left is blessing the building and I have a priest coming in Saturday to do that." He looked at McGee. "Pizza will be here in a few." He walked her out, letting her check out the other library. "There's chairs coming tomorrow from an office place."
"That's good." Tony's phone rang. He listened, then nodded, leading her down to the front door to pay the pizza boy and take the boxes. They went back up in the elevator. "Cameras?"
"Internal for security purposes. The security company has sensors based on the amount of cars that're here. No one can tape off them either," he said with a grin, stealing a kiss. She gave him a light shove, taking the pizzas when they got out. Tony followed her. "I told Probie the food's here," he called. Abby came out with plates to dish food up. "I did get a dishwasher, right?" he asked her.
"Yup, one of those split drawer ones so you don't have to use the whole thing if you don't want to," she said cheerfully. "Tony went grocery shopping so there's soda, milk, and coffee. He even bought a new pot."
"I saw the old one down in the bigger library," Jeanne said, pushing some of her dark hair behind her ear. "I still say this place is too large."
"It'll fit us all nicely when we have meetings," Gibbs told her. He pointed at the machine under the tv. "What's that do, DiNozzo?"
"It's a five hundred DVD changer, boss. All I have to do is flip through the menu to see what I want to watch." That got a nod and then a head shake. "Means I don't have to get up when I have a concussion."
"I'm sure it's handy." He let DiNozzo get into the menu for him, letting him look. He had some he knew. He turned on one, letting Abby curl against his side. "You're not off playing with the equipment?"
"I'll play when McGee's done by checking the signal with my laptop." She smiled at him. She looked back at Tony. "You still have to unpack the toilet paper and paper towels."
"I'll do it after this slice," he said with a smile, finishing up so he could unpack the ones for up there. He found she had already done that so he took the extra packs down to load up the bathrooms. Jeanne carried down the papertowels after him to help, getting a smile for it. She looked at the antiques, running a hand over some of them. "They came from the tower."
"They're beautifully done, Tony. They've held up well too." Tony's phone rang. "McGee?"
"No, my uncle's here. Let him in, boss. That's Vorchain." He hung up and led her off to finish loading the other apartments, running into him in the elevator. "Hey, Uncle. This is Jeanne. She's my girlfriend. I will shoot you if you hit on her," he said blandly.
She giggled. "I'm sure he knows what taken is," she said dryly, shaking his hand. "What do you do?"
"I'm a pretty free spirit. Mostly I watch over the family."
"He taught me how to use a sword when I was younger," Tony said, walking off the elevator with them. "Welcome to the new tower, Uncle."
That got a smirk. "It's nice. Not drafty like the old one." He clapped him on the back. "I'm seeing modern conveniences." He stared at Abby, getting one back. "Hi."
"Hi." She gave him a hug. "How are you?"
"She's feeling sick," Gibbs excused, pulling her off him. "Rest, Abby."
Tony picked her up and carried her to bed, making her swat him. "Quit." He laid her down and kissed her on the forehead. "We'll still be here. Take a nap." He went back out there. "Sorry. She's got the yuckies as she usually puts it." Vorchain smiled, nibbling on some pizza. "You met Gibbs before, right?"
"Barely." He shook his hand. "Gibbs."
"Vorchain." He smiled at Jeanne. "Yes, it's like this most of the time."
"Fine. I can put up with it. It's not frat brothers."
"I have a few of those," Tony teased. McGee came back. "You remember him I'm sure, Uncle."
"I do. Timothy." He shook his hand.
McGee smiled. "Nice to see you again. Abby?"
"On my bed," Tony told him. That got a nod. "She's in a cuddly and yuckie mood."
"I noticed that earlier. She was hugging Bert her farting hippo." He took his pizza off. "I'm putting in the wireless routers."
"I did want to ask your opinion as well, Uncle. I'm thinking about having some of the books put onto CD for easier searching. Not to put online but for the group."
He considered it, sitting down in one of the comfortable chairs. "I can see that. It'd make it faster to find things for those in other cities." He ate a bite of pizza, then looked at his nephew. "Ham?"
"Not like any of us are jeweish," he offered. "I'd warn Ziva if she wanted to come over."
Vorchain nodded. "I think it could help but it'd be a time consuming project."
"I was thinking about hiring a college student. Like a work study thing."
Vorchain smiled. "You're letting the money go to your head."
"No, I would've done it before. A few of the books are starting to fall apart and this way there'll be a copy of the most important things if something happens. Because I do know that electrical fires happen and those things even when you don't want them to. No matter how carefully you try to plan for those things."
"Good point." He finished that piece of pizza, getting up to get some more. "I can see that being a good reason. It'd also be easier to loan some of the lesser books to some colleges." Tony nodded at that and the reasoning that he could decide to lend some for research purposes. "Someone in a library field or in a museum field?"
"I don't know. I know Ducky knows someone at the Smithsonian. I'd let him tell me who to talk to about the project, see what sort of specialized system they'd need. How much it'd cost, those things."
"Sounds like an idea to me," Vorchain admitted. "I'll ask Kermit."
"Thanks, man." He gave him a one-armed hug. "Sit and watch movies?"
"I came to meet the girlfriend actually," he said with a wicked smirk.
"He told me you taught him how to flirt," she teased back.
"I did, but I only touch taken things when they come onto me, my dear." He walked her out onto the small balcony to sit and talk with her. He didn't say anything about the rest of the family or the group, but he did want to make sure she was strong enough to handle being the wife of a Volka. He even asked nosy questions about future kids. At one point she swatted him but that was fine. You had to be strong and sassy to be a Volka's wife. She was no Ancelin but she might do. The looks Tony gave him were the same Ancelin's Volka used to give him when he got near his wife while she was pregnant.
Tony looked up from his current casework when something thumped onto his desk. He looked it over before touching it, frowning while he read the note. "Fuck, not a good time," he muttered. But he sent a text message to Horatio. He got one back from Eric, that was even worse. He thumped his head on the desk, handing over the phone when it was tugged on. He looked at the director. "Some of our family friends." He took his phone back, concentrating very hard. A book thumped in his desk so he pulled it out to look up the information he needed, sending a text to Eric to either call or find a way into his email. Eric sent back a laugh. Not a good sign. So he finished reading and walked off with the book and his cellphone, taking it to the elevator. He shut off the power and sat down, calling down there. "Are you sure that's what he said it was? Because it's rare and it's a called being, Eric. It's there only because it was summoned to take a sacrifice." He listened to the hissed description and the sneer from the demon for being too far away to stop him. "Well, if I knew how to fix that...." Xander appeared, holding out a hand. "How?"
"Willow magic." Tony stood up, taking his hand, closing the phone. He flipped back on the elevator just before they left. He handed Xander the book, who looked at it and handed it to Eric. "Needed help?" Xander asked with a semi-insane grin.
"Please." The demon chuckled and Tony looked around. "What do we need?"
"I need a sword!" Tony called, diving in to attack it. "Or we need to find who started the sacrifice and get her to uncast it!"
Xander looked at the demon, then shrugged. "I'd offer my AK," he said, pulling it off his back to shoot the demon in the chest area repeatedly. It stumbled back but snarled at him. "Huh. The books Giles have swear it's killed by silver."
Tony groaned. "I hate them. Remind me later, okay? Sword!"
"Tony!" Horatio yelled, pointing with his foot. It wasn't tied down. His arms were.
"On three we get the smaller ones down," Xander ordered, nodding at Eric, who nodded back. They rushed the two 'helper' demons, knocking them down. Eric got to the hostages, Xander got to the sword. "Tony!" He tossed it over, watching as Tony had to pick it up off the floor as it skidded past.
Tony looked at it. "Not bad." He faced off with the demon. "Hey, ugly. I've got some stress you can help me with." It laughed and lunged, and he did a lot better this time. They got the three hostages - Ryan, Horatio, and Madison - out of the way. Xander took out both helper demons. Someone came in sneering and Xander attacked her next. She was clearly the caster or being benefitted by this action. Tony kept going, concentrating on his opponent. He felt something going on and a small blonde girl appeared. "Buffy, not now. This is a higher demon, summoned here."
"Giles said silver."
"Tried that," Xander called. "Silver bullets didn't work."
"Wow. That sucks." She dove in, getting the demon from behind to get him down. He shoved her off and they continued to get it between them. Then, outside, some female screamed and the demon bellowed, holding it's chest. "Maybe it had on the mystical body armor or something?" she panted at Tony, who could only shrug. He was a bit winded. Xander turned and shot the demon again, making it disappear with a scream of pain. "I guess so," she said, leaning down to catch her breath.
Tony did the same thing, letting the sword fall. "I need more time in the gym. Clearly I need to do more time in the gym. Terrorists aren't this hard." Xander came over to help him sit down. "The other two?"
"Done, gone, were in bendy shapes when I got done tying them up," he soothed. He tipped Tony's face up. "At least we won't have to explain it to Gibbs."
"Bet me! I'm supposed to be helping find a kidnaping victim," he said dryly. He stood up, looking at the sword. "I swear I'm going to leave one at work." Xander handed it over with a grin. "You sure?"
"I've got Giles' armory. Plus a very pretty battle axe," he said happily. "We're gonna stay and watch the bikinis. Willow?" She appeared. "Can you please bring Tony back?"
"Sure. Just him and the sword?"
"I need to make sure Horatio's all right, him and Ryan. I'm sure they're fussing over Madison."
Xander snorted. "She's fussing over both of them like they're horribly injured. Every scratch is being babied and bandaged by her hands. She's a great little girl. Go, shoo. I'll have Horatio call you." He handed over the book and the phone, waving as Willow took him off.
Tony came off the elevator a minute later, dropping the book and phone onto his desk, the sword going behind his seat. Then he sat down and gulped a whole bottle of water. "Horatio's fine now, boss. So's Ryan and Madison." He got back to work. "Has anyone found the link between this person and the storage warehouse on eighth?"
"No, DiNozzo, we haven't," Gibbs said dryly. "What sort of link?"
"Like her father owns them." He put it on the main screen. "It's in receivership. It's supposedly empty and locked up. It's where I'd start. I realized that when I came back."
"What were you doing?" McGee hissed. Tony opened the book and dropped it onto his desk, coming over to look at the pictures of the building that the realtor had put up for buyers. McGee hissed. "How?"
"Are killed by silver but this one had some extra protection." He shrugged. "Xander and Buffy said hi, boss, and Willow helped me get there and back. Gotta go over that. I'm wondering how strong you have to be." He pointed at the building. "Want us to start there?"
"Think you can move?"
"I'll be sore later," he said dryly, staring at him. "Come on, Probie, I'm driving."
"I'm driving," Gibbs ordered. It was a link they had been waiting on. Tony got into the back without question, resting up for the upcoming event. He glanced back as he backed out of his parking spot. "We'll be talking, DiNozzo."
"Sure, boss. You can ask Horatio how he and his officer plus his niece got taken hostage too."
"I can do that as well." He put the car in forward and sent them off quickly to the storage area. "McGee, did you leave that book in the open?"
"Closed but on my desk," he admitted. "No one will touch it, boss."
"The director might," Tony said dryly. "I doubt she wants to summon that thing." He waved a hand weakly. "Where is Ziva?"
"Not a clue," McGee admitted. "The director called her."
"Interesting." Tony grabbed the door before he was sent rolling across the seat. "Hey, boss, I know it's a matter of life and death, but I'd like it to not be my death," he complained.
"Brakes are gone," he complained.
"Oh, goodie!" He groaned, calling someone back at the office. "Director, DiNozzo. The brakes went out on our car. We're speeding at Gibbs' speed toward eighth and our kidnaping victim. Yeah, I did think you should know, ma'am," he said dryly. He hung up. "She said she's sure you can handle it, Jethro," he mimicked.
"Good to know," he muttered, slowing them down slightly. The brakes came back the next time he pressed. "We have a fluid leak. We have some but not a lot."
"Storage area's ahead, boss," Tony said. They spun out but did stop. In the middle of the street. Gibbs got them moving again and parked the car. Tony got out, leaning on the roof for a minute. He and McGee were both green. "Thanks, boss, good job." He got smacked on the head. "Ow, I didn't deserve that." He pulled his gun and they headed inside, Gibbs leading the way. The hostage was upstairs, third storage area from the end of that floor. The person holding the girl hostage tried to get them to go away, even threatened to shoot her, but Tony was now in a foul, sick mood so he muttered something, pulling an imp to scare the crap out of her. She screamed, jumped, her gun went off into the ceiling. She dropped the hostage, who also screamed and backed away. Gibbs grabbed her and glared at Tony, who banished his own summoning and grinned sweetly at him. He helped the hostage up. "Are you all right? Need medical attention?"
"I could," she said weakly.
"On it," McGee said, walking off calling, going to make sure the rest of the building was secure.
Tony led her outside, letting her lean on him. Not that he wasn't still sweaty and trembling from exertion but she needed the paramedics. They gave him a long look. "Sparring from frustration." That got a nod and they took the girl to check over at the hospital.
Gibbs stood in front of Tony. "You do not summon things. You do not disappear without warning. You do not do that in the office either. Am I clear?" he hissed quietly, staring Tony down.
"Yes, Gibbs. I didn't plan on disappearing. Xander showed up to grab me."
"I don't care. Next time you warn me."
"Yes, Gibbs." He looked down then at him. "I'll warn about the imp too."
"It worked *this* time. Do not do it again."
"Yes, Gibbs. It won't happen again."
"Good. When we get back, take a shower."
"Thank you." He gave him a small grin. "Can I grab dinner on the way? I'm starved."
"As long as it doesn't take more than ten minutes total."
"Yes, boss." He and McGee got into the car, letting Gibbs hand the prisoner in to them. Then he got in to drive. "Um, boss, brakes?" Tony asked.
"Good point." He called for a new car and they waited. The woman was still shaking so he looked at Tony. "Go cool down."
"I'm better now, boss, really. Just really tired." That got a nod and he relaxed. She shifted so Tony squeezed her arm. "I don't care why you're moving but try it again," he ordered coolly. She quit moving. He yawned. He didn't even realize he was drifting off until Gibbs smacked him on the head for snoring. "Sorry, boss," he mumbled.
"Nap," he ordered, shaking his head.
"Is his blood sugar going? He should have went with the paramedics," the kidnaper offered. She knew he had set that thing on her. She didn't know how she knew but she knew he had done that and made her look like a coward when it appeared.
"He got done sparring a few minutes before we found you," McGee told her. "He's legitimately tired, ma'am." Their relief car was driven up by Ziva and stopped with a squeal of brakes. "Are they leaking too?"
"Possibly," he admitted. Gibbs went to check, nodding. "Yours are leaking too, Ziva."
"It's the last one on the lot, Gibbs. Is Tony taking a nap?"
"He's worn out. Leave him alone." He got in and tested the brakes. "They work better." They motioned for McGee to bring the prisoner and Tony, who was growling at her for real now. She shrank away and tried to hide behind Ziva, getting an amused look.
"I'm not saving you from him. I'll sell tickets. Others would like to see him maim you." She still got into the back with her and McGee, letting Gibbs drive them off while the tow truck came for the other car. By the time they got back to the station Tony was back to snoring quietly and Gibbs left him there when he didn't wake up. Ziva pointed but McGee shook his head. So she left it there. Tony would wake up and come upstairs eventually. She wouldn't wonder why he had a sword behind his desk or a really old book on his desk. She was quickly learning there were things she did not want to know about Tony's life.
McGee got into his email. "Boss, Horatio and Ryan sent up a thank you for lending them Tony for a while. They said their two hostage takers were very nicely confessing before they turned the problem back on them. Horatio said to tell Tony his niece is fine but she's learned how to fuss very well because she kissed each scrape before bandaging it for him. The paramedics were very amused and love her too."
Gibbs smiled. "Good to know. Send it to him later. I'll write Horatio tonight." He nodded, forwarding that to him and the to Tony's email. The director came back. "The one we came back in has a leak too, Director. It only had quarter pressure."
"Any idea why?"
"I didn't crawl around under it," he said dryly, giving her a look.
"I thought maybe you had DiNozzo doing it since he's a car guy."
He called him, waking him up. "See if you can find the brake line leak." He listened while he did that, then nodded. "You sure?" He smirked. "Thanks." He hung up. "He got under there for you and said they were nearly shredded in this one car's case. The tow truck has the other." Tony came off the elevator five minutes later. "Shower."
"Let me do my report," he said, sitting down to do that. "I'm aware now, boss. Thanks."
"I want a full report on what went on," he ordered.
"I forwarded Horatio's email to you, Tony."
"Thanks, McGee." He settled in to type both reports, blinking a few times after an hour. He found his stash of protein bars, nibbling on one while he wrote. It was getting better. He finally got them done, printed out, signed, and handed over. "I need more time in the gym," he muttered before heading home. It was well past time to head home. He was a good boy, he didn't even try to drive. The cab was very nice and he managed to get in through the front door since his passcard was in his car. He headed up on the elevator, nearly falling asleep in there because it was a slow, smooth ride. He came out and stumbled in to his couch, laying down on his side, falling asleep there. He'd write Horatio tomorrow. He heard the door open later and grunted in irritation. "What?" he mumbled.
"Food," Ziva told him. He glared at her. "Gibbs gave me his passcard for the gate." She put down food and looked at him. "Are you all right?"
"Just tired, thanks." He put his head back down, going back to sleep before she had left.
"You're welcome." She smiled and left, going to hand Gibbs his passcard back. It was a very nice building. She gave Gibbs a look when she got back to the office. "Is he renting any of the other apartments out?" she asked.
"No," Gibbs said. "They've got special things in them for his family business. Sorry, Ziva."
"That's fine. It's a very secure system. I only spotted two ways in other than what they had." Gibbs looked at her. "That rear building?"
"Only leads to an underground storage area," he told her. "No connection."
"Then I found one. The sewer?"
"Has a grate over the only line access point inside and it's less than six inches across," McGee told her. "He had one of the places that does security for abuse shelters in to do his." She smiled and nodded. "I'd ask for an apartment too but he needs the room for guests and things." She nodded at that. "Besides, you'd have to put up with the really old library."
"He inherited two," Gibbs told her. "Plus some very ancient furniture." He finished proofreading Tony's report, writing Horatio now. His email started out 'since you and Tony can't seem to stay out of trouble, warn me next time' but he knew he'd understand. "He eat?"
"Went back to sleep. I think his girlfriend kept him up blessing the house."
"Christening," McGee said. "And no, she's out of town at a conference this week," he said dryly. "If Tony stayed up late last night it wasn't her."
"Pity. The view was spectacular."
Gibbs grunted. "Reports, people. You can admire DiNozzo's view later." They both got back to work.
Ancelin smiled at Ryan, fading in across from him and Horatio. "Yes, dear?"
"This traveling method Willow uses. It won't hurt Tony, right?"
"No, it shouldn't. It does use demonic energy but it shouldn't taint anyone. She tainted because she's addicted to her powers." Horatio smiled at that. "Are they down here?"
"They are. Xander's staring in awe at the bikinis."
She giggled. "He does have a fine appreciation of the female form. We'll have to make sure no one takes him or tries to kill him this time." Horatio moaned. "He does date some very bad women, dear." She looked him over. "Are you all right?"
"We were taken hostage," Ryan said grimly. "Tony fixed it when Xander went to grab him. His niece babied all our injuries."
"That's sweet of her." She grinned. "Tony's napping."
"Girlfriend?" Ryan teased.
"Not hardly. No, he had a kidnaping case of his own. He got called out of bed at three this morning."
"We've all had those days," Horatio assured her. "I'm sure he'll be chipper in the morning." She nodded. "We should probably hold a meeting to see who needs what and to get into some ideas for the library."
"He's got it all set up."
"There's ways of putting information in other formats so it can be sent down here and we don't have to make so many panicked calls," Ryan told her.
"That would be very handy," she admitted. "We had a lot of panicked 'which one has the book this time' problems. Then again, we used imps and the fireplaces for messages."
"We can call or use text messages," Horatio said. "Nearly as fast."
She giggled. "The hostage taker was very upset when Tony summoned an imp to distract her. She's still babbling about it and Gibbs is probably still sanding his boat."
That got a few smiles and a nod. "As long as everyone's all right. When do you think a good time would be?" Horatio asked.
"I don't know. You might ask Gibbs. Or email the others to see. Tony wouldn't care as long as he has some warning. He's set up the guest areas very well. Even paper in the bathrooms."
"Will there be enough beds?" Ryan asked.
"Two too few if everyone shows up," she admitted. "There's some other of Vorchain's offspring floating around the US. One of them works in a lab like you two do."
"He's a CSI?" Horatio asked.
"I don't know. He's always in the lab when I check on him. He has some of the worst tendencies Vorchain used to have. I should get him onto his grandson." She smiled. "Not to mention there's one who doesn't know but his partner gets him into trouble all the time."
Horatio smirked. "I know that feeling." Ryan shrugged. "I know it wasn't your fault."
"It was nice that she was there to tape it as we got eaten."
"It was nice of her. It made her very easy to arrest," he agreed. "No hunting and gathering needed." Someone tapped. "Who is it?" he called, getting up to answer it. He found Yelina had Xander in hand. "What did he do?"
"He stared too long at a young thing that was coming out of her bikini top. She complained he was creepy. The officer pointed out if she wasn't naked he wouldn't have stared but did say to bring Xander home. He said he was staying with you tonight?"
"I suppose he can have the couch." Xander hugged him and hissed something. "Upstairs, Xander." He went that way. "Come in, Yelina." She came in, giving the ghost an odd look then him. "She is the grandmother of Ryan's line. That's Ancelin."
"Nice to meet you," she said respectfully. "Haunting the family?"
"Checking on them. They do get into some very bad trouble now and then."
Yelina snickered, nodding. "You have no idea. At least he's not as bad as Horatio, who drove through a building that was going to explode in a few seconds to save someone. Stood in the direct path of a sniper to draw his attention." Horatio moaned. She smiled when Xander came back down. "Better?"
"Yup. Needed the potty break. Thank you, Detective."
"Xander, this is my sister-in-law, Yelina. She's Ray Junior's mother."
"Hi." He grinned and waved. "I'm Xander. I'm going to call Blair and tell him about the bikinis and the jealous women in my life who suddenly want boob jobs." He went to do that on the porch while they laughed.
Ryan looked out there at the loud, happy description of the breasts of doom as he put it. "I'd stare at those too. Couldn't be real."
"The officer said they were a bad enhancement," Yelina told him. "He has low standards."
"His last girlfriend liked to torture men, dear," Ancelin told her. "This is a step up from the demonic woman he was dating. Or the one before her."
"At his age I didn't care either. I went for the suffocation principle," Ryan admitted dryly. Yelina swatted him. "I did. Then I got more picky about the same time I graduated college." Someone else knocked and Horatio went to answer it. "Should I put on some water for coffee, Horatio?"
"No, it's all right," he promised. He smiled. "Buffy."
"They said they brought Xander here because he was being a butt and gaping like breasts were a new invention." He pointed and she huffed. "Is that the Blair guy?" He nodded. "We've got to do something about that. Not that him dating guys isn't better for him but he's creepy with Blair."
"Actually, they're incredibly adorable," Ancelin told her. "Both babbling and happy with each other. They steal each other back when someone takes the other one. Drives Jim to no end of patience when Xander walks Blair in and presents him with a 'see, he's okay' and then walks him off again."
Buffy shook her head. "He still needs to calm down. It's creepy. Xander, get off the phone!"
"It's my phone!" he complained, glaring at her. "You're just jealous because Blair has better hair than you do."
She huffed. "I doubt it." Horatio coughed but showed her a picture, getting a pout. "Okay but it looks like a white guy 'fro," she called. "We're going to the hotel for the night. Are you coming? And eww, don't mean that literally," she pointed out when he opened his mouth. "Don't need the too much sharing stuff from you. I don't care if you're really cute gay boys and you put his Jim toy between you now and then. I don't need the details or help with technique."
"Buffy!" Ryan complained.
"Still not nice to say in polite company," Ryan complained.
She looked at him then shrugged. "Are you considered polite company? I thought you were related to Xander."
"Somewhat," Ancelin offered.
Buffy looked at her gown then at her. "I got to wear one from the seventeenth century for halloween one year. How did you stand the corsets?"
"I didn't wear them, dear. I had a very good form so I never wore them until after the sixth child. Before then if I needed structure I had them built into the dress itself. It was nearly scandalous in my day."
"Wow. I've got to try that next time." Xander hung up and came back inside. "Are you coming to the hotel with us? You can have the floor since there's only one bed. We still don't think you won't grope even with having Blair."
"Blair and I aren't sleeping together, Buffy."
"Then you're definitely sleeping on the floor," she said dryly.
"He can have my couch," Horatio assured her, getting a smile and a hug for it. "Be good tonight. Don't make other officers call me."
"I'm not Xander. We're going to a club to pick up some hotty men for me and so Willow can scope out other cutie women for herself. Because Tara thinks she's going to compare and she's right but she won't cheat." She waved at Xander. "Wanna go clubbing?"
"No thanks. Blair and I go all the time." She rolled her eyes, walking out shaking her head. He looked at them. "Sorry. She shares a lot more than me. I know more than I ever needed to know about commandos and their personal grooming and bedroom habits. Or vampires' personal and bedroom habits." He went into the kitchen, coming out with glasses of iced tea. "Here, I can even play the butler," he joked.
Yelina gave him a hug. "You do it very well, Xander." She took her own tea to sip, the others doing the same.
Xander looked at Ancelin. "Had a few questions."
"I'm all yours tomorrow, Xander."
"Cool." He beamed. "It'll keep me from taking pictures to show Blair too." Yelina snickered and nodded.
"Eric has his own collection," Ryan said. "Now and then one apparently makes it into case pictures."
"I thought I made him stop that," Horatio said.
"He got the one who flashed us the other day," Ryan told him.
Horatio shook his head, sipping his tea before he could say anything. He'd deal with Eric in the morning. "I would like to know more about how you got here."
"Willow did it. That's all I know about it," Xander told him.
Horatio smiled and nodded. "That's fine, I'll ask her, Xander. Consider this a short vacation."
"Oh, I am. Blair ordered me to find a restaurant he loved the last time he was down here on spring break." That got a smile. "Sorry to intrude this way, Horatio."
"It's not a problem, Xander. Eric and others have slept there many nights when they were too drunk to drive home." That got a grin and a nod. "If Calleigh comes over, don't stare at her, all right?"
"Is she the tiny blonde one?" Horatio nodded. "I'd never do that. She looks like she punches harder than Buffy does."
"She does," Ryan assured him. "She then smiles sweetly at you for making her swat you."
"Is she related to Buffy?" he asked Ancelin, who shrugged. "Should look into that. Just in case Buffy's insanity spreads with contact. We wouldn't want Calleigh to date a vampire too." He sipped his tea. "Or share about what they do over lunch. Because eww."
Yelina patted him on the back. "Some people like to gossip like that."
"I'm not anti-gossipy girls," Xander said. "I'm anti-sharing-techniques-I-use-with-my- vampire-lover-who-thinks-her-period-is-sexy. Because ewww."
She nodded. "That is."
"In graphic detail over lunch. I didn't need that at lunch."
Ryan shook his head. "Me either."
"I tend to walk away from those discussions," Horatio offered.
"I only have girls around me when I'm home. It's all bras, boobs, periods, and cute guys. And they wonder why I might be gay." He finished his tea, letting Yelina pat him gently until he finally laid his head on her shoulder. "Are all women like them?"
"No, dear. Most women aren't." He grinned at her. "You're very young. Nearly as young as my son."
"I'm almost twenty-one, Yelina."
She sighed. "Still very young." He shook his head. "Looking back, that was a very young age."
"I've done too much in my life to still be young," he offered. She smiled. "I have. I've fought, won, saved people, lost people, commanded a battle, brought Buffy back to life because her boyfriend woosed out. The only thing I didn't do is do good in school. Kinda hard to when you're more concerned about hunting patterns that night. French didn't really fit into that."
She continued to stroke through his hair. "Even with all that you're still very young. You have your whole life ahead of you."
"That supposes I survive the next crisis."
"You will. I know you will." He smiled at her and she felt her insides clench. "You're very young."
"Why don't you walk her to her car, Xander?" Ancelin offered. He nodded, getting up and helping her to her feet like a gentleman would. He walked her out there, pinning her against it so he could kiss her until she begged. "His demonic wench did train him very well," she sighed, shaking her head.
"Who was he dating?" Ryan asked.
"Anyanka, over women scorned."
Horatio shuddered. "I've seen some of her handiwork. Eric got her attention once and only a priest saved him. The priest got her to admit she hadn't expected a real relationship so she wasn't that hurt." Ryan shuddered too.
"Well, as a human she's like that bunny you see on the box with the pictures," Ancelin told him. "The one with the drum and the saying that he never stops? She trained him *very* well. There are harem lords who would love to have him for his skills she trained into him." They heard Yelina's car back out and smiled when Xander didn't reappear. Horatio only shook his head, letting Ryan clean up the small mess for now. "I would like to see him with a pack of children."
"Children create messes and I'd freak out and never get anything else done," Ryan said from the kitchen, running dish water.
"Mr. Wolfe, there is a dishwasher, use it," Horatio ordered. "It takes less water." He did that, coming back to sit on his hands. "Go ahead." He straightened up the rest of the living room, even organizing, alphabetizing, and stacking the magazines he had lying around. Horatio and Ancelin shared a smile, letting him fuss.
Tony looked up as Gibbs came in. "Yesterday was an aberration, boss, it will not happen again."
"Horatio and I talked. He pointed out it was necessary."
"I'll get them up to speed so they can handle some things on their own," he promised.
"That's what they were suggesting and that they hold the first meeting soon. Are you up to that?"
"Depending on the work load here."
"We'll try to get that weekend off. You get it off from your third job." Tony looked confused. "The one who keeps you up at night," he said dryly.
"Blair?" he asked.
"Oh, her. Not a problem. She's kinda weirded out about the library. Apparently I have some really ancient smut in there. She found an old mythology book that was only pictures. Greek and Roman mythology." Gibbs blushed at that. "Yeah. She also found the section that had the illustrated _1001 Arabian Nights_ and flipped through it too. Needless to say she thinks my ancestors were perverts, especially when Ancelin mentioned wenching around."
Gibbs coughed. "Both of those were complained about in my ancestor's journal."
"Ancelin's too, boss. That's part of how her husband taught her what they were doing."
Gibbs nodded. "I guess that'll work. Any good weekend? We've got it narrowed down to two on the mailing list."
"I'm catching up with departmental email. Whatever's fine with me as long as we don't have that weekend on. Not like I'd have a lot to do and she's going to be freaked out for a while longer."
"I'll let them know." He got into the email address Abby had set up for him - email@example.com - and wrote that to the list in general. They decided on the sixth and he looked over. "The sixth."
Tony nodded, calling his girlfriend. "Hey, it's me. No, a bit of news. The weekend of the sixth I'm going to be busy after all. No, fairly busy. Like everyone's coming over to go through the library for some important information, it'll be worse than a college before finals, and the only female's going to be Abby, busy," he told her. She snickered at that. "Really." He grinned. "Sure. That'll work. Come over Sunday for lunch?" He rolled his eyes. "That's fine. You can meet everyone when they're in next time. Love you too." He hung up and got back to work. "She'll hide from Vorchain that weekend. He's sent some pointed hints about more nephews being wanted and needed."
"One of you does," he agreed. McGee came in. Gibbs checked his watch then looked at him. "Your excuse would be?"
"Abby, boss. She's sniffling and doesn't feel good."
Tony looked at him. "She doesn't have allergies."
"No, but she has a girlfriend who broke up with her boyfriend who's six months pregnant. They spent all last night eating ice cream. So she's got an upset stomach and she's still very upset on her friend's behalf." Tony nodded at that and Gibbs smiled a bit. "Anything new?"
"Are you coming to the meeting when we have one?" Tony asked him.
"Um, no thanks. I'm comfortable with my knowledge level. Really."
Tony looked over. "There's a lot of very good storytellers within the family and a lot of stories to be told. Vorchain's got enough that are so fantastic no one would believe them."
"I heard. He brags very well. He even has miniatures of all his baby leopard and wolf cubs." Gibbs moaned. "What?"
"One of the first wolf cubs went to his family's heir for his twin granddaughters," Tony said with a smirk. "He's reading his ancestor's journal at the moment."
"Wow." He sat down, looking at Gibbs. "What did he do?"
"He was a senior knight of the country they lived in, which I guess at the time was part of Austria?"
Tony considered it then nodded. "Probably. Top of the Italian border. One of the minor baronies probably. You'd have to ask Vorchain. He traveled all the time so he's better at geography than I am."
"We can do that during the meeting too," Gibbs agreed. "Do you have any other journals?"
"Shaun Delouise's is in the library. Charlet has one I'm sure but I don't have it in the library." He considered it. "I know I have most of the Volka journals. A few were lost or damaged ages ago. A few didn't keep any. They only kept the official records. A few of the other wives or helpers have theirs in there. I think I may have one of the Chapalet's in there but I'm not sure. I think I saw it. It started out with 'Yes I am mad'. They were very proud that the Vatican named them mad for seeing the ghost that the priests couldn't until that one Volka did."
"Interesting. Is there a way to stop Harris from babbling? Horatio said he babbled so fast at Blair that he couldn't understand even the gestures he was talking with."
Tony smiled. "It'll calm down once they're together again. Xander was probably describing all the bikinis." Ziva came in. "Morning."
"Are you awake?"
"I am. Thank you for dinner last night." She shrugged and sat down. "Will we have to put in paperwork, boss?"
"No, we have that one off anyway," he assured him. "Do you want him to bring Jim?"
Tony shrugged. "If Jim wants to come."
"I'll tell him that." He typed that in to Blair. He got one back from Mac, responding that yes, they wanted all the heirs there. Don could take a few days off, it'd do him good. "Mac said they'd come and they have one of Vorchain's relatives up there too."
Tony smirked and nodded. "Yup. Heard from him already." He got into the mailing list, reading the last few emails. He answered one about what to bring. The 'there's no pool' got a few pouts but it was all in good fun. He logged off when Gibbs' phone rang. Gibbs wrote down something but he relaxed. It wasn't a 'new case' writing. Too much information. He hung up and looked at him. "What?" he asked.
"Fornell wanted to talk to you."
"Not like we hung out."
"Something in his library has national secrets that could bring down the SEC?"
Tony considered it then shrugged. "I haven't really gone through it. Is he meeting me tonight?" Gibbs nodded. Tony got up to get the note, then nodded, calling him back. "It's DiNozzo. Almost everything in his safe went to his lawyer. He said it was stuffed where? I haven't been in there yet," he admitted. "Yeah, I can do that. End of the day good with you? No, we're free for the next case but I should be able to slip away for an hour or so if I have to around dinner time if we get a new one." Ziva's phone rang. "Yup, that's fine," he agreed, relaxing. "No, I wouldn't suggest you break in. There's sleeping gas canisters and without the passcode going to one of the doors or the gate the elevator is frozen." He smiled. "Because some of the books up in the library are so ancient they're from Rome. Yeah, exactly. It's very high security. Thanks, Fornell. Sure, call later and I'll set that up." He hung up. "Huh. I did not know my father was blackmailing a lot of people in the financial world." Gibbs groaned. "Not like I have plans to, boss. It'll be fine." He smiled at Ziva when she hung up. "The director need all of us or just you?"
"Just me. My father sent a letter through the diplomatic pouch and it got sent to her." She headed up to get it, coming back down reading it. She looked at Tony. "Your cousin died?"
"Not yet, but soon. His cancer spread the last time it came back. That and Italy wanted to tear down the tower to build a road. So we moved the tower." She nodded, sitting down to finish reading it. "Boss, was my report all right?"
"A few mistakes." He held it up and Tony came over to get it and correct it. "McGee, you did worse than he did even though he was exhausted." He checked behind the chair. "Where did the sword go?"
"I ...." He looked then grimaced, calling Security. "It's DiNozzo, who stole my sword? Yes, I need it here. Thank you." He got up and headed up the stairs at a jog, walking into the Director's office without knocking. He grabbed his sword and walked out with it, leaving two stunned women. He put it carefully back against his wall and sat down again. "She wanted to decorate with it." He got back to work on his report.
Gibbs shook his head. "You listen to the screaming, I'm not this time."
"I can do that too, boss. Kinda used to women screaming at me about something," he said dryly.
"I'm not just any woman," the director said as she came down the stairs.
"Then next time get your own sword, ma'am," Tony told her. "You make a better salary than I do and sometimes I need the one here. It has come in useful recently." He finished fixing his last circled mistake and ran the grammar checker, which caught most of the other mistakes. He finally printed and signed it, handing it over again. Gibbs looked it over and nodded, putting it into the inbox. He looked at the scowling director. "Wouldn't you rather I have it if something happens that necessitates it?" he asked dryly. Something tugged on his pantsleg, making him look down. "What are you doing here?" It grinned, mouth full of way too many teeth. He sighed, handing it the piece of chocolate McGee handed him. The imp choked and disappeared. "Call Palmer... Never mind. Let me go *talk* to Palmer," he said, grabbing the sword and whistling while he walked down there, even using the stairs. He walked in, finding him looking very scared. "Palmer..."
"I didn't call it, I swear!" he said rapidly, backing away from him.
"You didn't uncall it either, Palmer," he said with a small, semi-tolerant smile. "Now, do so. It's interrupting work and the director is not amused," he finished with a growl. "It's taking my entire chocolate stash as well."
"Abby's petting one and she won't let me banish it!" he defended. Tony pointed the sword at him, making him gibber while trying to hide behind Ducky. "I'll undo it! I promise I will! I'll undo it, Tony!"
"Thank you," he said with a sweet smile for Ducky. "Morning."
"That is a charming sword, Anthony. Where did you get it?"
"Xander." He let him see it. "It's heavy too. I need to work out more with it." He took it back and walked out whistling, taking the elevator to the lab, walking in and snarling at the imp. It squeaked and disappeared. "Those are like rats, Abby. They're bad things."
He glared. "They're bad things. Do not make me tell Gibbs to spank you." She blushed but nodded, leaving it there. He gave her a hug. "Besides, they're stealing all the chocolate." She patted him and he let her go. "Okay, now I'm going to go back to work. We are having a meeting on the sixth." He pinched her on the arm, heading up again. "He said he'd fix it before I had to behead him this time. I also got rid of the one that Abby was petting." He saw where everyone was watching the one crying on Gibb's stomach, wailing that he had taken him away from his mistress. He snarled and it 'eep'ed then disappeared.
McGee called down there. "Is it back?" He nodded. "Okay." He hung up. "She said to remind you some people had pet rats. She already got it a rabies shot and flea medicine too."
"Uh-huh." He put the sword back behind his desk and sat down again, smiling sweetly at the director, who stomped off. "See, told you I needed it," he called. McGee gave him some chocolate. "Thanks, could use that." He nibbled while he got to work on the other paperwork he had in his system. "Gibbs, am I doing the manpower reports?"
"Okay." He got to work on those as well. He hated the monthly paperwork nearly as much as Gibbs did. He got them all done and sent them back for approval, getting a nod and him forwarding them. "I forged your name."
"I saw. Thank you."
"Welcome, boss." He got online, going to play. He was free, he could play now. He found pictures in his email from Xander, blinking at the bikinis he had found. "Damn," he said in awe. "I've never seen a pair of those that weren't fake." He stared. No signs that they weren't real. "Wow. No wonder he got caught staring the second time." McGee leaned back so he turned his monitor. "Real ones."
"How big?" he asked, staring at it in horror.
Gibbs threw a balled up paper at him. "We do not need that discussion."
"Xander, boss. He's down staring at the bikinis in awe." He cleared the picture and found the newer messages.
"I didn't think they could grow that big without implants or drugs," Ziva said.
"They can," Tony told her, forwarding the picture.
She looked then nodded. "Those are real. She must be in some back pain."
"Probably," McGee agreed.
Ziva shook her head. "I feel sorry for the women. She must attract men like Tony all the time."
Tony smirked. "I do go for personality first." He got back to his emails, sending an answer to 'what should we bring'. "No, I stocked toilet paper," he muttered. "You can use my kitchen, guys." He got back to work on the emails he had missed. A few of the earlier ones were addressed to him so he got into them to answer them, even though Blair had answered one partially. Abby's imp came up to give him something. "Thank you. Go back to Abby." It disappeared and he uncrumpled the message, ignoring the chewed on corners. He coughed, getting up to hand it to Gibbs. "An Abby-gram, boss." He went back to his seat and ducked behind his monitor before he could get up to go smack her on the head for that picture. He snickered once Gibbs was well out of hearing. "Picture of him in a pink bunny suit. She manipulated it."
McGee snickered, shaking his head. He logged back into the cameras to watch Gibbs spank her. She deserved it for that one. And the imp but mostly for that.
to part 2: