A/N MAJOR SPOILER WARNING FOR END OF SEASON 7!!!!
This is a scenario dreamed up by me, pieced together from fragments of spoilers for the last few episodes. While the actual scenario is made up, it refers directly to many spoilers.
DON'T READ IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE SPOILED!!!
Disclaimer: I don't own ncis. Otherwise what I write would be not fiction but fact and I would have a lot more money than I do now…
To say he felt odd as he drove through the silent city would be an understatement. The emotions at war within Tony at that very moment mad him want to vomit and pass out. But he knew he couldn't. There was an awful task before him which he could not avoid.
McGee had called him exactly one hour ago. It had been 2300 and Tony had been about to leave the office. It was raining heavily and he was in no hurry to leave in the middle of the downpour. With McGee 'protecting' Abby in Mexico, it took longer to do the paperwork at the end of the case. He had shut down his computer and was arranging his a backpack when his phone started vibrating.
"What's up, McMexico?" he asked. He never tired of thinking up new ways to use McGee's name to torture him.
"Tony." McGee's voice sounded so calm it was unsettling. "Tony, Gibbs is missing."
Instantly, Tony felt the blood drain from his face. He was literally unable to move as his mind processed the information. His brain skipping around like a stone in a wheelbarrow, Tony thought to himself 'So this is what it felt like when we called them from LA. I thought it had been hard finding her body there like that but for Gibbs to be sitting at his desk and for me to say it. Gibbs. Jenny's dead."
"TONY" McGee's voice had lost the calmness as he struggled to bring his senior agent back to reality.
"I'm here, McGee." he said evenly. "Tell me everything." He was pretty sure he could hear crying in the background and he suspected he knew who it was. Gibbs had left mysteriously that morning, without any explanation of where he was going. He had just turned to Tony and said "You're in charge." Only a handful of people could make Gibbs drope everything and go and more than half of them were in Mexico.
"It's my fault, Tony. I found the bulletandIsawitandI..." She bawled into the phone.
"McGee!" Tony snapped. He could not understand what she was saying.
McGee soothed their friend. "Abby, please let me talk to Tony, ok?" He continued.
"We were here for the North-South Forensics conference to build stronger law enforcement ties between Mexico and the United States."
"I know that McGee!" Tony interrupted. His patience was all but gone. "Skip to the part where Gibbs is MISSING."
"Tony!" McGee snapped. "I wouldn't tell you if it wasn't important! We were at the conference and looking at some cold cases. Abby found one of them, the shooting of a member of a drug cartel, really interesting and we were bored so we started digging. We might have dug a little to deep and the cartel heard about us nosing about town. They took us aside for a little...chat...and warned us off."
Tony exhaled loudly. "Are you ok? I mean, did they let you go? They must have if you are calling me..."
"TONY!" McGee practically shouted down the line. "Let me finish."
"It's ok. We met this woman who may or may not have been related to the murdered cartel guy and Abby weaved her magic and she actually started being nice to us. She asked us why we were asking questions in town about a murder 19 years ago and we explained. She seemed to accept our reason and was letting us go when she showed us a bullet on a chain around her neck."
"A bullet?" Tony asked. "What kind of bullet?" He did not like where this was going.
"Well, we didn't know at first." McGee admitted. "But the woman said it was the one that killed the cartel guy. They dug it out of the back seat of his pickup. He was driving when he was shot. Between the eyes. Through and through."
"In a moving car? That is a hell of a shot Probie." Tony did not like where this was going at all.
"That's what I said. Anyway, she sent us back to town, with the bullet. Naturally, Abby started testing it and that is when she found.... I mean she thinks that..." he struggled to find the words.
"It was a 9mm boat tail molly coated full metal jacket bullet. It was pretty messed up but I am sure, Tony." Abby seemed to have regained her composure with the gravity of the information she was relaying.
"Oh. Crap." Tony was lost for words.
"It is just too big of a coincidence." She continued. "Not that we believe in those anyway. Tony I'm really worried. We called him to come because I had to show him. I couldn't tell anyone else, it was up to him to decide what to do. But he never got here. To the hotel I mean. The people in town said they saw an old white man arrive in a 4WD but the car is empty and he is no where."
While she had been talking, Tony had restarted his computer and was searching for the next flight out of D.C.
"McGee, I am booking a flight for us at 0530. I will have a car meet us at the airport ad we will drive to you. We will be there just after lunch. Bag and tag the contents of the 4WD, prints, photos you know what to do McGee. Abby, start running everything you can."
"Tony, will you tell..." McGee asked quietly.
The senior agent sighed heavily. "Yeah. I will. But not on the phone."
McGee was secretly relieved. "Ok. Call before you board, ok?"
"Sure thing Probie. Be careful." Tony tried not to let his probationary agent hear the strain in his voice.
"We will." McGee said as he hung up.
The blood suddenly rushed back into Tony's head and he turned to his wastebasket just in time. Wiping his mouth with a tissue, he opened his phone and dialed.
"I am sorry to wake you, Director. We have a problem. A big one." He explained the situation and Vance granted his approval for DiNozzo and David to fly out first thing in the morning. The director realised there was absolutely no point trying to stop them.
"If I get one whiff of a cover up, DiNozzo..." The director warned.
"Find Gibbs first, politics later." the agent assured him.
That is how Tony found himself driving through a sodden D.C. at midnight. He had sped the short drive to his house where he had thrown a few essentials in an overnight bag. He was now speeding again, this time towards a different house.
He pulled up outside her house. Her light was off. He would have to wake her. He grabbed his bag and ran up the steps to her townhouse, the rain still falling around him. He banged on the door with the urgency expected in such a situation.
The door opened and he was met not by a sleepy-eyed woman but a fully alert (although slightly rumpled) special agent. He knew her weapon was held tightly in her hand, hidden behind the door.
"Tony?" she asked in surprise. "What are you doing here? What is wrong?" Her face changed in an instant from that of the trained assassin to one of terror. She grabbed Tony's arm and dragged him in from the rain.
Tony looked at her and saw the fear in her eyes. "What is wrong?" she asked again. She had not failed to see the bag in his hand. She took it from him and reached out until her palm was pressing gently on the back of his neck. "Tell me."
In that heartbeat, all the panic and stress of the last hour exploded from Tony and his eyes began to well against his wishes.
His voice was barely audible as he said the fateful words. "Gibbs is missing. He went to Mexico. Abby and McGee found a bullet. They think he killed a cartel member and now they have him."
"Gibbs is missing?" she repeated. "Oh my...I don't know what.." Her eyes began to brim full with tears too as she realised the gravity of the situation. Her hand still behind Tony's neck, she pulled herself close to him and pressed her face into his wet chest. His arms circled her body and they held each other tightly for some time, neither daring to voice what was on their minds. It was too awful to think.
Finally, Ziva pulled away. "When do we leave?" she asked, wiping her face on her sleeve.
"0530 from Dulles. Car across the border to the town where McGee and Abby are." He answered. He wondered how she knew he had made plans already.
"I need to pack a bag too." she realised.
She began to walk down her hallway. Tony followed, unable to speak any more. He was overwhelmed with fear for his mentor and friend. Numbly he followed Ziva through her house and into her bedroom. He sat on the edge of her bed and watched her pack the practical clothes she would need for an investigation in the desert. His heart still racing, he realised that he was going to be sick again and ran to her ensuite.
When he came out, Ziva's bag was sitting neatly by her bedroom door and a glass of water had been placed on the bedside table. She watched him as he crossed the room and drank it in two mouthfuls. She saw his knees begin to buckle and grabbed hold of his elbow just in time. She gently lowered him onto the bed and knelt beside him. It was strange to see him like this, vulnerable and unsure of himself.
"Tony, it will be ok. We will find him." she assured him as she stroked his hair. At any other time it would have been an uncomfortable action but tonight it felt natural. She continued to utter words of comfort, some of them he did not recognised. He assumed they were Hebrew words, possibly uttered by her mother after another occasion slipped by without her father's presence.
He realised that she knew exactly how he felt. Gibbs was as much a father to her as he was to him. He rolled onto his side to face her and she slipped up onto the bed beside him. She held him close, her arms behind his shoulders.
"We will find him, Tony. It is what we do." she said, as much for her own benefit as his.
"But will it be soon enough?" he dared voice the question that troubled both their minds. "I don't think I can go through this again, Ziva. Losing another agent. Another friend."
"He is more than a friend to either of us." she admitted. She knew Tony was remembering the moment when the two of them had found Jenny's body in a pool of blood. "This is different." she said firmly. "Gibbs was a Marine. He was trained for this. He will be ok."
"I feel so helpless." Tony admitted. "I want to get in the car. I want to let you drive and start speeding towards Mexico this second. But I know that is pointless."
"We can only wait." she said practically. "Our plane is in four hours. We should rest for as long as we can. We do not know when we will be able to sleep again."
And rest they did. Although neither of them slept, they lay there for hours, foreheads resting together, each lost in their own thoughts. Tony knew the moment the bedside clocked ticked 0430 they would be on the move. But for now there was only comfort and rest. And waiting.
The sun is high in the sky. The shack, almost perfectly hidden between the small outcrop and the trees, is invisible to the unaware eye. Inside, three men sit. One has a gun, one has a cigar and one is bound to his chair.
"Leroy Jethro Gibbs" says the one with the cigar. "We have waited a long time for this"