Author: Ami Ven
Prompt: Thing-a-Thon VI: "In the car. Now."
Word Count: 658
Summary: Just by the look on Gibbs's face, Tony and McGee know they're in trouble.
Boys Will Be Boys
“In the car. Now.”
Seeing the scowl on their boss’s face as he walked toward them from beside the Metro Police car, Tony and McGee slid silently into the backseat of the government-issue sedan, both wearing expressions that suggested they knew they were in serious trouble.
Gibbs got in and started the engine, barely glancing around before jack-knifing out of the parking lot and out onto the road. Tony opened his mouth as though to say something, but Gibbs’s scowl deepened, and he stayed quiet, joining McGee in staring at his own feet.
Their boss used the silence to look at his agents’ reflections in his rearview mirror. Both were rumpled and dirty, sitting as stiffly as they could in the moving car. McGee had a split lip, and the sleeve of his jacket was torn. Tony’s left eye was blooming into a spectacular bruise; when he put one hand gingerly to it, Gibbs could also see that his knuckles were bloody.
The worry Gibbs had felt over the last half hour for his agents’ safety emerged as anger, “What the hell were you thinking?”
Guilty silence answered.
“Because the last thing I needed today,” Gibbs continued, “was a call from D.C. Metro telling me that two of my agents— supposedly trained and experienced federal agents— had gotten into a fistfight with a couple of cops.”
“It was seven cops, boss, and we—” Tony shut up quickly at the look on his boss’s face.
Although he continued to scowl, Gibbs couldn’t help but be a little impressed. Two against seven, and his boys only had bruises? But he certainly was not about to encourage them.
“Who threw the first punch?” Gibbs demanded.
Again, there was silence. Then, a soft voice said, “I did, boss.”
Gibbs’s head shot up to look at them in the mirror. “McGee?” he said. Not that he didn’t think his youngest agent could handle himself in a fight— he’d proved he could, countless times. But, he would not have expected the even-keeled McGee to start a fight.
“It was that case we worked with them, a couple weeks ago,” said Tony. “The Owens case, remember, boss?”
“Yeah, I remember.” The murder of a Navy ensign had crossed over into Metro jurisdiction, and they had been forced into a joint investigation. The idiot cops had bungled just about every step, only to turn around and blame NCIS. “What of it, DiNozzo?”
“The trial is next week. But the D.A. only wants Probie and me to testify.” Tony shrugged, mostly managing to cover a wince. “One thing led to another, and…”
“Oh, yeah?” Gibbs asked mildly. “And which ‘one thing’ made you punch a cop, McGee?”
The younger man swallowed. “Um… well,” he began, hesitating rather than stuttering as he used to, “there were some… words, from the officers…um, about…well…”
“They tried to pin all the bad evidence on me, boss,” said Tony in a rush. “One of the cops said I became an agent because I couldn’t hack it as a detective anymore. That I couldn’t have even made the FBI, I had to work for an agency nobody’s ever heard of.”
“So I hit him, boss,” said McGee, a little defiantly. “And I’d do it again, too.”
Gibbs hung onto his furious demeanor with difficulty. If someone had told him when McGee first joined their team, that the computer geek would end up sticking up for DiNozzo, he’d have called that person crazy.
“That’s good work, McGee,” he said, allowing a small smile to form.
“Really?” The younger man’s expression was somewhere between pleased and confused.
“Does that mean we’re not in trouble?” Tony added.
“No,” said Gibbs, with a smile. “No, you’re definitely in trouble.”
In the mirror, he saw McGee shoot Tony a look, and the senior agent patted his partner’s shoulder, giving him a grateful smile.
Seven cops, thought Gibbs, eyes back on the road. Maybe not that much trouble.