A/N: Another Tony/Tim friendship story. No slash. Please read and review and I hope you enjoy! -abby


"I have to admit, Tony, you really called it. Are you sure you didn't already know where Abby was planning to get her new tattoo?" McGee got out of the car and slammed the door.

"Probie!" DiNozzo feigned surprise as he climbed out of the driver's seat. "I'm hurt. You think that I cheated to win a bet? I got lucky is all. Won it fair and square, promise. You can ask Abby. I had no idea that she was planning to get another tattoo on her back." Tony crossed his heart with his fingers.

"Fine, fine, I'll get your money," Tim said. "Let's just hurry, Gibbs will be looking for us soon. I wish I hadn't lost my ATM card, it always takes forever at this branch."

As they talked, the two agents stepped inside the front door of the First District Bank. They showed their IDs and declared their weapons with the security guard on duty. The elderly guard smiled and waved them past. "Have a nice day, fellas," he said cheerfully.

DiNozzo stood off to the side while McGee filled out a withdrawal slip and waited in line for a teller. Tony busied himself by people-watching. The bank was fairly quiet at 1100 hours since it was between the opening rush and lunchtime. There were five tellers behind the counter, a college-aged girl in line ahead of McGee, and other than them and the guard Tony was the only person in the lobby.

Tim had just stepped up to a teller window when the main doors flew open and six men wearing ski masks stormed in. Tony looked over in shock as the leader opened fire at the ceiling.

"Okay!" The gunman yelled over terrified screaming. "This is a robbery! Everyone face down on the ground now! Hurry it up and no one gets hurt! And no alarms!" McGee, the frightened college student and the security guard quickly complied, dropping to their knees and laying on the ground.

As he slowly lay down on his stomach, Tony mentally weighed his options. Six of them, two of us, can't count on the old-timer security guard. He doesn't have a gun. He risked a glance over at McGee and could see his partner thinking along the same lines. They made eye contact and with a small shake of his head, Tony managed to convey his decision – lay low, it's too dangerous. He could tell that Tim agreed.

After silently - and quickly - conferring with Tony across the lobby, McGee tried to shift on his stomach to ensure that his holstered weapon was not visible. Four of the gunmen were momentarily occupied, screaming at the tellers to empty their drawers. One other was keeping watch on the hostages, and the leader was kicking in office doors and pulling the occupants out into the main room. Really wish I had worn my long coat today, McGee thought. He didn't even want to contemplate the fallout if one of the gunmen saw that he was armed.

After all the office workers had been roughly ushered into the lobby and the tellers had been forced from behind the counter, Tony surreptitiously did a head-count of the hostages. Aw crap, he thought, eighteen not counting us. Plenty of people to use as leverage. He fervently hoped that one of the tellers had managed to trigger a silent alarm while emptying out the cash drawers.

As if in answer to his mental plea, Tony suddenly heard sirens nearing their location. Predictably, the robbers did not seem nearly so pleased. The lead one - Bossman, Tony decided - reappeared from somewhere in the back and aimed his weapon at the frightened tellers.

"Which one of you was it?" he roared. "Who did that?" The five women sobbed and looked away, none willing to admit which had summoned the police. Bossman grabbed the nearest one and pulled her upright by the hair. She screamed in terror and at that point Tim could stand it no longer.

"Stop it!" McGee yelled from his face-down position nearby. "Let her go!" His unwavering voice did not reveal how quickly his heart was hammering in his chest.

Probie! Be quiet, DiNozzo thought desperately. Don't call attention to yourself, man! If they find out we're armed…Tony could not even bring himself to finish that thought.

McGee's words had an immediate effect. Bossman dropped the terrified teller back to the ground and slowly turned to face the junior NCIS agent. "What did you say?" The lead gunman's words were a menacing growl.

To his credit, Tim didn't back down. His voice was strong as he twisted his head to look up and reply, "I said, leave her alone."

Tony closed his eyes and pressed his forehead against the cool tile of the lobby floor as he prayed that Tim hadn't just gotten himself killed. He looked back up just in time to see Bossman swiftly and forcefully kick his partner in the side. McGee gasped and cringed in pain. The furious man was gearing up for another attack whenever a booming voice came from just outside the bank's front doors. Tim coughed as Bossman turned away from him.

"This is the Metro Police! We have the bank surrounded. Release the hostages and no one will get hurt." The voice was tinny over a megaphone, but the words were clearly understood.

"Not a chance," declared Bossman firmly. The lead gunman looked at his cohorts as all six aimed their weapons toward the hostages. He grinned evilly, his mouth only partially obscured by the dark ski mask. "Settle in, kids. Looks like it's gonna be a long day."

DiNozzo groaned silently. I just had to make Tim pay up, he thought. If these jerks don't beat him to it, Gibbs is going to kill me.