A young couple was walking in Rock Creek Park on a Saturday morning. As they were hiking up a trail, the male partner noticed an awkward discoloring on a tree trunk.
"Come on," the woman said, "You don't need to pick up every piece of trash along the trail."
"Just doing my civic duty," the man answered. When he reached the tree, he noticed that it had been wrapped in several layers of cellophane. He then looked around the tree to find a female body, stripped naked, was tied to the tree with the wrap.
For the past few days, Ziva David had not been feeling well. She had been hit with bouts of nausea. The thing that comforted her stomach the most was her partner's Ohio State sweatshirt. As she took in his scent, she thought of what she and Tony DiNozzo had been through over the past several months.
They had started out as friends and confidants; now, they had developed a romantic relationship as well. Both of them were worried, rightfully so, about their romance affecting them in the office. So far, their relationship outside the office had improved their performance at work. They had always seemed to 'click' as teammates, even if they had a tendency of teasing each other. But now, out in the field, they each knew what the other was up to, and could complete each other's actions without needing a word. When they did talk to each other, Tony usually dropped a pop culture reference, or Ziva would take a jab at him in response. Outside the office, most nights, they would inevitably be together at each Ziva's apartment. Some nights, they would just cuddle and talk, while other nights, they would be a lot more passionate. In work and in romance, the two agents read each other perfectly.
While they knew each other very well, there were always secrets left to share. Ziva had been hiding her nausea for the past week, and she noticed that her normal menstrual period did not occur. She did not want anyone, not even her mate, to see anything 'wrong' with her until she could confirm it. She was about to take a home test when her cell phone rang. This could not have come at a worse time, Ziva thought as she answered the phone. "Agent David," she stated.
"Hey," Tony replied. "Boss man just called us out. Got a body in Rock Creek Park."
"Can you give me a few extra minutes? There's something important I need to do before I leave."
"Sure, sweetie." Tony answered. "By the way, have you seen my Ohio State sweatshirt?"
"It's here." Ziva did not explain the fact that she was wearing said sweatshirt, nor did she explain why.
"Okay," Tony answered. "Pick you up in 15?"
Tony and Ziva arrived to find Ducky and Palmer had already arrived. "Nice of you to join us, DiNozzos," Gibbs stated.
"Won't happen again," Ziva replied.
"What have we missed?" Tony inquired.
"Her name's Petty Officer Jaime Alvarez," Gibbs noted. "She's a person of interest in the latest Pentagon sex scandal."
"There's another one?" Tony quizzed surprisingly. "With all the scandals affecting the top brass, the press is going to have a field day with this."
"Got a time of death, Duck?"
"I'm good, Jethro, but I'm not that good. I have to wait for your tardy couple to finish photographing the scene."
Using their unspoken bond, Tony and Ziva quickly made up for lost time documenting the state of the body. Once they documented how the woman was found, Tony promptly got out his knife and cut the cellophane. Ziva helped make sure the wrap did not get contaminated as they removed and bagged the bindings. "You know, maybe we need to change rule 12. You're better off dating a co-worker. At least there's no national security implications."
"You and Ziva are the exception to the rule," Gibbs noted.
"If you got caught in a sex scandal," Tim added, "they would never find your body."
"Thank you, McObvious."
Once the body was untied to the tree, Ducky was able to ascertain how Petty Officer Alvarez expired. "Looks like a single GSW to the head. 9 millimeter. Looks like a possible powder burn, definitely a point blank shooting. I'm sure we can pull up GSR trace for Abby."
A familiar voice called from behind the crime scene. "Agent Gibbs!"
"Commander White," Gibbs stated, "what brings you here?"
"News about the body has made scuttlebutt already," Jacob White noted. "Admiral Pressman asked me to verify what was going on."
"I'm sure Fornell will be right behind you," Gibbs answered. The FBI had been heavily involved in the recent scandals, and his friend had unofficially briefed him on what the Bureau was up to. "The body is confirmed to be Jaimie Alvarez, single shot from a 9 mil at close range."
"Not good. She was connected to a promising candidate for a four-star billet. The president just pulled the nomination over the allegations."
While Gibbs was chatting with Jacob, Tony took to chatting with his partner. "You know, they could probably make a blockbuster out of all of these sex scandals."
"For once, you do not have a movie reference at the ready." Ziva retorted.
"In this case, the truth is stranger than fiction. Speaking of strange, Is there anything I should know about?"
"No, Tony," Ziva answered. She was not ready to explain herself, even to her partner.
"Okay," Tony replied. His gut was telling him that there was something hinky, but his heart told him that Ziva would tell him when she was ready. "You know, my door is always open for you."
"I know." Ziva was grateful that Tony was not pressing her for answers, even though he suspected something.