Lion Rampart – Chapter Seven

Lions Rampart

Title: Lion Rampart

Author: Ladyholder

Fandom: NCIS, The Sentinel, Barney Miller, Criminal Minds

Relationships: Tony/Gibbs, Blair/Jim, Wojo/Barney

Genre: Oh, So AU and a Mystery

Warnings: Mention of murder, possible torture and I’ll add more as it comes. Expect sex, some rock and roll, the drugs are iffy and you can be certain that there will be low humor.

Notes: Yes, I am aware of what happened in the show BM. Tough. I wanted a good set of really tough characters to be decent role models for a young Tony DiNozzo and they fit. If this wigs you out, try the ‘back’ button. Both you and I will be happier.

Beta: No Beta

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

“So our victim is Lt. Commander Douglas Stuart. Current duty station is the USS Leyte Gulf CG-55 out of Norfolk. They are in port for some minor repairs and per the Captain, Stuart had taken a three day leave, having scheduled it four months ago,” Gibbs commented as he leaned against his desk.

He and Tony had returned from lunch several hours before and gotten to work finding out about their victim, the crime scene and trying to piece together a timeline on how the two had met. The Dirty Chai Latte had been moaned over as Tony drank it, bit by bit, while hunting down leads. By mutual decision, they had set a time limit to allow them to review the information found and then try to bounce idea’s around.

Gibbs took the last sip of his coffee and shifted slightly. The coffee was cold and while he was able to tolerate it, it wasn’t the best tasting thing ever. Depending on what they found, he was going have to go out and get another cup. Taking a deep breath, he tossed the cup in the garbage and continued with his section of the briefing. “When I spoke to the Captain, he said that Stuart was a decent officer, a good man and was generally well liked by the people in his department.”

Tony picked up the ball, and Gibbs grinned at how well his Guide fit into his investigative life. “The Commander was living well within his means, had no gambling debts, no outstanding credit card charges other than an order to Amazon that is scheduled to be delivered to the Leyte Gulf in two days. A quick look through the last six months of credit card records show a guy who ordered a lot off of Amazon, but it was rarely anything that might be construed as relationship based. More stuff he couldn’t get at the ports they stopped at or even aboard ship.”

“That matches the gossip that his CO was hearing. Per the Captain, Stuart wasn’t dating anyone and hadn’t stepped out on anything that looked like a date in the year he had been assigned to the ship. If he went out at all, it was with a group and he rarely drank. As far as his CO is concerned, Stuart was a model officer and he wanted several more like him.” Gibbs agreed as he offered up the next piece of information about the victim.

“Man, this guy doesn’t seem to have an obvious hook on why he is our victim,” Tony muttered as he ran down the information they had.

“No, he really doesn’t,” Gibbs agreed. “What about the house where he was placed? Is there anything special about it?”

The Guide grabbed another folder off his desk and waved it at his Sentinel. “The house where out deceased Lt. Commander was found is the new off base housing for a YN2 Vanessa Grisel. She is currently stationed at the Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Mater Station Atlantic in the personnel department. She was part of an overnight disaster preparation drill. From what the Chief I talked to said, they have these things about every three months to get ready for hurricane season and general readiness. YN2 was lucky enough to pass the whole night in front of over a dozen members of her department, and the few times she was out of sight of the main batch, she was with a buddy in the head.”

The Sentinel grunted and grabbed the folder to flip through. “So, YN2 is a bust, unless she arranged this whole thing ahead of time. Let’s get her in for a quick Q&A.”

“Already requested and she bluntly told me that she will get in when she wakes up. She got to be driven home by one of her shipmates since she was considered too sleepy to drive without causing an accident, but with her house a crime scene, she was taken back to base and is in the BEQ,” Tony reported promptly.

“Sounds like someone in her command has some sense on the tiredness issue, and a logical way to get around the dangerous drivers.  Who did you send to pound on her door?”

Tony pointed at one of the empty desks in the next row over. “Reynolds. She looks mostly harmless, but has enough of a spine to get the YN2 in without letting the woman ignore her.”

Being a two man team, they had gotten in the habit of co-opting anyone who wasn’t assigned to a team or even stood still long enough. Most people learned after the first experience, but some people kept coming back for more. Reynolds was one. She didn’t seem to mind that she were using her for some of the more routine jobs. Then again, the Sentinel and Guide pair were the premiere team at NCIS and working with them, even briefly was seen as a good thing. If the agent was able to handle them, Morrow had promised that they would be under first consideration for any other S&G Pairs that showed up.

“That works,” the older man agreed before reading further into the file he held. “What is this about the house being vacant for the last three months?”

Tony walked over to read the entry. “Oh. Apparently, the landlord of the property was having problems and they had it unrented for roughly ninety days. I checked the housing market by there. When I called the various real estate agencies that deal in rentals, they all stated that the market there was red-hot and no one would leave a property vacant for any longer than they had to for necessary renovations. So that was suspicious.”

Gibbs grunted as he read through the fact sheet that Tony had prepped. From what he remembered of their crime scene, it was a pretty ideal house. At three bedrooms, two baths, and all of them on one story with a generous living room/kitchen area, it looked pretty nice. When it didn’t have a dead body decorating it. “What do you say about going back to the crime scene to take a deeper look at the house itself?”

“I was just going to suggest that,” Tony admitted. “Something is totally off about leaving the house vacant. I’m not sure if I want to wait to interview YN2 before we go or save her for after though.”

“I vote for both,” Gibbs put in absently. Tilting his head to the side, he let his eyes unfocus for a moment as his hearing ranged out. The sound that had attracted his attention was repeated and he nodded. “Ducky is calling for both of us to come down to Autopsy.”

“Well, let’s go then,” Tony said as he dropped the files he was holding onto his desk before heading towards the elevator.

Gibbs was right behind him.

“… You are very lucky lad, that Jethro and Tony are the ones who drew your crime scene. They are quick, willing to go the extra mile and best of all, they are a Bonded S&G Pair. That means that they will have whomever killed you found quickly,” Tony heard Ducky talking to the corpse of their victim before they had even opened the doors to Autopsy.

The ME was well known for talking to his ‘guests’ and acting like they could answer him back. Tony was of the opinion that the older man was Sensitive to death in all its forms and that his talking was his way to stay grounded. And if the spirit of the person he was working on occasionally answered back? All to the good and Ducky was willing to add any information he gleaned into his report.

“Hey Duck, got anything for us?” Gibbs asked as he opened the door to the ME’s domain.

“Ah, Jethro! I am glad that you are here. I do indeed have several somethings for you and Tony,” Ducky said brightly from his position by the body on the table. He was apparently finished with the gross part of the procedure and was closing up the Y incision. Tony was just happy to see that it wasn’t theirs, otherwise the ME might want to use the poor bastard as a demonstration piece.

“Sounds good,” Tony appreciated that his Sentinel wasn’t interested in the body and from how he was crowding him towards Ducky’s office, he wasn’t willing to try to get the drop on another agents case. He was not a fan of seeing the dead up close and personal. With his gifts, it was better to not tempt fate or Murphy. Tony placed one of his hands on Jethro’s back as he remembered that as bad as it was for him, it was worse for his Sentinel.

He watched as Ducky finished with the stitching and then covered their victim with a sheet before passing him over to Gerald to be put in one of the storage drawers. Once the corpse was put away, Tony could feel a hidden tension that had thrummed under his partner’s skin seep away and made a mental note to bring a cup of coffee down with them next time. If the scent of the beans could cut through the horror that was a perfume store, the scents of Autopsy might also be mitigated by the fragrant stuff.

One very through scrubbing and binning of contaminated medical gear later, and their coworker had joined them in his office. “I have several interesting things to report about our Lt. Commander Stuart. He was, as you know; shot in the heart, had a knife slash to the gut, hit with what I am guessing was a baseball bat  to the head and he was also a victim of a long term poisoning. There were elevated levels of arsenic in his system and a massive dose of insulin was injected only minutes before he died. As near as we can determine, the site of the injection is somewhere in the length of the knife cut. Any or all of these would have been enough to kill him.”

Tony started at the ME’s word choice. “Why am I thinking that it was something else that did him in?”

“Because you listen when people talk and you noticed my phrasing,” Ducky looked oddly proud as he answered. “No, the Lt. Commander didn’t die of any of those things. Although if he hadn’t had that happen, any of them would have done him in very handily. Why I recall a young lady who caused a great deal of …”

“But what was it?” Tony pressed.

“Oh, he died of a stroke. I would estimate that the fatal embolism happened moments before the other wounds were inflicted,” Ducky reported.

“Well, hell,” Jethro muttered.

They had been running down leads for hours. Tony had called every agency he could get phone numbers to, requesting that if they found anything close to their killing ground to let NCIS know immediately. He had smoothed feathers that had been ruffled long before by his Sentinel and roughed up even more in ways that weren’t going to be felt for months. He had even put out the word to the Prides. Since a large number of Sentinels were in some form of law enforcement, they typically knew why he was calling anyway, but forms had to be kept.

While the Guide was busy burning up the phone lines, Gibbs had set up their murder wall. Every piece of evidence they had so far was placed around the board, tied together with lines of string. Tony had been on the phone with a police department around Milford, Virginia when the Sentinel had gone down to Abby’s lab and stayed down there for a full fifteen minutes. The savage satisfaction he had felt from his partner helped improve his mood and Tony had turned towards the next call on his list in a better mood.

“Abby found us some fingerprints and there are several other blood types mixed into the mess that was all over YN2’s house,” Gibbs muttered into his ear as he waited on hold for the final number on his list.

“Thank you for your cooperation. Sure! I can add you to the list of places that the Washington DC Pride will have under consideration to run wilderness drills at,” Tony listened as the very nice young woman on the other end of the phone blathered on and on about how untouched the wilderness out by them was. Since the wilderness in question was roughly one hundred miles away from where he was sitting, he doubted that it was untouched. But it might be mostly unspoiled and that counted for something. Pulling out the binder he stored all of the favors, tricks and trades that they accumulated, he flipped the whole thing open to the area marked for training and wrote down the information he was getting from the call.

Flipping to the front of the book, Tony looked at the calendar and twitched. He had penciled in a meeting for the senior Pride Guides and it for the next day. Wonderful. Tapping the square, he shot a look over his shoulder at his Sentinel and Gibbs nodded. “I have that information written down and if we are in the area, we’ll check it out. Thank you for your help and you have a nice day now!”

Tony just shook his head as he watched his Sentinel snicker lightly at how chipper he had sounded. One of the many tricks he had learned while working as a detective was how to make his voice work for him. Making nice to people who weren’t suspects or ever likely to be suspects made the process much easier. Even if he did want to thump a few of the more moronic of his police brethren for not understanding why NCIS would want to get to the original scene of their crime.

“If she is right, Jethro, it would be nice to have someplace where we can all go, as a Pride and just let go. I’ll be researching it thoroughly before we go,” he explained as he added the phone number he had dialed to the file entry.

“I fully understand,” Gibbs promised. “Any luck on finding the crime scene?”

“Nothing on my end. Does Abby have any leads on the stuff I found leading out of the room?” Tony asked as he turned back to the murder board to review where they were.

“Not yet. She thinks that those tests will take most of the night. And the ones to determine the DNA of the other donors will take roughly another twelve,” the Sentinel reported.

Tony hummed as he traced the few links they had. So very little about this case was currently known and if he concentrated on that, he was fairly certain that he would go bonkers. “I’ve got nothing at the moment.”

Sighing in defeat, Gibbs leaned back against the desk in front of him and stared at the board as well. “As much as it pains me to say this, we need to go home and be parents for a few hours. We need to recharge, get some food and sleep and then we can be in here bright and early”

Tony slanted the older man a slightly disbelieving look at then nodded. “You are saying this because you have a dozen or more searches up and want to give them time to get some kind of a result.”

From the amused look his Sentinel shot him, Tony figured he was spot on. Well, he didn’t want to stay at work anyway.

Besides, he had some searches that needed time to run too.

Chapter Eight

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