The truth behind the winning smile –
Chapter 2...

Stepping into the elevator, Tony flicked the switch for autopsy and turned to face Naomi.

'So, tell me about yourself! What brings you to the good old crime-fighters in DC?' he questioned, smiling kindly at the young woman.

'Well... It's a long story.' She smiled.

'We have...' Tony looked at the illuminated floor numbers on the wall, 'Time!' he grinned. Stopping himself quickly:

'That is if you're okay with sharing it!'
Tony quickly amended his statement, desperately hoping he hadn't offended the kind woman.

Naomi paused for a moment, weighing up the pros and cons of confiding in the friendly Italian.

'No, no – its fine. It's nothing 'dodgy'! It was my mother; she was shot in a drive by shooting when I was only a child. My father attempted to raise me by himself as best he could but the in-justice of the gang never being apprehended was too much and it forced him to drink. I spent the majority of my teenage years caring for him and when I finished school I studied hard to go into Law Enforcement. We have a family friend here in the US who's with the marines, he heard of my ambitions and got in touch with the director to see if I could get some experience here with NCIS. He agreed and I packed my bag from Uni and within the week – here I am!'

Tony's grin had faded during the first few sentences of her explanation. He knew what it was like for your mother to die at a young age and he had seen first-hand his father self-destruct with grief. Luckily for Naomi there had been no abuse on her father's behalf, something Tony would give almost anything to erase the memories of...

'I'm sorry...' Tony said, the first thing he could think of to shatter the awkward silence filling the tiny metal box.

Naomi smiled, completely surprising Tony.

'S'okay! There was nothing you could have done, it happened in a different continent! And there's nothing you can do to change the past anyway...' She trailed off uncertainly.

'No one can confidently say they will still be living tomorrow' Tony said.

Naomi looked up – giving the agent a puzzled look,

'Euripides' Tony grinned and Naomi laughed heartily.

Just as she was about to reply, the doors open and Tony leads the way out to the glass sliding doors of autopsy.

As the automatic doors slid open Naomi got her first glance at Dr. Donald 'You can call me Ducky' Mallard.

'And then he told me about this...'

'Ducky!' Tony called, bringing the elderly ME out of his deep chat with the latest deceased marine's wife.

'This is Naomi – she's with us on work experience with team Gibbs for now. Naomi, meet Dr. Mallard: ME, wise-story-teller-type-person and general physician for us lot when we're injured in the field...'

'More like when you and Gibbs point blank refuse to be carted off there, it's funny – the other two never seem to have a problem with being helped or given the correct medical treatment my dear boy!'

Tony grinned, 'He doesn't really like it when we do that!' he staged whispered to Naomi.

'It's a pleasure Dr. Mallard!' Naomi said pleasantly holding her hand out to shake his.

'Oh now dear, call me Ducky – all my friends do!' came his gentlemanly reply, 'Have you met the rest of the team? Mr. Palmer should be back any minute with Abby from their lunch break...'

'What was that Doctor?' said Jimmy, strolling through the door with a very exited-looking Abby at his sleeve.

'Toooonyyy! This must be Naomi! Why didn't you say she was here!'

Tony chuckled, 'I didn't even know you were gone until I came down here to introduce her to Ducky and Jimmy! I was heading over to your lab just after!'

Abby frowned and pouted playfully, 'Still, you could have said!'

'Naomi, this is Abby Scuito – forensics specialist, and Jimmy Palmer – Ducky's assistant and heading towards becoming a very good doctor!'

Abby grinned and Jimmy went scarlet, 'Well, only if I get the right grades...' he mumbled.

'Stop being so modest my little gremlin!' Smiled Tony, 'We've had this talk before – confidence...'

'...Is the key. I know, I know!' came Palmers slightly exasperated reply.

'It's a pleasure to meet you Naomi! I hope you have a great time and learn loads in your time with Team Gibbs!'

'Thank you Abby! I'm sure there's a lot to learn, I've heard a lot about this team!'

'We'd better be getting back upstairs before Gibbs starts adding to my already yay high mound of paperwork...' sighed tony, gesturing way above his head.

Ducky smiled, 'I agree, knowing your reputation Jethro will have a search party out looking for you Anthony!'

Tony's easy laugh could be heard as the glass doors closed behind him and Naomi.

When Tony was definitely out of earshot, Ducky turned to the others and said, 'That is the beginning of a beautiful friendship...'

A/N – Okay, sorry for the wait! Nothing really interesting happened in that chapter but I promise the next chapter will contain some deep Tony-Naomi chats and hopefully there will be a big Tony-Gibbs heart to heart in the one after next (approximately!) Thanks again for reading and the reviews quite literally make my week!