Disclaimer: NCIS and its characters do not belong to me and I am making no money from this.
Many thanks to Mr VP for the Beta and to Cold Ember for making sure this isn't too 'English.' Any remaining mistakes are mine.
AN Thank you once again for the lovely reviews. I hope that you enjoy the last part of the story.
Adrenaline pumping through his body Tony felt wired, he knew that he would pay for it later but for now he was more than willing to pay the price.
"LEOs are on the way to the stadium," he told Abby crisply, "ETA two minutes, Murphy's team will follow up but they won't get there for another half hour. I'll have them look for any security footage too," he added turning back to his laptop.
"What have you found on Masterson?" Ducky asked causing Tony to start slightly, having forgotten he was in the room.
Recovering quickly he looked back to his search data, transferring it to the plasma screen. "He owns the stadium, bought it three months ago. Prior to that he worked at Jefferson Computing as a programmer." Tony looked significantly across at Abby before continuing. "Wilkins was his younger brother, same mother and they were raised together. Apparently they were very close."
"So he has probably been plotting his revenge for some time," Ducky mused.
"Perhaps he had to wait until he could afford it?" Palmer spoke up from where he had been running analyses for Abby.
"I think what probably pushed him over the edge was the death of his brother in prison six months ago," Tony said grimly. "Apparently he got into an argument with the other inmates and was beaten to death."
Head pounding he became aware of someone moaning beside him. The noise increased and gradually Gibbs forced his eyes open only to find himself looking directly at McGee. The younger man's eyes were creased in pain but as Gibbs watched he moaned again and moved slightly, starting when he saw Gibbs staring at him.
"Boss," McGee's voice was barely a whisper.
"Are you alright McGee?" Gibbs asked quietly, forcing his own voice to cooperate.
"Um, I guess so," McGee replied, frowning as he tried to rub his eyes only to find his hands tied behind his back.
"Don't bother," a voice spoke coldly from behind them both. "Your lady friend already tried, it only got her another headache."
The owner of the voice laughed, the sound harsh in the confined space and Gibbs attempted to roll over to look at him. That got him a kick in the kidneys which set off a jackhammer in his skull causing him to change tactics. Breathing gently until the pain subsided he listened carefully. They were moving, he could hear traffic outside the vehicle which, from the little he could see, was a small van. They were lying on the floor, the metal cold beneath his cheek.
Catching McGee's eye he mouthed, "Ziva?"
McGee raised his eyebrows indicating the space behind Gibbs who moved his feet slightly to come up against another body. Damnit he thought viciously, trying to remember what had happened. He recalled coming up empty round the offices and moving into the stadium itself. Creasing his eyes he saw again Ziva and McGee standing in the middle of the pitch looking around. As he had watched first McGee and then Ziva had slumped slowly to the ground. He had drawn his gun and started to run towards them, looking around frantically but, even as he ran, he'd felt a pinch in his neck and time had seemed to slow down. His cell had started ringing and somehow he'd gotten it out of his pocket but his fingers hadn't been able to hold it and it had joined him in the mud of the playing field. Try as he might he couldn't put a face to the figure he had seen coming towards them.
"Not long now," the voice spoke again from behind him. "We'll soon be there and then you can get to watch your friends suffer before you all die."
"Your argument is with me," Gibbs began, turning his head slightly.
"That is no longer the point," the voice interrupted, kicking the bound man again, the unspoken order clear.
Gibbs shut up, the man behind him making sure of his continued silence by knocking his head forcefully against the side of the van.
DiNozzo slammed the phone back into its cradle his face blank. "They've gone," he told the expectant group. "LEOs found Gibbs' cell on the pitch and it looks as though three bodies were dragged to the entrance. Security cameras shot out."
"Oh dear," Ducky muttered, his thoughtful eyes full of concern.
Abby flew to her computer to attempt a trace on McGee and Ziva's cells while Tony returned to the search data. Tense minutes later Abby hit her desk in frustration. "Nothing," she said succinctly. "They are switched off."
All eyes turned to Tony who put his current data up on the plasma screen. "I have a feeling we're running out of time here," he said grimly and looked across at Mallard. "What's your best guess Duck? Put the possibilities in priority order for us."
Mallard studied the screen intently. "Raised in New York State, I doubt he's going that far, both he and his brother worked in and around DC until Wilkins was arrested," he paused then looked directly at DiNozzo. "I think that's it my boy, I think he will have taken them to where Gibbs arrested his brother."
"Thanks Duck." Tony stood quickly. "Abbs, get Waterson and Markham to meet me out front in a sedan then redirect Murphy's team."
"Tony," Ducky began.
"I'm fine Ducky," DiNozzo interrupted, already halfway out the door.
"You'll feel it later," Mallard muttered, hurrying after the younger man, proffering his cell phone. "Here, you may need this," he said simply.
DiNozzo grimaced, taking the phone gratefully. "Thanks," he said quietly, acknowledging the ME's unspoken message. Bring them back.
Out front he slid into the passenger seat of the sedan and gave directions. Gibbs had arrested Wilkins only a few yards from where the last of his murders had been committed. All of the cadets had been raped and murdered within a two-block radius and Wilkins had felt the need to watch, to be there when their bodies were discovered and their deaths investigated. He had been a seemingly innocent bystander in each case and only Gibbs' insistence on details and his perseverance had led to a successful prosecution. DiNozzo shivered, shifting in his seat. This family was unhinged and he knew instinctively that if they didn't get there soon they would be too late.
Gibbs felt himself hauled to his feet and shook his head to try and clear the cobwebs. He didn't know how long they had been travelling as he had lost consciousness again after being kicked in the head. He stumbled slightly as he was led out of the van and used the opportunity to look around carefully. Suddenly everything clicked into place, Peter Wilkins, this was the residential area where he had preyed on, raped and murdered naval cadets. But Wilkins was inside; he'd been given life. Casting his mind back to the trial Gibbs took a mental look around the courtroom and there he had it. Sitting directly behind the defendant was the man who stood in front of him now, his eyes cold, a smile on his face. Wilkins brother.
Gibbs stood straighter, ignoring the pull in his shoulders from his bound hands and looked the man calmly in the eye. "Your brother is paying for his crimes," he said firmly. "None of my team was responsible for putting him away."
"My brother is dead. You shall suffer as I have," Masterson spoke without inflection but the look in his eyes made Gibbs' blood run cold and he looked around quickly, gauging their chances of escape. The once bustling service housing block was now deserted, personnel having been relocated after the murders. Signs proclaimed the whole area as being slated for redevelopment. He had a feeling that Masterson would like nothing more than an opportunity to hunt them down should they try to escape. Unfortunately he couldn't take the chance that he wouldn't just shoot first and bury the bodies later. At the moment Masterson held all the cards.
Gibbs was hustled unceremoniously into the house in front of him. He had known it was the one as it was where they had found the body of Cadet Charles, the last of the three murdered officers. Inside the air was musty and the room was lit solely by the dim lighting coming through a solitary window. He was pushed into one of three chairs in the centre of the otherwise empty room, his arms being forced uncomfortably over the wooden back. McGee was next and was handled efficiently in much the same way as his superior. The young man looked wary, as well he might, Gibbs mused but he was holding up well.
All eyes turned towards the door where Ziva could be seen down the dimly lit hallway. She was being held from behind and Gibbs could just make out the gleam of sunlight reflecting off the gun in her captor's hand. As she entered the room she stumbled and crashed into the man securing McGee to his seat, Gibbs cheered mentally as she swiftly disarmed him.
Masterson swung round, gun in hand, aimed at Ziva but he hadn't seen her 'captor' who now aimed his own weapon. "NCIS, put the gun down." DiNozzo spoke clearly, no trace of the genial wisecracker as he kept the man in his sights.
Time slowed and, as Gibbs watched, Masterson took his eyes from Tony and swung his weapon back to bear on him. The next instant was a blur as DiNozzo launched himself at the older man and his shot went wild. Gibbs watched helplessly as they fell to the floor, wrestling together. Ziva had no such problems though and swiftly despatched her charge with a chop to the neck before coming to DiNozzo's aid. Masterson was quickly subdued and handcuffed to Gibbs chair as he in turn was released. Quickly he went over to Tony where he sat on the ground. "Why the hell didn't you just shoot him DiNozzo?" Gibbs' voice was rough with relief and he sat down wearily beside his injured agent.
"Didn't want to shoot the wrong one Boss," DiNozzo admitted. "At the time there were two of him."
"And now?" Gibbs wondered.
"More like three or four," Tony smiled wryly.
Gibbs shook his head. "Only you DiNozzo," he mused clapping the younger man gently on the knee whilst surreptitiously checking him out. His left eye had completely swollen shut no doubt contributing to his present dilemma and exhaustion was clear in his every movement. "How did you find us," he asked quietly.
"Found out about Masterson being Wilkins brother and Ducky suggested that he would bring you here. We were just lucky that you were held up by the train."
DiNozzo smiled, though Gibbs noted that he lacked his usual gusto. "Ironic isn't it? Apparently there was a problem with the points and traffic was stopped for ten minutes, gave us time to get in position."
Gibbs looked over at Murphy and his team who had just arrived and were beginning the clean up. "You didn't come alone I hope," he queried.
"Never go out without backup Boss," DiNozzo quoted. "Waterson and Markham are outside, there were two others, one driving and the one with Ziva."
"What did you do with them?"
"Persuaded them to stay out of it," DiNozzo said grimly leaning his head back against the wall wearily.
And that, Gibbs supposed, was good enough for now. He too leant back and stretched out his legs in front of him, offering and accepting silent support. Outside the sun finally broke through the heavy cloud and began, gently, to stream through the window.
Tony stepped carefully out of the elevator and looked around gingerly. He still felt stiff and sore but he could at least open his eye partway and, really, staying at home wasn't helping any. No one else had been put on medical leave and everyone else had been knocked about. Well, everyone but Ducky, Abby and Palmer anyway. He could at least put in a few hours work before going home, make himself useful.
He jumped as a hand cuffed him gently on the back of the head. "Going somewhere DiNozzo?" the voice enquired silkily.
"Um, Yes Boss, to get my report done, you always like things done promptly," Tony said without turning around.
"I usually like people to do as they are told too. What are you doing here?"
The younger man turned slowly, finally lifting his eyes to look at Gibbs. "Come on Boss, please, I'm going crazy at home."
"You've only been there a day DiNozzo, hardly long enough for even you to go 'crazy.' Tony looked at him imploringly, his expression so far removed from the normal outgoing one that Gibbs was moved to ask, "What?"
"Feels too much like being grounded Boss," DiNozzo spoke quietly but, just for a moment, Gibbs saw the lonely little boy again and felt himself relenting, inwardly at least. Outwardly he glared and cuffed the younger man again on the back of the head, letting his hand linger for just a moment.
"Two hours DiNozzo and not a moment more," he said gruffly. "Then I'm taking you home and you will stay there," he held up his hand to forestall the interruption, before repeating. "You will stay there, until I come by and pick you up tomorrow."
The look in Tony's eyes told him that he had made the right decision and, truth be told, he would rather the younger man was where he could keep an eye on him anyway, he was just too damned good at getting himself into trouble. He watched as Tony settled himself carefully behind his desk a smile on his face as he opened his mouth to tease McGee. Ziva sat across from him greeting him cheerfully. His heart swelled, it was a good team, they had acquitted themselves well but, he had a reputation to maintain. Schooling his features he strode across the bullpen to his desk. "Doesn't anyone have any work to do around here?" he grumped, smiling into his coffee.