A/N: I don't own NCIS, CSI:NY, CBS, or any other known entity. Craig and Syndney are mine. Sorry this is up a day late... busy week. But this, like the other two (It's Not My Time and It's Not Over), will have regular Friday updates barring any complications such as website issues and/or writer's block. The characters of CSI:NY are in the first part of the story, but since the two before this were straight-up NCIS and because this one will taper down to being just NCIS, it's going in the NCIS category. This takes place two months after the end of It's Not Over, and I highly recommend that you read the first two first (but there's enough here that I think explains what happened in the barest sense). And since this is becoming an epic, I will end it here. I hope you guys enjoy, and please review. :)
Prologue: Two Months Later…
"DiNozzo's been kidnapped," Gibbs said bluntly.
With a heavy sigh, Tony finally whispered, "I was raped, Boss."
"I managed to pull a print off the pipe that was used to 'kill' our 'victim,'" Abby said, typing as she spoke. "It came back to a Charles Sterling, aka Chip."
"So, our print comes back to a guy in prison," Ziva said.
"If his print's on it, he's got to be involved."
Gibbs looked back at Tony's sleeping, mildly disturbed form. Rarely did Gibbs feel helpless when it came to dealing with DiNozzo, but he couldn't help feeling that way now. How could they get him through this?
"Everything in due time, Anthony."
Gibbs knew eventually, Tony wouldn't be able to run from this anymore. And when that happened… who knew what the younger man was capable of.
"Why are you talking like that?"
"'Like you care.' 'You know you'd miss me.' What are you talking about?"
"Nothing, McGee. Just making conversation."
"If the thought even crossed my mind, Gibbs would kill me."
"Hi," the doctor said warmly, extending her hand toward the two men. "I'm Dr. Sydney Jansen."
"He'll bounce back, though," Ducky said after a moment. "It's going to take a while, but Anthony is a very resilient man. He will come back from this."
"I hope you're right, Duck," Gibbs said, walking out of Autopsy.
Ducky sighed, turning back to the corpse on the table. "I hope I'm right too."
"Do you think our victim was weak?" Gibbs probed gently, but with a little bit of a strong undertone.
"Do you think any other rape victim you've ever met was weak?"
"So why are you so different?"
Gibbs' voice came over the line, saying, "Jenny? Jenny, you there?"
"Not exactly, Boss," Tony said softly.
"What does that mean, DiNozzo?"
"She's here. She can't answer, though."
"Well, why the hell not?"
"She's dead," he said finally, his voice barely a whisper.
"What?" Gibbs asked.
"She's dead, Gibbs," Tony said, his voice a little stronger as he scrubbed his hand over his face.
"You and Ziva okay?"
"We're fine. We… uh… we weren't there."
"Rough few days," Vance began. No one responded, so Vance continued. "Officer David. The liaison position with NCIS is being terminated. You're going home."
Ziva simply glanced at Gibbs, who clearly had no indication this was going to happen.
"McGee," Vance continued. "I'm moving you across to the Cybercrimes Unit. You'll be working with Officer Hollister."
McGee also looked in shock at Gibbs, but said nothing.
"Agent DiNozzo?" Vance said.
"Sir?" Tony replied dismally.
"You're being reassigned. Agent Afloat, USS Ronald Reagan. Pack your bags. You fly out tomorrow."
Tony swallowed the lump in his throat, saying nothing.
"Agent Gibbs," Vance said in summation, taking the folders and walking around his desk. He handed them to Gibbs. "Meet your new team."
He sighed heavily. "I'm still a failure," he said softly. "I still love you guys. I still got Jenny killed."
"So, pretty much, everything," she said, her voice as soft as his.
He nodded, saying nothing.
With Langer dead, the mole problem was finished, thereby ending Vance's need for Ziva and McGee to be away. Both of them returned to Gibbs' team, at their usual desks in the squad room.
"Tony!" she squealed. "You're back." She hugged him tightly.
"In the flesh," he replied, wrapping his arms around her.
"Like, for real? Like, total reals? Like pinky-promise-permanent reals?"
Tony took her outstretched pinky with his. "Reassigned to DC, effective immediately."
"It's my fault," Tony said, looking at Gibbs with a tired sadness. "It's all my fault."
"Everything. My sister's death, my mother's death, my father's death, me getting raped and tortured, Jenny's death, McGee and I getting drunk tonight. It's all my fault."
"What the hell were you doing?" Even though he was clearly still angry, Gibbs' voice was somewhat gentle.
"Trying to kill myself, apparently," Tony muttered. "Otherwise, I wouldn't have gotten so drunk that you had to pick me up at a bar."
"So, you do remember last night," Gibbs said.
"What the hell were you thinking?"
"Honestly?" Tony asked, finally picking his head up off the table.
"That would be best," Gibbs grunted.
"That I just wanted all of this to go away."
McGee swallowed. "I-I'm sorry, Tony," he stuttered.
"What do you have to be sorry about, Tim?" Tony scoffed.
"That we couldn't find you in time."
Tony shook his head sorrowfully. "Truth is, even if you guys did get there sooner, it wouldn't have made that much of a difference. It happened early and often."
Tony shrugged, looking up again. "Seems like that's all I got, unresolved issues. Issues I can't resolve."
Gibbs cleared his throat softly.
"You'd think by now I'd be used to that idea. I can solve everyone else's problems, but for some reason, I can't ever fix my own."
"And if Ziva and I were there…"
"One or both of you could've died right along with her."
"Maybe that would've been better," Tony sighed, sitting on the floor.
"You think that you dying with Jenny would've been better?" Gibbs shot back, trying to keep his anger in check and failing slightly.
Gibbs shrugged, walking toward where Tony had sat down. "You've convinced me. You got the gun. Go for it."
"Okay, fine, you proved your point." Tony closed his eyes, sighing softly. "I'm sorry."
"Tony," Gibbs started.
"Don't give up."
"Special Agent Gibbs?"
Tony picked his head up to the young man standing at his desk. He quietly shook his head.
"He's in with the director," Tony replied. "How can I help you?"
"I'm Special Agent Craig James. I've been TAD'd here."
"I only feel like I have to drink when I'm upset. But, that alone scares me."
"You're aware it could become a problem," Gibbs said.
"Yeah," Tony breathed. "And I'm afraid it could get worse."
"I don't know what I'm doing anymore, Boss. And I can't really remember the last time I had any idea." Tony sneezed before coughing again. "It was definitely before this all happened. Before I was kidnapped. Maybe even before you left for Mexico."
Gibbs knit his brows together. "That was two years ago," he said softly.
"I know it was," Tony said. "But… that was the last time I really felt like I had a handle on things. You leaving… it kind of started a spiral. And then, the way things went with Jeanne… and everything else last year… I haven't felt in control in a long time. No one really needs me, you know? Not like they did before."
Gibbs tilted his head to the side and back. "Team needs you."
Tony shook his head. "They need you. They've always needed you. When you left, the only thing I could do to get them to try to pay attention to me was to be like you." Tony coughed before shrugging. "Didn't really work for me like it did for you. It's not as effective when you've had the real deal."
"They still need you."
Tony frowned. "They need someone who does the job. And all I am right now is someone who loses it."
Gibbs leaned closer to Tony. "Tony, if I ever feel you're losing it, I'll take you out myself. You're doing fine. And the team does need you."
"Ducky, can I ask you something?"
"Of course," the older man replied gently.
"How long will it take before I'm afraid to close my eyes? Before I stop seeing it in my nightmares? Before I can sleep peacefully again?"
Ducky frowned, thankful his back was to Tony so that the younger man didn't see his reaction. "I wish I had an answer for you," Ducky said regretfully.
Tony exhaled through his nose sharply, nodding. "Yeah, me too."
"Boss, I can't get a hold of Tony," McGee said, looking up as Gibbs walked in.
"He's taking some time off," Gibbs replied simply. "Grab your gear."
"For how long?" Ziva asked.
"However long he needs. Let's go."
"He'll call when he's ready."
New York City, 2:04 a.m.
He shivered, running a hand through his short black hair. He pulled his jacket tighter, rubbing his hands together. It didn't matter how long he had lived here. He would never get used to the cold, winter nights.
"We've got something here," a uniformed officer called out. The officer was standing on a boat that was about fifty yards out into the water. "Call CSU, tow, and the coroner."
He sighed, grabbing his cell phone. This was going to be a long night.
About half an hour later, the man with the short black hair was still standing there, waiting. The tow truck was on its way, due to arrive within the hour. The coroner, too, was still about an hour away.
"Flack," a voice said behind him.
Detective Don Flack turned around. "Mornin', Mac," he said, greeting the older detective.
Detective Mac Taylor nodded. "What do we have?"
"Anonymous passerby called 911, reported a sinking car. Uniforms rolled on scene, found tire tracks in the snow belonging to one car. They taped it off and called in the divers, who found the car, body in the driver's seat. Tow truck should be here soon, coroner's about an hour away."
"Divers at least get us something to work with?"
Flack shook his head. "Not yet. They're working on it."
Mac nodded. "Danny's gonna meet us back at the lab. I'll get working on the tire treads."
"I'm gonna go see if anyone's got anything on our 911 caller."
Twenty minutes later, the tow truck arrived, and the divers attached the chains to the back of the car. As the car was pulled out of the water, they identified it as a Blue Mustang, with Washington D.C. license plates. Flack copied down the number, and the car was towed back to the lab after the body was removed by the coroner.
"We got a hit off the plates," lab tech Adam Ross said, looking at Mac and Flack. "The car is registered to Anthony DiNozzo. He's a Special Agent with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service."
"Is he the body?" Mac asked.
"No," Detective Danny Messer said. "Prints off the body came back to a George Petrie. He's an M.E's assistant now, but used to be a lab tech in Baltimore who was fired after making a mistake on a blood test. And guess who figured out he made the mistake?"
"Exactly. Sid said our body was murdered, TOD undermined for now, but he estimates it was around the time the body went into the water."
"Are we thinkin' this Agent DiNozzo's our guy?" Flack asked.
"I'm not sure," Adam said. "The car was stolen two weeks ago."
"Where?" Mac asked.
"St. Louis, Missouri."
"Flack, get in touch with St. Louis PD, tell them we need that file. Adam, see if you can track down a phone number for Agent DiNozzo. We need to find out what really happened here."