Rule Number 12
Author: Princess Nat
Notes: Written for the NCIS Big Bang Challenge.

Acknowledgments: Thanks to my wonderful, though somewhat demented, husband.

Disclaimer: NCIS belongs to Donald P. Bellisario.


"All units, disturbance reported in Little Italy near the docks. Caller reports a woman screaming in one of the warehouses, building 402."

Detective Anthony DiNozzo glanced at the radio and then back at the warehouse he'd had staked out for the past three nights. He was currentlysitting next tobuilding 330, but he had a hunch he was the closest. Cursing quietly to himself, he grabbed the mic. "Unit 56 responding."

"Acknowledged. Backup is on its way," the dispatcher's crisp voice assured him.

"Yeah, sure it is," Tony muttered to himself, but he started the car and headed out.

As he neared the 400 section, he slowed the car and switched off the lights, smoothly parking in the shadows. Easing out of the car, he closed the door quietly, looking around warily. It was quiet, and he wondered if it had been a crank call. If so, he was going to be pissed if it caused him to miss catching Jimmy Courtland. The little weasel was known to be dealing Smack, but so far, no one had been able to snag him when he had the stuff on him. Tony had had a tip that Courtland would be picking up a shipment in Little Italy sometime during the week, but so far he'd been a no-show.

Picking his way carefully around the building, Tony was promising himself to track down the crank caller when a scream cut through the air. Unholstering his weapon, he quickened his pace, adrenaline sharpening his senses and giving him added speed. The scream had cut off abruptly, but as he came around a corner, he could see a light emanating from under one of the doors. Pressing his ear against it, he could hear faint noises inside, including soft whimpers. He glanced around again, but no sign of that promised backup. When he heard a roar of rage followed by the sound of something hitting flesh, he knew he couldn't wait any longer. Moving away from the door, he continued around the building, searching for another way in. He'd worked the dock area before and knew that most of the warehouses had broken windows or doors with broken locks or latches that the homeless used to gain access--especially in the winter. He hadn't gone too far when he found what he'd been looking for--a door that looked closed and locked, but had had a piece of wood jammed into the latch so that it swung open easily when he gave it a tug.

Once he was inside, Tony maneuvered his way through the dark, careful not to disturb anything, as the element of surprise was the best thing he had going for him. His surroundings became more distinct as he neared the area the light was coming from. The unmistakeable sounds of sex reached his ears, along with a strange clinking noise, and he felt his gut clench. From the earlier noises, it didn't seem likely it was consensual. Even so, when he finally came close enough to see what was happening, the sight before him still shocked him.

The girl... woman? was chained by the throat, the wrists, and the ankles with only enough give to allow her to writhe in a useless attempt to escape that surely did nothing more than further stimulate the man who was straddling her. As for the man, he was huge. Dressed in fatigues and sporting a crew cut, Tony guessed the man was probably military, or military wannabe. Either way, he was definitely trouble.

For the moment, the girl had stilled and the only sounds were soft hiccoughing sobs and the man's pants and groans as he thrust into her. Releasing the safety on his gun, Tony gave one last wistful glance around in the hopes that backup had miraculously appeared. It hadn't. Taking a deep breath, he called out, "Police! Freeze!"

Before his second word had even completely left his mouth, the man on the bed was whirling and pulling a gun from somewhere. Even as he boggled over the man's speed, Tony dove for more cover. Knowing he had to act quickly, before the man decided to kill the girl, Tony rolled up into a kneeling position and fired once, just as a searing pain speared through his left arm. Gasping, he fell backwards, trying to catch himself with his right. A keening noise caught his attention as he managed to get upright once more, his eyes zeroing in on the man, who was now sprawled limply across the girl. Keeping his gun arm straight and steady, Tony slowly moved forward, his left arm dangling. He was pretty sure he had been shot, but he didn't want to take the time to examine the wound, not until he was sure the other man was no longer a threat. As he got closer, however, he lowered the gun. Nope. No longer a threat. Pale blue eyes were staring sightlessly at nothing. The keening was coming from the girl, who had started to wriggle again in an attempt to get away from the dead weight that was bleeding on her.

Letting out a soft huff of air, Tony holstered his weapon in order to grab hold of the deceased's arm. With a grunt, he pulled him off the girl, streaking her bare legs with red stain. The keening had lowered to soft whimpers, and the chains rattled as she started trembling violently.

"Easy, now, easy. I'm just going to look for the keys to those manacles," Tony said in a low voice, trying to project calm. His arm was throbbing and he really didn't want to think about the headache that killing the perp was going to give him. Not that the man didn't deserve it, but every shooting, especially one that resulted in a fatality, required a thorough investigation. And he knew the department had just been itching for a reason to boot him. Forcing that thought away, he focused on what needed to be done immediately. First, free the girl. She'd been traumatized enough and being released from the chains could only help.

At his words, the whimpers quieted, but intermittent shivers still made the chains clink together as he searched the body. Finally, he came up with a ring of keys. "All right, I'd say it's probably one of these," he muttered to himself, trying to hold the threatening blackness at bay. It certainly wouldn't do for him to pass out now. Who knew what he'd wake up to.

Huge brown eyes watched him as hestepped aroundthe steel-framed bed. No more whimpering, but he was sure the girl was in serious danger of hyperventilating. "Hold on just a little longer now," he soothed, choosing a key that looked different from the others on the ring. She twitched as he inserted the key into the lock on the manacle encircling one of her wrists, but that was all. With a loud click, the lock turned and the manacle fell off, making a loud clatter as it hit the concretefloor. As Tony unlocked the rest of the manacles, the girl stayed absolutely still, watching his every move.

When the metal fell from her neck, the girl took in a deep breath and finally moved. Sitting up slowly, wincing a bit, she hesitantly touched Tony's sleeve. "You're hurt," she whispered.

"Yeah," Tony agreed. He really needed to sit down.

"No! Not here!" the girl protested.

Then Tony was being pulled away from the bed and he hissed as his arm was jolted.

"Sorry," she whispered, but she didn't stop tugging on him.

Tony didn't resist, and he sighed with relief as she eased him down on a crate. "Thanks." He finally allowed himself to take a look at his arm, and as soon as he saw the blood, the pain intensified. "Shit," he swore. In the distance, he heard the sounds of sirens approaching and the girl stiffened. He suddenly realized that she was still naked. "Give me a hand here, will you?" he asked as he started shrugging out of his jacket.

Small, pale hands helped him ease his injured arm out of the sleeve, even though they trembled constantly. Once the jacket was off, Tony dropped it lightly onto her shoulders. Immediately, the girl clutched the lapels, holding it close about her. Outside, the sirenssilenced as doors slammed.

"Detective DiNozzo?" the light tenor of one of the rookie cops called out and Tony heaved a sigh of relief.

"In here," he called out.

At the sounds of the door being broken down, the girl scooted around behind him, ducking down out of sight. "Hey, it's OK. Just the cavalry," Tony reassured her. The only response was her head burrowing into his back. When the uniformed officers stepped into view, Tony lifted his head. "Glad you could make it. Better call an ambulance and the coroner," he said, with a nod toward the bed.

The uniform's eyes widened as he took in the half-dressed man splayed upon the floor with a visible chest wound. Swallowing, he simply nodded and then turned to go.

"And bring a blanket. I think she's in shock," Tony called after him.

Finally catching a glimpse of movement behind the detective, the uniform nodded once. "Yes, sir."

"Jesus Christ, what the hell happened here, DiNozzo?" a gruff voice demanded, and Tony winced. Behind him, he felt the girl tense up, too.

"Sullivan," Tony said in greeting. "Ah, could you be a bit quieter? The victim is understandably upset." "Victim?"

Reaching behind him, Tony held out his good hand. "Come on out now, it's safe." After a few moments, a cold hand took his and the girl peeked out from behind him. She didn't leave the shelter provided by his body, but her head, at least, was visible.

Before anything else could be said, the paramedics arrived, effectively forestalling any other questions the other officer might have. The only trouble was that the girl refused to release Tony's hand.

Tony winced as his arm was prodded and a pressure bandage applied to it, but managed to remain quiet. The girl merely stared at the paramedics with wide eyes, not saying a word.

"Miss? We need to examine you. Why don't you lie down on this stretcher, and then we can load you into the ambulance," the paramedic said in a persuasive tone.

Looking from Tony to the paramedic to the stretcher, the girl simply gripped Tony's hand harder as her breathing started to accelerate.

"Hey, hey, calm down. It's OK," Tony said. Turning to the paramedic, he said, "Do you have a blanket? She might feel better if she doesn't feel so exposed."

The paramedic nodded in agreement. "Good idea." Unfolding the blanket from the stretcher, he placed it gently over the girl, even covering her head, but leaving her face free. She shuddered once, but then, with one last questioning glance at Tony, she moved forward to gingerly sit on the stretcher.

"Detective? Maybe you could ride in the ambulance with her? By the time we reach the hospital, maybe you'll regain your hand," the paramedic said with significant look at said hand, which was getting the circulation cut off from the death grip the girl had on it. "We'll get you stitched up there, too. You're lucky. The bullet mainly passed through the fleshy part of your arm. If it had hit the bone, it might have been really nasty."

Tony just nodded as he allowed the paramedic to assist him up. "Yeah, thanks."

Slowly, they made their way outside to the waiting ambulance. Tony was just climbing in when he heard the shout from the warehouse.

"DiNozzo! What am I supposed to tell the captain?"

"I'm sure you'll come up with something," Tony muttered, ducking his head to avoid beaning it on the top of the ambulance.

The ride to the hospital was pretty quiet. The paramedic asked a lot of questions that the girl ignored and Tony had no answers to.

"Has she said anything at all?" the paramedic finally asked.

"Yeah. Right after... well, once I released her, she said a few words. Nothing much, though," Tony replied.

"OK. That's good. She's definitely in shock, but it's good that she can talk. I guess she just doesn't want to talk to me," the paramedic said with a wry grin.

Tony shrugged. "If I'd been through what she had, I might not feel like talking either."

"Point. Anyway, here we are. Good luck, Detective."


As they entered the Emergency Room, Tony remained close to the stretcher, his long legs easily keeping up with the fast pace of the paramedics. Finally, they reached a curtained off area. Releasing Tony's hand, the girl slid off the stretcher and moved to the bed, still huddled in both his jacket and the blanket.

"A doctor should be in soon. Just try to relax," the paramedic said and then exited.

With a weary sigh, Tony sank down into the chair next to the bed. He hoped the doctor arrived soon, as he would really love some painkillers. A slight rustling sound pulled his attention back to the girl, who was staring at him. 'I really need to find out her name,' he thought. "I guess it's time we get formally introduced, don't you?" he said, still keeping his voice quiet. "I'm Detective Anthony DiNozzo, but you can call me Tony," he said, holding out his hand.

A faint smile appeared on the girl's face as she leaned forward slightly to take his hand. "Alison..." she cut off as a noise just beyond the curtain startled her and she jerked back reflexively.

Cocking his head to listen, Tony dug into his pocket with his good hand and came out with his badge wallet. He took out one of the business cards that he always kept tucked inside and held it out to her. "I think we're about to be interrupted and, most likely, split up. But this has my contact information. If you need me, for any reason, just give me a call. OK, Alison?" he asked.

Alison nodded as she accepted the proffered card and clutched it in her hand. "OK... Tony."

No sooner had she responded when the curtain was swept back and man who was presumably the doctor strode in, a nurse trailing behind. Immediately, Alison tensed up and moved as far back on the bed as she could manage.

"Uh, Doc?" Tony spoke up before the man could get any closer to Alison.

Glancing up, the doctor took in Tony's appearance and frowned. "You should be on a separate bed."

Tony held up one hand. "I have no problem with that..." Tony paused, reading the name tag on the man's lab coat, "Doctor Bailey... but I think you need to get a female doctor for her," he said with special emphasis. "And she needs the kit," he added more quietly.

At that, the doctor frowned again, but he did halt his progress and take a closer look at his patient. Taking in the terrified eyes and the bruising, he turned to the nurse. "Go get Dr. Sheffley. Explain the situation."

With a sympathetic look at Alison and a nod to the doctor, the nurse hurried out.

"All right, then I guess I'll take a look at that arm," the doctor said, motioning to Tony's arm. "If you would just step over to the bed on the other side of the curtain..."

"Ah... could you hold off just a few minutes? I don't really want to leave Alison alone. Once the other doctor arrives, I'm all yours," Tony promised.

"All right," the doctor agreed, although it was obvious he was just itching to do something.

When a concerned looking woman in a white lab coat approached, flanked by the nurse from before, Tony stood up. "Dr. Sheffley?" he asked. At her nod of confirmation, Tony introduced himself. "I'm Detective Anthony DiNozzo and this is Alison," he said, with a head tilt toward Alison. "Alison has had a really bad night, so please be careful, all right?" he requested softly.

"I understand, Detective. I'll try to make the exam as painless as possible, but you know the kit is never a pleasant experience," she warned.

Tony grimaced. "Yeah, I know."

"We'll take good care of her. Now, why don't you let Dr. Bailey see to that arm?" she said in such a way that it was more an order than a suggestion.

"Yes, ma'am," Tony said.