Talented hands 2: The Exchange
by: BuffyAngel68 (Send Feedback)
Series: - No Series - #2
Chapters: 003 Word Count: 3826
Warning(s): Disturbing Imagery or Content
Character(s): Tony DiNozzo, Abby Sciuto, Ziva David, Ensemble, Other Male Character
Category(ies): Action/Adventure, Alternate Universe, Angst/Drama, Crossover, First Time, Humor, Romance
Crossover Shows: CSI
Summary: Six months are alomst over and Tony is anxiously awaiting his flight back to Vegas and the man he loves, but he's not the only one who's got an
adventure in his future...
1Talented Hands 2: The Exchange 1/?
AN: Just a shorty to start, but ya'll know me better than to think anything that follows will stay that way... lol.
SIX MONTHS LATER: T MINUS FOUR DAYS UNTIL THE RETURN: LUNCHTIME
Seated half on and half off Tony's desk, Abby swung one foot and laughed softly at the joke her colleague had just made. Uncharacteristically, she'd allowed Tony to maintain his silence about exactly what happened on his long-ago weekend in Las Vegas, sensing that whatever he'd gone through, it wasn't something he would accept being teased about. If she pushed him, he would have shut down and stopped talking to her all together. In the past few days, however, he'd been growing increasingly distracted, nervous and excited and she'd finally decided it was time to change her policy, before he left for half a year and all her chances at getting the truth out of him flew away with his plane to Nevada.
Letting her gaze roam over his desk, which was considerably more messy than usual, a gleaming corner of metal caught her eye and she pounced, digging it out from under a pile of file folders. Focused on his computer screen, Tony didn't realize how much trouble he was in until Abby spoke up and by then it was far too late.
"When did you get an MP3 player?"
"Huh? Is that what it is? I had no idea..." Tony lied smoothly. "It probably doesn't even work."
He reached out with a smile and false casualness, but the younger woman easily evaded his grasp.
"Yeah it does... boy, whoever owns this is up to his neck in love with somebody. Wow... nice song selection, too. Mix of country, pop, soft rock... and not your usual choices..."
After scanning through the song list for another few seconds, Abby turned and stared at Tony, a barely-there smile gracing her lips. He waited for her to speak, but soon realized she wasn't about to. Finally, he sighed, surrendered and rose to his feet, followed swiftly by Abby.
"The real one or Gibbs' ?"
"Gibbs'." Tony decided after a brief hesitation.
Once in the elevator with the emergency stop button engaged, Tony dropped down to sit on the floor and Abby joined him, once again fiddling with the player.
"It's mine, okay? A gift... and yes, I know how it works."
" 'Right Here Waiting', 'Get Here If You Can', 'It's Now Or Never'... your picks?"
"Boy, she really knows how to say "I miss you", huh?"
Tony stared at his hands then turned a tense smile on Abby and employed her 'I'm *not* going to say it out loud, damn it, but I know you get it anyway' technique to perfection. Eventually, her eyes widened. "Oh... so you... so it's not... wowww."
A moment later she grinned ear to ear and popped him in the shoulder with a loose, easy fist.
"Details, DiNozzo! Let's go, give it up!" she demanded joyfully.
Her smile drew a resigned, wistful echo out of Tony as he leaned back against the wall and half closed his eyes.
"His name's Warrick Brown. He's a CSI with Vegas PD. God, he's so beautiful... and such an amazing human being in general."
"Beautiful is way too vague." Abby insisted. "I want descriptions."
"You would... okay, okay. He's tall... maybe got an inch or two on me. He has this perfectly trimmed beard... really light though, not thick and heavy. And his eyes... you just wouldn't believe."
"Oh, yeah. Eyes are really important." Abby responded seriously.
"His... they're this color I swear I've never seen before. Sometimes it's more green, sometimes it's closer to gold. Hazel just isn't the right word... it isn't enough. Oh, and his smile... when he wants it to, his smile is so sweet it could convince Osama to become a practicing Catholic. I could tell though... he could use it as *such* a freaking powerful weapon if the need was there. He never did it in front of me, but one look and you just know... you know?"
Abby laughed and dropped her head down onto Tony's shoulder.
"Like I said, up to your neck in love." She murmured, slipping the MP3 back into his hands.
"I am. You wouldn't think I'd be so sure. I mean... I've never been there before. Up to my ankles, maybe... I love the way his mind works. Instead of just e-mailing me about what song made him think of me that particular day... he sends me the artist, album title and track number and I have to go look it up to find the individual tune."
Abby sighed, the sound half regret and half joy.
"How did you ever manage to wait six whole months?"
"Keeping in touch with him two or three times a week... plus, I had no choice. Gibbs tried, but he just couldn't get Madame to back down."
"She can be such a putz sometimes."
Tony laughed brightly and stretched his head back, tears of sheer happiness pricking at his eyes.
"Not sure if that's quite the right word, Abs... but I'm with you on the sentiment."
"Damn..." she exclaimed suddenly, picking her head up and checking the time. "... we need to get the elevator going again."
"I guess so. I told you how much I'm going to miss you, right?" he asked as he stood and punched the button once more.
"Every other day. I think I'm the only one you've told, though." She mildly reprimanded as he rose to stand by him, grasping his hand tightly.
"Nobody else is gonna much care, Abs, you know that."
She frowned and punched him again.
"Oww! Will you quit that?"
"I was wrong, *you're* the putz! How can you think Timmy and Gibbs and the rest don't care about you?! Not to mention the hundred other people in this building you've touched and helped and-and just made laugh and feel better..."
"Okay, okay. I'll make sure our team all get special goodbye messages." He said, hugging her briefly. "Just promise me no parties, alright?"
"Nothing? At all?" she countered, pouting slightly.
"I've got too much to think about and get done these next few days. I just don't have the time."
"Abby. I know you too well. Promise me. Right now, young lady..."
"I swear, no huge party. On my honor."
As the doors slid opened on their floor again, he snuck a peek behind her back to make sure no fingers were being crossed. Satisfied, Tony drew her out and back to his desk, where he'd hidden a picture of Warrick the other man had snail-mailed to him. "Ooooh. You didn't do him justice!" she enthused. "He really is gorgeous... and you were right about the smile!"
"Wish you could see it in person..."
Hearing the others approaching, Tony shooed her out of the bullpen and replaced the picture just in time.
"Get it in gear, DiNozzo. Got a case." Gibbs announced moments after he appeared. Tony gratefully stowed the player in a desk drawer, locked it, gathered his things and followed his boss and the other two back toward the elevator.
2Talented Hands 2: 2/?
In my universe, Greg is still in the lab, okay? Just roll with it, please...
LAS VEGAS: THE FOLLOWING MORNING: T MINUS THREE DAYS
"So? Who is it?" Catherine asked Gil Grissom, her voice filled with long suppressed curiosity. "You've been driving me nuts with this and time's running out. I know you've made the decision."
"And? Don't torture me like this, Gil. I'm the mother of a teenager, I don't deal with suspense well..."
Grissom sighed and gave her a light smile.
"Who else? I picked the one who'd benefit most from the experience... the one who has the most to learn and who'd get the most out of going."
Catherine beamed at her supervisor and laughed.
"I knew it! He'll be ecstatic when he hears. I'm gonna go grab him before he leaves for home."
"Bring him to my office."
Catherine's smile faded.
"I don't get to tell him?"
"That's my job. You and the others get to take him out to celebrate."
"I can deal with that as a trade off. Be right back."
Catherine did a rapid search and finally caught her quarry coming out of the locker room. "Greg! Hey, hold up a minute!"
"Catherine? What is it?"
"Grissom needs to see you in his office."
"He does? What for? I didn't mess anything up, I got all his results to him on time tonight..."
"You're doing fine, kiddo. He just wants to talk to you about something. C'mon, I'll walk you down there."
"Yeah? Okay... you're sure I didn't piss him off an' I just don't know how yet? You'd tell me right?"
"Believe me, if there was a problem, you'd know. Just relax and talk to me. Tell me about that weird case tonight..."
For the few minutes it took to make their way back to Gil's office, Catherine managed to keep Greg distracted, but when they arrived at their destination he was suddenly nervous again. "You have to trust me, Greg, this is a good thing. Go on in... and when you're done meet me in the lot out front, okay?"
"If you say so."
Grinning, the blonde nudged him in the back to get him moving then ran off to gather the rest of their crew before they could scatter.
"Greg, Come in. Have a seat."
"Ummm... thanks. Cath said you, ummm... wanted to see me?"
"Yes. A unique opportunity has come up... and I'm offering it to you."
"Opportunity? To do what?" Greg asked, intrigue overtaking anxiety now that he genuinely didn't seem to be in trouble.
"When the law enforcement convention was held here a few months ago, I got to know a promising young federal agent working with NCIS back east. I was so impressed, I arranged for him to come back and work with me... with all of us for a period of time. Unfortunately, his own job made it necessary that he wait before he could fly back out."
"And now he's on his way? Cool... so what's this opportunity?"
"For you to go out to Virginia and take his place while he's here in Vegas."
"Me? Why me? Not that I'm not grateful, I just... don't really understand."
"I went back through everyone's files, looked at their perfomance evals and personal lives. I decided you were the ideal candidate. You've become one of the best DNA techs in the state, Greg, but I can't see you staying in the lab forever. You have a great mind and enormous potential. This would be the perfect chance for you to learn what it's like to work in the field... to see if it's a change you'd like to make."
"Six months. You'd be working under an amazing supervisor, at least that's what Tony's been telling me in his e-mails. His boss, Agent Gibbs, is a taskmaster, but I know that won't be a problem for you."
"Tony... that's the guy I'd be switching with?"
"And he's really good?" Greg asked, his worry flooding back
"He's bright and willing to learn. His skills as an investigator are an unknown at the moment..."
"Investigator. So he's not a lab tech?" he replied, relief clear in his face and voice.
"No. Your position here is safe, Greg, I promise. If you come back and decide the field is really where you belong, of course..."
"I understand. God... the answer is definitely yes. I'd be an idiot to say no to such a great opening. Thanks so much, Grissom..." Greg said, standing and reaching out to shake his boss' hand.
"You're welcome. I know you'll make yourself and everyone here very proud. I'll make the flight arrangements and the lab will pay for the ticket. You've got the next three days off to plan and pack."
"Three days... oh man, I better hustle!"
Greg turned and ran full tilt out of the office, through the lab and out the front doors, only remembering Catherine's parting request when he skidded to a halt in the parking lot to find all his friends gathered there. Nick grinned from ear to ear and slapped his young friend on the back.
"Congratulations, bud. Cath told us all about it. Wait... you did say yes, right?"
"Like I'd say anything else?"
"I told you, Arch. Pay up, my man."
The lab AV tech grimaced momentarily and handed over a five dollar bill. Nick folded it and slipped it into the breast pocket of his dress shirt.
"He bet you that I wouldn't go? I can't believe that." Greg responded with mild indignation.
"Hey, he wasn't the only one thinkin' that way, kid." Warrick confirmed. "You're family. It's hard to get your head around family leavin', ya know, even if it's only for a while. You ready to go get some breakfast an' do some *serious* party plannin'?"
"You guys don't have to do that..."
"What did he just say about family?" Nick countered. "You ain't gettin' on that plane unless we've had a chance to say goodbye, Greggo."
"Okay... breakfast it is. I'm starving!"
"When are you not?" Catherine asked, laughing as the group piled into their separate vehicles.
Inside the lab, Grissom gradually shook himself out of the contemplative state he'd slid into following Greg's swift departure. Lifting the phone receiver, he consulted a slip of paper and dialed a number Tony had provided him some weeks back.
"Yes, hello. This is Dr. Gil Grissom. I work at the Las Vegas, Nevada crime lab. Could I speak to Special Agent Jethro Gibbs? Of course I can wait..."
3T H 2: The Exchange 3/?
VIRGINIA, THAT SAME EVENING:
Laying flat on his back, hands behind his head, Tony stared up at the object sitting on his friend's already crowded lab table and grinned, remembering how excited Abby had been to get the gift when he'd first returned from Vegas. He considered admonishing her for neglecting her work when she ran over and lay down beside him, but since she brought the present with her, he couldn't be too annoyed.
"You are just the coolest. I kept telling myself I was gonna buy one, but then I couldn't justify it. I mean, Gibbs gets ticked off 'cause I keep *one* in the lab. I was sure he'd never put up with *two*..."
"He'd never deny you anything that makes you happy, you know that. At least anything that won't blow up or jump out at him when he comes into the lab. Besides, they're totally different. Not the same thing at all. The one in your office is a hippo. This is a dog who came with a story-book. No story-book with the hippo."
"It was still massively sweet of you."
"No big deal. I knew you'd flip over it. Makes my day to see you smile, you know that." He reasoned. Abby grinned from ear to ear, leaned in and dropped a brief kiss on Tony's nose.
"Yeah, but then you went and found all the other books, too. I thank you and Walter the Farting Dog thanks you." she replied, gently bussing his nose a second time with the stuffed toy. Tony laughed softly and chucked her under the chin.
"Remind me again why we're still here?"
"I'm waiting for results from the mass-spec. You're missing your honey and don't feel like being alone at home."
He looked at her for a long moment, eyes slightly narrowed, before responding.
"And how do you know that when I didn't?"
Abby simply shrugged, pulled one of his hands down and gripped it tightly.
"Like it's not right there in your eyes?"
"I'm trying not to let it be. The last thing I want is for anybody to see how much I'm champing at the bit to get back to Warrick and Dr. Grissom... and think I hate it here or I just don't care about NCIS anymore. I did a lot of job-hopping before, I admit, but I'm not like that anymore. It's just..."
"It's just you're so in love you've lost your mind and it's kinda hard to focus when that happens." Abby stated matter-of-factly.
"Right." Tony confirmed, chuckling and returning the peck on the nose she'd given him earlier. When the machine she was waiting for chimed its ready signal a moment later, she sat up, looked at him soulfully and laid Walter on his chest.
"Stay there, okay? I have to get this and drop it on Gibbs' desk then we're going out to dinner."
Tony sighed and hugged the dog to his chest, making it produce its trademark whoopee-cushion noise. As always, the sound pulled a laugh from him, even if he didn't think there was any reason to. When Abby returned, he rose to his feet and followed her out, leaving Walter behind on the lab table.
45 MINUTES LATER:
"C'mon Tony. More details. I've heard about this guy and read his articles, but dry scientific stuff doesn't tell you anything about who he is."
"Like I know? I spent probably a total of two hours with the man. Between the conference and falling for Warrick there wasn't time for much else." He reminded her, adding in a mumble, "Not that I would've talked to him on my own, even if I had the chance..."
"Why not, she says... the man's a legend, Abby, that's why not! He intimidated the hell out of me! He didn't mean it... he wasn't trying to put me off, I know that. It's... he's brilliant and insightful and gifted..."
"Duh. He picked you to come work with him."
This unexpected compliment stopped Tony cold, his jaw hanging open, but only for a moment. He recovered his usual cynicism and lack of self-confidence in record time.
"Ha-ha. Do you realize he has some of the best investigators in the country on his team? Their records and their solve rates... how the hell am I supposed to compete with that?"
Abby reached out, touched Tony's hand and spoke to him gently.
"You aren't. If you try, you'll be back here in a week and you'll never get over it. He liked the real Tony... open, bright, curious, intuitive, observant, mind-like-a-steel-trap Tony. The guy who *I* look up to you the way you do Grissom. That's who he's waiting to see. Just show him that and you'll be fine."
Tony's eyes widened in shock.
"Of course I do, silly. Now, more about Warrick." She demanded sweetly, sipping on her drink and favoring him with a gleeful, probing expression that clearly said this time the details had better be a little more racy.
"Like what? I told you everything."
"All the boring, important stuff, yeah. I wanna hear about the first time you met, your first kiss, how his butt looks in tight jeans..."
"Dish it, buddy boy! I want it all, right up to the shape of his..."
"Eyebrows. I was gonna say eyebrows."
"Sure you were..."
VEGAS: START OF GRAVEYARD SHIFT
Toying with his shoe laces, Greg shot another swift glance at the door to the locker room and pondered how much longer he could delay before an angry Catherine or disgruntled Sara came looking for him. He had already punched in so there was no real danger of being late, but he knew he might already have carry-over evidence from the prior shift waiting in his lab. Grimacing, he decided to give it five more minutes. Just as his self-imposed time-limit was about to expire, the person he was waiting for finally strolled nonchalantly into the room.
"There you are! I've been waiting on you, Warrick."
"I had some last minute stuff to take care of before shift. What's up?"
"I wanted to talk to you, but I gotta get to the lab..."
"Gimme a minute to change an' I'll walk down there with you. When I get a case they can page me."
A few minutes later, the pair were drinking coffee in Greg's lab as the tech satisfied himself that everything was in place and ready for the night.
"So? What is it?" Warrick prompted, knowing he could be called away any moment.
"I need to know about this place I'm headed. This... Tony must've told you something about it, right?"
"Yeah. He told me a lot. Not sure much of it's gonna help you out or make you any less nervous, though."
"Crap. What? The boss? The people?"
"The people you'll get on with fine. Their lab tech especially."
"Tech? Just one?"
"Just one. She does pretty much all the testing. They have a coroner an' all, but as far as DNA, trace, prints, A/V... she's it. Pretty brilliant girl, accordin' to Tony."
"Okay, we have that in common. But that doesn't necessarily mean we'll gel."
Warrick smirked and sipped from his cup before replying.
"She's also a Goth, Greggo. Heavily into thrash metal and caffeine."
Greg smiled broadly.
"I feel much better."
"Hold tight to that."
Greg's smile vanished.
"... makes Gris look mellow. I know you can handle it though."
"You're a good kid and a great DNA tech, Greg. Just show him that. He can't argue with results."
"But Grissom said I'd be working in the field too. Out there... I'm not a great anything."
"You forget how to learn? How to listen and take direction?"
"Of course not..."
"Then you'll be fabulous. We believe in you an' Gris believes in you. You wouldn't be goin' if he didn't."
"I know. I just... I wanna live up to that faith."
"You will. No question in my mind."
"What about everybody else? The other people on the team?"
"Let's see... there's Tim McGee, their resident computer geek. He loves online gaming, so you'll be best buds right off the bat. The only other person on the team is a woman... name of Ziva David. T says she can be harsh an' wicked intense, but as long as you don't intentionally piss her off, you'll be good to go. He didn't say much about the ME..."
Warrick broke off when his pager began competing for his attention. "I gotta go."
"I understand. Thanks for taking the time. You really helped."
"No prob. Find me after shift, okay? We'll go get our grub on, I'll give you whatever else I can."
"Sounds good. Stay safe."
"Do my best."
Warrick strode off to get his assignment for the night, leaving Greg to turn to his work, a tiny corner of his sharp mind still busily processing what he'd been told.
MTAC - NCIS Fic