A/N: Hi guys! I'm back with new/old story. Well, I'm posting this again here. So... this story I wrote shortly after 'Truth or Consequences' and when I didn't like Vance yet - so he's bad guy there ;) Also, LA HQ is in their old place. It's short so please enjoy this.
ps. Thanks for my Beta.
They went to an old hangar on the outskirts of the city. Sun was slowly going down behind the horizon, pouring orange-purple rays into the room through the broken, gray windows.
The hangar was ready for departure of the airplane. Six armed men, dressed in black, looked around the room. The door from the other end opened, and the next three men entered. One wore stylish white tuxedo and smoked Cuban cigar and behind him walked other man with a suitcase handcuffed to his wrist. The newcomers came close enough to be able to have good look at them.
"Nice doing business with you," man in white said in French, adjusting hat hiding his eyes.
"I hope it's not the last time," replied the other in French, but with an Italian accent, smiling. Through the left part of his face run disfiguring scar, making his appearance even more dangerous.
He stood in the back, watching the situation closely. He knew 'his' boss's - Dante Mortez - people, but managed to learn little about his partner crew, with whom they were making business. Something was off in appearance of the other man, standing close to the man with suitcase.
His intuition suggested it, therefore, he still watched him carefully. He measured the well-built American. He could be thirty-five to eight years old. Exactly - an American! The other two were French. But there was something about this man, something very familiar.
"Yes," began Frenchman, a little slow and lazily. "I would like to strike a bargain with you in a month, if it's possible," he added letting out the smoke from his mouth and throwing unfinished cigar to the ground. Half-smile danced on Mortez narrow mouth.
"The cargo is in airplane," he threw out lazily looking at gold Rolex. Before his partner could answer, the smoke grenade flew through the window into the hangar, and masked, armed men stormed through the main door.
"NCIS, drop your weapons!"
He saw as everyone reached for their guns and opened fire. Covering his mouth and nose with left sleeve of his jacket, he reached for his own and quickly bent in half when the bullet flew next to his head. Back door, through which Frenchman recently entered, were open. He saw as 'his' boss ran fast in their direction.
Carefully avoiding the bullets, he ran after him, not suspecting that the American did the same thing. Running, he suddenly felt a burning pain in his right side, but it didn't slow him down. He looked around cautiously, trying to breathe as little as possible of stinging smoke that tore through his sleeve. Let the local NCIS do their job - he had his own. He ran outside, in the dusk.
"Antonio, where's the car?" shouted 'his' boss. "Bring Stefanio here!"
He looked at him with a mocking smile.
"Stefanio won't come," he replied calmly, aiming at the 'boss' from his SIG.
"Antonio, put down this damned gun, what are you doing?" he shouted and a hint of surprise and indignation could be heard in his voice. He was just going to answer, when the bullets flew and both rushed to the further escape. He felt as blood rushed in his veins more quickly, as its trickles flowed from his side of the thigh and lower.
"It's just a flesh wound," he persuaded himself speeding up. He caught the fleeing man and they struggled for a while. He swung with all the strength that remained in him and he hit 'boss' with SIG. Man fell to the ground, and he once again aimed his gun.
"If the opportunity comes - take him down" - it was his orders. Dante Mortez was no longer useful for them, and knew perfectly well that this lawyers would quickly get him out. No matter how strong the evidence they would have. He reloaded his SIG when Dante grabbed a gun hidden in a cloak.
He fired three quick and well aimed shots.
"Say Hello Antonio," someone pushed him so that he fell almost on Mortez body. It was the American. He wanted to turn, but American's leg lying on his bleeding side stopped him. He hissed in pain, trying to escape with last ounce of his strength.
"Good night," he heard just before American whacked him in the back of the head with butt of his weapon.
He slowly came to awareness. First thing he felt was the headache and pain in the side. The only consolation was that it probably didn't bleed anymore. Could someone bandaged him? He was afraid to open his eyes. He knew that if he'll do it too fast - he'll throw up. He moved carefully. He was sitting on an uncomfortable chair, and had his hands painfully handcuffed at its back. Slowly he opened his eyes. When he felt dizzy, he immediately closed them. They dressed his wounds - yes, but didn't give him anything for the pain. How much he would now give for two aspirins and a glass of Scotch.
"Hello, Antonio," someone opened the door to the pleasantly humid place. American, it flashed through the mind in pain.
"I see that someone is happy with my presence," he laughed, looking at the man. "Where am I?" he asked, wanting to know whom he has to deal with. He must know what spiel to prepare and how to play the case.
"NCIS Los Angeles, as you know," he replied, smiling triumphantly.
"Did I do something to you or your family?" he asked. He didn't know why the agent was hard on him.
"I won't make it easy for you, Antonio."
"Just not Antonio," he moaned, closing his eyes to stop rising nausea. He could feel beads of sweat streaming down his face, though the room was cold.
"Tony," he added, and after a moment it dawned on his slowed mind. He felt as adrenaline striked again in his body and the anger started to grow.
"You killed your boss," came to him the agent's voice. He opened his eyes.
"You were also send on this action?" Tony asked suddenly. "Vance meddled with this case," he more said than asked.
Callen looked at him. This guy - Antonio - is well informed, he thought, sitting in a chair opposite.
"The opportunity came and after several months you decided to take the place of the boss," he said, carefully watching his reaction.
"He sent two undercovers who didn't even know... what a bastard!" Tony said, not responding to the undercover earlier words. "Callen, right?" he looked at the man. He read the files of the OSP personnel, but only now he put data from documents and the face of this agent together.
Callen was more and more impressed. Antonio played good game. But what he meant by: He sent two undercovers?He looked at him suspiciously. He knew perfectly well that Antonio lies and manipulates people. He's playing for time, but he had messed with the wrong person.
"You are good," he laughed ironically. "But you won't get away with it. You killed Frank and Sid - two of our people. You worked for Dante for four months, and earlier?" he threw out, making an effort to control himself. If only he could kill the bastard. "Who was your boss?"
"But you know everything about me," Tony grunted. This conversation tired him increasingly.
"Everything is in your file," Callen replied, looking at the folder lying on the table within his grasp, "but we don't know all of your partners and customers."
Tony sneered. Oh, how he loved this game of cat and mouse. They have this chat here and his boss ...
"I have to disappoint you, Callen," he began slowly with stuck half-smile. "I won't tell you anything, because it's all fake. If you insist, I'll make up something suitable for you for a glass of chardonnay."
That was too much. Callen threw an angry glance at the two-way mirror, behind which stood Hanna and Getz. This guy was mocking them. He rose from his chair, went up to Tony and bent, grabbing him by the hair, tilting his head back.
"Tell me or you'll regret that you didn't die from one of the bullets during the shootout in the hangar last night," he hissed, looking straight into Tony's green eyes.
"You're hot-blooded guy, Callen, and they say that you are so self-controlled and you keep a cool head easily in clandestine missions," jibed Tony licking his lower lip gently. "You won't scare me. They already tried this in Somalia, but it didn't work for them too."
Callen blinked quizzically looking at Antonio. Somalia was not in his file, but he met with that name several months ago. He heard about the action carried out by group from DC. He let Antonio and returned to his seat.
"I ask again," he started slowly with a master composure that appeared suddenly in his voice. "Who is your current boss?"
Tony sighed lightly, gently moving on the chair. Good thing the room didn't seem to spin so much. Maybe it wast adrenaline, once again buzzing in his body? He shot bored and impatient glance at Callen, and then in the direction of two-way mirror.
"My only boss is Leroy Jethro Gibbs," Tony drawled, mad at the Director that put him in this mess. Action was supposed to be clean and without problems. But now in his heart - when he uttered aloud the name of the person whom he trusted with his whole life - sowed the seeds of uncertainty. Had his boss known about all this? "I'm a federal agent! NCIS Washington DC!" he shouted, feeling as the room started spinning before his eyes. "Let's end this game, Callen. We were both Vance's pawns in this game. We did our..."
"You won't fool me," he said getting up and going up to the two-way mirror. "I've looked up Antonio Santhez. Others you can fool, but not me."
"I repeat once again," said Tony instinctively felt with every word uttered an increasing annoyance, anger and fatigue. "My name is Anthony DiNozzo, and since nine years ago I'm fucking agent of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, and my boss is silver-haired pirate Leroy Jethro Gibbs, whom even the silver bullet can't kill! Ask Toothpick!" he shouted, what brought back scratching in the throat caused by smoke inhalation yesterday.
Suddenly the door to the room opened and two men entered.
One big, without hair, probably Hanna? I guess that was on file. And the other? - Tony looked at the man, waiting until the picture before his eyes sharpened up.
"Mike, how nice you came," he croaked. Wonderful! Former boss of his boss. Mike Franks in his own hellish person. But at least he can confirm his identity.
"DiNozzo?" the elderly man was surprised. "One can hear you in the hallway," he laughed, but after a moment, seeing the condition of a young agent, became serious "What kind of trouble did Leon put you this time?"
"You know him?" Hanna said, looking at one and then other man.
"Do I know him?" Mike asked with indignation. "We must contact Vance. He's probably waiting for your report, DiNozzo."
Callen was not happy with the fact that he has to unchain Tony. He let himself be fooled. This whole DiNozzo was good. But how Director Vance could send two agents to a single mission, and don't tell them? They could kill each other!
They went to the command center, where everyone worked on the case.
"Eric, connect us," commanded Hanna. After a while Director Vance appeared at the big screen.
"DiNozzo, Callen, Franks, Hanna," he greeted them. "I'm waiting for reports."
"So keep waiting," Tony has had no control over himself. He stood on a soft, shaking legs, feeling as a wound on his side once again began to bleed. After all, it's just a scratch. "You sent two undercover teams to one mission. It was your fault I let the two agents to be killed and Callen almost skinned me alive, because in the system my fingerprints are still synchronized with Antonio Santhez!"
"You knew as much as you needed to know," coldly said the Director. "You broke a few rules, DiNozzo, and we'll talk when you come to DC. You have an airplane in two hours," with these words he hung up.
"Where, DiNozzo?" They heard voice of Gibbs, who stood behind their backs, and which appearance no one noticed.
"Oh, hey, Boss …" With these words, Tony dropped to the floor. Gibbs and Franks protected him from falling.
"Medics are already waiting outside," Gibbs said as he and Mike carried out unconscious DiNozzo. Behind them followed Hanna and Callen.
In the hospital corridor Gibbs paced nervously. He hated waiting, he wanted to know immediately, but no... Here he had to be patient and continue to ignore the vibrating phone in his pocket. He knew that it was his team and probably the Director. But now his thoughts occupied someone else.
"Nine years as your agent?" Callen asked in disbelief while sitting in a chair with his hands crossed on his chest. What kind of sane person would endure so long? He knew and respected Gibbs, who saved his life several times but to work for him... Gibbs was legend and a person that they all avoided with wide berth when ordered to establish direct contact and get to work together. But if DiNozzo stayed this long, first - he must be mad, second - a damn fine agent and third - Gibbs has to respect him.
"Nine years," he agreed. Nine years one man invariably had his six. Will he be able to trust anyone else as Tony and entrust own life in the hands of someone else's?
"You taught him well. We were completely fooled," Hanna said, looking at Franks and Gibbs.
"I didn't teach him," he stopped and looked at his companions. He was furious that Vance didn't give him all details of the mission.
He sighed heavily. "DiNozzo was previously a detective. I'll kick his ass if he leaves," he said out loud what he secretly feared after all.
"What do you mean?" Mike asked, looking at Gibbs. The kid don't see the world outside of Gibbs and certainly won't leave rest of the team. However, Gibbs left... but there were other circumstances.
"Grenouille Case," Gibbs answered sitting down next Callen. "This is second director who has used DiNozzo for their own purposes. The first was Jenny. DiNozzo's fell in love with Frog's daughter. Vance is not better," he explained.
"He is proud and stubborn. Reminds me of you," said Franks. Because this was truth. Gibbs smiled slightly. This wasn't first person to notice their similarity. We're working together too long, thought Gibbs.
Suddenly a nurse with a doctor appeared in the corridor.
"What about Tony?" Gibbs said, rising briskly.
"If he won't calm down, we will have to give him a strong calming meds. He wants to be discharged from the hospital, saying that it's only a flesh wound," said the doctor sharply. "And in fact, he has lost a lot of blood from his 'light scratch'. Fortunately, the wound is clean. We set up nine stitches. He has broken three ribs and head trauma. He is suffering from fatigue. Inhaled toxic smoke from the smoke grenade, but apart from a slight scratch in the throat and burning in the lungs nothing more serious didn't occur. He'll stay for twenty-four observation, of course, if he won't escape from the hospital, and then if everything is in order he will be discharged home, but I would be grateful if for a few days he was under the supervision of a family member," said the doctor.
"I'll take care of it," promised Gibbs and after handshake with doctor he went to the room where his agent was.
"What do you think, did they chained him to bed?" Franks asked before entering the room.
But when they entered the room, Tony was asleep. Gibbs smiled slightly. Fatigue and drugs did their job, he thought, coming closer. Why it always happens to DiNozzo? During those nine years he became convinced that DiNozzo attracts trouble like a magnet. Last time he has seen him in this state after the action in Somalia, when they worked out a group of terrorists who had kidnapped and tortured Ziva.
"Boss?" they heard tired and raspy voice of DiNozzo. Gibbs moved closer to his agent.
"I can't do it..." he whispered, feeling like butter smeared on too big slice of bread. "The second time... I'm tired of…" he muttered under the influence of drugs.
"You will give him the satisfaction?" Gibbs said defiantly. He wasn't going to lose his best agent because of the Director's secrets. "I will personally take care of Vance. Relax," he ordered sitting on a chair.
"Hmmm... Ask," Tony began slowly without opening his eyes, "Callen what about the glass of chardonnay …"
Gibbs smiled, looked over his shoulder at the men standing at the door, leaned over and whispered to Tony:
"Bourbon will do? You know I'm proud of you."
On the afternoon second day they bid farewell to the SOP team and went their way. Tony sat comfortably in the passenger seat beside the driver and looked at his boss uncertainly. He had often ridden with Gibbs, and he knew what a pirate on the road he is. Gibbs looked at DiNozzo gently and started with a screech of tires only to slow down after a moment. While Tony filled the forms on discharge from the hospital, he Jethro Gibbs, gave instructions to his people on mobile phone. He also called the director, with brief but concise information that they're coming back.
He didn't talk with Tony about his departure, because this option was no longer taken into account. DiNozzo knew perfectly well that he won't let him just go away. And besides, he would have to face hysterical Abby, who would just handcuffed him to her - as she did when he came out of retirement temporarily. He didn't want to mention Ziva, who after recent experiences often couldn't fully control herself. Or McGee, who was no longer the Probie of the past, but who would do anything for his older brother, which undoubtedly Tony was for him, and would definitely stop him from finding refuge at any end of the globe, and blocking any revenue. He smiled at the thought of what Ducky could do. The good, dear doctor would crush his ribcage in one skillful movement, at the same time recounting an old story in sentimental voice.
Yes, they were specific family.
Even Palmer is part of it, loyally supporting doctor at work.
He looked at seating next to him Tony. The man was dozing peacefully. Slowly signs of the last months came off him. Gibbs smiled and floored gas pedal, entering a military airport, where a special plane was waiting for them.