AN: English is a very nice language. I love to read it, I can't speak it, and I just tried to write it. Please be kind with me and my story. Any mistakes are mine. Feel free to correct me. If you like the story, please review. If you don't like it, please review. Thanks!
The characters I toyed with are not mine. I promise to put them back in the shelf when I'm done.
1. Stay where you are
"Hey Tony" McGee said as he saw his co-worker entering the bullpen. "You forgot to bring the coffee?" he added in disbelief, seeing that the expected tray of cups was missing.
"Hey. Couldn't make it to the coffee shop in time, sorry" Tony answered without looking at McGee.
"Well, Gibbs won't like that. He'll be back any minute …"
"What got between you and your date with the coffee shop lady?" Ziva interrupted. "You were the one who wanted to fetch the coffee so much that you nearly fell over your feet in your hurry, yes?"
"Where's Gibbs anyway?" Tony ignored Ziva's invitation to their usual bantering. He looked around nervously instead.
"Waiting for his coffee, I assure you". McGee said. "He'll be even more pissed than he usually is when he had to deal with legal department …"
"Yes, DiNozzo, I can't think of any reason why I shouldn't be pissed because you promised to bring coffee one hour ago." Tony turned at the voice of Gibbs coming from behind.
"Don't headslap me. I have a reason." Tony said in a hurry.
"You better tell me then why you have abandoned your search of the victim's car just for not bringing any coffee!" Gibbs demanded.
"You have a look at this." Tony held out a disc between two fingers. His hand was shaking.
Gibbs looked at Tony, noting that he was rather pale. He took the disc and gave it to McGee. "As soon as you've found the victim's car. We have other priorities right now" he stated.
"No. You have to look at it now. It's important" Tony's voice was a trifle too loud and held a hint of anxiety. He had stepped back in the direction of the elevator he had come from.
Ziva, who had been following the conversation from her desk, was suddenly alerted. Something in Tony's behaviour was weird. She could almost smell his fear. Tony might choose to act like he was afraid of Gibbs most of the time, but Ziva knew he had no qualms about saying what he was thinking if he thought it was important. So what was Tony's fear about?
"Not nearly as important as closing our current case. So make a start and stop standing there as if you had nothing else to do". Gibbs sat behind his desk, picking up the phone.
Tony made two strides forward, then stopped abruptely. "No. Take this damned disc and have a look at it …" he insisted almost desperately.
"What was that again?" Gibbs' voice sounded really dangerous now. If he hadn't been pissed before, he now certainly was, McGee thought. Ziva was standing in front of her desk. She had noticed that Tony seemed to sway a little.
"Jethro, please. Look. at. this. disc!" Tony said in an urgent voice, clutching the edge of his own desk now.
Ziva and McGee looked at Gibbs, knowing that there had to be a very good reason for Tony to use Gibbs' given name. They had never heard Tony speak to Gibbs like this before.
Gibbs glared at Tony for another moment, then took the disc and held it out to McGee. "See what's on it. Bring it on the plasma."
"No!" Tony almost shouted, gaining the attention of a few other agents in the room. "Not the plasma, McGee" he said in a lower voice. Gibbs looked at him, clearly questioning the mental health of his subordinate.
"Want to add something to explain your behaviour, DiNozzo?" Gibbs said in his 'don't make me regret I asked' voice. A hint of worry travelled over his face as he saw that Tony had lost nearly all of his usual color by now. "McGee? Something interesting on that disc?"
"Uh, yes, Boss. There seem to be some photographs … wait a moment. There." McGee pointed on his monitor where several picture files where listed.
Gibbs and Ziva joined McGee behind his desk while Tony remained standing in front of his own working place, his pale face now shining with sweat.
"Sit down, for heaven's sake" Ziva said to Tony. "What's wrong with you? You seemed to be perfectly healthy when you left for the coffee shop!" Normally Tony would have noticed and commented on the worried expression with which Ziva looked at him, but he seemed to be occupied with things unknown. He looked very absent, staring into nowhere, listening to some voice only he could hear. He didn't react to her question at all.
McGee opened the first picture file. It was a photograph of Tony, his expression frightened, wires going over his body which seemed to connect somewhere on his back. They looked at each other and then at Tony almost in unison.
"DiNozzo. Over here", Gibbs commanded. When Tony didn't react, he stood and went over to Tony's desk, causing him to take a few steps further away. Tony held his hands up in a averting gesture. "Don't touch me, leave me alone. Just look at those frickin' pictures" he said in a desperate whisper.
"Uh - Boss", McGee interrupted. "You really should have a look at this".
Ziva and McGee stared at the monitor in disbelief. Gibbs shot one more look at Tony before he got to McGees desk again, looking at the photograph of a big poster with cut-out newspaper letters sticking on it.
"Special Agent Gibbs", it read. "When you read this, Agent DiNozzo is standing next to you with a bomb attached to his back. If you don't do as I say, I will press the button. Ask him for more information."
Once again Gibbs turned towards Tony, fury mixed with sorrow showing on his face. "What?" he asked simply.
"Stay where you are", Tony said hurriedly as he saw Ziva and McGee coming towards him. "I'm completely wired. He can hear everything you and I say. He can see what's going on. We are not to draw attention to us. You are to let me go immediately. He just wanted you to know I'm in his power now. I don't know what he wants. I couldn't see him. He came up behind me on my way back from the coffee shop." Tony was speaking faster and faster, as if in a hurry to end his explanation before something happened. "He threatened to throw a grenade into the coffee shop. He pulled me into a black Mercedes - didn't see the plates by the way - and …" Tony suddenly seemed to be in pain as his body trembled slightly. Then he adopted his absent expression again, listening to what must have been another command from the man he had been talking about.
"Tony …" Ziva started, ready to try and disarm the bomb.
"Don't. Please, Ziva, don't." Tony had enough experience with Ziva disarming bombs to know what she wanted to do. "If you touch me, he'll press the button. If anyone comes near me … it's not worth dying over, remember?" He tried to smile but wasn't succeeding. "I have to leave now. Timer is running. See you later …" He turned and made for the elevator.
"Tony …" McGee called after him, making Tony to stop once again. McGee was looking at him, horror written on his face. He held up his cell, ready to throw it at Tony. "You forgot something?". Tony looked at him and gave a little nod. McGee threw his cell in Tony's direction, but Tony never caught it. Even before he could reach for the flying object, he doubled over, shaking from head to toe. Gibbs, Ziva and McGee started to reach out for him when he finally sank to the ground, still trembling. "Damn", he said weakly. "Nice try". He closed his eyes, only to open them again as he obviously listened to the man making new demands in his ear.
"Time's up", he said. "I have to get out of here before anyone gets hurt". He tried to get up, but his legs wouldn't obey him. "Shit. No - don't touch me" he almost shouted at McGee who clearly wanted to try and help him.
"DiNozzo. Give me your bloody mike". Gibbs lost his patience with the whole situation. "I want to speak with this scumbag personally!".
"Don't know where it is, Boss", Tony stated. "Want to search me and trigger the bomb?" he asked rhetorically. "Sorry I forgot your last coffee before dying." He started to sound really desperate.
Gibbs ignored the sarcasm. He knelt beside Tony. "Whoever you are, my agent isn't able to walk out of here, thanks to you. Now what exactly shall we do?" he asked, his voice full of contempt.
Ziva and McGee stared at the men on the floor, trying to shield them from curious looks of the other agents. Tony was listening again. He tríed to get up and sighed in frustration as none of his body parts seemed willing to cooperate. "No. No way" he said, obviously talking to the man in his ear. The answer was another seizure which left him trembling and with a bleeding lower lip.
"What does he want?" Gibbs asked impatiently. "No point playing the hero. This isn't one of your movies, DiNozzo!"
Tony briefly closed his eyes. "He wants one of you to come with me", he said with a resigned voice. "You can't let this happen, Boss. I'll get out of here alone. I have to." Once again he tried to stand and failed.
"I'll go with you", Ziva stated matter-of-factly. She didn't even look at Gibbs for his approval. "Get up." She reached for his arms to help him to stand.
"Ziva". Tony looked up at her.
"Don't even try to Ziva me", Ziva said softly. "Gibbs?"
Gibbs looked at her, trying to read her motives, finally reaching a decision. "You'll be searched, you know."
"I know. I'll still have a few surprises left, yes?"
Suddenly Tony reached for Ziva's hands. "Only 15 minutes left. Gotta go!" Ziva helped him to stand, supporting his weight by lying his right arm around her shoulders. Then they awkwardly took a few steps in the elevator's direction. "Nobody is to touch me besides Ziva. He says no tricks and no followers or he'll …"
"… press the button. Yes, we know by now." Gibbs paced back and forth in frustration. "Go. We'll find you. Ziva - watch your six. Tony." He looked him in the eyes, knowing there wasn't time to say all he wanted to say. "See you."
McGee watched Ziva and Tony disappear in the elevator. As the car's doors closed, he heard Gibbs punching his desk with such violence that the files lying on top slided to the floor.