Gibbs' phone rang. He glanced at the caller ID, "Why aren't you here yet Dinozzo?" He listened and then said "Okay." As he hung up Ziva said, "Is Tony not coming in today?"
"He'll be in at ten. Do you have that report ready for me yet?"
The agents continued their work in a relative quiet that meant that Tony was not in yet. At 9:45 Gibbs' phone rang again. Again it was Tony. "Dinozzo, I said you could come in at ten, do not tell me that you are not going to make it in by then." There was silence then Gibbs said, "Tony are you there? Tony? He gestured to McGee. "Activate his GPS. Find out his location."
Ziva left her desk and crossed over to Gibbs'. "What is happening?"
"Tony's not answering and it sounds like there were gunshots and people screaming."
"Boss, his GPS puts him at 2525 Virginia Rd. It's about ten miles from here. Boss, it's a Babies R Us store!"
"A what? What the hell is he doing at a Babies R Us store?" Get the local LEO's there McGee. Tell them we are on the way. Ziva call Abby and have her monitor the GPS until we can take over in the truck. Let's move people."
As they pulled up to the scene, they found it blocked off by the local police. Gibbs issued orders as he got out of the truck. "McGee continue monitoring that phone, Ziva you're with me."
They ran to the perimeter of the scene. Gibbs showed his badge. "Who's in charge here?" The officer pointed to the command center that had been set up. "Lieutenant Simmons sir. He's with the hostage negotiating team. SWAT is here as well.
Ziva and Gibbs started over there when Ziva pointed and said, "Gibbs that is Tony's car." They arrived at the command center and identified themselves.
"What is NCIS doing here? This is a civilian operation not federal."
"We have reason to believe that one of my agents is in there. He contacted me by cell phone. We still have an open line. We're recording everything we can pick up on it. My forensic specialist is checking it now for anything that will be useful. Lieutenant, Dinozzo is my best field agent. If anyone can help diffuse this situation, he can. And since I know how he operates I am going to be involved in this."
"It doesn't matter how good an agent he is, Gibbs, people react differently when their kids are involved."
"Kids", said Gibbs.
"Yeah we pulled surveillance tapes. We figure there are about ten employees in there and two customers with three children between them. And one shooter. Here I'll show you. Roll the tape. Here are the employees coming in for work. Then we have a woman with a toddler. Next we have this guy with his two kids. Is that your guy?"
Gibbs looked closer at the monitor. After a moment he said, "Yeah that's Tony."
The Lieutenant rolled the tape a little more. "When we enhance it we can see him paying. Looks like he went in to pick up diapers. Then here, we have this guy going in. He shoots at the people in the customer service booth. Looks like one was killed. There's your guy ducking for cover with the kids. Ah look, he's got his phone out and he put it under the counter. Must be when he called you. Then the shooter is rounding people up and moving them out of range of the camera. We got your call a few minutes later. There was a car here within three minutes of your call."
"Ziva go check out Tony's car, fast. Lieutenant, any identification of the shooter yet?"
"No not yet. We're checking out the cars in the parking lot to see if we can find one that is out of place."
Gibbs dialed a number on the cell phone he had taken from Ziva. "McGee, the LEO's have a surveillance tape. Transfer it to our equipment and run facial recognition software on the shooter."
The Lieutenant looked at him. "You have facial recognition software in the field?"
"Yes, with access to many more data bases than you have. But he's probably a local guy. I also have satellite imagery of the entire area. We'll be able to monitor the perimeter better that way."
Ziva came hurrying back over to the command center. "Gibbs there are two child car seats in his car, some toys and a diaper bag. He doesn't have his weapon with him. His primary and back up were locked in the glove box."
The Lieutenant piped up with, "He probably didn't want to be carrying them when he was toting his kids around."
Ziva spoke up in a strained voice, "Tony doesn't have children."
The Lieutenant spoke up, "Well today he does! We are going to have to figure out how to identify them."
McGee came running up. "Boss, um, Lieutenant I got an ID on the shooter. His name is Robert Davis. He's twenty-three years old. He has been arrested two times, once for grand theft auto, and once for possession of meth. He has an ex girlfriend who works here in the customer service department. She filed a restraining order last week for abuse. He apparently has beaten her up a couple of times. And Lieutenant, this has hit the news. That's a television helicopter up there and some of their trucks are setting up just outside the perimeter."
The Lieutenant said, "Oh swell! Sergeant Talbot, you keep them away from here!"
"Boss, there is a woman over in our truck. She saw this on the news and she drove over looking for Tony and her kids. Says her name is Sara Jenkins. She came to the truck when she saw it was NCIS. ." The three of them turned and ran to the truck. There they found a distraught woman of about thirty.
She looked at Gibbs and said, "You're Agent Gibbs aren't you? Oh God, its true isn't it. Tony's in there with my babies isn't he?"
"Yes he is. We saw him in there with two small children on video tape. How do you know Tony? Why is he here with your children?"
"Oh well, we've been dating for about six months now. I got an unexpected call to be at my job early today. Tony offered to take Carly and Zach to day care for me. But I was out of diapers for Carly, so I asked him to stop here and pick some up. You have to send diapers in with the kids at the daycare center."
"And Tony is comfortable with that?"
"Tony?" She looked puzzled. "Sure, he's great with kids."
The children's father, have you notified him about the situation?"
"He's dead. He died two years ago in a car accident, just before Carly was born. Tony is the closest thing my kids have to a father. In fact, he's going to be their father, we're getting married."
The three agents just stared at her.
Oh, I'm sorry, he hasn't told you yet. He was going to this week. He wanted to invite you all over for dinner on the weekend to introduce us to each other. But now this is happening. Are you going to be able to get Tony and my babies out of there?" The hysteria she had been holding back was starting to show.
"We'll get them out? How old are your children?"
"Carly is two, Zach is four."
"Okay, I want you to stay here with Agent McGee. You'll be able to see what is going on from inside here."
Gibbs had known that Tony was dating someone new for the last few months, but he didn't talk about her much. Gibbs had started to think of it as being serious only because Tony had stopped talking about woman. But, the idea of Tony being involved with someone with kids just floored him. He arrived at the command center.
"The kid's mom is here. The kids are Carly, age 2 and Zack, age 4. Dinozzo was taking them to day care but he stopped in here for diapers. Do you have anything new?"
"Well apparently the girlfriend is not in there. Two of my men are trying to find her. He's demanding to see her."
Sergeant Talbot yelled out, "Hey the doors are opening!"
They turned to look and saw six women coming out. Three of them were carrying children. SWAT officers ran to them to hurry them out of the line of fire. As soon as they were clear, the Lieutenant, Gibbs and Ziva ran over to them.
"What happened, why did they let you go?"
One of the women, who was holding a small boy spoke up. "There is a man in there, a customer named Tony. He talked him into it. Two of the kids are his. He gave me his wife's name and number. We have to get her here for the kids.
"Gibbs reached for Zach and handed him to Ziva. "She's here; we'll take them to her. Which child is Carly?
Another woman said, "I have her."
"If you'll go with Officer David please, she'll take you to the children's mother."
The other woman with a child was taken away to an ambulance. She was pregnant and looked like she was going to get hysterical any minute now.
The Lieutenant spoke up. "We'll need to debrief the rest of you. We need to know what is going on in there."
"The man in there, Tony, he's been so great! He's been talking to him, trying to calm him down. He got him to let us and the kids out. The guy, he started shooting at the customer service desk first. I think he killed Jenny! And then he realized that she wasn't Donna. They are sisters, they look a lot alike. Then he started saying that he wanted Donna here and he started moving us to the middle of the store. When the police showed up outside of the store, he started saying he was going to shoot us all if Donna didn't come. She can't come by the way; she's in California on vacation. She won't be back for another week. Tony talked him into answering the phone when the police called. He said it was the only way the police could get Donna here. Tony said that he had to let some of us and the kids out to show a good faith effort."
"Okay, that's good. Tell us about who else is in there?"
"There are three stock boys and Tony."
"What about his gun?"
"He has two. One is a revolver; the other is, well, I don't know what it is, but it's big and he has a lot of ammunition for it."
"Okay, we have a floor plan. Can you show us where everyone is?"
"Yes, I think so, but first, when Tony handed over his little boy to me he also slipped this into my pocket." She pulled Tony's ID folder out." As she glanced at it, she said, "Oh, it's a badge, he must be a police officer."
Gibbs took the badge, "He's a federal agent. He didn't want to chance this guy finding out about it. He'll feel less threatened that way. "
"Well Tony probably saved our lives. I just hope…", she trailed off.
"Yeah," Gibbs said, "we do too. Now if you could help with the floor plan."
"Oh yes, Karen can help with that as well, I'm Teresa by the way. I'm the manager of the store." The women went with the sergeant to work on the plans.
The Lieutenant was talking on the phone to the gunman. Gibbs picked up a headset to listen in. "We are still trying to locate Donna; we'll bring her here as soon as we can., but we're going to need for you to let the rest of the hostages go before you can talk to her."
"No, I gave you the women and the kids. I didn't need them in here crying anyway."
"Yes, you did, and I thank you for that, but we still need for you to let the others go as well. We won't let you talk to Donna otherwise."
"No? How about if I start shooting them one at a time? I can start with this guy whose always talking at me. How would you like to explain to those kids and their mother that Daddy's not coming home tonight?"
The Lieutenant looked at Gibbs. They knew that he was talking about Tony. "Well we'd like for everyone to come out of this okay, including you."
"Who are you kidding, that girl is dead. Nothing's ever going to be okay. Get Donna here. You have one hour and then I'll start giving you bodies." The line went dead.
The Lieutenant looked at Gibbs. "He's going to go after your agent first."
"Lieutenant remember something, Tony is in there doing his job. He's the best asset we have."
Gibbs' phone rang, It was McGee. "Boss, we started to here voices on your phone. They may have moved closer to it. I'm transferring the feed over there. I can hear Tony talking."
The audio came up in the command center. Everyone listened intently. Gibbs said "Okay, Tony is sending us messages. The shooter has a revolver and an assault rifle, lots of ammo. Tony's trying to move him toward the window. He wants us to take him out when we get the shot. You have your snipers in place? Tell them to get ready. Shooter is wearing a red shirt." He listened to some more. "Wait, it sounds as if he's sending some more people out. Get ready."
All of a sudden there were shots fired. At the same time the door opened and three men ran out. They were all grabbed by the SWAT team members. Several other officers were given the command to enter the building. Over the phone they could hear sounds of a gunfight. Gibbs had pulled his gun and was ready to run out of the command center when they heard the all clear given. "Shooter is down, shooter is down. Hostage is wounded, bring in the paramedics."
Upon hearing that Gibbs ran, knowing that it was Tony that was injured. He ran into the store and found Tony sitting on the floor with blood all over him. "Where were you hit Tony?"
Tony looked up and smiled at him. "Oh hi boss, I was hoping you were out there."
"Tony, where are you hit?"
"Oh, I'm not boss; the wounded hostage is Jenny over there. She was playing dead, but she'll be okay. This blood is his. I managed to get his gun from him. He tried to use the assault rifle. I got him first."
Tony was pulling off his bloody jacket. "Listen boss, where are my kids? Are they okay? I need to borrow your phone to call Sara."
Gibbs looked at him. "They're fine. Sara is here. You got something to tell me Dinozzo?"
Tony flashed his grin. "Sounds like you know most of it anyway boss. Come and really meet her, she's great and I'm going to marry her. Where is she? "
"In our truck with Ziva and McGee."
Tony ran out. Gibbs stood there looking after Tony with a grin on his face. The Lieutenant walked up to him. "Well Agent Gibbs, you said you had a good man in here. Looks like you were right. He barely needed us here at all. He saved all of the hostages and took the shooter out. It's a good thing it ended when it did. There was no way we could get the ex girlfriend back from California in time. I don't think he would have reacted well to that news."
Gibbs looked at him and nodded. He walked out to the NCIS truck. Tony was tossing an ecstatic Zach up in the air while Ziva and McGee looked on in shock. Sara was standing nearby with Carly in her arms.
Tony noticed that Gibbs had joined them. He walked Zach over to Sara and took Carly from her. "Hey boss, guys", he nodded at Ziva and McGee, "I'd like for you to meet my family. This is Sara, Zach and Carly." With that his face scrunched up as he looked down at Carly. "Hey Probie, run over to that store and get the diapers I left on the check out counter. She needs one."
When McGee just stood there with his mouth hanging open, Gibbs barked, "Move it Probie."