Late Tuesday Night…
The Starry Night Motel has been around just outside of Washington DC for several years. It was old, worn down, and in the middle of nowhere, which explained why the rooms were vacant most nights. Usually, the individuals who stayed here were people who were hiding their affairs from their spouses or the public.
Tonight, one room was rented for a couple doing just that. The woman worked as a call girl from a popular sex web site. She called herself Sugarplum. The man was a politician; a candidate for Governor in the upcoming election in the state of Maryland. He was a married man, but he married the poor woman only for her money.
The two of them had just finished paying and walked into the room, which the desk clerk had given them the keys to. As the woman pulled the man inside and began to unbutton his shirt, they lay on the bed without turning on the lights. However, as soon as they touched the bed, the woman screamed and they both jumped up. On the bed was the body of a young man who was stripped naked. All he wore were his dog tags around his neck. This boy was in the military.
Early the next morning…
The last few weeks at the NCIS base had been slow. Both Ziva and McGee had teased Tony about using the extra time on his hands to catch up on his backed up paperwork. Even though he made jokes about doing so and would make up excuses for not getting it done during work hours, Tony actually would come in after hours to do it. The reason for coming in after everyone went home was something that he just wasn't ready to share with anyone; not now anyway.
Gibbs was the first to arrive at the office that morning and as he entered the bullpen, he found Tony asleep at his desk with an open file underneath his head. At first, the older man smiled, until he thought about the reasons why Tony might be here at this hour. Gibbs figured that Tony was having a hard time since their return from Mexico and what bothered him the most was that the young man, whom he considered to be a son, was probably hurting because of him.
Before Gibbs could think more about what happened then, other agents began to arrive and so he bent down and gently tapped Tony on his back to wake him up. Tony jumped up, startled to find Gibbs towering over him. He looked around and realized that he had lost track of time. He never meant to fall asleep.
Gibbs looked at his protégé and asked, "Tony, are you all right?"
Tony replied, "Hey, Boss! Yeah, I'm fine. Sorry about that. I was having a great dream. At least I think I was a great dream. I don't really remember what it was about. What time is it anyway?"
"It's six-thirty, DiNozzo," Gibbs answered. "You've been here all night again. You can't keep doing this. If you do, you are going to wear yourself out. I need you to be on the ball and fully alert if you are going to work in the field."
"Don't worry about me, Boss," Tony said. "I'm just fine. I've just been catching up on the paperwork that I have put off for too long."
Gibbs responded, "DiNozzo, you caught up on the paperwork awhile ago. Besides, if you really had work to do, you've had plenty of time to do it during the day. What's going on?"
Tony just looked down at his desk and before he could reply, Director Vance walked over to them and asked to see Gibbs up in his office. Tony was relieved that his boss was interrupted by the Director.
The elevator opened again, as both Ziva and McGee walked in and starred at Tony as they walked over toward his desk. They wondered how it was that DiNozzo of all people made it to work before they did.
Ziva asked, "Not that I am complaining about not having to call you to wake you up before Gibbs yells at you for being late, but what are you doing here so early, Tony?"
McGee added, "I agree with Ziva. You are rarely in before we are. Is everything ok?"
"If you two really must know, I came in early just to see what your reaction would be," Tony answered.
"That doesn't really make a whole lot of sense," Ziva said. "Whatever, I just hope that we actually have something to do today instead of sitting here and swirling our thumbs."
"It's twirling, Ziva," Tony corrected her.
Ziva looked at him and asked, "What is twirling?"
Tony replied, "Your thumbs, you know? You twirl your thumbs, not swirl them. Anyway, I agree. I am getting bored just sitting here and doing nothing."
"And I would have thought that you would appreciate the time to fool around and slack off," McGee responded.
"Normally Probie, I would, except that…" Tony answered as he was suddenly interrupted by Gibbs as he walked into the bullpen.
"Gear up and McGee, go gas the truck," he said. "We've got a body in a motel just outside of the city. Let's go."
Tony grabbed his backpack from behind his desk and shouted, "We're right behind you, Boss. I wonder what kind of story this body will tell us. It's probably a soldier who was cheating on another soldier's wife while he is still deployed in Iraq. It's so sad that it is so common."
Ziva replied, "I can only imagine the images that are going through your mind right now. Actually, I really would rather not. I know what kind of images are going through your mind and I don't want to get them in mine."
All four of them drove off to the motel. It wasn't a long ride, but Tony managed to annoy both Ziva and McGee as he always did. Gibbs concentrated on his thoughts that he had from earlier about the agent who hid behind the face of a clown whenever there was someone around. He made a mental note to take time later that day to ask Tony what was really going on. However, a soldier needed his mind clear in order to find the clues that would lead the team to the killer.