Chapter Nine: An Insulted View

"Son of a bitch!" Roy, normally the calm and gentle driver, yelled uselessly to the BMW hot on his tails. "Learn to drive, moron!" He glanced in his rear view mirror again as the BMW took out a row of garbage bins lining a suburban street. Roy himself took the company car in a full 180 degree turn, the end fish-tailing wildly before he got the vehicle back under control, flooring the pedal in the opposite direction. The BMW took a wider turn accompanied by two angry car horns blaring as the screech of tires told Roy that the BMW had almost hit a pedestrian car.

He hated car chases, he hated driving in general and this was far from his comfort zone. He'd never been near the top of his class when it came to defensive driving and loosing this suspect was proving far harder than any exercise.

"Why won't you just bust a tire?" He muttered darkly as he took a left without looking, causing a pedestrian car to slam on the brakes with a second's notice. "Sorry." He muttered, though there was no way anyone could hear him. But the BMW just appeared again, dark and ominous, filling his rear view mirror.

At least they haven't a clue which one to follow. Roy's optimistic mind supplied as way of encouragement as he glanced mournfully at the red light flashing on his petrol tank bar. Great time to not stop for gas. Clenching his jaw Roy made possibly the only decision which flipped through his mind; he skidded into a story-ed carpark.

Of course, the BMW followed without so much as a second squeal.

"C'mon, c'mon." The young NCIS agent muttered to himself as the Dodge wound in a wide circle higher and higher through the levels of parking, the European made car tightly on his rear bumper. So tight that the ugly grill of the chasing vehicle smashed unceremoniously into his Dodge, causing a loud and obnoxious yell from the Dodge driver.

The dreary light of the cloud ridden day caught straight through Roy's wind screen as he emerged onto the roof of the parking garage, the white sky blaring at his retinas. Spinning the wheel enough to cause friction burns, Roy skidded the car around on the tarmac, the rear wheels perilously close to skippering off the roof's limits. The car stood clear, still as the BMW approached slowly, the blacked out front windows had to be beyond the legal limit of visibility.

Crouching behind the wheel for a moment, Roy slowly slid his Agency weapon from its holster in his jacket, ducking his head down as he slowly opened the Dodge's door, keeping below the window line as he crouched onto the tarmac, watching as the BMW mimicked his actions, yet, they had a passenger and a driver.

"We have no quarrel with you, just give us the child and we shall leave you alone." A thick accented voice called across the sparse space between them. Roy cocked an eyebrow. Do they think there's a kid in each car or something.

"Wouldn't be such a good idea," Roy called back with faked bravado. "Just got this new job, see, and I'm trying to make a good impression."

There was a pause. "Would you rather lose your job or your life?" A second voice, coming from the driver's side door, questioned, a deep New York accent, Brooklyn if Roy was any sort of investigator.

"Depends, might lose both if I give ya the kid and tell my boss." Roy cursed his tongue, fingers fidgeting on the grip of his weapons.

There was a flurry of activity until a unmistakable thunk broke through Roy's concentration, a second later the window above his head shattered as a second projectile whizzed over his skull. The wind screen received the tell tale holes of combat. Roy cursed, taking his chance and ducking out minutely to return fire on the BMW. He ducked behind his door just as he saw a bald head appear from behind the door, a unmistakable weapon in hand. A bullet tore through the door just to Roy's left, another piercing a hole straight through the driver's headrest, Roy covered his head with an arm as the entire wind screen crumpled down, splintering across the front seat just before –

"Hold fire, Oscar!" The rain of metal ceased.

"He ain't got the kid, C'mon!"

"Ace, how would you know?" The deep European accent asked, still covering with the flail of metal.

"We've been recalled. Come on! I don't want me ass on the line because of some kamikaze twat!"

The driver, who'd been giving the orders to the so called 'Oscar' clambered back into the driver's side just as 'Oscar' gave a hail of cover fire, hanging from the BMW's passenger door.

The European car spun with a protest of tires and began its retreat down the car park.

"Dammit!" Roy yelled to himself as he emptied his clip towards the fleeing car, only hearing a few successful hits. Looking back at the ruined Dodge, Roy gave the nearest wheel a serious kick out of pure anger, the empty gun held limply in one hand.

Scrambling over the seat, Roy managed to retrieve his phone amongst the crumbling glass shards.

"Cadman! Now's not a great time!" The voice, muffled with the screech of background noise greeted his phonecall.

"Fornell, just listen. The car following me just got called off. There's someone talkin' to him, they know which car the kid's in! I can't reach any of your lackies, get out of trouble."

"Kinda what we're doing. I don't take orders from you, kid. Get back to your agency and thanks for the help!" The line went dead.

"Dammit!" The second time in five minutes the call echoed across the empty parking roof, that was until the door to the stairs burst open with the shout of "Police! Freeze and put your hands in the air."

"Ah, shit." Roy muttered under his breath, dropping his gun onto the concrete.

"Gun it round the corner, Fraser." Fornell commanded, one hand hanging grimly onto the handle above the door. Fraser did as he was told, the heavy SUV teetering for a moment.

Tony yelped involuntarily, gripping his bag tighter, green eyes huge and round.

"It's okay, kid, we're almost there." Fornell attempted to sooth, forcing what was supposed to be a comforting smile but looked more like a grimace of agony. Tony averted his eyes quickly.

"Jesus, Fraser!" Fornell's warning came far too late as the SUV span dangerously around a new corner in the usual quiet suburban district, the Mercedes only metres behind. "Mind that-..."

The SUV ploughed straight into the stiff white fence of a nearby house as Agent Fraser attempted to pull out the way of a young family crossing the road. The nose of the SUV came to a skipping stop against the porch of the house, the wood splintering around the edges. Fraser immediately tried to gun the engine, only to have mud splattered across the windows as the wheels span against the deep skid holes made seconds earlier.

Fornell swore loudly. "Fraser, get the kid, get Pritch and Grant online and get a location."

The Mercedes had already stopped just behind the stranded SUV. A spluttering man stood in the doorway of the house, staring stunned at his once immaculate lawn.

"Pritch! Pritchard, come in. Come in!" Fraser yelled into his receiver, dragging the boy unceremoniously out of the car's back, shielding him automatically as he backed away from the growling Mercedes.

"Bring us the child and we'll leave, we don't want bloodshed."

Well that's new. Fornell thought to himself as he took cover behind the SUV. "Fraser, through the house out the back."

"I'm not leaving you alone, sir!" Came the indignant reply.

"I'm not giving you a choice, Fraser. Go...Now Alex, go." Alex Fraser cast a single glance back before grabbing Tony firmly, and hurrying the harried man back into his house just as the shots started.

The Mercedes driver caught the movement behind the SUV.

"Damien, they're heading around the back, call Ace and tell him to meet you there." The passenger nodded mutely, his tattooed head bobbing out of sight, ducking away from Fornell's furious firing.

Alex Fraser dragged Tony through the house, ignoring the fact he'd left the boy's bag behind. "I'm sorry, sir. Please get yourself and your family upstairs until Agent Fornell gives the all clear. Understand?" Fraser ducked into the kitchen, just as the man nodded hesitantly, shepherding his wife and teenage daughter up the stairs.

The backdoor was set just inside the larder of the kitchen, leading out onto the small backyard surrounded by a wooden fence.

"Get in the shed and close the door." Fraser's voice was harsh and calculating as he pushed Tony towards the rickety shed, shutting the door firmly behind him.

In the darkness, Tony huddled down behind a hand-pushed lawnmower and a rusting spade, arms wrapping around his legs, eyes fixed on the small stream of light between the door and the wall. His small hand closed around an object lying on the floor.

Shouts of words Tony didn't understand filtered through the wooden boards. Occasional shadows blocked out the light. Gunshots. Each one sent a jolt through his young body. He held his injured arm close to his chest, un-noticed going through the tremors which shook his shoulders. Gibbs needed to be here. Gibbs would solve this, not some FBI agent. Gibbs!

The door was wrenched open, tearing a cry from the terrified child.

"I found him!" The New York accent called behind him. Making the one mistake bad guys should never make. Never turn your back on a terrified kid in a shed full of tools. The garden fork smacked into the New Yorker's legs with a resounding thwunk and a punctuated cry that should never be repeated in civilised company. Scrambling away, the boy sprinted. His green eyes roamed, two men, strangers, guns. Alex Fraser bleeding heavily on the manicured lawn.

A henchman raised his gun, only to be stopped by the newly arrived Ace.

"We need him unharmed." He spoke whilst breaking into a run after the boy. Tony risked a glance over his shoulder. No, Gibbs should be here! That what the bad guys needed, in films and stuff the good guys showed up and...and...he usually fell asleep by this point in films, or they got taken away from him. But, the good guys always appeared!

Scrambling through the gap in the fence, Tony took his risking tactics through the next garden, and the next, hearing the swears, curses and footsteps behind him.

"Shit, this kid is fast! Damien, get round the side, Oscar...Oscar, get it, it was only a frickin' fork! Block off his exit, NOW!"

Running was all that he could think about right now. Just keeping going. He didn't know the time, didn't really know the date, didn't know where he was...Wait a minute. What was that sign post. For the first time in...however long the boy had been fleeing he skidded to a halt, breath coming in short pants, legs finally taking on the texture of jelly donuts. It was the donuts which made sure he didn't collapse into a jelly heap against the road sign.

He'd seen that sign before. Yes, he had.

"Arrested? For what?" A harsh voice cut through the usual quiet of the Mallard home. The Pathologist appeared in a doorway, eyes carefully watching the back – slightly hunched shoulders, tense arms – of the man on the phone.

"And did you get his side of the story, why he was speeding? I'll be there in twenty minutes." He shut the phone with a growl.

"Do I care to ask?" The M.E. ventured quietly.

"Cadman's been arrested, apparently for excessive speed and discharging his weapon in a public area." The pathologist frowned deeply. "I'm gunna go pick him up. See what he has to say for himself." The lead agent took a sign, grabbing he keys from his pocket and storming out the door as like a rhino on the rampage. The car bleeping expectantly as it await the entrance of it's driver, not knowing the brutality that short ride to the precinct would be.

"Boss!" Roy greeted, standing up as the superior agent appeared in front of him.

"Story, speak."

"I was just keepin' an eye on the FBI, keeping an eye on Tony. There were these three cars following them and they hadn't noticed, when I called it in the cars just jumped us, I drew one off, but it was three to three."

"And the fire fight?"

"On the top of Garrison Parking Garage. They would've crippled me but they had some tip off that Tony wasn't in my car. Someone on the inside had to be doin' it, no other way someone could've known."

Gibbs stood quietly for a few moments before jerking his head. Roy caught onto his heels, sliding into the passenger side of the car without a moment's thought, or a word.

"Call Fornell." Gibbs tossed the phone across to his new agent, eyes stuck to the road.

"Gibbs." Came the soft answer over the connecting mobile devices.

"Fornell, where's Tony?" Gibbs, speaking over the speakerphone asked directly. There was a long, drawn out pause.

"Tobias." The voice was cold, chilling the car. Roy stole a glance at his boss. "Where is Tony?"

"I don't know."

In the driver's seat, Gibbs' foot tapped on the gas, jerking the car forward dangerously in the slow traffic.

"You...don't know."

"I'm sorry, Gibbs. In the fight I lost a man, lost another in a car crash. The kid must've run, we can't locate him anywhere."

Roy regretted slightly getting into the car as the icy stare seemed to burn through the wind shield of the car onto the road in front. This was downright scary to say the least. The lead agent had his knuckles white against the steering wheel, fingers clenching down, arms tensed up. There was another long pause, not even the car dared to move. Finally with surprisingly gentle fingers, Gibbs reached across and ended the call, his eyes never leaving the road.

The car turned off onto a side street.

"Sir?" Roy asked after the car had come to park a few yards into the alley.

"Cadman, get a cab, get Ducky and get back to the Navy Yard, put out a BOLO on Tony." The agent's voice was calm and soft, astonishingly so under the circumstances, but Roy could see the burn in the usually icy blue eyes.

"Yes, boss." The young agent slipped quickly out of the car, closing the door with a click. He was just hailing a cab when the black car he'd formally been inside screeched away with a blare of indignant horns. Roy gave a nod in its general direction as he cab door closed behind him.

Lost in a city as big as Washington. Where would he go? One thought came to mind, but how would he get there? What good would it do him if he did manage to get there? There was no one home. At least, at the moment there was no-one home. How had he let this happen? Under his watch, it might not seem like that, but he should never have given him away. He should never have given up on him. No, not his boy. Not now.

The light was slowly fading, just glancing lights over the horizon and soaking the streets in a dull glow. He hadn't turned his headlights on, hadn't thought about it yet. Streetlights were just flickering on as he stepped out of the car. Tarpaulin flapped in the breeze. It was eerily quiet, just the soft flip flop of the plastic coverings which now served as his outer wall. The cold struck through the darkening day, the night quickly swallowing up whatever was left of the pitiful day.

Gibbs stepped forward, eyes flicking through the translucent tarpaulin into the remains of his living room, dust and debris still strewn haphazardly across the carpet. Pulling back the tarpaulin slowly, Gibbs ducked his head inside.

Something smacked into his waist, arms winding around his back as quick as a flash.

"Gibbs!" A small voice, muffled by the fabric of Gibbs shirt was alive with relief.

Lowering himself into a kneeling position, Gibbs wrapped his own arms around the trembling child, holding the boy safely amidst the floating plastic, catching the last rays of a dying sun before they skittered back, captured by the night.

"I beg your pardon." The words were spoken so slowly, so politely. The menace was obvious.

"I'm sorry, sir. I really am...It's just...I didn't expect it, they were outnumbered and...and he ran! He wasn't supposed to run, he was outnumbered and he just ran!"

"He ran. Did he indeed? Like a coward, running away from the fight, fleeing from the excitement." A soft chuckle, there was no humour. "It appears, Mr. Pritchard, that you have your work cut out for you." Ever sound was punctuated with a clear cut upper class accent. "I am not a man accustomed to failure, Mr. Pritchard, nor am I a man who will tolerate it. I have played nice for the past day, I gave you a chance to merely bring him back to me. Yet, reports of failure is all I appear to have, failure and a medical report from one of my own men. This is a rare second chance, Mr. Pritchard. I advise caution, speed and care in your work. For now, I no longer demand 'undamaged' as a request. I may prefer it so, but it is not a necessity. A speedy return. Good night, Mr. Pritchard, be so kind as to close the door on your way out."

Apologise for the delay, real life has me clamped by the ankles. Mayday's up next for an update, shouldn't be too long I imagine! Thanks for the reviews, that brighten up my day.

Soul Music.