You Are Not Alone
"Boss, come on, it's New Year's Eve!" Anthony DiNozzo wined, following Jethro Gibbs into the NCIS bullpen.
Gibbs stood behind his desk. "I don't care, DiNozzo," he replied gruffly. "You're not leaving until we find something on this damn case. Before another female petty officer is killed. You wanna have that on your conscience, knowing you could've done something to stop it?"
Tony gulped. "No, Boss."
"And that goes for all of you!" Gibbs called out to Ziva and McGee, who were sitting to the right and across from him, respectively.
Tony knew this case was going to be a hard one, right from the first death three months back. Now, there had been six killings, all the same circumstances: Jane Does dressed in Navy uniforms. The poor women were tortured, always with cuts precisely placed so they would hurt as much as possible without being fatal. The cause of death was always a deep gash on the stomach. But the strangest thing was, the killer always took something from his victims. The first woman, it was her right thumb, the second her blonde ponytail, the third her left foot, the fourth he hammered out a tooth. The fifth woman had her eyes cut out and the last woman had her right leg taken.
Whenever the team were dealing with a complete psycho, Tony always relied on Gibbs to keep them together and strong, but it wasn't happening. Each and every one of those women had families. Husbands and children that would have to live without them. Now the ex-Marine was just desperate to catch whoever was doing these horrible things.
The Senior Field Agent sighed as he sat at his own desk. It could be worse. It wasn't like they had nothing.
Although, it was pretty close to nothing.
The first two victims were in fact Lieutenants, but the third was a Navy SEAL dressed in an incorrect uniform. It wasn't the first time a killer had done this. The fourth death hit them the hardest, when it turned out to be NCIS Agent Cadence Williams, a mere casual acquaintance to the team, but nonetheless a depressing crime scene to work.
And now, the MCRT were stuck until they could solve their case, and all they had going for them was the fact that the victim could be any type of Navy personnel, and the one tiny amount of forensics that Abby had miraculously been able to recover. Since there was nothing at the crime scene other than the bodies, Abby had to test them for any possible evidence, and in the gash to the fifth victim's stomach was a hair. Unfortunately, the hair sample was so small that they had three possible killers instead of one.
They had come to the conclusion that it had to be one of the three Mason brothers: Thomas, Judd or Christopher.
Thomas and Judd both lived in Miami so it was unlikely that they were the killers but they had both been nearly impossible to contact. They were holding off on actually travelling to Miami unless absolutely necessary. But Tony felt they were close. He just hoped Ziva wouldn't go alone and have another run-in with the Miami Heat.
None had any relations with any of the victims apart from the possible murders so the team put BOLOs out on all three of the brothers. No hits.
"I got a hit on a BOLO on Christopher Mason's car, Boss," McGee said, printing it and handing it to the silver-haired man.
Christopher. The one who lived just outside D.C. This could be it.
"Tony, take Ziva with you," Gibbs said to his agents, who already had their gear ready. The sheet had an address on it that Gibbs knew to be a house. Maybe there was a chance they would catch this guy.
The two scurried into the elevator, knowing that they would have to be quick if they had any hope of catching one of the elusive three brothers. Tony so desperately wanted this case to end, not just because it was New Year's Eve, but because of the pain this case was causing the team. They all hated to see those women killed like they were. Which is why, in a rare occurrence, Tony allowed Ziva to drive.
Not many words were exchanged in the car, other than the occasional "Watch out!" when Ziva nearly hit another car. Upon their arrival, both were relieved to see that the car of the man in question was still parked on the curb.
The pair pulled out their weapons and Ziva proceeded to pick the lock. The two stealthily moved about the dark house. If Mason was here, he wasn't making it very obvious.
Once downstairs had been cleared, they moved up to the top floor, where one of the doors had a crack of light coming through the bottom. The tiptoed across the wooden floorboards, neither surprised when it was Tony's foot that made a creaking noise.
Ziva placed a hand around the knob and turned it slowly, looking at Tony first to confirm if he was ready. He was. He always was.
Much to their disappointment, the room was depressingly empty. After searching much of the house, Tony decided it was safe to let his guard down a little.
"Guess we're back to square one," he sighed.
Then there was a click.
The doors and windows of the upstairs bedroom locked.
"What's happening?" Tony asked, sounding more than a little concerned as he pulled violently hard on the door.
Ziva held up a finger and turned her head. "Do you smell that, Tony?" she asked.
"Smell wha—" he was cut off by the worrying sight of the Israeli collapsing onto the floorboards.
"Ziva? Ziva!" he yelled as he rushed to her side.
He turned her on her side, just in case she might have fainted, and when nothing happened, he felt for a pulse. He inhaled deeply and a sigh of relief escaped him when he found it. Big mistake.
He too collapsed onto the hard wood floor, helpless against whatever had taken over them. And of course, neither saw the dark figure approach them.
Tony was the first to awaken, and was more than surprised to find a sleeping Ziva next to him, but that was the least of his worries.
He figured he and Ziva had been gassed. There was no other way that both of them would have fallen unconscious at the same time. But now that had serious consequences.
The room he was in appeared to be covered in tile. There was nothing in there except a very small air vent and a dirty sheet. There was a door, but it was made of solid steel. No way could they break through it.