Disclaimer: NCIS and its characters do not belong to me and I am making no money from this.

Thanks to Mr VP for the Beta, any remaining mistakes are mine.

Missing scene from Hung Out to Dry.

The change was sudden and overwhelming. One moment he was assisting in bringing in a murder suspect, the next he was falling out of a plane flying at 12,000 feet. For a second or two his senses couldn't keep up but, gradually sensations began to sink in. It was cold, the air rushing past damp on his face and hands, he could no longer see the plane but the ground was approaching quickly. Finally his brain realised his situation and he fumbled for the ripcord of the parachute, desperately trying to remember anything from his one brief lesson. This wasn't quite how he'd planned to take his first jump.

Tony would have sighed with relief as the air filled the chute above his head if he hadn't been struggling to breathe at the sudden jerk on his shoulders. Counting slowly he willed himself not to panic, frantically searching the ground below for somewhere safe to land. The jump master had been close to sending the stick off and the pilot would no doubt have contacted the recovery team. All he had to do was land in one piece. Hands on the helmet, feet together and roll, he repeated to himself scanning the ground as best he could in the poor light.

Unfortunately there was no large x to mark the spot, the marines were to have landed in a lighted area but he wasn't actually meant to have jumped in the first place. Being pushed hadn't been part of the plan either come to that. Tony looked down for anything that looked like a well lit landing site but he really had no idea how far away he should be looking or whether the wind was strong enough to blow him off course or not.

He seemed to be over an area of forest, he could see the darker areas covered by trees. This was not good; he didn't fancy getting caught in one of those. Away to his right he could see a series of lights that could be a small settlement. Better than a forest he reasoned and attempted to veer himself in that direction. He had some success, largely, he thought, due to the wind gusting as he got nearer the ground. Either way he thought he might clear the forest and the lights were becoming more intermittent too. So much for trying to steer himself, he'd had no idea how much affect the wind would have.

Looking down again Tony was startled to realise how much closer the ground had become. He quickly ran through the landing procedure again in his mind, not sure whether to let go of the parachute lines to hold his helmet or not, somehow they seemed too much like a lifeline to want to let go. In the end he did neither, unused to judging distances from above he fumbled his landing. The fact that he had come down in the middle of what had to be the rockiest field he had ever seen didn't help either. He was dragged for several bruising yards before he managed to finally reel the chute in and hold it close to his chest.

Breathing a huge sigh of relief Tony lay on the ground catching his breath for several minutes before taking stock. The lights had disappeared and, he suddenly realised, it had started to rain. Sitting up he yelped as a shooting pain went through his right knee forcing him back onto his elbows as he caught his breath. Dammit, just what he needed. The rain was coming down heavily now and he had no real idea how far he was from civilisation. Sure he was wearing a tracker but sitting here getting wet didn't seem the thing to do. Botching the landing was one thing but waiting helplessly wouldn't do NCIS' reputation any good. Sighing he bundled up the chute as he'd been shown and shoved it as best he could into the bag. Losing expensive military equipment wouldn't go down too well either.

When he'd finished Tony felt his knee carefully, it was swelling nicely. Wonderful, he thought sarcastically, at least the rain would help to keep it cool. Gritting his teeth he headed towards where he had seen the lights figuring that if they'd tracked him on his way down they would come fetch him by road. He had no idea how far from the jump site he would have landed given that he'd left the plane after the scheduled jump time. It had been pretty cool though, sprained knee notwithstanding, he wouldn't mind trying it again.

Could do without the rain though, he decided as it became a full blown deluge, forcing cold drops down the back of his neck and leaving him soaking wet and shivering. The cloud cover was all but complete, blocking out the moon and taking away the little light he had. Standing he turned around slowly, making sure to mark the direction he'd been heading with his bag. It was nearly impossible to see now; he was going to end up running around in circles or falling into a ditch. Resignedly Tony sat down on top of the pack, carefully angling his legs in the path of the lights. He was soaked to the skin, beginning to shiver constantly and his knee was distinctly uncomfortable but, all in all, it had been a good day. They had nailed Dafelmair for Sergeant Fuentes' murder. He wouldn't be seeing the outside of Leavenworth again for many years. On a lighter note he had been able to try something he'd wanted to do for a long time and, despite his present circumstances, would love to do again.

Turning his back to the wind as best he could Tony smiled as a pair of lights appeared in the distance, making their way steadily towards him. Pushing himself to his feet he felt for the torch in his pack and began sweeping it in an arc until he was sure he could be seen in the headlights of the truck. Yes, it had been a good day.