Set four months after “Moving Day” (one year and two months after they met).
Tony wasn’t sure what to expect as he pushed open the door to the dental surgery, he almost hadn’t come. He wasn’t in the habit of taking orders from homeless men who smelt like vodka, but the homeless man who had accosted him the day before had known the emergency code word and so here Tony was.
Tony declared himself at the reception and then sat the waiting area. He had no idea why he was here, or even who wanted him here. This was the first time in seven years he’d been ordered to a face to face meeting and he was concerned that he hadn’t heard anything about it from Colonel Lucten.
“Anthony Dinozzo?” A young man dressed in a dental nurses’ uniform read from a clipboard.
Tony stood up and looked the young man in disapproval. He was obviously a marine, just the way he held himself gave him away. What were they thinking putting a kid this unexperienced undercover?
He followed the undercover marine down the hall and into a room on the right.
The room seemed to be a second waiting area and there two men waiting for him, neither whom looked anything like dentists. But one of whom was definitely the Secretary of Defence – Alexander Moore.
Tony pulled himself to attention and saluted the man. “Sir.”
“At ease, Major.” Secretary Moore ordered and Tony fell into the at ease position. “I don’t believe you know General Pike.”
“No, sir.” Tony agreed.
“It’s good to meet you, Major.” General Pike nodded seriously. “I’ve heard good things about you.”
“Thank you, sir.” Tony couldn’t believe how good it felt to be able to act like a marine. It had been far too long. The minute he was finished with this undercover assignment he was going to do his best to ensure that no one else was ever forced to spend such an extended time undercover.
“Have a seat, Major.” Secretary Moore ordered, as he sat down.
Tony sat in the chair opposite the two men.
“You did a good job with Director Sheppard, Dinozzo.” Moore commented after a minute. “I know Secretary Davenport is very pleased.”
Tony nodded, Colonel Lucten had told him something similar.
“He’s put you in for a promotion.” General Pike commented. “You’ll be a Lieutenant Colonel by the end of the week.”
Tony smiled proudly. “Thank you, sir.”
“You’ve earned it.” Secretary Moore told him. “But that’s not why you’re here.”
Tony waited patiently.
“You’ve been told that you’re currently objective is to uncover any corruption at N.C.I.S.?” General Pike asked.
“Yes, sir.” Tony replied. “Focussing specifically on the Director.”
“Yes.” General Pike grimaced. “Leon Vance.
“Do you see much of Philip Davenport?” Secretary Moore asked.
“The Secretary of the Navy?” Tony checked in surprise. “Not much, sir.”
“You have new orders, Dinozzo.” Moore told him. “We want you to keep an eye on Secretary Davenport.”
Tony tried to digest this. “Yes, sir. Is my handler aware of the change, sir?”
“No.” Moore denied. “As well as reporting to Colonel Lucten, you will be reporting to General Pike. Consider them two different missions, Major.”
“Will I be contacting you in the same manner, sir?” Tony asked the general.
“Yes.” General Pike handed Tony a business card with a number scrawled on the back. “That’s the number.”
Tony glanced at the number before slipping it into his pocket. “Yes, sir.”
“Permission to ask a question, sir.” Tony requested.
“Will this extend my time undercover, sir?” Tony didn’t know what he’d do if the answer was yes.
“No, Major.” Moore denied. “You’ve been undercover far too long already. I’d pull you out now, but the President wants to see what you can find on Davenport.”
“The President?” Tony parroted in surprise.
“Yes, Major.” Moore sounded amused as he pulled two files out of his briefcase. “Read these before you leave. They’re highly classified, but will give you some idea of what you’re looking for.”
“Yes, sir.” Tony nodded.
“We’ll leave you to it then, Major.” Moore said and he and Pike stood.
Tony stood quickly and pulled himself to attention. “Yes, sir.”
“Leave those files there when you’ve finished.” General Pike ordered as they left.
Tony waited for the door to shut behind him before collapsing back into his chair. Were they serious? They wanted him to investigate the Secretary of the Navy? When was he supposed to do that? He barely saw the guy.
Tony groaned and picked up the first file, entitled ‘Operation Frankenstein.’
Half an hour later Tony was still having trouble processing what he had learnt. He clenched his fists and forced himself not to punch the elevator wall. He took a deep breath and then another one. He had less than a minute before he needed to be Special Agent Dinozzo and he needed to calm down. Gibbs would never believe he’d gotten this worked up at a dentist.
Operation Frankenstein had basically been Vance and a C.I.A. operative torturing marines in order to create assassins. Tony supposed he should be glad that he hadn’t qualified. What the hell was the Navy thinking?
He could definitely see why the President wanted dirt of Davenport.
Tony took a deep breath as the elevator doors opened before striding into the bullpen. He almost turned around again when he saw JJ and her team talking to Gibbs. This couldn’t be happening again. The last time JJ’s team had worked with his team he’d barely made it through the week. Having JJ there, at work, had thrown all his routines off. Just seeing JJ was enough to make him want to drop his cover, let alone working with her.
“You’re late, Dinozzo.” Gibbs snapped when he saw Tony approaching.
“Dentist appointment, boss.” Tony explained. “I told you yesterday.”
Gibbs glared at him. “We have a case. Four dead sailors were found in Midland Park.”
Tony raised his eyebrows. “And the feebies?”
“Are assisting.” Gibbs snarled. “McGee, take Dinozzo on a coffee run and get him up to date.”
“Yes, boss.” McGee jumped in fright.
“You feebies still take your coffee the same?” Tony asked Morgan.
Morgan looked surprised. “Yeah.”
“Great, ten coffees coming up.” Tony grinned. “Come on, McGee, coffee’s awaiting.”
McGee stalked past him with a glare and Tony fell into step beside him.
“Spill, McGee.” Tony ordered once they were out of the building. “What are the feebies doing here?”
McGee grimaced. “They’re here to assist. A jogger found the four dead privates in the park early this morning. Ducky thinks that the first one died four days ago.”
“And the others?”
“He thinks one is being killed each day. The last one was killed last night.” McGee explained. “Ducky doesn’t have an exact time of death yet.”
“So the clock’s ticking.” Dinozzo commented. “And so we’re stuck with the FBI.”
McGee shrugged. “Apparently the director was impressed by how well we worked together last time.”
Tony smirked. “I can’t say I’m upset to be spending more time with Jenny. The things that girl could do…”
“Tony!” McGee interrupted with a horrified expression. “She’s an FBI agent.”
“And I’m a NCIS agent.” Tony agreed. “Nothing wrong with a bit of inter-agency cooperation.”
“She doesn’t even like you.” McGee argued as they joined the line at the coffee cart.
“You don’t know that.” Tony argued.
“Yes I do! She thinks you’re a chauvinistic pig.”
“Just because you don’t understand my charm, doesn’t mean that she doesn’t.” Tony replied loftily.
“Want to bet?” McGee asked suddenly.
Tony grinned. “What do you propose?”
“If you can get her number before the end of this case I’ll buy lunch for a week.” McGee suggested.
“And if I don’t?”
“You buy lunch for two weeks.” McGee smirked.
Tony considered it while he ordered the ten coffees before turning back to McGee. “You’re on, Probie.”
“She had to give you her number, Tony.” McGee said quickly. “You can’t just look it up.”
Tony rolled his eyes. “Yeah, yeah, I got that, McParanoid.”
Later, sitting at his computer trying to chase down a lead, Tony regretted agreeing to the bet. The problem was that there was no way he could win it. There was no way JJ would give a guy like Agent Dinozzo her number, which meant there was no way for her to do so without her team getting suspicious. Which meant that he had agreed to a bet that he had no chance of winning – and McGee was going to rub it in his face for months!
“Whatcha have?” Gibbs barked suddenly and Tony forced himself to jump, spilling his third cup of coffee on his hand.
“Ow!” Tony exclaimed, wiping the hot coffee off his smarting hand.
“I can’t find any connections between the victims’ credit card statements, boss.” McGee answered as he shot Tony a disgusted look.
“I have found Corporal Davis’ car.” Ziva announced proudly. “It is in the pound.”
“Impounded.” Tony ignored her glare as he turned his concentration back to his computer.
“The car has been ‘impounded’ by the Baltimore PD.” Ziva’s tone was longsuffering.
“Dinozzo, go get the car.” Gibbs ordered sharply.
Tony winced, he hadn’t enjoyed his short tenature as a police officer at the station. “Can it wait, boss? I’m tracking down a lead.”
“Now, Dinozzo!” Gibbs snapped. “Ziva can take over whatever the hell you’re working on.”
Tony grimaced in annoyance, but sent Ziva everything he had so far.
“Mind if one of my agents accompanies him, Gibbs?” Agent Hotchner spoke suddenly.
Gibbs waved a hand dismissively, which Hotchner seemed to take as a yes, because next think Tony knew JJ was being told to go with him.
“JJ works as our Law Enforcement liaison.” Hotchner reminded Tony. “Let her handle it.”
Tony barely managed to produce a proper response to the insinuation that he couldn’t do his job, he was too excited at the prospect of getting a few hours alone with JJ. Admittedly he’d seen her that morning, but he had been feeling off balance all day and he doubted Gibbs would let him go home that night.
“Sorry I didn’t warn you.” JJ apologised once they were in the car. “Everything happened so fast and I couldn’t get away.”
“I wouldn’t have been able to answer anyway.” Tony admitted. “I had a meeting with the Secretary of Defence this morning.”
“What?” JJ turned to him surprise. “Why?”
“I have a new assignment.”
“What?” JJ didn’t sound happy. “Lucten said you only had two years left!”
“One year, eight months now.” Tony told her. “Secretary Moore promised me that my new assignment wouldn’t mean an extension of my time undercover. He said that he would pull me out now, if not for the importance of my new assignment.”
“What’s your new assignment?” JJ asked curiously.
“Same as my old one, except they want dirt on Secretary Davenport.” Tony told her.
“The Secretary of the Navy?” JJ questioned. “Wow.”
“I know.” Tony took a hand off the wheel to run it through his hair. “And Lucten’s out of the loop.”
“What about Vance?”
“I still have to look into him too.” Tony told her. “If nothing else, my investigation into Vance is a cover for an investigation into Davenport.”
JJ laughed. “A cover within a cover.”
“Exactly.” Tony grinned at her. “On another note, I bet McGee that I could get you to give me your number.”
JJ laughed again. “Tony!”
“I know.” Tony chuckled. “I’m going to have to forfeit. I think I was still a bit off balance from my meeting with Moore and from seeing you in the bullpen.”
“You don’t necessarily need to forfeit.” JJ argued.
“JJ there’s no way your team would believe that you would voluntarily give me your number.” Tony argued. “And McGee is not a quiet loser, he would tell everyone.”
“I could tell them that I felt sorry for you.” JJ suggested.
Tony laughed. “Thanks, but don’t worry about it. I would rather buy McGee’s lunch for two weeks than have your team get suspicious.”
It took them over an hour to get to the Baltimore PD and by the time they had arranged to have the car shipped to Abby it was almost five.
“We should stop for dinner.” JJ commented as they pulled away from the Police Building.
Tony nodded. “What do you feel like?”
“Turkish.” JJ answered with a smile.
“Sounds good.” Tony agreed. “I know a good takeaway place a few minutes from here.”
Once they had bought their dinner and were driving back to the Navy Yard, JJ turned to Tony.
“What was it like living here? You hardly mention it.”
Tony sighed. “I hated it. My partner was dirty, which was all part of the plan, but I hated having to work with him.”
“Why Baltimore?” JJ asked curiously. “How did you know that you would ‘get Gibbs’ attention’?”
“Baltimore had the highest rate of crimes involving navy personal.” Tony explained. “We knew that Gibbs would eventually end up assigned to a case there. I kept a close eye on the cases that came on and managed to ensure that I got any case that had a link to the navy. I’d studied Gibbs’ file closely and I knew what sort of person Gibbs found interesting.
“We arranged for me to be partnered with a dirty cop, that way I could show Gibbs that I had a strong belief in right and wrong and was willing to stand up for my beliefs – even against partners. I was cheeky enough to be interesting, but obedient enough that he knew he could work with me. It worked like a charm.”
“That’s a little scary.” JJ commented. “Basically, you profiled him.”
Tony chuckled. “Yes, that’s what I do. That’s why I’ve been doing that research on Criminal Profiling. I’m going to write a paper on the similarities and differences between my kind of profiling and the profiling your team does. I think both disciplines could learn a lot from each other.”
“So profiling and undercover work go together?” JJ questioned.
“Yes, for good undercover work at least. You need to be able to read your mark.”
“That’s scary.” JJ said again.
“Why?” Tony glanced at her in interest. “Your team profiles people every day.”
“True, but you don’t just profile people. You profile them, and then become exactly who you need to be to get into their good graces.” JJ pointed out. “Have you ever done that with me?”
“Of course not.” Tony denied seriously. “I’ve profiled you of course, I knew that you were a fed before our first conversation, but that’s only because, I can’t really turn it off.”
“Sorry.” JJ apologised quickly. “I didn’t really think you would have.”
Ton smiled at her. “Its fine, a perfectly reasonable response.”
The bullpen was a flurry when Tony and JJ returned, everyone researching desperately.
“I found something.” Ziva told him smugly. “The victims all had contact with the U.S.S. Brewer in the last six months.”
Tony rolled his eyes. That had been the lead he had been working on. He had already managed to connect three of the four victims to the ship when Gibbs pulled him away.
“So what’s the plan?” Tony asked.
“We’re looking into the crew.” McGee answered. “You can look into the sailors with surnames S through to Z.”
“Right.” Tony nodded and sat behind his computer, watching as JJ talked to her team who had just come out of the conference room they had been working in
“Get to work, Dinozzo!” Gibbs snapped, apparently noticing his inattention.
“Yes, boss.” Tony nodded. “Sorry, boss.”
“We have a profile, Agent Gibbs.” Agent Hotchner announced as the FBI agents entered the bullpen. “It will help you narrow down your search.”
Gibbs didn’t look convinced, but he leaned back in his chair and gave the other agents his attention.
“We’re looking for a white male, between the ages of twenty five and forty.” Agent Morgan started.
“This won’t be the first time he’s lashed out in anger, though previous occasions were likely much less serious.” Agent Prentiss continued.
“He’s probably a non-commissioned officer.” Agent Rossi continued. “He’s intelligent and committed, but his anger management problems will have prevented him from becoming an officer.”
“Something happened to him in the last week to make him snap.” Agent Morgan said. “There is a possibility that the first victim was involved in this event, but it is just as likely that all his victims are substitutes.”
Tony had to admit that he thoroughly enjoyed watching JJ’s team at work. Profiling was an art form and the BAU were masters at it.
The profile helped them to narrow their suspect pool down to three different men: Sergeant Coil, Corporal Stewart and Corporal Rice, but not even Abby or Garcia could help them narrow it down further.
“We should arrest them all.” Ziva snapped.
Agent Prentiss shook her head. “We should try to catch him in the act.”
“So we put a tail on each of them.” McGee suggested from his seat behind his computer.
Gibbs growled in frustration and Tony knew how he felt. He hated the thought of having to use a civilian as bait.
“Uh, boss?” McGee said suddenly looking up from his computer with an excited grin.
“What?” Gibbs growled again.
“I’ve been tracking their credit cards and I just got a hit.” McGee answered.
“Which one?” Agent Morgan asked in interest.
“All of them.” McGee explained. “Stewart, Coil and Rice all just used their credit cards at a bar ten minutes from here.”
Gibbs was silent for a moment before his eyes flicked to Tony. “Dinozzo, go see Abby. Tell her what you need.”
Tony nodded obediently as he stood with a grin, finally something useful he could do. It had been months since Gibbs had last use Tony’s undercover abilities on a case and, ridiculous as it sounded considering the big picture, he had missed it.
“What does he need?” McGee asked cluelessly.
“Dog tags, McOblivious.” Tony answered as he strode out the bullpen.
The last thing Tony heard before getting on the elevator was Hotchner pulling Gibbs aside for a word.
It didn’t take long to get everything he needed from Abby. The victims had been found in civies, and there had been no evidence of their killer changing their clothes, which meant he didn’t need a uniform. All he needed was a pair of jeans, a hoody, and dog tags and he was ready. His hair was already short enough, of course, he hadn’t had non-regulation hair since he was fifteen.
McGee thought the idea of Tony pretending to in the navy hilarious and didn’t hide his lack of confidence that Tony could pull it off.
Agent Hotchner didn’t seem particularly happy by the idea, Tony wondered whether that was why none of the BAU team had undercover training, but apparently Gibbs had convinced him to give Tony a shot.
JJ looked worried, something that Tony understood. It wasn’t every day that she had to watch him try and convince a serial killer to choose Tony as his next victim.
The rest of the BAU team looked just as unconvinced at Tony’s ability to pull it off as McGee, something that gave Tony a feeling of pride. They were experienced profilers and he had managed to convince them of his act so thoroughly that they couldn’t even imagine that he might make a good soldier.
The bar was exactly the sort of place he had spent time at when he was younger: loud, filled with marines, and pool tables.
It was quite nice to have an undercover assignment that allowed him fall back on his marine posture. He strode into the bar with a cocky grin, so far to the victims had been described as ‘nice guys, though a bit cocky’, and made his way across to the counter.
It took him a few minutes to get a drink and Tony used the time to scan the room for the three suspects. The two corporals were sitting in a booth with three other sailors, but Tony couldn’t see the sergeant anywhere.
Tony ordered a Carona, thankful that he didn’t actually have to drink any of it, and then moved away from the counter.
He looked around the room again, checking on the sergeants and looking for sergeant again. It took him a few minutes, but eventually he spotted the sergeant leaving the head.
The instant he saw the sergeant he knew he’d found their killer, there was just something about the man.
Tony made his way across the bar and brushed past the sergeant.
“What where you’re going, sailor!” Sergeant Rice snapped at him and Tony felt a sliver of victory at the response.
Tony stopped and turned around, lazily pulling himself to attention before taller man with an insolent smirk. “Sorry, sir, didn’t see you there.”
Sergeant Rice scowled at him. “What’s your name, boy?”
“Private Hummer,” Tony paused for a moment before adding the, “sir.”
Sergeant Rice’s eye twitched at Tony’s disrespect, but otherwise ignore it. “I think you should find another bar, Hummer.”
Tony allowed his eyes to show his disdain for a moment. “With all due respect, sir, I was here first.”
Rice’s eye twitched again and he grabbed hold of Tony’s arm. “Come with me!”
Tony made a few grumbling complaints, though nothing too loud – he didn’t want any of the bar’s other occupants coming to his rescue, and allowed himself to be dragged outside and into a nearby alley.
“Give me fifty!” Rice ordered with a snarl, shoving Tony towards the ground.
Tony caught himself and gave the sergeant an outraged glare. “I’m off duty.”
“Now, private!” Rice snarled, spittle flying everywhere.
Groaning in annoyance, Tony lowered himself to the ground and began the ordered push-ups. “One, two, three, four, five…” He was at thirty nine when he felt a needle prick his neck. “What the hell?”
“Keep going, private!” Rice ordered. “You’ve got twenty left.”
“Like hell I have.” Tony stood up quickly and glared as he rubbed his neck. “I was at thirty nine. Besides, something bit me.”
“Don’t you argue with me!” Rice snarled, his fist clenched. “Get down and give me fifty!”
“Fuck you!” Tony threw back. “I’m off duty. You can’t make me.”
Rice snarled and tried to punch him, Tony dodged it quickly. Unfortunately that was when the world around him started getting fuzzy and Rice’s next punch hit him square in the jaw.
“Don’t you fucking talk back to me, you fucking worm.” Rice ordered as he punched Tony in the nose and then kneed him in the stomach.
“NCIS!” Gibb’s voice shouted suddenly. “Hands up.”
“FBI!” Agent Morgan’s voice came from the opposite direction. “Back away from him.”
Rice swore loudly and shoved Tony to the ground and kicking at his ribs.
Tony groaned as he felt a rib crack and allowed whatever drug Rice had administered to drag him into unconsciousness.
The lights seemed overly bright when Tony woke up and the noises overly loud. He groaned and shut his eyes, wishing he could shut his ears as well.
“Tony? Are you awake?” Abby’s voice made him groan again. “Tony?”
Tony nodded in answer, but instantly regretted the movement. It hurt!
“I’ll get someone.” Abby announced and Tony could hear her practically running out of the room.
It wasn’t unusual to wake up in the hospital, though it had been a while, and Tony tried to figure out what exactly was hurting.
“Awake I hear, Agent Dinozzo.” A new voice sounded in the room and Tony forced his eyes open again. The voice belonged to a male doctor who looked to be about Tony’s age. “I’m Doctor Pierre, how do you feel?”
“Okay.” Tony answered, only half lying. Sure it hurt, but it wasn’t too bad. Though talking wasn’t particularly fun, he presumed Rice’s punch to his jaw was to blame for that.
The doctor chuckled. “I doubt that, Agent Dinozzo. You have two cracked ribs, a broken nose, and a severely bruised jaw. You will also be feeling the after-effects of the drug you were injected with.”
That explained why Tony’s head was swimming. “Is everyone else okay?”
“Everyone’s fine, Tony!” Abby reassured him quickly. “They took Agent Rice back to NCIS. I said I’d stay with you.”
“How long was I out?” Tony asked. “Can I get some water?”
“Three hours.” Doctor Pierre answered. “I’ll send a nurse in with some water soon. I just need to run some tests first.”
“I can get the water.” Abby offered before leaving him alone with the doctor.
Tony submitted himself to the doctor’s tests and grinned in thanks when Pierre agreed to release him after six hours of observation. Tony knew from experience that he would be off work for at least two weeks, and then on desk duty for four, due to the cracked ribs – but he would rather spend that at home with JJ than in the hospital.
“I’ll come look after you!” Abby announced when she heard that Tony was going to be released so soon. “I can make you soup.”
“I’ll be fine, Abby.” Tony reassured her. “It’s not my first rodeo. I’ll rest better if no one else is there.”
Abby frowned by eventually nodded in agreement. “Alright, but call me if you need anything!”
“I will.” Tony agreed with a smile.
Gibbs visited him a few hours later and told him that they had managed to wrangle a confession out of Rice. It hadn’t been hard, particularly since they’d caught him red handed.
Abby insisted on driving him home, which was sweet, but annoying. She walked him to his door, but thankfully left him there and Tony let himself into his old flat with a sigh.
“Tony!” JJ’s voice startled him and Tony flinched.
“Damn!” Tony groaned. “That hurt.”
“Sorry!” JJ stood from where she had been sitting on the couch and moved closer. “You look awful.”
“And again I say, that hurt!” Tony joked.
“I wasn’t sure you’d be back today.” JJ said. “What did the doctors say?”
Tony made his way over to the couch and lowered himself down slowly. “Two cracked ribs, a broken nose, and a bruised jaw.”
“Two cracked ribs?” JJ repeated shrilly as she sat beside him.
“I’m okay.” Tony reassured her. “I’ll be off work for two weeks and on desk duty for four. I’ll be all better in six weeks.”
JJ narrowed her eyes. “How many times have you cracked your ribs?”
“Only a couple of times.” Tony answered. “Why are you here? I thought you’d be at home?”
“We were working past midnight last night, so Hotch gave us the morning off.” JJ explained. “I slept here, I presumed this was where your team would drop you once the hospital released you. Do you want a ride home?”
Tony tried to grin at her, but his jaw hurt too much. “Yes, please.”
“Your team won’t check on you?” JJ asked as she helped him to his feet.
“No,” Tony shook his head. “They’re more the out of sight, out of mind type. Besides, I told Abby that I would rest better if I was left alone. She wanted to come look after me.”
“That was nice of her.” JJ commented as they left the apartment.
“Yeah.” Tony agreed. “She’s confusing. She was awful to me when Gibbs was gone, almost as bad as McGee and Ziva, but now that he’s back…”
“Strange.” JJ pushed the button for the elevator. “How are you feeling?”
“Sore.” Tony admittedly. “But I’ll live.”
“Of course you will.” JJ smiled at him. “I have to say I’m kind of looking forward to nursing you back to health.”
Tony leant down to gently kiss her, ignoring the pain in his jaw. “Me too.”