The first thing Ziva did after picking up a tissue and removing all signs of the weakness that was crying was call Tony's cell phone again.
"You've reached DiNozzo. Leave a message or I'll have you arrested for spamming and harassing a federal agent. "
"Tony. Ziva again. CALL ME BACK, dammit!" She slammed down her desk phone, tears threatening again. She buried her head in her hands, groaning. Action time.Â
Ziva... She thought. Ziva, stand up... But the thoughts weren't registering with her muscles and her nerves, all she felt was the desire to find Tony. Every fiber of her being called out to him. Tony... Tony... Where are you? Tony!
She regained control over her body and stood abruptly, knocking over her trash can in her haste. Not bothering to pick anything up, she ran out of the bullpen, stuffing her gun and her badge into their holsters as she went. Other agents stared openly at the spectacle.
She slid into the smooth leather seat of her car and gunned the engine. Cutting Agent Barrett off to the sound of an indignant snort, her tires squealed as she made the sharp turn out of the parking garage and out of the Navy Yard.
Turning down DiNozzo's street a second time, her brakes screeched to a stop in front of his small house. She couldn't believe Tony lived in this quiet neighborhood, she'd pegged him for the loud, bar-infested area type.Â
Tony's nosy neighbor, Mrs. McClancy, called from her front porch, "Back so soon, Miss? I saw your people this morning." Ziva saw the elderly woman as a perfect target for her first interrogation. She seemed to be the neighborhood busybody, who had no problem telling strangers about peoples' lives.
"Mrs. McClancy - "
"Hey! How do you know my name, Miss?! I never told you - "
"It's on your mailbox."
"Do you always cut people off like that?"
"Only when I'm in a hurry. Do you have a spare moment, Mrs. McClancy?"
"I'm sure I do. What's an eighty-year-old woman to do all day but answer police officers' questions?"
"I'm not a police officer. I'm a federal agent. Special Agent Ziva David, NCIS." Ziva flashed her badge and identification. "How well do you know your neighbors, ma'am?"
"Oh, very well. For example, the Landers across the street have a cat named Fluffy and three kids named Lucy, Logan, and Leah. Mr. Landers is an accountant - a fairly good one, he does my taxes - and the Missus stays home all day with the children. She has three cups of coffee every morning and a shot of tequila every night to take the edge off. And Tony DiNozzo, on my right - " Ziva's heartstrings tightened at the sound of Tony's name. From the sounds of this woman's knowledge, she could very well be the link to finding Tony. This woman was literally Ziva's lifeline. Mrs. McClancy continued. "Tony, he's a bachelor, has a new girl over at least twice a week, but he's a very nice boy. Never gives me no trouble, even cuts my lawn when I need it and waters my camellias, the ones in the back of my flower beds that I can't reach. I don't know what he does for a living, but - " Ziva cut her off again, deep in thought. A new girl at least twice a week?! She felt jealousy surging through her body like a wildfire. She recovered herself and got back to her task.
"I have some information that I need to disclose to you. However, first you need to sign this confidentiality agreement, or someone could be seriously hurt. It basically says that you are not to tell anyone that you spoke to me, nor tell anyone the information that I am about to give you, even if under extreme duress. If this agreement is violated, we could have you arrested."
"Oh, dear, I was always told never to sign anything without a lawyer... But you seem like a nice girl, and a federal agent too... In my day, girls didn't have jobs, especially not the rough-and-tumble type like yours, sweetheart." Mrs. McClancy took the pen Ziva handed her and shakily signed her signature on the dotted line: XMary McClancy. Ziva continued her spiel.Â
"I happen to know Tony's job. He works with me, under the same team. Special Agent DiNozzo has gone missing, and we need help finding him."
"Ooh Special Agent DiNozzo! Sounds so much more interesting than just plain Tony!"
"Ma'am, please stay on topic. When was the last time you saw Tony DiNozzo?"
Author's Chapter Notes:
Ziva goes to Tony's neighborhood to find out where he went, and speaks to the old lady that lives next door.