Here's a sample of the story I'm writing called Crossing the Line, which will fill all these pages eventually. This is Chapter One.
Intro: Just being Gibbs - First Person Tony’s Perspective
Looking back now, I can see how it all led to this point. I didn't realize what was happening. None of us did. And by the time we figured the whole thing out, it was already far too late to do anything about it. I don't know how much I'd change, anyway, even if I could. We all saw Gibbs' obsession with Ari, we all worried about it. But we never expected it all to go down the way it did.
The way Ari played him drove Gibbs over the edge. It didn't happen all at once. He started watching us more closely when we went out, we had to check in more frequently, he compulsively checked to make sure we had our weapons at all times. Poor Ducky was not even allowed to leave the building on his own. But, well, Gibbs was just being Gibbs in the long run. It’s just that none of us, even Ducky, knew him as well as we thought we did.
Horror Show: Two Weeks and Counting: Tony’s Perspective
Gibbs slammed into the door just as Tony opened it, pushing it into Tony, who stumbled back a step.
Gibbs kept moving – giving no indication that he’d seen Tony trying to enter Abby’s lab. Tony cringed at the look on Gibbs’s face. Looked like he and Abby had just been arguing. As if to confirm that suspicion, Abby’s indignant voice followed Gibbs as he stormed toward the elevator, stabbing the call button like it had contributed to his foul mood, and was not just an innocent little elevator button.
“I’ll go where and when I want, Gibbs. *I* make my own decisions, and if I want to go to the *moon* I can do it with or without your permission. Is that understood?”
Gibbs turned and stalked back to the doorway. Tony just stayed where he was, holding the door open, reluctant to step into the fray. He felt like he was hiding, even though the door was glass, and there was no way he could not be seen. But he was not going to get in the way of Gibbs in full-on protector mode. No way.
Ever since the incident a couple of weeks before, when that terrorist had held Autopsy hostage for the day, Gibbs had been impossible to reason with. Well, not like he ever *had* been easy to reason with. But it was worse now, and everyone on Gibbs’ crew had suffered with his overly paranoid protective nature, and his obsession with finding the man that had dared step into *his* territory.
Gibbs pointed his finger at Abby, the anger in his voice almost overpowering the concern, “If I find out you went without Kate, I’ll ground you like you *were* a kid again, and I’ll have you followed everywhere you go, Abby. Even to the bathroom!” Gibbs turned and headed back toward the elevator doors which opened just at that moment, as if they knew better than to keep him waiting.
As he stepped in, his angry voice stepped up a notch, catching Tony by surprise as Gibbs turned to punch the floor button. “You had better have one hell of a good reason for being down here, DiNozzo.” Tony winced as if his words were a blow, and wished the door could protect him from Gibbs’ anger.
“I am, boss – I do. I need info on that cold case I’m working. Abby asked me to come down to get it; she can’t leave the lab right now. I should be back up in 15, maybe 20 minutes tops.” He sped through the last part, as the elevator doors started to close. Gibbs scowled at him, but that was normal, so Tony relaxed as the door closed on Gibbs last words.
“You’d better be.” Gibbs glanced down at his watch as if he was going to time him, and Tony shook his head, sighing with relief. That had been relatively painless, for Gibbs, anyway. This was getting old. They had better find that terrorist soon, or Gibbs was going to explode from all the anger and frustration inside him. He came out from behind the door and headed in to see if Abby was in one piece, or lying scattered over the floor like shrapnel from the explosion of Gibbs’ anger.
He’d been unbearable lately. Ducky had to deal with the worst of it – Gibbs had insisted someone take him to and from work every day since the incident, and he kept tabs on him, demanding he know *exactly* where Ducky was at all times. And he’d had a guard on poor Gerald the whole time he was in the hospital recovering from the gunshot wound inflicted on him by the terrorist.
Even though she had avoided capture, Abby knew less about protecting herself from attack or harm than his agents did. So Gibbs had been watching her too, as well as insisting she come with them to the gym to learn some self-defense moves, just in case she ever needed them. Abby hadn’t complained about that, though. She enjoyed her lessons, and took to them with a relish that made Tony feel sorry for anyone who got in her way these days.
“Come on in, Tony. ‘Hier Ubermonster’ is gone, you can stop hiding now.”
Tony smiled at the sound of her voice. He could tell she was still angry, but at least it wasn’t pointed at him. He should be safe. Besides, he came bearing gifts so he thought she would at least be glad to see her Caf!Pow.
“You okay, Abbs?” He stepped into the lab carefully, just in case she’d thrown something at Gibbs, yet again. His $500 (?) shoes had suffered enough lately, he didn’t want to scuff them up by kicking some piece of lab equipment she’d lobbed at Gibbs. But it looked like the path was clear.
“No. Well, I guess.” She eyed the Caf!Pow in his hands with the eager anticipation of a caffeine addict looking for a fix. “A little caffeine would help. A lot.”
Tony started, remembering what was in his hand. “Oh, yeah, right. Here. Have some caffeine, and tell Uncle Tony what’s wrong.”
“Eww. Tony. That’s a really gross image that just popped in to my brain. It makes me think of some 50 year old fat Italian man who feels up his nieces while no one is looking. Gross. Don’t say that again, okay? Please?”
Tony laughed and shook his head to clear Uncle Tony out of his mind. Abby had a way of sticking disturbing images in his mind, but that was one of the worst he’d had in a while. So he changed the subject, watching as Abby slurped up her soda thirstily.
“So. What’s up?” He crossed over to the counter top she was working on and snagged a stool, his long legs stretched out – propped up on the rungs of Abby’s stool. She turned to face him, reluctantly setting her cup on the counter. “We have got to do something about this over-protective streak, Tony. It’s getting worse instead of better.”
Abby took her thick black framed glasses off, tossing them on the counter. She didn’t need them to see, there was nothing but glass in them, but she was always wearing something unusual, or patently crazy. Tony smiled, that was part of her charm.
“I know. What are you up to, that he wants you to take Kate with you?”
“Oh, Tony. Can you imagine Kate at the Rocky Horror Picture Show? Good lord. She’d be so obviously out of place and so uncomfortable the whole time. It would be a disaster.”
Tony started to laugh. Yeah, he could as a matter of fact picture that, and it made him laugh so hard his eyes started to water. “The only thing that could be worse would be sending McGee.”
Abby shook her head. “Don’t underestimate him, Tony.” She started pacing, and gesticulating wildly as she went, her pony-tails bobbing as she warmed up to her subject. “McGee could deal with it, once he knew what he was getting into.”
She stopped and pointed to Tony, who knew his skeptical face was showing. McGee at Rocky Horror? Just the thought made him wince. But Abby didn’t give him a chance to say it, just went on defending McGee.
“No, you’d be surprised, Tony. It’s not something he’d do on his own, true, but he’s a lot more adventurous than you might think. I wouldn’t take him in blind, we’d have to make sure he knew what he was doing, or he’d feel too unprepared, and he’d absolutely hate it, but if I could give him some tips, maybe watch the dvd at home to get him more familiar with the participation aspects of the show, he might surprise you.
“The problem is I don’t have time to do that before the show tonight. And besides, either he or Kate would have to have their hand held through their first experience, especially going in blind. I just don’t have time to dedicate to a virgin tonight, Tony. I just don’t.” Abby turned away from Tony as he started to speak, and just kept rolling right over his attempt to communicate.
“My best friends from high school are getting together and we’re having a Rocky Horror reunion. I can’t be saddled down with someone who doesn’t understand what’s going on tonight. But if I go without an escort, Gibbs is just gonna just kill me.”
“Abby, I…” Tony tried again, getting nowhere.
“He has no idea what Rocky Horror is all about. He’s never going to understand that I can’t do this. Not tonight. I can’t be saddled with someone who has no idea what is going on-”
Finally, Tony had had enough. He grabbed her glasses of the counter and stepped in front of her, forcing her to stop moving or barrel right into him. She came to a halt, eyes focusing on him for the first time since she’d started her rant. “What?”
He put the glasses on, straightening his tie and looking very uptight as he said in his most earnest voice: “I make a great Brad – Janet.”
Abby’s jaw just dropped, and she blinked at him for a moment. He grinned at her, pleased that for once he’d managed to shock Abby. That never happened.
Finally, Abby squealed, wrapping her arms around his neck and kissing him on the cheek enthusiastically. Tony laughed as he picked her up and twirled her around before setting her down. “Oh, my god, Tony! I had no idea! You’ve been to the show? You know what you’re talking about here? It’s not just a walk in the park; Tony…this is a serious crowd. They know this show backwards and forwards. They can smell a virgin a mile away.”
Tony just grinned at her. “Well, it’s been a few years, so I’m sure some things have changed, but yeah, I know the show.”
“How many times?” She looked at him skeptically, but he just laughed.
“Well, I’m not an expert or anything, I only saw it like 15 - 20 times, but I think that’s enough to be accepted as one of the crowd. I just need to get some more masculine glasses, a change of clothes, glue my hair down with gel. I could pass, Abby, don’t worry.”
Abby hugged him again. “Oh, Tony, you are my hero. I don’t know how to thank you. It’s a Friday night, though…you don’t have a date?”
Tony shrugged. “You lucked out. I was just going to relax tonight and watch the game. I will need to go home first, and set the timer, grab a change of clothes. But it’s a midnight showing, right? I should have plenty of time.”
“I’m meeting my friends early, how about we come by around 8pm with pizza? I can bring my Brad glasses, and we can search your closet for a costume. How’s that? Maybe I could bring my dvd with me and we could warm up…kind of refresh your memory. Do you mind if I bring my friends over? We could meet you there if you’d rather-”
Tony laughed, “I’d love to meet your friends, Abby. Bring ‘em over. Just be sure you bring plenty of pizza. I’m gonna be starved by 8.”
“Right. Right. I can do that. If we can get by earlier, we will. That okay? Oh, Tony. I didn’t even think about you – how did you ever get involved? Nothing personal, Tony, but…sorry. I just don’t see you and your frat bros hanging out at the midnight showing, you know?”
The phone rang, and Abby hopped over to grab it, punching the speaker phone. “It’s your dime, start talking.”
Gibbs voice came through loud and rough, like he was practically growling at her. “Is DiNozzo still there? Tell him to get his ass up here now.”
Tony jumped self-consciously, straightening his shoulders and almost coming to attention at Gibbs’ tone. “I’m almost through here boss. I’ll be up in five. That is…do we have a case? I can finish it later if I need to.”
“No case, DiNozzo. Just get your ass up here and get to work. You’re wasting time. I’m not paying you to waste time. Understand?”
“I’m almost finished, Gibbs…don’t worry, I’ll send him back as soon as I finish explaining these results to him. Okay?”
“Just hurry it up, Abby. No playing around.” The receiver went dead and both of them breathed a sigh of relief. “We need to take care of this, Tony. He’s getting worse every day.”
“I know, Abby. Let’s go over this paper work real quick. Then I can get back upstairs. That will make him happy. Well, you know what I mean. As happy as possible at the moment.”
“Do you think I should come along? We can tell Gibbs about you escorting me tonight.”
“I think he probably needs to calm down a bit before we bring that subject up, Abby. I’ll gage the temperature when I go up, wait for the proper moment. You have to handle Gibbs delicately, you know?”
“I have a sledge hammer, if you need it.” Tony grinned at her, and she sighed. “I used to know how to treat him, to make him see sense. But right now, Tony – he’s just not listening to reason these days.”
“I know, Abby. It’s probably just going to take some time. He’ll come around eventually. Now, where’s that file you were talking about?”
Virgin: Gibbs perspective
DiNozzo has the worst damned timing. Gibbs had just about persuaded Kate to keep tabs on Abby that evening when DiNozzo showed up. Okay, so maybe persuaded was the wrong word. More like he rolled right over her objections, totally ignoring her arguments, and barreled right on through until he got what he wanted. Almost. Another two minutes and she’d have given in.
“You just said you didn’t have plans for the evening, Kate.”
“Gibbs, I really don’t want to be stuck in a theater watching Goth Chicks all night. I can’t take those horror movies. They’ll be watching some zombie movie like Night of the Living Dead, and I won’t be able to protect anyone, because I’ll be in the bathroom puking my guts out.”
Then in walks DiNozzo, and destroys his carefully planned assault. He sauntered in with that “I know what you’re doing and I’m not going to let you get away with it grin on his face, and in the space of about 5 seconds, shot Gibbs’ perfectly planned maneuver down in flames.
“So it’s true then Kate – you’re going to be keeping Abby out of trouble at the Rocky Horror Picture Show tonight? You’re braver than I thought.”
Kate looked at Gibbs, her eyes narrowed as she saw what he’d been planning. “Rocky Horror? You didn’t tell me she was going to the Rocky Horror Picture Show. No way, Gibbs. No way. I won’t do it. Forget it.”
“What’s wrong, Kate? Can’t handle a couple hundred screaming teenagers in drag, throwing rice and toilet paper rolls at each other while they scream obscenities at the screen?” His grin was broad and full of mischief.
Kate looks at DiNozzo, her eyes blazing. “I have an idea, Gibbs. Maybe you should have *Tony* go. I’m sure he’d be glad to spend his Friday night with a bunch of drag queens singing songs about transvestites and aliens and incest. I bet Tony would just love it.”
Gibbs frowned – not sure if he should be more pissed off at DiNozzo or Todd. “I’m not asking DiNozzo to go, Kate, I’m asking you to go. I want someone who’ll be watching Abby’s back, not some girl in a short skirt and fishnet stockings.”
“I am not going, Gibbs. No way. Have you ever been to that show? I have. It was one of the worst experiences of my life, and I am not going to repeat it, not for anyone.”
DiNozzo laughed at her, “Oh, I love it. You set off every single one of their Virgin Alarms, didn’t you? I’ll bet they pegged you as a virgin from the moment you walked into the theater.”
He had a good long laugh at Kate’s expense, but for once when Gibbs smacked him for inappropriate behavior with an angry “DiNozzo!” he didn’t back down.
“That’s what they’re called, boss. The first time you go see the show, you’re a virgin. Every theater does something different, but there’s always some ritual they have to go through their first time to the show.”
“You like it. You’ve been before, haven’t you? I knew it. I always thought there was something funny about you. It would almost be worth going, just to see you in a bustier.”
“Oh, you think you know so much, Kate. It just so happens, RHPS is the perfect place to pick up really wild bisexual girls. I had my first three-way after a Rocky Horror show. Just two hot, sexually-frustrated college girls and me, alone for the weekend. There were always at least two of us in that bed, all weekend long. Well, we did get up to change the sheets a few times, and then there was the scene in the shower – oh, and don’t forget the kitchen table – that was *really* hot, but-”
“That’s just disgusting. How old were you, Tony? 30? Taking advantage of teenagers?”
“Just the opposite, Kate. The only one underage in that apartment was me. Kelly and Meredith were both over 21. That was the weekend I learned just how important oral sex can be when you’re trying to satisfying two women at once.”
“Alright! That’s enough! Can it, both of you.”
Gibbs scowled at both of them, daring them to disobey his order. Kate shot one last heated glare at DiNozzo but he grinned his biggest cat eaten the canary grin at her and turned to his work, making a big production of opening the file he’d brought upstairs with him and arranging the papers in it to his satisfaction before unlocking his computer and starting to type.
Gibbs knew Kate would never agree to escort Abby, now. McGee was wrapping up paperwork today before he headed back to Quantico; maybe Gibbs could talk him into going, although from the way Kate was talking, McGee would probably be just as easy a mark as Kate. He might have to settle for DiNozzo, but he’d put up a fight first. If DiNozzo thought Gibbs didn’t trust him to keep his eye on Abby, maybe he’d make more of an effort – take it as a chance to prove himself.
Gibbs turned back to his computer, but got sidetracked by the database running in constant motion there on his desk, watching for the face of his terrorist, sucked in, unable to stop staring, mesmerized by the constant run of images across the screen.
A Bloodhound on a Scent: Gibbs Perspective
Gibbs sat in the car watching the people on the street, shaking his head at the crazies out tonight. Some of them made Abby seem downright *normal.* He’d seen DiNozzo and his “dates” for the evening enter the theater about 10 minutes ago, so he knew where they were, at least.
DiNozzo looked very nerdy in his checked button down shirt, his hair plastered down with something thick, and heavy black framed glasses, but the 4 girls had been way over the top. Abby had looked hot in her little tap dancing outfit, all sparkles, long legs and bright red hair. The other girls had just looked bizarre to him. One of them had reminded him of the Bride of Frankenstein, although he’d never admit to DiNozzo that he actually ever seen the movie.
He hadn’t really gotten a good look at the other girls, because just then, some pint-sized little twerp who looked way too young to be out at midnight on a Friday night walked by and decided to raise a fuss. Okay, so maybe he was older than most of the kids around, probably old enough to be most of their fathers, but that didn’t make him a “sick old perv getting his twisted kicks by drooling all over the hot teens.” She finally moved on, but by then it was too late to get a good look at the other three.
He’d almost flashed his badge at her, but he changed his mind at the last minute. He wasn’t here on official business, so the less proof of his presence here, the better. He took another sip of coffee, glad he’d filled up his thermos before he’d left home. There was no place around here to get more without going inside the theater.
He grinned as he watched two girls walk past, one tall, shapely girl in another sparkly tap dance outfit and the other shorter but just as shapely, in some sort of sexy maid's uniform. Wow. Maybe he really was an old perv after all. He shook his head, wondering if DiNozzo had been telling the truth about the two horny college girls he'd met when he was only 17.
Just then his phone rang. He reached in his jacket and checked the number. DiNozzo. What the hell? He doubted there was trouble already, but he didn’t want to take any chances. He flipped it open and started talking.
“This had better be good, DiNozzo.”
“I’m very disappointed, boss. You couldn’t trust me enough to let me handle this on my own?”
Gibbs didn’t bother to lie about it. Wasn’t worth the effort.
“Who made me? Was it the pint-sized girl with the red wig and a big mouth?”
Tony laughed, “Boss, you just described a good quarter of the audience tonight. But yeah…she was in line behind us at the snack bar, going on about some gray haired old pervert sitting in his car, drinking coffee and staring at all the girls in short skirts. I knew it had to be you.”
“Very funny, DiNozzo. What if it hadn’t been me? What if it had been that son-of-a-bitch that shot Gerald?”
“Well, for one thing, he doesn’t have gray hair, does he? And if it hadn’t been you I wouldn’t still be on the phone, watching a gaggle of goth girls buy popcorn and giant sized boxes of candy.”
“Abby doesn’t look too goth tonight. Was she wearing high-heeled tap shoes?”
“You noticed. She’ll be glad to hear that. She does make an excellent Columbia, doesn’t she?”
Gibbs was rescued from the potential embarrassment of asking who or what a Columbia was, by Abby’s voice on the other end. “Is that Gibbs? Let me talk to him.”
There was a rustling noise as Abby scrabbled with DiNozzo for the phone. Tony’s voice called out: “Hey, watch it!” and then Abby had the phone.
“Get a life, Gibbs! Go home and work on your boat or something, okay? We’re gonna be fine. Tony is taking good care of us. Promise.”
Gibbs could tell she’d given up the phone, and from the muffled sounds he decided it had landed in DiNozzo’s pocket. There was much rustling and moving things around and then DiNozzo’s voice again.
“Hey you still there, Gibbs?”
“I’m here, DiNozzo. Where did your gaggle go?”
“Bathroom. Before you ask, I tried to follow, but there was a big bruiser of a Matron, making sure you were a female before letting you in. And she looked tough. I’m watching the only entrance, though. Besides, who’d guard all the sodas and stuff if I went in with them?
“So boss, you gonna turn in now that we’re all here and in relatively good shape? I can handle this, Gibbs. It’s alright, honest.”
“It’s not you, DiNozzo. I know she’s safe with you. But I have to do this.”
There was a pause, as if Tony were contemplating Gibbs’ words. “You ever been to Gibson’s Rock and Roll Café? You know what I’m talking about, right? All the waitresses have pony tails, poodle skirts and bobby socks, and the waiters have white t-shirts, straight-legged jeans with rolled up cuffs and their hair slicked back into DA’s? You know the place?”
“Yeah, I know the place, DiNozzo. What about it? You’re not old enough to know what a DA is anyway. You get that phrase off Happy Days?”
“Hey, give a guy some credit, boss. I’ve probably watched “Rebel Without a Cause” more times than you’ve had birthdays. And boss, whether you want to admit it, that’s a lot of times.”
“I know exactly how many times that is, DiNozzo, because I’ve lived through every single one of those days. You have a point here, or are you just trying to distract me?”
“Like I ever could distract you, you’re like a bloodhound on a scent. Just thought I’d let you know – that’s where we’ll be, after the show, I mean. In case you were wondering or something. You could even come join us, if you wanted. They’ve got these huge burgers, half a pound of meat fresh off the grill, and great french fries. My treat. I’d even buy you an ice cream soda.”
“Ice cream soda, huh? You asking me out on a date, or do you need help keeping your gaggle of goth girls in line?”
“Just a friendly invite, boss. So you know you’re welcome. If you wanted to join us.”
“Well I appreciate the sentiment, DiNozzo, but I have a feeling I’ll be in bed by them. Thanks for the offer. Take care of them, DiNozzo.”
“Thanks, boss. I will.”
“You really spend the whole weekend in bed with two college girls?” He couldn’t help it, he just had to ask. He’d had this image running through his head all day now, and it just wouldn’t let him go.
“There are some things I do not lie about and Kelly and Meredith are two of them. I had no stamina at 17, but I had a 10 minute recuperation period. Some part of my body was in one of those two girls pretty much all weekend long. Well, except for the part where they showed me just exactly how a woman pleases another woman. For that, I just took notes. Wish I’d had a video camera, though – that would have come in handy.”
Gibbs heard Abby’s voice in the background. “Tony, are you still talking to Gibbs?” Then Tony was on again, his voice suave and slick – the way he talks to his girl of the week.
“So thanks anyway, Nicole – I’ll take a rain check on that okay, sweetheart? I’ll call you next weekend then. Right. Take care.” The phone disconnected then, and Gibbs laughed. DiNozzo and his reputation. He never stops, does he? He took another sip of his coffee, and settled in to wait. Maybe once the show was underway, he’d go check out that Café. He could use a cheeseburger about now.
That's the end of Chapter One. I'll be back to fill in more info about the story later. Feel free to tell me what you think. I'd like to know.dustandroses