[Opening Phoomph]

His eyes felt the salty sting of perspiration that fell from his face mixed with tears. There was nobody to hear him scream; even if he could draw breath. There was no one around to help him; for they were all asleep.


It was the first day in December and on that day, no matter when it fell during the week; the city of D.C. Washington held their Holiday Street Festival. It was one of the biggest events of the year. Six blocks were closed off near Capitol Hill leading up to Stanton Square. From five to ten those six blocks would be filled with booths of venders trying to sell their product, whether it was corporations or handmade crafts. The block closest to Stanton Square was dedicated to food and drinks only, while the farthest two blocks held a mini carnival. During those five hours, Stanton Square hosted an amateur band contest where each band would play a couple of songs and the winner, by the most cheers, would get to play at the New Year Eve Bash live on TV. But when ten o'clock strikes, the venders would pack up their stuff and the streets become empty as everyone would cram themselves into the square for a concert lasting usually till midnight. It seemed like half of the city would cram into the booth filled streets for a night of fun entertainment. This year the Holiday Festival landed on a Thursday. The weather called for a cold night in the high thirties with fog in the late evening. Yet non of those two factors affected the huge outcome of people.

Yet in a house fifteen minutes Northeast from Stanton Square, the gut of one Leroy Jethro Gibbs turned with an uncertainty. The quite dark streets of his neighborhood were already filling up with the reported fog. The only light that he could see was from street lamps and not from home windows. He had no doubt that the rest of the city was like this, abandoned streets, making him hate night like this one. With an eerie silence that seemed to fill over the neighborhood reaching farther than the fog, it made it an open invitation for trouble. His hand lightly clasped around a pale blue mug with steaming fresh black coffee while the rest of him was set in stone. He said a silent prayer that nothing would happen on this potentially dangerous night. But unfortunately the prayer did nothing to settle his gut.

Gibbs took a deep breath and held it for a moment as he cursed his sixth sense, as Abby once called it. He really wanted to do nothing more than enjoy a nice cup of coffee before calling it a night and catching up on precious sleep. But instead, a huff escaped from his lips as he turned around and headed down the wooden staircase to his basement. There was no way those two things would happen tonight.


The night of the Holiday Festival was hated by all police officers in the D.C. central area. Nothing ever good came from thousands of citizens crammed in a few street blocks for one to many hours. To some it felt like a riot but with out the pepper spray and SWAT teams. The massive crowd was mostly oblivious to the criminal actions happing all around them. The biggest crime that never stopped because of this was the pick pocketing. Then the sales of drugs behind covered booths. But the thing that did get seen were the drunks causing commotion and occasional fist fights with other plastered people. Yet those drunken actions were almost like part of the entertainment for the crowds. There were a few reports filled on some kidnapping and rape at past events; however those were few and far in between. It seemed to be more of a night for crime than festivities for the police officers, and each one held a prayer for a relatively safe night.

Smacked right in the center of the festival, a twenty nine year old police officer stood watching the crowds of people walking past him, whishing he could be in his nice quite home. But instead of a warm bed, Officer Brad Erickson was in the cold night stuck with a mean old fart of a partner, who shared the same feelings about the night. Brad was not looking forward on patrolling the crowded streets for seven plus hours with a man who wouldn't even talk with him. But his hatred for this night was more towards bruised surrounded by massive amount of people, being on a constant state of high alert for something to happen. He wished that he was one of the lucky uniforms sitting in a nice warm squad car driving around the quite empty streets, for that is what he did on normal nights, but the higher ups got that job- those bastards. As Brad and his partner started walking down the streets Brad kept his hand close to his gun and his radio turned up loud. Something in his gut told him this was not going to be a peaceful night.


A black mustang maneuvered though the traffic streets trying to find a place to park close to the Holiday Festival. Even with the windows rolled up a ray of sounds could be heard the closer it got to the festival. The loud base of the amateur concerts shook windows of business close to Stanton Square. The scream, laughter and gears of carnival rides bounced off sides of buildings like a ping-pong ball, while the chatter of hundreds of people was a soft under tone to the melody.

Tony DiNozzo was more than happy that the team was not working a case because tonight was D.C.'s biggest street festival and he had been looking forward for this for weeks. He kept on mentioning it to McGee and Ziva telling them they should go, he knew it got on their nerves about the second day earlier in the week. So he wasn't that all surprised when he invited them tonight they turned him down with other so called plans. When Gibbs gave them the okay to leave for the day, Tony jumped in his car and headed straight to the festival. A part of him wanted to swing home to change out of his suit, but the event had already started and he knew that finding a place to park would be a pain in the ass the longer he waited. So he went straight there and much to his amazement, he found a place just two blocks west from Stanton Square. Tony ditched his tie in the car and undid the first few buttons of his shirt. He thought for a moment about leaving his gun in his car, but the thought of some one breaking into it and the hell Gibbs would give him if his NCIS issued weapon was stolen made him keep it on him. Double checking that his sig was tightly in its hostler, he buttoned up his back jacket and headed to the party. He glanced down at his watch; he had two hours before meeting up with Abby at the concert stage to support her friend's band. The closer he got to the festival, the bigger Tony's smile got, he didn't have to pray; he knew this was going to be one hell of a fun night.