Just a disclaimer: I don't own NCIS or any related characters... sorry. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this.
Tony yawned as he parked his car outside his apartment – it had been a long week and he had had very little sleep. The team had been investigating a kidnapping; a marine's wife had been taken and a ransom note delivered. It turned out the marine's father was a millionaire and the kidnappers had thought he would pay up for his son. But the father had severed contact as soon as the marine had joined the military, years ago. The parallels between their relationship and Tony's own with his father had put an additional strain on the case. It meant that even after they found the woman unharmed and took down the kidnappers Tony hadn't been able to relax. Then they had dived straight into a terrorism case that was still unresolved, under the strict eye of Director Vance. But Gibbs had told them to go home and rest for the night and for part of tomorrow, probably aware of how tense Tony was feeling.
Tony sat in his parked car for a moment, thinking. He was exhausted both physically and emotionally, and needed to unwind. All he wanted was a nice hot shower and a pizza. Maybe a movie too – the perfect way to escape the trials of the day. Or maybe he would just sleep. But something was stopping him. He felt uneasy for some reason. After a few seconds he put it down to paranoia, and got out of the car. It bleeped as he locked it, the sound filling the silent street. The quiet unnerved Tony further, even though his area was always this deserted when it was this late. His senses were on maximum alert now.
Suddenly Tony had the strangest feeling that someone was watching him. Breathing heavily, he turned around quickly. A figure shrouded in shadow stood there. He reached for his gun but before he could get to it the figure stepped forward into the light cast from a street lamp. It was just a teenage girl. Tony consciously tried to lower his breathing so not to frighten her, she was so unintimidating. He didn't know whether he wanted to laugh or cry; he had been so on edge lately.
"Hi." He said to the teenager – he recognised her from his apartment block. "It's Katie, isn't it?" Thank God he remembered her name; he had lived next to her for a while. He supposed their lack of contact showed how little he was at home.
"Yeah. And you're Tony. You live next door." She replied with a slight smile.
"What are you doing out this late? Do your parents know where you are?"
"My parents are out at a party. I locked myself out by accident. I was just trying to call them, but my cell is out of credit…"
Tony sighed. "You want to borrow my cell."
"Yes please." Katie smiled as though she was surprised by the offer.
Tony reached for his cell and couldn't find it. Then he remembered; it had gotten broken during the raid on the warehouse where they had found the kidnap victim. He turned to Katie. "I'm sorry, I broke my cell and I haven't replaced it. You can use my landline if you want?" Usually he wouldn't have asked but he didn't want a fifteen year old standing around outside this late.
"Yes please." She accepted his offer quickly. When she saw that he looked a little concerned at how willing she was to come into his apartment as a virtual stranger, she rolled her eyes. "I know you're a fed. I don't just walk into random people's houses."
As they walked up to their building, Tony filled the silence. "How did you know I'm a federal agent?"
"My mom told me. And I saw your badge – NICS or something."
"NCIS." Tony corrected automatically.
"What's that stand for?"
"Navy Criminal Investigative Service." Tony smiled slightly – no one had ever heard of them.
They walked up the stairs to Tony's apartment. Tony was surprised to find himself relaxing – Katie had a calming influence that probably extended from her lack of world weariness. Kids were like that; naïve.
Tony carefully unlocked his door and flicked the lights on – his apartment was pretty tidy and smelt a little stale; he hadn't been back for a while.
"Nice place." Katie said, probably just to be polite.
"The phone's over there." Tony told her, pointing to it.
"Thanks." She walked over to it and dialled the number. "Hey mom. I locked myself out." She sighed as her mother responded – probably a lecture about why she was out so late. "I was just at Amanda's for some homework. Anyway I'm at Tony's next door and I need the keys quickly so I can get out of his hair." Katie sighed again. "Fine mom." She looked at Tony and muttered "She wants to speak to you." She passed him the phone and went to sit behind Tony, on the couch.
Tony took the phone. "Hello."
"Hi . I am so sorry about Katie – I'll be right over with the keys. Will you just watch her while I drive round? I'm about fifteen minutes away."
"It's Tony, please. And that's absolutely fine." Tony said with a smile. To be honest he way enjoying Katie's mindless chatter. "I'll see you then." He hung up the phone.
Then he tensed. There was a strange sound behind him – like someone being restrained. He reached for his gun and whipped around, pointing it at the unseen threat.
Katie was still on the couch. A man was holding his hand over her mouth. Two other men were also present. One of them had a gun pointed at Tony; the other had a gun pointed at Katie. Tony forced himself to remain calm – he kept his gun on the man threatening Katie.
"Special Agent Dinozzo. We meet again." Then man who had been gagging Katie took away his hand and stepped forward. He looked vaguely familiar, but Tony just couldn't place him.
"I'm would say I'm sorry that I don't know you, but I doubt that's true." Tony said, looking at him intensely.
"You would not remember our meeting. You were unconscious at the time. But I watched some of your interrogations, so I have seen you in action."
"Oh. And who was I interrogating?" Tony said distractedly – he was focused on Katie, who was looking shocked but not hysterical. She appeared to be listening intently. Not wanting to draw attention to her, he carried on the conversation.
"You were the one being interrogated Dinozzo." The man laughed as though this were obvious. Then he looked down at Tony coldly. "My name is Omar, but you probably remember my brother, Saleem, a little better."
Tony realised why the man was familiar – he shared some of the features of Saleem Ulman. The guy had a sibling? "Saleem from Somalia? Great guy. Definitely in my top ten favourite terrorists; probably top five actually." Tony wondered how he should play the situation. He was outgunned, three to one. Even worse they had Katie – his first priority was to protect her as a civilian. He realised that there was no way he would make it out of this, but he could at least get her out. She was only fifteen.
Saleem's brother smirked. "The girl was rather unplanned, but somewhat beneficial. I have a feeling you would be less restrained if it was just us."
"What was the plan? If you wanted to kill me I'd already be dead."
"Very smart, Dinozzo." Omar pulled out a roll of duct tape from his pocket, along with a needle. "You will be very useful to us alive. You have information we require and I will take great pleasure in extracting it from you. I chose you in particular so that I could avenge my brother's death – you may not have shot him yourself but it was your fault."
"So we have a bit of an ultimatum here." Tony said, his face serious. "If I shoot, I could take one or two of you with me. Maybe even three, if I'm lucky. Either way you won't get me alive."
"But then you lose the girl." Omar's face was hard.
"Let her go, and you can take me. Nobody needs to get hurt." Tony tried to sound reassuring for Katie's benefit.
"We have no interest in her – just an unlucky chance meeting. And I am not an evil man – I do not embrace the killing of children." Omar nodded and the man pointing his gun at Katie moved it across to Tony. "Put your gun on the floor and slide it across to me and we can leave with what we came for. I give my word that she will not be harmed. If you do not, I will shoot her and take my chances with you."
Tony realised he had no choice – there was no trace of a bluff in Omar's eyes. Katie gave a frightened squeak as Tony bent down and slid his gun towards Omar, and placed his hands on his head. Immediately one of the men rushed forwards and punched him in the stomach hard, before clubbing him across the head with the butt of his gun. Tony saw black spots but was still conscious – until Omar stepped forwards and plunged the needle into his neck, emptying its contents into his bloodstream. The last thing Tony saw was Katie sobbing on the couch.
Thanks for reading. I will try to update quickly and regularly. Please leave a review saying what you think :)