Its been over a month again. Good news, this chapter is the longest yet. I need to start writing these chapters more regularly...
Tony sat at his desk. Believe it or not, he was actually doing his work for once, concentrating on the screen, trying to find something. Anything, really.
He couldn't help that his work ethic had changed all of a sudden. There was a kid downstairs who didn't know anything about his life. Nothing. A big, fat zip-a-roo. Normally, he doubted he would care more about the redhead than any other person but…
The poor kid didn't even know what he LOOKED like. That single fact kinda hit home a bit more than anything else.
"Do you think he could be sick?"
"I don't know… He doesn't look like he has an incurable disease…" Oh come on. Tony was pretty sure he was the only one in this century who's had the Black Death. Doesn't plague count for anything anymore?
"Perhaps he just hasn't gotten enough sleep?"
"Only Tony would do more work when he's exhausted."
"I can hear you." Tony growled not glancing up from the screen. He did his work. Sometimes. Mostly when they weren't looking 'cause he loved to see their shocked faces. "I'm sitting right here."
They were smirking. They had to be smirking. "Oh, we know," Ziva answered, but didn't elaborate further. She didn't have the chance to.
"What do you have?" Tony looked up to see the Boss sitting down behind his desk, practically demanding answers from the team. Normally, he would be the first one to jump up and say something but now all he wanted to do was ask how the kid was. The words died in his throat as Ziva spoke.
"Victim's name is Mortimer Morton Saunders. Age 28. Joined the Navy right after High School and became a Sergeant roughly 3 months ago. Now works at Quantico." As she spoke Timmy pulled up the images on the big screen for them all to see. Surprisingly, the photo almost seemed to smirk at them, the very edges of the victim's mouth curled up. Very unusual for a Navy photo when most of the ones he had seen had serious frowns. "According to his record, he's only been arrested once for carrying two unregistered firearms. Two Smith & Wesson M10."
Okay, this he couldn't help. Tony grinned as he formed his hand into the shape of a gun and aiming it at McDork, said, "Smith and Wesson... and me." The movie buff was disappointed when he received nothing but blank looks, though he could swear Gibbs looked amused. "Oh come on! Dirty Harry is a classic! Clint Eastwood is brilliant!" His voice dropped again as he started the next quote, "I know what you're thinking. 'Did he fire six shots or only five?' Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. But being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: "Do I feel lucky?" Well, do ya, punk?" At least it seemed McGee got that one while Ziva still looked confused. Then again, that shouldn't surprise him much; she was very movie illiterate.
"Anyway, before Tony interrupted," Coughed McGee, pausing only to glare at him. He wasn't childish at all by sticking out his tongue. Probie should have more respect for Clint Eastwood. "He got those registered soon after, along with a Winchester 1892 carbine."
"This guy's got a thing for Westerns," whistled Tony approvingly.
"Lives on the base and has no living family members according to the records on file," Ziva added, ignoring the man across from her. "Though there is an emergency contact listed instead of next of kin. The man listed is Sergeant Nathan Buela. He was in the same class as our victim."
"He had no gambling debts or anything else that would show up in his credit history." McGee showed his credit history on the screen. No big withdrawals were seen and the only deposits were his paychecks.
"Which leaves us with one question; why he was lying, shot dead in an abandoned warehouse with a teen tied up next to him." That was the question wasn't it? One they were going to have to figure out. They had promised.
"Ziva, DiNozzo, gear up. We're going to his house. See if we can get any leads. McGee, call that number and get that man in for an interview."
"What?" Tim sputtered, probably less about not knowing what to do and more due to the fact he was being left behind.
"Tell him he needs to identify the body or something. Just do it. And when you're done with that, see if there was anything we missed." Gibbs stood, grabbing his gun and throwing his empty coffee cup in the trash before walking to the elevator, not waiting for ether of them. Tony snatched up his own things with ease, use to the fast paced nature of his boss. With a quick 2-fingered salute to Tim, he barely made it into the elevator before the doors closed behind them.
And this was why he always dreaded when Gibbs drove. It was a lot like Ziva's driving, except when she drove, at least it didn't feel like he was on a roller-coaster that was off its track. What should have been an hour's drive was shortened to a little more than 30 minutes, and that was after the Boss had stopped for another cup of coffee. If he wasn't so accustomed to it, Tony, senior agent or not, would be kissing the ground. This kid must have really affected Gibbs too because the drive had been worse than usual.
Tony tried to remain indifferent and was failing at it, from the way his legs were shaking and the amused twinkle Ziva had in her eye. Gibbs didn't even pause as he walked up to the small house listed as the residence of Sergeant Saunders. The whole neighborhood was made up of small, one-story houses that had nice front lawns to go with them. Several had cars parked out front along with children's toys. It was a family neighborhood if he ever saw one.
So when the senior NCIS agent got up to the front door of the house, he wasn't expecting the door to be cracked open with the signs of a forced entry.
Gibbs made two signals; one for him to go around back and the other for Ziva to cover him. Thankfully there was no fence to climb over this time but the back was in the same shape as the front. What had been a probably nice looking sliding glass door was now broken and lying… Outside of the house?
"Reckless violence even for a burglar …" Tony found himself muttering, slipping out his SIG P229 in front of him. Scanning what looked like the remains of a kitchen, he stepped inside. The crunch of glass sounded from underneath his boots as he circled the kitchen. "Clear."
"Clear," sang out Ziva from down the hall. Tony took that as incentive to step further into the house, finding nothing had been spared from the thief's destructive hand. Anything that could have been broken was lying in pieces on the floor of the living room.
"Clear," finished Gibbs as he enter the living room from a set of stairs leading to what Tony could only assume to be the basement. "There's no one here."
"My guess is they are long gone, Boss," Tony spoke up and tilted his head towards the back. "They smashed the back door, too. Weird thing is that it was smashed out and not in." Having worked as an officer of the law for this long, even if both Ziva and Tim doubted that, he noticed when something was fishy.
"Look around. See if we can find what they were looking for," ordered Gibbs, taking steps over some broken furniture and scattered papers.
"Looking for, Boss?"
"Yeah, DiNozzo. People don't just break into houses for no reason." Oh boy, Boss sure sounded like he was getting annoyed.
"What? You think this is connected to this case?" With the look he just received, DiNozzo promptly shut up and walked down the hall. With the camera still out in the car, he snapped picture after picture with his cell. He would be sending them to McGoo later. The man walked past an open door that revealed a bedroom within. Tony could only raise an eyebrow at the décor of old English furniture and weapons on the walls. To be fair, it was for decoration… but the 2 swords and shield looked ready to be used in combat.
"Tony, in here." He followed Ziva's voice to the last room that was also a bedroom. This one was much more of a country feel with a much brighter interior. Tony would even call it homey if it wasn't just as destroyed as everything else. The former Mossad Liaison Officer was standing in front of the tall wooden dresser with the drawers wide open.
"Ziva! You're not even wearing gloves!" Tony hissed.
"I didn't touch anything, Tony. It was open when I arrived," She growled at him with narrowed eyes. "What is that?"
"What's what?" He moved closer for a better look inside.
"That." She pointed a finger at a loose panel partially hidden below scattered clothes.
"Lets find out." Tony snapped several pictures of the drawer before taking out a pen from his pocket. Using that, he shifted the contents around till they could clearly see what it was. The two, however, didn't know what they were looking at. It was a small plastic bag filled with several small white capsules. They didn't have any labeling or identification but were the same size as painkillers.
"Any idea on what those are?" Ziva questioned but Tony could only shake his head. He had seen things like it, but he could never be sure. Those felt different from usual drugs that he'd seen before.
"I'd like to say drugs. Which kind, I have no clue. I guess we'd have to ask Abby to check them out."
There was a sudden sound coming out from the hall that made both agents jump. They rushed into the hall and then out into the living room where they stopped and drew their weapons.
"Just who are you? What are you doing in my house?" 3 guns were aimed at a blond man standing in the front door. 2 bags of groceries sat right outside. The interesting thing about the man was that he was pointing a sword at them.
Really. He wasn't joking.
"Boss… It's not Halloween, right?" Asked Tony, not happy that he was being threatened with a blade. Then again, he didn't like being threatened at all, but what did the man think he could do with that going up against guns?
"Put it down," ordered Ziva, "You don't stand a chance with that."
"That has yet to be seen. I'll ask again, Who are you?" The blade was raised higher, getting ready to strike and even though both Gibbs and he had the advantage he couldn't help the feeling that the man in front of him knew how to hurt people with that.
"Federal Agents," Gibbs growled out, not lowering his gun or taking his finger off the trigger.
"NCIS," Tony answered for the second time that day. "It stands for-"
"Navel Criminal Investigation Service. Believe it or not, I have heard of you. When you work for the Navy, it's hard not to hear about you." Finally the blade pointed at the floor before the man picked up the sheath that had been dropped to ground.
"You work for the Navy?" Gibbs asked, also holstering his weapon. The man nodded, slipping the sword onto his belt for reasons Tony sure as hell couldn't explain.
"Corporal Creig Arthur, at your service, sir. I teach close combat at Quantico, along with some fencing." He pats the sword at his hip with a smile. "Though fencing is much more for sport than actually combat. Now will you tell me why my home is in shambles?"
"I thought this was the residence of Sergeant Saunders?" Asked Tony, getting another look around the room before they could disturb anything else. He knew that sooner or later Gibbs would want him to take pictures of the scene, but sometimes it was hard not to fall back on the skills he learned as a cop. Always keep your eyes open.
"We live here together."
"Oh, so who's collection of Clint Eastwood is this?"
"His. I curse the number of times he has gotten me to watch 'Dirty Harry'." The fond smile that appeared on Creig's face told Tony otherwise… Considering both men lived here… He was not leaping to conclusions! He was following his gut.
Were straight guys allowed to have gaydar?
"Do you see anything missing?"
"Besides the fact that my possessions have seen better days?" Asked the man in a dull tone, looking around and then nudging something with his leather boots. "I think I see everything, but I would not know until I searched through the other rooms. We didn't have much, just-" He froze, paling to the color of his light blond hair. He turned to Gibbs with a serious thin frown. "NCIS is not usually called in on such things as a simply burglary. I demand you tell me what is going on." He stood face to face with Gibbs and Tony could even imagine the sparks flying everywhere.
"Any idea on why someone would ransack your home, Mr. Authur?" Gibbs asked ignoring the question and continued with his own.
"No, I don't have any idea. I don't believe I have any adversaries that would go this far." The blond looked ready to ask something else before Gibbs cut him off again.
"What about Sergeant Saunders?"
"Mort never had an enemy for long. Not as far as I could tell, in any case. Why do you keep asking about Mort? Tell me what's going on!" This had gone on for long enough.
"I am sorry to inform you-"
"-that Sergeant Saunders-"
"-has been found murdered."
"You're lying!" Shouted the man, willing himself not to believe them. But Tony could see the gears working and the light bulb flickering to life. "You have to be… Mort… Mort was fine yesterday… He was… No. He was acting strange."
"Strange?" Questioned Ziva and Creig simply nodded.
"Mort has been acting… strange as of late. I think something happened in DC and he wouldn't confide in me about it. Insisted that was going to take care of it and everything would be okay." There was a rough laugh that followed. "That's the first time he's lied to me. He did say something about another Sergeant and some Lieutenant, I believe. I didn't catch any names."
"Do you have any ideas about the drugs in his dresser?" Tony found himself asking, curious to know if the man would know anything about those. From the shocked look on Creig's face, Tony had to guess he had no clue.
"Drugs? No, that can't be correct. Never in a million years would Mort get anywhere near drugs. I'd sooner suspect he would say the great Clint Eastwood is a hack than have anything to do with them. I don't know how they got there, but it wasn't because of Mortimer Saunders."
After that, it went back to the basics. Ziva led Creig outside while they waited for the Base police to show up. When they finally did, the crime scene was taped off and they got to work. Gibbs looked around some more, looking for evidence while Tony took photos of anything that seemed relevant and Ziva bagged and tagged. It was over faster than ever and it felt like he wasn't the only one in a rush to get answers.
He did get a chuckle when Gibbs got a call from Abby asking for him to pick up fast food for the kid.
The was the hardest chapter to work on yet and my least favorite. Mostly because I changed it in the very middle of writing it and had to redo some of it.
Once again the the characters named in this chapter are based on DC Characters. I hope many of you can figure it out and enjoy all of the references I stuffed into this chapter. If your having troble figuring it out I suggest you go watch the JLU ep "Patriot Ac" ;D