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The Professor and the Sniper God

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Charles “Charlie” Epps frowned as he looked down at the paper on his clipboard and then out the window where he had a clear line of sight to the movie theater where a woman had just been shot at. He bit back a groan when he heard footsteps heading his way because he had no doubt that it would be the bane of his existence. He wasn’t sure why but there was something about the sniper Ian Edgerton that made him want to do and/or say things that he normally wouldn’t want to. He didn’t acknowledge the older man and instead kept focused on the paper he was doing calculations on. He needed to figure out why they were all coming out wrong. He was able to pretend the other man wasn’t there up til the man was almost right beside him.


Ian Edgerton loved his job as a sniper and as a tracker. He loved it because he got to see different places and didn’t have to pay any money out of his own pocket to do so. He hated it because he saw the worse life had to offer a lot of times. He loved it because he got to put people who deserved it behind bars and if they escaped then he tracked them down and either put them back in prison or ended their lives so that they couldn’t hurt anybody else.

He walked into the abandoned building that he knew the serial sniper used and sighed. He really wanted to catch the guy so that nobody else fell to his rifle. He couldn’t help but smirk slightly when he saw Professor Charlie Epps standing near a window and looking at it while doing equations on a piece of paper attached to a clipboard. He sauntered over to him as he let his eyes roam of Charlie’s figure. He had to admit to himself that he found the Professor very attractive. “Hello there, Professor, still figuring the angles?

Charlie looked up and shook his head. “What I’m figuring is the reason why he missed. This shot is way closer than any of the others.

Ian walked over to another window and opened it up. He used his laser light as a pointer once Charlie joined him. “Well, closer doesn’t mean easier. He ran a higher risk of being seen here.

Charlie frowned and bit his lip. “That wouldn’t affect the shot itself would it.

Ian fought back the urge to roll his eyes and looked at Charlie. “Forget about the math for a second. Just look. Try to think like he does. Invisibility is a sniper’s greatest strength. He starts to worry about losing it, his heart rate increases. If he doesn’t know how to hand it, his breathing rhythm gets thrown off.

Breathing rhythm?” Charlie questioned.

Ian huffed. “You’ve never really fired a gun.

Charlie shook his head. “I don’t really believe in them.

This time Ian did roll his eyes. “Believe in them? It’s not like they’re ghosts.

Charlie huffed. “Obviously, that’s not what I meant.

So, you don’t take into account sweat getting into his eyes, or his hands cramping up, or adrenaline twitching the barrel? That’s the difference between an expert’s marksman and a guy who aims at white meat and goes home with a wing.” Ian retorted.

Charlie narrowed his eyes as he stared at Ian in surprise. “A woman got shot today not some animal.

Ian narrowed his own eyes at Charlie. He wanted to make sure that he got his point across because with the way the younger man was talking to him sounded like he was judging not only him but others in the same line of work as him. He may think the Professor was attractive, but he wasn’t about to put up with that from him or anyone else. “I see. So, when I regard her as a technical problem, I’m a sick bastard but when you plug her into an equation, you’re a scientist.

Charlie thought for a second because he hadn’t meant to hurt the other man which he could see that he did somehow, and he wanted to correct that. “No that isn’t what I meant. It just seems like it’s all some kind of sport to you.

Ian shook his head. “It’s not a sport to me at all. I know that it was a woman who was shot and not an animal, but if I don’t keep my mind set in the way it is currently then I or someone else could end up dead and I’m not about to let that happen. Just remember that not everyone can look at the angles like you, Professor, because it could get us killed quicker. It’s my job to put my head inside the mind of a killer. Your brother’s too.” He started to walk away and then called out, “You coming?

Charlie looked out the window once more and then hurried after Ian. He had some things that he wanted to talk to the sniper about. He looked back at his paper and then finally he turned his head to look at Ian as they walked side by side down the hallway. “The pattern of these shootings doesn’t work with my existing equations.

Ian smiled slightly even as he thought quickly. “So, change the equations. How probable is it that you have the right equations but the wrong answers to those equations.”

Charlie groaned as he bit down onto the pen cap as he ran the numbers through his head once more. “It is improbable that I have the right equations but the wrong answers to those equations. I’m starting to think my whole approach is wrong. Like there’s a design in there somewhere but not usually where I’d look for it. What is your thoughts on the shootings so far?”

Ian pulled his sunglasses down just as they were about to exit the building. “I think that the sicko shooting innocent people has a thought to his methodology on how he’s executing the shootings. We just need to figure out what that is so that we can stop him before he kills ago. I also think that your approach is wrong because you don’t know what it is like to shoot a gun so you can’t calculate that into your equations. Until you learn what it feels like to shoot a gun you will never be able to get your predictions right on target.”

“So, what you are saying, is that I need to learn how to shoot a gun?” Charlie finally asked.

Ian nodded. “Numbers may help you, Professor, but until you have actually shot a gun you won’t know how to calculate that into your formulas.”

Charlie sighed. “Feel like teaching me then? Don will put up a fight if I ask him to.”

Ian laughed. “Don does seem rather protective of you, Professor. I’ll tell you what. You buy me dinner and I’ll teach you how to shoot a gun. By the time I finish with you, you will know just how to load and shoot perfectly.”

Charlie blushed slightly even though he tried not to. “It’s a deal then. Should we meet up about seven for dinner and then head to the gun range?”

Ian turned his head away so that the smirk he had on his face wasn’t seen by Charlie. He couldn’t believe how easy it was to get some time alone with the Professor. He saw Terry heading towards them, so he turned back to look at Charlie with a light in his eyes that hadn’t been there before. “It’s a deal then, Professor. Let’s hope that we will actually be able to go to dinner and then the range. I don’t think that the look on Lake’s face is a good one.”

Charlie looked at Terry’s face and bit back a sigh. He really wanted some time to himself because he was sure that the deal he agreed to was actually a date. He couldn’t help but wonder if maybe the sniper felt the same way he was starting to feel about him. He wouldn’t mind exploring something with the older man. He listened to Terry fill them in and made comments of his own but for the life of him when they were on their way back to the FBI building, he couldn’t remember what he or Ian had said in response to what Terry had told them. His mind was on where he could take Ian for dinner because the more he thought about it the more he hoped that it was a date instead of just a trade of services between him and Ian.

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Charlie sighed as he threw his pen down on the table, he was working at in what was called the War Room at the L.A. FBI Headquarters. He looked at the time and decided he had enough time to go back to his office at CalSci to get a little work done before his date with Ian later on that day. He packed his stuff up and then stood up and headed out of the room and to where his brother was at, at his desk. He ignored the fact that Ian was leaning up against his brother’s desk because he knew that if he didn’t that he would just stare at the older man because of how good he looked leaning like that. “Don, I need to get back to CalSci for a bit. I can’t figure out what I’m missing and just sitting here and working on my calculations isn’t helping. Any chance I can get a lift back to the college so I can work in my office for a couple hours?”

Don frowned but nodded. “Yeah, buddy, I’ll get someone to drive you. I’d drive you myself, but there are a couple things I want to check into and for that I need both Terry and David here with me to help do some of the legwork. Edgerton, would you mind taking my brother to CalSci since we’re at a standstill for right now?”

Ian bit back the smirk that threatened to break out on his face because he somehow knew that Charlie didn’t want Don to know that they had a sort of date later that day. “Not a problem at all, Eppes. While I’m out I’m going to stop and get myself a good coffee so that I can stop drinking the stuff that passes as coffee here in the office.”

Don chuckled. “I’ll call you if I need you before you get back.”

Ian nodded. “Come on, Professor, and I’ll drop you at CalSci. I wouldn’t mind seeing your place of actual work. It’s been several years since I’ve been on a college campus and I’ve never been to CalSci.”

Charlie rolled his eyes. “Thank you, Agent Edgerton, a ride would be much appreciated. Don, I’ll call you if I find anything and if I don’t I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Don looked at Charlie with a raised eyebrow. “Do you have plans tonight or something? I was planning on coming by once I’m finished here for the day.”

Charlie shrugged slightly. “I’m not sure if I’m doing something tonight with some of the others from work or not. If I don’t see you tonight, I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Don narrowed his eyes but nodded. “Alright, Charlie. Have fun if you do end up doing something with some of your coworkers.”

Charlie smiled at his brother and then followed Ian to the elevator and on it once the doors opened to it. He leaned against the wall and sighed in relief after the elevator doors closed. “I thought for sure he was going to keep questioning me.”

Ian chuckled. “He looked like he wanted to but decided not to. Does he always question you if you go out and do something with your coworkers?”

Charlie looked at Ian with a smile. “I hardly ever go out with my coworkers because some of them prefer going to bars or clubs. I tend to work too hard and too much and when I’m not working I prefer not to be making myself look like an idiot by getting drunk and doing things I wouldn’t do while sober.”

Ian nodded thoughtfully and then led the way to his car once they exited the elevator into the parking garage. “I can understand that, Professor. So, what time should we meet for dinner and the shooting range tonight?”

Charlie thought about it for a few minutes and then once he was in the passenger seat of Ian’s car and buckled in he said, “Would you mind picking me up at seven from CalSci? I think it would be easier to leave from there then me going home and taking the chance of Don being there when you come to pick me up. You can call me Charlie, you know?”

Ian shot a look at Charlie and then looked back out the windshield as he drove out of the parking garage and onto the road. “I don’t mind picking you up from CalSci at all, Charlie. Do you have anywhere specific that you want to go to dinner tonight?”

Charlie smirked as he looked sideways at Ian and pointed at the building his office was in. “I have a place in mind, so I’ll call and make the reservation for 7:30 once I’m in my office. I will tell you that it dressy casual so anything other than jeans. I’m looking forward to dinner and the shooting lessons. My office is on the fourth floor and it’s office number 422.”

Ian grinned as he pulled to a stop in front of the building Charlie had pointed at. “I’ll be here to pick you up at seven or a little before, Charlie. I’m looking forward to dinner and giving you shooting lessons.”

Charlie blushed and after he unbuckled the seat belt he leaned over and kissed Ian on the cheek. “I’ll see you in a couple of hours, Ian.” He quickly opened up his car door and exited the car before Ian could respond to him. He walked into the building and up to his office with a grin on his face. He couldn’t help but smile as he thought about the surprised look that Ian had on his face after he had kissed his cheek. Once in his office he sat at his desk and quickly got to work. He wanted to get as much as he could before his date later so that he wasn’t thinking about work while he was out with Ian. He was excited and really wanted seven to hurry up and get there.


Ian chuckled once he got over the shock of Charlie kissing his cheek before he had got out of the car. He may have been shocked, but it was a good kind of shock. He really couldn’t wait until his date later with the younger man. He wasn’t sure what it was but there was something that was drawing him towards the other man. He drove out of the CalSci parking lot and towards where he knew a Starbucks was located. He wanted the rest of the day to pass by quickly so that he could go on his date with the Math Professor.

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Don sighed as he threw the pen he had been writing with across his desk. He looked up and saw Terry, David, and Ian looking at him. "We're getting nowhere right now, so unless we get a call out at some point tonight, I'm calling it a night for us. We need to take a break and get a good night's sleep. Anyone up to going out for a drink?"

David and Terry both agreed but Ian said, "I actually have plans this evening with a friend. I'll be here at eight in the morning. Eppes, you know my number if you get a call out tonight."

Don looked at Ian in surprise and raised an eyebrow. "Going anywhere good, Edgerton?"

Ian shrugged his shoulders. "I'm not sure. My friend first texted me that we were going to eat at a Greek restaurant that they know, but I just got a text about twenty minutes ago telling me they changed their mind and we're eating Italian tonight. I really don't mind either way since I plan on hopefully being able to go out to dinner with them again."

Don laughed. "Greek and Italian are both good choices. I won't call you unless I get a call about another sniper shooting. Enjoy your time with your friend since you probably don't get to see the person that often due to your job."

Ian smirked. "This will be my first time out with my friend, so I'm hoping that there will be more times after this one. I'll have my cell on me. You three have fun this evening and don't drink too much!"

Don rolled his eyes. "We won't be having more than one or two drinks so no worry there. I'll see you in the morning, Ian, so have fun."

Ian nodded and left. He was excited about going out to dinner with Charlie and then giving him a shooting lesson. He headed to his hotel so that he could shower and change clothes. Once in his hotel room he took a quick shower and changed into a pair of black slacks and a light blue polo shirt. He had some questions that only the Professor could answer and he was very much looking forward to those answers. He looked at the clock and saw that it was twenty to seven and decided that it was the perfect time to leave to head to get Charlie. He grabbed up his gun that was in its side holster, wallet, keys, and hotel room key and walked out of his hotel room. He made sure that the door to his room locked and then headed to his car for his drive to CalSci.


Charlie sat back with a sigh in his office chair. Since Ian had dropped him off three hours ago, he had been hard at work grading and trying to work on the Sniper problem. He still had about an hour before Ian would be there to pick him up. He had decided that he wanted to do Italian instead of Greek so he let Ian know that he had changed his mind and got a response back telling him that, that was fine with the older man. He could admit even if only to himself that he was nervous about going out to dinner with the Sniper, but it was a good kind of nervous.

He stood up from his chair and stretched the kinks out of his back and shoulders that he was starting to feel. He walked over to his office door and locked it so that he could change without anyone trying to walk in on him. He grabbed the slacks and shirt that he had in his office and made quick work of changing into them. He was just glad that he had a pair of black slacks and a forest green shirt in his office because he normally didn't keep a spare change of clothes on hand.

Once he was satisfied that his clothes wasn't wrinkled he unlocked his office door and walked back to his desk and sat down. He figured that he might as well do some more work so that he just wouldn't be sitting around worrying about how tonight was going to go with him and Ian. He looked up when he heard his office door open and grinned when he saw Larry standing in the doorway. "What can I do for you, Larry?"

Larry walked into Charlie's office and stood in front of his friend's desk. "You are wearing a different outfit, Charles. Why are you wearing a different outfit?"

Charlie groaned because of course Larry would notice that he had changed clothes. "I have plans this evening, Larry, so I decided to change out of the clothes I wore today. Is there something that you need my help with?"

Larry shook his head and narrowed his eyes as he saw that his best friend was blushing lightly. "You have a date tonight, Charles! I was just coming to see how you were coming along with the work you were doing to help your brother."

Charlie shook his head. "I can't seem to get the equation right for some reason. There is something that I'm not seeing because it isn't adding up to give me a definite answer."

Larry nodded. "You really should try firing a gun or something, my friend. You need to be able to equate the human element into your equation if you want to find the answer that you are seeking. Not everything is just about scientific or mathematic variables."

Charlie smirked slightly. "I did think about that myself without having to have it pointed out to me for once, Larry. Actually, I'll be shooting a gun later tonight, but you are not to tell anyone because I don't need my dad or brother freaking out about the fact that I'm learning how to shoot a gun. I love my dad and Don, but they are way too overprotective of me when it comes to this stuff."

Larry narrowed his eyes and the he laughed as he shook his head. "The only way Don wouldn't know about you learning to shoot a gun is if you went to someone not on his team for lessons. Charles, you went to the sniper expert and asked him to teach you how to shoot a gun. I don't know whether to be shocked or laugh at your sneakiness. I have forgotten that you know how to be sneaky and evasive when you want to be. Very well, I shall leave you on your own for now and I'll see you tomorrow. I will expect a report from you on how well it went for you tonight, Charles."

Charlies rolled his eyes but smiled at his friend and mentor. "I'll be sure to let you know how things went tonight come tomorrow, Larry." He watched his friend leave and then sat back in seat with a chuckle escaping his lips. He had forgotten that Larry would be able to read him like an open book and just how supportive his friend and mentor could be when it came to something that he wanted to learn on his own.

He looked at the clock on his desk and realized that it was almost quarter til seven and knew that Ian would be there soon to pick him up for dinner. He packed everything up that he wanted to take home with him and just finished when a throat was cleared from his office doorway. He turned his head and smiled when he saw Ian standing there. He had to bite his tongue for a second to keep from blurting out that he thought Ian looked hot in the black slacks and sky-blue shirt that the older man was wearing. "Good evening, Ian. If you give me just one minute if that I'll be ready to go."

Ian walked further into Charlie's office and smiled at the younger man. "That is fine, Professor. I know that I'm a few minutes early." He looked around the office and couldn't help but laugh because it was pretty much just what he had pictured Charlie's office would look like in his mind. He looked at Charlie when he felt the other man tap him on the shoulder. "Are you ready, Professor?"

Charlie blushed and nodded. He followed Ian out of his office and then out of CalSci to the man's car all the while trying to get his heartrate back to normal range. There was just something about the way the older man called him Professor that made his thoughts go to places they shouldn't go especially on a first date. Once in the car he looked at Ian with a smirk. "I made reservations for us at Il Fornaio – Cucina Italiana in Beverly Hills. I could have chosen the Pasadena location, but knowing my luck my brother or father would show up there since they do like Italian food. And please call me Charlie like I told you before."

Ian laughed and then smirked. "I could picture that happening, Charlie. I'll try to remember to call you Charlie, but I have to admit that I like calling you Professor. Il Fornaio does have good food so it was a good choice of restaurant. I have eaten there with some of my extended family members in Las Vegas."

Charlie sighed in relief. "I'm glad that I picked a restaurant that you wouldn't mind eating at, Ian. I went through several choices before I decided on Il Fornaio and I chose them because I've eaten there several times with some friends and knew that their food and service was above board."

Ian nodded as he made his way to Beverly Hills. Luckily for him he knew where that particular restaurant was located having drove by it several times in the many times he had been in L.A. "I don't blame you for checking them out before eating and/or after eating there. It is always a good thing to make sure that everything is alright with a particular favorite place to go so that you know you will be safe and/or at least in a familiar place."

Charlie huffed out a laugh. "I got into the habit in college on checking places out if I knew it was going to be a place that I would frequent. It never hurts to vary the way a person does things, but if a person doesn't vary things then it is a good thing to know about a location and things like that."

Ian bit back what he wanted to say because he thought it would be better to talk about over dinner. "I do believe that our dinner conversation will be fun and enlightening, Professor."

Charlie knew exactly what Ian was thinking about and said, "I have to agree with you there, Ian. I'm sure that we both have a lot of questions and observations about one another."

Ian nodded just as he pulled in and parked at the restaurant. "That is true, Charlie."

Charlie laughed and opened up the car door once Ian had shut the car off. He got out and met Ian at the back of the car. He took the hand Ian was holding out to him and let the older man lead him into the restaurant. He couldn't wait for their dinner conversation.

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Charlie smirked at the woman that was doing the hosting duty because he saw the way she eyed Ian up and down. He cleared his throat when she wouldn't look at him and then frowned at her when she finally did look at him. "If you look at your list, I'm pretty sure that you will find a reservation for two under the name Eppes. Also, I don't think that it is polite to eye a person's date up and down like they are a piece of meat."

The woman blushed and then glared at Charlie. She thought she had the upper hand because she wasn't even going to look at the reservation list. "I don't see your name on the list, so you won't be eating here. I can eye anyone I choose too, and I don't see how he can be with you anyways. We don't serve your kind here so kindly leave."

Charlie's eyes flashed with anger even as he pulled his cell phone out of his pocket. He wasn't going to allow the woman to get away with that. He knew the owner and he knew for a fact that a lot of gay couples ate at the restaurant with no problem. That is one of the reasons that he loved eating at any and all Il Fornaio. Once he had his cell phone in his hand he dialed a number and waited on the person to answer it. "Luca, it's Charlie Eppes. I hate to bother you since I know this is one of your busiest nights, but I'm at your Beverly Hills location and the hostess refuses to take my date and I to a table."

Luca Belmonte swore. "It just happens that I'm at the Beverly Hills location tonight, Charlie, so give me a few minutes and I'll come seat you myself. I'm sorry that Amanda is giving you and your date a problem. You can believe me that after this she won't have a job anymore because you aren't the first person I have heard complain about her and I know that it's because your date happens to be a man since I know you very well."

Charlie laughed. "You would be correct in that, Luca. Ian and I will wait on you off to the right side of the hostess stand. I know that you are normally busy especially on this night, but I didn't want to cause a scene like I could have."

Luca chuckled. "Oh, none of my staff would have batted an eye especially since my restaurants are known to be one of the few restaurants that same sex couples can go on a date at without people giving them a hard time. I'm leaving my office now, Charlie, so I'll be with you within a minute."

Charlie nodded and then put his cell phone back in his pocket after he ended the call. He let Ian guide him over to the right side and finally looked at the woman whose nametag did read Amanda. He smirked at her with narrowed eyes. "Luca is on his way out to seat me personally. It does help that I'm good friends with the owner of this restaurant and the fact that I'm a silent partner."

Ian laughed as he glared at the woman who had paled. He was pissed that the woman had the nerve to try to ruin his date with the Professor. "You really should work on your people skills, lady. It clearly says on the sign on your podium that everyone is welcome here regardless of who they are with. I don't care if you are just jealous that Charlie is here with me because I did see and feel the look you were giving me or if you don't like the fact that he is on a date with me. As my date told you it isn't polite to eye someone like they're a piece of meat when they are clearly here on a date with someone."

He looked her up and down as he sneered at her. "I wouldn't look at you twice even if I wasn't here on a date with someone. I can't stand a woman or a man for that fact who thinks they are God's gift to men and/or women. I prefer someone who is real and doesn't look down on others."

Amanda paled even further but rallied as she contemptuously looked Charlie up and down. She didn't realize that the owner was behind her as she snarled, "Am I to believe that the type of person you would actually date is the geek in front of you? I can't believe that you would rather be with someone like him when I'm more than willing to spend a night with you. I mean look at him and then look at me. You honestly can't be gay!"

Ian's eyes hardened as he wrapped an arm around Charlie's waist when he felt the younger man stiffen in shock and surprise beside him. "I don't give a flying fuck what you think, lady, but what I can tell you is that the man standing beside me is worth a million of you. You aren't as good looking as you seem to think and personally, I think you are ugly on both the outside and inside. I'm not wasting anymore of my precious time on you when I could be spending it with the man that I'm here with and just for your information I'd rather date a dog than ever date you. I happen to think the man I'm here with is one hell of a looker and if he is a geek then yeah, I'd rather date him than your stupid ass."

Charlie couldn't help but chuckle before he stood on his tip toes and kissed Ian's cheek. Once he was back on flat footed ground, he looked over Amanda's shoulder at Luca. "Luca, will you show Ian and me to a table before you deal with your obnoxious employee please? I really would like to get on with my date."

Luca smiled at Charlie and nodded. "I'll be more than happy to seat you, Charlie. I'll come talk to you and your date after you eat your dinner. I'm sorry for the trouble that my employee has caused you and your date."

Charlie shook his head. "It isn't your fault, Luca. After all you and I both know that bigots are everywhere and that sometimes you won't know about a person's bigotry until it slaps you in the face."

Luca sighed. "I know what you mean, Charlie." He turned to look at Amanda and glared. "You will go to my office, Miss Raymond, and after I seat my friend and his date, I'll be in to talk to you about your actions here this evening. Pauline is just waiting on me to give her a signal and she'll be taking over your duties this evening and probably for the foreseeable future."

He stepped back and waited on his soon to be ex hostess to walk past him before he signaled a woman he knew loved to act as hostess. Once she was in place, he then led Charlie and Ian to Charlie's favorite table which he had made sure stayed free once he saw that Charlie had made a reservation. He smiled at Charlie and Ian after they were seated and handed them the menus. "Charlie, you will have your favorite waitress this evening and she'll be out in a few minutes to see if you are ready to order. I'll be back to talk to you and your handsome date before you leave tonight. Enjoy your dinner and once again I'm sorry for what happened."

Charlie rolled his eyes. "I told you that it wasn't your fault, Luca. Now, before you go to deal with that woman I'd like you to meet my date Agent Ian Edgerton. Ian, I'd like you to meet Luca Belmonte whom I have known for close to ten years now."

Ian nodded at the man. "It's nice to meet you, Sir."

Luca waved a hand. "Call me Luca, Ian, because any friend of Charlie's is a friend of mine. I'll let you two get to your date and see you later."

Charlie huffed but laughed as he watched Luca hurry away. He turned to look at Ian with a slight blush on his face. "This is the first time I've ever came here with someone other than work colleagues, so Luca is ecstatic. I'm sorry for what went down, Ian. I wasn't expecting that to happen and I can't believe how she acted."

Ian reached across the table and grabbed Charlie's hands in both of his. "Professor, what happened is in no way your fault or mine. You had every right to call that woman on how she was acting before you even told her we had a reservation. If she had been looking at you like that instead of me, I would have done just what you did because she was being very rude. Now, forget about it because I'd like to enjoy our date and then our shooting lessons."

Charlie grinned. "Deal, Ian. So, how long have you been a sniper?"

Ian laughed. "I joined the Army when I was eighteen and have been a sniper since shortly before my twentieth birthday. A lot of what I did in the Army and even since I discharged from the Army is classified although I have a feeling you would be able to find out because of your security clearance level. How is it that your brother doesn't realize just how high of a security clearance you have, Charlie? As soon as I heard your name from your brother's lips, I knew who you were and some of the stuff that you have been involved in work wise."

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Charlie shrugged. "I never let on to Don that I have done work for several different agencies and/or law enforcement offices. I don't think that it has crossed his mind yet just how high my security clearance must be for me to be able to work with the CDC. I mean I hinted that I have done work in the past for the NSA, but I think he thought that I was kidding and I never corrected him. There is a reason why the Assistant Director of the FBI didn't even bat an eye at me consulting on cases for Don. I also consult on cases for several other teams but once again Don doesn't know or realize that and I think it could be because he doesn't want to know or realize."

He took in a deep breath and let it out. "For several years Don and I didn't talk much and because of that we're not as close as we could or should be, Ian. Don didn't like the fact that I graduated at the same time of his and he hated that he was compare to me a lot of the time when we were younger. I love my brother but until he can actually see me for who I am and not just what I can do I don't think he will ever realize just how much of my life I have spent helping others because of how good I am with numbers."

Ian frowned. "Charlie, I don't think that it is that he hasn't realized just how much of a help you are, but that he doesn't want to because then he will have to admit to himself that he has missed a big piece of your life. Even with just seeing you and Don together today I could tell that he loves you and is very protective of you. If he didn't believe in what you do, then he wouldn't ask for you to help him with his cases. I've heard a lot about the stuff you pull off when you work with a certain group of people."

Charlie blushed but before he could respond their waitress walked up and said, "Hello, my name is Rose, and I'll be your waitress tonight. Are you ready to order or do you need a few minutes yet?"

Ian realized he hadn't looked at his menu yet and quickly did so. Once he knew what he wanted he looked at Charlie. "Are you ready to order, Charlie?"

Charlie smiled at Ian and then Rose. "Good evening, Rose. We will share the Bruschetta Al Pomodora and I will have that followed by the Lasagna Ferrarese please. I will also have a glass of Pepsi."

Rose nodded and then looked at Ian. "What can I get for you, Sir?"

Ian shook his head. "Since Charlie and I will be sharing the Bruschetta I will also have the Lasagna Ferrarese with a Pepsi, please."

Rose nodded again. "Your food should be out within fifteen minutes then. I'll bring the Bruschetta out within five minutes. Enjoy your date."

Charlie snickered. "At least she kept it light on the teasing. I've known Rose for three years now. She was actually a student of mine at one time."

Ian smirked. "So, if I wanted any embarrassing stories about you I just need to ask her then?"

Charlie snorted. "She would probably tell you if you asked. Do you have any family?"

Ian smiled slightly. "I have two brothers, a sister, my mom, dad, and several cousins, aunts, and uncles. We have two big reunions just a year since we're spread all over the place. What about you? Do you have any family other than Don and your father?"

Charlie shrugged his shoulders. "I don't think so, but I don't know for sure. Dad doesn't really talk about his family or even moms family for some reason. I've always wondered if I had aunts, uncles, or cousins out there, but I never pushed the issue with dad. There are times that I wonder if I have other family out there, but I'm content not knowing unless it comes to the point that I need to know if that makes sense. However, I have also thought about looking into if I have other family on my own without having to go to dad. I guess I'm too curious for my own good."

Ian nodded thoughtfully and then laughed slightly. "I can understand your point, Charlie, but if I was in your position I don't think I'd be able to stop myself from pushing the issue on if I have other family out there that I don't know about. Then again with my job profession I'm not one that likes surprises all that much or often. Don't get me wrong I like surprises when it comes from a person I'm seeing as long as that surprise can't come back and bite me in the ass. It's just that I can't take the chance of an unknown family member popping up and causing me problems in any way, shape, or form. If you decide that you want to look into things let me know and I'll do what I can to help you out. I know that you probably don't and won't want to go to Don to look into possible family members if you find any, Charlie, and I don't even need to know you to see that."

Charlie blushed. "I hate having to go to Don about some things because he tends to always have an opinion on what I'm doing or not doing. I really do love Don, but he is always so protective of me that it drives me completely insane. It is almost like he forgets that I lived away from home for several years and that he wasn't around to keep an eye on me or the things I got into on my own if that makes sense. I mean there is a crap load of things that he doesn't know about me and truthfully, I'm glad that he doesn't know just what I got up to in the years that I was away from home. That is one thing I loved about my mom because she never judged me for the things I did or said when she was around. She knew just what I was getting up to and never judged me or looked down on me because of some of the stuff I pulled."

Ian smirked. "I'm guessing that your mom realized that you knew what you were doing and if you didn't then you would learn a lesson from whatever it is you were doing. If I'm not mistaken your security clearance is way higher than your brother's is and I'm not sure how he hasn't realized that because even I knew that before I met you for the first time today. Believe it or not, Professor, several people talk about you and not just in the Bureau. Some of the stuff you have been involved in was risky to your life."

Charlie shrugged but waited on the waitress to put the Bruschetta on the table. "Thank you." He watched her walk away before he turned his head to look back at Ian who was waiting patiently for him to respond. "I know that some of the stuff that I have gotten up to over the years have been risky and not just because the stuff has risked my life, Ian. I got up to what I did because I believed in what I was doing and I'd do it all over again if I was asked. Regardless what some people believe life is not without risk. Don would rather have me safe and not be at risk, but everyone is at risk daily from everyday things because those things can harm a person just as much as anything else."

Ian smiled slightly. "As we have learned with every case that we have had in the past and especially this one it doesn't matter what a person is doing if their time is up then their time is up. I get that Don is protective of you, but I think that he takes it to an extreme which he shouldn't. You could walk across the street and get hit by a car and die just as easy as you could be targeted by someone from the help you've been giving him on his cases. There are no guarantees in life so you have to live it the best way that you can, and I don't think that it is fun to sit by and let life pass you by."

Charlie laughed lightly. "It isn't any fun living life completely safe because then you miss out on some of the best things. So, how did you know that my security clearance is higher than Don's, Ian?"

Ian smirked. "Believe it or not a couple of the cases you have worked on the past is used in a class or two at Quantico now. Well the pieces that aren't classified are used. You have had some interesting cases and/or projects that you have been involved in, Professor, and I have to admit that from what little I knew about you from them that I wanted to get to know you more. I actually jumped at the chance to come out here. When Don requested me for this case, I knew you and I would cross paths. I was actually surprised when you told me that you didn't know how to shoot a rifle or use a gun."

Charlie blushed. "I know how to use a gun, but I have never once fired a rifle. I wanted an excuse more than anything to see you outside of the office and I wasn't sure if you'd say yes if I straight up asked you out on a date. Besides with your job I didn't want to take the chance that if you did happen to like men to out you."

Ian laughed as he shook his head. "Everybody that I work with at the Bureau knows that I'm bi-sexual and if others find out I don't care. I'm not tooting my own horn but there aren't many people who mess with me because of my reputation throughout the Bureau. I really don't give a shit what people think of me because I'm comfortable with the way and who I am if that makes sense. Those that are important to me rather they be friends or family already know everything that they should and/or need to know so I don't care what anyone else thinks of me. If I don't know them then their opinion means jack shit to me and they can take a flying leap off a cliff or bridge for all I care."

Charlie snorted and then laughed. "I can just see you telling somebody that to their face, Ian. Have you in the past told someone that or something close to that before? It's just that the way you said it made me think that you have."

Ian grinned and nodded at Charlie's question and comments. He waited until their waitress put their food down on their table and walked away before he said, "I have told someone that before and I've told several others different variations of what I said to you because some people are just stupid and/or too idiotic to get it the first few times around. People are going to think what they think, Charlie, and you can't make them think something else. The thing you must remember is that you need to be true to yourself and not the way that other people want you to be. You are a grown man so you can do what you want, be with who you want, and be who you want because in reality you are the only one who gets a say in those things. You can't live your life and be someone you're not because all it is going to do is breed hate and there is enough hate in our world."

Charlie thought about what Ian just said to him as he took a bite of his Lasagna Ferrarese and chewed it. He knew that was Ian said was the truth and ran a hand through his hair. "I know that what you said is the truth, Ian, but not everybody thinks like you and even I do for that matter. Some people place others in boxes and/or pedestals and then get pissed when that person doesn't either fit in the box they were placed in or falls off the pedestal they were placed on. My dad knows that I'm bi-sexual but I'm pretty sure that my brother doesn't. I also know and understand that one of these days I'm going to have to sit Don down and explain things to him that I never wanted him to know because I was protecting him or at least trying to protect him. I guess in some ways I'm just like Don because we're both protective of one another."

Ian finished chewing the bite of Lasagna Ferrarese that he had in his mouth and took a sip of his Pepsi. "You and Don love one another, Charlie. There is no doubt in my mind that once you do sit him down and talk that he's going to blow his gasket because you're his kid brother and it's hardwired into him to protect you. He'll be pissed and hurt that you didn't tell him about things. However, once he calms down and thinks about it for a while, he'll understand because he has done the exact same thing you did, and he knows it."

Charlie sighed and ate several bites of his food as he let Ian's words run through his mind. He too knew that Don would be pissed but there was nothing he could about it not that he would if he could. Everything he has done in the past and would probably do in the future has made him the man he was, and he liked who he was. He refused to change for anyone because he knew where that would lead. He has had more than one relationship turn sour because he refused to change who he was or what he did. He looked at Ian and smiled. "I should tell you that I have had more than one relationship go bad because I refused to change who I am and/or how I did things. If I'm working on something I get lost in my head and forget to do things like eat, sleep, and even sometimes shower. I tend to forget things I'm supposed to remember and/or do if I'm working on something that has me enraptured with it. I am who I am for the good or bad of it but I'm happy with who and how I am. Ian, if that is a deal breaker then you need to let me know now. As much as I can be clueless about things a lot of times, I can see myself falling for you given half the chance and I don't want to end up hurt."

Ian sat back in his chair and looked across the table at Charlie. He could see himself falling for the Professor if he let himself. He thought for a couple minutes if he wanted to take the chance and knew that he would regret it if he didn't take the risk. He finished his dinner and then softly smiled at his date. He loved seeing the other man blush. "Professor, if I didn't think that I could handle going out with you I wouldn't have agreed to tonight. You're not the only one who gets lost in their head. I'm away more than I'm home because of my job and I refuse to quit it because I love doing what I do. I love helping others and making sure that people are as safe as they can be. We've both seen and done things that other people haven't, and I honestly think that will make our relationship easier. You have to understand though that there are times I won't be available to go out and/or even talk on the phone because of a job that I'm on or going on. I don't really have a home base and I want us to take this slow even if my mind and body are telling me something different. I propose that we take it from here and see if we can make it work. When I'm not on a job I'll do my best to come to L.A. so that we can go on dates or something. Deal?"

Charlie nodded as he wiped his mouth with the napkin by his plate. "You have yourself a deal, Ian. Now, we have to decide who is paying for dinner tonight so that we can head to the gun range."

Ian laughed and then held his hand out for the check that the waitress had in her hand as she walked up to their table. He smirked at the look on Charlie's face as pulled out his wallet and then put enough money in the folder to cover dinner and a ten-dollar tip for the waitress. He then watched the waitress walk away from them for the last time that night. "You really need to get used to knowing what's going on all around you, Professor. I saw her out of the corner of my eye with what looked like the check in her hand. I'll let you pay for dinner the next time we go out to eat."

Charlie rolled his eyes as he stood up at the same time Ian did. "Yes, you will let me pay next time, Ian. I should have been the one paying for dinner tonight since I asked you out."

Ian shook his head as he placed a hand on Charlie's lower back and guided him out of the restaurant. He didn't care who saw what he did or what they thought about what he did. He liked the feel of Charlie's back under his hand. He liked the feel of Charlie period and he wasn't not going to touch the younger man. He unlocked his car once they were near it and then waited until Charlie opened the passenger side car door before he walked around the car and got in on the driver's side. He knew that Charlie was waiting on him to respond but he wanted to get them on the road first. He started the car and pulled out of the parking spot and then the parking lot before he shot a look at his date and then looked back at the road. "You may have asked me out but I wanted to pay for it, Charlie. We can take turns paying for our dates if you want, but I enjoyed our talk over dinner and wanted to show you that I appreciate that you're willing to give us a try. Now, when we get to the gun range, I want you to follow my exact directions because handling a rifle is different than handling a handgun in a lot of ways."

Charlie nodded. "I agree with everything you said, Ian, and I liked our talk over dinner as well. I appreciate that you are willing to teach me how to shoot a rifle. I really do think that it will help me whatever it is I'm missing in my equation to help us find this guy and stop him before he kills somebody else."

Ian shot a brief look at Charlie and smiled and then looked back at the road once again. He focused on driving and made small talk for the rest of the way to the range. He really couldn't wait to teach Charlie how to shoot a rifle because he had a feeling that there weren't many things that the Math Professor didn't know how to do when it came to his line of work.

Chapter Text

Ian looked around the parking lot after he parked in surprise. "There sure are a lot of people here for this time of evening. I'm surprised that they are as busy as they are."

Charlie shrugged. "If I remember what I read from someone I know in another branch of law enforcement the NCIS team from Quantico and one of the BAU teams is here in L.A. for the next couple of days. I actually have lunch plans tomorrow with Tony which is a good thing because I'm pretty sure by now he needs time decompress from his so-called teammates."

Ian frowned as he got out of the car and walked to the trunk where he kept his rifle. He looked at Charlie with a raised eyebrow as he pulled his rifle and ammo out and shut the trunk back up. "Why do you say it like that, Professor? Do his teammates cause problems or something?"

Charlie sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "Tony has more than one degree, but unless you don't go looking into his actual educational background only one degree is registered in the NCIS system because of a lot of undercover work that he does. The degree that is on his computer files is his Physical Education degree and his two teammates look down on him because of that degree. Now, what you need to know is that what I know isn't all from Tony himself but from other people who also work with him even if they aren't on his team which happens to be the MCRT out of NCIS Headquarters. From some of my other sources I know that his junior teammate is constantly throwing up the fact that he has degrees from MIT and John Hopkins in Tony's face. The funny thing is Tony has 3 P.H.D's, 4 Masters, and 2 bachelor's degrees along with his Phys. Ed. Degree and the colleges vary from Ohio State to Harvard to Princeton, to Berkley, and to UCLA."

He snorted. "Tony loves learning, and a lot of his degrees help him in his chosen field and even the degrees that don't help in his chosen field still help him if that makes sense, Ian. I hate that his two teammates treat him like he doesn't know what he's doing when he's smarter than both of them combined. I have finally convinced him at least to stop using his masks at work unless he's undercover. He has an eidetic memory, can read I don't know how many words a minute, and has a high IQ even if he doesn't advertise those things. He graduated early from high school like I did and went straight to college because he didn't want to have to spend time with his sperm donor. Luckily for Tony his trusts funds were worded the way they were, or his father would have stolen his money from him."

Ian's eyes flashed. "Well if your friend happens to be here then we can help him blow off some steam, Charlie. Honestly, by the sound of it his two teammates need their asses kicked and if I see and/or hear them treating him in a way that they shouldn't be I'll be more than happy to kick their asses. Now, are you reading for your shooting lesson?"

Charlie nodded and followed Ian into the shooting range. He signed in with Ian and shot a smirk at the person behind the counter. He then let Ian guide him into the firing range after grabbing the earmuff's so that he wouldn't go deaf. He couldn't help but grin when he saw just who was inside the firing the range. He grabbed Ian's hand without thinking and pulled him over to where two of his best friend's happened to be standing. "Tony! Spencer! I can't believe you are both here."

Tony chuckled as he looked at Charlie and then the man who was standing slightly behind his friend. "Charlie! Now, what in the world are you doing here at a shooting range? I know that you know how to shoot a gun even if you don't like to."

Charlie blushed even as he smirked. "I may know how to shoot a handgun, Tony, but I have no clue how to shoot a rifle so Ian here is going to teach me. Tony, Spencer, I'd like you to meet Agent Ian Edgerton. Ian, meet Agent Tony DiNozzo of NCIS and Agent Spencer Reid of the BAU with the FBI."

Ian nodded at both. "Good to meet you both. Although, I have to admit about knowing about you both from your work and your bosses who I do know. I also happen to know Sam and Callen as well. What are you all doing here?"

Spencer huffed. "We're working on a case together but needed some downtime so Callen and Hanna offered to bring us here so that we could get rid of some tension. Charlie, just why are you wanting to learn how to shoot a rifle? Even I don't know how to shoot a rifle."

Charlie rolled his eyes. "Spence, I love you like a brother, but you can't even shoot a handgun. You really need to let me help you while you're here since Ian is teaching me how to shoot a riffle. As for why I'm wanting to learn I'm working a case with Don and I need to understand the mechanics of sniping."

Tony smirked. "I'll help Spencer out while Edgerton is teaching you, Charlie. So, is he just teaching you how to shoot a rifle or is this an actual date?"

Ian laughed. "I like you, DiNozzo. Charlie and I are on a date which he haggled with me for technically. He wanted me to teach him how to shoot a rifle and threw in dinner. After I agreed we decided that this was a date. We've already been to dinner which is a good thing since we ran into you guys here. He was just telling me that he would be having lunch with you tomorrow. I do have a question for you if you don't mind me asking."

Tony shook his head and smiled. He ignored Tim and Ziva who were moving closer to them along with Sam Hanna, G Callen, Marty Deeks, Kensi Blye, Gibbs, and Hotch. "Ask away, Edgerton. If I don't want to answer, I'll tell you."

Ian nodded because he understood where Tony was coming from. "Are you the same Tony DiNozzo who wrote the paper on different techniques used for shooting a perp after you took down the head mobster in Baltimore?"

Tony blushed slightly. "I am. After I took down Mike Macaluso one of his men decided a week later to try to take me out. Unfortunately for him he has never seen a movie that has people making impossible shots all the time. I ended up taking the man down with a shot that I fired while hanging upside down and I hit exactly where I was aiming at which was between the man's eyes. I wrote the paper after an Agent I met during the takedown of Macaluso asked me to because he thought it would be a good thing to show that there is more than one way to take a shot."

He smirked. "I did enjoy writing that paper and now a lot of Law Enforcement Agencies and Police Precincts use it as required reading when their cadets go through their training. I enjoyed writing about trick shots and shots thought impossible to take. I got into trying impossible shots after I watched several movies that impossible shots were taken in. I always had fun seeing what worked and wouldn't work. I still do it in my free time just because it helps to relax me when I need to unwind. I'm sure that you understand that."

Ian smirked. "I understand completely what you mean, DiNozzo. More often than not you can find me on a firing range when I'm not working just because I find it relaxes me. Any chance while you're here you will have time to do a short class about different shooting techniques? I'm sure that the AD here would love it if you did."

Tony shot a look at Gibbs and once the older man nodded at him, he looked back at Ian. "Let me know when and where and I'll make sure that I show up. I may only be able to do an hour though. It really depends how fast we tie up the case that we're working on. Now, before I let you two get on with your shooting lessons, Charlie, are you doing a class on Applied Mathematics for LEO Dummies anytime soon? I feel the need to lecture a class full of people."

Charlie threw his head back and laughed. "Actually, I have a class scheduled three days from now for just that reason, Tony. Would you like to help teach it?"

Tony grinned. "I'd love to. We've been swamped with back to back cases, so I haven't had time to do one at Georgetown in the last three months. After our case wraps up here, I'm scheduled to take a two-week vacation which I was planning on spending here anyways."

Charlie smiled and then leaned into Ian. "We'd better get this shooting lesson done with, Ian. I'm sure that Tony and Spencer won't mind waiting on us and then we can go get drinks afterwards."

Spencer shook his head. "While we're waiting on you, I'll have Tony give me some pointers. After all he's been wanting to for a long time now, but neither of us have had the time to get together."

Charlie snorted. "I understand how that is, Spence. We'll talk again here in a little bit then."

Ian smirked at Gibbs and Hotch who was looking at Charlie, Tony, and Spencer in surprise. "Come along, Professor, I can't wait to teach you how to shoot a rifle."

Charlie blushed and ignored the laughter behind him as he let Ian lead him over to an open lane. He watched carefully as Ian took his rifle out of its case and set it up. He then put on the earmuffs so that he wouldn't go deaf when firing the rifle. Luckily, he could still hear Ian when he quietly talked him through what to do, when to do it, and finally how to do it. He frowned when he missed the first six shots that he fired and looked up at Ian. "I don't understand what I'm doing wrong."

Ian shook his head and couldn't stop himself from bending down and kissing Charlie. When he pulled back from the kiss he smiled. "Try what is called an empty lung technique. What this means is that you need to breathe slowly to relax. Focus on your target. As you breathe naturally, and you are at complete exhale, pause when your lungs are empty and squeeze the trigger. If you hit the target this time, I'll give you a kiss that will rock your world."

Charlie stuck his tongue out at Ian and then focused back on the target. He took in a deep breath and let it out slowly. He repeated the process twice more before he squeezed the trigger. He couldn't contain a shout of victory when the bullet hit the target right in the bullseye. He handed the rifle to Ian and stood up. He shook his hands out and was surprised to see that they were shaking. He knew why they were shaking so ignored them in favor of looking at Ian with a raised eyebrow. "I do believe you promised me a kiss that would rock my world."

Ian laughed and finished putting his rifle in its case. He then pulled Charlie into his arms and took the younger man's lips in a fierce kiss. He groaned when Charlie's mouth opened under his and thrust his tongue into Charlie's mouth. He deepened the kiss when he heard Charlie moan and only broke the kiss when he could tell that they were both needing to breathe. "Did I rock your world, Professor?"

Charlie gasped out a laugh as he tried to catch his breath. He leaned his head on Ian's chest and relaxed into the older man's body. He sucked in several breaths and then slammed his lips back onto Ian's. He couldn't believe how good it felt to kiss the other man. He only tore his mouth away from Ian's when he needed to breathe again and when the laughter behind him finally registered. He fought back a blush even as he turned and smiled sheepishly at those gathered several feet behind him and Ian. "Oops. I kind of forgot that we weren't alone."

Ian laughed and kissed Charlie once more before he gently pushed him towards Tony and Spencer. He really did enjoy kissing the Professor and couldn't wait to do it again. He quickly made plans with Hotch and Gibbs as where to meet while his date was busy whispering to Tony and Spencer and then he grabbed his date and led him away. "They're joining us at a bar I know of, Professor."

Charlie just nodded and let Ian lead him out of the shooting range and to the car. He was excited that their night wasn't over yet because he really didn't want it to be over.

Chapter Text


Once Charlie sat down at the table Ian guided him to he smirked at the older man. "I have a feeling I know why you put me in this chair and that's fine, Ian, but I can tell you right now that there has never been anything between Tony and me or even Spencer and me. Tony and Spencer are like brothers to me. None of us have ever felt something romantic or sexual towards another of us."

Ian blushed slightly. "I know that you haven't, Professor, but I saw how the Mossad chick was looking at you and wanted to make sure that she couldn't sit near you. I don't know what the NCIS Director was thinking putting her on the premiere MCRT and until I can get a feel of the woman one way or another, I don't want her close to you."

Charlie's eyes flashed as he nodded. He saw the group come in and looked at Ian. "Tony doesn't trust her and from what he has let slip to me she's trying to divide the team. I planned on having someone in the NSA I know look into how she was even cleared to work at NCIS let alone on the MCRT."

Ian's eyes hardened. "I'll have a few people I know also look into her because if someone on her own team doesn't trust her then there is something off about the whole situation. For now, just have fun with your friends, Charlie, and let me worry about her causing trouble tonight."

Charlie laughed just as Tony sat down next to him. He kissed Ian on the cheek and then turned his head to look at one of his best friends. "Have you completed your last class for the semester yet?"

Tony groaned and ran a hand down his face. "I have and I'm glad that it is over with for the semester. I can't believe how idiotic some people can get and/or be. How hard it is to do the perquisite reading and then follow the instructions for an assignment? Is it really that damn hard for people to use their damn brains?"

Charlie snorted. "Some people just don't either like using their brain or they don't think they need to use their brain. You forget I teach several classes where students don't tend to use their brain like they should. How bad was it?"

Tony shook his head. "The lecture went well, but when it came to the homework the students didn't read what they were supposed to, and it just went downhill from there. I actually enjoyed the class this semester and I think that I'll enjoy next semester's class as well."

Ian looked at Tony with a raise eyebrow. He knew what Charlie was doing and had no problem egging it on because he had seen the looks the two junior members of the NCIS MCRT had given Tony. "What class was you taking, DiNozzo?"

Tony smirked as he looked at Ian. "I wasn't taking a class, Edgerton, I was teaching a class. However, to answer your question I was teaching Science and Technology in 20th Century. It's easy enough to keep up on since I do it online through Harvard. I swear the Dean there loves to make me go crazy with the classes he asks me to teach. Last semester I was teaching Domestic Architecture: Critical History which I had a blast with. Next semester I will be teaching Topics in Theory and Criticism in Art History and Art, Science, and Technology. I would have taught two different topics this past semester, but I was also teaching at Quantico on certain days for their Undercover classes at the FBI academy."

Tim who had been listening in shock finally scoffed. "There is no way that you teach classes even online for Harvard, Tony. After all I know that you only have a Phys Ed. Degree."

Charlie turned and looked at Tim with hard eyes. "You're not very smart are you, Agent McGee? I mean after all anyone who has a brain and uses it knows that Tony has two different files with NCIS and only those with a high enough and specific clearance are actually able to access his complete file. I know for a fact that the current Director of NCIS isn't even able to view his complete file and that was before I had a talk with the Secretary of Defense because of some things I have heard about her. There is a reason that Tony is the one that is tapped to teach the Undercover classes for any of the alphabet agencies and all law enforcement agencies."

Gibbs shook his head. "McGee, I've told you more than once that you don't know what you're talking about so knock it the hell off already. I'm tired of you thinking that you know better than Tony who is my Senior Field Agent. Professor Eppes is right, McGee, that the stuff you think you know about Tony comes from the file that we let be put on the NCIS computer servers. Do you really think that we keep complete files of any of our undercover operatives on a computer system that could be hacked? I thought you were smart but I'm starting to rethink that because you act like a moron."

Tim's mouth dropped open in shock. "Boss! I don't know what Tony has done to pull the wool over your eyes, Boss, but there is no way that he can be that smart. I mean look at the way he acts at work."

Ziva nodded. "Tony is nothing but a clown, Gibbs! How can you believe that he is smart?"

Tony snorted as he looked at his two teammates. He could tell that the BAU, G Callen, Sam Hanna, Edgerton, and Charlie were all about to lose their collective tempers. "How can you two think that you are even fit to work on the MCRT when you can't tell when something is true or not? Did you stop to think that the way I act when in the office is because it is my way to get us through the horrible shit we see day in and day out? If I didn't act like that then Tim would have already been back at Norfolk because he wouldn't have been able to handle the job and Ziva would have already been brought up on charges by someone else in the office. For your information I graduated from school when I was twelve and had my first degree before I turned fourteen-years-old. I didn't start at Ohio State until I was eighteen and then decided to get a degree in something less serious than what my first Doctorate was in which was Mathematics and I got that degree from Princeton which is where I met Charlie."

He took in a deep breath and let it out before he continued. He knew that he needed to calm down, but he didn't think that he could with how pissed off he was. He closed his eyes for a moment and then when he opened them back up he looked at Ziva and Tim with hard eyes. "I don't give a shit what you believe, but from now on you will follow my orders or I will write you up. I have been letting you guys get away with things other Agents let alone other Senior Field Agents wouldn't let you get away with and it stops now. If you cannot or will not follow the chain of command, then you can find yourself another team because there is no way in hell Gibbs or I are going to let you fuck up a case we are working on. It's time to learn how to do your job and do it well without one of us having to babysit your every move. The way you two have been acting on this case is unprofessional, and it stops now. Tim, you are a Probie and Ziva, you are a liaison so everyone that we are working on this case with outranks you. That you two can't see past a damn act and/or the mask someone wears just shows that you are not ready to be considered regular agents or in the field alone because you could and probably would miss an important piece of evidence and/or a clue of some kind."

Charlie couldn't help but laugh. "I enjoyed coming to your basketball and football games though while you were at Ohio State. I still find it hilarious that your teammates couldn't figure out just how you were able to make all the plays that you did. You would think that since they knew about your Mathematics doctorate that they would have figured out that you were using math to help you make the best plays for yourself and the team."

Ian looked at Tony and Charlie smirked. "So, you both know how to use math in everything that you do then every day. I tend to use math in my profession as well but not to the degree that Charlie uses it when he works cases with his brother."

Gibbs nodded and looked at Ian with a raised eyebrow. "Are you finally almost finished with your degree then, Edgerton? I know that you had to put it on hold for a year because of being drawn into an op."

Ian nodded. "I sit my dissertation in a month, and I can't wait to be done with it. I love learning different things about different cultures, but it sure has taken me long enough to get my Anthropology doctorate. There is so much that I have learnt and that I have even used in my line of work that I'm happy to know that I was right in thinking it would fit well with my career. I'm just happy that Georgetown hasn't and still doesn't have a problem with me doing most of my classwork online since I never know when I'll be in town to attend an actual class."

Tony snickered. "Georgetown is very good about working with those of us who are in law enforcement but are also students. I did my degree in film through Georgetown and they were wonderful when it came to working around my schedule. More often than not I was missing a class if not several classes because of a case or because I was working undercover somewhere. I wouldn't have known that though if Charlie and Spencer hadn't informed me of it when I was looking to go back for another degree. I'm of the belief that a good law enforcement officer doesn't stop learning just because they have the degree that they want and/or wanted. Things in law enforcement are constantly changing so it is best to learn and change with them otherwise you will get left behind."

Hotch nodded. "That is true, DiNozzo. I may no longer be going for a degree but that doesn't mean that I nor my team don't take courses here and there because we do for the simple fact that in our line of work we have to be on top of things. It's always best to strengthen areas that you are weak in and if a person thinks that they don't have any areas in which they are weak then that right there shows an area that they are weak in."

Gibbs snorted. "DiNozzo knows that perfectly well, Hotch, which is why he even got me to sign up to take some courses which I have to admit to I needed to do. Now, Professor Eppes, do you need to borrow DiNozzo in three days? I will be attending the class that he was talking about at the shooting range and I'll be making sure Agent McGee and Office David attend it too."

Charlie nodded. "I do think that having Tony doing most of the lecture would actually help, Agent Gibbs. Most LEO's around here know that I help out my brother using Math, but maybe they will listen more if they realize that there is someone else who uses Math to help with cases that he works on and that, that person is actually an Agent with a Federal Agency. Maybe if Spencer can also help then we can tag team everyone who shows up to make them realize that what they think they know they don't really know."

Hotch nodded slowly. "I don't see a problem with Reid helping you and Agent DiNozzo out, Professor Eppes. I think that my team will be attending that class as well for the simple fact that maybe it will help them get over any perceived prejudices that they have and/or have had in the past."

Charlie grinned. "Great. Thank you, Agent Gibbs and Agent Hotchner. I just have a feeling that this class will do a lot more towards promoting things that a lot of officers have forgotten since they went to school and/or got degrees of their own. I know that Hetty Lange is already planning on having her people attend the class because they have been doing more and more work with L.A.P.D."

G Callan nodded. "Hetty has already informed us that we will be taking the time to go to your class, Professor Eppes. She didn't really tell us why, but I think I now get why she wants us to sit in on your class and if Tony is going to be giving a lecture in it then I know it will be good. I've seen Tony lecture a class a couple times now and each time I have come back from that class with something I didn't know but probably should have. He has a way of making you look at things in a way that you want to scream because you didn't think of it that way before hand."

Tony blushed slightly. "I'm not that good, Callan."

Callan snorted. "No, you're not that good, Tony, you're a hundred times better. Now, if you even start to put yourself down I'll have the good Professor their head slap you."

Charlie laughed. "I used to do that when we attended Princeton together. From what Tony has told me Agent Gibbs now does it when he can tell that Tony is doubting himself."

Gibbs nodded sharply. "I do tend to head slap DiNozzo if I catch even a hint that he is doubting himself. However, I'm starting to think maybe I should be head slapping those that make him feel like he should doubt himself especially since nine out of ten times he is the one who is right and they are wrong."

Ian felt Charlie stiffen beside him and gently squeezed his shoulder before he turned hard eyes onto the two members of Gibbs' team who were looking at their boss in shock. "You know I have found that those who make other people doubt themselves do it because they know that they are in the wrong and want the spotlight off themselves. If anything, I think you two need to be booted back down and/or just down in Officer David's case to FLETC to learn what you obviously haven't by now. Personally, I think you two need your heads knocked together because obviously you're just too fucking stupid to know your heads from your asses. If I see either of you get up to shit that you shouldn't be while you are here screw going to your Director because I'll go over her fucking head to the Secretary of Defense and have you dealt with by them."

Charlie couldn't stop himself from kissing Ian's cheek before he looked back at Tony. "I think we need to finish our drinks and visit before a fight ends up breaking out."

Tony laughed and shook his head. "I know what you mean. Anyways, how have you been, Charlie? I've talked more to Spencer these last six months than either of us have talked to you combined."

Charlie sighed. "I've been slammed with things here including getting tapped for a couple ops that my brand of math was needed on. Thankfully that has slowed down now, and I don't think I'll be getting tapped again for at least a couple of months. You at least get the option of telling them no straight up because of your line of work and while I can tell them no, I get guilt tripped into doing it anyways."

Tony's eyes flashed in anger. "Oh, hell no! Next time you tell someone no and they try guilt tripping you, Charlie, you send the stupid ass to me and I'll deal with them. You have enough going on yourself that if you don't want to work on something or you think that you won't be a good fit to work on the project then tell them to take a flying leap. I get pressured to work on things I don't want, but Gibbs steps up and tells the person and/or people to go fuck themselves and they tend to leave me alone until I'm needed again. You deserve to have time to yourself, Charlie."

Spencer nodded. "Send them to me if you don't want to send them to Tony, Charlie. If they get pushy with me I'll send them to Hotch who I actually have on retainer as my lawyer for things just like that. He may be FBI now, but a lot of people still remember him from when he was a prosecutor."

Hotch smirked. "Dr. Eppes, before I leave Los Angeles, I'll sit down with you and have papers drawn up that state I'm your lawyer and before you tell me no I'll be doing the same thing with Agent DiNozzo. Nobody has the right to push you into working on something you don't feel comfortable working on. I'm sure that I can keep you three geniuses from getting roped into things you shouldn't be and/or don't want to be roped into and I'm sure that Gibbs and Edgerton will help me do it."

Ian grinned evilly. "Damn straight, Hotch! And where is the rest of your team, Hotch?"

Hotch rolled his eyes. "Rossi, Morgan, and Prentiss all decided they wanted to go out for drinks instead of to the shooting range. I'm sure that you'll meet them in the next couple of days, Edgerton."

Ian nodded and then looked at Charlie who just yawned. "Come on, Professor, time to get you home since you have had a long day. You can meet up with your two friends tomorrow for lunch just like you planned."

Charlie frowned but allowed Ian to pull him up onto his feet. He looked at Tony and Spencer with a sheepish smile. "I'll see you two for lunch tomorrow at our normal place."

Spencer and Tony both nodded but it was Tony who said, "We'll see you then, Charlie. I plan on going back to my hotel room here shortly myself and get some sleep. We'll see you at noon for lunch and if we can't make it one of us will call you."

Charlie huffed. "You had better make it, Tony, or I'll come hunt you and Spencer down with packed lunches. Neither of you can afford to skip meals right now and you both know it."

Tony scowled. "Yes, dad."

Charlie laughed and stuck his tongue out at Tony before he waved and let Ian guide him out of the bar. Once they were back in Ian's car, he leaned across the center console and pulled Ian into a heated kiss. Once he broke the kiss, he pecked Ian's lips one more time before he sat back in his car seat. "Thank you, Ian."

Ian shook his head. "Nothing to thank me for, Charlie, but you're welcome all the same. Now, lets get you home so you can sleep. I will see you tomorrow morning either at the FBI office or I'll stop by your office before you go to lunch with DiNozzo and Reid."

Charlie blushed but grinned at the same time. He was silent on the drive to his house other than giving directions, but he knew Ian didn't take it personally. He was just that exhausted and drained. Once at his house he gave Ian one hell of a good night kiss and then got out of the car. He didn't really care who saw who dropped him off or that he kissed Ian. He was a grown man and could date who he wanted to date. Once inside he waited until Ian drove off before going up to his bedroom. When he saw the clock on his nightstand, he was surprised to find that it was going on midnight. He stripped down to his boxers and after he brushed his teeth he climbed into bed. He fell asleep with a smile on his face. He really couldn't wait for the next day and just not because he'd be seeing his two best friends.

Chapter Text

Charlie finished his early morning class which happened to be the only class he had until his early evening class and decided to head over to FBI Headquarters because he knew that he needed to talk to his brother. As much as he’d rather not tell his brother about his burgeoning relationship with Ian, he knew that if he didn’t that it would come back and bite him on his ass. There were way too many people in and around L.A. that knew him and his brother and they wouldn’t hold back on telling Don if they saw him out on a date with someone. He finished packing up his office just as there was a knock on his office door. He looked up and couldn’t help but smile when he saw Ian standing there leaning against the doorjamb. “Good morning, Ian. You have good timing because I was just about to call you to ask for a ride to Headquarters. What brings you here?”

Ian smirked. “I wanted a good cup of coffee so while I was out, I decided to pop over and see you. I can give you a ride to HQ if that is what you want, Professor. Did you come up with something new for the case?”

Charlie shook his head and smiled softly. “No, I didn’t and unfortunately I don’t think I will until something else happens. I have a couple programs running, but so far nothing has popped up. I do have a question for you though, Ian.”

Ian walked forward and took Charlie’s bag from him at the same time he bent his head slightly and stole a quick but deep kiss from the younger man. “You can ask me anything you want, Charlie. What had you so deep in thought when I first got here if it wasn’t the case?”

Charlie sighed and ran a hand through his hair as he fought back a blush. “What I was so deep in thought about ties into the question I wanted to ask you. I like you, Ian, and I’d love to see if we can make a go of a relationship. I can be myself around you without really having to sensor what I do and/or say which is a first for me in a very long time. I like not having to hide who I am with you. Do you mind if I tell Don that I’m seeing and/or dating you? With as many people in this city who knows both him and I there is a very good chance that someone will see us out and tell him about it. I’d rather he hears it from me than from someone else. I don’t really want to hide whatever it is that we are from him longer than necessary.”

Ian chuckled. “You’re babbling, Professor. As for you telling Don I don’t have a problem with it. I told you last night that everyone at work knows that I’m bi-sexual, Charlie. If you want to tell Don then tell him. I was wondering last night if it would be a smart play to keep our relationship secret from your brother because I know how he is once he loses his temper. By the way, Professor, does your brother have a problem with DiNozzo and Reid? As I was walking by him this morning, I could hear him muttering to himself about those two and you.”

Charlie groaned. “I promised Don a long time ago that I would let him know when and if Tony and Spencer were in town and I was going to be meeting up with them. I forgot to text him last night to let him know they were in town. Tony, Spencer, and I have a tendency to find and get into some sort of trouble without trying too and Don knows that. He’s probably gearing up to wait on someone calling him to tell him that one of the three of us have been injured somehow.”

Ian looked at Charlie with wide eyes. “What the hell?”

Charlie rolled his eyes and huffed. “Most of the time it is us being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The last time all three of us were together we walked into a robbery. I took the guy out, but just as I did he got a shot off and Tony was shot in the shoulder after pushing someone out of the way. There was no way in hell any of us three were going to let a civilian be hurt if we could stop it.”

Ian groaned and shook his head. “It sounds like I’m going to have my hands full with you, Professor, but that is more than fine with me. I’ll drive you to HQ and then drive you to wherever you’re meeting DiNozzo and Reid for lunch. From what Gibbs and Hotchner have let slip DiNozzo and Reid both tend to find trouble wherever they go no matter if they are looking for it or not.”

Charlie laughed and grabbed up his laptop bag and bag. “They’ve always been like that for as long as I’ve known them, Ian. Then again I’ve always been known to get into trouble without looking for it too. I think that is why we hit it off so well. At least unlike those two I have not ended up with a medical problem that involved a biochemical attack of some kind.”

Ian swore as he led Charlie to his car. “You just jinxed yourself, Professor. If you end up in the hospital due to some kind of biochemical attack I’m going to yell and lecture you for hours if not days. So, what is your opinion on DiNozzo’s two junior teammates?”

Charlie rolled his eyes as he settled into the passenger seat of Ian’s car. “I think that they are both full of themselves. They’re going to end up getting themselves or someone else hurt because of their arrogance and if they do, I’ll make sure they pay for it. I don’t trust them to have Tony’s back and I really don’t trust Miss Mossad. Tony seems to think that the current Director and Miss Mossad have some kind of arrangement and if that is the case Director Jenny Sheppard is going to soon find herself out of a job. There are several questions I have for not only Ziva David but for Jenny Sheppard and Eli David as well.”

Ian shot a look at Charlie with a raised eyebrow before he looked back at the road as he drove. “What question or questions could you possibly have for Eli David, Professor?”

Charlie’s eyes flashed even as he smirked when he turned his head to look at Ian. He knew that Ian could see him out of the corner of his right eye. “I want to know how Eli David could possibly think that he will get away with the shit he has done. Does he really think that Tony or Gibbs for one second didn’t and still doesn’t realize that they know he ordered Ziva to kill her own brother to gain Gibbs trust? Does he really think that those in Intelligence truly believes that he didn’t know his son was a traitor to Mossad and was really a Hamas operative? Does he think us Americans and others from other Countries are stupid enough to believe his lies?”

Ian’s eyes hardened as he thought about what Charlie just told him. There was no way that a Mossad Agent would kill another one without permission because if it was found out that person would die and die slowly. “While you are having your lunch with your two friends, I’ll be making some phone calls to some people I know. I would feel better knowing just how much access Miss David has to knowing where our Navy and Military people are stationed. If it turns out that Director Sheppard didn’t limit what Miss David could access then there is a very good chance that the NCIS Director will NOT only be fired but could be up for treason for sharing things with a foreign country that has no right to know things about our military. I didn’t like the look she kept getting in her eyes last night when she thought nobody was looking. She’s looking to break up the team and if Gibbs and DiNozzo wasn’t as close as they are, she would have probably already succeeded. I don’t know what Agent McGee’s problem is but he is going to find himself knocked back down to a desk agent if he doesn’t shape the hell up. We’ll table this discussion until after the case you and I are working on is over unless something happens before then.”

Charlie nodded and smiled softly. “Thank you, Ian. I know that you didn’t have to take on what I’m doing, and I appreciate that you are willing to help me out in figuring out the mess that Tony and the whole of NCIS seems to be in currently. As for the sniper case we’re working on I know that I’m missing something, but I can’t figure it out just yet. I may run it by Tony and Spencer during lunch because Tony is pretty damn good about thinking outside the box and Spencer has a very quick mind. Teri is good at what she does but she never trained to be a profiler so she could also be missing something Spencer will pick upon. I’m hoping that my talk with Don won’t be more than a half hour so that I can meet with Tony and Spencer on time because if I don’t they’ll give me hell for being late just because they can.”

Ian laughed. “I have some friends and family like that myself. I don’t think that they’ll give you too much trouble about being late if you are, but I’ll make sure to come get you if it’s getting close to the time you need to leave to make it. Are you sure you want to tell Don? I don’t want you to feel like you have to if you don’t want to, Charlie.”

Charlie shook his head and looked at Ian over the top of the car once he climbed out of it after Ian parked and shut it off. “I do want to tell Don, Ian. I’m not ashamed of dating you and I know that if Don learns about it from someone else that he will think I am. I love my brother dearly, but I also know how his mind works most of the time. I should have told him a long time ago that I’m bi-sexual.”

Ian snorted. “I don’t see him having a problem with it except that you didn’t tell him sooner. I’ll call Gibbs to have him tell DiNozzo and Reid that you may be running a few minutes late.”

Charlie walked around the car to Ian and kissed him on the cheek before he turned on his heel and headed into the FBI building. He wanted to get his conversation with Don over before he got cold feet again. Once on the floor that Don worked on he looked around and laughed under his breath when he spotted him in the break room getting a cup of coffee. He walked in and tapped his brother on the shoulder. He smirked as Don turned around because he had managed to sneak up on his brother for once. “Hey, do you have a few minutes? I want to talk to you about something before you find out from someone else.”

Don raised an eyebrow as he looked at his younger brother. “Does this have anything to do with Tony and Spencer being in town? I thought we agreed that you would warn me when you three would be getting together so that I can keep an eye on you guys.”

Charlie rolled his eyes. “I didn’t tell you they were in town because they’re not here for personal reasons. Both Tony and Spencer are here with their teams and they’re working with NCIS L.A on some kind of case. I will be having lunch with them here in a little bit and Tony will be lecturing at my Applied Mathematics for LEO Dummies class in a couple days. However, no that isn’t what I wanted to talk to you about.”

Don nodded and motioned for Charlie to follow him. He led him into the war room since it was empty and closed the door before he turned back to look at his brother. He could tell that Charlie was nervous for some reason and he wanted to know why. “What’s going on, Charlie? You’re acting like you’re about to jump out of your skin. You know that you can tell me anything.”

Charlie took in a deep breath and let it out before he blurted, “I’m bi-sexual and I’m dating Ian Edgerton as of last night.”

Don choked on the drink of coffee he just swallowed. Once he could breathe again, he looked at his brother and rolled his eyes. “Did you really think I didn’t know you were bi-sexual, Charlie? Mom told me years ago that you were bi-sexual because she didn’t want to take the chance of me teasing you. I knew before that though because I caught you looking at a few of my friends in high school. I never told you that I knew because you never brought it up or brought a man home and introduced him to dad or me. As for you dating Edgerton that doesn’t really surprise me either. I’m not blind, brother of mine, and I could see the sexual tension between you two from a mile away. As long as you know what you’re doing I won’t say or do anything because I know that you are an adult. I may tease you, Charlie, but I’d never stop you from seeing someone if you really liked and wanted to be with them. I do have a question for you though.”

Charlie looked sheepish and blushed at the look in his brother’s eyes. “What?”

Don smirked. “Did you have fun letting Edgerton teach you how to shoot a rifle last night?”

Charlie’s mouth dropped open and then snapped shut. “How do you know about that?”

Don threw his head back and laughed. “I know the Range Master and he called me last night after you left to let me know you had been there firing a rifle. That is also how I found out that Tony and Spencer were in town, but he didn’t tell me that their teams were also with them. Just like he always calls me when you go to the shooting range. Is there a reason why you never told me you knew how to fire a gun?”

Charlie shrugged his shoulders. “There is a lot of things I haven’t told you and can’t tell you, Don. I learned how to shoot a handgun years ago and before you blow your top mom knew that I was learning how to shoot one. There is a reason I’m in contact with several agencies as I told you in the past, Don, when we had to deal with the CDC people. Mom was actually the one that wanted me to learn how to shoot a gun because if I was going to be helping with agencies or even corporate companies with stuff then she wanted me to be able to take care of myself if someone ever came after me or anything like that. Mom never told dad because she knew he would freak out and I hide the fact that I know how to shoot a handgun from him for that reason alone.”

Don nodded thoughtfully. “So, why did you have Edgerton teach you how to shoot then?”

Charlie bit his lip for a minute. “I may know how to shoot a handgun, but I didn’t know how to shoot a rifle. There is something that I’m missing with this case and I had hoped that by learning how to fire a rifle that I’d be able to figure out what it is that I’m missing. Just to let you know I’m going to talk about the case to Tony and Spencer over lunch because they might be able to see what it is that I’m missing. There is a reason why all three of us are best friends and that is because we tend to be able to help one of the others of us to see something that we’re not picking up on ourselves. Tony is a genius, but he has no problem thinking outside of the box when it comes to a case. Spencer is a genius and he is able to think quickly and see something that isn’t where it should be right away. We each have our own strengths and weaknesses but when you put us together, we’re almost unstoppable.”

Don sighed. “Just be careful. Do you want me to come to lunch with you?”

Charlie shook his head and then stopped. “If you want to come you can, but you’ll be regulated to the table Ian will be sitting at probably with Hotchner and Gibbs. I just have a feeling those three aren’t going to let us out of their eyesight for whatever reason.”

Don snorted. “I’ll come along because I want to ask Hotchner a question. I have a feeling that Terry is going to be asking for a transfer sometime soon and I’d like to have an actual profiler on our team. I want to find out if he knows of anyone and I haven’t been able to get a hold of Gideon to see if he knows of anyone.”

Charlie ran a hand through his hair. “From what Spencer has told me in the past Jason Gideon upped and left with nothing but a letter. It pisses me off and I wanted to find him to give him hell, but Spencer asked me not to, so I let it go. I don’t like that Spencer was hurt by Gideon and if I ever see him again, I won’t hold back on what I think about what he did to not only Spencer but the rest of his team. You truly don’t have a problem with me dating Ian?”

Don smiled and clapped Charlie on the shoulder. “As much as I’d love to tell you that I don’t want you seeing him I’d be a hypocrite because of some of the people I dated in the past. In the last year you have withdrawn into yourself slightly and nothing dad or I did brought you out of it, but I can see that Edgerton is already making you stop withdrawing into yourself. You’re more you now if that makes sense. You both are consenting adults. As long as he doesn’t hurt you then no I don’t have a problem with you dating Edgerton. Besides maybe you dating him and not hiding it will stop Amita from trying to hit on you constantly.”

Charlie groaned. “I have just been acting like I didn’t know what she was doing because I didn’t want to make it weird between us. She’s a nice young woman, but at this point in my life she isn’t who or what I want for myself. Hell I didn’t know who or what I wanted for myself until yesterday and it hit me out of the blue. If you’re coming with Ian and me to meet up with Tony and Spencer, then you need to let David and Teri know that you’re leaving for an hour or two. I don’t want to be late because then I’ll be lectured by both of them and their lectures make me want to cringe sometimes. Oh, and I still have a couple programs running but so far nothing.”

Don chuckled and led Charlie out of the war room and over to David’s desk where Teri, David, and Ian were all gathered. “Take a lunch break you two because until we get some of the results from the evidence that was collected, and Charlie’s programs are finished running we don’t have any suspects to pick up or talk to yet. I’m going to lunch with Charlie and Edgerton and will be back in an hour or two.”

He didn’t wait for them to respond to them and instead shepherd Charlie and Ian to the elevator and into it once the doors opened. He knew that both of his teammates were probably wondering what the hell was going on, but he wasn’t about to out his brother or a fellow Agent without their permission. He looked at Ian with narrowed eyes once they were heading to Ian’s car. “You better treat my brother right, Edgerton, or I’ll see just what I remember of what you taught me.”

Ian nodded curtly. “I’ll treat him right, Eppes, you have my word on that.”

Don smirked. “Oh, I know that you’ll treat him right. I just wanted to make sure you knew where I stood when it comes to you two being in a relationship.”

Charlie huffed and muttered, “You two are going to be the death of me.”

Don and Ian both laughed and then settled into the car without another word spoken about Ian’s and Charlie’s relationship. All three of them made small talk as they headed to the diner that Charlie, Spencer, and Tony all loved to eat at. Unfortunately for them their peace was about to be shattered when a threat made itself known towards Charlie, Tony, and Spencer from their past.

Chapter Text


Tony sighed and set the papers he was reading through down. He had been reading through several different reports for the last three hours and needed a short break before his eyes started crossing on him. He looked up when he heard a throat clear and smiled slightly when he saw Hetty Lange standing in front of the desk he had commandeered. "Hello, Miss Hetty. What can I do for you?"

Hetty smiled because besides Gibbs, Tony, Spencer, and Hotch she hadn't given any of the others not on her team permission to call her by name. She had seen the way Agent McGee and Officer David treated Tony and wanted to make sure that they knew she trusted and respected Tony more than she did them. She had given the rest of Hotch's team permission to call her by her given name when McGee and David weren't around, but they continued to call her Miss Lange or just Lange so that they didn't slip up on accident. "Callen told me that you met up with Professor Charles Eppes last night and got to be talking about a class he will be holding within the next few days. Will you really be teaching the class with him?"

Tony blushed even as he nodded. "I will be. Charlie, Spencer, and I used to help one another teach whenever one of us was free and in the area to do so, Hetty. There is a reason why all three of us has at least one degree that is the same. I'm just glad that he is holding a class while I'm here because I feel the need to educate those working in Law Enforcement. There are too many who don't think outside the box on getting help when it comes to a case because they don't seem to use their damn brains. I know that it took a bit for Charlie to make Don see that he could help them solve cases and that is because people don't use their brains to think things through like they should."

Hetty laughed. "That is true, Tony. I'm glad to see that you are still bettering yourself even if I don't think you need to anymore. I was surprised to see your name on the list of a certain conference that is coming up in three months' time. I didn't think that you liked speaking at those after the last one you spoke at when you were still a Detective with the Baltimore PD."

Tony groaned and shrugged his shoulders. "SecNav asked me to speak at the conference and while he made sure that I knew it was only a request and not an order I agreed to do it. The topic is one that I believe in completely, so I didn't see a problem with agreeing to be a key speaker at the conference. Besides I think this is the first time that NCIS will have a representative be a keynote speaker at a conference this big."

Hetty smiled slightly because she knew that Tony would be the best speaker at the conference. "I'll be joining you at the conference as will Callen and Sam who will be acting as your bodyguards. Before you refuse, Tony, you should know that it was SecNav himself who demanded that you have bodyguards for the whole of the conference. If I'm not mistaken Professor Eppes will also be speaking at the conference and he too will have two bodyguards. You and I both know that by then you will need them. In all honesty if I thought I could get two put on Spencer I would, but I know Agent Hotchner will make sure that he isn't on his own at all."

Tony ran a hand down his face. "What have you heard that I haven't, Hetty? Is there some kind of threat to Charlie, Spencer, and me? Don't think that I missed the fact that Callen and Sam have been following Spencer and I around everywhere we go and if we split up then they split up. I also have a feeling that Charlie is being tailed without him, his brother, Edgerton, or any of his brother's team seeing the person. What is going on, Hetty? I want the truth and not just what you think I should know. I have the right to know if I'm in danger and where that danger is coming from."

Hetty snorted because she should have realized that Tony would pick up on the fact he was being followed. "Do you remember what you, Spencer, and Charlie broke up when you were attending Princeton?"

Tony frowned and then his eyes widened in shock. "Are you saying that they are out of prison now? I thought that they had another ten years to go yet. And why in the fuck wasn't I notified? I know that Spencer nor Charlie have been notified either because they would have told me!"

Hetty frowned. "They haven't been released, Tony. I'm not sure how but three of them have escaped and two of the three are ones that made threats towards you, Charlie, and Spencer. You should have been told because I know Philip told Jenny to tell you. I'll investigate just why you weren't told information that you needed to know. In the meantime, you'll have a tail as will Spencer and Charlie. You will not try to lose the tail that you have, Agent DiNozzo, because if you do then I can guarantee that you won't like what happens next."

Tony groaned. "I won't try to lose my tail as long as they let me have my privacy and don't report everything I get up to, Hetty. It's nobody's business what I get up to or who I'm spending time with unless I'm the one to tell people. As for you investigating why I wasn't told I suggest that you start with the Director because she is pissed at me for reasons I won't say right now."

Hetty's eyes flashed. "I'll look into it, Tony, and I promise you that if she didn't tell you because of being pissed at you then it is the last thing she'll ever do as Director when it comes to you. I have a pretty good idea on what you did to piss her off and I agree with you on not doing what she probably asked you to do. As for why Spencer hasn't been told if I have to take a guess it would be because he hasn't been home long enough to be able to meet with the Director."

Spencer who had been listening from where he was sitting across from Tony nodded. "The Director left me a message to meet with him as soon as we get back from this case. I know that he has tried to reach me a couple times, but before he could we were on another case already. I know for a fact he didn't even both going to our Section Chief because he wants/wanted to be the one to see me to tell me what I have just learnt. I promise that I won't try to lose any tail that I have. I remember how vicious those men were and they are probably even worse now."

Ziva scoffed. "I doubt they could have been vicious if three college students took them down. I don't see why Tony needs a tail when I'll be around wherever he goes to protect him since he can't protect himself."

Hetty turned her head to look at Ziva and glared at her with hard eyes. "Officer David, might I remind you that you are a Liaison with NCIS and not an actual Agent? Besides I doubt Tony wants you to go to the lunch date he and Spencer are having with Professor Eppes. I don't know where your sense of superiority comes from, but I think it high time you lose it before you end up hurt or killed. As for Tony, Spencer, and Charlie taking them down even in college they were taking different forms of hand-to-hand and martial arts. The people they took down wasn't expecting them because they are that damn good when it comes to getting underestimated. I would have thought you would have learned that by now since it was Tony who took out your brother instead of you no matter what you made your father or anyone else believe."

Tony smirked. "There is no way in hell that she is coming to lunch with Spencer, Charlie, and me. I have a feeling Hotch, Gibbs, Sam, and Callen will be tagging along as it is which is fine, but they will be sitting at a separate table. This is my time with my two best friends, and we have some things to discuss that isn't for anyone else's ears."

Hetty laughed. "It is about time for another program to come out from all three of you so I don't see a problem with you three having a t able to yourselves. Just make sure that Gibbs, Hotch, Sam, and Callen can keep you in their line of sight. I know that you three can take care of yourselves, Tony, but there is nothing wrong with having help on hand in case you need it. Now, you and Spencer need to leave if you're going to make it on time to your lunch date. Enjoy your lunch and tell Charlie I expect to see him before his class in a couple days."

Tony laughed and stood up. He nodded at everyone and bit back another laugh when Kensi, Deeks, Emily Prentiss, Jennifer "JJ" Jareau, Derek Morgan, and David Rossi blocked Ziva and Tim from following him and Spencer out of the NCIS building. They didn't need anyone else following them on top of the four that were already following them. He was surprised that Gibbs, Hotch, Sam, and Callen let him drive himself and Spencer to the diner they were going to. Then again, he shouldn't have been since Gibbs knew he'd probably buck at that. Once at the diner he led Spencer to their normal table and motioned for their tail to grab one that was several tables away but in line of sight.

Chapter Text


Spencer looked at Tony with a raised eyebrow once they were alone and wouldn't be overheard by the four that tagged along with them. "What is running through your head, Tony?"

Tony sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "I have a feeling Director Sheppard didn't tell me about them escaping because I refused to do the op that she wanted me to do. I don't give a shit that she's the Director of a Federal Agency. There is no way in hell I'm going to do an op that I believe to be unsanctioned. She was pissed when I told her there was no way in hell, I was going to do the op without written authorization from SecNav on his personal letterhead."

Spencer scowled. "There is something fishy about your Director and about Ziva David even being on your team, Tony. You won't say a word about Charlie or me using our connections to look into things to our satisfaction. We haven't pushed it too much with you, but after her not telling you about those three escaping and trying to get you to do an unsanctioned op we're going to push and push hard. I won't stand by and let your life be in danger like that just like you wouldn't stand by and let mine or Charlie's lives be in danger. Am I understood?"

Tony groaned but nodded. "I'll let you, Charlie, and even Hotch and Ian look into things, Spencer. I don't enjoy not being able to trust a teammate to have my back out in the field. What I want to know is how in the fuck Ziva passed on that she was the one to kill Ari to her father or anyone else for that matter. I know for a fact that Gibbs put it in his report that Ziva hesitated when it came time to take the shot and that I had to shoot him instead. I'm not sure what it is, but there is something about Ziva that rubs me the wrong way. Maybe it is just the way she got on the team."

Spencer shook his head. "Tony, you have had to worked out by now that she was the one who gave Ari profiles on all of your team. She is the reason that Ari targeted Kate the way he did. I'm not even on the same team as her and she rubs me the wrong way and I know she also rubs Rossi, Prentiss, Morgan, and JJ wrong as well. If you would actually sit back and just look at everyone when we're all next together, you'll find that the only person who sits by her willingly is McGee. Now, lets put Ziva out of our minds because here comes Charlie and we not only have catching up to do but work to do as well. Charlie's brother and Ian are both with Charlie and while he is heading to us, they are heading towards the other group."

Tony snorted. "Charlie must have told Don that he was seeing Edgerton." He looked up just as Charlie got to the table and grinned. "Have a tail yourself, do you?"

Charlie sat down and frowned. "I placed our order before joining you two since it looked like you were deep in conversation. And to answer your question, Tony, no, I don't have a tail. Well as far as I know Ian and Don aren't tailing me unlike the rotation of Agents, I have seen tailing me when I'm not with Don or one of his team. I had an email from the Assistant Director asking me to meet with him tonight at six, so I guess I'll find out why I've had a tail the last couple of days then. I know that A.D. Wright wanted to meet with me a couple days ago, but he got pulled into an emergency of some kind. What do you two know that I don't?"

Spencer shook his head and quickly filled Charlie in on what him and Tony had just found out less than an hour ago. He took in a deep breath and let it out as he finally summed everything up so that Charlie was caught up. He then said, "Johnson and Whitehall are going to be the ones to come after us because they're the only ones who made overt threats towards us. I'm not sure who the third one that escaped is, but I'll make sure to ask Hetty when we get back. There isn't much we can do until we figure out where they are right now and as far as I know Hetty doesn't even know where they are. I suggest that we catch up and then work on finishing up one of the three projects we have going."

Charlie nodded. "Besides work for me I haven't been up to much at all. Oh, I have been dodging Amita's attempts at hitting on me and acting like I don't know what she's doing. She may be pretty, and I can admit that she is, but until yesterday I wasn't even sure what I wanted in my life other than not her right now. I've been helping Don quite a bit and I enjoy the time I get to spend with him when we're working on a case together. I like the relationship I have with my brother now and we're finally at a place where we're equals. What about you two? Do you have someone you like or have you finally told the people I know you both like that you like them?"

Spencer blushed. "I haven't told Hotch that I like him in that way, but I've been spending time with him and Jack since Haley left them. I really wish I knew what Haley was thinking when she just walked out on not just Hotch but Jack too."

Tony frowned. "Did you give Hotch the name of the lawyer I suggested so that he could make sure Haley couldn't come back and try to take Jack away from him?"

Spencer nodded. "He's already met with Caldwell and started the process of having Haley's rights terminated. I know that he's also started the divorce process as well. I know that he is angry and hurt, but I'm surprised he isn't hurting more than he is if that makes sense."

Tony shook his head. "From what little you told me about Hotch and Haley if I'd have to guess I'd say that he was already out of love with her or falling out of love with her. I know that if it was me in his position, I would have done left her a long time ago when she started making demands that he quit his job and go into politics or whatever else she wanted him to do. I may not know the man that well, but from what I can see and tell he's great at his job and loves being able to help others the way he helps them. I can't see him wanting to go into politics or prosecution after doing the work he has done."

Charlie smiled slightly. "I can't see any of you changing your jobs because you love what you do and whoever you are with shouldn't want to make you change who you are. Tony, have you told Gibbs how you feel about him?"

Tony rolled his eyes. "I have not and I'm not sure that I ever will. I feel like him and I are finally on the same page and I don't want to destroy what we do have. I love him, but I'm scared of being hurt or hurting him when he has already been through so much. Right now, I just want to make sure him and I come out alive of every case we work because I can't trust McGee or David to have our backs with the way they've been acting."

Spencer patted Tony on the shoulder. "Alright enough of the heavy stuff. We have three projects that are close to being finished and an idea of the next one to start. Are we all in agreement that the Math book we wrote is complete and ready to go to print? I know that the publishers want to know if we have any other changed planned because they'd like to get it out in the next six weeks so that it can be added to book lists."

Tony and Charlie both nodded but it was Charlie who said, "The book is complete, and we did a wonderful job on it if I say so myself. I know that we worked hard on it because we wanted to make sure that it was easy for kids in grade school to use. The program we have wrote will be available to everyone in three months just in time for the conference all three of us are attending. I like that it makes searches easier when it comes to certain cases. It also makes it easier to link cases together that match certain parameters and an alert will be sent to whoever has the original case along with the person or team that is working on the new case if there is one. I know that certain Agencies are going to be pissed that we let certain Police Departments test it out, but we agreed that was only fair since NSA got to test out the last program, we came out with a year ago."

Tony chuckled. "The next program NCIS will get to test if and ONLY if Shepard is NO longer the Director of NCIS. I refuse to let her have any say in anything we make when it comes to programs to make our job easier. If she's still the director, then the FBI get to test it out before we put it on the market. Our third project is the biggest one which is another book but a crime novel that is Non-Fiction. I think the book will make a lot of people look at what we do differently once they read it. I'm actually surprised Gibbs hasn't caught on yet to the book because I know he saw a copy of it when he stopped by my condo a couple weeks ago."

Charlie laughed. "Dad and Don have both seen it and picked it up but never asked me about it. At least our book unlike McGee's shows how people and a team can work together in a real way and not like how he wrote it in Deep Six. I'm surprised that your Director let the book become published because he skirts way too close to a case, I know you worked, Tony."

Tony's eyes flashed in anger even as he shot a smile at the waitress who placed their food on their table. He waited until she left before he answered Charlie. "Can you email me which case and what he wrote about it, Charlie? I refused to read it after I skimmed through parts. He's going to be lucky if I don't end up suing him for the way he portrayed me, and I know for a fact Jimmy should sue him because of how he was portrayed. I want to know what the fuck that boy was thinking when he wrote his damn book. I mean if you're going to write fiction then don't base the damn book off a case we worked or people you worth it especially without asking if you can use the likeness of said people. I don't begrudge him wanting to be an author, but at least make fucking sure that you're not breaking the damn law when you do write. Also make sure the people whose likeness you are using doesn't do undercover work. If my life ends up in danger because of his book he's going to wish he was never fucking born."

Spencer snickered as he took a bite of the chicken salad Charlie had ordered him. He ate it and then took a drink of his coffee before he looked at Tony with grin. "Tony, you have to make sure to give him a copy of our book when it comes out and then take a picture of the look on his face when he sees that it's written by us. That book has been years in the making and we've finally finished it. I think that we took so much time writing it has only helped to make it that much better. We showed how to solve crimes in different ways just to prove to others that there is not just one way in which to solve cases."

Tony laughed after he swallowed a bite of the country fried steak Charlie had ordered him. "I swear some of the things we got up to while working on that book is going to land us in trouble with people that we know. I suspect that I'll end up with one hell of a lecture from Gibbs once he reads the book."

Charlie rolled his eyes as he chewed on the bite of meatloaf he had ordered. "My dad, Don, and probably even Ian are going to want to tan my hide when it comes to light some of the things I did. I may not be an Agent, but I know what I am doing even if they didn't and still don't know that. Although Ian may not get on me about it because on our date he pretty much told me that he knows more about what I have gotten up to than my own brother and father know. I get that I couldn't tell Don and dad about a lot of the things I got up to, but I hate that they don't know just how well I can take care of myself. They sometimes still treat me like I'm twelve years old and need their help with the bullies."

Spencer smiled softly and shook his head. "I think I'm lucky in that aspect. I know that I'll catch flack on some of the stuff I pulled in the book; it's just that I know it won't be coming from Hotch or Rossi. No, if anyone gives me hell on the stuff I did in the book it is going to be Morgan because he just can't seem to get past my degrees. He seems to think that I'm innocent and that I need him to protect me when I don't even if I excel more at hand-to-hand than I do at shooting a gun."

Charlie cracked up at that and had to hold onto the table so that he didn't fall off his chair as he laughed his ass off. "Hell, Spence, you put Tony on his ass more often than not after six months of training! How in the hell does Derek Morgan not know that?"

Spencer smirked. "Morgan doesn't know it because I requested that my hand-to-hand combat score be locked so that nobody other than Hotch could see the score. I like that I'm underestimated because I'm able to do so much more from the shadows if that makes sense."

Tony nodded. "My hand-to-hand combat score and my shooting scores are actually locked and the only person who can unlock them are SecNav and I know that he understands why I didn't want my true scores marked down in my files. I'm actually not sure if Gibbs even knows my true scores because when I'm sparring with him or shooting at the range with him I tend to hold back. In our line of work it is a good thing to be underestimated because people don't see us coming that way."

Charlie nodded thoughtfully. "I could see that. Wright wants me to test on the hand-to-hand, but I told him if I did that he isn't to put my scores anywhere my brother or his team could see. Don did tell me today that he knows I go to the shooting range and he understand why I never told him. I kind of told him that mom wanted me to be able to protect myself and he let it go. While that is the truth it isn't the whole truth. I like knowing that I can take care of myself and that if I'm ever in a situation I won't be a liability because I can't fight my way out of a wet paper bag. By the way have either of you seen or heard from Jasmine in the last three months? I last talked to her about four months ago and something was wrong, but she wouldn't tell me what. I've been trying to call her but no answer."

Tony shook his head. "I haven't seen or heard from her since the last time we all got together twenty months ago, Charlie. I can ask around if you'd like me to though."

Charlie nodded. "I'd appreciate that, Tony. She hasn't been that good at keeping in contact with me since I last saw her twenty month ago. What about you, Spencer?"

Spencer shook his head. "I haven't seen or talked to her since then either, Charlie. Like Tony I'll ask around and see what I can find out. I'm sure that between the three of us we should be able to figure out if she got pulled into something top secret."

Charlie nodded again as he pushed his plate away. He looked over his shoulder and saw the group of men that came along with the three of them looking at them with narrowed eyes and smirked. He turned back to look at Spencer and Tony. "I think our tagalongs want to know just we got up to during our lunch meeting."

Spencer looked over at the table with a raised eyebrow before he looked at his two best friends. "They can continue wanting to know because I know that none of us are going to tell them. It wouldn't do for us to give away what we've been doing the last several months before things are out on the market. I do think though that we need to get back to work."

Tony nodded at the same time Charlie did. "We'll get together tomorrow night so that we can go over the lecture notes together. I can't wait for all three of us to teach a class together again. I always did love teaching when you two taught with me. It just makes it so much funner. Charlie, call us if you need us before tomorrow night and we'll do the same."

Charlie nodded and stood up. He pulled money out for a tip and left it on the table just like Spencer and Tony did since he paid for their meal when he ordered it. He gave Spencer and Tony a hug before he led the way over to the group. He smiled at everyone and waved when they all stood up as one. He rolled his eyes and laughed. "We're ready to leave now."

Ian grinned. "Did you enjoy yourself, Professor? Every time we looked over there it looked like you were either having fun or in a serious discussion."

Charlie just grinned up at Ian. "We did have fun and no we won't be telling anyone what we discussed. It was a catch-up and working lunch."

Ian just nodded. "I understand, Professor. Alright then tell your friends goodbye and we'll head back to HQ."

Charlie rolled his eyes but did as Ian told him too. He wasn't surprised that Tony's and Spencer's group followed him, Ian, and Don out of the diner. He really did enjoy his lunch even if some of what he learned brought up things he'd rather forget for a few more years. He had no doubt that Spencer and Tony felt the same way he did too.

Chapter Text


Callen looks at Hotch and Gibbs with a raised eyebrow. "What do you think their lunch meeting is about? I know that it's not about them just catching up with one another since Tony said it was a working lunch."

Gibbs shrugged. "I gave up a long time ago trying to get an answer out of Tony when it comes to his two best friends and what they work on together. I know that whatever they have worked on or came up with is set to come out about the same time Tony has to go to that conference. Actually, I think that is why SecNav wants Tony there besides giving a lecture or two."

Hotch nodded. "I know from the attendance sheet that the Director of the FBI was given that both Spencer and Professor Eppes are also due to be speakers at the conference. I know from the contracts that Spencer had me look over that they have three things coming out, but that is all I know since whatever is coming out was redacted. I just read over the contracts to make sure that his best interest is protected. Actually, what I'm interested in is a rumor that Dave has heard."

Gibbs narrowed his eyes. "What kind of rumor has Rossi heard that has you interested, Hotch? Normally you aren't one that listens to rumors."

Hotch smirked. "Dave's publisher let it slip that there is a new book coming out and it's written by three people. The book is supposed to focus on crime, and it is Non-Fiction. I have also heard from several people at the DoJ that they've been busy reviewing things for a book that will be coming out in the near future. I have asked a couple people, but they are pretty tight lipped about what is in the book."

Gibbs looked at Hotch and then chuckled. "I do believe that Tony, Reid, and Eppes have written a book. I've seen a book laying around Tony's place, but I didn't ask him any questions when I noticed that there were several edits being done on it. I know how private Tony can be about projects that he is working on. I'm not blind to what Tony does even if others that work with him are. I really want to know where McGee and David got their superiority from because it is getting worse and they're going to end up on the wrong side of Tony and others."

Sam snorted. "I'm tired of the way both of them treat Tony. Why in the hell do they think they are better than Tony? I mean all you have to do is watch him and you'll learn something new without even knowing it. I may not work with him a lot, but hell even I knew he started college early and that OSU wasn't until later on. How in the hell could McGee not know that Tony has more than just his Phys Ed degree?"

Ian who had just sat down looked at Sam with a grim smile on his face. "McGee doesn't know because he doesn't want to know, Hanna. He likes thinking he knows better than everyone else because of where he went to school for his degrees. I did some research on DiNozzo last night after I got back to my hotel room from dropping Charlie off at his place. Then I placed a call to a Deputy Director at Homeland to ask him a couple questions because I was surprised at some of the things I learned about DiNozzo."

Don laughed as he took the last seat after he placed orders for everyone since he knew what they liked. "Are you thinking and talking about the degrees that Tony got while he attended Oxford, Edgerton? I know for a fact he never told Charlie or Spencer just what he got up to while at Oxford. He has several Masteries that he never talks about and they are in some weird shit too."

Gibbs narrowed his eyes. "What do you two know that I don't about my Senior Field Agent? Just how much has Tony kept from me and our superiors at work?"

Hotch shook his head. "SecNav knows of every degree that DiNozzo has, Gibbs. He may not tell anyone but SecNav but the people who need to know do know. I'm not going to tell you everything, but Tony keeps his degrees secret for a reason. If he wanted people to know what all he got degrees in then he would tell them. I do want to know why he picked a couple of his degrees though because like Agent Eppes said they are weird. The way that Oxford does their degrees are kind of out there, but I have to admit that it works."

Ian nodded. "DiNozzo has quite a few Mastery degrees from Oxford. I'm more curious about the fact that him, Charlie, and Reid all know a mob boss and a few other interesting people. After talking to Morrow and telling him a few things I picked up on he thought it best to read me into DiNozzo's, Charlie's, and Reid's complete files. Do Charlie, DiNozzo, or Reid even realize that they are being tailed by FBI, CIA, and DEA currently? They have a tail on anytime they are out and about even if they are with someone on whatever team they work on or with."

Don frowned as he looked at Ian. "Why is my brother being tailed, Edgerton? What in the hell is going on?"

Hotch sighed and then scowled. "DiNozzo pointed out to Hetty today that he knew he was being tailed even if the tail he had was Callen, Hanna, and Gibbs. I think part of him doesn't think that it is necessary. As for why they're being tailed apparently, they broke something up while they were at Princeton and a couple of the people who got convicted made some threats towards them. I'm not sure who the people are yet, but since they escaped prison, I'll be making sure I find out as soon as we're back at the NCIS Spec Ops HQ. As to Spencer, DiNozzo, and Professor Eppes knowing a Mob boss that is true, but DiNozzo also took said Mob boss down years ago. Those three are as close as brothers and I think we'll find that if you mess with one you mess with all of them."

Don nodded and then shot a smile at the waitress who put the food on their table. He waited until she left before he frowned slightly. "They've been close since they first met. I know that Charlie hated it when Tony headed overseas even though he encouraged it. I also know that Charlie and Spencer both threw a party when Tony turned down Scotland Yard when they tried to recruit him while he was in college. Why in the hell is Scotland Yard called Scotland Yard when it is in London? I mean that is seriously messed up."

Callen snorted after he took a bite of his steak. "They're named that because of a street, Eppes, and that is the simplified answer to their name. I know that DiNozzo is constantly getting offers, but I don't think that he'll ever take one of them unless something bad happens. I want to know what in the hell the three geniuses got up to while attending Princeton if they shut down something and were threatened because of it."

Ian's eyes hardened as he swallowed the fry he ate. "They stumbled onto a drug trafficking ring at Princeton. From what Morrow told me when I asked all three of them killed someone during the takedown. He wouldn't read me into just how involved they were in the takedown, but I'm pretty sure they were front and center from what little he did let slip. They're going to have tails on them until the three that escaped are caught and back where they belong. I even saw three of Mancuso's men outside when we came in. I'm not sure how well that is going to go down with the other Federal Agencies when they finally realize that Charlie, Reid, and DiNozzo are being followed by someone in a mob family. I'd like to know how Mancuso's men even found out about the threat our three geniuses are under."

Gibbs swore as he put his fork down. "Shepard has a lot to answer for and I'll be making sure she does. How in the hell is everyone else finding out, but until today the three in the most danger didn't know? I want to know just what in the hell Shepard is thinking. I'm not going to allow her to put Tony in danger just because she doesn't like something about him. It's bad enough that she put someone on my team that I didn't want on my team."

Ian smirked. "I put in a call to SecDef last night and should hear back from him today at some point, Gibbs. I don't like a lot of what I have heard about the Director of NCIS. It seems that she has an agenda that has nothing to do with what she was hired on to do. I know that you have a past with her, Gibbs, but if it turns out she's trying to burn DiNozzo for whatever reason I'll end her. We have enough shit wrong with this world that we don't need her to add to it at all."

Sam who had been eating pushed his plate away. "I've been listening to everything at our table and watching the three geniuses. Am I the only one scared about what they could possibly be up to right now?"

Don laughed. "When it comes to those three it is almost best not to know until it happens, Hanna. I learned a long time ago to let them do what they want because if you try to get in their way, they'll just run you over."

Gibbs nodded. "Tony has no compunction about putting someone out of the way if they get in his way. It is one of the reasons why I wanted him to be on my team at NCIS. I knew from the second I met him that he was and still is one of the good ones. I'm not worried about what they're talking about, but I am worried about their plan to execute whatever they're talking about. I know how Tony works and if he thinks someone is going to try to stop him from doing something, he'll keep it hidden until it can't be stopped."

Don ran a hand through his hair. "Charlie is the same way. I love my brother, but he does tend to scare me sometimes."

Hotch smirked. "Spencer is great at making people think he's doing one thing when he's really doing something else. I'll stand back to watch and just make sure him and the other two don't get into trouble. My years as a prosecutor should help there at the very least."

Callen laughed. "Hetty will make sure they stay out of trouble. She'll do whatever she has to, to make sure they don't end up in trouble."

Gibbs nodded. "She will and so will I. I'm pretty good at keeping Tony out of trouble. I wonder if those three realize what they have when it comes to Edgerton, Hotch, and me."

Don threw his head back and laughed. "Oh, they know it alright. They just need to man up and make what they want to happen, happen."

Gibbs smirked. "They'll get around to it and until they do Hotch and I will enjoy watching Reid and Tony think we don't know how they feel about us. It is fun to watch them come up with ways to touch us without meaning to touch us."

Hotch chuckled. "It is but I'm not sure how much longer I can keep it from Spencer. He is a damn good profiler. Alright it looks like they're done so we should all head back to work. We can see about meeting up tonight to have a meeting."

Everyone nodded and made sure to finish the last of their meals just as the three geniuses reached them and they weren't surprised when Charlie said, "We're ready to leave now."

Ian grinned. "Did you enjoy yourself, Professor? Every time we looked over there it looked like you were either having fun or in a serious discussion."

Charlie just grinned up at Ian. "We did have fun and no we won't be telling anyone what we discussed. It was a catch-up and working lunch."

Ian just nodded. "I understand, Professor. Alright then tell your friends goodbye and we'll head back to HQ." He couldn't hold back a chuckle when Charlie rolled his eyes at him but did as he told him too. He enjoyed his lunch with the others and knew that they would all be meeting again more than likely later on that day.

Chapter Text


Don sighed as he sat back in his chair at his desk. They had been running down leads all day and have yet to find one that would lead them to the sniper. The only good thing about it is the fact that there hadn't been another sniper attack that day. He had seen a couple of the Agents that were tailing his brother and looked them up. He had to admit even if only to himself that the two he had looked up was impressive. When he saw what time it was he shut his computer down and then looked at David and Terry. "I'd like for you two to join Charlie, Edgerton, and me for dinner tonight if you would please. We'll be meeting up with some others and it will be able to explain some things that are going on."

David looked at Don and raised an eyebrow. "Does this have anything to do with the two agents that Charlie has following him everywhere? Is he alright, Don?"

Don ran a hand through his hair. "It does and it doesn't, David. I'd rather wait until we meet up with everyone else, so we don't have to go over the same stuff more than once. We'll be meeting up with some of the BAU and NCIS people. I do know that Hetty Lange will be joining us tonight because she's apparently fond of Tony DiNozzo."

David's eyes widened slightly even as he nodded. "Did Edgerton leave to go pick Charlie up since I'm not seeing him?"

Don looked around and then down at his phone. He snorted when he read a text message that he had somehow missed. "Yes, Edgerton left to pick Charlie up from CalSci and they'll meet us at a restaurant that Hetty has arranged for us to have one of the back dining rooms to ourselves. I really shouldn't be surprised at that but for some reason I am. I always forget just how well Hetty knows my brother until something like this happens and then I'm reminded all over again."

Terry looked at Don with pursed lips. "Is Hotch's team in town then? I've heard rumors, but I haven't seen them around our HQ."

Don chuckled slightly. "Hotch's team is in town and they're not here at our HQ. They are working out of NCIS L.A. Spec Ops center. I'd rather it be them working out of NCIS L.A. Spec Ops than us because Hetty tends to scare the shit out of me without even trying."

Terry smirked. "Henrietta Lange tends to scare the shit out of everyone, Don. I have yet to meet one person that she doesn't scare."

Don snorted. "I'm pretty sure that she doesn't scare my brother, Reid, or DiNozzo. In fact, I know that she doesn't scare them because of how fondly they have all talked about her at one time or another."

David laughed. "I have never met Lange, but I know several people who have met her. From what I've heard she doesn't put up with bullshit and if she thinks you're wrong she'll tell you that you're wrong."

Terry nodded. "Hetty Lange doesn't suffer fools for long if at all. She has no problem speaking her mind even if she really shouldn't. I've met her a couple different times and each time I've felt like I was back in school. I think that it'll be interesting to see her interact with Charlie and Doctors DiNozzo and Reid. Umm, Don, why is Edgerton picking Charlie up instead of one of us picking him up?"

Don smirked. "Edgerton is picking Charlie up because those two are dating."

Terry's mouth dropped open in shock. "You're kidding!"

Don shook his head. "No, I'm not kidding, Terry. Charlie told me this morning because he didn't want to chance someone else telling me. Of course, I knew that something was going on since I got a call from the Range Master at the firing range we use last night letting me know my brother had been there with Edgerton and that Edgerton taught him how to shoot a rifle."

David groaned. "I was hoping that I was imagining the sparks they kept putting off whenever in the same vicinity. Are you okay with them dating?"

Don shrugged. "I always knew my brother was bi. I also always knew that no regular person was going to be able to hold his attention for long. I was starting to think I was going to have to tell Amita off because I could see that she was making Charlie uncomfortable, but I'm pretty sure that Ian will warn her off himself."

David sighed. "I knew that Charlie was acting like he didn't realize Amita was flirting with him. How can she not know that he is acting oblivious rather than being oblivious? She has known him longer than I have and even I could tell."

Don's eyes flashed in anger. "If she doesn't knock it off once she realizes Charlie is with Edgerton I'll step in and give her a warning. I won't allow her to come between my brother and his happiness. It's going to be bad enough once dad realizes just who Charlie is dating, but I'm not going to allow him to deny Charlie his happiness either."

He stood up and looked at his two teammates. "Are you two ready? I don't want to be late because I don't feel like getting lectured by Hetty."

David and Terry stood up at the same time after making sure their computers were shut down and their files were locked in their desk. They followed Don out of the office and to the parking lot. They would follow their team leader in their own cars so that they had them to drive to work the next morning.


Hetty looked at her bustling bullpen and smirked. She knew that everyone was going to be surprised with what she did but figured it was the best way to get some thing straight. She whistled and waited until everyone was looking at her. "Everyone needs to shut down and get ready to leave. We're meeting Professor Eppes, his beau, his brother, and his brother's team at a restaurant to talk some things over. I know that Tony, Spencer, and Charlie would all feel more comfortable if we were all on the same page when it comes to the threat against them. Eric and Nell will be going with us and they will be working with Penelope Garcia to help try to narrow down where the three we're looking for are at."

Hotch nodded as his team looked at him. "Garcia will be joining us via video conference once we're settled into the dining room that Hetty has rented out for this evening. We'll be joined by all of us plus those that are tailing Professor Eppes when he isn't with his brother or one of his brother's team members. We'll also be meeting those that follow DiNozzo and Spencer when they aren't with one of us which isn't often."

Dave nodded. "It is a good idea so that we know who is supposed to be around and who isn't supposed to be around. How are we getting to the restaurant?"

Gibbs smirked. "I'll drive and Tony, Hotch, and Reid will be joining me in my car. Callen can drive himself, Hanna, McGee, and David. I'll let everyone else decide their own rides."

Tony chuckled. "Hetty can drive herself and Rossi. Deeks can drive himself, Kensi, Eric, and Nell. Morgan can drive himself, Prentiss, and Jareau. That way nobody drives alone. I know for a fact Edgerton has already picked Charlie up from CalSci. The only ones driving alone will probably be Agents Sinclair and Lake and that is only because they live across town from one another."

Ziva glared at Tony and Gibbs. "I can drive, Gibbs! Tony, why do you think you can give orders on who drives?"

Tony rolled his eyes as he stood up. "I don't think I can give orders, Ziva, I know that I can. You don't see the people I paired up disagreeing with what I said, do you? And, no, Gibbs told you that Callen is driving which is a good thing since he is from this area and you are NOT. When are you going to get it through your thick ass skull that you have to follow not only what Gibbs tells you but what I tell you as well? Do you want to be kicked off the MCRT? I can tell you right now that you are very close to being kicked off. You are NOT a fucking U.S. Federal Agent so there is no way in hell that any of us here would listen to any orders from you. I am just about fed up with you questioning everything we tell you because you're going to get someone killed and if you do get someone killed you can be assured that I'll make sure you get charged right alongside the perp."

Spencer stepped forward and squeezed Tony's shoulder. "Calm down, Tony. You and I both know she isn't worth getting upset over. One way or another she'll be dealt with and dealt with soon. You're NOT the only one who is getting fed up with the stuff that she's pulling. I'd honestly like to know what Daddy David knows or thinks about his daughter not following the Chain of Command. Maybe I should put a call into him and ask him myself instead of letting someone at State call him like they will if she keeps pulling the stuff she's pulled already."

Tony snorted. "I already put a call into Eli David. I'm not going to play Ziva's or Jenny's game any longer and going to Daddy David is the easiest way I know of to get the answers to questions I have. I'm hoping that he'll call me back by tomorrow."

Ziva jumped out of her seat. "Leave my father alone, DiNozzo! You don't need to talk to him!"

Tony smirked. "Oh, I do need to talk to him, but that can wait until he calls me back. Now, I'm hungry so how about we head out?"

Hetty laughed. "I think that you're always hungry, Tony, but you still could do with some weight put on so that is a good thing. I'll lead the way since I know where we're going."

Everyone nodded and followed Hetty out of the building and to their cars. Once they were on the road, they followed her to the restaurant.


Ian smirked when he saw Charlie waiting on him with two people he recognized. He leaned over and opened the passenger side door and nodded at the two Agents. He waited until Charlie was buckled in and the car door shut before he pulled out away from the building. He wasn't surprised that the two Agents were right behind him since he had noticed the car parked right in front of the building. "Did the rest of your day go well, Professor?"

Charlie smiled. "It did and nobody acted like an idiot which is a good thing. I'm just glad that I was able to get the class finished on time. Are we meeting everyone else at the place Hetty texted me?"

Ian nodded. "We are. I'm still hoping that I'll hear from SecDef sometime this evening. I know that your brother was planning on bring Sinclair and Lake along with him."

Charlie nodded. "I know he texted me that he was. I'm pretty sure that they picked up on the fact that I am being followed by two FBI Agents. From the nod that you gave my two tails I take it that you know them?"

Ian snickered. "I do know them and they're both good agents. I trust that they'll make sure that nothing happens to you. I know at least one of them is looking to transfer permanently to L.A. so you may be seeing them more often after they finish tailing you."

Charlie rolled his eyes. "Actually, both want to transfer to L.A. permanently and I can't say that I blame them. I put a call in on behalf of one of them and raised hell so, that should prove to be highly entertaining in the days and weeks to come. They are both nice and can actually follow what I say if I don't rush through my explanations. The one is less than a semester of classes away from getting a Doctorate in Political Science. I did enjoy the conversations I had with them today."

Ian huffed. "Yeah, they're both smart cookies."

Charlie threw his head back and laughed. "You're a smart cookie too, Agent Edgerton, and I really like that about you."

Ian blushed slightly. "I like your smarts too, Professor Eppes. Your smarts are a pretty big turn on for me in fact."

Charlie blushed. "Yours are for me too, Ian."

Ian grinned and then grabbed a hold of Charlie's left hand and held it while they made the rest of the drive in silence. He loved that he could be himself with Charlie and that Charlie could himself with him.

Chapter Text


Charlie laughed when he realized that everyone, they were meeting got to the restaurant at the same time he and Ian did. He climbed out of the car and waited on Ian to meet him at the front-end passenger side of the car. He kissed Ian quickly and then grabbed a hold of his right hand and intertwined their fingers together. He loved being able to hold the older man’s hand with his own. He had to admit even if only to himself that he hadn’t felt this happy, safe, or content in years. He looked at Tony when his friend stopped by his side and frowned when he saw the look on his friend’s face. “What happened, Tony?”

Tony scowled. “Ziva is just being Ziva, but I’m finished taking her shit. She questions everything unless it comes from Gibbs and it’s going to end up with someone dead. She’s pissed that she had to ride in Callen’s car and that she wasn’t allowed to drive her. Why in the fuck would we let her drive when she has no damn clue where we are going? It’s like she doesn’t have common sense or a damn brain. I’m fed up with her and anything to do with her.”

Charlie’s eyes flashed in anger as he wrapped his free hand and arm around Tony’s waist in comfort. “Come on let’s go get checked-in and seated so we can chat. I know that you’re stressed, Tony, but remember that you have everyone else on your side. I’d advise not letting Don near Ziva David because he may end up shooting her if she says one thing wrong to you, Spencer, or me. You know that Don has always been just as protective of you and Spencer as he has been of me. I met two of the Agents tailing me by the way and they’re awesome. I think you may be able to help the one because the agent is less than a semester of classes away from getting their Doctorate in Political Science.”

Tony looked at Charlie and smirked. “You’re not trying to play matchmaker between this agent and me are you, Charlie?”

Charlie chuckled as he stopped behind Letty who was in front of him. “You know the agent asked me the same thing when I told them about you and how you have a Doctorate in Political Science. No, I’m not currently trying to play matchmaker with you and the agent, Tony. Trust me if I was, I’d flat out tell you that I was since I know you don’t like games like that.”

Tony grinned. “I know, Charlie. I was just teasing you. Actually, I think I know the two agents that seem to be on duty tonight with tailing you. I figured we’d do introductions and everything once we get seated. I hope that they will get our food out pretty quickly once we order because I’m starving.”

Charlie looked at Tony with narrowed eyes. “You didn’t eat a snack like you should have did you? Damnit, Tony, you know that Brad told you that you should snack in between meals because you’re still almost thirty-five pounds underweight. Do I need to put in a call to Brad and have him put your ass in the hospital? You’re not taking care of yourself when you swore to Spencer and I that you would!”

Don who walked up behind Tony silently put a hand on Tony’s shoulder and squeezed it gently. He looked at Charlie with narrowed eyes and shook his head. “Charlie, go to the dining room the hostess is now leading everyone too. I need to talk to Tony for a few minutes alone and then we’ll be with you guys. Make sure to save Tony and I seats close to you, Spencer, and Ian. Also, please introduce David and Terry to everyone else.”

Charlie nodded sharply. “I’ll order your drinks and an appetizer to be delivered right away.”

Don nodded and waited until Charlie caught up to the hug group before he pulled Tony into a hug. He pulled Tony over to the side and smirked when he saw Mick Rawson and Jonathan “Prophet” Sims follow them. “So, you got two of the BAU’s best as your bodyguards, Tone.”

Tony looked up at that and then smirked when he saw Mick and Jonathan standing in a way that would keep him out of anyone’s line of sight unless they were standing close to him. “What the hell? Aren’t you two working a case or something?”

Mick smirked. “Nope. Cooper has Prophet and I following you while Matthew Simmons and Jack Garrett are following Spencer. Cooper, Beth, and Gina are doing the profiling with help of a few other agents. Did you really think that the Director of the F.B.I. would put anyone but the best on you three, DiNozzo? We all know just how much trouble you’re capable of getting in without even trying. Now, why was Professor Eppes giving you hell about your weight? It does look like you could stand to gain some because regardless of what other people think or see I can tell that your suit is hanging off you somewhat.”

Town groaned and then scowled because he knew that Don, Mick, nor Jonathan would let what they overheard go. “Dr. Pitt told me at my last check-up that I’m about thirty-five pounds underweight. I haven’t managed to put the weight back on I lost from when I had the plague. I know that I need to gain weight, but I’ve been so damn stressed having Ziva David on our team that I just haven’t felt up to eating or I forget to eat because I’m too busy making sure she doesn’t fuck up a case we’re working. I still haven’t caught up on the sleep I lost while Gibbs was on hiatus and I had to work one hundred plus hours because McGee and David didn’t show up on time and/or left early. I need a break or I’m going to break and it’s going to happen soon. I’m just that fucking exhausted.”

Don’s eyes flashed with fire as he stiffened. “When we leave here tonight, you’re coming to Charlie’s with me, Tony. I don’t give a shit what Gibbs or anyone else says you’re taking tomorrow off. You need some downtime and you need it now because you’re going to collapse if you don’t get it soon. You can’t be going out in the field this exhausted or you’ll get yourself killed and I told you years ago if I ever saw you like this again I’d step in and do what needed done.”

He looked over Tony’s shoulder at Gibbs who walked over to their small group. “Did you catch all that, Gibbs, or do I need to beat it into your head? Your boy is close to collapsing because the other two members of your team can’t pull their own fucking weight. How in the fuck did you miss the fact that he is so damn underweight? How in the fuck did you miss that he’s about to collapse from the stress of those two fuckers?”

Gibbs ran his hands through his hair as his mind replayed all the clues that he had somehow missed. “I don’t know how I missed it, Eppes, but you can’t bet that I’ll take care of it. Tony, you’re taking tomorrow and the next day off. If you want to work, I won’t tell you that you can’t, but you’ll do it from the HQ of L.A.’s FBI branch. I don’t want you near McGee and David right now until you can be sure you won’t end up doing prison time for killing one or both. I know my own rules, but I owe you one hell of an apology, Tony. I should have seen what was going on sooner than I did, but now that I do, I promise you that they’ll get what they have coming to them.”

Tony took in a deep breath and let it out. “I’m fine.”

Gibbs glared at Tony as he stepped forward and gently squeezed the younger agent’s neck. “You’re not fine, Tony, no matter how much you think you are. McGee and David will learn quickly just how pissed I am at them. Our so-called Director will remember just why it is unwise to piss me the fuck off. You don’t deserve what you have had to do these last several months, Tony, and I’m sorry that I allowed your mask to fool me. It’s time to drop it completely and be yourself. If neither McGee or David can handle the real you then they don’t have a spot on my team or in our family. If Abby even thinks about causing trouble over any decisions, you and I make she’ll learn just how badly she erred on thinking that she was and still is my favorite.”

Tony blushed. “Alright you and Don win, Gibbs. Tomorrow instead of going to NCIS L.A. branch HQ I’ll go to Don’s workplace. I may be able to find out more information using their computer systems then the ones we have been using at Spec Ops since they do tend to vary to some degree. I just need a break from McGee and David because if I don’t get it or take it, they might not live much longer. I’d love to know when and where McGee came into his superiority because he was never this bad before. We really should get to the dining room not only so that we can start the meeting, but because if I don’t eat soon, I’m likely to start biting everyone’s head off due to low blood sugar or something like that.”

Don snorted. “It isn’t like McGee and David don’t deserve you biting their heads off from what I’ve heard, Tony. I meant what I said when I told you I’m taking you back to Charlie’s house after dinner and the meeting. You need to get completely away from McGee and David for a while. I’m sure that Charlie wouldn’t mind if Gibbs came along with you for the night. If we can get Spencer to tag along then you three can go over plans for co-teaching the Math for LEO Dummies class that is coming up in the next day or two.”

Tony nodded thoughtfully as he walked besides Gibbs who was pulling him along to the dining room Hetty had reserved for them. Once he got a good look at the large group, he was happy that Hetty had thought ahead to reserve the large dining room because quite a bit of it was taken up with group that was there. He hadn’t realized that the numbers had grown so large in the short time he had been talking to Don.”

Charlie noticed that Gibbs peeled off and followed Don, Tony, and two men he didn’t recognize and smiled. Once he was seated at the table, he made sure that between him, Ian, and Spencer that they kept seats open near them for Tony, Don, and Gibbs at the very least. “We should wait on Tony, Gibbs, Don, and Tony’s two shadows before we do introductions. Hetty, I heard that you’ll be attending my Applied Mathematics for LEO Dummies the day after tomorrow.”

Hetty smirked as she looked at Charlie. “I and everyone that works at the LA branch of NCIS will be attending that class, Professor Eppes. I can’t wait to watch you, Tony, and Dr. Reid teach with together once more. I have always found the classes you three teach together enjoyable and very enlightening. You three each have a way of explaining things that makes it easy for a person to follow along as long as someone actually listens to what is being said instead of only hearing what they want to hear.”

Charlie bit back a laugh because he had no doubt that, that was a dig at McGee and Ziva David. “I love listening to Tony explain things because he has no problem dumbing it down without having to think of what he is wanting to say. He may have multiple Doctorates, Masters, Bachelors, and Associate degrees, but he isn’t one that throws that in a person’s face because he wants to be seen for who he is and what he does instead of what degrees he holds. I make sure to take at least one class a year that he is teaching because I find it enjoyable and he does know all his fields. I won’t be taking either of the two courses he is teaching next semester, but the semester after that I will be taking both courses because I’m close to finishing my degree in History. I wanted one degree that had nothing to do with Math, Physics, or Computing.”

Hetty nodded. “I’ll have to find out which History classes he’ll be teaching because he has a way with explaining it that makes history fun and interesting instead of dry and dull. I know that he enjoys his teaching because it gives him time to relax after the stuff, he sees day in and day out.”

Charlie nodded. “It’s a way for him to get out of his own head for a while. He’s a lot like Spencer and me in that regard. We tend to think too much instead of just letting go for a little while. Tony doesn’t only work for NCIS, but he also does work for some of the alphabet agencies, so he sees a lot that gets to him even when he does his best to make sure it doesn’t get to him. I know for a fact that he still has nightmares about some of the undercover missions he got sent on when he first started out as an undercover cop. I sometimes think that he forgets who he truly is and that he only shows who he truly is when he’s teaching.”

Callen scowled. “That is because when he shows who he truly is to others they ridicule him. I’ve known Tony for years and I’ve seen how people treat him when he shows the real him. The real him and the him he portrays when he is at work are not only miles apart but miles better than anyone on his team besides Gibbs. Between his schooling and his work experience there are few at NCIS that are at his level. I was surprised when Gibbs introduced me to Tony the first time and not in a bad way. I had actually heard of him before Gibbs introduced him to me from the work he had done before he joined NCIS.”

Eric grinned from his seat. “It was actually one of Agent DiNozzo’s lectures that got me interested in working at NCIS. That is one lecture that will stay with me for life because he showed me how passionate he was about the work he did and how he believed in the work he did. Is he alright do you think?”

Charlie smiled softly at Eric. “I’m sure that Tony is alright, Eric. If I know my brother like I think I do he’s just making sure that Tony doesn’t need to talk about anything right now. My brother kind of adopted Tony and Spencer both as brothers, so he worries about their health and their lives in general. Don also wanted to make sure that Tony knew he wasn’t to go out in the field with anyone from his team except Gibbs or one of the agents from the L.A. branch. He doesn’t want to take the chance that Tony’s Probie or the Liaison officer leave him without backup. There is also the fact that Don is worried that they wouldn’t listen to him out in the field and it would result in Tony being seriously injured. If that were to happen nothing would keep Don from hurting them be it physically, mentally, or emotionally.”

Ziva’s eyes hardened. “I do not have to listen to that man-child. I do not even know why he is on Gibbs team.”

Hetty leaned forward and glared at Ziva. “You do have to listen to Agent DiNozzo because he is second in command of Gibbs’ team. Regardless of what you think, Officer David, Tony is your superior and if I find out you aren’t listening to him you can bet that you won’t live to regret it because if he ends up hurt I’ll kill you myself. There is a thing called chain of command and it doesn’t matter if you are an NCIS agent or a liaison officer from a different agency you have to follow it or deal with the consequences. I wonder what your father would have to say if he heard of how you were and still are acting. I know for a fact that Eli David would not tolerate you ignoring the chain of command just because you didn’t like your superior.”

Gibbs who had walked in while Hetty lit into Ziva sat down next to Tony once he made sure the other man was comfortable with where Charlie saved him a seat. He looked at Ziva with cold eyes and growled. He was pissed that she still didn’t seem to understand things even after being in the States for several months. He had a feeling she did understand but was acting like she didn’t so that she wouldn’t get in trouble for some of the shit she had pulled during cases. “I think that it is time someone calls Eli David because I have a feeling I can’t trust Jenny or Ziva when it comes to things the man has supposedly said and/or done. I’m done with the way you have been acting, Officer David, and you’re going to learn just how honestly I come by the second b of my name. If you want to play games then we’ll play, but we will be playing it my way and I’ll tell you now I play to win. For the rest of this investigation you will be kept at the L.A. NCIS branch HQ doing the computer work with people watching everything you do on a computer. I can’t trust you not to screw this case up just because you don’t like the orders you are given. I will NOT have you compromising a case just to get back at me or Tony for being punished in the only way I can until I find out why Jenny is protecting you. If I had my way you’d be on your way back to D.C. and off my team.”

Hotch pursed his lips. “I’ll be writing a report on Officer David’s actions and making sure that my Director gets a copy of it because I think Director Shepard is compromised. Spencer, DiNozzo, and Professor Eppes are in enough danger right now without needing to add in Officer David. There is too much going on and none of us need to worry about so-called friendly fire.”

Mick leaned forward and smirked. “I’ll put a call into Eli after we eat dinner. I know him pretty well from a couple cases that I worked on with Mossad. I know that this isn’t how he raised his kids to behave no matter what anyone else thinks.” He turned his head and looked at Ziva and glared. “If I think for even one moment that you are a danger to my charge, I’ll shoot you in the fucking head and smile while doing it. I don’t give a shit that you’re Mossad or that you think you’re better than everyone else because all of us know that you’re not. I do care if you cause my charge harm and if I see you causing him harm I’ll put you down and put you down hard. I want to make sure that you can’t say you didn’t understand something so let me spell this out for you. You take one action that could hurt Tony and I’ll make sure that it is the last action you will ever do. Am I understood, Officer David?”

Ziva paled slightly. “You can’t do anything to me without getting into trouble not only with NCIS but Mossad and your FBI. How do you know my father?”

Mick’s eyes hardened. “I can do anything I have to when it comes to protecting the person, I’m providing protection for, Officer David. As to how I know your father I saved his life a couple times. I will be calling him for a chat later tonight and I’ll find out just what in the hell your play is unless he wants to find himself sighted with my rifle scope. I’m one hell of a sniper and I make sure to keep my skills up. There is a reason why Edgerton hasn’t reached number one when it comes to sniping just yet. I think that you should remember that unless you want to find yourself on the wrong side of my rifle.”

Ian chuckled but before he could respond to Mick’s taunt his cell rang. He looked at it to see who was calling and smirked when he saw it was SecDef. He answered it and put the call on speaker phone. “Edgerton.”

Jack O’Neill chuckled when he heard his friend’s voice. He could tell that the other man was on edge and he was almost afraid to find out what was going on that had caused the man to reach out to him. “Ian, I’m sorry that I’m just now returning your call, but I have been busy today. What is going on that caused you to reach out to me? Not that I mind you calling me.”

Ian laughed. “I know, Jack, but I wanted to ask you some questions because it seems like some wires are crossed somewhere. Have you been keeping an eye on NCIS?”

Jack scowled. “I know there is some things going down. I just replaced Jarvis with Davenport and am in the process of investigating the Director of NCIS. What do you know that I don’t, Ian?”

Ian sighed. “I know that the Director of NCIS is doing things that she shouldn’t. She didn’t tell one of her Agents that there is a threat to his life. She placed a Mossad Liaison Officer on the MRCT despite Gibbs telling her that Officer David didn’t have the skills needed for the MRCT. Let’s not forget the fact that said Mossad Liaison Officer was also the handler of the man who killed the previous agent whose spot filled.”

Jack swore. “Are you in L.A.? If so, we can meet in person.”

Ian grinned. “I am and so is Gibbs’ team. We’re working different cases but are currently eating dinner and having a meeting since Agent DiNozzo isn’t the only one in danger.”

Jack groaned. “Fuck that. Text me the address of where you’re at and I’ll be there shortly. It would be better to talk this all out at once.”

Ian snorted. “I’ll do that then, Jack. See you soon.” He ended the call and then quickly sent Jack a text message with the address of the restaurant they were at. He then looked around at everyone. “We should order and eat because with Jack being here this meeting is going to turn into a longer one.”

Everyone nodded and then once the waitress was called in, they all gave their orders. Within twenty minutes they were all eating. All of them were silently wondering just what the Secretary of Defense was going to do when he found out what had been happening under his nose. There was one of them that knew their life was going to change and probably not in a good way.