Title: A Guide to War
Warning: Mentions of canon-level violence for NCIS
Word Total: 3147
The echoes of the gunfire had just faded when the sound of a trigger being pulled back reached his ears and Tony was moving before he thought about it.
“Down!” he barked, before tackling Kate to the ground.
Throwing out an empathetic net, he tried to get a read on the surrounding area. The families behind them were filled with eagerness, likely at seeing their loved ones again. The cops surrounding the building glowed with protection and purpose. He ignored them. McGee and his slightly bumbling protective streak was also ignorable.
What wasn’t was the cold calculation he was feeling from a few roots of over. The whistle of a bullet going over their heads distracted him for a moment and Tony rolled Kate under him before he looked over at the roof. While he couldn’t piggyback his senses, he had extremely good eyesight.
Ari fucking Haswari had just tried to kill Kate. Over his rotting corpse, Tony decided. Reaching out, he mentally gathered the psionic energy that every living creature with a central nervous system put off and shoved a lance of it straight into the assassins mind.
Ari dropped like a rock, slumped over his rifle.
“Got the bastard,” Tony grunted in satisfaction.
“Got who?” Kate demanded before smacking him on the shoulder. “Also you weigh a ton, Get off me!”
“Ari,” Tony told her with a grunt. Rolling to his feet, he looked around. “Gibbs, you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine. Where’d the bullet go? “Gibbs asked.
Tony walked over to the edge of the roof and looked at the next building. “Best guess? Somewhere over there. Not where it was intended for. Thankfully.”
“Where was he aiming for?” Kate asked. “And why are you standing up if there’s a sniper in the area?”
“He was either aiming to hit me in the back to hit my heart, or he was aiming for your head, given the angles,” Tony told his partner. “And Ari won’t be bothering anyone, anytime soon.”
“Uh huh,” Kate looked a bit green around the gills, and Tony couldn’t blame her. Head and heart shots by snipers usually meant the target was dead. “Now what?”
Tony looked at Gibbs and nodded at the question on the older man’s face. “Now, Gibbs calls for crews to help secure the scene and I call the DC Sentinel and Guide Center to pick up Ari.”
“He’s our suspect though!” Kate protested.
“And right now, he took a shot with me on the building. Even if we find out that you were the target of the first bullet, there’s no telling if there would have been more. So he’s going to the Center to be held.” Tony told her, voice blunt and hard. “You may ignore my status, but I can’t.”
“I don’t ignore that you’re a Guide,” Kate protested.
The snort that Tony let out was ripe with disbelief. “You keep telling yourself Kate. At any rate, there’s a lot of clean up to do concerning Ari.”
“But … “ Kate protested.
“Todd, drop it!” Gibbs bit out.
Tony ignored the huff of hurt the former Secret Service Agent let out. It wasn’t his job to lead her to personal enlightenment. He needed to deal with Ari before the lance he had embedded in his brain did too much damage.
Flipping his phone open he dialed the Center to talk to the duty officer. “Morrison, this is Guide DiNozzo, id Delta-Lima-nine-nine. I need a clean-up and containment team.”
“I’ve got your location Guide. Do you need any assistance?”
“Personally, I’m fine,” Tony told him. “But I administered Justice and I need them picked up and put on ice until I can deal with them.”
“We can do that. Should I make sure the pairs we send are police officers?” Morrison asked.
“Yes. That would be good,” Tony confirmed. Morrison ended the call and Tony flipped his phone closed, turning to survey the surrounding area. Extending his empathy again, he took a mental read of his surroundings. No hostiles.
“So Ari’s going to be sent to the Center for time in their holding calls?” Gibbs asked from behind him.
He suppressed the flinch by long habit and blew out a long breath. Gibbs wasn’t a sentinel, nor was he a guide, he was something else. And that was a null. The man was totally non-registering to Tony’s empathetic senses and supremely disconcerting because of it.
“He will be, yes. And really, you can’t say we’re going to be nice to the guy. The only guarantee is, we won’t damage him,” Tony shot back.
“He’s slumped over his rifle, Tony. I don’t think he’s a danger right now,” Gibbs retorted. “why can’t we take him into NCIS?”
“We’ve been over this before, Gibbs. The Center has precedence when it comes to crimes potentially committed against Sentinels or Guides. Haswari was a clear and present danger, so I dealt with him and now he needs to be cleared before he’ll be available for questions.”
Gibbs flashed him a faintly frustrated look and Tony bit back a sigh at the way his boss had quietly questioned his decision. It looked his time at NCIS was coming to a close. But first he needed to lay this case to rest.
“Fine. Let’s get the evidence collected then. Photos and sketches, DiNozzo. Todd start gathering evidence and send McGee to look for the bullet on the next building.” Gibbs growled out before moving grab his kit from where they had stated them.
“Grumpy possessive bastard,” Tony bitched quietly. He was leaving his empathy open and he could feel the headache building behind his eyes. The motions to holster his gun and grab his scene camera were automatic. Tony framed the scene and quickly snapped off the initial pictures they would need.
The motions were soothing and repetitive as he worked around Kate and Gibbs. The only thing that pulled him out was when the teams from the center arrived and took custody of Ari. One S&G pair came over with all the evidence from his scene, correctly bagged and tagged for them. They had even included the camera they had used to record the evidence. Tony logged it in and released them back to their duty.
The trip back to NCIS was quiet and Tony used the time to shore up his shields. The aftereffects of any shooting sucked and this time seemed like it would suck more. Add in Madame Director and he could scream.
Right on time, the new director marched down to see them as they logged their evidence in. “Gibbs! Why did I have to hear that one of your team was shot from the local LEOs?”
Gibbs stiffened slightly before turning to stare at Shepard. “None of my team has been shot, Jenny.”
“Really? Because I got notice that one had been.” She fired back.
Intrigued at the… wrongness of her statement. Tony drifted closer. Turning his head to Kate and McGee, he jerked his chin at the second entrance to evidence, quickly signing some basic instructions to McGee. The ASL lessons with Gibbs and Abby were paying off. They would exit the back way and start getting the electronic evidence that NCIS needed to round out the case against Ari and his group.
“There were no LEO’s on site other than us, Madame Director,” Tony cut in smoothly. The burn of anger that flashed through the woman was a surprise. What was her game?
“Really? Well, I don’t expect that you would have noticed, Guide DiNozzo. I was talking to Agent Gibbs at any rate, you’re dismissed.” she waved one hand at him as if he was going to obey her.
Tony laughed in her face. He couldn’t help it. “My title in NCIS, Madame Director is Special Agent DiNozzo. My abilities as a Guide are secondary and don’t actually get used when investigating a crime. And you don’t have the right to dismiss me.”
“I’m your boss, Guide DiNozzo, so I can certainly tell you what to do. And right now, I am telling you: you are dismissed,” Sheppard snapped, obviously aggravated.
“You are indeed the Director of NCIS,” Tony agreed, unwillingly amused at the stupid. “But you currently aren’t qualified to check in evidence or be around evidence without an escort. We weren’t finished checking this lot of evidence in, and it’s a two-man job. By the federal regulations we operate under for evidence handling, I can’t leave until that action is complete.”
Given how red Shepard was turning, she wasn’t happy hearing that. Tony flat out didn’t care. Gibbs just seemed to be amused.
“Then you can go Guide. I doubt you are qualified either. Where is Agent McGee? Is he escorting your injured agent?”
Shepard turned back to Gibbs and proceeded to ignore Tony. Any amusement Gibbs was feeling died with that display and he stared at the Director, blue eyes hard and hostile. “DiNozzo is my senior Agent, Madame Director, I would suggest you start referring to him with the correct title. Also, he is correct. Until we have the evidence logged in, we both have to be here. You are in the way. McGee should be up in the bullpen right now with Agent Todd, doing an in-depth background on Haswari and his movements over the last two weeks.”
The angry flush got deeper for a moment before Shepard took a deep breath and got her emotions under control. ‘‘Fine. Agent DiNozzo can stay.”
“Thank you. Tony let’s get this stuff logged so Abby can start the ballistics tests.” Gibbs told him as he waved his clipboard.
“Ballistics? I thought you said no one was shot?” Sheppard cut in.
“No one was shot,” Tong told her. Her behavior was starting to cause his hackles to rise. “But we were shot at. That means we collected a number of bullets for processing.”
“How is Agent Todd?” Sheppard asked, ignoring Tony’s answer.
“Who said it was Agent Todd that was shot at?” Gibbs asked, voice mild.
The look the Director shot him was poisonous and she walked out.
“Well, that was interesting,” Tony observed.
“Wasn’t it just,” Gibbs agreed. “McGee and Todd?”
“Just where you said they would be. In the bullpen, finding something to do.” Tony told him.
“When we got done with this, I’m going to be looking into what that was about. You need to get to the Center to deal with Ani. Take Callen. He’s TAD and a sentinel.”
“Done and done,” Tony agreed.
Logging in evidence was easily accomplished since both men used to the process. Once everything was in and ready, they stopped by the forensics lab to let Abby know there was work for her. She had gotten a very brief heads up from McGee, so she was aware. Their exit from the lab was a bit messy, but Tony couldn’t bring himself to care. Abby was a big girl, she could deal with not being catered too for once.
The trip up to the bullpen was silent. Tony needed to get the keys to his car and collect G, both actions more easily done from his desk. Gibbs was going to be dealing with the investigation.
When the elevator doors opened, both men strode out, “Callan,” Tony called, voice soft, but rich with the power of a Guide. “I need you at my desk. I have to go to the center and you got designated to be my backup.”
Tony didn’t expect an acknowledgment; he just reached for his backpack and swung it off his shoulder. Shifting the items he couldn’t take to the center to his desk took only a few minutes and Tony grabbed his car keys out of the desk before locking it and his filing cabinet up. Better safe than sorry.
As the last tumbler clicked into place, his shadow appeared and Tony nodded in welcome. “Boss, I don’t know how long we’ll be. I’ll call if we’re going to go past six.”
Gibbs just grunted at him and Tony nodded before heading for the exit. As he and Callen reached the stairwell, he heard Todd and McGee start to question their boss on his leaving. He wished them luck.
The trip to his car was silent but comfortable. Callen wasn’t the most verbose of Sentinels, but he knew when and where to talk. He also seemed to like classic cars if his whistle of appreciation at Tony’s was any indication.
“So why are we going to the center?” Callen asked as they merged with traffic outside of the Navy Yard.
“Because they are holding someone for me. And I need to talk to them,” Tony told him, voice casual.
The Sentinel gave him a wry shrewd look. “Define talk.”
Tony chuckled darkly. Yeah, Callen was for more perceptive than many gave him credit for. “Well, the person in question is on our Top 10 wall and he shot at my partner, I need to confirm if that was deliberate or what?”
“And if it was? If he shot at her not you?” Callen asked.
“If our prisoner shot at Kate instead of me, then he will be turned over to NCIS for prosecution. If he was shorting at me, he will face Sentinel and Guide justice,” Tony finished darkly.
“Uh huh. Well if he was smart, he aimed somewhere away from you,” Callen muttered as he settled back into the passenger seat.
Tony snorted. Ani hadn’t been smart. The bullet had passed way too close to his left shoulder for smart. One small step to the left and if Tony hadn’t sensed the change in the emotional tone or heard the gun prime he would have been dead. As it was, Kate was damn lucky he had noticed.
He concentrated on his driving and used every shortcut he knew to get to the center and avoid the worst of traffic. DC was insane on that level. Not as bad as LA, but still horrible. When he got there, Tony pulled into a corner space with his car protected by the curb. Classic car, thank you very much.
The walk into the Sentinel and Guide center did nothing to calm him down, but it did let him settle into being Guide DiNozzo, not Agent. He was certain Callen noticed the shift because the man actually relaxed. G was so weird.
When he pushed open the door, Morrison was there to meet him. “Your prisoner is in one of the isolation rooms for dangerous Sentinels, He’s been under continuous good and hasn’t it moved. He wasn’t blinking, so we closed his eyes so the corneas weren’t damaged.”
“Awful nice of you, Morison” Tony murmured. “I’ll be working to get some information from my guest. Callen will be standing by to make sure nothing untoward happens.”
Morrison stopped walking beside him and Tony pivoted to look at him. “Is there a problem?”
“You’re a Guide. And you’re going to be questioning that man? That’s illegal!” Morrison spluttered.
“Illegal for most Guide’s except for wolf, crow and?” Tony asked over his shoulder as he restarted his walk to the secure wing of the building.
“Lion Guides.” Cohen helpfully supplied the answer when Morrison seemed stumped.
Tony put out one hand and his spirit Guide appeared under it. Androcles came up to his waist at the shoulder with his head and mane reaching almost to his shoulder. As he scratched at the area between the cats shoulder blades, the rumble Androcles let out sounded very satisfied.
“And Lion Guides,” Tony agreed. “Now I suggest you trot down to the iso room and let me in.”
“You never said you were a Lion Guide,” Morrison spluttered.
“It’s all over my records, how could you miss it? Now? My prisoner, please.” Tony snapped patience gone. Androcles yawned before looking at the other guide. Tony tried to remember what the other man’s spirit guide was, but he was drawing a blank. If he had to guess, it would be something in the deer family. The man spooked too damn easy.
When Tony finally made it down to the room the Center had stashed Ari in, he was ready to lose his considerable temper. He’d had Morrison on his back, bleating, the entire way. He was convinced the man’s spirit guide was a sheep, Not a deer like he had thought. Maybe a rabbit?
“You can’t just interrogate that man!” Morrison pleaded as Tony grabbed the door handle.
Tony could feel the instant his give-a-fuck broke. “Guide Morrison, you are over-stepping your role here,” he snarled as he turned to face his fellow Guide. “That man in there is a terrorist. At a minimum, he is guilty of shooting, with intent to kill at three Federal agents, possibly four. He also, in that same exchange was shooting at a Guide. Me. So yes, I am going to interrogate him. I’m going to find out if he meant to kill me, my teammate or all of us. If he meant to just kill me? He goes before the Council for justice. If he meant to kill my teammate he gets handed over to NCIS for justice in the courts. If both? Well then, the Council can hash that out.”
Morrison paled slightly before he rallied. “Maybe you should wait until the council is here before you go any further?”
“No, I’m pretty sure I don’t want to wait,” Tony drawled out before he opened the door and stepped inside, Callen on his heels. Cocking his head to the side, Tony got his first up-close look at Ari Haswari. The man had a medium build, runners muscles built by use, not vanity and a face that might be handsome if the personality behind it wasn’t toxic. That matched the man from the video taken in the morgue. Right then though, the man was just slack. And his eyelids were taped shut.
What he wasn’t though was secured. Tony pulled out his own handcuffs and secured one of Ari’s wrists to the hospital bed he was in. A second set was handed to him from Callen and he secured the other wrist. Once Ari was minimally secure, Tony started adding the straps that hung off the gurney. With that done Tony let himself relax. Ari was slick, capable and deadly, so he was counting on his precautions to keep the man incapacitated. He had to hope that situation would stay when he pulled out the psychic stake he had shoved into his brain.
Tony knew he would have to do the removal carefully though. He wanted to make sure Ari was coherent enough to answer questions when he regained himself. If he ripped the stakeout, Ani would only be good for producing drool. And while that would be personally satisfying, he and NCIS needed answers.