June 23, 2005: Gotta Love Tony! Challenge

In fewer than 1,000 words, write a story where Tony tells someone about a scene from a movie under unusual circumstances. Deadline: Midnight, June 24, 2005.

Okay, this is only my second foray into the NCIS world. It's too long for the challenge, too, at 1,499 words. Next time I set a challenge, I'm making it longer. ;) This story, like the first submission, has not been Betaed, either. Any errors in continuity et cetera are my own. I don't own these characters, just having fun with their universe.

Since it is so short, there is only the barest on continuity concerns: It takes place before 'S.W.A.K.'.

Enjoy!

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Life's Pursuits

By Mouse

"What a fitting end to your life's pursuits. You're about to become a permanent addition to this archaeological find. Who knows? In a thousand years, even you may be worth something."

- Dr. Rene Belloq (Paul Freeman), Raiders of the Lost Ark, 1981

He has no idea how long he's been aware of his surroundings on a basic level; enough to determine there are no immediate threats. He wasn't able to open his eyes and evaluate their situation until a few minutes ago. He brings her back to consciousness by calling her name and tugging on the ropes.

"Hey. Hey, Kate. Kate! Wake up."

He feels her start, as if coming out of a nightmare. "Wha'?"

"They've moved us."

He gives her some time to adjust to their predicament. His legs are bound uncomfortably and he doubts she has fared any better. Finally she speaks.

"Oh." She shifts, trying to get comfortable. "The last thing I remember is being tossed into the back of a truck and covered with a tarp. How long do you think they drove for?"

"Hours. I… lost consciousness, too." There are times when he likes to think he's invulnerable. Today is a bad example, set against a fairly decent track record.

"Are you okay?"

"More or less. Nothing a good cup of coffee won't fix." He stops and out of habit, his mind clicks into trivia mode. "Actually, this reminds me of a scene -"

"Shut up, Tony."

Her voice is tense and low and raw. He pauses. She usually waits until he's mentioned the film before trying to stem the flow of trivia. He decides to point this out.

"But you don't even know what the movie is yet."

Tony Dinozzo states this reasonably, as if they were chatting in the break room. He gently tests the ropes again. He doesn't want to make them any tighter or they could lose circulation in their hands and that wouldn't be a good thing at all.

"I don't care."

"You seem a bit upset, Agent Todd."

"I am livid, Agent Dinozzo, so shut up." Her words are slurring a bit. He feels her wriggle her wrists in an attempt to find a weakness in the knots. He could tell her it is pointless but that would really upset her.

And he hasn't stopped trying them, either, in spite of their apparently hopeless situation.

Tony wishes he could see her but being tied back to back with a tree between them interferes with that possibility. He sighs. At least the cut above his left eye has stopped bleeding, his split lip has stopped swelling and he doesn't think his nose is broken.

But that's mostly immaterial. They didn't just beat him up: they hurt Kate. He recalls the status of the bruises on her face when he last saw her and can envision how they have developed. She's good in a fight, as McGee and his 'twins' will attest to, but all the training in the world isn't sufficient when the opposing forces overwhelm you with numbers.

And guns.

And once they're free, Tony is going to gut them for touching her.

He manages a small smile. Or hold them down while she kicks their ass…

"'Raiders of the Lost Ark'. Nineteen eighty-one. Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, John Rhys-Davies. Steven Spielberg directed, and George Lucas was one of the writers."

"Know the movie, Tony…"

She sounds tired, and if she's in as much pain as he is in, she has good reason to be.

He lets his head rest against the smooth bark of the young birch between them and stares at the branches above. They look like the arms of children, begging to someone much larger and stronger for forgiveness.

Even though they haven't done anything wrong, Tony thinks, inevitably reminded of the nature of their investigation. He knows why Kate is livid: the mutilated bodies of the children, the clues that weren't recognized…

Getting caught. He tries the ropes again. Interesting how organized the suspect's extended family has become in order to protect a dangerous pervert in their midst. The guy isn't even currently on active duty but it counted enough for NCIS to become involved. Tony just hopes Gibbs has found their trail and that the family hasn't crossed the Mexican border yet.

He hopes someone is looking for two missing agents as well.

Kate has fallen silent. He decides keeping her distracted from their situation outweighs taking the brunt of her anger and frustration.

"I'm reminded of the part near the end," he says. "Where Indy and Marion are tied to a post and Belloq is going to open the Ark of the Covenant."

"Yeah," she mumbles, but he isn't sure if she's listening. It occurs to him that she was punched several times in the head.

"Kate?"

No response.

Shit.

He jerks the rope. "Listen to me, Kate. Listen to my voice."

"What?" She is barely audible.

He struggles with a moment of panic then draws on the calm that got him through his time on homicide. ""Stay with me, Kate."

"But I like my apartment…"

She's officially injured now.

"You remember the scene? Indy tells Marion to shut her eyes and keep them shut, no matter what happens? Remember?"

"Yeah…"

"This reminds me of that scene."

There is a long pause and he wonders if she's drifted off again. Can't let her do that…

"Kate?"

"We're missing the Nazi part."

He agrees. "And the 'angels of death' part."

"Yeah… My head is killing me…"

"At least the family has left us alone."

She tugs weakly at the ropes again. "Not like we're going anywhere."

"True." His headache laughs at the concept of there being any painkiller on the planet strong enough to defeat it. Music from a video game starts looping through his head, just for the hec of it.

"How did they get free?"

"Hmmm?"

Tony is drifting a bit himself, having been particularly assaulted this time around for an earlier encounter: He'd beaten the crap out of one of the brothers the day before. They have evened the score, as it were. He's only just realized that his suit is probably beyond the rescue of even the most skilled dry cleaner.

"Indiana Jones and Marion," she replies sharply. "How did they get free of their ropes? I don't remember." She groans. "Never mind. I don't believe I asked you that. Like I really care what happens."

"It'll keep you awake at night if you don't find out, Kate. This is the sort of thing that has folks asking Google at three in the morning in order to avoid a divorce."

She lets out an exasperated sigh. At least she's talking to him. "So are you going to tell me?"

Tony smiles. "Tell you what?" He can hear her teeth grinding.

"Tony, when we get out of this, you are so dead. Understood?"

"Understood. And it was the angels."

A breeze rustles the branches above them. "The what?"

"The angels, or whatever they were, that were protecting the Ark of the Covenant. They killed the Nazis, removed any evidence of their existence and freed our heroes."

"Oh. Right."

"So." She hesitates, as if she doesn't want to ask, really doesn't want his opinion. "I don't know about you, but I have a life, things I haven't done yet -"

"A roast in the oven."

No doubt, she would be glaring at him right now. She might be, but he can't see it. "Do you think they'll find us?"

"Don't know. We could become part of the next exciting archaeological site in a few hundred years."

"Or not," says another voice, male and tired but amused.

Tony and Kate can't help but be elated.

"Gibbs!"

Several lights illuminate the scene. With a whack, the rope is cut. It appears Gibbs is wielding a machete. Tony is having difficulty adjusting to the brightness and thinks, for just a moment, that it's a Samurai sword. McGee is there, cutting the rope around their legs. People in medical whites rush to catch them as they both topple away from the tree.

They're unsteady when helped to their feet but resist the use of stretchers. They will gladly, however, accept support. They're sufficiently aware of their injuries and know they're dehydrated and exhausted and that walking solo isn't the best idea right now.

Someone is stationed on either side of Tony as they slowly approach the emergency vehicles. He can make out the face of the woman, who is assessing his injuries with a paramedic's thoroughness, and flinches at how she must be seeing him right now. Not looking your best, Dinozzo. He decides to think of something else.

"Boss?"

"We got 'em," Gibbs states simply, anticipating the question. "But they didn't come easily."

"Guess they weren't feeling lucky." Tony pauses and starts to laugh. "This reminds me of a scene -"

Beside him, also flanked by paramedics, Kate chuckles. "Shut up, Tony.