Title: Mercy and Vengeance
Characters/Pairings: Toni DiNozzo/AJ Chegwidden, SECNAV Sarah Porter, others mentioned
Word Count: 971
Rating/Warnings/Notes: a little swearing and mentions of naked stuff; probably no more than Mature.
Synopsis: Without justice, the law is merciless. Without law, justice is vengeance.
He found her sitting on the couch, shoulders slumped. The dog’s head was in her lap, a plea for attention and an offer of comfort; she was stroking his ears, heedless of dog hair and her two thousand dollar suit.
The coffee table held an empty beer bottle, her badge, and a handgun.
She didn’t look at him, only stared down at the table and asked: “What’s the difference between the law and justice?”
“Nothing, and everything.” AJ removed his cover and uniform jacket and laid them aside before joining her.
“The law doesn’t always equal justice,” she murmured. “The legal system certainly doesn’t.”
AJ slid the clasp free from her hair, making her sigh the tight chignon tumbled loose. “The law is shaped by countless people,” he offered, hand settling on her neck and rubbing the tension there. “Society, lawmakers, victims and criminals. Justice is a solitary and personal thing.”
“The difference is that while the law may not always be just, justice outside of the bounds of law never is.” Toni shifted the rest her forehead against his shoulder and he gathered her close. The dog sprawled out on the floor with a sigh as AJ kissed her hair. “Without justice, the law is merciless. Without law, justice is . . .”
“Revenge,” he finished as she fell silent, curling tighter against him.
“I may be working longer hours for the next little while,” Toni explained later. “Vance and Ziva are both on indefinite hardship leave.”
AJ nodded and finished removing her blouse. “Not their idea, I assume.”
“A federal agency can’t have a director who is emotionally compromised making decisions, and his children need him. Ziva . . .” Toni chuckled, a harsh and bitter thing, as her head fell forward against his chest. “Well. there’s ample evidence of her lack of decision-making skills when she’s emotional.”
Ziva David was a ticking time bomb looking for a place to detonate in a healthy frame of mind if such was ever the case. When she was off-balance, the woman was constantly a moment away from meltdown, and her blast radius was most of NCIS. Toni had dealt with the aftermath far too often.
“I’m sure they’ll benefit from the mental health break and the chance to grieve,” AJ said dryly, unclasping her bra and sliding her panties off her hips. “Go on and have a shower while I grab something from the kitchen.”
Instead of complying, Toni pressed closer and kissed his jaw. “We can eat later; come join me.” Long fingers cupped his dick through his trousers.
Toni DiNozzo was sex wrapped in sin and gilded in temptation, and AJ had rarely been able to resist. Eight years after she’d congratulated him on his second star by inviting him home for coffee and fucking them both stupid, AJ was still just as susceptible to the dare in her smile and the promise in her voice.
But he’d come home to find her grieving and guilty and, despite the sultry tone there were lines of stress and exhaustion around her eyes. So he kissed his wife gently and told her, “Shower and eat and then we’ll see if you can make good on that.”
She huffed and strode into the steamy bathroom. “What kind of officer and gentleman turns down a willing woman?” Toni called over the shower. “You’re letting down the navy, Admiral Chegwidden!”
“I’ll uphold the honour of the navy when you don’t look like you’ll fall asleep or cry before we’ve finished,” AJ called back as she stripped the remains of his uniform, ignoring his half-hard dick, and pulled on sweatpants.
Something wet slapped against the bathroom door. “Fuck you! I’ve never cried during sex in my life!”
Pleased with her display of playful temper — far preferable to the sadness of earlier — AJ grinned and grabbed his phone. “You make enough noise to make up for it.” And retreated from the bedroom with Toni’s growled response following him.
There was some leftover chicken in the fridge along with some pasta salad and he set the meat to warm in the microwave while dialling.
“What kind of fallout can we expect over Vance and David, ma’am?”
“Minimal,” the SECNAV replied. “Vance is on leave; he’ll either get his head straight and return in six months, or he’ll retire. David has been informed that her future employment hinges on regular therapy, a minimum of three months leave, and remaining in the country until she’d declared fit.”
“How bad was it?”
She sighed. “Vance signed off on David going to Europe to ‘arrest’ a Mossad Deputy Director based on insufficient and circumstantial evidence.”
“For fuck’s sake.” AJ spooned pasta onto two plates and added the warm chicken. “When has David taking things into her own hands ever resulted in anything but bodies and a black eye for NCIS?”
“Fortunately, someone was paying attention and notified me.” There was a short pause. “After contacting Interpol with a request for observation and detainment of Deputy Director Bodnar and requesting the TSA block David’s passport. Not to mention arranging for Eli’s body to be returned to Tel Aviv and ensuring that Vance’s children were cared for and under guard.”
“Busy day,” was all he said. No wonder Toni was tired.
“And tomorrow will be more of the same,” she warned. “Tell your wife to get some rest, AJ, because NCIS is down another director and I’m not willing to rush an appointment since that led to Vance getting the chair. She’s turned down two promotions that would limit fieldwork, but I’m going to need a SAC for the DC office and she’s one of the only people at the agency I can trust to do their job without starting a war or undermining democracy.”
“I’ll let her know.”
In case you forgot how delicious Admiral AJ Chegwidden was and why Toni would have climbed that like a tree: