The Edge of Logic
Chapter One: Stranded
"Dead sailor in Cacapon State Park. Grab your gear."
Tony spun around in his chair and grabbed his backpack before he all but ran up to Gibbs, who was already halfway on his way towards the elevators. He didn't need to turn around to know that McGee and Ziva were on his heels, probably just as excited about a new case as Tony was. They hadn't caught one in almost two weeks and while Tony sometimes enjoyed finding new evidence in cold cases, the thrill of a new one, the thrill of the unknown, would always overtrump the tedious paper work.
They had split up into two cars as the state park was a two-hour-drive away from the Navy Yard and Gibbs didn't want to take any chances to be held up in any way. Tony was riding with him this time and they spent most of the drive in comfortable silence. Tony had long figured out that while Gibbs was willing to listen to him when he had something important on his mind, he usually wasn't keen on hearing random ramblings about movies or McGee's non-existent dating-life. So, Tony had mostly been staring out the window, watching the world before his eyes turn white as snow continued to fall, seemingly with no end to it. Even Gibbs' driving was slower and more careful than usual due to the pretty icy streets.
When they finally arrived at their destination, Tony put on a scarf and his NCIS cap to shield himself from the wind and the cold without any real success as he began to freeze as soon as they had approached the local LEO to gather the basic information about the dead lieutenant. She had been found dead in the outskirts of the forest, completely naked and had apparently died from a gunshot wound to the chest. They still had to wait for Ducky, of course, to confirm the cause of death, but it was pretty obvious. While Tony busied himself with taking photographs, Gibbs was talking to the LEOs and the guy who had found the corpse. Tony suppressed a shiver as he joined McGee, who was busy collecting evidence from the scene.
"Damn, it's cold here. Wish I had Ziva's thermal underwear," Tony said as he took a picture of a footprint that McGee had been pointing at.
"Yeah," McGee agreed and was about to continue when Gibbs' voice cut him off.
"When you two are done chit-chatting, I want you to pack up your stuff. We got work to do."
"Yes, Boss," McGee and Tony said in unison and hurried to get going.
Tony shivered again and hoped that he would be able to get into the car as soon as possible. There seemed to be no part of his body that wasn't frozen and he could already feel his throat scratch uncomfortably.
"McGee, Ziva, you two go back to DC, check up on financial records and get me a history of the lieutenant. Tony, you're with me."
Sighing inwardly, as he had hoped to get directed back to the Navy Yard, Tony got into the car again, stifling a cough that threatened to get out and would thus give away the fact that he wasn't feeling all that well.
"Where are we going, Boss?"
"Visit the husband. He only lives thirty miles from here in Higginsville."
Lt. Carrey's husband was reasonably shocked by his wife's death. He had been at work at a local bookstore when the news of her death had reached him. He had last seen her that very morning when she had gone to her weekly appointment at a psychiatrist's. He couldn't think of anything that might have indicated that his wife was anything else but fine. As far as he had known, she didn't have any enemies or problems, either at work or in her private life.
"Well, that was a waste of time," Tony grumbled when they were on their way back to DC.
The weather had gotten worse ever since they had arrived in Higginsville, causing even Gibbs to drive below the speed limit, which in return told Tony that the streets had to be just as horrible as he was feeling by now. He sneezed, not for the first time either, and was met with a quick glance from his boss before his eyes traveled back towards the street in front of them.
"You okay, DiNozzo?"
"'m fine," Tony mumbled and then furrowed his brow as he was able to make out a road block just ahead of them.
"Dammit," Gibbs swore before he slithered to a halt and rolled down the side window of the sedan to talk to the policeman, who was standing there, regulating the traffic. "We're federal agents," he said, flashing his badge. "Can we get through?"
"I'm sorry, Sir," the cop replied, giving him a forced smile. "Road's completely impassable and will be for a while if the snow continues to fall like that."
"We got an important case. You have to let us through," Gibbs' tone was so menacing now that even Tony winced ever so slightly.
The cop didn't even as much as flinch though as he answered calmly. "There's nothing I can do for you, Sir. You cannot drive right now, it's too risky. I'm sorry. Now please turn around and look for a motel for the night."
Grumbling, Gibbs did as he had been told and slowly drove back towards Higginsville, all the while carefully looking out for an available place to stay for the night. Tony decided to keep his mouth shut for the time being because he really didn't want to anger the bossman any further, not when he had to spend the night and possibly the next day with the guy.
Gibbs finally turned over at a small Bed & Breakfast and Tony hurried to get in there. He was still freezing despite the heater in the car and was glad when he entered the small lobby, where a fire place greeted them.
"I'll call McGee and make sure they made it home okay," he then said and received a nod from Gibbs, who was already on his way towards the check-in desk.
Tony cut the phone call short as soon as Tim had claimed that they had arrived sound and safe at the Navy Yard and were now looking into the Lieutenant's records, but hadn't found anything suspicious yet. He told them to call as soon as they had new information and then followed Gibbs up the stairs, both of their overnight bags in his hand. Tony sneezed again when his boss stopped in front of a room and opened the old door with some difficulties.
"One room?" Tony asked when he spotted two queen-sized beds in there.
"Only room available, DiNozzo," Gibbs growled again, impatiently closing the door behind Tony as if not to let in too much cold air from the hallway.
He grabbed his overnight bag from Tony's hand and threw it onto the bed next to the door which left Tony to take the bed next to the ancient-looking radiator. He plopped down on the bed and got rid of his coat, scarf and gloves before he looked around.
"No TV?" he then complained, causing Gibbs to scowl at him ever so slightly. "What am I supposed to do here?"
"How about reviewing the information about our dead Lieutenant?" Gibbs replied, rolling his eyes.
"All night long?"
"Yeah, DiNozzo," he answered, clearly annoyed by now and it seemed like he wanted to continue as Tony took a deep breath.
He breathed in the somewhat dry air and saw himself coughing violently immediately. He tried to get a grip on himself, but failed miserably until a hand gently slapped his back to help him out.
"You sure you okay?" Gibbs asked, when Tony had finally settled again, the annoyance from only moments ago completely vanished from his voice.
"Yeah," Tony nodded. "I'm just a little cold, that's all."
"Take a shower, get you warmed up," Gibbs then ordered and Tony knew better than to object, after all, a shower did sound more than wonderful.
When Tony emerged from the bathroom half an hour later, only wearing a towel around his waist, Gibbs was sitting on his bed, Tony's laptop in front of him. He had furrowed a brow and was currently squinting at the screen.
"Can I help you with something?" Tony asked and leaned over Gibbs' shoulder to look at the screen himself.
"How about getting dressed?" Gibbs said without looking up. "And then tell me what the hell McGee wants to tell me with his cryptic email."
Tony chuckled ever so slightly, secretly marveling about the fact that Gibbs had even been able to start his laptop at all. He quickly changed into his jeans, t-shirt and OSU-hoodie before he snatched the laptop out of Gibbs' hands and quickly skimmed through the short text that McGee had sent them. He furrowed his brow as he turned to look at Gibbs who was staring impassively at him.
"What's cryptic about it? He just says that they haven't found anything yet and that there's nothing either they or we can do at the moment because the streets are a mess and we cannot go anywhere."
Gibbs met his glance for a moment before he looked away and shifted away from Tony ever so slightly.
"Would be cryptic to you, too if you couldn't read a damn thing."
Tony let out a laugh that turned into another cough before he answered. "Forgot your glasses, huh?"
Gibbs didn't dignify that with an answer as he turned to look at him again, scrutinizing him.
"You feeling better now?"
"I'm fine, Boss, really," Tony tried to reassure him but fell silent under Gibbs's glare. "I mean, I'm feeling a bit under the weather, but it's probably just a little cold. Nothing to worry about."
"Okay," Gibbs seemed to be appeased for the moment before he looked around the room as if to figure out what to do with the rest of the evening.
"Want to play some poker?" Tony then asked, remembering that he had a pack of cards in his bag, just in case.
"Yeah, why not? Not like there's anything else to do here." Gibbs sounded slightly annoyed again. "You got any cards?"
"I'm always prepared, Gibbs," Tony tried to lighten the mood as he reached for his bag and then sat down cross-legged on Gibbs' bed, hoping that the weather would get better soon as he was not entirely sure whether or not he wanted to spend more time than necessary with an apparently disgruntled Gibbs.
Disclaimer: NCIS and its characters don't belong to me.
Let me know whether or not you'd like this continued! :)