- *No Site Warnings Apply
- Challenge Response
Penelope leaned back in her chair and stretched. She glanced at the clock and was surprised at how late it had gotten. She pushed back from her desk and stood. More coffee was needed if she was going to figure this out.
As she turned to the door, she gasped in surprise and almost tripped as she stumbled back a step, knocking into her chair. Fortunately, the man who had startled her stepped in and grabbed her elbow to steady her.
“I’m so sorry, Garcia! I thought you knew I was there,” Agent Tony DiNozzo said as he took a step back once she had regained her balance.
Penelope shook her head and smiled at him. “I did, I think. Sorry to ignore you for a few minutes, I guess I forgot you were there.”
“It’s been a half hour, but it’s fine, really,” DiNozzo replied with a kind smile.
“That long? I was really in the zone, I guess.”
DiNozzo’s smile took on a definite flirty edge. “Believe me, it was no hardship watching a beautiful woman work her magic.”
Garcia winked and smiled back. She really liked Agent DiNozzo, and she was enjoying consulting with him on this case. He was relatively new to the FBI, but she’d done her homework on him when they started working together and learned he’d been a cop and an agent for NCIS before that. Now DiNozzo worked on another violent crimes team in the BAU. Penelope had noticed him in the building a couple times, (how could she not notice that fine ass covered in designer wool?) but this was the first time they’d worked together.
“Flattery will get you everywhere with me, Agent Hotness,” Garcia returned.
“I’ll keep that in mind. So, made any progress? I don’t mean to hover, but you really are doing me a huge favor jumping in on this, and I want to be available to help. I don’t know anyone else in the agency who could get me this data on such a tight timetable.”
They were currently working to compile data from cases across multiple agencies because DiNozzo had a hunch that a case his team had been brought was actually much further reaching than they initially thought. Penelope was writing a program to track some queues in public social media profiles that might help them find more people that might be involved in what was shaping up to be a domestic terrorist organization involved in several armed robberies and arson so far. Her magical data mining skills had gained a reputation, and DiNozzo had requested she consult on the case.
So far Tony’s team hadn’t had much luck linking more than a couple small-time guys, but they knew it ran much deeper. Penelope was confident she could root out more potential suspects; it was only a matter of time. Time was the other main concern. The last arson incident had happened over a week ago, and a man had been killed. There was chatter about using the upcoming holiday to “further their goals” among the group online. The team figured the next move would come soon, and they wanted something to move on.
That’s how Penelope Garcia, goddess of solving problems, found herself working late on New Year’s Eve with a sexy and smart Tony DiNozzo. It was a pity she didn’t get to ogle that man in a suit more often. Maybe she’d have to find more excuses to consult with his team.
Mentally shaking off that train of thought, she glanced back at her screen to see her algorithm still running.
“Nothing I need help with right now, unless you’d like to escort me to the finest late night snacks the vending machine has to offer?” she asked DiNozzo.
He chuckled and gestured grandly toward the door of the office. “Lead me to the chocolate and salty goodness.”
They walked down the hall to the break area on that floor. Tony pulled out a couple bills from his wallet and turned to inspect the options.
“What’s your pleasure? Salty or sweet? I’m buying since I pulled you in on this on a holiday.”
Penelope cocked her head to the side a bit and smiled. “I’m definitely a sweet kind of gal, and chocolate better be involved.”
Tony turned to look back at her, smiling. “I knew I’d found a fellow soul who appreciated the finer pleasures in life.”
“Oh, I appreciate pleasures of all kinds, Agent DiNozzo,” she shot back with a smirk.
Tony let out a genuine laugh.
“In that case, you better start calling me Tony. Now,” he said, turning back to the vending machine, “how about a little of everything?”
In a few minutes, they had their little feast assembled before them on the small table in the breakroom. Penelope had immediately taken a big bite of the Snickers and Tony had three different bags of chips open, sampling from each. Bottles of water was their token attempt at anything resembling healthy eating.
“So did I steal you away from any big New Year’s Eve plans?” Tony asked before crunching into another chip.
Penelope shrugged and shook her head. “Not really. I could have found some friends having a party, I’m sure, but it’s been a busy month. I was mostly looking forward to a quiet night at home.”
“Well, then I’m sorry to bring you more work.”
Tony sounded genuine in his reply. Penelope felt like she could read the guy pretty well even in their relatively short acquaintance. He didn’t wear his heart on his sleeve as much as she did, but she could tell that when he put on a good face, it was to make others feel more comfortable, not out of some need for deception. That hadn’t stopped her from doing a little research both online and through the usual gossip channels, she had no shame in doing what she needed to feel safe working with someone new, but it was reassuring to know her impression of him was accurate.
Penelope stole a chip from one of Tony’s bags and finished chewing before she returned the question.
“What about you? Did you cancel on any plans?”
Tony shrugged. “I’ve been a little bit of a social hermit since starting this job. I made a lot of changes in my life recently and lost a few close friendships. So my dance card was pretty empty when this case came along.”
“Well, that’s a shame. You look like you’d be a great dancer,” Penelope flirted back.
Tony was being pretty open with her and seemed pretty receptive to her flirty banter. She was definitely considering how she might continue getting to know Tony after this case was finished. But right now they had a job to focus on.
“Well, we should have started getting some results by now. Want to go check on the progress?” Penelope asked as she stood and started tidying up their little picnic.
They made their way back to Penelope’s office, and she returned to her seat to see what her program had come up with. There was already a list of a few names waiting for them, so she started downloading results to a report for Tony.
“Okay, based on the parameters I set, it looks like it will take a few hours to complete the search. I do have some results I’m downloading for you now if you want to get started right away.”
“Thanks. Hopefully, with a lot of police presence tonight for the festivities, no new attempts are planned. If this is set to run on its own, should we get back at it in the morning?” Tony asked with a tired smile.
Penelope nodded. “A few hours of good sleep while this finishes up sounds like a good idea. We can come at it early with fresh eyes. You, me, breakfast, and criminal misdeeds sounds like the makings of a good date.”
“You have a delightfully twisted idea of what constitutes a date, my dear,” Tony said with a laugh. “I like it.”
Garcia spun in her chair and grinned. “Don’t tease me with such a congenial reception to my advances, gorgeous.”
Tony held out his hand and spun her around as she stood before turning her to face him.
“I would never tease about something I’m really interested in.”
Tony’s eyes had this intense look about them, and it was obvious his interest was genuine.
She hummed in approval and looked over her shoulder at the clock on the wall.
“I can’t help but notice it’s almost midnight,” she said, coyly.
Tony raised his eyebrows and pulled her closer. “Then can I kiss you? And when this mess is over we’ll go on a proper date?”
“Well, then,” Penelope said with a little sigh, “Happy New Year.”
“Happy New Year,” Tony murmured back before leaning in and kissing her with the perfect press of lips to lips.
It was warm and sexy and exhilarating and everything a perfect first kiss should be. Penelope really didn’t want it to end. When they both pulled away after a few moments, she looked up at Tony.
“How much sleep did you really want to get tonight?”
Tony laughed and hugged her close. “Case first, then a real date, then we’ll see about sleepovers.”
She smiled and leaned back to pretend to clutch at pearls that weren’t there. “Oh Tony, you think I’m too good for a one-night stand?”
Tony shrugged and flushed a little. “Yeah, I really do.”
“Oh, you sweet man,” Penelope said quietly before clearing her throat and straightening her shoulders, “but don’t think you can withhold good dick from me forever. A girl had needs.”
Tony just laughed, and Penelope let out a happy squeak as he kissed her again.
Profilers for Christmas is an anonymous crime drama Advent Calendar featuring both art and stories. Author/Artist reveal is on the 25th. Additional information about the challenge can be found here.