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Bye Bye Love

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Website: NA
Permission to archive: yes
Fandom(s): NCIS
Genre (general, hetero or slash): Slash
Pairing/Characters: Gibbs/DiNozzo
Rating: PG, so far
Summary: Where's Tony?
Warnings: Tiny bit of angst
Even more transitional stuff. Please forgive my lack of knowledge re police procedure/jurisdiction. Any mistakes are purely unintentional - and it's just a story, after all! Hope you enjoy.

Bye, Bye, Love
Chapter 4

Houston, TX

I threw the frisbee and watched with a grin as Clarence took off like a shot after it. Catching it in the air and showboating a little on the way down, the Newfoundland pup marched proudly back to me, tail in the air and frisbee clenched tightly in his mouth.

"Good boy, Clarence! Let Daddy have it and I'll throw it again."

It took a little playful wrestling before the dog surrendered his prize, but I was finally able to seize the toy and fling it as far as I could again. As Clarence ran off once more, I shook my head in amusement. 'He's got more energy in one of his paws than I have in my whole body! Good thing he brings that thing back; I wouldn't have it in me to go get it myself every time.'

Just as Clarence trotted back over to me, my pager began vibrating. Pulling the device off of my belt loop, I glanced at the display and groaned when I saw the '911' displayed on the screen. "Sorry, boy. I know I promised an afternoon of play, but it's time to head to work." The shaggy dog's head drooped in disappointment. "You get to go, too, so don't give me that 'poor-me' attitude!" At that news, Clarence's head and ears sprang up and his long tail began wagging furiously.

'So much energy! Did I ever have that?'

The thought that I had indeed possessed that puppy-dog spirit while working for one Leroy Jethro Gibbs came unbidden. I squashed the rumination brutally. Nothing good could come out of heading down that particular road. That part of my life had been over for almost a year now. I refused to sacrifice what little peace I'd attained by entertaining memories like that. It certainly did me no good, and it made my nights even more sleepless than they already were. Not like I could afford less sleep; I was usually running on fumes as it was. 'Enough of this crap. Get over it and act like a man, Tonio.'

"Come on, Clarence. Let's go find some folks."

****

From the street, the collapsed building didn't look all that intimidating. Once Clarence and I got closer, though, the sheer volume of steel and concrete still wobbling dangerously overhead became clear - and it caused a shiver of apprehension to rush through me. From the sudden alertness in the dog beside me, Clarence felt the ominous vibe, too.

"Hey, Lieu - the SAR guy's here." One of the local police had noticed us approaching. Having worked with him before, I nodded and smiled slightly at him.

"Looks like you tore down the whole block, Jackson. I always told you that one day you'd get angry enough to shake the world. That calm exterior harbors some deep-seeded hostilities."

Sgt. Jackson snorted at my comment and threw me an amused glance. "Whatever, DiNozzo. I maintain my zen-like calm despite your attempts to annoy the hell out of me. Besides, I don't have enough C-4 sitting around to do all this damage." His expression darkened and he shook his head sadly. "What kind of bastard blows up a building right next to an old folks' home? That's just cruel."

"It takes all kinds, Jack. That's what keeps you in business." I exchanged solemn nods with the sergeant before moving to speak to his lieutenant.

"DiNozzo. Glad to see you're the guy they sent. We need someone with your talent, even if it means putting up with your smart mouth."

"I'll go ahead and take that as the compliment I'm certain you intended, Lieu." Glancing at the hulking mass of building debris, my tone became all business. "So, what's the situation?"

"Looks like there were at least 20 residents and 5 staff in the nursing home at the time of the explosion. We've already gotten 22 of them out - 9 of those were bodies. We believe the office building was completely empty, seeing as it's the weekend. Plus, no family members have called to inform us that anyone was working, and we haven't heard or seen any movement from that side of the pile." Shaking his head, the lieutenant removed his glasses to rub his eyes in an expression of utter exhaustion. "HFD has been here for the past 5 hours trying to put out all the fires that continue to pop up. Looks like they've pretty well got them controlled now, though."

I could hear the weariness and sorrow in the older man's voice. "When do you think Clarence and I can get started? We don't want to get in your way but the sooner, the better." I hesitated before continuing, "Have you been able to verify the cause of the explosion?"

Some of the lieutenant's exhaustion was replaced with anger as he answered, "I guess some bastard thought he'd blow up some old folks - or at least bury 'em. It appears this was some sort of IED. You'd think this was goddamn Iraq or something." Gathering himself, he was able to answer my original question more serenely. "You'll have to get the go-ahead from the feebs - they've decided to take this over from an operational oversight standpoint. Let me get with them and see what's what. I'll give you the high sign once it's clear for you two to get in there."

I nodded as he walked off in search of the FBI guy in charge. 'Hurry up and wait - just like usual.' Beside me, Clarence fairly vibrated with the need to go searching through the rubble. "Hold your horses, buddy. We'll be in there soon enough," I murmured to him under my breath. Nothing like good old-fashioned tragedy to take your mind off your own troubles.

 

TBC