Title: Four penguins and a crime scene
Rating: PG-13, T
Category: Humour, General
Summary: It's Gibbs's third ex-wife's wedding anniversary. Throw in a dead petty officer, a smug McGee, an over-confident DiNozzo and four penguins - trouble ahead? You bet there is. Set post Weekend Duty but stand-alone really.
Disclaimer: NCIS characters belong to Bellisario, CBS and Paramount. No copyright infringement intended.
The truck pulled up to the grass verge and three of the four occupants extricated themselves whilst the fourth began to bark general orders.
“Shoot and sketch, Boss. I’m on it!” Tony yelled over his shoulder as he half jogged, half stumbled down the side of the bank to the scene below.
“Bag and Tag, Boss,” McGee called as he emerged from the back of the truck carrying one NCIS standard issue evidence kit.
“Speak to the local LEOs,” Ziva pre-empted as she jogged over to the uniformed woman standing at the top of the bank.
Great. That left him with nothing practical that he could do. With nothing to occupy his racing mind, he thought about her - ex-wife number three.
It wasn’t as if he could help it, or block it out though. The constant messages and telephone calls from her had put paid to any semblance of getting through the day with his anger in check. McGee had already requisitioned one brand new cell for him.
As if pre-empting his thoughts, the new cell he had strategically hooked on his belt began to vibrate. Gibbs hesitated before he unhooked it and looked at the display.
“Oh for the...”
At the bottom of the bank, Tony surveyed the scene unfolding before him. One pissed off Gibbs. Check. One worried Probie. Check. One mildly amused Mossad Officer. Check. One ex-wife on the end of a cell. Check. One senior field agent stuck between them all, trying hard not to be on the receiving end of the inevitable slap. Check. Oh yeah, he thought. There’s a dead Petty Officer too.
Wondering exactly when and how his priorities had clearly got reversed, he studied the body lying awkwardly on the grass in front of him. Caucasian male, early twenties, maybe one-eighty-five tall, close cropped dark brown hair, dark green eyes showing a hint of opacity, civvies. Too young to die.
Tony rubbed his hands together trying to spread some warmth into them before unpacking the equipment he needed and slipping on his gloves. Quickly and quietly he measured and then sketched the details, squatting down next to the body to inspect the injuries more closely. Two shots to the right temple region; some blood spatter on the civvies but not on the ground around the petty officer. The firearm was loose in his left hand, probably wiped clean or would at least have ‘incredibly well defined’ prints of the victim’s on it. He found himself mentally creating speech marks in the air at that. Jeez, Tony hissed internally. He hated it when people did that.
Continuing with his assessment of the scene he could see definite signs that the body had been dragged from the top of the bank down to the bottom. Raising himself up and pulling the digital camera around to his front he teased the lens cap off and flicked the ‘on’ button. This was no suicide. Not even a regular cop-show watcher would make that mistake. This was not the primary crime scene either. Amateurs.
Tony spotted the silver-haired man looking at him from the top of the bank. Ziva stood next to him obviously having reported in from her brief interview with the local cop.
“You gonna stand around all day, DiNozzo?” Gibbs quipped and started to head down the bank to join them. Ziva shrugged her shoulders sympathetically at him before following.
“Not the primary scene, Boss,” McGee yelled, moderating his voice level as Gibbs strode up and stood next to him. “Shot twice in the right temple but the gun’s in his left hand, Boss... and the body’s been dragged down the bank. Found some small stones and dirt on his clothing that looks like it came from the road.”
“Stones? Could they not have been overspill from all the vehicles on the road?” Ziva asked glancing back up at the road above.
“Not when they’re inside his turn ups.” McGee replied smugly.
“Got it bagged, McGee?”
“Not yet, Boss.” McGee hesitated, “I... I was waiting for Tony to photograph it first.”
Tony masked his annoyance, hastily moved around to where McGee was standing and started to take photographs of the turn ups and the stones embedded within them. Turn ups, he thought, who wears turn ups? Then the jealousy in him rose several notches as he saw Gibbs patting McGee’s back.
“That’s good, McGee,” Gibbs praised. “See what happens when you actually concentrate on work, DiNozzo.”
“Yes, Boss,” he muttered quietly. How long had he worked for Gibbs? How many times had Gibbs patted his back? “Not the primary scene,” he mimicked in a McGee voice as soon as Gibbs was out of earshot.
“Tony, I didn’t mean....”
“Gun’s in his left hand, Boss,” he aped again, the teasing escalating.
“Ah, forget it”, McGee waved his hands. “You’re on your own; each man for himself.”
“What... can’t hack it, Probie?”
“Sounds more like you’re the one who can’t hack it, Tony.”
“Probie, this is the fifth time I’ve lived through Gibbs’s third ex-wife’s anniversary,” Tony calmly stated whilst fiddling with the zoom on the camera. “I know how to handle Gibbs.”
“Yeah right.” McGee didn’t seem convinced.
Tony spun around to face McGee. “As the ‘senior’ field agent, I was going to offer you some advice. It’s what a ‘senior’ field agent does... helps ‘junior’ agents,” he clipped, fixing McGee with a DiNozzo glare before continuing. “But you obviously don’t need any advice. You obviously understand the calm before the storm. You obviously know about short fuses and long fuses. Well...” Tony shook his head, turning away from McGee to concentrate hard on the camera, “by all means McKnowitall, you go ahead, take the long fuse. I’ll take the short fuse any day. And when Gibbs’s long fuse finally blows at... ooh... let me think...” He made a point of looking up towards the blue sky, “about twenty hundred hours tonight... I’ll be standing well clear of ‘that’ blast radius. You can ‘have’ that one all to yourself,” Tony snorted as he turned to face McGee. “What the f...”
Tony stared at the damn-near 6ft black and white creature that stood before him.
“Whathef...” Tony repeated. “Ziva, you see this?”
The 6ft Penguin opened and closed its beak, shook its head and walked off clutching several evidence bags in its left flipper.
“See what Kowalski?” a second black and white penguin asked in a sultry tone.
Tony almost jumped at the sight. Two penguins. What the hell was happening? Where was McGee? Ziva?
“Private, get that evidence back in the truck. Rico - go wait for the Mallard. I need a minute alone with Kowalski.”
“Yes, Skipper,” came the dual reply from the two oversized penguins.
Tony stared in disbelief as Private and Rico shuffled off up the bank towards the NCIS truck. How the hell would penguins be able to drive a truck?
“Kowalski!” the third, oddly familiar but unfortunately livid, penguin bellowed.
Kowalski? As he braved a glance down, he took in his own appearance. A long black body encircled a large patch of white at his front. The two webbed feet felt strangely comfortable when he spied the two large flippers that had replaced his arms. He was in the middle of contemplating how he would ever be able to change the clip on his Sig with flippers instead of hands when he spotted the now furious king penguin heading his way. If looks could halt an iceberg. King penguin or Skipper’s beak was opening and closing irately but no sound emanated from between the pointed upper and lower triangles. Two eyes narrowed dangerously to slits and then it came... the flipper; hurtling towards him... a long, black, wide, forceful flipper...
The smack was loud enough to stop the other penguins dead in their shuffles halfway up the bank and Tony, or Kowalski, or whoever the hell he was found himself face down in the cool grass.
Slightly dazed and more than a little confused he lifted his forehead, instinctively reaching for the back of his head to squeeze away the stinging sensation. As his eyes began to focus he found himself staring down at a list of vehicle registration plates, names and telephone numbers. To his abject horror, Tony realised he’d been slumped over his desk, blissfully unaware of his surroundings and obvious fate should one Leroy Jethro Gibbs catch him in the land of nod when he ought to be working.
Slowly raising his head off the papers, he spied a pair of legs in front of his desk. Following them slowly upwards, he took in the hands. The left one was gripping a Styrofoam coffee cup so tightly he could see the knuckles whitening and the lid of the cup began to bulge as if ready to burst off. Tony pushed his body slowly away from the desk as he continued to follow the lines of the Styrofoam cup, the strong arms and brick built torso up to the face and eyes of the man who stood before him. Blue, anger laden eyes stared back at him. The tongue briefly licked at the corner of the mouth and the rigid jaw line tensed further.
He felt himself shrink; he couldn’t help it - and as he tried to stop crawling into himself, offered the only four words that he could find.
“Won’t happen again, Boss.”