Author's Note: This is my first NCIS story, so go easy on me. It will be slash, oh yes, and it will contain violence, h/c, sexy sex, and non-con situations that will happen mostly off-screen. I love reviews, but I gotta be honest - I'll keep writing this one either way, so if you don't wanna review it, you don't gotta.


Footsteps pounded down the stairwell, all thumping noise and shadows on the peeling plaster walls. Tony only had time to say a harsh, vehement curse and to drag himself up on the wall until he was standing – sort of – before the three sets of footsteps thundered to the bottom floor and turned the corner.

He hadn't figured there was much hope it was his own guys coming down to get him, but the sight of three heads of red hair and three almost matching sadistic faces made his gut curl.

At least his wound was in his thigh, which meant there was nothing preventing his arm from coming up, and nothing to make his aim waiver as he targeted the first of the three psycho brothers who turned the corner off the staircase and found him between them and the door. "Think you're going somewhere, guys?"

The first brother, the older one, Colin or Conor or whotheIrishfuckever, gave him a slightly wild grin that practically misted with adrenaline. "Don't have time for you, Feddie. Conor, shoot him."

Tony braced against the wall, painfully aware that he could fall fast but that was about the limit of his range of movement. "You want to add killing an NCIS agent to your rap sheet? Really?"

Wrong thing to say. The guy just grinned and moved in towards him as if somehow certain Tony wouldn't shoot. "Three cops, two Marines. Why the fuck would one NCIS agent make any difference?"

Tony blinked. He almost laughed, because there was no answer to that question.

But there was. Because a voice from behind the other two brothers supplied it. "Maybe because it isn't just one NCIS agent."

The two younger brothers behind Colin both turned, guns flying up to aim at the new threat. Tony could barely see around Colin – who didn't even twitch – but luckily the newcomer was tall.

Tony's laugh came out then, breathy and relieved. "That's a real melodramatic sense of timing you're developing there, Probie."

Behind the other two brothers, the surprisingly calm green eyes of Tim McGee glanced Tony's way. His Sig was in his hand, his aim as steady as Tony's. Only the slightest furrow in his brow gave him away. "Put your weapons down. There's nowhere for you to go."

Colin – Conor, Clancy, Tony couldn't tell any of the brothers apart – lifted his own piece, and suddenly Tony's focus went from McGee's steady gaze to the alarmingly close barrel of bad guy's pistol.

"I've got a hostage right here who says we can go wherever we want," he said, his eyes never leaving Tony. "Drop the gun. Both of you. Or I'll drop smart ass here."

Tony forced a grin, acknowledging the label.

"No, you won't."

"Want to bet?"

Tony's eyes flashed from the barrel back to McGee. And he would have to remember later to think about maybe giving the kid some kind of credit, because the Probie of even a year ago would have been sweating and obeying, worrying about what the textbook procedures were to ensure a peaceful resolution.

This McGee, with the fancier suits and actual product in his hair, spoke like he was somehow in charge despite the two gun barrels aimed his way. "You won't, because the second you shoot Special Agent DiNozzo, I'll shoot at least one of your brothers. Of course the minute I do that one of you will probably shoot me, but that's already a minute longer than the rest of our team needs to get here."

It was almost a Gibbs move, arguing with a nutcase, but McGee's low, even voice and his can't-help-but-be-bookish-and-nerdy demeanor gave him a different vibe. Like a professor teaching some lesson that should have been easy. Like Spock explaining the only logical outcome to the situation, and God help him, Tony almost bought it.

McGee's eyes were the only breech in his calm mask, jumping from Colin's gun to Tony's face and back again, revealing his nervousness in a way probably only Tony picked up on. "Either we all get out of here or none of us do, Dougherty."

"Fuck you!" Colins's eyes flashed, and his hand tightened around his gun. He looked away from Tony for the first time, glancing back over his shoulder with darting eyes. His arm twitched, muscles tensing.

The cop in Tony knew that this was getting way too serious, and the everybody-dies scenario McVulcan had concocted was suddenly looking alarmingly real. He watched the muscles in Colin's jaw twitch and felt the indecision from the two younger brothers behind him.

Tony's every instinct fought against giving in, but the Doughertys were too dangerous, and McGee was still a Probie who could too easily make the wrong move. Swallowing down any sense of self-preservation, he slipped on the safety to his gun and held up his hands an an unmistakable gesture. He didn't look back at McGee but trusted him to follow his lead. "Nobody needs to get hurt here, guys. You want a hostage, you got it."

Colin turned back to him. He took one look at his raised hands and came at Tony in a flash. He grabbed Tony's arm with a thick hand and drove his wrist back against the wall, forcing his hand open. The gun dropped with a heavy clatter against the cement floor of the stairwell.

Tony winced but held himself still, silently ordering McGee not to move. Fuck, this was bad. Hostage to these guys meant corpse, and everyone there knew it. The first cop the Doughertys had killed – the first NCIS knew about, anyway – had been their hostage from a bank robbery gone bad. They used him as a shield to get away, and then slit his throat and dumped him into a ditch off the highway once they didn't need him anymore.

Fucking sadistic bastards, these brothers. Matching hair, matching psychoses. Must have been a fun house to grow up in.

His choices were limited and Tony didn't trust McGee to argue with these bastards long enough to attract Ziva and Gibbs from whatever part of the building they were searching. So he swallowed a feeling of sudden coldness and knew he had made the right move.

"McGee." Even his voice shivered. "Put the gun down."


Tony's eyes darted beyond Colin to McGee and then back. "That's an order, Probie."

Colin's gaze stuck on Tony, even as a tight grin twitched at his mouth. "Smart move, Feddie. Now you get to go for a ride."

"I said no."

Colin did glance back at McGee then, but looked more annoyed than anything. "For Christ's sake. Conor, shoot him if he doesn't drop it."

Instantly a shot thundered out. Tony winced as the sound rumbled though the stairwell.

Colin wheeled around.

For a moment Tony was frozen, going entirely cold. But when Colin moved he saw McGee still standing there. It was his arm holding the pistol upward, his barrel still wisping steam from the shot – harmless into a wall, judging by the flakes of plaster curling to the floor across from McGee.

McGee's face was deadly serious, his eyes cool and inscrutable. Like he was doing a Gibbs impression, and to Tony's surprise he wasn't too far off the mark.

"I said no," McGee repeated into the silence that followed his shot. Apparently as a shock technique firing the gun worked, because Colin and his brothers stood there, unmoving and gaping.

And then McGee went too far.

"If you need a hostage you're taking me."

"What?" Even Colin sounded thrown off by that.

Tony shook his head instantly. "Probie, shut the hell up and--"

McGee didn't even look at Tony. His eyes stayed on Colin. "He's already hurt. One of your bullets caught him in the leg. He'll slow you down, even if you manage to make it to your car."

For a moment there was silence. Tony pushed himself further up the wall as if to prove McGee wrong, and stifled a gasp when the splitting pain in his thigh jarred up his body.

Colin made a motion Tony didn't catch, and though Tony couldn't see his face he sounded amused. "You want it, hero? You got it."

"McGee!" Tony dug into the wall behind him with his fingernails to hold himself up, trying to make McGee meet his eyes. "Back off. I can handle--"

McGee ignored him. He seemed to reach some silent understanding with Colin. He lowered his revolver.

The two silent brothers moved fast, one grabbing McGee's weapon, the other pushing him around and towards Colin.

Colin didn't seem inclined to waste any more time. He caught McGee by the arm and twisted, pushing his wrist up high behind his back.

But McGee wasn't done. He wrenched his arm right back out of Colin's grip, staring the killer in the face for a moment before turning to Tony as casually as if they were saying see-ya-later after a long day in the office.

Tony shook his head the minute McGee's eyes landed on him. "No. Don't you fucking dare, McGee."

McGee's gaze dropped to Tony's leg for a moment, and he gave the smallest of shrugs.

Tony's wound throbbed, and he pushed off the wall as if in defiance. You don't know what you're doing, he wanted to snap. The Doughertys are death.

McGee turned back to the brothers and, without any guidance, strolled past them and to the door.

"Agent McGee, you stand down!"

Not even a pause in McGee's steps. Like it was his show. Like the whole thing was his fucking idea.

"McGee, damn it...Dougherty, you--" Tony's protests were cut off by the sudden shriek of the fire alarm as one of the younger brothers pushed the door open.

Tony dropped without hesitation and scooped up his gun. His leg screamed but he swept it up and aimed the barrel...

...right at the closing door.

"Fuck!" He pushed to his feet, ignoring his leg and the nausea swirling in his stomach. From behind him came sudden thundering footsteps, drawn by the alarm if they hadn't already been drawn by the bullet McGee had fired. But it was too fucking late.

He limped to the door too fucking slowly and pulled it open. The sedan was already roaring to life, and Tony's aim was steady but not so good that he trusted himself to shoot the car and not hit the wrong passenger by mistake.

"DiNozzo!" Gibbs, shouting and harsh and too damned late, pounded up behind him and slammed to a stop against the door frame. His weapon was up instantly, aiming for the departing car, and he got off one round. His bullet splintered the rear windshield.

"No!" Tony leaned over, jerking his arm down before he could fire again. "Boss, don't!"

The wheels squealed and the car shot through the gravel onto the quieter dirt of the road that would lead them to the highway, less than a mile away.

Gibbs went a few steps outside, tracking the car with his revolver. But he didn't fire again, and before the car was out of sight he turned and glowered. "What in the hell were you--"

"McGee's in there." Tony watched the car roaring down the road, already knowing they'd never get to their own car in time to give chase. Other side of the god damned building, other end of the world.

Gibbs looked instantly back at the departing car, as if he could count the silhouettes and verify the story. But the sedan was already distant, and a moment later he turned back to Tony. What was behind his eyes was a hundred times more dangerous than wild-eyed Colin Dougherty. "McGee."

"Yeah." Fuck, Tony would never stop paying for this. No matter what happened. "They've got him."

"I mean, it was his idea! Idiot probie. I told him, I ordered him to stand down, Gibbs." If Tony was babbling he had a good reason. The tension coming off his boss was thick enough to strain breathing. Tony couldn't look at the fury in those blue eyes without seeing McGee, calm and scared and calm, walking out the door to keep Tony from going.

"He believed your injury would make it harder for you to get away," came Ziva's reasoned answer. She didn't turn to him, just stared at the closed doors of the elevator waiting for them to open. But her shoulders were back, her chin high, and she was even more grim than usual. "He assumed his odds of escaping were greater."

Tony had to laugh, because he had to. "Oh, please! Yeah, I'm hurt, but he's McGee! My odds of escaping would always be better." He looked from Ziva's narrow, stiff shoulders to Gibbs. How a man could radiate so much sincere anger without moving a muscle was beyond Tony. "Boss, I tried to stop him. I really tried to--"

The elevator dinged softly, the doors pushed open. Ziva stepped out as if escaping, moving fast around the corner to her desk.

Gibbs stepped to the elevator door and stood for a moment, then turned around in the doorway.

Tony froze, caught in what was suddenly a small square cell. He met Gibbs' eyes, but only for a moment. "I tried."

"Go to Ducky and get your leg looked at." Gibbs' voice was too low.

It felt like forgiveness, but too quick and too easy to be real. Tony swallowed, unable to lift his gaze back to Gibbs' face. "Okay, boss."

Gibbs turned and moved away towards his own desk. "But first," he called back as the doors started to close, "get down to the lab and tell Abby what happened."

The doors shut before Tony could react. Horror slid through him and he sagged against the back wall of the elevator.

Tell Abby.

Tell Abby that her precious Timmy was in the hands of cop-killing maniacs? Tell wide-eyed, innocent and vengeful Abby that Tony had let them walk right out with him?

Jesus. Gibbs hadn't forgiven him at all.

She looked up when he came in, hair bobbing in the usual ponytails.

"Tony!" She beamed, jumping off the stood in front of one of her dozen computer screens. "Where have you guys been? I had news for Gibbs and he didn't even call, and I've been waiting! Not a peep!" Her arm flung out, finger pointing at the silent cell phone sitting at her desk. "This is serious, Caff-Pow worthy news, and Gibbs isn't....where is Gibbs? He always knows when I...Tony!"

The last was almost a yelp, and he jerked to a stop. "What?"

Her eyes were on his leg, her cheer snapped off like a light. "Your leg! You're bleeding all over my floor! What happened? You should be at a hospital, or...come here!"

He let her grab his arm, let her lead him to a stool and sit him down. He looked at one of the screens she'd been working at, staring at the magnification of some hair or fiber or whatever. As if hair or fibers helped them at all right then. As if some mass spec reading could change the last two hours of his life.

"--why you didn't go to...Tony?"

He swallowed and looked at her, knowing she would see it.

She did. Her eyes locked on him and all color left her face. "Oh, god. Who?"


"Don't do that, Tony! What happened? Who's..." Her hand flew up to her mouth, chipped nail polish flashing dark against her face. "Gibbs? That's why he didn't he alive, Tony?"

Tony shook his head, then spoke up fast when he realized that could be read as an answer to her question. "Gibbs is upstairs. He's fine."

She relaxed for an instant, but was too smart to let what he didn't say go unnoticed. She approached him slowly, heavy boots dragging on the floor. "McGee? Ziva?"

Tony wanted to look away, but steeled himself to meet her eyes. Fuck it, DiNozzo, you could face the psychos with the guns. Face this.

Abby could give off a strong vibe. The hair, the collars and clothes, the music and dark makeup. On first meeting more than one person had assumed she was as dark and sullen as the Goth look hinted at. But Abby was Abby – nothing sullen or dark about her. She was all quick grins and gushing emotions and she didn't have a single shield between her and the world. Especially where her friends were concerned.

"Who? Tony...please." She reached him and lay an uncertain hand on his arm. Wide eyes searched his face.

"McGee." Tony had to clear his throat. "The Doughertys have him."

"No, they don't."

The answer was so quick and so matter of fact that for a moment Tony's hopes stirred. "What?"

Abby stared at him until the hope faded back. "The Doughertys can't have him, Tony. The Doughertys are insane cop killers who...who kill cops. So they don't have McGee."

Tony let out a breath and forced himself to meet her eyes. He watched the certainty on her face fade and shift, warping into realization. He watched her warm green eyes go cold with horror. It was his punishment, and he took it.

There was a ping in the distance, the elevator, but Tony didn't use it as a cop out. He didn't look away from Abby, from the pain he was doubly responsible for causing her.

Not until he heard Gibbs' quiet voice. "DiNozzo. Go have Ducky check on that leg."

Abby whirled around. "Gibbs, it isn't true, is it?"

Gibbs closed in on her with arms open, and he accepted it as he only ever accepted it from Abby as she plowed into him and buried her face against his shoulder.

Tony stood up and limped, slow and awkward, around the pair of them. He listened to the imperceptible murmur of Gibbs' voice soothing Abby as he made his way into the elevator.

He didn't realize that visiting Ducky was Punishment Part Two until he moved through the sliding doors and found himself staring at the splayed remains of Petty Officer Grant Tibbett. Victim number five of the Doughertys' killing spree. Three bullets in the gut, and they'd left him in a gas station bathroom to bleed out and die.

The brothers didn't kill to escape, or to clean up loose ends. They killed because they liked to. They over-killed because they liked to. They were the kind of killers who couldn't help but brag about their crimes, because they were proud. Hell, they probably thought it was funny.

It had turned Tony's guts cold to think of ending up in their hands, especially with a bum leg. He dreaded it because he had seen all their victims just like he was now seeing Tibbett - cut open on Ducky's table.

He moved in slowly, staring hard at Tibbett's dead face, almost daring it to turn into another face in his imagination.

Damn it, Probie.

"Ahh, Anthony."

Tony jumped – he hadn't even noticed Ducky at a back table, writing labels for carefully ordered vials.

Ducky's calm eyes regarded him. "Any luck following the trail?"

Tony hesitated. Luck? "No."

"But I see you've brought me another patient." Ducky's gaze had dropped to his leg, jeans shredded and bloodstained down one leg. He stood. "What happened?"

"Shot. Grazed, really, but it's deep." Tony moved to an unclaimed table, careful not to look back at Tibbett.

"Well, I hate to say it under the circumstances, but...drop your pants, Tony." Ducky flashed one of those inscrutable smiles of his, moving to a cabinet to fetch supplies.

Tony sighed and unfastened his jeans. Luckily today was a boxers day. He peeled the jeans down carefully past his thigh and stepped out of them. He stared down at his leg for a minute, unsure whether to be glad or worried at the blood that covered his thigh and made a wide trail down his leg to stain his sock.

At least it was pretty bad. At least it was a real wound and not some tiny scratch.

He sat up on the table, bracing himself before twisting to hike his injured leg up onto the cold metal. "What do you mean, under the circumstances?" He tried to grin, tried to distract himself from the body one table over. "I like a good drop-your-pants joke as much as the next guy."

Ducky made his way over, frowning at Tony's leg and making a side-trip to grab a few more sterile rags. "Have you spoken to Abby since your return?"

"Just came from there." He remembered her saying she had news for them, and frowned. "She didn't get a chance to say anything. Something happen?"

Ducky grimaced. "It seems we've finally found a strong DNA link to your main suspects."

"The Doughertys? Good." Tony didn't plan on letting them live long enough to get to court, but more evidence never hurt. "What'd you find?"

"It was Abby who found it, examining the contents of the late Petty Officer Tibbett's stomach." Ducky dumped rags and a bottle on the table beside Tony, and went to the sink to pour a small amount of water into a glass. "Here." He handed the glass to Tony when he returned, picking up the small pill bottle and shaking a couple free. "For the pain."

Tony frowned, hearing the stalling in Ducky's voice. Coming from a man who was used to delivering grim news, stalling wasn't a good sign. "I can't dope myself up right now, Duck."

"They're just Tylenol, Anthony. I won't offer stronger unless I find you need stitches."

Tony took the pills and swallowed them down, setting the cup on the table and leaning back as Ducky got to work cleaning the blood from his leg. "So? What did Abby find in his stomach?"

Ducky worked studiously, not lifting his eyes. "Semen."

Tony's eyes shot over to Tibbett's corpse. "What?"

"I'm afraid so. While that's not instantly evidence of sexual assault, it was recent enough that it had to happen while he was in the hands of the Doughertys. And I suspect that even if he had not been beaten, there would still be that bruising around his mouth. According to Abby the DNA matches Clancy Dougherty, the youngest."

Tony stared at Tibbett, at the bruising and swelling in his face and the white of his mouth. The dull dead of him.

When he spoke his voice was strange and rough, even to his own ears. "Wrap me up fast. We've got to get back out there."

Ducky examined the gouge in his leg, now cleared of most of the blood that had dried around the wound. "This is quite a deep scrape, Tony. I'd feel better if you'd let--"

"The Doughertys have McGee, Ducky."

Ducky's face went slack for a moment. He straightened and looked at Tony.

Then he grabbed the bandages and started unrolling.