"How long has he been up there?" Ziva peered over at an anxious McGee who didn't have an answer. She followed his gaze and found herself fixating on Gibbs empty desk right along with him. "How do you think this will end McGee?"

He slowly shook his head. "Doesn't matter what I think."

She would've expected an answer like that from Tony but not Tim. His response affirmed her fear that without Gibbs the team would slowly but surely fall apart. She let her eyes wander back to the stairwell. Everything in her wished Tony would come racing down with orders to rescue him. But she learned early in life; wishes don't always come true.

"Does he have a next of kin that needs to be notified? I can make arrangements for the President to make a phone call."

Tony stood up at the end of the conference table. "I'd hold off on calling in W, there has to be other options to consider…" He looked to Jenny for help. "Director?"

She had managed to stay stoned face until she saw the fear in Tony's eyes at that moment. "I'm afraid Agent Petersen is correct Agent DiNozzo. With little to no Intel on where he is being held; and the extent of their demands. Our hands are tied."

He resisted the urge to slam his fist on the table. "So you're telling me we let him die?"

Petersen interjected. "Spare us the melodrama Agent…"

"DiNozzo…D-I-N-O-Z-Z-O. First name Anthony."

"Agent…DiNozzo, we have the integrity of our country to protect. The same country you've sworn to protect."

Tony agreed. "Yeah, well I don't remember our country showing a white flag every time a terrorist yells boo."

"This isn't just a boo." He gestured towards the files in front of them. "Listen, from what I heard your boss is as loyal as they come…a former marine. I have no doublt he'd be willing to sacrifice his life for the good of this country."

"And what about you Petersen? Would you be satisfied knowing the country you laid your life down for, left you there to die?"

"I would die a happy man."

Tony moved his chair aside. "That can be arranged."

The Director and a few others stood up. "Agent DiNozzo. That's enough." She motioned for everyone to re-take their seats. "Now, as difficult as this situation is; I have to agree that the Agent Gibbs we all know would understand how hard a choice this was for all of us." She averted eye contact with Tony as she finished.

"Does he have a family?" Petersen continued with his original statement regarding next of kin.

Tony reached for his coat and stood up. "Yeah, but save the President a nickel. I'll pass along the message myself."

Anthony DiNozzo was almost unrecognizable as he stormed down the steps and back into the bull pen. He tossed his coat violently towards his chair and shook his head. The shaking of his head let both Tim and Ziva know that there was nothing left to do. Their government didn't negotiate with terrorists and this time was no different. Only it was. This wasn't an unknown refugee or criminal; this was Gibbs. Had their feelings been physical entities they would've combusted right then and there. Everything in Ziva David told her to grab every weapon she had, storm out of there; and not give up until she found him. Anthony DiNozzo took a few deep breaths in fear of doing something he might regret to certain representatives of federal agencies. Timothy McGee was speechless and slowly made his way behind Gibbs desk.

He knelt down and reached out a hand to Abby Scuito. She had been cowering under his desk in the fetal position for the last three hours. No one dare try to get her out until now. "We're here Abs." Tim said gently; his hand still there for the taking. He watched her slowly shake her head and let out a gentle sob.

"Not coming out till he comes back McGee."

Tim looked across the bull pen into Tony's eyes; then at Ziva's before fighting back a few tears of his own. "Abby, he's not coming back…"