Sorry folks, decided to split story into separate chapters to facilitate easier reading and nearly had a heart attack when I saw it had reposted. NO CHANGES TO ACTUAL STORY. What a goof! L

Disclaimer: NCIS and its characters do not belong to me and this story is not intended as an infringement of copyright. It has been written solely for entertainment and no profit has been made from its creation.

A/N This is a repost of a story originally uploaded by Numbat000 in March 2010. For those who are curious, an explanation as to why this story has changed authors can be found on her profile.

As Numbat000 has decided to permanently withdraw this story, I have uploaded it – not to elicit reviews but in the hope that anyone who had previously listed it as a favourite, will choose to do so again. For those of you who may be reading it for the first time, I hope you enjoy it. L


Chapter One

The elevator sounded and Gibbs walked into the bullpen to find his team huddled in a "campfire."

"Hey, Boss," Tony said. "Jury reach a verdict already?"

"Nope, they've adjourned for two hours," he replied, slipping a finger under his restrictive collar and giving it a firm tug. "Turner's damn defence attorney is still pleading his innocence."

"The DNA evidence in indisputable, yes?" Ziva questioned.

"Turner's attorney is alleging that his DNA comparison sample was taken without his authority and is therefore inadmissible," Gibbs explained, his anger simmering just below the surface.

"He signed the DNA authority form of his own volition," Ziva stated.

"Attorney's going for diminished responsibility," Gibbs answered.

"What about the fact that when we arrived, Turner was standing over Petty Officer Lauren Henry's body, with a bloodied knife in his hand and his pants around his ankles?" Tony added. "Looked pretty incriminating to me…not to mention, disgusting."

"Is there something you need us to do, Boss?" McGee asked.

"Nope, just here to check in with the director and take my paperwork with me," Gibbs said, surprised to find his in-tray empty.

"Oh, ah, I gotcha covered there, Boss," Tony said. "Came in a little early and got the paperwork up to date."


"Done," Tony said.


"Finalised and signed off."

"Incident reports on the Reynolds shooting?"

"Completed. Ballistics, autopsy and witness accounts, catalogued and signed off with copies to IA, Legal and the director. IA ruled it a righteous shoot and Ziva has been cleared to return to full duties."

"Good job, DiNozzo," Gibbs said.

"Nothing to it, Boss," Tony answered glibly. "Anyone could do it!"

"Anyone?" Gibbs asked, his eyebrows lifting.

"Oh…er…I didn't mean that anyone could do it, Boss, cos, clearly, it's not easy and we all know how hard you work…I just meant that I've done these reports before, when you quit."

McGee and Ziva both returned quickly to their desks, unable to stand idly by as Tony's runaway mouth de-railed and he headed for a verbal train-wreck.

"Did I say quit?" Tony laughed nervously. "Of course, I meant when you took your hiatus, holiday, intermission, career-break, time-out, lacuna…sorry, Boss."

Gibbs held Tony's gaze a little longer than was comfortable before deciding to let his senior field agent off the hook.

"What's with the campfire?" Gibbs asked.

"We have a lead on our UA - Master Sergeant Guy Briggs," Tony replied.

"The guy who stole the crate of C-4 from the armoury at Quantico?"

"Yep. Gotta tip off from one of my buddies from the Philly PD. A man fitting Briggs' description is working free-lance, selling his bomb-making abilities to the highest bidder," Tony explained. "My buddy's working undercover as a buyer's agent and has arranged for me to meet with Briggs this afternoon. We'll take him down then."

"Sounds like a plan," Gibbs said, nodding favourably.

"Ah, Boss," McGee said placing his desk phone in its cradle. "That was the director's secretary. Director Vance wants to see you."

Gibbs turned on his heel and climbed the stairs, halting briefly on the first landing.

"DiNozzo!" he called. "Don't get too comfortable in my chair!"

"Just keepin' it warm, Boss!" Tony replied with a 1000 watt-grin.


Driving an old pick-up from the NCIS car pool, Tony turned left into Gregory Road and coasted the last few blocks of the sparsely populated road in a suburb at the edge of town where he was to meet with Master Sergeant Briggs. Dressed casually in jeans and a hoody, he spoke into his com-link.

"Probie, you copy?"

"Loud and clear, Tony," McGee said from the back of a panelled truck already parked in the driveway of a neighbouring property.

"Is our back-up in place?"

"DiNozzo, this is Farrell. Preston and I are in position and ready to watch your back."

"Copy that, Farrell," Tony replied to the back-up team. "Wait until I'm in the house before you close in, then wait for my mark. Okay, I'm going in."

Ziva and McGee exchanged a tense glance and checked their weapons as they listened intently to their earwigs.

Tony knocked at the door and quickly talked his way into the house as McGee and Ziva stealthily moved into position at opposite sides of the front of the building. Farrell and Preston were attempting to do likewise at the rear of the house when a large dog appeared from under the house barking furiously.

Master Sergeant Briggs, already nervous and suspicious, cast a glance out the rear window and spotted the agents getting into position.

"You bastard! You set me up!" he yelled at Tony and drew a remote control out of his pocket. "Call them off!"

"I can't do that, Briggs," Tony replied holding his hands in a non-threatening manner.

Briggs pointed with his chin to the living room and Tony turned cautiously to see two blocks of C-4 wired to a timer that was counting down.

"Call them off or we all die!" Briggs yelled, brandishing the remote control device.

"Fall back," Tony spoke harshly into his com-link. "We have live explosives in the building, fall back, alert the bomb squad and commence immediate evacuation of nearby properties!"

Checking the front of the building, Tony and Briggs saw Ziva and McGee move away. McGee was on his cell, presumingly calling in the bomb-squad. As they moved to the back of the house, they saw Farrell and Preston retreating from their positions.

"Give it up, man," Tony said. "Even if you get out of here, you won't get far."

"I will if you come with me," Briggs said. "Give me your weapon. Now!"

Tony carefully lifted his side arm from his shoulder holster using two fingers and placed it on the ground beside him.

"Kick it over here," Briggs said, watching as Tony slowly followed his instructions.

Briggs picked up the weapon and positioned Tony in front of him.

"Now, we walk out the front door and get into your truck – you drive and no funny stuff," Briggs said.

With one arm wrapped around Tony's throat and the Sig pressed firmly into the agent's spine, Briggs guided Tony down the front steps. With a surreptitious look to the right and left of the house, Tony saw McGee and Ziva in position.

"Last chance, Briggs," Tony said. "Put the weapon and the remote down now!"

"You aren't in position to be giving orders," Briggs snarled.

"Don't say I didn't warn you," Tony said, swinging his elbow violently and striking the master sergeant hard in the sternum as he threw himself clear.

The sound of gunfire from McGee and Ziva's Sigs rent the air as their bullets hit Briggs high in the chest and the Marine fell to the ground in a bloodied mess.

McGee was quickly at Tony's side.

"Tony, you okay?"

"I'm fine, Probie," Tony replied, retrieving his weapon and the remote from the dead man.

"Bomb squads on the way," he said. "They probably won't get here before the bomb goes off, though."

"Not likely," Tony said. Move the cars back and call Ducky, tell him we've got a customer for him. Ziva, go find Farrell and Preston – I want everyone well away from that house until after the bomb squad clears it!"

"Where are you going?" Ziva asked.

"Channel surfing," Tony replied, holding up the remote control.


When Tony had last seen the timer connected to the bomb, it was counting down from ten minutes. He calculated that he still had approximately four minutes to use the remote control switch to stop the bomb – that's if the bomb was set to explode at zero.

Putting that thought out of his mind and standing no closer than ten feet away, Tony held his breath and pressed the stop button on the remote. Opening one eye, he saw that timer still counting down and decided to beat a hasty retreat from the house.

As he arrived at the front of the house, he saw the agents taking cover behind the vehicles at a safe distance.

"We checked both neighbouring properties, Tony," Farrell said. "Nobody's home. It's unlikely they're in the blast range anyway."

"Wait! Where's Ziva?" Tony asked, his heart pounding painfully into his ribs.

"I haven't seen her for a few minutes," McGee said. "I thought she was with you."

Tony looked back at the house and spoke harshly into his com-link.

"Ziva, where the hell are you?" he hissed.

"Tony, I am in the house," she responded. "I believe I can disarm the bomb."

Tony ran his hand through his hair and breathed deeply to retain his composure. In the distance the sirens of the bomb squad approached.

"Ziva, I gave you an order! Get the hell outta there!"

"I have almost got it, stop distracting me!"

"Dammit!" Tony yelled. "McGee, stay here, no one goes inside until the bomb squad arrive."

"Tony!" McGee yelled to the acting lead agent's retreating back.

Taking a deep breath, Tony sprinted for the house determined to get his agent out of harms way so he could kill her himself. He took the steps in one leap and almost tore the screen door from its hinges in his haste. He got a quick glimpse of the empty living room as he rounded the door from the hallway then time stood still as his gaze fell upon the timer:-


His breath caught and hell broke loose as the bomb exploded. Caught in the blast concussion, Tony felt his body picked up and thrown violently across the room and into the wall. As his head smashed against the wall, his last thought was of Ziva before darkness rushed over him.