Damage: 9. Defences Part One



Ziva glanced around for the hundredth time. It was a beautiful house, full of antique furniture, and the décor was sumptuous. She had never been in a house as exquisitely furnished.

“Quinn sure as hell likes beautiful things,” Agent Marley muttered, as he opened up the 18th century Japanese lacquered cabinet in the lounge.

Ziva winced inwardly, not liking to think about whether a twelve year old Tony had once been one of those “beautiful things” Quinn liked so much.

“I do not care how beautiful they are,” she snapped at the team of agents she had been assigned. “Go through everything again. Pull out every drawer and look behind and under every item of furniture.”

She saw them exchange glances.

“We’ve been through everything twice now, Officer David,” Marley said in a reasonable tone of voice.

“Then we will look again,” she replied, her tone and look a fair match for Leroy Jethro Gibbs on a bad day. The agents scuttled to obey her.

She was proud to have been left in charge of this search but annoyed that so far it had proved fruitless. Surely a man such as Quinn, with his proclivities, must have something, somewhere, that showed him for who he was? In Ziva’s experience most men kept pornography, but there was none in this house – of any variety.

Quinn was clearly a wealthy man, with a love of fine wines and fine dining judging from what she’d found. He had a closet full of expensively tailored clothes, and his entire house looked like something that might be photographed for one of those glossy lifestyle magazines. Yet there was nothing to show his dark side; no photographs, no magazines, no DVDs. There was nothing on his computer, which Agent Harris had been through three times already at her insistence. Agent Marley had been through the entire contents of the big mahogany desk in his study. He had checked out every single contact in the large, leather-bound, address book Quinn kept in his desk drawer and found no record of him even knowing Matthew Parrish, let alone meeting him for the purpose of sexually abusing children.

“It is just like Parrish’s house,” she sighed as she walked around the place.

She knew that Gibbs wouldn’t be pleased. There had to be something. She had been entrusted with this task, and she would not fail her partner. If Roy Quinn had anything illegal in his possession, then she *would* find it.




Tony left the hotel foyer with Gibbs walking silently beside him, and then he made a face as he saw McGee sitting on a bench outside, waiting for them.

“I…give us a couple of minutes, Boss,” he said, heading for the bench.

McGee turned his head and saw him, and Tony winced as he saw the red marks on McGee’s neck. Shit; he must have squeezed pretty hard back there. He sat down beside McGee – who was eyeing him cautiously.

“Tim…look man, I’m sorry about…” Tony gestured with his hand to McGee’s neck.

“Don’t worry about it. It’s just a bruise,” McGee said, shaking his head. He gazed at Tony with big, anxious eyes, and Tony fought down a wave of irritation.

“You’ve gotta stop looking at me like that, Probie,” he said, leaning forward and resting his elbows on his knees. “It’s freaking me out.”

“I’m sorry, Tony. I just don’t know how to behave around you any more.”

“Can’t you be like you used to be?”

“I could…but you’re not,” McGee replied. “And also…I’ve looked at every single one of those photos, Tony. In detail. It’s really hard for me not to remember them when I look at you. Then you do stuff like the way you just freaked out in that hotel room, and the way you were with Parrish in the interrogation room last week, and I don’t even know who you are. I look in your eyes, and you’re not even in there.”

“I won’t freak out again,” Tony promised him. McGee raised a disbelieving eyebrow. “Well, I don’t think I will,” Tony grimaced, staring at his own hands. “I…what happened back there helped. I don’t think it’ll happen again.”

“I wouldn’t blame you if it did,” McGee said quietly. “I can’t understand what this must have been like for you, Tony. Uh…are you okay staying with Gibbs? Because if not, you can stay at my place if you’d prefer.”

Tony turned to smile at him. “Thanks, Probie. I appreciate that. But I’m fine staying with Gibbs. In fact, I think it’s the best place for me right now. He’s able to handle all the shit I’ve been throwing around.”

“I’m not sure he’d be my first choice of roomie in your circumstances,” McGee said. Tony laughed.

“Oh, you’d be surprised, Tim. Actually, he’s been fantastic. I’m not even sure I’d be functioning at this point if it wasn’t for him.”

“So he actually does have a human side?” McGee raised an eyebrow. Tony gave a soft little chuckle.

“Yeah, he really does – but don’t tell anyone, Timmy – he’d hate it if it got out.”

McGee grinned at him. They were silent for a few minutes. Tony watched as Gibbs finished stowing away their bags in the car and then pulled out his cell phone and began talking tersely into it.

“So, I’ve been seeing someone,” McGee said, in a conversational tone. Tony turned to look at him incredulously.

“When you say ‘someone’ do you mean an actual woman, or are we talking about another one of those virtual someones that pass for women in your world, McGeek?” Tony grinned.

“Well, okay, so I haven’t actually met her in person, but we met via my online game, and she’s really nice,” McGee said.

“Okay, I know I’m going to regret this, but tell me about her,” Tony sighed.

“Well, she’s a mage, and she’s got level ten sword-fighting skills, level five powers of healing, and …”

Tony waved his hand in the air. “My eyes are glazing over already, Probie! Did you at least get a picture of her?” he asked, intrigued.

“I did.” McGee looked very pleased with himself. He pulled out his wallet and showed Tony a picture of a pretty brunette.

“And you’re sure this is actually *her*?” Tony raised an eyebrow.

McGee laughed. “I’m sure, Tony. She’s totally cool, and we talk for hours online. Seriously. I think this could really work out this time.”

Tony slapped an arm around his shoulder. “Of course it could, Probie,” he sighed. “Of course it could.”

McGee grinned at him, and they both laughed out loud. Tony appreciated him at least trying to get things back to normal between them. It might take awhile, but it was a start.


Gibbs finished up talking to Ziva on his cell phone and then went over to where Tony and McGee were sitting on a bench outside the hotel entrance, sharing a joke.

“It’s time for me to leave,” Gibbs said. He saw Tony’s eyes flash, and he knew that Tony felt the same as he did. After what had just happened in the hotel room, he didn’t want to let Tony out of his sight any more than Tony wanted to be apart from him. “Are you going to be okay, Tony?” he asked quietly.

“I’ll be fine, Boss,” Tony replied. “The McGeek is entertaining me with stories about his imaginary girlfriend.”

“She isn’t imaginary, Tony!” McGee protested.

Gibbs glared at them both, and they gazed up at him sheepishly. Gibbs suppressed a grin. It was good to see some semblance of normality returning.

“McGee – remember what I said yesterday,” Gibbs said, with a meaningful look at his agent.

“Yes, Boss,” McGee replied, as he and Tony got to their feet.

“And Tony – don’t give McGee any trouble,” Gibbs ordered.

“Aw, would I, Boss?” Tony grinned.

“Yes. Don’t.” Gibbs fixed him with a sharp stare. Tony grimaced.

“Yes, Boss,” he said quickly.

Gibbs put his hand on Tony’s neck and pulled him close. “You need me, you call me,” he said softly, straight into Tony’s ear.

“I will,” Tony promised.

Gibbs pressed a kiss to the side of his head, ignoring McGee’s startled look, and then released him and turned to go.

It was a wrench, leaving Tony behind with McGee. Then he remembered what Tony had said about Roy Quinn drugging him to make it easier for Marco to rape him, and he got into the car without looking back. He had a job to do.




Ziva closed her cell phone with a wince. She had been right – Gibbs was not happy.

“Agent Marley – we are finished here,” she said, looking around at the ransacked house. They had been here for several hours. There was nothing here. She knew that if there had been she *would* have found it. “Get all our agents together and meet me at the van.”

“Yes Ma’am! Where are we going?” Marley asked.

“The offices of DQ Enterprises,” she replied. “It is time to widen our search.”




Roy Quinn finished watching the in-flight movie and settled back in his seat. It had been an excellent vacation, but he was looking forward to going home and getting back to work. He wasn’t as young as he’d once been, although he’d definitely enjoyed what he’d been able to buy in Thailand. Things were easier out there. More relaxed. You just had to know where to ask for what you wanted, and you had to be able to afford it, of course. That wasn’t a problem for him; he had plenty of money.

He got out his book and opened it. A couple of boys brushed past him on their way to the toilet. Roy pushed his glasses down his nose and gazed at the boys over the top of them. Brothers, he thought. The oldest was about sixteen, big boned and gangly. He was too old to be interesting, but his brother was a few years younger, at that beautiful age Roy loved so much. Not so young as to be irritating, but young enough not to have hair on his body or face. He had silky blond hair, blue eyes, and a little rosebud of a mouth.

Roy smiled at the boy approvingly, and the kid made a face back at him. Roy grunted. Kids these days were a handful. They weren’t as innocent as they had once been. Now you had to catch them earlier, before they were corrupted by the internet and the trashy TV shows they showed these days. They weren’t as easy to befriend now, either. It had been so much better in the past, when you could get close to a child without anyone reading anything into it. Children themselves were much more aware as well – they knew too much and didn’t respect adults any more. It was such a shame.

The plane landed, and Roy was relieved that there wasn’t too much of a queue to get through passport control. He handed his passport to the man at the desk. The officer looked at him and back at the picture on his passport.

“Mr. Quinn? I need you to come with me,” he said.

“Is there a problem?” Roy asked, surprised.

“No, sir. I just need you to accompany me.”

The officer closed his booth and led Roy off to a room over to one side. Roy frowned, wondering what the hell was going on. He entered the room – and then stopped. Standing in front of him was a tall, intimidating man with furious blue eyes.

“Roy Quinn, my name is Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs from NCIS, and I have a warrant for your arrest,” the man said, his voice so hard and low that it was barely more than a growl. Roy’s heart skipped a beat.

“You’re arresting me? For what? I haven’t brought anything illegal back in my luggage!” he protested. “No drugs or anything like that! Do I look like a drug smuggler? I’m the CEO of a successful company, and I was travelling perfectly legally.”

Gibbs moved towards him, and Roy took a step back in alarm. This man radiated tightly contained fury, and he moved with all the deadly intent of a predator. Roy hadn’t met anyone this intimidating since his years in the Marine Corps. Even Gianni had never scared him this much.

“It isn’t a drug bust, Quinn,” Gibbs said, removing a set of handcuffs from his pocket. “Read him his rights, O’Brien,” he ordered the man standing behind him.

Roy barely registered the words as they were read out. He was too intent on Agent Gibbs, who had invaded his personal space and was now gazing down on him with an expression of furious loathing in his eyes. Roy looked at the floor, unable to meet that scorching stare. He felt like a scared rabbit facing a wolf. He was so terrified he couldn’t move. He could feel the heat from Gibbs’s body; the rage emanating from him was so tangible he could almost touch it. This Agent Gibbs was like an angry god from one of those temples he’d visited in Thailand.

Roy gathered all his courage and raised his gaze slowly, inch by inch, until he was looking straight into Gibbs’s piercing blue eyes. What he saw there made his blood run cold. This man knew him. He knew everything he was, and everything he had ever done. And he hated him. He wanted to tear Roy apart, limb by limb, and only his iron self-control was stopping him.

In a way, Roy felt strangely relieved. It hadn’t been an easy life. There had been so much lying, and sneaking around, and it had been a strain living with the perpetual fear of being found out. Now it seemed that the waiting was over, and the past had finally caught up with him. There was no point in resistance or denial; Agent Gibbs already knew him far too well. Now, at last, he could finally relax.

Gibbs turned him around with a flip of his hands, pulled his arms behind his back, and snapped the handcuffs on his wrists – too tightly – making him whimper in pain.

“Which one?” Roy whispered. “Which one of them was it, Agent Gibbs? Which one of my little loves has betrayed me?”

He thought back to all the beautiful little boys he’d enjoyed over the years. There had been so many of them. A succession of pretty little faces danced before him. So, one of them had finally given up their special secret; but which one had it been?

“Anthony DiNozzo,” Gibbs growled, in a low, savage voice, straight into his ear.

“Ah.” Roy smiled happily. “Tonio. My beautiful Tonio. I’m so glad it was him. It’s fitting.”

He felt Gibbs’s hand tighten on his shoulder, and then he was shoved out of the door. He could feel the intensity of the anger radiating from Gibbs, and knew that he could expect no mercy from this man.

“He was always my favourite you see, Agent Gibbs,” he explained, with a fond little sigh. “My Tonio. He was such a special little boy. Of them all, I loved him the most.”




Tony sat at his desk, reading through the cold case file for the fifth time. He wasn’t taking in any more of it this time than he had the last. He glanced at his watch. Despite the fact he’d given every appearance of not listening when McGee and Gibbs had discussed the day’s timetable at the airport this morning, he’d heard every word. Roy’s plane had landed a couple of hours ago, and that meant that he was already in Gibbs’s custody. It also meant that he knew Tony had betrayed him, finally, after all these years. Tony felt uncomfortable about Gibbs and Roy meeting. They belonged to such different parts of his life. It was like two realities colliding, and he found it hard to get his head around.

Then there was the guilt. He *knew* he didn’t owe Roy anything, but even so a little part of him still felt like a traitor. Roy had always made such a big thing about this being their ‘special secret’, and Tony had been the one to betray it.

And then there was Gibbs, stalking around with vengeance in his heart. He was like a comet flaring across the sky, a portent of angry doom, as cold and hard as ice, leaving a fiery trail in his wake.

And finally there was his father – maybe Ziva was already knocking on the door of DQ Enterprises and waving her warrant in his father’s startled face.

Tony stared sightlessly at the file in front of him, rubbing his forehead repeatedly with his pen. Roy, Gibbs, Dad. These three men had all had a major impact on his life in their separate ways, for good or ill, and now they were all lurching towards a head-on collision with each other. His head was exploding just thinking about it.

He heard McGee answer his cell phone and conduct a short, curt conversation. Then he heard McGee make a call. Just one word: “Now”. He wondered what the hell that was all about.

Three minutes later, a shadow fell over his desk, and he looked up to find Ducky and Abby standing there.

“Ah, my dear Anthony, you’re just the person we need,” Ducky said, smiling at him.

“Totally!” Abby agreed.

“You see, we seem to have something of a dispute on our hands, and we require an independent arbiter,” Ducky said.

“And that – would be you,” Abby butted in.


“Yes, you see, it’s on the matter of Italian food, and we all know that you are an expert on that subject,” Ducky explained.

“We know that because you tell us all the time,” Abby added helpfully.

“Hey – I’m a DiNozzo!” Tony said, wondering what the hell this was all about. “Of course I’m an expert on Italian food.”

“And that’s why we’ve come to you,” Ducky said.

“Did you have any lunch?” Abby asked, grabbing his hand.

“Me and McGee had a sandwich on the shuttle.”

“A sandwich?” Ducky shook his head. “Well, that won’t do at all, Anthony! No, the human body requires far more sustenance than that during the day. I’m sure you’ve heard the adage: ‘Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dine like a pauper’.”

“Uh…no, I hadn’t, but I have now,” Tony replied, making his ‘I’m freaked out’ face at Abby. She grinned.

“You ever been to Carluccio’s?” she asked, pulling him up out of his chair.

“The fancy Italian place down the street? Not yet – it only opened last month,” Tony said, bemused.

“Exactly!” Ducky beamed. “You see, young Abigail here was kind enough to accompany me there for lunch a couple of weeks ago, and we got into something of a dispute on the relative merits of the calamari versus the spaghetti bolognaise. What we require is for an expert on Italian food…”

“That would be you,” Abby said.

“To accompany us there again and give us your judgement on the dishes in question,” Ducky finished.

“What now?” Tony asked. “Right now? Isn’t it a little late for lunch?”

“Not at all,” Ducky told him, plucking his jacket from the back of his chair and helping him into it. “And it’s my treat, my dear boy, because you really would be doing us the most tremendous favour.”

Tony cast a glance at McGee, who shrugged helplessly. “Doesn’t look like you have a choice, Tony.”

“You don’t,” Abby agreed. “So just give in, DiNozzo.”

Tony gazed down at his feet, so they wouldn’t see the expression in his eyes. He knew exactly what they were doing, and he was grateful for it. Then he plastered on his best Tony face and looked up again, with a bright grin.

“Carluccio’s huh?” he said, putting an arm around Abby’s shoulder. “Didn’t I hear there was a really hot waitress working there?”




DQ Enterprises occupied a large, modern, office building. Ziva got out of the van and glanced up at the glass towers, impressed. She had known that Tony’s father was wealthy, and that his company was very successful, but she hadn’t expected anything this impressive.

She squared her shoulders, took the warrant out of her pocket, and strode inside. A gaggle of agents followed her.

A receptionist stood up when she saw them, a startled look on her face.

“Can I help you, Ma’am?” she asked politely, her eyes flickering from Ziva to the men behind her, with their NCIS caps and jackets. Ziva gave a satisfied little smile; DQ Enterprises might be impressive, but so was a full muster of NCIS agents.

“We have a warrant to search this place,” she said, waving the warrant in the receptionist’s face. “Please show me where I can find Roy Quinn’s office. We will start there.”

“Uh…I…this is…please…let me just…”

Ziva felt a little sorry for the woman, but she didn’t have time to waste.

“All your staff are to be gathered in the foyer – they are to stop work immediately.”

Ziva gestured with her head at Marley. He took a handful of agents, and they began sweeping through the offices. They didn’t want anyone deleting any files, or trying to shred evidence.

“You will show me to Roy Quinn’s office – now,” Ziva commanded. The receptionist surrendered to her tone and authority, and Ziva felt a sense of satisfaction as she followed the woman down the hallway and into an elevator.

Quinn’s office was on the top floor, with a beautiful view. It was as neat and tidy as his house. Ziva had a suspicion that Roy Quinn might have a touch of OCD about him. There were a couple of beautiful paintings hanging on the walls, and all the office furniture was a fine, polished mahogany.

Ziva stepped inside and glanced around. “You will leave now and return to the foyer,” she told the receptionist. The woman nodded and scurried away. Ziva ordered one of her agents to begin searching the filing system in the outer office, where Quinn’s secretary sat, and instructed another to start investigating the hard drive on his office computer.

Ziva sat down at Quinn’s desk and began going through the drawers, systematically. As before, everything was neat and ordered, and there was nothing here she would not have expected to find. She doubted they would find anything here in any case. What kind of man would keep any record of his criminal activities in his office? Surely, if Roy Quinn possessed anything incriminating he would have kept it at home? They had found nothing there – maybe the evidence simply didn’t exist.

There was a small filing cabinet with various files containing personal information, such as household insurance and a maid and gardening service. Ziva supposed it was easier for Quinn to deal with these matters at the office than at his home. He probably got his secretary to take care of them.

She went through each one, wishing that Tony was here. He was so good at this kind of thing. He had a nose for it – and he had ideas. He’d see a file and jump to some completely unrelated conclusion which he’d then follow up. Gibbs had chosen his team well. He was like the director of a movie, overseeing and bringing together every aspect of their work, while each team member played their part. They each possessed different talents, and Gibbs knew how to direct them to best effect. Together they were formidable, but they were one person down right now, and Ziva was acutely aware of the loss.

She glanced at the pile of files on the desk and sighed. It would take some time to go through them all, and she wasn’t even sure what she was looking for. She wished Tony was here to relieve the tedium of the search. That was another vital function he performed for the team. She hadn’t been aware, until now, of just how much they all relied on his ability to lighten the atmosphere and make them all laugh.

She began working her way through a file containing various invoices, some addressed to Quinn personally, some clearly passing through the company for payment: Utilities, storage, travel plans.

A commotion outside the door caught her attention, and she looked up to find herself face to face with a tall, angry man that she knew immediately was Tony’s father. The resemblance was unmistakable. This then, was how Tony would look in thirty years’ time, with thinner hair and a heavily lined forehead, but still a solid, broad-shouldered, handsome man.

“My name is Alessandro DiNozzo,” he said. “I’m the president of this company, and I’d like to know what the hell is going on here.”

He even sounded like Tony, but he lacked that vital spark of charm that Tony possessed. This man was formal, authoritative, and humourless, and Tony was none of those things. She stood up and surveyed him coolly.

“I am Officer Ziva David,” she said. “From NCIS.”

“I can see where you’re damn well from! What I want to know is why you have brought my entire company to a standstill and are going through my CEO’s office.”

“We have a warrant to search these premises.” She handed it to him.

“Looking for what?” he demanded. “I can assure you that my company has always operated within the law. You won’t find any evidence of illegal activity here.”

“We are not seeking such evidence. There is no accusation of wrongdoing against your company, Mr. DiNozzo. We are investigating Mr. Quinn in a private capacity.”

“What the hell…?” DiNozzo shook his head, looking completely confused. “Look, Roy is on vacation at the moment, but he’ll be able to clear this up I’m sure. He should be back soon and…”

“We have already arrested Mr. Quinn.”

“What?” DiNozzo frowned. “Oh, for God’s sake – this is ridiculous! Look – my son works at NCIS. He’ll be able to put you straight on this.” He drew his cell phone from his pocket and flipped it open. “I’ll give him a call, and we’ll get this whole thing…”

Ziva put her hand over his and closed his phone. “You will not call Tony,” she told him.

He looked at her, startled. His eyes were the same shade of green as Tony’s.

“You know my son?”

“Yes, I do.” She nodded. “You will not call him.”

“Why the hell not?”

Because Gibbs will kill me if you do, she thought to herself wryly. She took out her own cell phone and texted a quick message to McGee.

“I have a question for you,” she said when she had finished. She grabbed a file off the desk and leafed through it to find what she was looking for. “These are big, impressive offices, Mr. DiNozzo,” she said as she searched.

“Yes they are.” He shrugged. “We moved into them a year or so ago – we were expanding fast and needed more space. So? That isn’t a crime.”

“No, it isn’t,” she agreed. “I see you own the office building – you are not renting it.”

“Can’t see the point in handing over a ton of money to someone else every month,” he replied, frowning. “I’d rather buy outright.”

“I understand.” She nodded. There was something solid about this man; something energetic and driven. She liked him, despite herself. He did not remind her of her own father. He wasn’t Machiavellian. He wasn’t someone who played people off against each other or practised the dark arts of espionage. He was, as he said, an honest businessman who loved his work and his company. She wondered if he also loved his son.

“Do you use the building to capacity?” she asked.

“No – we’ve got a couple of empty floors,” he said. “Roy wanted to rent them out to make extra cash, but I vetoed the idea. I like knowing this entire place is mine.” He said that with a certain amount of pride, and she couldn’t fault him for it. He had worked hard to build this company, and he was proud of his achievement. “We’ll grow into it eventually.”

She nodded. “Why then, if there is spare capacity in the building, does Mr. Quinn need to rent a storage unit?” she asked, handing him one of the invoices from the file. DiNozzo took it, frowning.

“I don’t know,” he said irritably. “Roy takes care of all the back office stuff – I don’t get involved. If he needs extra storage, then he needs it.”

“And you trust him implicitly,” she said, rocking back on her heels and gazing at him searchingly.

“Yes I do!” he snapped. “That man saved my life, and he’s helped me build this company into what it is today. He’s a damn good administrator. He’s also my best friend, Officer David. You won’t find a better man anywhere.”

“I wonder if your son would say the same thing.”

DiNozzo’s eyes flashed. “Of course he would! Just how well do you know my son, Officer David?”

“Better than you, I think.”

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?”

“When did you last see him?” She answered his question with her own. He frowned.

“He’s a busy man, and so am I. We catch up on the phone occasionally.”

“When did you last see him?” she repeated. “Does he ever come home?”

“No,” DiNozzo ground out eventually, his face twisting in annoyance. “I’ve visited him a couple of times in DC though, when I’ve been there on business.”

“Do you ever wonder why he does not come home?”

“Like I said, he’s busy. What are you getting at?”

“I think he does not want to come home because of who he might see here,” she told him. “I wonder, does he even think of it as home any more? Home is where your family is, after all, and his family is in DC. I should know – I am part of that family. Now, if you will excuse me – I have a lead to follow up.” She took the invoice for the storage unit from the file, folded it, and put it in her pocket. “Goodbye, Mr. DiNozzo,” she said, walking towards the door. He stared after her.

“Oh!” She paused when she got to the door. “I forgot – you may try and call Tony now, if you wish, but he will not pick up.”

She gave him a tight little smile and left the room. She heard him trying to call Tony again as she walked away, but she knew McGee would have taken care of it, and Tony wouldn’t answer. That is what families did – they protected each other.




Gibbs pushed Quinn out of the elevator and into the squad room. He had said nothing to the man for the entire journey and didn’t intend to until he got him into the interrogation room where every incriminating thing Quinn said could be taped.

He glanced around the squad room sharply; he’d called McGee when they’d approached the Navy Yard and told him to make sure Tony wouldn’t be there when he brought Quinn in. As he had expected, Tony was nowhere to be seen.

“Interrogation room one is all set up, Boss,” McGee said, his eyes flickering over Quinn with cool distaste.

“Good. How’s my senior field agent?”

“Abby and Ducky took him out. I told them to make sure he’d be gone awhile.”

Gibbs gave a curt nod. “Okay, then let’s get started. Mr. Quinn says he doesn’t want a lawyer present.”

McGee raised a surprised eyebrow. “Does he understand the severity of the charges?”

“Apparently.” Gibbs shrugged, glancing at Quinn. The man gazed back at him serenely.

“I promised you my full co-operation, Agent Gibbs.”

Gibbs gazed at him speculatively; Quinn certainly hadn’t made any attempt to deny the charges.

“You scared him that much, Boss?” McGee said, in a whisper, as they walked towards Interrogation.

“I didn’t lay a finger on him, McGee.”

“Uh…sometimes you don’t have to, Boss. You can scare people with a look,” McGee muttered.

“Well, I sure as hell hope he’s scared,” Gibbs said grimly. “He should be.”

McGee handed Gibbs a file and then disappeared into the observation room, and Gibbs pushed Quinn into the interrogation room. Only when he’d pushed Quinn down onto the chair did he remove the handcuffs. Then he took his own seat opposite Quinn and looked at him for a long time.

So, this was Roy Quinn, the man who had made Tony’s childhood a living nightmare. Gibbs gazed at him. He was of average height, with a round, jolly kind of face. He clearly lived well, judging by his paunch. He was nearly bald, with just a few strands of dark hair swept over the back of his head. Gibbs remembered something Tony had said about Quinn having a certain kind of charisma, and he could see that. There was something infectious about the way his mouth turned up into a permanent little smile, and his brown eyes had a twinkly quality. Gibbs could see how a child might respond to that kind of easygoing charm. There was something of the teddy bear about Quinn. He looked so incredibly harmless.

“Agent Gibbs…” Quinn began, clearly discomfited by the silence and Gibbs’s searching gaze.

“Shut up,” Gibbs snapped.

Quinn fidgeted anxiously in his chair but didn’t say anything. Gibbs waited another few minutes, and then he opened up the file in front of him, pulled out a photograph, and placed it on the table.

“Let’s talk about Tony DiNozzo,” he said.

Quinn’s eyes lit up with a kind of sick glee as he looked at the photo. Gibbs fought down an urge to slam his fist into the man’s face. He had known that today would be a challenge, but if Tony could get through it, then he was damn sure he could. He had to control that angry fire within and keep it wrapped in ice. He could do that. It might take very single ounce of his willpower, but he could do it.

“Ah, Tonio…my beautiful Tonio,” Quinn said, picking up the photograph. “He really was so beautiful. The most beautiful of them all. He will always have a special place in my heart.”

“He says you starting sexually abusing him when he was twelve years old,” Gibbs said.

“Abusing him?” Quinn frowned. “Oh, it wasn’t like that, Agent Gibbs! I loved him. We shared something very special.”

“He was a child,” Gibbs growled.

“I know. A lovely child,” Quinn sighed. “Such big green eyes, such beautifully soft skin.”

Gibbs fought down a savage burst of rage. This was going to be even harder than he’d thought. “Tell me what happened,” he ordered curtly.

“Ah…details. I can see you are the kind of man who appreciates the fine details, Agent Gibbs, just like me.” Quinn nodded. “Where shall I start? I loved him from the minute I saw him, of course. He was my friend Alessandro’s little boy. Just a little lad when I first met him – too young really to be of interest. Then he grew up into this adorable young man.” He glanced up at Gibbs, his eyes shining. “I did try to stop myself, Agent Gibbs,” he said earnestly. “I told myself that I wouldn’t do anything; that I’d admire him from afar and just love him alone in my head at nights.”

Gibbs swallowed back his bile and crossed his arms over his chest.

“But then his mother died, and he was so alone. He was very close to his mother; her death hit him hard, and he was such a little lost soul. You would have needed a heart of stone to have resisted! Anyone would!” Quinn shook his head dolefully. “He was such a shy little boy, Agent Gibbs. You had to have known him back then to understand. He used to creep around that big house, looking so solemn and sad. Alessandro is a good man, and a dear friend, but he has never been very good with children. Unlike myself.” Quinn beamed at him. “So Tonio was lonely, without anyone to talk to. He didn’t make friends easily. He was too shy and serious. I took great pleasure in drawing him out of his shell. Even then, I told myself I’d just be his friend, nothing more.” He shook his head again. “But Tonio was so trusting and so loving and…” He made a futile gesture with his hands. “I’m only human, Agent Gibbs.”

Gibbs ignored that. “Tonio was your pet name for him?”

“Oh no.” Quinn smiled fondly. “Not mine. His mother’s. That’s what she called him. When she died, there was nobody else to call him that – his father never used it. So, I thought he might find it reassuring if I used it.”

Gibbs clenched his fists, slowly, and then unclenched them again. He thought of a lonely boy who had just lost his mother, and how this man had deliberately used her pet name for him in order to ensnare him.

“He says that you took him to a hotel room and raped him.”

“I don’t believe he said that!” Quinn protested. “No, we made love, Agent Gibbs. We were in love.”

“He was twelve years old!”

“You think children can’t fall in love?” Quinn asked, with a surprised look. “Society doesn’t understand of course, but they can. Tonio loved me with all his heart. He wanted me to make love to him. He used to beg me to touch him.”

“Really?” Gibbs said sceptically.

“Oh yes.” Quinn nodded. “He just loved being snuggled, and kissed, and petted.”

“And did he like being raped, Quinn?”

Quinn’s eyes clouded over. “That’s such an ugly word, Agent Gibbs, and it isn’t what happened.”

“You say you loved him,” Gibbs growled. “Can you explain to me exactly what kind of love there is in handing over a child to strangers to be raped?”

Quinn shook his head sadly. “Well, I didn’t want to do that.”

“And yet you did.”

Quinn pursed his lips together and looked mulishly at the ceiling.

“Could you identify the man in this photograph, Quinn?” Gibbs pushed the photo towards him.

“No. I really couldn’t.” Quinn shook his head.

“Do you deny taking the photograph?” Gibbs asked.

“No. I don’t deny it.”

Gibbs stared at him incredulously. “Mr. Quinn, are you seriously intending to play hardball with me on this?”

Quinn licked his lips nervously. “I…I’ve co-operated with you fully so far, Agent Gibbs!”

He had as well. There was something almost childlike about his eagerness to furnish Gibbs with all the sordid details of how he’d abused Tony.

“I can only tell you about myself,” Quinn said firmly. “Nobody else.”

Ah, so that was it. Quinn thought he could somehow give him half the story – the half he chose to give. Even now, Quinn was still trying to play mind games.

“I’m not twelve years old, Quinn,” Gibbs said dangerously. “You can’t play me!”

He slammed his hand down on the table with a resounding crash, and Quinn jumped, looking visibly scared. Gibbs enjoyed the sight and scent of his fear. He wanted more of it. He wanted to make Quinn as anxious as he’d made Tony all those years ago. He wanted him to be more frightened of him than he’d ever been of anything or anyone in his life.

“I can assure you that I’m not trying to play you, Agent Gibbs,” Quinn muttered nervously. He glanced around the room and then leaned across the table and spoke to Gibbs in a conspiratorial whisper. “I’m not an idiot, Gibbs. Alessandro is proud of his son, and I ask after him often. I know all about NCIS. I know that Tonio works here. Is he here now? Is he in the room behind that mirror, watching me? Is my dear Tonio here, Agent Gibbs?”

He looked over Gibbs’s shoulder, straight into the mirror.

“I hope he is. I hope he knows how much I love him still. I forgive him for betraying our little secret.”

“He isn’t there, Quinn,” Gibbs said icily.

“Well, I don’t suppose you would tell me, even if he was.” Quinn grinned at him in a way that was infuriating. “Could I see him, Agent Gibbs? I would so love to see him again.”

“What the hell do you think?” Gibbs snapped.

“Do you work with him? Do you know him? Ah, don’t answer that! I can see it in your eyes. You know him – you know him well. If you know him, then you must also know how easy he is to love,” Quinn said, with a little giggle of glee. “He is, isn’t he? Oh, Agent Gibbs, I see from the expression on your face that you know what I mean. How can you despise me for loving him when you love him too, hmm?”

Gibbs considered what it would feel like to put his hands around this man’s neck and snap it. He decided that Quinn had been playing him for long enough – it was time to fight back.

“You should know that we’ve arrested Matthew Parrish,” he said. Quinn’s eyes flashed in genuine shock. He hadn’t expected that.

“I don’t know anyone of that name,” he said.

“Yes, you do. You introduced him to Tony as ‘Luke’. We found a bunch of files on his laptop. These photos were in them.” Gibbs gestured at the photographs. “You used to take Tony to this hotel room.” He placed some photos they’d taken earlier in the day in front of Quinn. “And then you either raped Tony yourself, or you gave him to other men for them to rape. One of those men was Parrish. Another was a man called Marco. That wasn’t his real name though – what was?”

Gibbs could see the naked panic in Quinn’s eyes. He had been prepared to admit to his own crimes, but he wasn’t prepared to implicate anyone else.

“What was his name?” Gibbs demanded. Quinn licked his lips nervously. Gibbs leaned across the table and beckoned him forwards. Quinn leaned towards him, his eyes wide and frightened. “Listen,” Gibbs said softly, his voice barely more than a whisper. “You might think you’re scared of Marco, and you might feel too afraid of him to tell me who he is, but you need to understand something.”

“Yes?” Quinn swallowed nervously.

“I used to be in the Marine Corps, just like you. I fought in Desert Storm. I’ve done Black Ops in Colombia. I was a sniper.” Gibbs paused for a moment. “Tony has worked with me for eight years. He’s my second in command and one of my closest friends.”

He sat back suddenly, leaving Quinn still leaning forward over the table.

“Do I look like the kind of man who doesn’t care about his friends?” Gibbs roared, slamming his hand down on the table again, missing Quinn’s face by inches. The realisation slowly dawned in Quinn’s eyes that however much he might fear Marco, he should fear Leroy Jethro Gibbs far more.

“Gianni,” Quinn said quietly. “His name was Gianni Marconi.”

“That’s better.” Gibbs leaned back in his chair. “Now, I think we should start from the beginning, Quinn. Tell me about Gianni Marconi.”




Ziva waited while a bored assistant unlocked the door to the storage unit. She had traced the details and found that the unit was registered to DQ Enterprises, and the company had been paying for it for years. It wasn’t expensive; Quinn just authorised the invoices whenever they came in, and nobody had ever asked what it was for. It was clever; a storage unit like this in his own name would be the first place anyone would look if they were investigating him, but registered in the company name, it just got swallowed up in the paperwork. She might even have missed it herself if she hadn’t had that conversation with Tony’s father and been so impressed by how large the DQ offices were.

Ziva entered the unit and looked around. All it contained were two filing cabinets. It was as scrupulously tidy and well organised as the rest of Quinn’s life. Ziva tried to open one of the cabinets and found that it was locked.

“Do you have the keys to these?” she asked the assistant.

“Nope. They belong to the client. We just rent out the space. What they put in them is their own business,” he replied, chewing on his gum and gazing at her insolently.

“Very well.” She gave him a smile of pure steel. “You may go.”

He shrugged and lumbered off. She took out her lock pick – silly little locks like these would be easy to break. It only took her ten seconds to get into the first cabinet. She opened the top drawer, and then took a sharp intake of breath as she looked inside.

There was a whole drawer full of files, each one neatly labelled.

“Andrew, Ben, Ethan…” She picked up a file and looked inside. Her stomach did a flip as she saw photographs, and what looked like notes. Her jaw tightened as she read the notes. She gave the photographs a cursory glance and then replaced them. She hesitated, her hand hovering over the files. There was no ‘Anthony’.

She closed the drawer and opened the one below it. All the boys’ files were in alphabetical order. She closed the second drawer and crouched down in front of the bottom drawer. “Ryan…” She frowned. There was no ‘Tony’. There was a ‘Tonio’ though. She pulled out the file and her heart thudded, almost painfully, in her chest.

There were some photographic negatives, nestled in a protective wrapper. And there was a pack of photographs – quite old photographs, a little faded. A boy she recognised immediately as Tony stared at her from them. She replaced the photos quickly in their envelope and glanced at the notes, which seemed to be in diary form.

“August 14, 1984. Today I kissed him! He’s such a sweet little boy, so willing. He kissed me back and told me that he loved me.”

She skipped on ahead. “November 3, 1984. Tonio loves being kissed on his soft, pink belly, and tickled on the soles of his feet. When I made love to him, he squealed with happiness.”

She shut the file with a snap of her fingers. She could not read any more of that.

She picked the lock on the other filing cabinet and opened it. This one didn’t contain files on individual boys; instead, it was full of child pornography. Some of it had clearly been downloaded from the internet, and some of it was envelopes full of loose photos. A few of the envelopes still had little post-it notes attached from whoever had sent them; “You’ll like these”, “Look at this kid’s mouth!” and so on.

Ziva pulled out her cell phone and called Agent Marley.

“I have found what we are looking for,” she told him tersely, and then she ordered him to bring the vans over. She put her cell phone away, opened up her bag, pulled out her camera, and began taking photos of the storage locker and each of the filing cabinets.

She came across a file containing a neatly itemised list of contact details. One of the names on the list was Matthew Parrish.




“I served with the Marine Corps in Vietnam,” Quinn said, his hands moving anxiously as he spoke. Gibbs noted that they were big, heavy hands, with fingers like fat sausages.

“I know.”

“Of course you do.” Quinn nodded nervously. “I was injured and sent to a hospital in Saigon. That was where I met Matthew.”

“Matthew Parrish?” Gibbs clarified.

“Yes.” Quinn nodded again. “Matthew had been injured when his patrol boat was ambushed, and he and I clicked. We became good friends. There was a Navy Hospital Corpsman there called Gianni Marconi. I didn’t like him. He was…there was something quite threatening about him. But he was friends with this little local Vietnamese boy. Matthew and I…well, we both used to watch that lovely young boy. He was older than he looked, I think – quite small but probably about fourteen. That’s a little older than I like them, Agent Gibbs. My favourite age is…”

“Twelve?” Gibbs raised an eyebrow. Quinn smiled.

“Yes. It’s such a beautiful age. They are teetering so enticingly on the brink of puberty – they have these sexual feelings, but they aren’t yet fully awakened. I like to be the one to awaken them.” He gave a beaming smile, and Gibbs gave him an icy stare in return. He felt dirty just being in the same room as this man, getting this glimpse into the loathsome way his mind worked.

“Go on,” Gibbs ordered.

“Well, this boy was so beautiful. He had the most perfect white teeth and such big brown eyes.”

Gibbs frowned. He flicked through the file in front of him and found a grainy photograph of a boy with Asian features. Boy 51. The first boy these men had abused.

“This him?”

“Oh yes! That’s him,” Quinn beamed. “Isn’t he lovely? He followed Gianni around everywhere. One day, I noticed Matthew looking at him, and I recognised that look. Gianni recognised it too. We started having these conversations…just little things at first, about the boy, and how much we liked him. Gianni told us that the boy liked us too, and that he’d be happy to spend some time with us, in exchange for money and cigarettes. And that’s how it all began. He was a lovely boy.” Quinn’s smile faded.

“What happened to him?” Gibbs asked, making a note on his pad.

“Well…Gianni promised him that he would take him back home with him, and of course he couldn’t. Once the boy realised that wasn’t going to happen, he told Gianni that he would go to his CO and let him know what they had been doing together. Of course Gianni couldn’t let that happen.”

Gibbs stared at Quinn, horrified. “He killed him?”

Quinn’s hands moved around nervously. “Well…I can’t say that for sure, but one day he came and told us that the problem had been taken care of. We never saw the boy again.”

“And you let this man, this child murderer, spend time alone with Tony?” Gibbs asked incredulously, the anger rising inside him again.

“Well, I had to!” Quinn protested. “You see, Gianni had taken some photographs – enough to incriminate both Matthew and myself. When I left the Corps, I assumed that I wouldn’t see either of them again, but then…one day Gianni got in contact. I have no idea how he knew where to find me, but somehow he tracked me down. He said he had a new boy, and he asked me if I was interested.”

Gibbs gazed at him stonily, his arms folded across his chest.

“I told him I wasn’t…but…it had been a long time, and I was lonely. Gianni was so fearless. He wasn’t a nice man – I knew that. He wasn’t cultured or educated, but he was good at ferreting out the young and…troubled.” Quinn gave sad smile. “Life’s unfortunates, I call them; boys who have been abandoned or beaten by their parents. Poor boys. Gianni had a knack for finding them. So I caved in.” He gave a little sigh. “I went to visit him and the new boy he’d found. This happened a few times, and then he said I had to start contributing to the arrangement. Matthew too. So…we did.”

“Was Tony the first boy you groomed for abuse?” Gibbs asked.

“Not the first, no.” Quinn gave an apologetic little smile. “And it wasn’t abuse, Agent Gibbs. All the boys I slept with were perfectly willing.”

“You manipulated them, Quinn. You played mind games on them!”

“No! Really, it wasn’t like that. They all enjoyed my company. It took a little time and effort to woo them, I’ll admit, but isn’t it the same with women? Don’t tell me, Agent Gibbs, that you haven’t spent some time and money buying a woman meals, taking her on dates, and telling her how beautiful she is in order to get her into bed.”

“Oh, trust me, Quinn, it is nothing like the same,” Gibbs growled.

“Well, if you say so.” Quinn gave him a knowing wink.

“Where can I find Gianni Marconi?” Gibbs asked, refusing to rise to the bait.

“I don’t know.” Quinn shook his head.

Gibbs shot him a vicious, predatory grin. “Wrong answer.”

“Oh, I really don’t know,” Quinn said hurriedly. “Honestly, Agent Gibbs! I haven’t seen or heard anything from Gianni in years. He just disappeared completely a few years ago. I have no idea where he went. He never could hold down a job for very long, and he drank heavily. I did wonder if he’d lost his job and been thrown out of his apartment. Maybe he ended up on the street. Maybe he’s dead by now.”

“That’s not the full story,” Gibbs said. Quinn looked nervous. “Come on – you’re a wealthy man, Quinn, and from everything you’ve said Gianni wasn’t above a bit of blackmail. How much did you give him?”

“A lot.” Quinn licked his lips nervously. “I was happy to do it – I have more than enough money – but Matthew…he doesn’t like being crossed, Agent Gibbs. He’s something of a control freak to be honest.”

“Yeah. I know all about Matthew Parrish – he’s a cold bastard.” Gibbs leaned forward. “Did he have Gianni killed?”

“Oh no!” Quinn shook his head. “Nothing like that. At least, I don’t think so. That doesn’t sound like Matthew.”

“No, you’re right. He prefers scaring people. He likes having power over them.” Gibbs leaned back again with a grunt. “So what did happen to Gianni?”

“I think Matthew might have sent some people to frighten him away.” Quinn gave a little wince. “You could be right, Agent Gibbs. Matthew does like to have the upper hand. I believe he gets a certain amount of pleasure from it.”

“I’ll tell you something he definitely got pleasure from – terrifying a child with stories about how he’d kill him and carry his dead body out of a hotel in a suitcase if he wasn’t sexually compliant,” Gibbs snapped. “And putting his hand around his neck and telling him how easy it would be to snap it, like a matchstick.”

Quinn rubbed his podgy fingers over his face, shaking his head. “I don’t believe that happened, Agent Gibbs,” he protested. “Matthew loves children. He adored Tony.”

“He tortured Tony!” Gibbs roared. “Tony was terrified of him. And you – you left Tony alone in a room with Parrish. You allowed him to rape him repeatedly. Tony used to curl up into a ball of fear and physically shake whenever Parrish went near him. What’s your justification for that, Quinn?”

Quinn shook his head vehemently. He reminded Gibbs of a child sticking his fingers in his ears and chanting, “La, la, la” over and over again, refusing to hear what he was being told.

“It wasn’t like that. Tony liked Matthew a great deal. Matthew bought him presents. Tony liked presents….”

Gibbs decided it was time for a break. There was only so much provocation he could take, and if he spent another minute in this room with this sick, twisted man, he thought he might lose control. He got up.

“Are we done?” Quinn asked, as he walked towards the door.

Gibbs turned without pausing and strode back over to him. Quinn leaned back in his chair, frightened. Gibbs leaned over him, getting into his personal space, as intimidating as he knew how to be, so close that their noses were almost touching.

“Oh no, we’re not done, Quinn,” he said darkly. “We are a long way from being done.” Then he shoved himself away and walked back over to the door.

“Agent Gibbs…” Quinn’s voice quavered a little as he spoke. “You say that you’ve worked with Tony for some years?”

“Yeah.” Gibbs paused, one hand on the door, wondering what the hell was coming next.

“You see, I’ve always wondered – all these years I’ve wondered – what kind of a man did he turn into? What’s he like?”

Gibbs wrenched open the door and then glanced back. “What’s he like, Quinn?” he growled, barely able to control his temper. “What’s he like? Oh, I’ll tell you what he’s damn well like. He’s what you made him, and I can sum it up in one word: Damaged.”


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