Do I Know You?
01. Do I Know You?
Print version Send feedback to the author Show comments (0)
It was 7:15 a.m. at NCIS head quarters and as the elevator doors opened an exuberant, tall brunette sauntered out, laden with bags from the local bakery. “Happy Monday boys and girls!” said the obnoxiously upbeat, handsome young man. Groans could be heard all around the bullpen. Whereas other people usually hated the start of the work week, Tony Dinozzo lived for it. Tony deposited one of the bags filled with bagels and donuts in the break room next to the ever present pot of coffee. Seeing that Tony came bearing food other agents slowly began to congregate and lazy discussions about how people spent their weekends " barbeques, lawn work, visiting friends and family " filled the room. When asked what he had done that weekend, Tony grinned lasciviously and said that he never kissed and told. Tony’s answer was met with eye rolling and laughter and the other agents drifted back to their discussions about their weekend. No one took any particular notice when Tony slid out of the room carrying the other two bags and headed to the elevator.

Tony’s next stop was the still empty morgue, where he dropped off a bag of baked goods leaving a note on a pad of paper wishing both Ducky and Jimmy a merry morning and a sweet beginning for a new week. Tony then headed to Abby’s lab carrying his last bag of goodies with him.

When Tony got to the forensic scientist’s lab he paused a minute outside of the door to take in the reverberations caused by the music coursing through the lab. “Toooooony!” Abby shrieked, drowning out the ear splitting music as he headed through the door. “What’s in the bag? Did you bring me something? Where’s my caf-pow?”

Laughing as he untangled himself from the bear hug Abby now had him in, Tony said, “Just some sweets for my sweet and no caf-pows Abby. You most definitely should never mix caffeine and sugar. Besides, Gibbs is sure to bring you one when he comes down to say good morning, and with any good luck, I’ll escape the results of you mixing your two favorite drugs.” Slapping Tony playfully on the shoulder and putting on a pretend pout Abby accused Tony of not loving her. “Everyone loves you Abby; how could they not”, Tony assured her.

“Aww” said Abby, “So how was your weekend? ” Abby did not wait for an answer and continued right on. “I know mine was terrific. I went to that new club that opened in DuPont Circle on Friday night. It was totally awesome,” Again, never letting Tony respond, Abby continued on, “I wish you had been able to go with me Tony. We haven’t done anything together in the longest time! You should slow down on your love life and make time for your friends. I spent Saturday afternoon recovering and bowled with the girls that night. Sunday Timmy and I finally got to work on that Habitat project the local YMCA is sponsoring and Sunday night my friend and I finished painting my bedroom. Do you know how hard it is to match colors? We finally had to drag the coffin to the hardware store so that the man in the paint department could mix a red that matched the lining. ”

When Abby stopped for breath Tony finally got a chance to say something. Avoiding completely any comment about Abby’s interior design and any comments that would renew Abby’s curiosity about Tony’s weekend, he quickly exclaimed, “Don’t tell me you let McClumsy handle power tools, Abby! Does he still have ten fingers?”

Before Abby could defend McGee they were both interrupted by a growled ”Don’t you have work to do Dinozzo?”

“On it Boss” said Tony, waving at Abby as he hurried out of the lab and grinning to himself as he watched Gibbs hand over a 32 ounce cup of caf-pow to Abby and patiently endure the kiss Abby placed on his cheek. As he got into the elevator Tony found himself subconsciously rubbing his hand across his own lips. “Get a grip you idiot” he thought to himself, and giving himself a disgusted shake, he checked his reflection visible on the metal walls of the elevator and straightened his tie and his back at the same time.

Up in the bullpen McGee and Ziva had arrived and were slowly sorting through their emails, trying to get back into the weekly routine and casually discussing what they had done over the past couple of days. McGee was telling Ziva about meeting up with friends and going to lecture on new advances in data retrieval software.

“Only you would think that was a great way to spend a day McGeek” said Tony as he slid into his chair with a satisfied sigh, balled up a piece of paper and launched it at Tim’s head. “And a happy Monday to you my sexy ninja chick.” he said to Ziva, as he powered up his computer and reached for the newest folders on his desk.

“At least I am capable of remembering my whole weekend Tony. I’m sure you either spent yours hanging around drinking with a bunch of other over-aged frat boys, making fools of yourselves or wining and dining your latest flavor of the week” huffed McGee.

Neither Ziva nor McGee noticed the slight tightening around Tony’s mouth before he blithfully replied, “That is for me to know and you to wonder about McStuffy ” and before more could be said he quickly asked Ziva if she had a good weekend.

Ziva had just begun to talk about the gun show she had attended when Gibbs appeared, slammed his coffee cup down on his desk and ordered all three of his agents to stop wasting time and get to work. Hiding his smile as they all jumped and quickly went back to catching up on their email, Gibbs glanced over at his senior agent. Although dressed to the nines, with his hair carefully styled, Gibbs detected faint dark circles under Tony’s eyes and a tightness around his shoulders. “Just like Dinozzo to spend the weekend out prowling rather than resting” Gibbs thought to himself and was surprised to find himself irritated at the thought of Tony wearing himself out with, as McGee had called it, his latest ‘flavor of the week’.

Gruffly he said, “Dinozzo, since we don’t have a new case yet I want that supplies order I told you about Friday on my desk by noon and an update on the status of all the unsolved cases for the last twelve months by end of day. “ He noticed Ziva and McGee redoubled their efforts to appear engrossed in their correspondences, least he feel the need to dole out more work their way.
He was surprised by the fact that rather than grossing Tony merely smiled at him sweetly and said, “No problemo bossman.”

Out of the corner of his eye Gibbs saw Dr. Mallard, the ME, standing at the edge of the bullpen. Ducky was frowning and catching Gibbs eye, he nodded towards the elevator, indicating that Gibbs should follow him.

“I’m going for more coffee. Call me if we get a case. When you get done with your email McGee, Abby needs your help in the lab. Ziva, since you spent your weekend checking out guns I want you to go to the firing range and test fire the new guns we got in last week. Make sure they’re all in working order.” And with that he tossed his empty coffee cup and followed Ducky into the crowded elevator.

With Gibbs gone both Ziva and McGee turned to smirk at Tony, knowing that their assignments would be fun while Tony would be stuck at his desk pouring over paperwork. To their surprise Tony was already printing out a hard copy of the completed supplies list and had the cold case files from the last few months neatly stacked on his desk. Not even noticing them Tony reached for the top file and called up a document on his computer which already seemed to be several pages long. McGee and Ziva exchanged bemused glances and hurried off to their respective assignments, eager not to be in the bullpen upon Gibbs return.

Upon entering the morgue, Ducky looked around to see if Jimmy Palmer, his assistant was around. Seeing no one but Gibbs, who had followed him down, Ducky began to speak. “Jethro is there a particular reason you are being so harsh to that young man, or are you just reinforcing what the second “B” stands for? If I returned from my first free weekend in six weeks to be greeted that way by my supervisor, a supervisor for whom I have an unconditional urge to please I might add, I would begin to wonder about my welcome.”

“What do you mean his first free weekend in six weeks? None of the team has been on weekend call for the last month, Ducky!“

“Jethro, are you really that oblivious to what your team does on their time off? Young Anthony has become the go to man for all the agents on the other teams when they need someone to cover for them. Have to go to a kid’s ballgame or an out of town wedding to attend, don’t worry, Tony will always cover for you. Tony has been quietly working almost continuously for the last six months! Not that he has complained or even mentioned it; I only know this because I usually come in for a short time over the weekend to check my email, as I still refuse to allow my house to be wired for 24 hour availability. When I started to notice that Tony was always here, I quietly started asking around for an explanation.”

“That can’t be possible Ducky. People are always talking about Tony’s conquests and shenanigans and Tony certainly doesn’t deny it!” Again Gibbs felt that unexplainable annoyance at Tony’s promiscuity. “The weekends are the only time available to him.”

“Listen carefully Jethro. Tony never elaborates. He merely smiles, offers some quick quip and deflects the conversation. He doesn’t supply any details or even corroboration. For someone who controls every minute of you subordinates’ time while they are on your clock you seem to know very little about what they do when you are not there watching, and Tony is particularly good at masking what he doesn’t want others to see.” Seeing Gibbs stunned and somewhat defensive expression, Ducky pressed on quickly. “ That boy is close to collapsing from exhaustion but seems unwilling to acknowledge his own needs or limitations.”

Feeling that Ducky was somehow blaming him for this situation Gibbs snapped, “Tony is a big boy Ducky. He doesn’t need a nursemaid. Besides a little extra work will help Dinozzo stay focused. Now if that’s all you wanted, I need another cup of coffee.”

And with that Gibbs spun on his heels and headed out of the morgue, leaving Ducky shaking his head with a sad frown on his face. He wasn’t sure what bothered him more, Tony’s unusual behavior or Jethro’s unwillingness to be concerned by it.

Although Gibbs had deflected Ducky’s concern, the fact that Tony was driving himself into the ground did bother him. It seemed so unlikely that his seemingly carefree, overactive senior agent would willingly give up his free time. Gibbs had always imagined that Tony’s weekends were master classes in debauchery and he had a hard time reconciling his assumptions with the information that Ducky had just shared. The fact that Tony had not mentioned his sacrifice, seeking praise and pity did not jive with the attention seeking, eager to please senior agent Gibbs had always known - the Tony who always had a joke on his lips, sassy comeback ready and waiting, and preened at the slightest compliment. Thinking about it more deeply Gibbs had to admit that Tony never seemed to want to take a lot of time off. He remembered the numerous times that Tony had been injured in the field, and how Tony was always in a hurry to get off medical leave. His mind flashed back to that awful time when Tony had contracted the plague and how Tony returned to work a full week before Dr. Pitt had wanted him to. Gibbs tried to think about when Tony had last taken a vacation. He remembered a trip to Panama City that Tony took back when Kate was still alive, but could not remember another such break. He thought about the times over the years when Tony would show up in his basement on a weekend night with a pizza and a twelve pack of beer. When was the last time that had happened? Upon reflection he realized it had been quite a while. Gibbs was even more surprised to realize how much he missed the quiet comradery they shared while they quietly talked as Tony watched Gibbs working on his boat.

When had he become so oblivious? He thought about his hyper awareness of Tony every time they were out on a case. Why had he not seen the signs that Tony’s behavior had changed? Thinking further he realized that Abby, McGee and Ziva did not seem to notice anything different either. They all still teased Tony about his extracurricular activities and Gibbs realized that Tony never bothered to correct them. If anything his smug, veiled responses seemed to reinforce their assumptions and cause such unexplainable anger in Gibbs. He found himself developing a new respect for Tony’s ability to maintain a mask but was bothered by why Tony found this to be necessary. Shaking himself slightly, Gibbs sighed and vowed to investigate this further.

When Gibbs returned from his coffee run he was surprised to find the supplies order neatly typed out and waiting for him on his desk. Glancing over at Tony he saw that the younger man was deeply engrossed in reading an old case file and typing notes into his computer. Now that it had been called to his attention he did notice that Tony looked overly tired. But before he could come up with a way to address this his phone rang and the team caught their first case of the week. A dead marine had been found in one of the parks in the Beltway. Putting down the phone Gibbs ordered Tony to call McGee and Ziva and go get the truck. Solving the mystery of Tony was going to have to wait.