Tony woke with silken hair in his mouth and the scent of baby powder in his nose. He pulled the hair from his mouth and rolled out of bed. Tori snuggled more deeply into her pillow. "Leave the bathroom light on when you leave." Her voice was muffled by cotton and goose-down.
"Will you be around for dinner?"
"Call me next time and we'll go someplace nicer than Vito's."
"I like Vito's."
Tony ran through his morning routine. By the time he left the bathroom, Tori had breakfast in the toaster. She sat at the breakfast bar in a silk robe, her dark hair tangled down her back. She had the Washington Post neatly parceled into folded sections that would tuck next to her plate while she ate. He stole the Sports section.
"That's my paper."
"Technically, it's our paper. Community property state."
She rolled her eyes. "Don't get shot. I might need you some day."
"I'll keep it under advisement. Crap, is it really seven?" Tony grabbed the Pop-Tart. "See you. Don't get caught."
She flipped him the bird as he holstered his gun.
"Later," he promised. "I'm running late."
Tony settled at his desk. He felt sated and almost lethargic. He'd beat McGee and Ziva to the office. Gibbs was getting his first refill of the morning. The bullpen was quiet. Tony hummed as he sorted through the possible cases. There'd been no murders. Nothing very interesting at first glance. He could steal the burglary out from under Prescott and Chen, but they could handle it just as well.
"No, Boss. Unless we've got at training, in which case there's a possible drug use case in Norfolk."
"Which means you looked at it already. Pull colds?"
"McGee can pull. You take another look at Forester."
"Find the sister-in-law?"
Tony accepted the task with a nod. Forester was missing along with 500,000 dollars. His only living relative was his sister-in-law Marcia Klein. She'd fallen off the grid about a year before. Tony felt his brain click into gear. He had at least forty-five minutes before he had to be Tony the Goofball; best make use of it.
"Gibbs, I need DiNozzo," Fornell said without preamble.
Gibbs raised a brow. "No."
The two men retreated to the elevator. Tony watched them go. His heart-rate sped up. This could be something fun. Finally. He was getting bored with the hunts lately. Gibbs was getting gun-shy about letting him do under-cover work. Just because he got caught up in one role. Ziva frowned at him. "Do you know what this is about?"
"Nope." Tony gave her his best grin. She didn't return it. Gibbs didn't choose her and neither would he. He'd protect her. He'd even die for her. But she would never be in the same realm of "his" as Gibbs was.
Gibbs was frowning when he returned from his meeting. "Is Tori in town?"
"Yeah. She was as of this morning at least. No idea where she is now."
"Who is Tori?" McGee asked.
Tony ignored him. "What's this about?"
"FBI wants your expertise." The intensity of the blue gaze that fixed on his made Tony's stomach curl. Oh, they wouldn't dare. Gibbs wouldn't dare. They had a deal. "You talk to them, it's on your own time. I'm not asking you anything." Oh, good. That meant he could lie.
"And if I bow out of the investigation?"
Fornell shook his head. "We'll take you in as a material witness."
"On who's word?" Tony narrowed his eyes at the fed. Fornell shifted minutely. The wrinkles at the corners of his mouth and eyes said this wasn't something he was comfortable with. It might mean a way out.
"Dr. Henry Goldblum."
"That son-of-a-bitch," Tony hissed. His pulse jumped and his jaw clenched. He felt Gibbs' hand rest hard on his shoulder. "Fine. Just because you idiots listen to that fuckwit..."
"That expletive deleted jerk, I'll come. Just to set you straight and tell you why you shouldn't listen to him."
Gibbs squeezed hard, once. Tony looked up at him. "I'm coming," Gibbs stated. Tony inclined his head. That might keep him from going across the table and killing Goldblum. Maybe. If Gibbs moved fast enough. Tony holstered his weapon and slammed the drawer shut. Fornell's brows rose. That meant Goldblum hadn't told them the truth yet. Good.
The FBI conference room was hot and over-full of furniture. There were a whiteboard and a corkboard that weren't mounted on the walls. A projector screen and a table top projector were propped up in the corner. There were fifteen chairs and five people. The air was heavy with the scent of dust and a lingering vapor of CKOne. Tony's nose twitched at the scent. He took one of the chairs on the side, so that he didn't have his back to the door. Gibbs settled next to him, his blue eyes pinning Fornell with a less than pleased glare.
Sacks was seated, leaning back in his chair with a file folder open in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other. The door closed with a solid thunk. Dr. Goldblum, Tony knew. That meant there were three people he wanted introductions from before he started baiting the good doctor. The woman in the dun brown suit and cream shirt that made her look like a washed out version of herself screamed agent. She was probably Fornell's new probie. At the head of the table, with his back to the wall, was a thin man with close-cropped white hair and a set of gold-wire rims on his nose. His clothes hung on him like a scarecrow and his tie was a hideous green that looked like something from a Dr. Seuss cartoon. The last person at the table was dressed in black with a blue shirt and tie. His face was utterly bland. He was from one of the intelligence agencies. Tony'd lay money on it.
"So, I'm here on my lunch break, so let's get this over with," Tony stated. He locked eyes with Sacks. The FBI agent grimaced slightly and rolled his eyes in the direction of the Agency man. So this wasn't an actual FBI operation. Interesting.
"I'm Dr. Tucker. I work for the Behavioral Analysis Unit," the scarecrow told him. "This is Mr. Brown and that is Agent Hepplewhite. She'll be working under-cover on this case. I've been told you know Dr. Goldblum and Agent Sacks."
Tony inclined his head. "And why am I here?"
"Because Victoria Rosemont has been sighted in connection with our target and I want to know how to call her off," Brown stated.
"Well, you could try posting something to her Facebook wall. I know that Dr. Goldblum's blocked, but she's got an open profile."
"I was given to understand that you had a much better way of contacting her. Say, a phone number. I'm not asking you to turn it over to us, or to get involved in the operation. Although, if you could provide insight into Ms. Rosemont..." Tucker let the sentence trail off.
"And let you track her down? I don't think so. Take out a personal ad and leave me out of it."
"Anthony," Dr. Goldblum's voice was sharp and grated on Tony's ear's. He narrowed his eyes at the man. "How is Victoria?"
"She is well. No thanks to you and your bullshit, Dr. Henry."
Sacks and Hepplewhite's heads snapped to Tony. Hepplewhite's eyes narrowed on him and he saw the sharp mind she was hiding behind her bland mask. Oh, she would be a lovely opponent. The bland suits had to be her version of his playboy persona. He wanted to play with her outside of Goldblum's influence.
"Don't even try it. Do these folks know what you've done or are they laboring under the false impression that you know what you're talking about when it comes to Tori?"
The psychologist's eyes narrowed. "Don't take that tone with me."
"What are you going to do? Spank me? I'm not your client, Doctor. I'm not your son. I don't even like you." He turned his attention to Tucker. "Dr. Henry here isolated a pair of twins in New York from all normal socialization and then wrote a slew of papers about how they were psychopaths because they didn't know how to deal properly with the world and didn't develop the same moral compass they would have if they'd stayed in school. They were isolated from their age group, isolated from their parents, and eventually from each other."
"I think there's probably more to the story than that," Tucker soothed. "Victoria would only have seen her side of it."
Tony gave him his most sweetly false smile. "Yes, because I'm so very guided by my cock that I haven't read all the files, articles and books Dr. Henry has used to make money off of her. And I've never seen that FBI file that Sacks is holding. The only person who's file on her I haven't read is Mr. Brown's. I'm sure he'd be obliging if I told him exactly where the listening device in the None-such's director's office is."
Brown's lips tightened, but he didn't react beyond that. Oh, that was no fun. Tony'd have to jab a little harder. Gibbs' hand fell hard and warm on his thigh for a moment. It distracted him enough that he turned to his boss. Their eyes met for a long moment. Tony read the minute changes in the direction and tightness. Damn, he was on the leash when it came to Brown. Not when it came to anyone else though, so that was okay.
Goldblum's eyes were hooded, but his gaze was disconcertingly frank. "Tell what she's been up to."
"A little of this, a little of that." Tony shrugged. "I'm sure you've been trying to keep track of her. Do you stalk her on Twitter?"
"Harold." He gave the doctor a wide grin. Goldblum's lips pulled down into a sharp frown. "Let me tell the FBI agents here a nice little story about little Tori and your research program."
"Agent DiNozzo, keep it civil." Turner's voice was calm.
"Oh, I will. I'm not going to say anything about how he didn't do background checks on the tutors for her and her twin." Hepplewhite winced at that. "I'm not going to mention the fact that his theories were never supported in another case." Sacks' lips twitched. "And I won't even talk about the fact that he's been making money off of the twins he got disowned to the degree that his son, the lawyer, has agreed to represent them in court."
Brown's spine stiffened. "You will stay away from my son."
"How is Saul? Last I heard he had a lovely little baby boy on the way." Tony gave the doctor his best dinner party smile.
"My family is not an open topic."
"Such a shame. I could tell you so much about him. I could tell you what he likes for breakfast, or what his last fight with his wife was about. I could even tell you what shade of red he turns when he orgasms." Tony batted his lashes. Fornell snorted. That meant the FBI weren't going to believe a word Tony said about Goldblum. That suited him just fine.
The psychologist's face turned an unhealthy shade of red before he calmed himself. He put on his professional mask. "You cannot shock me, Anthony. In fact, you haven't been that clumsy in an attempt since you turned twelve."
"Oh, the last time we met didn't shock you? No, of course it didn't. You're the one who recommended military school. At least I got to keep my name."
"Explain," Hepplewhite interjected. He met her eyes. They widened slightly as she took in his face, then a smile slipped across her face.
"Dr. Goldblum suggested to my father that shortly after my mother died I be sent away to school. Permanently. Never to have contact with the family again."
She maintained steady eye contact and he read the slight twitch that wanted to be a wink. Oh, god damn he wanted to be alone with her. Tori would love her. "I see. Disowned?"
"Oh yes. At twelve. I was disowned and emancipated. It's his pattern you see. I haven't figured out which papers were about me specifically."
Goldblum's nostrils flared. "Tony," he nearly growled.
"Why don't you go out and get a cup of something before you stroke out. They'll never get the smell out of the room." Tony's lip lifted into a sneer. "As much as I'd appreciate watching it, I'm on a time limit today."
Fornell cleared his throat. "Can you communicate to Ms. Rosemont that we need our suspect to remain alive?"
Tony blinked. "Oh, is that all? Sure. I'll let her know to hold off. I thought you were trying to hire her to research him." He waved a hand. "As long as he doesn't get any information, I'm perfectly happy to do it. If the son-of-a-mutated-pig over there gets her number, she'll strangle me with my own tie."
"Be careful, Tony." Goldblum's voice was silky. It was so cute that he was trying to threaten him now. "I still have your records."
"And I have your son on speed-dial."
"If you threaten my son again, I will make sure the FBI has enough to arrest you."
"For what?" Tony leaned his chin on his hand. "Inquiring minds want to know what bullshit you're peddling. I've been arrested for murder and the FBI didn't find a thing. I know Agent Sacks here is still looking for something to pin on me. If you had a damned thing, you would have already turned it over. So what do you think you have?"
The psychologist's lips tightened. "I can give them evidence of your childhood indiscretions."
"Is that what we're calling it these days?"
"And the unsavory facts about your relationship with Tori."
Tony laughed outright. "Is that your only threat? To tell them that I'm married to her? That we've been married since we were teenagers? That we got married at sixteen in Maryland one day because we could and then no one could keep her from visiting me in that prison of a school you had me sent to? You amuse me, Doctor, but not enough that I won't find a way to ruin you permanently if you continue to try blackmailing me when you're so bad at it."
Goldblum twitched and opened his mouth to launch an attack when Fornell cut in. "DiNozzo, are you telling me that you're actually married? That some woman was stupid enough to marry you?"
"Oh, Fornell, I've met your ex remember? Gibbs' too. So neither of you get to prick at me about that. Sacks is looking smug. Seems to me that if you'd read his file on me you'd already know. You did find it right?"
"Oh yeah. I'd sort of hoped to see your team react to the information at your trial though."
Tony smirked. He turned his gaze once more to Hepplewhite. She glanced toward her watch, then the door. She tapped a finger against the tabletop. He blinked lazily at her in agreement. She was exactly the sort of woman he liked spending time with – professional. Goldblum's red face was slowly returning to its real color. He couldn't let that stand. Pushing the man into a heart attack would be poetic.
"So, you'll take care of calling off Ms. Rosemont. I think we're done here," Brown stated. His eyes were sharp for just an instant.
"Great. Don't call me. I won't call you." Tony gave a mock-salute to Fornell and Sacks. He gave Hepplewhite a lazy smile. "You, however, are more than welcome to call me any time you like." He handed her his card.
She snorted. "Does this God's gift to women act really work on people?"
He laughed. "Works as well as you trying to fade into the background. Call me. We can compare notes."
She nodded. She never cracked a smile and she kept her posture timid. She was wonderful.
"Tori going to care that you're dating?" Gibbs asked.
"Nah." Tony slumped against the wall as Gibbs locked up the car. "I should introduce you some day."
"You and Hepplewhite get in trouble, I'm not bailing you out." Tony grinned at him. Gibbs bumped him gently as he passed. They both knew he was lying. He'd bail Tony out of almost anything.