Taking Stock – Part 2
Fandom: NCIS, Eureka
WARNINGS: no warnings yet
Tony was done. He had hit his limit and there was just nothing else to say about it.
It wasn’t a slow dawning process or anything of that sort — at least not from his point of view. Surely, it must be from an outsider’s, but to him, it was like a punch to the gut.
Secretary Davenport sighed the sigh of the weary as he put down one final file and looked up at the ceiling in hope that there might be some sort of answer for him written there. “Agent DiNozzo, please tell me that I didn’t read everything that I just obviously read, that my agency isn’t being run by a corrupt man who has let another man that used to be a good agent fall over the line into a vigilante with a shield.”
“Would that I could, Mr. Secretary.” Tony made sure to keep his tone respectful, as he didn’t want to come down on the bad side of the person who could make or break this for him. “On the topic of Eli David and Ziva David, I went so far as to check with some contacts I have over in Israel. None of what they are doing over here is sanctioned by the Prime Minister’s office – and I don’t mean that in a disavowing way. I mean that in the way that the David family is under investigation for all sorts of shi – I mean for a lot of dirty deals and misuse of office and resources.” At the raised eyebrow Tony continued with his findings.
“I didn’t think it was kosher that Ari’s handler was put on our team and given so much access, so I started my own investigation. It went slowly, as I had to hide it from Shepard, and the prying eyes of my own team. It didn’t take much for Ziva to work her magic over all of them after she built her bond with Gibbs after killing her own brother. Whatever deal she made with Jenny let her have access and let her skip out on any training that other agents must have to work on our team. I feel like I should have requested hazard pay just for the acrobatics it took to keep everything legal so that nothing would get thrown out of court.”
“So it would seem from these files.”
“Then there’s the whole Rivkin fiasco, and whatever is going on with Ziva’s vendetta for his death. I just know that something is going to happen, and the others support her. The only one who sees through the bullshit is Jimmy Palmer.”
“So why did you stay?”
“I’m worried about all the good agents that still work there. But I can’t stay for them any longer, I’m worried that someday soon I will end up dead. I can’t trust them to have my six. I can’t trust that anything I say to McGee in general or about one of our cases won’t end up in his next book, too.”
“Yes, how did that not get stopped?”
“Jenny strikes again.” Tony reached out and drew a few of the writes ups out of the pile. “She blocked my complaints about his going for interviews and book signings during work hours from reaching IA. Jimmy and I tried to sue, but the suits mysteriously disappeared.”
“And the reason I am only hearing about all this now?”
“How would I reach you? Through Vance? Gibbs? Anyone else I would use to contact you is a friend to Gibbs as well. I lucked out by having a friend who knew someone not in the chain of my command.”
Davenport took a moment to really look at the man sitting across from him, and what he saw concerned him. This man was nothing like the rumors that reached him. He was a serious man who knew his job and took pride in it. Here was an agent that took offense that those who chose to betray the oaths of the shield. Here was a man on his last leg and looking for some support.
“Talk to me about the people at NCIS that you do trust while we get some food. You look like you haven’t eaten a good meal in quite some time.”
Jack went on with his sheriffing business, unable to sit still while his friend was in trouble. Both Tony and Mansfield had said they would notify him as soon as anything was settled – both for different reasons. Mansfield, Jack was sure, would offer Tony a job. Whether that would be here in Eureka, Jack didn’t know, but as long as it got him away from those fuckers, Jack didn’t really care. But having the chance to be closer to his friend, spend more time with him — that is something Jack definitely wouldn’t pass up.
Hell, having someone like Tony close by would be a blessing on his soul and sanity, who was he kidding? Tony was smart — not genius level like these troublemakers — but incredibly smart, and could work his way through an investigation with a sort of creative genius that departments envied. That’s why he was so sought after. But it would also help to have someone around that didn’t talk down to Jack. It’s not like he was nearly as stupid as they all thought he was, but it just wasn’t worth his time or the effort to make them understand that.
Jack was at the point now that he just let people assume his crush on Alison was still ongoing, it was easier that way. However, the number of times she had treated him like a child or made decisions for him was very off-putting. He needed someone in his life that valued him. Henry was almost that, and Stark probably would be a good friend, too — if not for Alison using the both of them to play off each other and entertain her.
He was going to stop letting her do that. Yes. That was a good plan. There would be no more reacting to any of Alison’s obvious baiting to get the two of them to compete for her, or boost her own ego. Maybe he should see about trying to inviting Stark over for dinner without Alison in the way? That might actually work, yes.
Before setting anything into motion with Stark, Jack received another call, this time from Mansfield. “I need you to meet me in Los Angeles as soon as you get off the phone. I’ll be at the Hilton by LAX. You’ll be bringing somebody back to town with you, if anyone asks. Pack for one night.”
“You got it, I’m on my way.”
Jack really hoped that the ‘somebody’ was who he hoped it was. He just wondered what exactly the purpose of his stay would be. Jack’s mind raced with all the reasons the meeting was taking place outside of town and away from prying eyes and ears. He had a bad feeling about this.
Seeing his friend walk into the hotel lobby was a balm on Tony’s soul. He wasn’t aware of how much he needed to be in the presence of someone who could actually trust until now, how much he actually lacked that before.
He watched as the receptionist at the front desk handed over the sealed envelope with the letter Tony had left him and also the room key for the adjoining room Mansfield had rented for all of them. As Jack completed his transaction and opened his letter away from the desk, Tony headed to the elevators to wait for him upstairs with Mansfield in one of the conference rooms.
It only took ten minutes — just enough time for Jack to drop off his bag and freshen up — for the Sheriff to join them. He headed straight for his friend and enveloped him in a bear hug.
“It is so good to see you,” Jack mumbled, not wanting to let Tony go. He had been afraid that Tony would not survive the tender mercies of his former teammates. “How did you manage to exit DC without injury from your oh-so-loving co-workers?” he asked, giving Tony a once over. “And what are we doing here?”
“I will leave the DC stuff for the trip back to your place,” Tony replied, “and answer the second one now.”
“Right, let’s get down to it, shall we?” Mansfield interjected. “My time is limited.”
“Right, sorry. Please, fill me in.” Jack took a seat at the table and opened the file that Mansfield passed over. “Paper?”
“Considering your current post, you know how easy it is to hack anything digital. I thought this would be safer.”
“Point,” Jack conceded and read through the file.
After a minute grace period, Mansfield began. “I began to grow concerned after a few of your reports and so did some deeper digging. It seems we have a mole of some sort in Eureka. There are a few suspects that Agent DiNozzo here has narrowed it down to, but he needs to be there and observe people in order to make more sense out of what we’ve seen coming out of that town.”
“Stark isn’t on your list, right?”Jack asked.
“No, he’s not,” Tony answered. “His profile doesn’t suit that of a mole’s. His ego and pride would not allow himself to be controlled like that. Why?”
“Because there is no way that you are going to be able to function in town without him being brought in on this. He is the only one that has access to everything going on in Global Dynamics and outside of Global Dynamics.”
“What about Alison Blake?” Mansfield asked. “I’m surprised you aren’t advocating for her inclusion as well.”
“Yeah, I’ve been thinking about bringing that up.” With a sigh, Jack closed the file and sat back. “Alison — well, frankly, Alison is a problem. She is under the impression that I’m interested in her — that every man in existence is interested in her. She especially loves playing Stark and me against each other, which has gotten in the way of a number of cases that could have been resolved quite quickly.”
“Explain.” Tony did not like the sound of this. This Blake woman was supposed to be the DoD liaison, the person with high clearance who oversaw all of the goings on in that geek town. If she was too busy playing mind games and being self-involved, it was no wonder a mole was running free.
“Since I am ‘just the Sheriff’ any and all contributions are quickly dismissed, she undermines me professionally in front of others — specifically and especially her ex-husband, Stark — actually, they aren’t divorced yet. She talks down to my deputy as well, forgetting that both of us have a past and that we have experience. It sets an example for the rest of the town to treat me and the position the same way. It also has gotten in the way of Stark and I developing any sort of working relationship since she seems to be entertained by playing us off one another.”
Mansfield did not look happy with this news, and neither did Tony.
“I was going to have Tony show up in town as someone working on a project for me that’s ‘Need to Know,’” Mansfield began, “but maybe he’ll end up being Blake’s replacement.”
“Well, let’s not move too quickly. Let’s stick with the original plan, and bring this Stark in,” Tony spoke up. “We can get his opinion on Blake, and if he thinks she’ll be a hindrance or not. If so, then a mysterious job offer can appear that’s too good for her to pass up.”
“Yeah, I need to make clear to him that I am not interested in her. I think once that is made clear, and a couple of other things that I’m guessing she’s told him, then he’ll probably be good.”
Standing up, Tony added, “Plus, I need some time to go over other events she has been involved in since before and after he has appeared on the scene to judge if there has been a significant change in her efficiency.”
“Then I think we have a plan, gentlemen. You will leave for Eureka in the morning and I will see you there in a week.”
The trip north was a relaxed one, both men just happy to be in each other’s company. They spent the night before catching up on what had occurred since the last phone call and adding more detail into what had led Tony to call him in the first place. The General had promised that if anything popped up on that end Tony would be notified. Jack was sure that as soon as S.A.R.A.H. was informed what was going on, she would keep a weather eye on it as well.
Now, Tony wanted to know what was happening in Jack’s life. This Blake woman sounded like she was grinding down on his last nerve, not to mention some of the shenanigans he was hearing about in town. “Okay, why don’t you start from the beginning. Do you have any sort of support in this town? Or have you let all of them think you’re a complete imbecile who just happens to have a good idea once in a while?”
With a quiet laugh, Jack replied, “Sort of. I mean, yeah. There’s Henry.” At Tony’s raised eyebrow when he glanced over, he continued, “Henry Deacon is the town’s — well, the best description is a jack of all trades. He does everything — and I do mean everything. He is the coroner, the mechanic, the tow truck guy, the preacher or whatever you call it that says the prayer over the funeral, the guy who digs the hole for the coffin and buries it, you name it. He has these little velcro patches that he switches on his uniform so you know what part he’s playing at the moment.”
“And who else is your support system?”
“Ah, that’s about it. The rest of the town pretty much tolerates me. They call on me when they need me, but make it clear they think I’m an idiot. They are all impressed I know how to tie my own shoelaces and have doubts I can chew gum and walk at the same time.”
“So the fact that you have an entire career of chasing fugitives, that you served your country — that means nothing?” Tony was not getting a good picture of this place.
“This is an entire town of geniuses, Tone, they have tunnel vision of their own expertise. Anything outside of that is anathema. Some of them have social graces, but it is really rare. I have no one to watch sports with and it is killing me, definitely no one to play with since it would possibly hurt someone.”
Jack sighed, re-adjusting himself in the driver’s seat. “Look, they know my IQ isn’t as high as theirs, and so they automatically look down on me. They will on you, as well.”
“Even though I have a higher degree?”
“But it’s not science, man, and so it does nothing for them.”
“Ah, well. They can kiss my ass. And yours. You have plenty of education as well, or don’t they know that?”
“I think my higher degrees were in some sealed off section of my file and no one bothered with hacking into it since I’m not interesting enough. It’s worked in my favor. Seriously, most of my job is having common sense since they completely lack it.”
“And the other part?”
“There’s the part where we definitely have a mole problem and mole-like problems. People who feel they are underappreciated at GD and so they take their experiments home and create accidents. Everyone tries to hide things, which never helps.
“This mole — my gut is saying they are working with disenfranchised workers at GD. But with my clearance, I can’t begin to comb through who they might be.” Jack’s face was a picture of frustration.
“Maybe with Starks help — if we can get him to side with us and not say anything to Blake — we can cut through that red tape.”
“Also, you know I’m going to be on your couch for those games.”
The giant grin didn’t leave Jack’s face for the rest of the ride.