September Fourteenth

Response to xenascully's shady motel prompt on the new Author's Notes fanfiction forum for writers and readers (NCIS and Supernatural focus at the moment, more fandoms to be added - xenascully dot com slash authorsnotes ). Here's the original prompt: There's a bloodstain on the red carpet. A discarded knife in the drawer. And a loud hooker next door who ends up dead the next morning.

Heads up for slashy overtones.

Very Special Agent Tony DiNozzo stared up at the hotel on the hill. "Boss, are you sure this is the right place?"

Gibbs glanced over at Tony as he put the car in park and cut the engine. "Yeah, DiNozzo. Got a problem?"

Tony looked at Gibbs, then at the hotel, then back at Gibbs. "Come on, Gibbs! The Bates Motel! Psycho!"

Gibbs looked at the hotel and tilted his head to one side. "Now that you mention it…"

"Ex-actly! I'm thinking we wandered onto a Hollywood set, Boss."

Gibbs shrugged. "Address is right. This is where Petty Officer Riggs was last seen before he was found dead in Rock Creek Park. We're investigators. We investigate."

Tony gave an exaggerated shudder. "It's getting dark, Boss. We staying here tonight?"

Gibbs looked around and shrugged. "It is a hotel, DiNozzo." He set off to climb the long stairs up the hill, leaving his senior field agent to follow behind.

Tony grimaced, grabbed the cases of equipment along with their backpacks, and jogged up the stairs to catch up. Drawing even with Gibbs, he muttered, "Okay, but we shower in pairs."

Gibbs stopped walking and turned to stare at Tony, who bit his lip and gave him a weak smile. "We shower alone?"

Gibbs smirked and shook his head, resuming the upward climb. Tony dropped his head and muttered to himself, "Stupid, stupid, stupid!"

They reached the top of the hill and walked to the front door of the hotel. Tony glanced back down. "I doubt people with handicaps come here, Boss."

Gibbs snorted. "Ya think?"

The door creaked as they walked in, and both men stopped and looked around. The lighting was low, and there was no sound except for the ticking of a clock on the wall. A wizened old man, no more than five and a half feet tall, stood behind a counter and watched them approach.

Tony leaned in to Gibbs and whispered in his ear. "This is seriously creepy, Boss."

Gibbs grunted and pulled out his badge, showing it to the small man, whose eyes followed the movement. "NCIS. We're here to see the room Petty Officer Riggs stayed in two nights ago."

The man looked at him, his eyes slowly traveling all over Gibbs' body. Gibbs shifted uneasily, and Tony resisted the urge to throw himself in front of him and act as a protective shield.

"You should wait until tomorrow," the strange, small man said quietly. His voice reminded Tony of the squeak of a rusty gate.

"Why should we do that?" Tony asked.

The man's eyes shifted to Tony, giving him the same treatment he'd given Gibbs a moment ago. Gibbs' hand twitched toward his gun. "Because of the ghost," the man grated out.

Tony laughed nervously. "Um… could you repeat that, 'cause I thought you said ghost."

The little man nodded slowly and pursed his lips. "I did. It's September fourteenth, and that's the night of the haunting. Every year. You don't want to be here."

Tony looked wide-eyed at Gibbs, who rolled his eyes. "The key to Riggs' room?"

The man behind the counter stared at Gibbs and licked his lips. "Room 319," he said, reaching out to hit the little bell on the counter.

Tony jumped at the sound, and for a few minutes they all just stared at each other with nothing more than the sound of the ticking clock breaking the silence. Then Tony could hear the sound of slow, measured steps, and another man walked into the room.

He was much younger than the man behind the counter, and much taller, towering over both agents. Gibbs and Tony both tilted their heads up to look at him.

"Room 319," the small man instructed. He looked at the agents. "Checkout is tomorrow morning at 11, assuming you live."

Tony started at that and stared at Gibbs, who looked down at the guy. "We're just collecting evidence. We aren't staying."

The little man raised his eyebrows. "Yes, you are." He gestured at the windows next to the door. They turned to look, and were both astonished to see a storm raging outside. "Roads will be flooded until tomorrow morning."

Tony stared at Gibbs. "The sky was clear!"

The little man shrugged. "September fourteenth," he said. He nodded to the tall guy, who nodded back and gestured to the agents to follow him. Gibbs and Tony looked at each other, and Tony wasn't sure if he were more or less nervous to see Gibbs looking a little perturbed.

They followed the silent man up the stairs to the third floor and down the hall. As they reached room 317, the door opened, and a woman dressed in a slinky negligee leaned against the door jamb. All three men stopped to look at her. She ran her eyes over both Tony and Gibbs, and smiled seductively. "I'll do you both for half price. Another half off if you let me watch you do each other."

Tony flinched and Gibbs' jaw dropped. Everyone stood still for a moment, then the tall man continued to the next door and held out a key. Gibbs shook himself, glanced at Tony, and moved to take the key and unlock the door. Tony stood staring at the hooker until Gibbs called out, "Today, DiNozzo!"

"Your loss," the woman called after them.

Gibbs shut the door behind them and they both stared at each other for a moment. Tony gave Gibbs a weak smile. "I have no idea why she'd think we'd want to, um… you know."

Gibbs raised an eyebrow, his eyes drifting over Tony's face for a moment, before he turned and looked around the room. "Let's get to work."

Tony put the cases down and dumped the backpacks on the bed. Then he did a double take. "Only one bed, Boss."

Gibbs glanced at the bed and then at Tony. "You can get a separate room, DiNozzo."

Tony gulped. "Uh, no, if it's all the same to you, I don't mind sharing."

A bolt of lightning lit up the window and the wind howled, followed by a loud clap of thunder and a flickering of lights. Gibbs looked at the window then back at Tony. "Yeah."

They got started on combing over every inch of the room. "Bloodstain here on the carpet," Gibbs commented at one point. Tony moved to his side, taking pictures, and then put the camera down and grabbed the materials he needed to take some samples. He looked up at Gibbs as he knelt on the floor. "Blood stain on a blood red carpet. How'd you see that?"

Gibbs just stared down at Tony, tilting his head slightly. Tony shifted his gaze a bit, then realized his face was even with Gibbs' crotch, which was only inches away. "Um. Collecting the blood samples, Boss."

Gibbs cracked a small smile and went back to searching the room. A few minutes later, Tony called out to him. "Check this out, Boss."

Gibbs walked over to him and watched while Tony reached under the bed and shifted a lever. A panel in the wooden bed frame slid open, and Tony reached out to pull open a drawer that had been hidden behind it. Both men leaned over to see a large jack-knife, folded shut, sitting in the drawer. After taking a few pictures, Tony reached in with his gloved hand and pulled the knife out, handing it to Gibbs. Gibbs looked closely at the handle, then flipped the knife open. "Looks clean."

Tony ran a few tests on the knife: no sign of blood or fingerprints. He sealed it in an evidence bag and they continued their search.

About an hour later they were done. Except for the bloodstain, which had tested human, there was no sign of any foul play. Tony stowed all the equipment and the few evidence bags they'd collected, and then turned to look at Gibbs, who was rummaging through his backpack. Gibbs stood up and tossed an energy bar to Tony, who grabbed it deftly out of the air. Tony sighed. "Dinner?"

Gibbs' lips twitched. "You want to see if either of those guys can cook?"

Tony shook his head vehemently.

A few energy bars and bottles of water later, Tony was sitting on the bed, leaning back against the headboard, while Gibbs stood at the window and looked out. "What's it like out there?" Tony asked.

Gibbs shook his head. "Can't see a thing except sheets of rain and lightning. We're here for the duration."

"Great," Tony said.

Gibbs sighed and looked around the room. There wasn't even a chair to sit on; after a moment, he shed his shoes and joined Tony on the queen-size bed.

They sat in silence for a few minutes. It was dark out, and the light from the two lamps on either side of the bed was dim. Tony shifted toward the foot of the bed a bit, intending to see if the old television worked, when a low moan reverberated from the hallway and into the room. Tony froze and slowly sat back. Gibbs gave the door a wary glance.

"Think that was, um… activity next door?" Tony asked.

Gibbs shook his head slowly. "Sounded more like a humpback whale than a hooker, DiNozzo."

Tony swallowed audibly and both men sat silently, listening. The strange moaning sound didn't repeat, and after a few minutes they both relaxed. Tony looked toward the television again, then froze a second time when the sound of footsteps echoed through the hall. Gibbs cocked his head to listen, and they heard the door to the next room open and close. Then there were voices… one female, and one sounding like a squeaky gate. The words were indistinct, and for a while there was silence.

They both started to relax again, and then a different sort of moaning came through the wall. Tony dropped his head in his hands as it became apparent that the hooker they'd run into earlier was very vocally enthusiastic about her job.

The noises from next door continued, and both men shifted uncomfortably on the bed. Tony grimaced and shook his head after one particularly loud noise. "This is so not a turn on."

Gibbs snickered quietly. "You looking to get turned on right now, Tony?"

Tony sat up straight and stared at the opposite wall. "No way, Boss! I'd never expect to get turned on while sharing a bed in a shady motel with you, Gibbs!" He glanced at Gibbs, who was obviously trying not to laugh. "Wait… is this a motel or a hotel, Boss? What's the difference?"

There was a particularly loud feminine cry from next door, cutting off whatever Gibbs was about to say, followed by a loud squeaky groan.

Tony's head fell back against the headboard. "I'm never going to want sex again, am I?"

Gibbs didn't comment. A few minutes later, they heard the door open and shut again, and the little man's footsteps echoed back down the hall.

"Thank god that's over," Tony said.

Gibbs grunted in agreement and relaxed back into the bed. "Wanna see if that thing works, Tony?"

Tony jumped slightly. "What thing? My thing?"

Gibbs turned his head to look at Tony, grinning a bit. "I was talking about the television. What are you talking about?"

Tony could feel himself turning red. "Uh, well –"

He was saved from trying to explain himself by a particularly bright flash of lightning followed by a crash of thunder that shook the entire building. The lights flickered for a moment, and both men froze. They looked at each other, then moved at the same time to their respective nightstands, grabbing their guns, each man laying his gun by his side. They both stared straight ahead after the flickering stopped, Gibbs clearing his throat and Tony drumming his fingers on his legs.

The whale sound started up again, seeming to come from the ceiling. Gibbs and Tony watched while the window curtains fluttered, neither bothering to comment on the fact that the window was closed. They glanced at each other, and then each one scooted slightly closer to the other.

"I think I hate September fourteenth," Tony muttered. Gibbs didn't say anything, but he did move slightly closer to Tony.

The sound of slow, measured steps echoed down the hall and stopped at the door to the next room.

"Oh, no," Tony pleaded. "No, no, no, no, please no."

Within a few minutes, feminine screams of pleasure pierced the wall.

Gibbs sighed. "Apparently it's yes, yes, yes, Tony."

Tony choked on a laugh. "Nice to see you have a sense of humor, Boss."

Gibbs looked at him and grinned.

It was then that the world seemed to explode. The lights cut out, and loud banging noises surrounded them. A strong wind blew through the room, slamming Gibbs into Tony and Tony back against the edge of the headboard. Both their guns went flying, and it felt as though a crushing weight was holding them down.

It all stopped as suddenly as it started. Tony and Gibbs stared at each other, wide-eyed, each realizing they were holding on to each other tightly, but neither making a move to let go. Seconds later, they heard the moans and screams from next door continuing as if nothing had happened.

Gibbs slowly let go of Tony and ran a shaking hand through his hair. Tony looked at him. "You okay?"

Gibbs nodded slowly. "You?"

Tony stared at him. "Next time I want to be the one attending the all-day sexual harassment seminar. Ziva and McGee should get to have this much fun too."

Gibbs sighed and shook his head, looking around the room. Their guns were both sitting on top of the dresser. Tony followed his gaze and sighed. "I'll get them. You stay here."

Tony gingerly moved to the foot of the bed and looked around the room before he slowly lowered his feet to the floor and stood up. The sound of female laughter came from the room next door, and then they heard the door and those slow footsteps. A moment later there was a knock on the wall that sent Gibbs flying off the bed and moving into a defensive crouch.

"Last chance!" the hooker called out.

Gibbs straightened up and glanced sheepishly at Tony, who smiled at him and then raised his eyebrows. "Maybe we should, Boss… seems as if the ghost isn't in her room."

Gibbs' smile turned to a full-blown grin. "You looking to get seventy-five percent off the price, Tony?"

Tony stared at Gibbs in surprise, then returned the grin. "It's free if we don't bother with her at all, you know."

They looked at each other for a long time, and then Gibbs dropped his head, shaking it ruefully. "How the hell did we get here, Tony?"

Tony took a step toward Gibbs, but before he could say or do anything else it happened again. The lights cut out, the whale sound blasted through the room, and Tony went flying back into the wall, hanging there suspended half way up, pinned by something neither of them could see. Lightning flashes lit the room enough to show Gibbs what was happening, and he leapt forward, trying to simultaneously protect Tony with his own body and pry him off the wall.

Just as suddenly as it started, it stopped. The lights came back on, and Tony fell forward onto Gibbs, who crashed back onto the floor. The whale sound faded away, and all they could hear was the sound of their own breathing.

They lay there for a few minutes, hanging onto each other, until their breathing calmed. Gibbs rubbed Tony's arm, and Tony pressed his forehead against Gibbs' chest before he slowly levered himself up off of him, giving him a hand up once he was on his feet.

"Did that just happen?" Tony asked in a shaky voice.

Gibbs nodded, moving forward and looking Tony over carefully. "You alright?"

Tony shifted around, flexing muscles and checking joints, then nodded slowly. "Yeah. A little sore, that's all."

A loud moan came from the hooker's room.

"You have got to be kidding me!" Tony exclaimed.

Gibbs rubbed his eyes and went to pick up the guns from the dresser. He then moved past Tony, reaching out to squeeze his shoulder as he passed him, then looked out the window. He sighed, then turned back to Tony and shook his head. "Car's a death trap in this weather."

Tony nodded, and they moved back to the bed, resuming their previous positions, expect this time there was only the barest hesitation before they each reached out to take each other's hand.

The next hour or so was spent sitting quietly, listening to cries of "oh, god" and "yes!" along with moans and other sounds of carnal activity from the next room. By the time she abruptly fell silent, both men were exhausted; they curled up into each other, and drifted off to sleep in the dim light from the lamps.

Gibbs was the first to wake, blinking in the bright sunlight shining through the window. He shook Tony awake, and they moved as quickly as possible to wash up, gather their bags, and get out of the room.

The hooker's door was open, and Tony couldn't help but look inside. He stopped short, making Gibbs dance sideways a bit to avoid crashing into him.

"Boss…"

Gibbs looked inside, and his eyes widened. The woman lay splayed across the bed, staring up at the ceiling. There was blood everywhere; they could easily see that her body was badly sliced up, obviously from a large knife.

Tony turned to look at Gibbs, and his face paled slightly. He set the cases down on the floor and opened the one holding the evidence bags. He sat back, swearing quietly, then reached in and picked up a bag, handing it to Gibbs. It was the bag that held the knife they'd found under the bed: signed, sealed, intact and empty.

They stared at each other, and then as one they hurried back into their room. Tony crouched down and reached for the lever, popping the drawer open. They both stared down at the bloody knife that sat there, the blade exposed with small pieces of flesh hanging off of it.

Gibbs reached down and gently closed the drawer. Tony looked up at him, brow furrowed.

"She look Navy to you, Tony?"

Tony slowly shook his head. Gibbs nodded, then stood there, clearly indecisive for a moment. He looked at Tony, then his face cleared and he nodded once. "Not risking you. Let's go."

They walked back out of the room, startled to see the two men from last night standing in the hall, looking into her room. The odd pair turned their heads simultaneously to look at the agents, and then the small man shrugged slightly. "September fourteenth," he said. "No charge."

Gibbs and Tony picked up their cases and made their way out of the hotel. They walked down the steps, put their packs and cases in the trunk of the car, and got in. Neither commented on the fact that everything was completely dry.

Tony looked at Gibbs. "Can I stay with you tonight, Gibbs?"

Gibbs nodded, then started the car. "You bet, DiNozzo."

Tony looked at him, then reached out and touched his arm. "Tony," he corrected.

Gibbs looked down at Tony's hand on his arm, and the corner of his mouth twitched into a little smile. He looked up and met Tony's eyes. "Jethro," he returned.

Tony smiled back, and settled into his seat as Jethro put the car in gear. "You know, I hate September fourteenth… but I'm thinking September fifteenth might be pretty awesome."

End