Comings and Goings

~~~

It didn't start when Gibbs walked in and picked up the remote, clicking on the big screen between Tony's and McGee's desks. Gibbs didn't look back at the screen, instead taking in his team with a sweeping, stern glare as though they were halfway into the case and falling behind where Gibbs expected them to be.

"We have a dead Marine," Gibbs said, words explaining his demeanor in an instant. Tony was already standing, moving around to better see the face of a young man, barely into his service from the look of the child still in his eyes.

Private Matthew Coldson had been decapitated, all four limbs severed.

It didn't start when Gibbs said, "The murderers were interrupted while apparently trying to dispose of the body, scared off by a patrol of MPs. They got away, but base security managed to capture exactly one clean photo. McGee, you'll be working with Abby on the rest of the film, see if we can get some ID on the others. For right now, though, this is our only lead."

Gibbs clicked the remote and the photo changed.

"This is one of our murderers. Tony and Ziva, I want you to find out who and where this guy is. And I want it done now."

It started when Tony looked at the photo, and knew the man running from the body of a mutilated Marine.

~~~

Summer, the perfect time for a vacation. England, the perfect spot. Tony had learned the hard way to take vacation out of the country. Out of state was never enough to escape Gibbs; Tony had even tried the Bahamas once and been called out to help investigate a murder in south Florida. He'd taken some advice from Ducky, and booked his next vacation across the Atlantic.

If Gibbs wanted to chase him down here, Tony figured he deserved whatever he got. But until he got that call and found himself flying out to Greenland or down to Mozambique, he intended to enjoy every second of his vacation, far from home and Gibbs' cell phone.

Tony had taken a couple of days to see the sights, obligatory photos and postcards and train rides out to the picturesque countryside. Then he'd dispensed with the polite facade and turned his attention to the clubs and bars, dancing and drinking and enjoying himself to the fullest.

He'd found one spot near his hotel, a dance club with a slightly older crowd than the 20-something university students that inhabited every other club he'd found. Tony enjoyed the harsh beat of the music, not exactly sure what the style was called but the thumping of the music was easy to dance to and the constant parade of pretty faces eager to dance was all he could ask for.

The best part was how easy it was to go from partner to partner -- dancing with a pretty woman then spinning around and dancing with a handsome guy. Easy grins and wandering hands on both sides, with music loud enough to cover any attempt to have a conversation of words.

He'd just finished a dance with a redheaded woman -- thinking of Gibbs and his mysteries, despite himself. Then the music changed and Tony had felt a hand on his arm and he'd tensed for just a second. Then he turned and a charming smile and intense blue eyes met his, and Tony smiled. The man moved close as they began to dance, hips fitting against each other easily, hands finding places to touch, hold on, and pull closer.

Wordless invitations were given and accepted; Tony slipped a knee between the man's legs as they danced closer and the unmistakable heat touching the top of his thigh made him think that now would be a perfect time to leave, to take this man back to his hotel and spend the rest of the night fucking like madmen.

Music pounding in his ears, Tony mouthed his name. The man smiled, mouthed back the name 'Jack.' Then he stepped backwards and Tony followed. Out of the club and into cold night air, which did nothing for the heat Tony could still feel -- feel again as Jack pressed him up against the wall and kissed him.

~~~

It started when Tony found himself opening his mouth and saying, "I still have his phone number."

He realised it was probably not what he would have wanted to say, but it was too late. Gibbs and the others staring at him with varying degrees of dumbfoundedness; Gibbs' expression turned quickly into impatience.

"What the hell are you talking about, DiNozzo?"

Tony swallowed, and of course there was no way to not explain, not just because Gibbs would have his intestines ripped out and wrapped around his neck if he tried putting off solving the murder of a Marine. But there was a dead kid and a security camera tape of Jack walking away from the scene.

"I still have his phone number," Tony said again, sounding calmer than he felt. Really, he had no idea if Gibbs had ever twigged that Tony played for both sides -- but that revelation paled against the thought that he'd slept with a murderer.

He'd seemed so nice, Tony thought, but choked back from saying out loud. Or maybe he'd just been so thoroughly distracted that Tony hadn't noticed anything else.

Gibbs was still staring at him, eyebrow raised, and Tony could tell that Gibbs was still half a second away from doing the intestines-pulled-out trick if he didn't keep talking.

"I met him in England last year," Tony said. "His name is Jack -- no last name." He shrugged apologetically. "He gave me his cell phone number my last day -- he's an American, by the way. Don't know what he was doing in England."

"What else do you know?" Gibbs' voice was restrained.

Tony shrugged. "Nothing else... not useful to the case." When Gibbs' glare turned really scary, Tony hastily added, "I can tell you what he likes for breakfast, but I don't know...." Tony trailed off, then said, "I know one other thing."

"What?" Gibbs barked.

"He's here."

Gibbs turned and looked -- Tony was staring at the man who'd just stepped off the elevator. Wearing a long military coat -- an old one, and Tony wondered idly if it was a family heirloom or an affectation. There was a woman with him -- a cop, his instincts told him.

Jack walked up and looked at the screen. "Not my best side," he said, shaking his head. Then he grinned, the same easy, charming grin Tony remembered. Jack held out his hand to Gibbs. "Captain Jack Harkness. This is Gwen Cooper."

"You murdered a Marine," Gibbs said. He ignored the hand, and after a second Jack dropped it.

"Actually, no, we--" He stopped and gave Tony another look. The grin again, and Tony had to remind himself -- this man killed a Marine. He fought back the answering smile with only a little trouble.

But Jack was still smiling at him, and his tone changed as he said, "I really didn't expect to find you again -- small world, isn't it?" He winked, but if there was a joke, Tony didn't catch it.

"We have you on the security camera," Tony said, gesturing at the screen. "We saw what you did to Private Coldson. Killed him, and chopped him up." Tony felt his stomach clench -- anger, disgust at himself for even liking this man.

It wasn't the first time he'd been friends with a murderer, and Tony found he didn't want to think about what that might mean about him.

But Jack was shaking his head. "Actually, we just chopped him up. Looking for the controller. He killed himself -- accidentally of course -- then called us for help reinstalling the parts he'd missed. Toshiko and Owen are helping him with that right now."

Tony blinked; he glanced over at Gibbs and saw that naturally the other man wasn't buying it, and even less surprisingly, he wasn't amused at the casual tone Jack had taken. Gibbs took a half-step forward, and Tony was surprised when Jack raised a hand and spoke more seriously.

"As soon as he's back together you can see him. Really, he isn't dead. Why don't I call--" Jack's hand went to his pocket and Gibbs, Tony, and Ziva all jumped forward. Jack froze and eyed them all. "Impressive. But it's just a cell phone." He held out his coat and Tony reached in, grabbing the phone from Jack's pocket.

He ignored the wink Jack gave him.

Tony held the phone to Gibbs, who simply nodded it back to Jack. Jack took it, bending his head graciously to Tony. They watched as he hit speed dial, listening carefully as Jack spoke with someone about introducing them to the not-so-dead Marine.

~~~

It turned out the Marine was already back together, so Jack had ordered his team to bring him in to talk to Gibbs. Gibbs had spent exactly five minutes demanding Jack tell them the truth, before conceding that Jack couldn't prove what he was saying until the rest of his team arrived. He contented himself to throwing Jack and Gwen into interrogation rooms and harassing the police who'd been called out to tail the others to NCIS.

When they arrived, even Gibbs had to admit that Private Coldson looked pretty alive. Their story didn't change -- it made less sense coming from the mouth of the dismembered but not dead Marine. Tony stopped trying to listen halfway through, figuring that he would wait until Gibbs told him what to do, then he'd do it.

They'd ended up in Abby's lab, watching as Abby and McGee cracked open the controller that they'd watched Coldson pull out of his mouth. Jack had tried to explain the controller, but no one but Toshiko and Coldson had seemed to understand a word of it.

In the end, Gibbs had no idea what the hell had happened, and had no idea what he was going to tell the Director or anyone else. Jack said something about being perfectly capable of handling getting Coldson back on base with only a 24 hour AWOL charge against him. All they needed was to hand over the extra body parts and security tape, and Coldson's return to his duty station, clearly not dead, would allow them to close the case.

Gibbs just grabbed Coldson and took him to see Ducky, one more time. Owen and Gwen went with him while Toshiko sat down beside McGee, watching him work on the controller.

Which left Tony, Jack, and Abby.

Abby sat on a stool, pushed back away from the computer. She'd eyed Toshiko for a moment before looking at Jack -- who smiled, full-force.

Abby narrowed her eyes. "I don't know if I like you, yet."

"Tony can vouch for me," Jack said, leaning down. "I'm very...nice."

"And you might or might not be a murderer," Abby countered. She folded her arms and kept glaring.

Jack cleared his throat. "You mean the guy who just walked out of your lab?"

"Yes. That guy." Abby held her glare, and after a moment Jack laughed in delight.

"I'd like to buy you dinner." He glanced up at Tony, and his smile seemed to soften. "Both of you, really."

"Together or separately?" Abby asked, still glaring and arms still folded.

"I'm up for either," Jack said, waggling his eyebrows as his voice dropped.

Tony remembered that voice, the way it crawled up his spine and wrung him out. Hot and sweaty on hotel sheets, clawing his way towards some of the best, most exhausting orgasms he could remember.

He stood behind Abby, not only to hide what the memory was doing to him. Murderer, he tried to tell himself, but it was hard to keep thinking that when the corpse had been standing up and talking to them just a few minutes ago.

Abby seemed to be considering the invitation, and Tony couldn't honestly decide if he had an opinion. Difficult to talk, he knew, when his throat was dry and all his blood had rushed south. Abby tilted her head, looked at Jack then back at Tony. Then she stood up, and ticked off one finger at a time.

"If it turns out you're not a murderer, I want you both in tuxedos. There's a French restaurant, Tony knows it. Very expensive. I expect to be escorted, complimented frequently, and this time, we are not getting thrown out." She gave Tony a look, but really, it hadn't been his fault they'd run into an ex-girlfriend of his, or that her now-husband had taken offense to Tony's offer to kiss and make-up.

Tony sighed. "I'll make reservations?"

Abby smiled, then looked over at Jack. Her eyes narrowed.

Jack's eyebrows went up. "Yes, Mistress?" he said, and Abby's smile grew even wider.

"I love it when boys are so well-behaved." She slipped her arm in Tony's, then reached over and took Jack's as well. "Until, of course, we get back to my place. Then it's bad boys all the way."

the end