Chapter: Shot in the Dark – Chapter 1
Summary: Tony has to sacrifice everything for his team in order to save them from his family.
A/N: Okay, first NCIS fic! Major Tony-whumping shall be commencing! Hope you guys like! Please R&R!!!
There is glass all on the floor of the bullpen, one of the large windows shot out by multiple long-distance shots. Tony stands silently, staring at an unknown woman on the ground. Her eyes are open, staring at Tony, but she doesn't breathe and blood trails from her mouth. Blood covers her throat and chest, staining the floor beneath her. Tony raises a hand to brush away a single tear under the guise of checking a cut, leaving a blood trail across his face.
The day had started rather smoothly. Tony had been the first one in, depositing custom coffees at his team members' desks. Ziva had been next, muttering something about American traffic laws under her breath as she threw yet another speeding ticket into the trashcan. Seeing the coffee cup, she merely nodded to Tony her thanks. McGee appeared shortly after, barely looking up from a stack of mail in his hands. Such was his concentration that he didn't see the coffee cup on his desk until he smacked it with his bag.
Startled, McGee quickly snatched at the cup, which just pushed it over the edge and, thankfully, into his nearby trashcan rather than on the floor.
Clean it up, boy, before I give you something real to cry over! The sudden internal voice made Tony flinch before immediately schooling his expression.
Looking up with a suitably guilty expression on his face, McGee sought out Tony, who was watching him with something akin to wistfulness on his face. "Sorry, Tony. I didn't see it. But thank you – I'm sure I would have enjoyed it."
Tony waved off his apology, tapping his pen on his desk in rhythm. Truth was, he'd had a bad feeling since he'd woken up, and he was trying to fight whatever Karma was trying to throw at him. Signing softly, Tony shook his head. Apparently, it wasn't going to be as easy as a cup of coffee.
You're never going to be able to get out of something that easily, Anthony. You're never going to be that important, the voice came again, the thick Italian accent echoing through his head.
He was torn from his musings as a hand waved in front of his face, just an inch from his nose. Jerking back, his hand automatically going for the SIG he somehow forgot to secure in his desk drawer, he quickly focused on the angry face before him.
"Uh, morning boss," Tony offered hopefully, pulling his hand from his weapon as nonchalantly as possible.
Gibbs wasn't buying the act, though. He had taken in his senior agent's grab for his weapon, and he was slightly taken aback by a slight paleness to Tony's face and dark circles under his eyes.
"Morning, nothing. You look like hell, DiNozzo," he gruffly commented.
You look like your mother, you little son of a bitch.
Schooling his reactions with little less than 30 years practice and no more than a millisecond of preparation, Tony ignored his mental demon and let his hand drift to his gun, raised his eyebrows, and said in his usual and cocky manner, "Careful boss. Up all weekend with a couple friends of mine…kinda got a hair trigger, if you know what I mean."
His 100 watt grin didn't falter as Gibbs gave him a once over before turning and stalking to his desk. "Leave that kind of problem at home, DiNozzo, or I'll show you personally the finer points of Marine kickboxing techniques."
Take off your shirt and give me your belt, boy. I'll show you what happens when you bother me and take up my time with your piss poor problems.
Tony's smile slipped only marginally before he turned his attention to securing his weapon and booting up his computer. He focused completely on the tasks he set before him, trying desperately to get rid of the bowling ball in his gut. He couldn't place what was wrong, or even if anything was wrong, but he knew he would find out one way or another as the day went on.
Focused as he was, he missed the second and third looks that Gibbs threw his way from his own desk. One was a thankful nod for the strong coffee awaiting him, the second was a calculating glance as Tony reached for his desk phone. Watching carefully out of his peripheral, Gibbs listened for his second's voice over the low din of the bullpen.
"Hey Abby. Yeah, yeah, I know. No, nothing yet. Hey, question, Abs. You got any kind of feeling today? Just anything. No, huh? Guess I should be relieved. No, no, everything's fine. Yeah. Gimme a call if you feel something, okay? All right. Thanks Abs. Yes, I – what? Yes, I promise. Okay. Bye."
Setting the phone in the cradle, Tony released a breath and rubbed at his eyes, concentrating on the sinking feeling in his gut. He knew he was missing something; he knew that there was something going on, somewhere. He just couldn't place it.
His next actions were automatic, driven by deep reflex rather than actual need; his body simply responded to his unease the only way it knew how. He bent over in his chair, double checking that his unsanctioned secondary weapon was in place in its customary ankle holster. He pulled it, not caring who saw the weapon, and checked that it was loaded and primed. He then straightened and checked that his belt buckle knife was in place and undetectable to those who didn't know it existed.
He should have known that Gibbs was watching, but right now his need was to quell the unease that was building in his gut. He went for a shoulder holster, hidden carefully under his jacket. This third weapon was equally unsanctioned – carrying as many weapons as he did was grounds for disciplinary action, but Tony knew he could get away with it. Checking that this third weapon was also primed, Tony buttoned his jacket and let his eyes dart around the room.
Gibbs watched in interest as his second's eyes first went to Ziva, checking her over for any sign of injury or illness. Apparently satisfied, his gaze went to McGee next, taking stock of his condition. Seeing some tired lines around the MIT ace's eyes, Tony immediately stood and offered him his own coffee.
McGee blinked at the coffee cup before him and hesitantly reached for it while catching the older agent's eyes. "Uh, thanks, Tony, but you don't need to give me another cup."
Tony's voice was light, but there was a darker edge to it that Gibbs hadn't heard before. "Take it, Probie. You didn't sleep much last night and you need to be at the top of your game if you're going to stay alive in this job."
The irony was lost on the senior agent as McGee raised an eyebrow at Tony's own soft pallor and dark eyes. "Uh, sure, Tony. Whatever you say."
Tony nodded once and returned to his desk. His eyes raked over the entirety of the rest of the floor, checking doors, stairways, and personnel. Seeing nothing amiss, Tony took his seat and stared blankly at his computer screen.
What is it, boy? The voice from the past suddenly invaded his fluid line of thought. You think you could really protect them from anything?
Ignoring the urge to cut the voice from his head with a second knife he had hidden in his shoe and the third scalpel blade hidden in his watchband, Tony picked up the phone and dialed a number from memory.
"I need to know where he is," Tony said without preamble as a woman picked up on the other line. He listened to her response, then kept his voice low as he snapped, "I don't care about that. I just need to know if he's in Chicago or not."
Gibbs turned from the folder he was reading as he heard the anger in Tony's voice. He watched his agent quizzically, though no expression showed on his face. He took in tight muscles and clenched fists, and eyes that flashed dangerously.
Finally, Tony relaxed slightly and nodded before putting the phone back in the cradle. He blinked a few times, and the edge that had shown in his green eyes suddenly disappeared behind a jovial twinkle.
Looking up suddenly as he listened to that seventh sense of his, he caught Gibbs looking squarely at him. Blinking twice, Tony quickly allowed a light blush to light up his cheeks. "Uh, a friend of mine and her ex-boyfriend…trying to stay out of the doghouse and in the bed."
The lie was believable for Gibbs, only because of Tony's usual personality and because he wanted to trust Tony. So he grinned slightly and turned to his own computer. "Four wives, DiNozzo. Don't need to tell me."
Grinning in earnest now, Tony turned his attention to Ziva, desperate to throw the attention from his own actions to someone else. "And you would know all about that, wouldn't you, Ziva?"
The dark haired Israeli looked up from her own computer quickly, her eyes slightly wide in shock. "And what is that supposed to mean?"
Leaning forward in his seat, Tony whispered loudly in a conspiratorial tone, "Rumor has it you've had 7 husbands, and you've killed them all with a piece of cooked spaghetti."
Choosing to play his game, Ziva leaned forward and answered in the same low tone, "Actually, it was 8 husbands, and it wasn't spaghetti, it was linguine."
Tony's joker smile fell slightly, but an honest shadow of it remained. Ziva was a good agent and a great friend. She was different from Kate – the thought made his heart beat mercilessly against his chest – but it was true. Kate would argue and reject almost all of his humor. Not only did Ziva normally embrace it, but she often turned it around on Tony, engaging him in his own game.
"Well played, little Ziva," Tony smirked.
Adopting his same light tone, Ziva leaned back in her chair and asked mildly, "Who's playing?"
Tony smiled and would have answered except that his attention was suddenly drawn to the bell of the elevator. The doors opened, and Tony felt the feeling that had been growing in his gut explode.
It shouldn't have been as much a question as it was. She hadn't changed much in the 15 years since he'd seen her. Her hair was still the same length and color, her face relatively unchanged except for her crows feet and a lost shine to her eyes.
Tony stood and walked around his desk, aware that his team was looking at him carefully. Gibbs especially – he was on his feet the same time as Tony.
The woman appeared to be in her late 50's and was wearing nondescript clothes. She walked towards Tony hesitantly, her eyes betraying an underlying grief.
"Carrabella, what are you doing here?" Tony asked as he pulled her into a tight embrace.
The woman in his arms said nothing, simply returning the gesture. Finally, she pulled away slightly and noticed his curious teammates. Glancing at the windows that offered some slight privacy from the bullpen, she gently tugged Tony towards the glass.
"Parlano italiano?" she muttered quietly, her voice filled with something Tony couldn't quite place.
Tony shook his head, immediately aware that he had to drop any pretenses he'd had before. And he had to drop them now.
Always told you, boy, you'll never amount to anything. Can't even lie when you need to.
"No, non fanno. Che cosa sta accendendo, Carrabella?" he murmured to her, a hand on her shoulder.
Suddenly, all the emotions the woman had been hiding rose to the surface. Tears began to fall down her cheeks as she gripped his designer suit jacket.
"Non ho molto tempo, piccolo Anthony. Il vostro padre è qui. Dice che ha molto dolore da causare. Dice che dovrete proteggere quei amiate da quello odiate. È andato pazzesco, Anthony!" she sobbed, her tears coming faster.
Tony stood stock still, his eyes showing fear before a mask of severity fell over his features. Grabbing her hands in his, Tony shook his head.
"Perché ora, Carrabella? Ho fatto che cosa ha chiesto quindici anni fa. Non ho fatto niente a lui. Perché ora?" he asked, his tone rising so his voice carried throughout the bullpen.
Had he looked, he would have seen Ziva and McGee looking at him with shocked expressions, their awe at his fluent Italian obvious. Gibbs was simply watching the situation, one hand on his desk phone, should he need it.
The woman in Tony's arms grew more hysterical.
"Non ho tempo, Anthony. Ho attraversato il vostro padre. È arrabbiato con me. Ho voluto semplicemente avvertire che il senso la vostra madre non foste avvertito mai. Sta venendo per voi, il mio piccolo nipote. Verrà presto!" Her voice conveyed true fear as she spoke.
In response to her words, Tony ground his teeth and offered in English, "I will protect you, Carrabella. Let me help."
Her tears slowed and she smiled a weak smile as she raised a shaky hand to caress his cheek.
"You always watched out for others, my little Anthony, even when you had no one looking out for you. He let me come, to tell you. His last favor to his sister, I suppose. But you cannot protect me. It is too late, little one."
Tony's eyes widened immediately at her words.
"I will die knowing I have kept my promise to your mother."
Suddenly, Tony turned to the bullpen and yelled, "Everyone down!"
The warning came a fraction of a second before Tony's senses were overwhelmed with the shattering of glass. He pushed himself and Carrabella to the ground, one hand over his head and the other pulling her close to himself. He recognized the sounds of sniper bullets hitting what was supposed to be bulletproof glass. He heard shouting of orders and recognized a low moaning sound.
Fear gripped his heart as he looked towards the woman he had in his arms. She was looking at him with a small smile even as blood bubbled from her lips. The bullets continued, one every three or four seconds, and Tony could vaguely hear Gibbs yelling for him.
"Dammit, Tony! Get in cover!"
Anger and bile rose like a tidal wave in Tony's throat as he watched the woman on the floor struggle to breathe. A shot, through and through, had perforated her throat. There was nothing he could do.
Clenching his fists as he laid her gently on the floor, not minding the glass as it sliced at his arms, Tony knelt beside her, ignoring the bullets around him.
Faintly, he could detect words in her gurgles. "Lo vederò ancora, Anthony."
He didn't respond and didn't let his mask drop, either. Instead, he simply nodded and held her hand as she exhaled one last time.
Time seemed frozen for a moment. The woman before him was dead, her message delivered. Her blood mingled with his own. The bullets continuously came now, and their sounds suddenly awoke a rage he had not felt since his mother had been killed.
"DiNozzo, get down!" he heard.
Do what you're told, boy, or you're going to regret it.
Heard and ignored.
Standing suddenly, he turned towards the shattered glass. Almost the entire pane had been destroyed from the hail of gunfire, and Tony heard the shards of the ruined window crunch under his feet. Bullets continued to fire, coming from the far riverbank across from the NCIS building. All of them came close to him – none of them hit.
Tony glared out the window and the gunfire suddenly ceased. He could see the sniper, maybe 400 yards away, stand and stare at him through binoculars. He heard an echo come across the air.
"Siete stato avvertito."
With calmness bourn by rage, Tony lifted his right hand, covered in mixed blood, and extended his pointer finger and thumb. Aiming the imaginary gun, he took a shot, his thumb closing.
"Siete stato promesso," Tony whispered, knowing the other man could read his lips.
An alarm suddenly sounded through the NCIS building and over external loudspeakers.
"This is not a drill. This is not a drill. Shots fired. Lockdown procedures initiated."
Tony tore himself from his staring contest as the loud notification broke through his thoughts. He turned towards the dead woman again, his rage dimming slightly as he stared into her open and lifeless eyes.
"Appena come gli ho promesso."
He became aware of a stinging sensation in his eyes and a trickle down his cheek. He raised his hand to wipe away the tear, pausing to touch the cut a shard of flying glass had caused. Tony's fingers, drenched in Carrabella's blood, left a red trail across his face.
Okay, that's the first chapter! Please R&R!!! The Italian will all be explained in the next chapter. I used a digital translator, so don't come crying to me if it's wrong! I just do what technology allows!