Author's Note: It's my birthday today and in honor of that I wanted to give you an update as a thank you to all of you for your amazing patience! I am still dealing with health issues that are resulting in debilitating fatigue so it's harder to find energy to write like I used to. The good news is that we are trying different treatments (don't worry it's not cancer that I know of) and my energy should return in a few weeks if all goes well.
~ Enjoy! ~
Previously On A Deadly Phobia:
End of Ch. 17 – Once he recovered from the abrupt and unexpected shock of the noise combined with disappointment that his plan had come to such a screeching halt before he had even been able to put it fully into motion – Tony's stomach dropped at what he spotted next . . .
He stared wide eyed at his bound boss wriggling in the vice-like arms of the two captors. Tony quickly took stock of the swelling bruise that was forming around Gibbs' right eye and the small trickle of blood leaking from an obviously split lip. While taking in the bloodied lips Tony realized that Gibbs was smiling. 'What the -?'
"Hey DiNozzo. Ya up for some company?"
A Deadly Phobia
Hostage House – Basement Level
. . . "Hey DiNozzo. Ya up for some company?" . . .
Tony's mouth was hanging open as he stared in total disbelief at the unexpected site of his boss. So many thoughts and questions flooded his mind that for once it rendered the Senior Agent speechless. 'What the hell was going on? Was he hallucinating? How did they get to Gibbs? Or did Gibbs track down their location and come to rescue him only to get nabbed in the process? Did he get caught on purpose? Where was the rest of the team? '
The onslaught of so many confusing emotions swirling around inside his head causing the already weakened and injured agent to feel even more unstable as a small wave of dizziness hit him. Suddenly he felt himself starting to lose his balance ever so slightly as the room began to tilt forward. He felt his body slowly leaning further and further backwards as though a magnet were pulling his back down towards the floor like a piece of steel.
Thankfully, Michael Kincaid had been standing so closely behind him and noticed the feeling of more and more of the agent's body weight as it leaned back against him more and more. He was grateful that he was in close enough proximity to where he could attempt to keep the weak agent upright. He knew if he had been any further away - he would not have been able to catch him in time and his new friend would have continued to fall backwards all the way down to the hard floor.
At the top of the stairs Gibbs was experiencing his own feelings of shock as his eyes zeroed in on his Senior Field Agent's pale and bruised appearance, taking quick inventory of the rest of Tony's obvious injuries, his mind not wanting to think about the ones that weren't visible.
Gibbs had forced himself to smile when the idiots holding him first opened the basement door. He did it mainly to antagonize the men who were holding him but also in an attempt to ease Tony's mind since he knew that his second in command was not expecting him to show up in this manner.
But as soon as he saw Tony at the bottom of the stairwell - the cocky smile he wore immediately changed to a terse, straight line as anger set in. He found himself wanting to rip the two men beside him into pieces for the damage he could see that his agent had endured at their hands.
Suddenly his thoughts were interrupted by the boom of a shouting voice to his left as Cal shouted down to Tony and the dentist.
"Now where in the hell do you two think you're going? Dammit, Jesse git down there'n and git those two secured again – NOW!"
Cal tightened his hold on Gibb's forearm as he reached over with his other hand to hold Gibbs by the hair as well. He'd be damned if he was going to let this one out of his grasp so soon after obtaining him!
Downstairs Michael was struggling to keep Tony upright and kept hoping the agent to snap out of his shock so he could help steady himself. Finally his hopes came true as Tony shook his head, trying to shake the dizziness away, turning his face towards the dentist wearing an expression that silently screamed for an explanation.
"What the hell's the matter with him?" Jesse yelled to Michael as he stepped off the bottom step - now close enough to see Tony's dazed expression himself.
"He just got a little dizzy that's all – take it easy!" Kincaid replied with more venom that he had ever spouted before. All the while not even glancing towards Jesse - never taking his dark brown eyes away from Tony's slightly glazed green ones, as he continued trying to get through to the man.
"Tony, you need to come with me, we need to walk back over to that wall over there. Okay can you do that?" Tony blinked a few times as he regained full use of his mind and body, the shock of seeing Gibbs finally dissipating. Using his make shift crutch he slowly hobbled over to the far wall – helped along by Kincaid whom had pulled Tony's free arm over his own shoulder, matching him step for step until they reached their destination.
"Both of you, turn around and face the wall, hands behind your back! If either of you try anything – Cal won't hesitate to shoot our new guest somewhere that will hurt like hell - but won't give him the mercy of death! Now MOVE!"
Tony didn't follow the instructions but did turn enough to watch as Jesse took care of Kincaid first. After securing the Dentist's hands behind his back once again, the impatient ex-con yanked roughly on Kincaid's arm, turning him back around to face forward while pushing him so his back was pressed firmly against the wall.
Wasting no more time he pushing him downwards by pressing hard on the top of his shoulders until the angry dentist was once again seated on the dirty ground.
Tony's head had finally cleared in the time it took for Jesse to finish with Kincaid. He turned his head towards Jesse just in time to see the shady man coming towards him – Tony shot him a look of pure hatred – a look that said 'You are a dead man when I get us outta these bonds!'
Jesse just stared right back sporting an equal amount of venom – then suddenly without warning Jesse savagely kicked the makeshift crutch out from underneath Tony's arm -causing him to free fall, landing hard on the same side as his bad leg.
Yelling out in agony, Tony found he couldn't stop the scream even if he had tried, he laid as still as he could with his cheek pressed tightly against the filthy floor focusing only on breathing deeply in an attempt to ride out the indescribable pain.
Seconds before Jesse's unsolicited attack on Tony, Gibbs had remained calm while standing at the top of the stairs with Cal. The man was still holding onto him with one hand wrapped painfully tight around Gibbs' bicep. Unfortunately Cal's other hand was holding onto a gun of which Gibbs could feel uncomfortable pressing firmly against his back, positioned right between his shoulder blades. It didn't take a genius to figure out that a gunshot at that level, would essentially cause the Marine's heart to basically explode if he were to pull the trigger. Gun or no gun, Gibbs knew he had to keep himself in check in order to stay alive for his senior agent's sake – the man who was like a Son to him.
But the second Gibbs witnessed the man he already knew to be Jesse, kicking the piece of wood out from under Tony's arm – all bets were off! He jerked his arm away from Cal's meaty fist with such a force, that his surprised captor could not maintain his tight grip! Heading quickly down the stairs Gibbs yelled up to the stunned man with the gun.
"If you're gonna shoot me – then shoot me! But you'll be killing the one person who's gonna get you what you want! I am going to help my agent!"
Gibbs was seething with anger – anger that was also fueling him on. Cal realized there was nowhere their newly captive lead agent could run anyway so he proceeded to walk down the stairs slowly to make sure things didn't get out of hand.
Tony was not even aware of what was happening on the stairwell – the pain too intense and feelings of overwhelming exhaustion from all that he had endured so far - further clouding his mind.
Before he had even begun to breathe the pain down to a manageable level, he felt his arms being pulled behind his back and tightly cuffed using what had to be his own cuffs. He thought for a moment how degrading it was to have your own cuffs used on you – cuffs meant for the criminal, not the officer or agent who owned them.
He then felt himself being pulled up by one of his trapped arms as Jesse yanked him up to a seated position and spun him around until he too was sitting with his back against the wall, just a few feet from Kincaid. The movement only managed to cause his leg pain to flare back up again just when it had finally started to calm down a little.
Tony squeezed his eyes shut from the even more intense pain as he tried once again to dial it down. His eyes remained shut as he felt a hand on his shoulder and his nostrils took in the familiar scent of his boss.
"Tony! Talk t' me. How ya holdin' up?"
'Uh-oh' Tony thought, 'Gibbs is using his nice voice again!' – the tone that only managed to make Tony nervous. He didn't like 'nice Gibbs' – nice Gibbs meant a worried Gibbs.
" 'M fi-iine b-osss." He replied in a breathless whisper.
"Yeah? Well ya don't look fine!'
"HEY! Enough with the Father-Son act! Cal barked out as he arrived behind where Gibbs was kneeling next to Tony. "Jesse! Git our new guest the same accommodations as his other friends here."
Gibbs snarled at Jesse the entire time as he was forced away from Tony and purposely positioned on the other side of Kincaid – keeping him as far away from Tony as they could.
3 Hours Earlier At NCIS Headquarters. . .
As usual everyone stilled in silence as they watched Gibbs taking the call, knowing it was most likely the kidnappers again. McGee didn't bother trying to trace the calls anymore since they knew the call would be placed using the same IP phone they had used for past calls.
"I've been thinking about your ransom demands and there's only one way in hell you're gonna get the kind of money you're asking for!"
Then Abby's, Ziva's and McGee's mouths all dropped to the floor as Gibbs started to walk away from them towards the elevator while holding up one of his hands to silently order them to stay put. They all remained frozen in position as they heard the ding of the elevator opening and then sliding shut leaving all of them out of the loop entirely.
Once inside his "conference room" and free from having his team hear of the plan that he knew they would object to, Gibbs started talking again after Cal warned him he would hang up if he didn't get to the point.
"Obviously what little research on my agent that you did – it didn't tell you everything! If it had you would have found out that Tony is actually estranged from his Father – disowned even." Gibbs taunted.
"Even if that wasn't the case - Tony's Dad is also broke and I am not just telling you that so you will drop this insane demand for a ransom. SO, that means there's no chance in hell you will get that kind of money from DiNozzo Senior OR from NCIS for that matter which leaves you with no choice but to accept the offer that I am going to give you. A proposition if you will." Then he paused, waiting for the other shoe to drop while Cal absorbed this new intel.
"Well, if that IS true and not some game you are playing, then you damn well better have another plan to get us what we want – or you'll be left with nothing but pieces of your agent that you'll be finding for months to come!" Cal's voice shook with both anger and apprehension as he waited to hear the so called 'proposition'.
"You can save your threats – they won't work on me. So listen and listen good because I'll only say this once! Unlike Agent DiNozzo - I am not estranged from my Father. We may not be as wealthy as the DiNozzo's were but we can pull together a hell of a lot more money than you'll ever get from any of your other options!"
He then shut up and remained silent again for a few long seconds just to make the other man sweat.
"There's one condition to this proposition." He finally added.
"Yeah? And what the hell is that? You're pushing your luck Agent Gibbs!"
"You're gonna exchange that Dentist you are holding – for me."
Hostage House - Present Time Frame . . .
Gibbs had been waiting for the right moment to force the man known as Cal, to fulfill his part of the bargain and release the Dentist.
He knew the man would resist, assuming that he now had Gibbs so there was no need to keep up with his end of their agreement. An agreement he had most likely never actually intended to follow through with.
"So Cal . . . it's time you held up your end of the bargain, time to let the Dentist go. I'd hate t' think you weren't at least a man of your word." Gibbs question broke the brief silence.
"Yeah well, if I DO go back on my word - what the hell would you be able to do about it anyway?" Cal replied, laughing out loud.
Gibbs calmly responded, "Yeah well, that's what I thought you'd say. That's why I have one of my agent's - a former Mossad operative and trained killer – posted outside the apartment where your girlfriend lives. Oh, and just so you know – my agent is officially off duty right now so . . . whatever she does on her own time . . . is none of my business. Oh by the way - if she gets word that Kincaid never showed up at the drop spot . . . well, let's just say it won't be good."
Tony, who was hanging onto every word that Gibbs was saying, had to force back the full out laugh that threatened to come out – enjoying the fact that Gibbs had Cal by the family jewels!
Gibbs remained silent as Cal stared at him with a look of shock and disbelief. Unsure of whether he should call the man's bluff or not. But seeing the smirk on Gibbs face combined with the man's very cold ice blue stare, he wisely chose the latter.
Slowly Cal sauntered over to where the dentist was seated.
"Alright Kincaid! Looks like yer about to be a free man. But you listen to me, I made a little side deal with this Agent Gibbs here – only to get some money outta this. The deal was – him for you. So that means you will be leaving us."
Cal paused, breathing through his overwhelming anger over the changes to his initial plan.
"But so help me God - you say one thing about this to ANYONE, especially the police, the press or NCIS - and we'll take you and your family out all in one fell swoop! YA GOT THAT?"
Kincaid felt sick to his stomach. On one hand he was thrilled and relieved to hear they were letting him go - but on the other hand, he didn't feel right about leaving the injured agent behind. The kind hearted Italian had come into his office seeking relief of his infected and painfully infected tooth – and only ended up with more pain and suffering as a result. It wasn't right! Kincaid was overcome with guilt, if only he had refused to help the two men whom had come there to collect on his own selfish debts!
Adding to his remorse was the fact that the NCIS agent hadn't thought twice about trying to help him get out of this mess Even after Tony had discovered that it was Kincaid's own gambling debt was the very reason he was hurt and captured in the first place! How could he just leave him there now and go about his merry way?
He knew that no matter what - he had find a way to help save the agent that he had come to respect, the man he had also grown quite fond and felt honored to call - a friend. He decided secretly at that moment, that if they did set him free - he would waste no time finding some way to contact someone at NCIS to demand protection for his family and then tell them anything they wanted to know so they could rescue the remaining two hostages – the men whom were risking their own lives just to save his sorry ass.
Propelled by his decision, Kincaid started to pull himself up into a standing position with a renewed energy – eager to get help for Tony and his boss as soon as possible. Then he was struck with one more possible scenario. . .
Could he actually trust these assholes to actually keep their word and really let him go? What was to stop them from killing him after they got him away from the house? They could be putting on a show for the agents and then once they got him outside – could easily end his life.
"Hey wait a minute!" Kincaid hollered, "How the hell do I know that you won't going to just waste these men as soon as I'm gone? It's pretty obvious your partner Jesse is more than eager to take out Agent DiNozzo!" Michael's voice wavered with nerves and fear, his mouth suddenly going completely dry.
Gibbs didn't miss the way Cal glanced angrily over towards Jesse upon hearing the last thing the dentist had just exposed – it was obvious Cal knew nothing about Jesse's vengeful hatred of Tony. Cal recovered quickly most likely deciding to deal with that new tidbit later.
"Look Kin-caid! The only one you should be worried about right now – is you and your damn family!" Now go with Jesse! He's gonna take you close to the drop off spot where an NCIS agent will pick you up. But he'll be dropping you off at least 2 miles away from there so you're gonna have to huff it if ya don't wanna miss yer ride."
"OH, and we're gonna blindfold you ag'in so you can't tell those agents where we're holed up - if you balk or do anything to resist we can just as easily knock you out!"
Kincaid was pulled up to his feet by Jesse, but before he took even one step forward he turned and looked down at Tony, "Hey uh . . . Agent DiNozzo . . . I uh - I'm sorry." He had to fight to control his emotions that were threatening to make his voice falter even more.
Tony nodded his chin upwards in a half nod, silently reassuring the dentist that it was okay. "Don't sweat it Kincaid!" Tony answered, his voice still a fraction of his usual volume. "Everything will work out, you just get back to that wife and daughter of yours and I'll be happy."
Knowing there was not much more that he could say, Kincaid nodded back to Tony giving him his own silent form of acknowledgement before being pushed towards the stairs by an anxious Jesse.
To Be Continued . . .
I hope you all enjoyed this chapter and if I missed any errors I apologize and I promise I will proof read this again tomorrow when I have more time and fix any missed errors. Please review and watch for updates to my other stories next.