Set three months after “Penelope” (eleven months after they met).
“This is ridiculous.” JJ snapped from her place on the couch.
Tony, who had been tying his shoes, looked up in confusion. “What is?”
“We barely see each other.” JJ told him. “This is the first time I’ve seen in you in two weeks and now you have to go.”
Tony sighed tiredly. “I know.”
“I’m presenting a new case to the team tomorrow.” JJ told him. “We’ll probably be in Colorado by lunchtime.”
Tony rubbed his face in frustration. “You just got back. Gibb’s promised us the next few days off.”
“We got back three days ago.” JJ argued. “You’ve just been too busy to come over.”
“We had a case.” Tony explained, not for the first time. “Gibb’s wouldn’t let us leave until nine, and by then it was too late to come over for dinner.”
“I know.” JJ scowled. “It doesn’t make this easier. This is only the third time I’ve seen you in over a month. Either I’m away, or you’re working late. I miss you.”
Tony moved until he was sitting next to her, looping an arm around her waist. “I know, I miss you too. We’re not usually this busy, it’s just been a bad month.”
JJ snuggled closer to him. “Yeah, I know. Aren’t you getting tired?”
Tony laughed without humour. “I am way past tired.”
“Are you any closer to getting dirt of Vance?”
“No,” Tony groaned. “But that’s not unexpected. It took me four years to find what I needed to take down Sheppard. Vance has only had the job for four months.”
“Right.” JJ sighed.
“I really need to go.” Tony told her regretfully. “Gibbs will be unbearably if I’m late to the crime scene.”
“Fine.” JJ stretched up to kiss him. “Keep in touch.”
“I will.” Tony initiated a second kiss before pushing himself off the couch. “I love you.”
“Love you too.” JJ smiled at him. “I’ll see you when I get back.”
JJ watched Tony let himself out of the house before leaning back on the couch and sighing.
The crime scene address was only fifteen minutes’ drive from JJ’s house, which meant that Tony was the first to arrive. There were three police cruisers parked on the street outside the brick house which was apparently their crime scene.
Tony parked behind one of the police cruisers and then introduced himself to junior officer who was guarding the door.
Once inside the house, Tony followed the sound of voices and soon found himself a small lounge with a crying woman in her early thirties and three police officers.
“You N.C.I.S.?” One of the officers asked.
“Yeah,” Tony showed them his badge. “Special Agent Dinozzo.”
“Great.” The officer looked relieved. “I’m Officer John Krall. Should we just leave you too it?”
Tony looked the officer over in surprise. Normally the local police officers put up more of a fight. “How about you tell me what you know?”
“Right.” Officer Krall nodded quickly. “We received a call at approximately seven thirty this evening. Caller was Mrs. Margaret Peel, that’s her over there.” He gestured towards the crying woman. “When we arrived we found the victim lying on the kitchen floor. Mrs. Peel identified him as her brother, Corporal Steve Connor.”
Tony watched the only female officer in the room try to comfort Mrs. Peel. “Has Mrs. Peel said anything?”
“Not really.” Officer Krall shrugged. “Mostly just keeps denying it.”
Tony looked around the room again. “Could you please lead me to the kitchen, Officer?”
“Sure.” Krall stepped into the hallway. “Right this way.”
“Tony!” McGee’s voice rang down the hallway. “How’d you get here so quickly?”
Tony looked down the hall and nodded his greeting at McGee and Ziva, before turning to Officer Krall. “They’re N.C.I.S. too.”
“Right.” Officer Krall nodded. “Should we leave you to it then?”
“We’ll need to take your statements.” Tony shook his head. “And it would be great if you could stick around until my boss gets here. He’ll probably want to talk to you.”
“Sure.” Officer Krall agreed.
“What do we have, Tony?” Ziva asked him sharply.
“Dead corporal in the kitchen.” Tony answered. “I haven’t seen him yet. Officer Krall here has been brining me up to speed.”
“Where’s the kitchen?” McGee asked quickly, pulling out their fingerprint scanner.
“Through there.” Officer Krall answered. “Victim’s sister identified him at Corporal Steve Connor.”
“Victim’s sister?” McGee asked.
“She’s the one who called us.” Officer Krall explained. “It’s her house.”
“She’s in the lounge.” Tony told them. “She’s pretty torn up.”
Ziva rolled her eyes. “Of course she is, Tony. Her brother is dead.”
Tony ignored her as he followed McGee into the kitchen. The room was trashed, broken glass and china scattered throughout it. The victim was lying, sprawled, in a pool of blood – a long knife sticking out of his chest.
McGee crouched down and scanned the victim’s prints. “She was right. Corporal Steven Connor. He’s a marine.”
“Ziva, you’re on photographs.” Tony said after a moment. “McGee, bag and tag. I’m going to talk to Mrs. Peel.”
“Who put you in charge?” McGee grumbled.
“Shouldn’t we wait for Gibbs?” Ziva asked. “Surely he will wish to see the scene before we touch anything.”
“I’m here now.” Gibb’s voice growled from behind Tony. “Tony, photographs. Ziva, bag and tag. Tim you’re with me.”
“Yes, boss.” Tony acknowledged, ignoring McGee and Ziva’s smug looks. He hated it when Gibbs under minded him like that. There was no reason for Gibb’s to change the work assignments, except to screw with Tony. It was no wonder McGee and Ziva didn’t respect him.
Once the scene was properly catalogued, and Mrs. Peel had given a statement, the case had basically solved itself. Apparently Mr. Peel wasn’t a fan of his wife’s brother and had, in a drunken rage, stabbed his brother in law with a bread knife.
Mr. Peel had fled the scene, but he had booked himself a hotel room using his credit card and so they had him in custody by midnight. All that was left was the paperwork.
Which was great, except that the stupidly easy case had ruined his evening with JJ and now it was too late to go and see her. JJ would be asleep now and then, come morning, she would be off to work and then to Colorado.
It was two in the morning by the time Tony had filled out all his paperwork. He deposited his report on Gibbs’ desk and then left for home. He was pulling out of the Navy Yard when he had an idea and decided to head towards JJ’s instead. It was way too late for him to go in now, but he could get a few hours’ sleep in his car and then join her for her morning run. It wouldn’t be much, but it would definitely be better than nothing.
JJ’s morning routine was pretty simple. Wake up at five thirty, go for a run, shower, have breakfast, and then grab coffee on the way to into work.
This morning was no different, though she had to admit disappointment that Tony hadn’t been able to stay the night. Her morning routine was always more fun when Tony was there.
She pulled on her exercise clothes before letting herself out of the house and locking the door behind you.
JJ spun around in fright, her hand grasping for the gun that she wasn’t wearing. “Tony? What are you…? Don’t scare me like that!”
“Sorry.” Tony grinned at her. “Alright if I tag along this morning?”
“What are you doing here?” JJ asked in confusion.
Tony shrugged. “We didn’t get to spend much time together last night. I wanted to spend some more time with you before you leave for Colorado.”
“So you drove here at five thirty in the morning?” JJ asked in disbelief. “You must have left your place at four thirty.”
Tony looked embarrassed. “Actually, I, uh, slept in my car.”
“What?” JJ stared at him. “Why?”
“It was past two by the time I left the office.” Tony explained. “So I figured that I could just get a few hours’ sleep and then join you this morning.”
“That’s crazy.” JJ told him, though she knew she was smiling. “Why didn’t you just come in?”
“It was three in the morning.” Tony pointed out.
“Still.” JJ shook her head in disbelief. Sometimes Tony was too good to be true.
“So running?” Tony prompted her. “Times a ticking.”
“Right.” JJ nodded and then began her normal stretches. “So how did the case go last night?”
“Whatcha looking at, McNosey?” Tony taunted with a grin.
“What?” McGee jolted upright, his eyes flicking away from Tony nervously. “Nothing.”
“You are acting strangely, Tony.” Ziva put in. “You have now checked your phone six times in thirteen minutes.”
Tony wiggled his eyebrows at her. “That’s awfully specific, Ziva? Should I be scared?”
“You should be focussing, Dinozzo.” Gibbs snarled from behind him and Tony barely managed to duck away from the head slap.
Tony stuck out his tongue at Ziva and McGee before turning his attention back to the cold case in front of him. He was expecting a call from JJ, any minute now. Well, any day now, but he was starting to get worried. He hadn’t heard from her in four days and that wasn’t normal. Normally when she was away she rang him each day.
He was relatively sure that she was alright, there had been nothing on the news about hurt FBI agents, but it didn’t stop him from worrying.
It was thirty minutes later that his phone finally started buzzing and, after a quick glance towards Gibbs, Tony answered it after two rings.
“Hey.” JJ sounded tired.
Tony stood up. “Boss, I’ve got to take this. I’ll grab coffee while I’m out.”
Taking Gibbs’ grunt as permission, Tony strode towards the elevator. “How are you?”
“Exhausted.” JJ sighed. “Sorry I haven’t called. I was sharing a hotel room with Emily and couldn’t find a moment alone.”
“It’s alright.” Tony leant against the wall of the elevator and waited for it to move. “Are you back now?”
“Yeah.” JJ answered. “We’ll spend the rest of the day at the office finishing off the paperwork and then we’ve got the weekend off.”
“Nice.” Once out of the building, Tony began the familiar trek to the coffee cart.
“Is your team on a case?” JJ asked. “Do you want to come over for dinner?”
Tony grinned. “I’d love to. We’re working cold cases at the moment so I should be off at five.”
“So I’ll see you around six?”
“I look forward to it.” Tony affirmed.
“Great.” JJ said. “I need to go, Hotch will be wondering where I am. But I’ll see you tonight.”
“Love you.” Dinozzo told her.
“Right back at you.”
JJ wasn’t sure why she was so nervous. It wasn’t as though she hadn’t had Tony over to her house a lot of times before, after all, they’d been dating for over ten months now.
She straightened the tablecloth and then set the bottle of wine she’d just opened in the middle of the table. Tony was always hassling her about giving the wine more time to breathe.
JJ had only just got the food in the oven when her doorbell rang.
“Come in.” She called towards the door.
The door opened and then she could hear Tony’s footsteps making their way towards her.
“Well, hello there.” Tony greeted her softly.
JJ turned around and hugged him tightly. “I missed you.”
“I miss you too.” Tony kissed her gently. “What are you making?”
“Lasagne.” JJ leaned against him. She always felt so safe when Tony was holding her. “I just put it in, so it’ll be ready in about an hour.”
“An hour, huh?” Tony kissed her again. “I wonder what we could do to pass the time.”
JJ laughed and led him over to the couch. “How about you tell me what’s happened since I saw you last.”
Tony sat on the couch before pulling her into his lap. “I missed you.”
JJ leant against him and sighed happily. “Anything else happen?”
“Vance is making my life miserable.” Tony groaned. “He’s started making snarky remarks about how outdated my method of investigating is. He thinks all agents should look like McGee, MIT graduates with IT skills.”
“Seriously?” JJ twisted her head so she could see Tony’s expression.
“Yeah.” Tony sighed. “The problem is that McGee is listening to him and is becoming more and more of an ass. Every time he makes a snarky comment about MIT, or about my Phys. Ed. Degree, I just want to hit him and tell him about my doctorate.”
JJ frowned. “Is it getting harder?”
“Sort of.” Tony’s arms tightened around her. “I’ve been undercover for seven years, and at NCIS at five. I’ve been working with McGee for three. That’s a long time to be working with someone who thinks you’re an idiot.”
“Any chance you’ll be done soon? They can’t expect you to spend the rest of your life undercover.”
“Colonel Lucten says that if I’m not done it two years they’ll pull me out anyway.” Tony answered softly.
“Two years?” JJ twisted around to look at him. “That’s ridiculous. By then you will have been undercover for nine years.”
“I know.” Tony’s voice was bleak. “On the bright side I will be able to write a paper on the effects of long term undercover work.”
JJ rested back against him. “What will you do when you’re done?”
“I don’t know.” Tony shrugged. “Whatever they tell me to do, I guess. I’ll still be a marine.”
JJ considered that. “So they could just order you to go undercover again?”
“They could.” Tony’s voice was hard. “But I’d resign first. I’ve already told them that this is my last long term undercover assignment.”
JJ sighed in relief. “That’s good. It’s nice to know that there’s an end in sight.”
“Two years is a long time.” Tony said slowly. “A really long time when you’re having to lie to your team.”
It took JJ a moment to realise that he was talking about her. She slid off his lap and turned around so that she was facing him.
“Is that what you think? That’s I’m going to get sick of it and break up with you?”
Tony’s eyes were sad. “I don’t know. I wouldn’t blame you if you did.”
JJ frowned. “It’s not going to happen, Tony.”
“You don’t know that.” Tony argued. “We barely see each other. Five days ago you told me it was ridiculous.”
“It’s not ideal.” JJ allowed. “We both work a lot, but I have an idea.”
Tony looked surprised. “You do?”
“Yeah. I was thinking about it when I was away.” JJ told him. “I think you should move in with me.”
Tony stared at her. “What?”
“It makes sense.” JJ defended. “We would see a lot more of each other.”
“I work lots of weird hours.” Tony pointed out. “I’d wake you up a lot.”
“I’m okay with that.”
“You’re serious.” Tony stated.
“Very.” JJ nodded with smile. “Tony, will you move in with me?”
Tony stared at her for a while before smiling. “Yes.”
JJ leant forward to kiss him.
After a few minutes, Tony pulled back. “I’ll need to sort some things out though.”
“I know.” JJ nodded. “I think you should keep your apartment. That way if anyone looks for you there you can say you were sleeping over at a girl’s place.”
Tony grinned. “You’ve really thought about this.”
“Yeah.” JJ kissed him again.
“You know, when I suggested that you keep your apartment I thought that would mean less boxes.” JJ complained as she deposited a box labelled ‘Psychology Books’ on the lounge floor.
Tony laughed. “There aren’t that many.”
“No, but most of them are filled with books.” JJ pointed out as they headed out to get the next load. “Books are heavy!”
“You can take a lighter load this time.” Tony promised. “The ‘Wall Hangings’ box is lighter.”
JJ took the aforementioned box, enjoying how light it was. “Now that’s more like it. What sort of wall hangings do you have?”
“Some photos, some actual art, plus a few of my medals.” Tony told her.
“Will it be safe to put up the photos?” JJ asked as she added the box to the growing collection in the lounge. “What if someone from my team decides to visit?”
“Your team never visits.”
“I know.” JJ followed Tony back outside.
“But you make a good point.” Tony sighed. “We can put them back into storage.”
“We could put them up in our bedroom?” JJ suggested.
“Okay and we’ll store my medals.” Tony agreed as he handed her a large, but light, box labelled ‘Uniforms’.
“Sounds good.” JJ said, suddenly remembering something. “My team knows I’m dating someone. I found out yesterday that they thought I was dating this detective we worked with in New Orleans last year.”
“Really?” Tony laughed. “What was he like?”
“Very charming.” JJ added the box to the pile and then sat on the couch. “Break time.”
“I’ll get the wine.” Tony agreed. “So what was the name of the detective you’re apparently dating?”
“I can’t remember.” JJ laughed. “Will something, I think.”
“How did you find out?” Tony asked as he returned with two glasses of red wine.
“Emily asked me about it. Apparently she was tired of waiting for information.” JJ sipped the wine and hummed in enjoyment. “This is great.”
“I know.” Tony leaned back in his chair. “I’ve been saving it for a special occasion.”
JJ smiled happily. “Well, this is definitely a special occasion.”
“Exactly.” Tony held out his glass. “Cheers.”
JJ clinked her glass gently against his. “Cheers.”
After a while Tony spoke again. “So what did you tell Emily?”
“I told her I was dating someone.” JJ admitted. “But that I was really enjoying having an aspect to my life that no one at work knew about.”
Tony nodded approvingly. “Good answer.”
“She seemed to buy it.” JJ agreed. “We basically live in each other’s pockets most of the time. It’s not unreasonable to need some space.”
“Have you decided what you’re going to tell your parents?” Tony asked.
“No.” JJ sighed. “Mum knows I’m dating someone, but I don’t know how to tell her we’ve moved in together without her wanting to meet you.”
Tony was silent for a minute. “I can talk to Colonel Lucten? Maybe we can get them to sign a non-discloser form too.”
JJ shook her head. “No, I don’t want to put that on them.”
Tony leaned forward seriously. “I’ve got another two years to go, JJ. You don’t want to be lying to your parents for that long.”
“I know.” JJ frowned. “I’ll think about it, okay?”
“Okay.” Tony agreed.