Disclaimer: I don't own NCIS.

Spoilers: Eh ... er, I kept some canon details and ditched some, but there are no major spoilers.

Notes: This was inspired by an anonymous asker on Tumblr, who requested I write a fic where Tony was a criminal and Ziva, a detective. At first, I didn't think I could do it, but the idea interested me, and some careful thinking brought about this fic :P I don't think this fic warrants any warnings, but it does warrant some explanations, and they are the following:

1) Tony is younger than Ziva here. A large part of the canon Tiva dynamic is influenced by the fact that he is older than her, and so this fact deserves to be highlighted.

2) Tony is younger, in general. By twenty years, in fact! This brings to light a very different aspect of his personality, one not as jaded as the cop who's worked many cases and the man left at the altar and the man with an undercover-stint-gone-wrong, so Tony is a lot more naïve here than he is on the show. I also dated his birth and the important events in his life as 10 years later than they actually are, because ... well, I'm not that old and I have no idea what life was like back then.

3) Very naturally, Ziva's past is different, and that will probably be addressed later in the fic.

4) In the course of writing this fic, I addressed some aspects of the legal system as well as lower-class life in cities. Consider this a disclaimer: I am neither a police officer, nor a lawyer, nor a social worker. I make no pretence to be. While, to the best of my abilities, I researched what I should have, I did take some poetic license in writing this fic. Please forgive me if I have made any transgressions. :)



Chapter One

"Anthony Desiderio DiNozzo, Junior."

The case file went sailing across the metal desk.

"Born in 1981 on Long Island to Anthony Desiderio DiNozzo—Senior, I presume—and Elisabeth Marie Paddington. Your mother died in 1989; you attended various boarding schools and went to Ohio State University in 1999. I'll be honest: That is all we have on you. You don't seem like a bad man. Perhaps a little misguided, but not bad."

The man at the table was silent. Detective Ziva David settled herself calmly into the seat opposite him to study the expression on his face—resigned and, if she was not mistaken, a little bit frightened. That was not uncommon. She had learnt, in the two years she had been an investigator in the Narcotics and Special Investigations unit at the Metropolitan Police Department, that individuals charged with the misdemeanour of drug possession were often not as dangerous as other criminals. They weren't close to being the most harmless members of a society, of course, but they weren't close to being the most harmful either. The brunet sitting before her seemed hardly more than a boy. According to his date of birth, he was already twenty-three years old, but all his greenish-coloured eyes reflected was an overwhelming sense of bewilderment, as if he had lost his way on the journey to adulthood and needed a little help.

"We don't want you, you know," she said quietly. "We want the dealer you were talking to. If you have any information you can give us about him, we might give you a lighter sentence."

The man breathed out deeply, but gave no indication of acknowledgement apart from that.

"What are you protecting him for?" she prodded. "He bailed on you when he saw the police. Took off without waiting to see if you would run for safety, too."

"That's the nature of the business, isn't it?" Anthony murmured. His voice sounded cracked, as if from disuse.

Ziva spoke to the officer standing guard by the door of the interrogation room. "Could you get him a drink of water, please?" The officer nodded and left the room.

"Are you the good cop here?" Anthony asked, seemingly with curiosity.

She shrugged and answered honestly. "I am both the good cop and the bad cop, depending on who's taking me on."

"Hmm." Anthony seemed to ponder that as he lapsed back into silence.

"Surely you would not want me to turn into the bad cop."

"It doesn't make a difference," he whispered, making Ziva frown at that statement. The officer who had been standing guard returned with a cup of water; Ziva left him in the room to babysit Anthony who, despite eyeing the water somewhat desperately, had not lifted the cup at all.

There was a mystery to be cracked here, Ziva decided. One thing was for sure: Anthony DiNozzo wasn't quite like anyone she had ever seen.


"We have not poisoned the water, you know."

"I know."

"You are not thirsty?"

"I am."

"Then why is it that you do not want the water?"

"I … do."



"Drink it, then. There's no point in being dehydrated."

He did.


Anthony DiNozzo was innocent at heart.

That was what Ziva came to conclude. They had picked him up for possession of marijuana, but judging by his behaviour, he was not a streetwise user well-versed in evading the police and committing bigger crimes. He had—through his own fault—probably just been in the wrong place at the wrong time; there wouldn't be much to be gained about the criminal world from him. Still, Ziva thought, she had to try—she hadn't gotten by as a detective through assumptions about either the presence or the absence of evidence concerning a case. However innocuous Anthony seemed, he might still know something that would lead indirectly to the drug dealer they were seeking.

Sighing, she opened the door to the interrogation room, where Anthony was still sitting with his eyes fixed unblinkingly on the now-empty paper cup.

"Do you want more water?" she offered, and he shook his head.

"'S 'kay."

"Let's get down to business, then." She sat down on the empty metal chair. "The officers arrested you for drug possession, yes?"


"You were given your Miranda Warning before this interrogation."


"You were informed of your right to remain silent and your right to an attorney, but you waived those rights."


"Do you want to exercise those rights now?"


"You do realize this means I can question you without a lawyer present for you?"


"Okay, then." She pursed her lips. "This morning—the morning of March 5th—at 7.52AM, Officers Lee and Dorneget arrested you in Georgetown for the possession of 3.5 grams of marijuana. Prior to the time of arrest, you were seen to be communicating with Drew Black, otherwise known as the Mask. He fled the scene when the officers showed up. You didn't. You did not resist arrest and, upon being read your rights, waived them. You were later given your rights again, prior to the first time I spoke with you, and waived them once more. This effectively means that you have given me permission to speak with you without legal counsel here to defend you. Is all of this true?"

"Why do you keep asking this?" Anthony rasped in exasperation.

"Just double-checking, Mr DiNozzo. People usually want a lawyer when they can get one."

"I don't want one."

Ziva blinked, momentarily taken aback by his vehemence. "Alright. Let us proceed, then. At the time of the arrest, you were purchasing marijuana from Mr Black, correct?"


"How do you get in touch with him?"

"Text," Anthony mumbled, lowering his eyes. Shame coloured his features.

"And what do you text when you want to purchase from him?"

"I just ask him if he's good." He shrugged. "A friend taught me that."

"And this friend is…?"

For the first time, Anthony's reply was vague. "This is DC. Plenty of people smoke weed. It doesn't need to be a specific friend who taught me that."

Ziva almost planted her face into her hands. Really, Anthony was either a painfully naïve young man or an extremely good actor.

"What do you know about Mr Black?" she asked.

"I don't know anything. I'd only bought twice from him, I swear."

"Both times by texting him beforehand?"


"Did you meet up in the same place both times?"


"Did you see where he came from before he met up with you, or where he headed after he had given you the drugs?"

Anthony hesitated. "He was late both times, but he just seemed to appear, and I—I honestly don't know. The first time, I was running late for work, so I didn't stick around to see where he went. The second time—well, you know what happened."

"Clearly," she said dryly. "Mr DiNozzo, you know anything you can give us that would help us could mean a reduced sentence."

"I know, but I really don't have any information to give you!"

"You could tell us who gave you his number."

It was a half-hearted attempt, at best: Sure enough, Anthony clammed up.

She tried again. "Mr Black has done some very bad things—"

"I figured," Anthony replied sourly. "But the guy who gave me his number is just an old college-mate."

"What is this college-mate's name?" she asked sternly.

He opened and shut his mouth. Paused. "I plead the Fifth."

She sat back, rubbing her forehead with the fingertips of her right hand. "Fine. If you have nothing more to tell us, we will have the charges filed, and an arraignment will be arranged for you."

Anthony seemed to perk up at that. "What happens if I plead 'guilty'?"

"Uh…" Ziva stuttered. "You will be given a date for sentencing, or perhaps a sentence immediately."

"So, I'll go to jail?"

"Not necessarily," she assured him. "You could be put on probation."

He sank back into his chair, his posture deflated. "So, I won't go to jail?" he murmured.

"Mr DiNozzo, you want to go to jail?" she asked with disbelief.

He quietened.

"Prison is not a joke, you know," she snapped. She didn't know why she was getting upset, but his strange keenness to be incarcerated did not sit right with her. "You will face unimaginable horrors there."

Anthony did not respond.

Ziva lingered for a while longer, but he had gone back into his shell, it appeared, and would not be coming out again anytime soon. Tiredly, she pushed herself back from the table; if he didn't want to help himself, she wouldn't be able to help him. That was just how it worked.

She did not see him bury his head into his palms when she left.

And she had long gone by the time the sobbing of a defeated man could be heard.