AN: Thanks , ytteb, for that revolting picture – I wish I'd thought of that!
I've not been too specific about what they gave Gibbs – I don't know much about drugs, medical or otherwise. Now give me a nice antihistamine... anyway, I know nasty stuff exists, please fill in your own blanks.
Thank you those who weren't logged in, I couldn't reply personally, but I'm still grateful for your support!
I Saw an Angel Die
"McGee!" Tony snapped, and Tim looked up in surprise. His friend held out a placating hand. "Ack... Tim, find out where Gibbs is right now. Urgent. But don't call him..."
"I get it, he's with Lieutenant Wigg."
"And if anyone has to have the pleasure of interrupting him, it'd better be me." His desk phone shrilled.
"DiNozzo! Where the hell is Gibbs? I've been sitting here for two hours waiting for him – doesn't he know better than to keep a lady waiting?"
Tony decided not to alert Kath to his worries unless he needed her. There was no point in making her anxious for what could be nothing.
"I'm sorry, Kath, he's not got his cell phone... I'll call you when he gets in touch. Yeah, he gets through them like chocolate... bye."
Ziva put her desk phone down, and looked across at him. "What is wrong, Tony?"
"The Boss didn't turn up to meet Kath," he said slowly.
"You've just found that out? After you asked me to trace Gibbs?" Tony nodded. "So how -"
"My gut..." there was no smugness in his tone. He almost told them about Abby's dream... but there wasn't time to deal with whatever fall-out that might cause. Maybe later – when they'd found Gibbs. "What have we got? Starting with have you found him?" He'd found himself standing in front of the plasma screen without noticing how he'd got there, and the others came to join him; one either side in support. Tim took the remote.
"His car and his phone are a few hundred yards from today's crime scene. Metro are sending the nearest patrol vehicle."
Tony nodded, and told them what Jimmy had told him.
Ziva took the remote from Tim, and clicked up a picture of the injured construction worker. "The bar was called City Lights, in Silver Spring, not far from the construction site," she told them. "The proprietor remembers the argument, because the victim, Mr Stroud, did not say anything argumentative, merely that as far as he was concerned there were no such things as demons. The man he was speaking with took offence at that, and made a scene. The staff asked him to leave shortly afterwards; he was with a friend who left with him."
"Description?" Tony asked tersely.
"Overweight, long hair, mid thirties, biker gear. Tony -"
"I know, Zi. The guy who 'found' the body."
"Yes. The friend also 'carried too much weight', and was possibly Hispanic."
Tim joined them at the large screen, clicking the remote. "Cory Winter, age 38." Lawnmower Ghoul's driver's licence appeared on screen. "This is what you turned up earlier, Tony. Employee of the parks and gardens authority. I couldn't find a cell phone registered to him, but..." He clicked again, and shots of all the taxi drivers who'd been there this morning stacked up in rows. "If we take out all the non-Hispanic... and all the not overweight... we're left with these two. " He went back to his desk. "Gaspar Garcia is currently taking a fare to Ronald Reagan, but Ruben Casilas, according to his cell phone, is off duty... in the same bar that Seaman Horton was drinking in last night." He was talking to Tony's back, as the three of them raced towards the stairs.
LEOs reported checking out Gibbs' sedan, but reported no sign of the driver. They could see the cell phone lying in the passenger foot-well, (as if it had been carelessly thrown on the seat and slid there when Gibbs did one of his manoeuvres, Tony thought). They didn't go to the vehicle, heading for Greene's bar instead, and stopping down the block.
"How do you want to do this, Tony? We do not know if they are both there."
"And if only Casilas is there, we've got to get him without alarming his buddy, wherever he is," Tim added. Tony nodded, and shrugged out of his jacket, tossing it back into the car. "McGee, take the back door." He hit speed-dial on his phone, and Tim's rang. "Keep it open. Ziva, once I'm in, block the front door." He looked seriously at each of them. "If they're armed, let them get outside before you take them." They both knew that, but neither one reproached him; it never hurt to be reminded of the dangers when innocent bystanders were about.
Tony loosened his elegant tie and unfastened the top button of the crisp, white D&G shirt, waited until Tim had disappeared round the back of the building, then sauntered into the bar, yabbering away vapidly. They only had to not recognise him long enough for him to alert the team... "Yeah, honey... I'm telling you, they're both there. You look out where I told you, you'll – "
Lawnmower Ghoul, sitting down at the end of the bar, tried to sneak past him on the right, but he stuck a foot out. The next thing the man knew, he was on his face, with Ziva's gun gently caressing his ear. Tony held up his badge as customers murmured and exclaimed, and a moment later the door from the kitchen opened. In classic movie style, Ruben Casilas came through it backwards, his hands in the air, looking down the muzzle of Tim's Sig.
Tony clapped his hands together once, hard. A few people jumped slightly. "That concludes the floor show, ladies and gentlemen... thank you and goodnight."
They drove the arrested men ahead of them, shoving them as roughly and intimidatingly as they could, stopping just short of police brutality, until they were into the side alley that led to the back entrance. This was for Gibbs, after all. They hadn't rehearsed in advance, but an onlooker would never have known it. Tim and Ziva slammed their prisoners, overweight bellies first, into the wall, and didn't speak, simply keeping the pressure on. Tony (the big boss who didn't lower himself to the physical stuff) released the safety catch on his Sig with an audible click, as he paced slowly behind them. "Where's Gibbs?" he asked pleasantly.
Winters tried bravado. "I don't know any Gibbs." Ziva put her knee behind his, and applied pressure to the tendon, and the guy squawked.
"You believe in demons," Tony said, still pleasantly. "You don't know anything until you've experienced an Israeli demon at work. I'm going to let her loose in a minute, and I don't care what she does. Where's Gibbs?" This time he aimed his gun at Casilas.
"I don't know!"
"Sure you do, and we're wasting time." He nodded toTim, who hooked the man's feet out from under him, and he landed on his backside. Ziva did something only she knew in the region of Winters' kidneys, and he yelled again, much louder. "Won't do you any good," he squeaked. "He's a demon by now..."
Ziva jerked his head back. "What did you do?" she hissed, but Winters just sniggered. "Didn't believe in demons... We got stuff..." Ziva stopped the insane giggling by making him yell instead, and Casilas gave in.
"The maintenance sheds! Near the cafe! The first one you come to – "
"Deal with these bastards, and call an ambulance," Tony said furiously. "They've given him something, no telling what state he's in. It's four blocks away, you go get the car." He turned away and set off at a frantic, pounding run.
The demon was exhausted. One moment the energy shrieked through its veins in a poisonous fury, the next it vanished and knocked it on its back, to stare at the blackness above it, where demons worse than itself howled at it and reached down towards it with their claws. It slashed frantically at them, and its own talons met empty air. Sometimes the desperate lashing kept going and gashed its own body, and the cuts burned and seethed in a boiling fire.
Since it lived only in the moment, it had no memory of each previous mood and could not learn from it; each new surge of energy caused more injury: the demon's legs were a bloody mess. It clawed at the place where it knew the light came from; it knew that the light was deadly and must be avoided...it knew that getting to the light was the way to end the hell and the pain, and it could not make the two ideas match. It shrieked in rage and agony, banging its head against the wall, trying to escape the knives that pierced, and the inner noise that deafened it.
The wall boomed and reverberated, and the demon stopped with its head on one side; it hadn't made that sound... it came from where the light was, and the creature snarled. Another sound came; a sound it thought it knew, a sound it didn't need to fight. It couldn't be so... anything that came from the light was bad. Angels must die...
The light blazed into the lair without warning, tearing through the demon's brain more dreadfully than the knives already there. It screamed, and pressed palms to its head – it had learned, horribly, one thing at least, that it could not touch its head with its clawed fingers. Sound came out of the light, and it looked, unwillingly. In the centre of the light, silvery white, surrounded by gold, an angel stood. Angels must die...The demon roared and launched itself.
It was dark by now, and most of the park wasn't lit after nightfall. He'd passed Gibbs' silent car, its front screen misting up with evening moisture and mute accusation, and his heart had lurched. What had they given him? Why hadn't it shown up in blood tests on the other victims? They'd have at least had some warning... Aaah, would it have done any good? The guy must have called Gibbs... damn, damn the stupid-independent-cussed idiot for going without back-up... would he never learn?
The gates were locked; he clambered up the fence like a spider and vaulted down the other side. Any other time he'd be complaining, looking for the park custodian, and moaning about ruining his suit. Maintenance sheds... why hadn't he taken more notice this afternoon? Where – ah, one lonely lamp over there... orange-yellow and bright... good, they'd put one to discourage would be thieves, wouldn't they? From workshops...yes, this was it – the first one, the guy said... He stopped dead, chest heaving. What the hell...
The sound he heard was Gibbs voice... but nothing like he'd ever heard it. Oh God... Gibbs' voice, screaming like an animal... After standing shocked into stillness for a moment, he managed to frame a thought – well, hell, he was alive...
"Boss! Boss, I'm coming... hold on!" Padlocked. No... He lined his Sig up sideways on and pulled the trigger – he prayed not to be hit by a ricochet, but he was going to do it anyway. His prayer didn't exactly come true; the lock disintegrated and the whining bullet didn't hit him, but a piece of flying padlock thumped his left fore-arm. Shee-ee-eet! Never mind that... he tore the door open.
"Boss... thank God..."
Gibbs was crouched on the floor. Even looking into the darkness from the light, Tony could see the amount of blood – mostly on the outsides of his thighs, just as Abby had said. He saw the hideous claws lashed to the Boss's hands, and the gash on his face. Looking at all that in horror, he saw the crazed look in the other man's eyes too late. Looking down at his white shirt, he realised what he must look like. 'I saw an angel die' - it was almost the first thing Abby had said when she'd phoned him. 'He killed you, Tony!' "Boss..." Gibbs let out an inhuman yell and leapt at him.
"That's that, then," Kath Wigg said, as two patrol cars took the prisoners. "We'll keep them until you send for them – although that one looks as if he needs a padded room, not a holding cell. Now, where do we find Gibbs?"
Tim was about to explain when a squeal of brakes made them all look round. Abby's crimson hot-rod bounced to a halt, and a goth windmill jumped out.
"Why didn't you tell me? I know something's wrong! Where's Gibbs? Where's Tony? Don't you know what's going to happen? The demon's going to kill the angel! Gibbs is going to kill Tony!"
"Abby..." Ziva began, but Tim took over. He seized Abby's arms. "Abs... what do you know? How did you know to come here?"
"I didn't," Abby said dismissively. "I just got in my car... I know about the hallucinogen..."
"Hallucinogen?" three voices asked at once.
"I tested the blood... it's bad, it's very very bad..."
They all piled into the one car, and Ziva took off down the four blocks to the park in a move worthy of Gibbs himself.
Damn... damn , damn, damn... I should have realised... damn, it hurts... formic acid, right? He ran, stumbling, doubled up and clutching his chest. He couldn't clutch his back as well, or his arms, or his left side, from elbow to knee.
He'd tried to stay out of the range of those claws when Gibbs had jumped at him, but the other man had flailed and slashed without any visible plan of attack, but deadly results. Tony had finally ducked under the wild arms, and pushed him hard in the chest. Gibbs had stumbled to his knees, grunting like a bear, and with the only alternative being to pull his gun and shoot the Boss he cared for more than anyone else on this Earth, Tony had run.
Only half of a good idea... Gibbs was weakened by loss of blood, but driven by the fire in his veins. Tony was having to get used to, and deal with somehow, the most awful, acid-burning pain all over his body, and the knowledge that now he was losing more of the red stuff than he could spare. Not to mention that as he threaded in and out of the copse of trees behind the cafe, his white shirt – the bits of it that weren't red of course – made him more visible to Gibbs than Gibbs was to him. He tried to tear it off as he ran, but his left hand wasn't working too well, and he didn't seem to have much strength in his right either. Great. Was that in Abby's dream? Angel's wings don't work so well? Why was he being so damn flippant?
In the dream... he was too light-headed to think... In the dream, the demon caught up with the angel in the woods – OK then, time to break the dream. He couldn't see Gibbs, but he could sure hear him... if he survived this that animal rasping would haunt his nightmares for the rest of his life. He began to circle back towards the light, to lead his demon-Boss out of the trees to where he could see him; where hopefully Tim and Ziva – where the hell were they... didn't they know how bad the situation was? Well, no, they didn't. They didn't know about the dream. Would they believe it? Did he? Damn it, he was in it!
Tim and Ziva... yes, that was it, get where they could see what was going on. Back into the light... c'mon, Boss, back into the light...
The demon could see its quarry clearly among the trees. Success was nearly in its grasp. The angel was weakening... blood-splashed... it had only been in the demon's clutches for moments, but that had been enough to hurt it... to bring it down... Maybe killing it would put an end to its own pain... end the light that tore at its eyes, end the fire that burned it. The light... no... no! The demon howled in fury; the angel was leading it back towards the light. It weaved its head from side to side... there was something... it didn't need to fight... No, anything that came from the light was bad. But to kill it, it had to go into the light.
Tony thought he could hear voices in the distance. They were too far away, they wouldn't reach them in time. His knees gave way, and the next thing he knew he was lying on the ground, between the demon and its lair, although he didn't know it, looking up at the security light burning impossibly high above him. Gibbs was only twenty feet or so away now, reeling, but standing upright, mad eyes on him.
No, Boss... Of all the ways he'd imagined dying, how could he ever have thought of this? Gibbs took a few more steps towards him.
"No, Boss... please... not you."
The angel's sad voice had words the demon understood. Somewhere, it knew something... it frowned, and again its head weaved uneasily as it staggered closer. The angel had a face... angels didn't have faces, they were just part of the light. He fell to his knees... the angel was speaking to him, and he knew something... he knew him... he groaned and reached up towards his own face.
Tony saw his Boss's struggle, heard the anguished moan, and saw his hands go up. If they got to his face they'd rip his eyes out. Was that what he was trying to do? The younger man, who couldn't have got up to save his own life a moment ago, was on his feet with a yell in an instant, and throwing himself across the distance between them, reaching for the strapped wrists below the claws.
Gibbs started to fight; Tony didn't know whether that was the drug-demon, or simply because Gibbs would, being Gibbs... It didn't matter. He pushed the other man's arms down, using the weight of his whole body, driving the claws down into the grass beneath them; nothing was going to make him move. One of the thumb claws went into his shoulder, with its accompanying fire; he didn't care. He'd stay there for all eternity if he had to.
Gibbs went limp underneath him, but still he hung on.
"Di...DiNozzo... you can... stop..."
Unbelievably relieved to hear coherent words instead of the dreadful beast noises, Tony almost forgot, as he slumped away from Gibbs' prone form, to keep pushing his hands down. The spike slid out of his shoulder and he sat up a little – and Gibbs began to stir. "No... Boss... wait. Don't move... Got to get these freakin' bastard things off you..." He began to pull at the straps with ineffectual fingers.
"Tony... just rest... I... won't move." He groaned. "Burns..."
The younger man fell back again, and lay looking across at his Boss. "Yeah... acid, remember?"
"Oh yeah. Hurts..."
Gibbs looked at Tony's right shoulder. "Stabbed you..."
"Seen yourself lately? B-boss... let me -"
"Let me do that, Tony." McGee loomed above them, his Rule Nine glittering in the lamp light. As he sawed at the straps, Abby knelt beside him, eyes wide, but silent and absolutely in control; tugging the claws off by wrapping the cuffs of her velvet jacket round them.
Gibbs sighed with relief. "Look out for... DiNozzo..."
Ziva's voice said, calmly enough, "I will go and open the gates for the ambulance." The edge to her tone suggested that if the stupid things put up any resistance, she'd shoot the lock to pieces.
When they'd thanked Tim later, all three had been a little embarrassed; Tim for having stripped their acid soaked clothes off, and doused them with a watering can he found by the sheds; Gibbs, not so much really, he didn't give a damn about being naked, except maybe in front of Abby – Tony, hell yes, at being stark naked in front of Kath...
It was really only the thought; all he'd remembered was being carefully covered with McGee's warm jacket, then the EMTs arriving, and then really not much else.
They'd had two teams working on them, dealing with the acid, replacing lost blood and deciding which wounds needed micro-stitching, glueing, or being left to heal by themselves. Tony woke eighteen hours later to find he could hardly move either arm, for a patched up right shoulder and a broken left radius... again.
He'd immediately looked across the room. "Jethro's fine, Tony. He'll come round when he's ready," Ducky had reassured him, and Gibbs had woken slightly later, mightily displeased, in Ducky's words, to find he was confined to bed except for escorted trips across to the bathroom. "You need physiotherapy for those damaged thigh muscles, Jethro, and they have to be taken gently to make sure your stitches don't tear."
They'd asked about the case... Casilas was desperately putting all the blame on Winters; his attorney was suggesting he was easily led and dominated by a friend. The psychiatrist agreed up to a point, but said he'd still been aware what he was doing. It was a shame, he added, that he'd be the only one to stand trial; Winters was becoming more cuckoo with every passing hour, insisting that he was a demon, and no prison could hold him.
They'd all sat and discussed Abby's dream, and come to no conclusions. Afterwards, Tim had hugged her in the corridor outside and told her maybe she was psychic, how had the details been so accurate, and how had she known where to drive to? She didn't know, she didn't care. All she knew was, she'd spent Halloween night at the hospital, and not wanted to be anywhere else.
They were finally left in peace, as the door closed behind Ziva, who was the last to leave and had actually kissed them both on the forehead. They looked at each other.
"Guess we must have nearly died, Boss..." He waited. Just give me a normal response, Boss, please?
"Ya think, DiNozzo?" Tony grinned, and lay back, eyes half shut, until Gibbs rumbled again, "So... an angel? How'd Abby come up with a thing like that?"
"No possible idea, Boss..."
"Hmph. You're supposed to ask why she came up with a demon for me..."
Tony chuckled. "Happy Halloween, Boss."
"That was last night, DiNozzo."