Disclaimer : Everything related to NCIS remains intellectual property of its creator.

Warnings : Language and violence.

Title : Rough Seas

Summary : When an interview goes to hell, McGee and Tony find themselves in a very dangerous situation. Can they make it out of this one alive? Set pre-"Probie."

Author's Note : I should warn you that this story is a WIP. It's a short action-based piece that I'm writing when I get bored with editing my other one. So I should be posting another chapter on this relatively soon. It's probably going to be 3 or 4 chapters total.

Also, this is NOT a death-fic.

-oooooooo-ooooooooo-ooooooooo-

Wednesday, September 14, 2005 - 2:52pm - Annapolis City Dock - Annapolis, MD -

Clutching his weapon in his unsteady hands, Special Agent Timothy McGee tries to remember just when the interview catastrophically imploded. He swallows hard, feeling the sweat slide over the rough grip of his Sig and struggles to keep it level. Only a few feet away, Special Agent Tony DiNozzo kneels on the docks' weather beaten wood, hands raised and actively trying to ignore the suspect pointing a gun at him.

"Drop the weapon, Baker," Tim commands, the fear in his voice betraying his words.

"Not a chance in hell, fed," Simon Baker challenges, glaring at the junior agent.

When the silence seeps in, the only sounds to breach it are the quiet lapping of the ocean and McGee's ragged breathing. A breeze blows off the water and touches Tim's button-down shirt, sending a chill down his spine. Inhaling deeply, the agent confirms his aim at Baker's head. Somewhere nearby a seagull laughs and McGee licks the perspiration off his upper lip, feeling the salt on his tongue.

Still desperate to recall just how they got here, McGee contemplates the grisly murder involving an unlawful ensign that the team has almost solved. The victim, a wannabe dealer, sought out a larger market share for his burgeoning drug trade. His sales expanded like wildfire until they caught the eye of the local drug runners. Unfortunately for the ensign, his competition didn't value a free market economy.

"Hey guys," Tony pipes up, instantly reminding the pair of his presence, "what's the greatest trick the Devil ever played?"

"Really not a good time, DiNozzo," McGee growls, squinting against the sun to keep his sight on Baker. In his hands, the gun feels heavier than before.

"Convincing the world he didn't exist," Baker answers, showing McGee a straight, perfect smile.

Tim's blood runs cold.

It figures DiNozzo would be compelled to quote a movie, even with a gun pointed at his head. In fact, McGee believes, another quote from the film that's responsible for this fiasco.

Barely an hour ago, the agents arrived at the Annapolis city docks to question the kingpin of the local cocaine ring, Simon Baker. Well, alleged kingpin, as Baker pointed out, he's never been convicted of a crime. When they asked him about his business practices and their victim, Baker answered with slow, circuitous responses. Growing tired of nonsense, Tony flashed Tim a cheeky grin, just before quoting that damn movie.

"To a cop, the explanation's never that complicated. It's always simple. There's no mystery to the street," DiNozzo quipped, waving McGee back to the Charger. There had been a slight miscalculation on DiNozzo's part as Baker kicked Tony's bad knee, dropping him. Just as the senior agent moved to fight back, Baker drew a gun from his waistband. If Tim hadn't initiated the standoff, DiNozzo's body would probably somewhere under the docks by now.

"Drop the weapon, Baker," McGee repeats, for the first time sounding like he means it. In response, Baker hawks a lugie at the junior agent's feet. Clearly livid, DiNozzo glances at Tim.

"Shoot him," Tony orders, turning his attention to Baker's legs.

"Still not the time, DiNozzo," Tim hiccups, obviously not hearing the order. As a cloud moves away from the sun, McGee blinks hard and wonders why Baker laughed.

"No, McGee, put a freaking bullet in him!"

When he disengages the safety, McGee's hands start shaking. Shooting Baker should be exactly like taking down the black paper target at the range.

Inhale. Aim. Exhale. Fire. It should be simple, as easy as 1, 2, 3, 4.

Inhale. Aim. Tim holds his breath. For some inane reason, he suddenly remembers Newton's third law of physics : for every action, there is an equal but opposite reaction. Blinking hard, McGee chases the science from his head. It's always there, but now is not the time.

Inhale. Aim. Tim doesn't exhale when he reminds himself of Newton's third law again. Every action has a reaction. He finally gets it. If he pulls the trigger, Baker will too. If Baker falls, Tony does too. McGee wouldn't lie about how many times he's wanted to kill DiNozzo over the past year. But now, with his mentor on the lethal end of gun, he realizes there's a difference between wanting to kill someone and watching them die.

Inhale. McGee lungs can't to hold any more air. In barely a split second, Tim sees the world without DiNozzo and it looks a lot like that movie Tony played in MTAC last Christmas Eve. There's no more lame comments, McNicknames, off-the-cuff movie references or spitballs with accompanying battle cry, only an empty desk and an opening on Team Gibbs.

He thinks of Kate and he's not sure he could survive that again.

"For the love of G-d, Tim, just shoot him!"

Exhale, but McGee doesn't pull the trigger. Knowing that DiNozzo's life ends when he does, he just can't.

"Drop the weapon, Baker," he orders again, fighting gravity to keep hold of his own. Thrusting his chest towards McGee, Simon dares the junior agent to act. Tim didn't think his heart could pound harder.

Inhale.

"C'mon, McGee, shoot him! You've got company!" DiNozzo shouts, shattering Tim's concentration.

Forgetting step two, he squeezes the trigger, popping off three shots, all wild. Simultaneously, Baker double-taps his gun and Tony takes two to the chest, collapsing against the rotten wood beneath him with a quiet gasp.

"Tony!" McGee yelps, swinging his weapon back at Baker. Something strikes the junior agent's back and he stumbles, his gun sliding into the water with a soft plunk. Unable to recover, his right arm is wretched painfully behind his back, immobilizing him. With a shoulder dangerously near dislocation, Tim glances around, trying to process the situation.

Tony is down, barely breathing, and McGee can't get to him. Two new thugs have joined their party on the docks. Recognizing the one as a suspect from their investigation, McGee swallows hard when he remembers Arthur Davis is wanted for another murder.

Tim has no idea who's holding him.

"Took you guys long enough," Baker admonishes, tapping DiNozzo's still body with his foot. Yanking against the person holding him, McGee fails to suppress a yell when his arm is twisted higher. Tears spring to his eyes and he tells himself it's from pain, not Tony.

Tony will be fine. Tony has to be fine.

"What should we do with them, Baker?" As soon as he hears the voice behind, McGee feels nauseous. He realizes it's the one from the voicemail that lured their victim to his death. So it was a hit, just like Gibbs thought.

Watching Tony's steady breathing, he implores the senior agent to wake. What he really need is a miracle, but he'll accept just knowing that DiNozzo won't die.

"Let's get the boat ready, I think it's time for a vacation. Bring that one," Simon growls, pointing directly at McGee. Pushing past his men, the kingpin starts off towards a small collection of yachts on the opposite side of the dock.

"What about him?" Davis calls after him, gesturing towards DiNozzo's prone form. Turning around, Baker smiles wickedly and holds his hands out from his sides, bowing slightly.

"Let the cops find the arch criminal behind it."

McGee presses his lips together, fairly confident that Baker has just finished the quote that started this whole mess. When the man pulls on his arm, leading him away from Tony, Tim doesn't fight. The longer they linger, the longer it could take for someone to help DiNozzo. Guided towards the yachts, McGee knows that there will be no witnesses.

His footsteps echo hollowly over the old wood, a march to the gallows.

After the snaking walkway, the group pauses by a smaller, white yacht. The deck is empty and the radar beacon spins, readying itself for whatever trip they're undertaking. Even though it doesn't matter, McGee notes her name out of investigative habit.

Not allowed to savor terra firma one last time, Tim is led up to the gangplank before he's ready. As soon as his feet land on deck, his stomach churns, reminding him of the seasickness that earned his father's disappointment.

While he's propelled towards the cabin, McGee's gaze whips back to DiNozzo's resting place. With the sun in his eyes, he squints but doesn't see Tony's body.

Somewhere overhead a seagull laughs.

Forced roughly forward, McGee slides over the slick surface of the deck until he's through the yacht's main door. As his eyes adjust to the low light in the hallway, he notices the control room several yards ahead.

A door to his left is kicked open and McGee realizes he's wrong about his expected destination. The wood floor rushing at his face is the first thing he sees in the office. Before he can move, Tim is pushed against the ground, his arms secured tightly behind him with rope. His captor empties his pockets, keeping McGee's wallet and knife.

"Don't get too comfortable, fed, your stop's coming up." Struggling to a sitting position, Tim identifies Nicholas Costa, Baker's right-hand thug, from Ziva's surveillance photos. McGee's heart sinks as he remembers DiNozzo acted on that hunch before they could alert anyone.

When the boat rocks, McGee heaves, leaning his head against whatever's behind him.

"Enjoy the ride," Costa sneers, disappearing from the threshold. The door slams, the lock clicking into place shortly after. As soon as he's gone, McGee climbs to his feet, taking in the office. Above the small desk that takes up most of the available space, there's an almost microscopic window. It's just big enough for Tim to watch land disappear before the bastards throw him overboard.

Pulling against the bonds, McGee tries to slide his hands out of the rope while he searches the room for something sharp. All he manages to do is remove several layers of skin.

"Come on," Tim mutters, abandoning his attempts at flaying himself in favor of rummaging through the desk.

The boat moves suddenly, sending McGee careening against the back wall. As his stomach rolls, he fights to maintain equilibrium and his lunch. When the boat bounces again, he slides to the floor and breathes deeply, feeling the perspiration prick his forehead. Only he knows the true inconvenience of seasickness.

Righting himself against the wall, his shaky legs barely manage to hold his weight. As the boat pitches to the port side, McGee follows, colliding with the desk. He lets it keep him vertical. Breathing deliberately, he leans against the desk and digs through its drawers as best he can. He finds nothing.

The boat rocks on the choppy water and he slides to the floor, unable to fight its pull any longer. For a few minutes, he lays unmoving, trying to quell the burning in his stomach. When he thinks about Tony, it spills all over the floor.

He inhales, leaning against the wall and struggling to his feet. Every part of him knows he needs to stay upright. Checking out the window, he sees the white wakes behind the vessel that point back to the docks, to safety, to home.

He realizes that he isn't getting out of this one alive.

When the boat bounces again, McGee's stomach reels, sending the agent to his knees. Sinking to the floor again, Tim stays down this time, paralyzed by sickness and despair. He's not sure how long he lies there, feeling the cold hardwood freeze the sweat on his face and the boat's rock in his stomach.

Eventually, someone enters the office. While the door swings shut, McGee stares at the newcomer's dress shoes and tries to come up with something, but his mind has gone blank.

There's no dramatic last minute rescue, no Coast Guard, no cops, not even Gibbs in a rowboat.

Accepting his fate, Tim pushes to his knees, not making it any farther. If he's going, the bastards will have to carry him. When McGee recognizes the man, his mouth gapes and he blinks hard, wondering if seasickness can cause hallucinations.

"I-I-I thought you were dead," McGee chokes out, still not convinced.

On the other side of the office, stands a very happy, and very much alive, Anthony DiNozzo.