Chapter Summary: Rossi decides he’s going to give Tony the shovel talk to ensure the younger man knows his place. Unfortunately, it doesn’t go the way he had hoped it would. Then, a request is made for the EU&IU to include the BAU into the Jason Gideon case.
Chapter Twenty-One: A Shovel Talk Only Not Quite & Combining Forces
Tony was in his office going over all of the information that they had so far on Jason Gideon and the murders they’d uncovered. So far they had 26 people in 16 different cities. He had an urge to send the two agents that discovered the connection between their cases a fruit basket in thanks. If the two men hadn’t been talking shop, they would most likely still be in the dark, and Jason would be killing without anyone the wiser. As it was, he had a bad feeling this was not going to end anytime soon. Jason Gideon had been one of the best at what he did. Unless he really fucked up, Tony was pretty sure he’d be damned near unstoppable.
Hearing a knock on his door, he looked you to see David Rossi standing there. “Can I help you, Special Agent Rossi?”
Instead of responding, the older man walked into the office and closed the door. Tony resisted the urge to roll his eyes. He wasn’t positive what the veteran profiler’s issue was with him, but he had a few ideas. So, instead, he looked out the window and shook his head at his team to keep them from storming the office. They were a loyal bunch and weren’t sure about Tony’s safety around Aaron’s BAU team.
“We need to talk,” Rossi said, and Tony turned his attention back to the man now seated in front of his desk.
“By all means,” Tony offered. His face blank of emotion.
“What is it that you would like to speak to me about?”
“I encouraged Aaron to speak to you because I believe that he needs to move on from Haley. Do not take that as a sign that I think you are good enough for him. You are just a stepping stone to get him to someone worthy of him. I don’t know how you conned Tobias, but you won’t fool me. I am familiar with your father. It’s been my experience that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”
Tony relaxed into his chair, and lifting his coffee mug took a drink. Then, smiling at the older man, he replied. “Special Agent David Rossi. One of the founding members of the Behavioral Analysis Unit. You go through wives like some people do cars. You’re personally responsible for the fraternization rules around here. You left to become a writer until you what… ran out of material? Let’s be honest, Rossi. This meeting and your bullshit with me has very little to do with my father. He’s just the excuse that you’re using to justify your little tantrum. As for the apple not falling far from the tree, does the name Ashley Seaver ring any bells for you? Or, do you regularly recommend people you believe will be serial killers for open spots on your team?”
“Am I supposed to be…?”
“Shut up, SSA Rossi,” Tony said calmly and steadily.
“You came into my office in the middle of a case to wave your cock in my face to what? Make sure I knew you had one? Let’s say this is about my old man. I am well aware who you are. My father hates you, but he was always more than a little amused that you just weren’t quite good enough to catch him. Considering that he’s still running around scot-free I’d say you still aren’t.”
When the older man actually growled at him, Tony just snorted.
“Seriously man. I already told you that you don’t intimidate me, and I meant it. Leroy Jethro Gibbs is the biggest bastard on the fucking planet. Not only did I work for him, but I half fell in love with him. So, really, can you just can it? Like I said before this isn’t about Senior. It’s about the fact that you got blind sighted by what your prospective Mrs. Rossi #4 was doing and the fact that your former best friend Jason Gideon is responsible for it. Yeah, I am aware that you were once again violating the fraternization rules with your team’s Technical Analysis. Don’t worry, I’m not gonna go running to daddy to tattle.”
“I don’t need your favors, you little twerp.” David snarled, and Tony just laughed.
“Twerp? Wow. I’m a little disappointed. I really thought that you could be more original than that in the insult game. You had to know the second I said her name in that room that we were going to find out you two were an item. You call her personal number a little too much for it to be professional. Your fingerprints are all over her apartment including on the headboard of her bed. There is seriously no way for you to justify your fingerprints being on her headboard for a strictly professional relationship. Ah, ah zip it!
“Yeah, the CSIs had a field day with that one. They couldn’t really justify ruling those out and were told not to disqualify anyone initially. You can keep being mad at me. You can keep attacking me. You can sit there and threaten my relationship with Aaron. In the end, though, you’re just an angry old man who got surprised and can’t take the truth gracefully. Don’t come at me again, Agent Rossi unless it’s for work or case related issues. Frankly, at this point, my relationship with Aaron is none of YOUR business. You’ve ruined your right to have any say in it. Now, I suggest you leave, before you embarrass yourself further.”
“I would agree.”
Looking up sharply, Tony saw AD Evans standing in the open doorway with Tobias behind him looking highly unhappy. Sighing, he tilted his head to one side. This wasn’t what he wanted to happen, but a small part of him was filled with warmth at the concern his team had for him. Because there was no way those two were there without a call from someone.
“I see that our little talk didn’t take, David. I was sure I told you to keep it professional and stay away from the EU&IU Team unless it was related to Jason’s case. When Agent Mundo called and advised he was concerned by your presence in his AIC’s office, I couldn’t believe my ears. I mean surely you wouldn’t disobey a direct order. Of course, then I remembered who it was. I think it’s time you and I had a little chat about your position in this agency, and just who you are NOT.”
Tony watched Rossi open his mouth to defend himself, but AD Evans just glared angrily. “Shut it and move, SSA Rossi!”
The veteran profiler must have known he’d gone too far at that point because he quickly stood and walked out of the office without looking back once. When the AD just nodded, Tony took a deep breath and gave him a shaky smile. The look Tobias gave him promised that they’d be talking later. Once they left, he tried to bury himself in the case information again.
Soon though he heard another knock on his door, and looking up saw Elijah standing there. Sitting back, he waved the man in and then folded his hands on the desktop. He was a little curious about what this visit was all about.
“I know you said not to interfere boss, but I couldn’t just let it go,” Elijah said quietly and calmly looking him in the eye.
“DiNozzo Rule Number 1: Don’t sit on the sidelines while your people are in trouble. As far as I am concerned that means you too, boss. David Rossi has a hell of a lot more pull in this building than the two of us combined. It’s obvious that he’s taking this whole thing personally. I had to call Fornell, but I swear I didn’t know he was gonna bring the AD.”
Tony waved a hand in the air and flashed a half smile. “Tobias probably called him. He told me not to take this Rossi thing lightly, but I didn’t want it to become a thing. As you know we’re having a meeting later with Aaron and someone else from his team. They’ve made an official request to be included in working the Gideon case with us. We’re going to agree to a reduced team, and they will basically be acting in consultant positions only. It’s the only way to keep them involved but work around the conflict of interest issue. I think we’re going to need their insight into Gideon, but we can’t let the case be thrown out due to a technicality.”
“Do you really think Gideon’s going to go quietly?”
Tony sighed and steepled his fingers. “If we got lucky and caught him off guard, yes. Do I think that’s going to happen? Probably not. I have a bad feeling about this whole case, Lijah. This body count isn’t going to stop anytime soon. I hate to say it, but our only hope might be that he completely loses it. That may be our only chance at him making a mistake. Don’t worry about the calling Tobias thing. I’m not upset. If I was in your shoes I would have done the same thing. Good job, Mundo.”
Elijah sighed and nodded, then got up and left leaving Tony to his files.
“This is gonna suck,” Tony muttered, then decided to start his review from the beginning with a thorough look into Jason Gideon himself as if he had no idea who the man was.
Tony was sitting in the conference room assigned to his team clicking through the information that Raven and Chin had gathered, while also debating in his head if he wanted to go back and take some more advanced computer classes. The more he watched Chin and Raven, the more he wanted to increase what he already knew.
Despite what he’d always let McGee believe he wasn’t quite the hunt and pecker that he presented. However, he certainly wasn’t advanced enough to understand half the things they said, and it was like a thorn in his paw that Elijah kept having to explain things to him. He kept having flashbacks to himself and Gibbs. An outdated dinosaur was the last thing that he wanted to be.
Maybe he’d take some online or night classes. Things he could do in his own time or at his own pace. It was definitely something that he was going to research and discuss with Aaron. Just not that day.
He was sitting at a large oval shaped table. He’d ordered one big enough to hold his team as well as another the size of the BAU. Several spots on the table had computer ports where people could hook up either tablets, laptops, or plug in USB devices if needed. There were several floating keyboards that could be passed around the table. The walls around the room were covered with monitors and screens, so that information could be shared and researched directly from the room.
He asked McGee to help him design this room wanting something more technical than the normal conference room. His Probie had gone for something like the NCIS LA OSP team’s MTAC room, and Tony found that he was glad he’d let himself be talked into such a technologically advanced room. There were a couple TV monitors that were tuned to ZNN so that they could keep an eye on any breaking events, should they be case related. The room could be locked down like Vance’s office back at NCIS, and there were no windows so that there was zero chance of them being observed.
The lockdown mode included signal jammers that would prevent any cellular signal from getting out, thus the need for terminal hookup ports. It also required retinal, handprint, and voice print simultaneous access when lockdown mode was engaged. After this fiasco with Gideon had been exposed, Director Skinner came to him and advised that any security changes he wanted to be made with his team would be allowed. Tony appreciated the thought and had immediately set Chin and Raven loose on their files. He’d also advised them to do what they needed to make sure the team was secure in every way within the building.
Elijah was designing their own weapons locker on the floor. Skinner was moving some other teams to other levels so that his team would have this floor all to themselves. This would allow their them to be completely locked down from the rest of the building. There was some talk that if once they were done, if the improvements worked, of moving the BAU team down, and then replicating some of the measures for some other floors in the building.
Tony was fine with the BAU moving down. Quite frankly he thought that team was way too open to general traffic. They’d already had their floor compromised at least once that Aaron had informed him of.
He’d also already suggested to the Director that he felt his own team needed to be bigger. He needed at least one more veteran undercover operative, and one more veteran investigator beyond the spot he was currently trying to fill with a female undercover operative.
He was promised that if he could show justification for the spots, then they’d let him have the people. So, he planned on sitting down with Tobias and Aaron at some point to get ideas about how to go about this. It was this side of the management position that he had no clue about.
Loading Jason Gideon’s picture onto the monitor in front of him, Tony sat back in his chair and studied it thinking about all of the information that he’d found out. He’d discovered some interesting cases that may have pre-shadowed their current case. Unfortunately, each event had been spaced so far apart that there literally was no way that someone could have predicted this would happen unless they did what Tony had, and dug through every single second of Jason’s life. He found the advantage of having someone like Raven on board. She tended to seek out information and paths that Chin simply never considered because of her former Black Hat history.
He was turning over in his head if there was any way to track these types of incidents without completely invading an agent’s privacy when he heard the door lock disengage as Elijah came in with their visitors following. Because they’d already had one breach in security with the case, he hadn’t been willing to take chances. So, the room had been on lockdown, which meant only himself, Elijah, Section Chief Cruz, and Director Skinner had access to the room.
Anyone else would have to be let in by one of the four of them. He wished he had a double door access like MTAC did and placed it on his wish list for future upgrades. If he had his way, this room would literally become the most secure place in the building.
Nodding to their guests, he got up and got seven bottles of water out of the refrigerator in the corner. Coming back to the table, he handed them out, before sitting back down in the seat he’d been in previously and locking down the screen he’d been working on to hide the information. In the meeting were not only himself and Elijah, but also Aaron, Derek as his Second in Command, Tobias who was still Tony’s direct Unit Chief, and Section Chief Cruz who was over all of them.
Personally and professionally both, Tony was on the fence. He could understand their position, but allowing the BAU in as a whole would create a conflict of interest nightmare. Not only that, but Rossi had more than proven that he was completely unable to be either professional or impartial in this instance. It would be the next test to see if his personal relationship with Aaron could withstand professional friction with Unit Chief Hotchner.
“Gentlemen,” Tony greeted opening his bottle and taking a sip.
“Man, Baby Girl would love this room,” Derek offered, smiling before a flash of pain crossed his face and it became blank. He saw Aaron offer the man a sympathetic smile and felt his own pang of sympathy. Betrayal of any kind sucked. To combine a trusted co-worker with your best friend though had to be rough.
“I think they’ve done an amazing job designing this room. If it works out, we’re considering adding a couple more to the floors with teams that have regular access to more highly classified or highly sensitive material. Let’s talk about the case. Tony, I see you have things set up for us.”
Tony nodded as Elijah placed a keyboard in between Aaron and Derek, and one in front of Tobias and Mateo each before resuming his seat next to Tony where he already had his tablet hooked up to the port. “You can log in with your FBI access codes to view information on your secure folders from here if you need. You can also do pretty much anything you could from your desk in here. Once you login you’ll see your personal ID code flash on a monitor and that one will be the one assigned to you. Right now I have three of the monitors set up to mirror mine so that I can share the information with you should it be agreed that it’s needed. The monitor assigned will be one of the others currently black.”
Taking a deep breath Tony tried to organize his thoughts before diving in. “I’ll be honest. This case is huge, messy, and complete chaos at the moment. I know that the BAU wants in on it, but I have several concerns about that.”
“The BAU knows Jason better than anyone in this building,” Hotch stated eyeing him intently. “It would be unwise to not accept assistance from people that know him.”
Nodding, Tony was glad he had Agent in Charge DiNozzo firmly in place and was thankful that Aaron was nowhere present in the man across the table from him. “I’m not saying that I am against the idea, but I have a very short list of people from the team that I am willing to accept. This case is mine, and I will not allow it to be corrupted by personal feelings. I think the last thing any of us wants, should this get to the courts, is for it to be tossed out by some judge because of conflict of interest issues. I will be upfront that David Rossi is not under any circumstances getting anywhere near this case. His presence is an absolute deal breaker.”
Aaron nodded, but it was Cruz who spoke. “I agree, and that won’t be an issue anyway. SSA Rossi is taking a couple weeks of personal time to get himself settled and assist his… significant other with her legal issues. It was made clear to him in his meeting with AD Evans and Director Skinner that once he did return, he was not to come anywhere near this case. Should he violate that order, he will find himself no longer employed by the agency.”
Derek snorted, and Tony saw Hotch shoot him a glare of warning. He himself had definite thoughts about the whole Rossi & Penelope situation but wasn’t going to get involved. They hadn’t been caught before her firing, and now that she was no longer with the agency, it was a non-issue. He did understand though that it was just one more thing for SSA Morgan to be upset about as it just added another item to the list of things that his supposed best friend had hidden from him.
“So, who exactly were you thinking of being willing to work with your team from the BAU, Tony?” Tobias asked, even though he knew the answer. Tony and Tobias had spent all night arguing over every team member and debating the pros and the cons of each person along with what they could bring to the case.
“I would like Kate Callahan to assist us for start. She has an impressive record, and her reviews thus far with Aaron are exemplary. She also is the only team member that has had zero contact with Jason ever. So, we don’t have to worry about her profile being clouded by personal feelings.”
Hotch and Cruz both nodded before Hotchner spoke. “I agree. Kate is a strong profiler and will be of great assistance to the case. Who else are you considering, Agent in Charge DiNozzo?”
“My second selection would be Emily Prentiss. She had less than six months’ time working with Gideon before he quit. So, she’ll be familiar with him, but not overly sentimental about anything. She’s also worked with Ms. Garcia long enough that she will have some insight into her side of this fiasco. Lastly, her time with Interpol will give her some kind of familiarity to this type of case. She’ll understand that this won’t be solved quickly, and know how to pace herself.”
Once again Cruz and Hotchner both nodded this time with Cruz speaking. “Agreed. Emily Prentiss will be the second representative from the BAU to assist your team. Who else are you willing to accept, AIC DiNozzo?”
Taking a calming breath, Tony glanced at UC Hotchner and SSA Morgan before turning his attention to SC Cruz. “The last person I am willing to accept would be SSA Morgan, but his role would have to be closely monitored. His access to evidence would need to be limited. His access to information would need to be on a read-only basis. Any information he provides would need to be verbal and will need to be reported by either Agent Mundo or myself. Once we do catch, Jason Gideon, SSA Morgan absolutely will not be allowed to be involved in the arrest.”
When Morgan exploded with anger, Tony just sat calmly and let the other man yell. He noted that Hotchner made no attempt to stop the ranting, and from the biting anger in his eyes, Tony could tell the UC was not happy. There was just no way that they could allow either UC Hotchner or SSA Dr. Reid to be a part of the case. It was the one thing that he and Tobias had agreed on immediately. The only thing they’d really had a heated argument about was Derek.
Tony hadn’t wanted him to be part of the case either, but Tobias pointed out they needed someone with a better familiarity of Jason. He also pointed out that Hotchner held more than a little sway within the agency, and that there was no way he would allow himself, Dr. Reid and SSA Morgan to all be excluded from the case. So, Tony might as well pick one, and set whatever safety guards he needed.
“Enough!” Tobias finally snapped, and Tony waited until things were quiet again to speak.
“This wasn’t some off the top of my head decision. The options were all thoroughly debated with my Unit Chief. The pros and cons of each member of the Behavioral Analysis Unit team were gone over. There is simply no way that we can legally justify either Unit Chief Hotchner or SSA Dr. Reid’s involvement and not expect this all not to be thrown out of court. It took me all of five minutes to find out that Dr. Reid viewed Jason Gideon as his mentor. It took me all of 10 minutes in the lunchroom downstairs to find out that UC Hotchner viewed Jason as his best friend at one time.
“To further that the restrictions for SSA Morgan weren’t something I just pulled out of thin air. We talked to the federal prosecutors and discussed what we could accept that would allow SSA Morgan to assist and this whole thing not be immediately thrown out by a judge. No touching any evidence gathered. No altering information gathered. He can voice opinions and give insight into former SSA Gideon. He cannot appear on anything that we’re going to use to put this sick twisted fucker behind bars, and the final say is mine.
“Now, you can run around with your ass chapped from your panties being in a twist, SSA Morgan. Or, you can realize that this is about putting this fucker behind bars, and be thankful that we are doing what we can so that you can be involved. Either way, grow up. You’re SIC on your team. If this was some case that your team was working, and it was a LEO that was involved, you’d be irate if we allowed someone even as much access as we’re giving you to be involved. So, please try and pull your head out.”
Tony just snorted when SSA Morgan glared at him. “Seriously, you’re gonna have to do better than that. Have none of you people ever watched the YouTube videos on Gibbs? You have two options, SSA Morgan. Accept what you’ve been offered, or stay the fuck off the case.”
“Cruz,” SSA Morgan started to argue, but SC Cruz just held up a hand.
“Enough, SSA Morgan. AIC DiNozzo is correct, and frankly has put up with enough bullshit from your team already.”
When Morgan would have argued further, Aaron held up a hand, and the man stopped speaking automatically. “That’s enough, Derek. They’re right, and you know they’re right. You’re still getting to be involved. You don’t need to be at the crime scenes. You certainly don’t need to touch the evidence and are you really mad you can’t do paperwork? I have plenty to give you to do of my own if you are.”
When Derek just huffed and rolled his eyes, Tony knew the worst of it was over. As much as he understood Derek’s position, he couldn’t help but think that if he ever really wanted to move up in the ranks, then he was going to need to get past his temper issues. The man was entirely too quick to anger to be promoted any higher than where he already was.
“Good, since we have that settled, let’s wrap this up. DiNozzo, I want you to get the full team working this case together ASAP. Aaron, you need to select a temporary Technical Analyst so that we can get your team back to at least doing consults. We’ll hold off on sending you out into the field for a bit. Team 2 can take anything that comes in.”
Tobias cleared his throat. “I actually was thinking about the BAU’s TA issue, and I have an idea. Tim McGee is still sitting around doing basically nothing. There have been some unexpected delays with getting his new team formed. I spoke to him this morning, and he’d be more than happy to assist the BAU team.”
“Can he handle our cases?” Aaron questioned frowning. “I know he came from the Major Crime team at NCIS, but I don’t believe they regularly handled the types of cases that we do.”
“If I may?” Tony requested feeling like he should speak up for his probie. He wanted to wait for Unit Chief Hotchner to accept his offered opinion before continuing. So, he remained quiet until Hotch nodded his acceptance.
“I trained Tim. I know that it seems like he wouldn’t be suited for the spot, but having worked with him I can honestly say there is no reason why he can’t be an asset. I know you are used to a different style of analyst, but to be frank… the chances of you finding another hacker to take Garcia’s spot are slim. Most of the TA’s in the pool are closer to Tim’s background than Raven or Garcia’s. Trust me I just went through them all trying to form my team. McGee might be the perfect person to get you from TA Garcia to whomever your next full-time TA will be.
“I can say from personal experience that if you give Tim a starting point then he’ll run with it from there. Not only that but with his investigative experience, he may be able to see avenues that could be explored that you hadn’t considered. Tobias can speak to Tim’s willingness to hack whatever he needs to in order to find answers.”
UC Fornell just snorted. “Oh, trust me. McGee is more than happy to hack at whatever he needs to. Kid was always in our goddamned systems when he was with NCIS. I wouldn’t recommend him if I didn’t think he wouldn’t be willing to do whatever you need, Aaron.”
Tony smiled and had a burst of inspiration offering an olive branch. “I’d also be willing to let him assist with the Gideon case, which would give you another member of the BAU working the case. I don’t really want to devote both Chin and Raven to it full time, and I think that whichever one I assign to this will need an assistant. Tim would be perfect for that role.”
When UC Hotchner just sat quietly studying him, Tony remained quiet and allowed the man to go through his thought process.
“Send me his file so that I can look it over. Unless something glaring jumps out at me though, I will most likely accept your offer. AIC DiNozzo, thank you for your opinion. I know you are more familiar with TA McGee than the rest of us.”
Tony tilted his head to one side with a smile, accepting the olive branch offered back to him. “It was my pleasure, Unit Chief Hotchner.
When Section Chief Cruz stood, the meeting was effectively signaled to be over. “Great work people. I know that this is hard for everyone involved. The AD, Director and I have nothing but confidence though in everyone involved.”
When everyone else filed out, Tony sat back down and started going over the information. Elijah would get everyone together and into the conference room. He might as well go over everything one more time.