Damn, he hated running. Even where he was, out in the open air, sun streaming down on him, the sound of a river flowing pleasantly to his side…he hated running. McGee knew that Tony loved it, thrived on it even, the feeling of adrenaline and excitement that came with chasing a suspect down. He also knew that right now, DiNozzo was looping around to meet up with him, and he was secretly hoping that Tony would get to the suspect sooner than he did. Damn it.
"Stop! NCIS!" He yelled as the suspect came into view, but he'd already yelled it once and it hadn't done anything, so he doubted that it would have any effect this time. It didn't. And then, unexpectedly, it did. The man stopped so abruptly that Tim was caught off guard, unable to anticipate let alone dodge the fist that flew out and clipped him heavily in the jaw. Wheeling, McGee fell off balance, stumbling over himself and tumbling down the hill. He realized as he rolled that Tony was coming into view, screaming his name and ignoring the suspect, running after him. Wondering what the big deal was, everything became frighteningly clear when the ground dropped away and Tim McGee was falling.
Tony felt his heart leap into his throat as he saw McGee tumbling down the hillside. With a shout and a curse and with complete disregard for the suspect he was supposed to be apprehending, he launched himself down the hill after his partner, desperately shooting a hand out just as Tim went over the side of the drop-off. Three things happened very quickly. First, he felt immense relief as his hand wrapped around McGee's outstretched arm, but it was replaced almost immediately with a wrenching pain as all of Tim's weight yanked on his shoulder. He screamed as he felt bones grind together but gritted his teeth, thrusting his other hand out to grab something, anything, to keep himself from going over the edge. Reflexively gripping tightly the first thing he felt, he screamed again as he realized it was a thick blackberry bush, then wrapped his hand around the vine a few times, wincing against the pain. His breath came in tight gasps as he struggled to hold all of Tim's weight.
"Tony?" The voice that drifted up to him was scared and thin, and Tony took a second to collect himself as he tried to answer.
"Yeah-Probie," he stammered, the pain in his arm and hand making it difficult to think clearly.
"We're in trouble, Tony," McGee murmured, hand already growing slick with sweat. Tony tightened his grip, though he thought briefly that he might pass out.
"'M not gonna-let go-McGee," he hissed between tightly clenched teeth. DiNozzo could just see his face, eyes wide with terror. Damn it all to hell…
"Tony?" DiNozzo wanted to scream as McGee moved, but he realized that Tim was trying to get purchase on the rock face in front of him to get himself some leverage. It wasn't working, and the jostling had Tony shaking with the strain. He ignored the feel of warm blood trickling over his hand, tried not to look down at the river rushing below him, decided it was worth it to try and pull McGee up. A second later and he had tried and failed. He was embarrassed at his own weakness, frustrated as he found himself unable to do anything. They were in a lot of trouble.
"Tony…Maybe you should…let go…" Tim's voice trailed off, but DiNozzo shook his head.
"No-way in-hell," he rasped, but damn it was getting hard to hold on, every inch of his body was starting to feel as if it were on fire, the mild shaking now getting more and more severe. He tried to tighten his grip once more, gasped as he felt McGee slip a fraction more-
"Other hand-too-McGee," he ordered tersely, and could see McGee shake his head.
"Tony, you've got to let go, you're hurt-"
"Other hand!" McGee swung his other hand up and grabbed Tony's arm, and DiNozzo screamed again, loud and long. McGee was shouting something, angrily demanding that Tony let go, pleading and demanding but DiNozzo ignored him, unable to think past the shooting pain and the knowledge that he could, under no circumstances, let go.
"DiNozzo! Let. Go. Now!" He was still ranting, and it was all Tony could do to grind out, "Shut up, Probe." A sudden sound and DiNozzo painfully lifted his head. The suspect they'd been chasing hadn't left, apparently, and judging by the way he was grinning, he was enjoying what he was seeing. Tony opened his mouth, fully intent on telling the man exactly where he should go when the man moved and Tony's hand, already hurting, exploded into full on pain.
"Shit! Shit!" Tony screamed as the man ground his foot into DiNozzo's battered hand. McGee was screaming at him, asking him what was going on, the man was laughing, and Anthony DiNozzo knew that he had a choice to make. His grip on the blackberry bush would fail in a matter of seconds. He could either let go of McGee or go down with him. Closing his eyes, Anthony DiNozzo knew what he was going to do. The foot came down again, the broken fingers were crushed again, and the bloodied hand slipped off the vine. And then two agents were plummeting towards the river below, both yelling but unable to do anything to stop their descent. There was a sudden silence as they splashed into the river, leaving behind only ripples as evidence they'd ever been there.
A/N: So this kind of just popped into my head…Sorry about the cliffhanger! (Or not.)