"Magnet for Disaster"- Chapter 7
A/N: I had a lot of time to think about how I would write this last couple of weeks, because I was in the hospital, and had my appendix out. After catching up on sleep since being discharged ('cause you do NOT get any sleep there!), I'm back, and ready to resolve the cliffhanger I left you… Enjoy!
The only sound NCIS Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo could hear was the sound of a bullet tearing into the flesh on his left arm. He groaned in pain, went down on one knee, dropping his gun, and grabbing his arm.
"You psycho!" Stephanie Plum snapped. "You just assaulted a federal agent!"
"What are you going to do about it, Miss Plum?" Chris Dallas replied in his sickly saccharine voice. "Your only job is to collect your man."
Stephanie was about to open her mouth to respond, but two familiar figures materialized behind Dallas.
"That makes arresting you my job," Joe Morelli, Trenton P.D. detective, and Stephanie's boyfriend, said. He moved forward. "Put the gun down, and hands behind your head."
As Dallas did what he was told, Gabriel Mancini turned to the other man, and asked, "Do you have my sister?"
Carlos Ricardo Manoso, also known as Ranger, nodded. "She's with my men. A little banged up, but she's safe now."
"We need to get Tony to the hospital," Stephanie said.
"Don't worry," Joe said. "We have an ambulance and police on the way."
The sound of engines came from outside. "Better go check on that," Ranger said. One of the semi-trucks- the one parked closest to Agent DiNozzo's Dodge Charger- cranked over, and backed into the car. As it pulled away and sped off, it left the front smashed in, with the hood popped open. "Crap," he muttered, and walked back into the warehouse.
"What was all that noise?" Tony asked, dazed.
"Looks like you'll have to call his boss in D.C. to take him home," Ranger told Stephanie.
"The truck smashed my car?" Tony asked, his voice rising with the sound of sirens. "Are you freaking kidding me?"
NCIS Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs frowned as he snapped his cell phone shut. "Get the sedan," he ordered, tossing a set of keys to a young man.
NCIS Special Agent Timothy McGee caught the keys as he stood up. "What's going on, Boss?"
"That was Stephanie Plum," Gibbs stated.
"Is Tony okay?" Special Agent Ziva David asked.
"Didn't say," Gibbs replied. "Just said she needs us there A.S.A.P."
The young agents quickly gathered their things, and ran to join Gibbs in the elevator.
Stephanie nervously paced the waiting floor of Emergency Department at St. Francis hospital. The last couple of hours were a blur of activity- Lance Corporal Mancini and Tony being loaded into the ambulance, and rushed to the hospital, with Ranger, Stephanie, and Gabriel Mancini following behind. The marine and NCIS agent were then quickly whisked away to be treated. Forty-five minutes passed, then an hour, and another. That was when Joe arrived from the police station. Still, there was no word on either of them.
"Will you stop that?" Joe asked. "You're giving me a twitch just watching you."
"Well then, don't watch," she retorted, and continued pacing.
Ranger, ever the epitome of Zen-like calm, looked up at her. "I'm sure that once they have news, they will tell us." He turned to Joe. "Anything happen when you brought Dallas in?"
"He was just ranting and raving about wanting to 'get' Agent DiNozzo," Joe said. "The guy really had it in for him."
"All because he arrested his dad years ago," Stephanie said. Glad I'm not the only one who has people after me for arresting their relatives."
Ranger and Joe quirked an eyebrow.
"Well, you know what I mean." She threw her arms up, sighing, and plopped down in an ugly gray plastic chair.
The emergency room doors opened, and four people came through them, nervously looking around. Stephanie recognized them from the chat they had, via computer, earlier in the day.
"Stephanie?" the gray-haired man asked. She nodded in reply. "Special Agent Gibbs."
"I remember, from our webcam chat."
"Any word on DiNozzo?"
She shook her head. "Not since he was brought in, Agent Gibbs."
"What the hell happened?" he demanded to know.
Ranger stood up. "I'm Ranger," he explained. "I was helping Stephanie and Agent DiNozzo with the bust. I took Lance Corporal Mancini out of the warehouse, while Stephanie and DiNozzo were distracting Dallas."
"Turns out Dallas held one of heck of a grudge all these years, Agent Gibbs," Stephanie chimed in. "When he realized who Tony was, he shot him."
"Shot?" Forensic Specialist Abigail Sciuto repeated, eyes wide with surprise.
"In the arm," Ranger explained. "Which he's being treated for now."
"And the Marine?" McGee asked. "Where's she?"
"Dallas was pretty rough with her," Ranger said. "She's being treated for cuts and bruises."
"Where is Dallas?" Ziva asked.
Joe stood up. "I'm Joe Morelli, Trenton P.D. He's in our custody. I assisted with the takedown."
The doors to triage opened, and an older Asian woman came out. "Is there anyone here for Anthony DiNozzo?" she asked.
"We are," Gibbs, Abby, Ziva, McGee, and Stephanie chorused.
"Well, uh… I'm only allowed to bring two people back at a time," she explained.
"How is he?" Abby asked.
"His injury has been treated, and he's resting comfortably," she told them. "He was dehydrated when he came in, so he's being given fluids through an IV. Once the IV is finished, he might be able to leave. As I said before, he can have visitors, but only two at a time."
"I'm going in," Gibbs stated, heading toward the door. He turned back toward the room, and nodded to Stephanie. "Come on, Stephanie."
Shocked, she turned to Tony's co-workers for their approval. "You guys mind?"
"I promise, you will all be able to see Anthony," the nurse assured them. "Just not all at once."
"You worked this case with him," Abby said. "Go ahead." Tim and Ziva nodded in agreement.
"Thanks." The gray-haired agent and pretty bounty hunter followed the nurse to his room.
"Anthony?" she called out. "You have visitors."
Tony carefully sat up in the hospital bed. His shirt and coat were replaced by a thin hospital gown, and a large gauze bandage covered his left bicep. "Yeah?"
Gibbs stepped into the room, with Stephanie following closely behind him. "DiNozzo," he said, folding his arms, "What have you done this time?" Tony was about to reply, but then saw the slight smile on his boss's face.
"It's just a flesh wound," he replied. "Nothing too serious. The car got beat up worse than I did."
Gibbs turned to face Stephanie. "What happened to the car?"
Stephanie sighed. "Dallas's henchmen tried to make an escape in one of their trucks, and ended up smashing the front of Tony's car."
"It wouldn't have happened if Ranger hadn't told me to park there." Tony grimaced.
Steph shook her head in disagreement. "Something else would have happened to it. I just have that affect on automobiles."
"So do you," Gibbs replied. "Remember your Mustang, how it was bombed?"
"He told me about his car that was stolen, then used in a robbery, then finally burned up in a crash," Stephanie said.
"Did he mention that the crash was the end of a high speed chase that was recorded on live television?" Gibbs asked her.
"Really? You had to bring that up?" Tony asked, in an annoyed tone of voice.
"Trust me, I've done worse, Agent Gibbs," Stephanie assured him.
"No wonder you two solved the case together," Gibbs said, shaking his head. "You're like magnets, you attracted to each other, and trouble attracts to both of you."
Stephanie and Tony looked at each other. "Not the first time someone's called me a magnet for disaster," Stephanie said.
"Since Stephanie had to call you, Boss, because I have no car, does you statement still stand?" Tony asked. "The one with me being on desk duty for a month?"
"Get through your IV fluids first," Gibbs ordered. "Then we'll talk."
"Working on it," Tony said with sigh.
"I'm going to get coffee," Gibbs said. "Everyone else wants to see you."
"Okay." Gibbs left the room.
"I'd better get going, too," Stephanie said. "Just wanted to make you were all patched up. Your friends are waiting."
"Sure," he replied. She turned to leave. "Hey Steph?"
"In case I forget, 'cause I might, with the pain meds they're giving me…," he flashed his hundred- watt smile, "Thanks for helping me with my case."
She smiled back. "No problem."