Summary: when it comes right down to it when agents lives are at stake it doesn't matter what agency they work for. This is a cross-over with Numbers (only Don and Colby with a little Fornell thrown in)

A/N: outside of spell check this has not been beta'd. I've started posting again after nearly a 10 year absence…I also have Sentinel and Diagnosis Murder stories posted under my old account (adsh).

ALPHABET SOUP

NCIS # NCIS # NCIS # NCIS # NCIS # NCIS # NCIS # NCIS

"Fornell." the agent said absently, as he answered his phone.

"Agent Fornell, this is agent Epps, LA office…we've got a suspect in a murder, found a link between our suspect and a weapons smuggling and a triple homicide case in D.C."

"What's the case number?" Fornell asked.

"N09-74473...

Fornell typed in the case number and scanned the file…seeing who the lead agent was he didn't know whether to groan or smirk.

"Well agent Epps, happy to have any help on a cold case, but, it's not ours anymore." Fornell said, leaning back in his chair.

"Not yours?"

"Murdered men were Navy personnel…got passed off to NCIS." Fornell said.

"Great. And the chances of getting that file…"

Epps huffed out in frustration.

"Well Epps, if you got something to offer to help close this case I might be able to get Gibbs to open up the file…" Fornell said with seriousness. "He hates a cold case…especially the murder of marines."

"Gibbs? You know the guy?" there was a note of hopefulness in the younger agent's voice.

"Oh, yeah, know him." Fornell chuckled, "But don't count on that to be of any help."

"Hard-ass, huh?"

"Always said the extra 'B' was for bastard if that tells you anything." Fornell said with a chuckle.

"Well how 'bout we give him first crack at prosecution, the shipping department at the Navy yard was the suspects last posting before he went AWOL…he belongs to D.C, anyway…more than willing to cut through the red tape with the extradition as long as we get our crack at him. " Epps said.

"Oh that will definitely soften his bite." Fornell said.

"Well, we can get the suspect to D.C. in about 48 hours if you can set us up with NCIS." Epps said.

"Give me a call…I'll sent a unit to pick you up at the airport, take you to the navy yard."

"So Fornell not enough for us…now they're shipping in FBI from L.A. to screw up our cases." Tony said sarcastically. "When they getting here?"

"Now DiNozzo." quipped Fornell, coming into the bullpen, followed by three other men.

"Ah, hello Agent Fornell…so nice to see you again." Tony said sarcastically.

The two visiting agents exchanged looks, but Fornell ignored Tony to come to stand at Gibbs desk.

"Gibbs, this is Lead Agent Don Epps and Agent Colby Granger, LA office; and this is Lt. Marcus Mann, our AWOL marine."

Gibbs stood and gave the agents a once over before speaking. "DiNozzo, show Agent Granger and our Lt. to interrogation."

Colby looked at Don, who gave his junior agent a slight nod.

Turning to DiNozzo, Granger said. "Lead on…I'm sure the Lt here has all kinds of things to say."

#####################################################

"So, what do you have for me Agent Epps?" Gibbs asked expectantly, quirking an eyebrow at the younger man.

Don looked at Fornell, who just smirked. "Told you he'd be nice if you had something for him…he actually asked for the file."

Turning to Gibbs, Fornell added, "Play nice Jethro I promised to send their agents back in one piece."

"I always play nice Tobias." Gibbs said with his own smirk.

"If you need anything else Epps, give me a call." Tobias said as he turned to leave.

"Uh, yeah, thanks Fornell."

"So, LA…sun, surf and women…must make being in D.C. in the middle of winter suck." DiNozzo commented.

"Yeah, well, you go where the case take you." Colby said with a shrug, adding with a grin. "Besides, few days and I'm back in in my sun and surf."

"So, you're boss just turning the case over like that…no turf war…" DiNozzo asked in surprise.

"Hey, it was your case first, well the FBI's case…but if Fornell gave it to you all, it's one less for us…probably gotten more on Don's desk by the time we get back." Colby said. "Don won't waste resources on a case another team already has a bead on."

"How very…civil of him." DiNozzo commented.

"Nothing like your boss, Gibbs? Fornell gave us the heads up that he doesn't work and play well with others." Granger said with a snort.

"Gibbs has a…unusual style…" Tony replied as they made their way off the elevator and down the hall.

"Well Lt., welcome to your new home." Tony said as he opened the door to interrogation. "By all means, make yourself at home; you'll be here for a very long time."

Tony's phone rang as he and Granger were boarding the elevator. "Hey, Abs…got something? Yeah, sure, be there in a few."

Pocketing his phone he said, "Need to make a quick stop at the lab."

Colby just shrugged and followed.

The assault to his eardrums was instantaneous when the doors opened on the elevator. "What the hell?"

Without missing a beat, Tony smirked. "That is our Abby's music…"

Tony walked briskly into the lab, followed more warily by the younger agent, who was rubbing his ears and grimacing at the 'music' issuing from the lab. "Hey, Abby, what ya' got for me?"

Abby turned to her friend with a smile, using her remote to lower the music volume. Her face immediately fell noticing his empty hands. "Tony, I've been at this all morning…I'm like Gibbs without his coffee…"

Tony gave her a peck on the cheek. "Sorry Abs I was putting a prisoner in interrogation when you called…put me down for an IOU for the caf-pow."

Abby gave a huff and a pout. "Tell our fearless leader he owes me two."

"Will do…but only if you have something for me to take back to him." Tony warned stepping aside to point to the other agent. "Remember, today is the day he has to play nice on the Mann smuggling case."

"Oh, that's today." she grimaced, before turning to the younger man who's eyes were taking in Abby and her lab with incredulous eyes. "Aw, and they sent a baby one too. Didn't Fornell warn them?"

"Oh, his boss is upstairs with Gibbs…" Tony supplied.

Abby stepped in front of the flabbergasted agent and held out a welcoming hand, "Abby Scuito."

"Uh, Granger…Colby Granger, ma'am." Colby stuttered out, returning her handshake.

Abby pulled her hand back with an angry scowl. "Ma'am! Tony, he called me ma'am…"

"Now Abs, he doesn't know any better…" Tony soothed. "Remember, he's just visiting…he's not Chip."

"I'm sorry…ma'…uh, Abby…" Colby stuttered out, looking to Tony for support.

She looked at him for a moment before turning back to her 'babies'. "That's better."

"So Abs, what do you have for me?" Tony asked, pulling her back to the reason for his visit.

Running her hands over the keyboard to pull up a ballistics program, Abby said. "Ducky pulled two slugs from our dead guy, but they are so degraded I'm having a rough time matching it to a weapon type…I was hopin' Gibbs could help me narrow the search parameter."

Colby was eyeing the slugs on the screen with a practiced eye. "Uh…Abby…that looks like the striation pattern of a AK-47 …can you pull up a clean slug."

Abby eyed him with suspicion for a moment before giving a look towards Tony, who just shrugged.

Abby pulled up a clean shot and over-laid it with the degraded slug…a few seconds later the computer dinged a match.

"Wow that saved me a couple hours work." Abby said, turning to smile at Colby. "How'd you know that?"

"Army, Special forces." Colby said by way of explanation.

"Oh, Tony…he's a little Gibbs." Abby squealed with excitement, giving the startled agent a hug.

Giving Tony an uncertain look he gave Abby a quick hug back and attempted to disentangle himself from her grip. "Glad I could help.

Taking pity on the young man, Tony separated Colby from Abby's grasp. "Air Abs, let the man breathe. Now, we really need to get back upstairs…ya' got anything else?"

Abby spent a few minutes giving Tony a report of her findings before shooing the two men towards the door. "Now, go, I have work to do."

Once the elevator doors closed Colby just shook his head and looked at Tony. "She always like that?"

"Oh, yeah…" was all Tony replied, smiling at the awestruck look on the younger agents face. "…and we wouldn't trade her for the world."

####################################################

"Where you two been DiNozzo?" Gibbs barked as the two men entered the bull pen.

"Sorry boss. Abby had something for us; was in the lab…oh, and she said play nice; Granger here saved her a couple hours of work on matching a slug."

Gibbs and Epps both raised an eyebrow at the young agent.

"Wasn't anything really…I just recognized the striation pattern on the slugs she was trying to match." Colby explained somewhat self-consciously.

"What, Granger, I don't give you enough work…you come and do there's?" Epps joked. "Should I start the transfer paperwork for the lab?"

Colby just rolled his eyes at his boss. "Well Don, I don't know, their lab tech is definitely more interesting than old Mr. Craig…"

Gibbs just smirked. "Abby doesn't do assistants Granger."

"Yeah, I got that loud and clear." Granger said.

"Yeah, it almost got ugly boss." Tony said with exaggerated seriousness. "Granger here called out Abby…ma'am."

Not understanding the obvious inside joke, Don just shrugged. "David wouldn't be happy to break in a new partner anyway."

Pulling everyone back on task Gibbs asked Tony, "Mann?"

"Stewing in interrogation."

"Good. You and Granger bring each other up to date on both cases…see if we can pull out anything new. I'm going to see what our Lt. has to say for himself." Gibbs said, picking up a file.

Before he could head to the elevators his phone rang. "Gibbs…what, sitrep McGee…McGee!"

Tony looked up at his bosses strained tone and immediately went to his desk to gear up when he saw Gibbs pull his gun from his desk.

"Sit tight McGee, we're on our way." Gibbs ordered.

"What's up boss?"

"McGee and Ziva are pinned down…when they went to re-question Sgt. Trent they stumbled right into him and some others loading up the missing weapons." Gibbs reported.

"They all right?" Tony asked with concern.

"Fine so far…call PD and get them some back up."

It was then that Gibbs noticed Epps and Ganger had followed him and Tony onto the elevator. He gave them a raised eye.

"You got agents in trouble…we want to help." Epps said.

Gibbs looked at them a moment more before giving a nod.

If Tony wasn't so worried about his teammates he might have gotten some amusement from the rather green faces of the visiting FBI agents as they had their first experience with Gibbs driving.

There were already three cruisers and the PD's SWAT on scene when the SUV screeched to a halt.

"Sit rep." Gibbs demanded of the officers behind the SWAT van, as the four agents slid out of the SUV.

"Who are you?" the SWAT commander demanded.

"Gibbs. NCIS." the agent snapped. "Those are our suspects in there."

"We responded to several reports of gunfire. Maybe four, five suspects; most in that building and at least one on the top floor of the house…"

The commander's report was halted by another round of weapons fire. "And I think the automatic weapons go without saying."

"Gee, ya' think." Gibbs said sarcastically.

The officer shrugged and added. "They seemed at first to be dividing their fire between us and the east side of the house…at that small building."

"That'd be my people. I've got two agents pinned down in there." Gibbs informed the officers. "Inform your people."

"So what now boss?" Tony asked peering around the SUV at the scene, only to be pulled back as several rounds were fired from the property.

"Stay down DiNozzo." Gibbs snapped, flipping open his phone.

"Damn! Tony, McGee's not answering, try Ziva." Gibbs said tightly, as he redialed his agent.

Tony nodded and pulled out his phone. "Ziva! You and probie all right?"

Tony listened for a moment before saying, "Sit tight, we're right outside."

The agent snapped his phone closed and reporting worriedly. "Probie's hit boss, Ziva said he's got a deep graze to the side of the head…probably a concussion."

"And Ziva?"

"As far as I know, fine. You know Ziva, she wouldn't say." Tony replied. "So what are we gonna do…we gotta get them out of there."

Another round of automatic fire blasted around the crouching agents.

"I have a visual confirmation on three rifle discharges coming from the building, sounds like (*); haven't seen anything from the house yet." Colby reported, turning to ask. "How much firepower they got in there?"

"If they still have the whole shipment then they've got enough for a small militia." Gibbs said tightly.

"Didn't the report mention grenades and land mines in that stolen shipment?" Don asked with growing concern.

"Yeah, plus an RPG." Tony added grimly.

"Up there." a voice shouted as several shots were fired into the upper floor of the house.

A small object was thrown from the window, clunking loudly on the pavement and rolling under a cruiser; causing Gibbs and Granger to exchange knowing looks before yelling.

"Take cover."

Suddenly the cruiser parked on the far side of the fire fight suddenly exploded, sending everyone crouching farther behind their cover.

"Grenade." Colby said succinctly, as he and Gibbs scanned the house for another attack.

"Anybody hurt?" Epps yelled.

"Got three officer's down." reported an officer, adding angrily. "What the hell is going on here Gibbs?" the officer yelled.

"Stolen weapons shipment." Gibbs said as way of explanation.

"That's your last warning. Pull back or the next one takes out your agents in the shed." a voice yelled from the second floor.

"Tony, call Vance…get us some more help out here, but tell them to stay back until they get the signal."

"On it boss." Tony said, moving down the car to make the call.

"Boss, Vance is mobilizing the tactical unit…ETA 27 minutes." Tony reported.

Granger shook his head, giving Gibbs a grim look. "With the fire power they have they could take everyone out in 27 minutes, no matter how far we pull back; and, be long gone with the weapons."

"You're right we can't spook them anymore. If we try to rush them we're going to end up with a war zone. "Gibbs agreed. "We're going to have to get in behind them."

Colby nodded in agreement.

"How? There's no cover?" Don asked.

"Not to mention our sniper on the second floor." Tony added.

Gibbs just gave one of his knowing smirks, turning to Granger. "What arena?"

"Afghanistan. You?"

"Desert Storm." Gibbs replied.

Tony and Don exchanged looks, before Tony gave a grin. "Homicide, Baltimore PD."

"Fugitive Recovery, FBI." Don said.

"So now that we have our credentials what are we gonna do." Tony commented.

"First we'll take out the eyes." Gibbs said, pointing to the house.

"What's to keep them from blowing up the house if we try to storm in?" Tony asked.

"Don't plan to." Gibbs responded.

The conversation was punctuated by another round of automatic fire and the same voice as before. "I see NCIS out there. You know what we got in here…"

"Yeah, we do." Gibbs yelled back.

"Then you know you can't take us out."

Gibbs turned to Tony and ordered, "Call Abby, have her lock on any cell GPS and get the numbers and then have her pull up a map of the area. Then we're going to make a show of pulling back out of range…it'll be dark in about forty-five minutes."

"Boss, Tim and Ziva have already been trapped in there for almost two hours, probie might not have that long." Tony reminded.

"If we rush the grounds they are as good as dead Tony, we don't have a choice." Gibbs informed the agents. "They know we might pull back but we're not giving up completely so sooner or later they are gonna have to try to negotiate to get out of here."

More gunfire punctuated the area, followed by the voice in the house. "I don't see anyone moving."

"Hey, it takes a few minutes to coordinate." Gibbs shouted out.

"With all that fire power why would they negotiate?" Epps asked in surprise. "Colby said that they could just make a charge at us…they've got enough fire power to barrel right through us and keep going."

"Yeah. But they didn't steal it to waste it on the local LEO's; they'll want to get out of this with as much product as possible." Gibbs stated.

"And a fire fight will bring to much attention down on this particular shipment…make it almost impossible to sell." Colby added.

"Okay, so how are we going to do this?" Don asked.

"Tony." Gibbs said.

"Hold on Abs. Yeah boss." Tony said.

He held out his hand for Tony's phone. "Just a minute Abs. Tony, I want you to coordinate with the SWAT commander to pull these people back and bring our tactical guys on board. Epps, I hope your negotiating skills are up to par…"

"Me? It's your scene." Don said in surprise, suddenly suspicious of the direction this plan was heading.

"'Cause Granger and I are going around…"

"Boss?" Tony questioned the same time Epps interrupted.

"Now wait a minute…Colby isn't one of your agents…" Don interrupted angrily.

"No, but he is a trained soldier and those are highly trained special forces soldiers in there." Gibbs countered.

"He's right Don, Gibbs and I are the best shot at taking these guys out." Colby stated.

Don gave a heavy sigh and ran a hand over his face. "Colby, I don't like this…"

"I know man, but we are runnin' out of options and there's an agent down in there Don, maybe two." Colby explained to his boss, looking over to meet Gibbs eyes, he added. "And he'd do the same for us if it was Megan or David trapped out there."

Seeing Gibbs give his agent a nod at that statement he gave another sigh. "You be careful out there."

Gibbs turned his attention back to the phone. "Abby I'm putting you on speaker, give me a quick topographical of the surrounding area."

"Gibbs…Gibbs…Gibbs, What's going on out there, are Timmy and Ziva in trouble…"

"Abby, calm down. I need you to focus." Gibbs said quietly. "Now give me the topographical."

As the agents listened to Abby's description of the area, Gibbs and Granger gave knowing looks back and forth.

"Now, I'm going to turn you over to Agent Epps, give him any help he needs…"

"Why, is something wrong with Tony too?" Abby demanded.

Gibbs looked over at his SFA and quirked an eyebrow.

"Abs, I'm right here…I'm just coordinating with SWAT and tactical…Epps is negotiating." Tony said to his friend.

"Then what's Gibbs doing…"

"Abby…" Gibbs voice held a warning.

"All right…but you better come back in one piece mister…"

Gibbs handed the phone to Epps, then motioned for Tony towards the SWAT van, while he and

Granger geared up.

"Okay…Abby is it…give me the cell number for the suspect in the house."

"The phone belongs to a Sgt. Porter… 4477856...is every one all right out there?" Abby asked.

"Everyone is going to be fine." Don said.

"You lie as bad as Tony, Agent Epps." Abby said.

"We're going to do everything we can to get everyone out of this." Epps said seriously.

"Thank you Agent Epps."

"Bye Abby."

Epps turned to see the progress of the retreating LEO's, before moving over to the two agents.

"You guys ready?"

"Yeah." Colby said. "Because of the sparse cover we're gonna need about forty minutes to work our way around."

"Okay, let's get this show on the road." Epps

said as he dialed the number Abby gave him.

"What?" a voice answered after several rings.

"Hey…am I talking to Sgt. Porter?"

"Who wants to know?"

"I'm Agent Epps…I want to see what we can do to get everyone out of this…" Epps said with forced light heartedness. "We're giving you what you want, just look out your window… the cops are pulling back"

Three agents watched tensely as the second floor curtains parted slightly, followed seconds later by a cracking sound as the window broke apart, and the curtains pulled away.

"Porter." Epps called into the phone. "Porter you up there?"

Epps pulled away from his phone and gave thumbs up to the other two agents.

"Let's go." Gibbs said.

As Granger and Gibbs disappeared around the house to blend into the growing darkness, Don gave a heavy sigh and dialed the next number.

After half a dozen rings a tense voice demanded. "Who is this?"

"Hey, this Sergeant Trent?" Don asked.

"Who wants to know? Who the hell are you?"

"Listen, my name is agent Epps and I want to know what we can do to get us all out of this in one piece."

"Leave."

"Hey, the police have already backed off." Don said.

"Yeah but NCIS is still here." The sergeant shot back. "We want a clean route out."

"Can't do that, you know that…"

"Then maybe we ought to show who's in control of this situation…" Trent threatened.

"Hey, no need…we know you're in control…you showed us that when your friend took out the cruiser." Don quickly pointed out.

"Yeah, then you know we got enough firepower to take out the whole bunch of you." the sergeant ground out. "Maybe I should start with those agents in the shed."

Angry that agents were being threatened Don said evenly, an underlying warning clear in his tone. "You do that and this will end badly for you and your friends in there…NCIS will come down on your hard, fast and bloody…you know what I'm saying is true."

When Don did not get a response he continued to push the point. "Listen, as long as those agents stay alive we can come to some kind of a way out of this. Those agents die…you die."

The only response was a dial tone. Don gave a huff of frustration, rubbing a hand over his tired eyes and wondering how a simple prisoner drop off had so quickly spiraled out of control.

"How's it going?" a voice to his side suddenly asked.

"Not good. Our boys in there got some itchy trigger fingers…won't take much to send them over the edge." Don reported.

"Gibbs and Granger?" Tony asked.

"Took out our second floor suspect and took off around the perimeter about 14 minutes ago." Don reported.

"And to get in behind?" Tony asked as he stared into the darkness where the two soldiers had melded.

"Forty minutes."

"So we just have to keep the troops entertained for another 26 minutes." Tony responded tightly.

"What about your tactical unit?"

"Standing by for orders."

"Hope it doesn't come to that…it will end bloody for everyone." Don commented. "These boys are not giving up without a fight…we've got four dead bodies between us to prove they'll take out anyone who gets in their way."

"Yeah, well, they decided to threaten the wrong agents…they won't know what hit em' when Gibbs is done with them." Tony said. "What about your boy, Granger?"

"Army special forces…tactical incursion unit in Afghanistan…if anyone can do this he can." Don said with a hint of pride.

"All Gibbs needs to do is get you in his crosshairs." Tony commented.

Don just nodded in understanding. He gave Tony a nod before flipping open his phone. "Then let's keep their eyes focused on us…"

Don nearly dropped the phone and both men were startled when Don's phone rang. Looking at the CID, Epps gave Tony a knowing nod before answering with speaker phone. "Epps."

"What happened to Porter?" Trent snapped.

Stalling, Epps asked. "Porter?"

"We're done fed." the man yelled.

The two men had just a second to trade stunned expressions before an unexpected burst of automatic fire, followed seconds later by an explosion and flying debris forced the two agents to crouch further down behind the SUV.

"What the hell." Don cursed.

Meanwhile Tony had moved to the tail end of the SUV to view the latest carnage and gasped in surprise and fear. "No! No, you better not be dead…"

Tony fumbled for his phone as his eyes took in the shed Tim and Ziva were still trapped; one side was now caved in. The call he made to Ziva's cell went to voicemail, as did the subsequent call to Tim's.

Tony closed his phone and rested his head against the SUV, overcome with worry for his teammates.

Knowing what his fellow agent was feeling, Don merely laid a comforting hand, knowing platitudes would not be welcome. "Don't count them out yet."

Looking at the wrecked building Tony snapped tightly. "How could anyone survive that?"

Through the settling dust and debris, Don noted that the garage door was slowly being opened.

"DiNozzo." Epps nodded in the direction of the movement.

"What the hell…"

"I think we just ran out of time…call your tactical unit let them know our suspects are going to attempt to flee." Don ordered, popping up to get off a few warning shots.

Don crouched back down as automatic fire raked down the side of the SUV.

"This thing isn't going to take to many more hits like that." His voice tight with worried when he took note of several through and through bullet holes on their side of the vehicle.

"Those bastards aren't going anywhere." Tony ground out, pocketing his phone and popping up to return fire.

Don pulled the agent down as more automatic fire rained down around them.

"They're making a break to the truck." Tony reported.

"Where are Gibbs and Granger?" Don stated with worry.

Looking at his watch, Tony said. "By their timeline they need another twelve minutes."

"We don't have twelve minutes, if they make it to that truck it's over." Don pointed out unnecessarily as he popped his cartridge. "I've got eight left."

Mirroring Don's actions Tony supplied. "Seven for me."

Hearing tires on gravel, Don gave a grim smile. "That evens the odds."

"Not unless tactical has started packing RPG's as standard equipment." Tony reminded.

Both agents watched as the van screeched to a halt mere feet from their position. Giving simultaneous nods the two men popped up and began firing to give tactical a chance to get into cover positions.

In the next few minutes, the area rivaled that of any war zone…Don and Tony having since abandoned their weapons for the heavier firepower the SWAT team slid their way.

"So far so good, we've still got two of them pinned down in the garage." Don assessed.

"Let's hope the two at the truck don't decide to cut their losses…" Tony said, glancing at this watch he added. "It's now or never…Gibbs and Granger better do something soon."

As if on cue, two single rifle shots were heard in the momentary lull of automatic weapons fire.

Don and Tony gave hopeful looks before peering out over the SUV. The two soldiers in the truck were obscured by large dark splatters on the windshield.

With a dark look Tony growled out. "Two down, two to go."

***********************************************************************8

Inside the garage, two men exchanged shocked looks. "What the hell just happened?"

"They took em' out; Trent and Mason, man, their dead." the other soldier said in panic. "And Porter ain't answering…probably took him out too."

Looking out at his fallen comrades Corporal Stevens suddenly realized their tactical disadvantage. "Dammit, they must have snipers somewhere; but how…where?"

"Snipers?" PFC Anderson said with shock. "They made it in the house?"

"No, you idiot. If they fired from the house the shots would have shattered the windshield." Stevens barked. "It came from behind."

"What're we gonna do now…Trent blew the agents in the shed, now we don't even have hostages." Anderson said in agitation as he paced the confines of the garage.

A thoughtful look came over Stevens face as he reached over to pick up a small knife and grenade before answering his friend cryptically. "Not yet."

Motioning towards the bull horn sitting in the tactical van, Tony knew he had to keep the remaining two suspects off balance and focused on the action in the front.

Taking the bull horn he called to the remaining suspects. "All the weapons in the world aren't getting you boys out of this…your friends are leaving in body bags, which is how you'll be leaving if you don't give yourselves up now."

Tony and Don exchanged grim looks as they waited for a response from the suspects.

Weapons poised and at the ready, Tony, Don and SWAT waited a few tense moments before the side door of the garage opened and a young, nervous looking man stepped out warily. "Don't shoot man…don't shoot."

"Move away from the garage. Get down on the ground, now." Tony yelled.

"Where's the other one?" Don demanded, his eyes darting between the suspect and the open door.

Anderson just shook his head, before complying with the request. "Dead."

With SWAT covering them, Tony and Don exchanged grim looks then began to slowly move in toward their suspect; Tony's gut knotted as he passed the destroyed shed that still held his injured, and not dead he prayed, friends.

As the two men reached the suspect Gibbs and Granger appeared over a small crest behind the garage, guns still at the ready.

"Hey boss, great shot." Tony said to the approaching men as he bent down to cuff the soldier.

Seeing Gibbs move in to cover Tony, Don turned his attention to his own agent who had veered off to check out the garage.

"How'd you manage to not get this guy when you took out the other one?" Tony asked, pulling the cuffed man to his feet.

"What are you talking about DiNozzo? We got the two in the truck…there aren't any back windows to the garage." Gibbs said in annoyance.

Tony cocked his head in confusion. "If you didn't take him out, then…"

Tony and Gibbs looked at the suddenly chuckling prisoner before exchanging alarmed looks.

The two NCIS agents turned to their counter parts in time to see Granger take a cautious step inside only to be attacked from behind and shoved further in the garage before the door slammed shut forcefully, knocking Epps to the ground.

"Damn it! Epps!" Gibbs cursed, racing over to the downed agent.

Tony pulled the suspect behind the truck as Gibbs managed to manhandled the stunned agent to cover.

"What the hell happened?" Don asked with a huff. "Where's Colby?"

"Here." Tony said, handing Don a handkerchief for the gash on his head.

"We still have one suspect unsecured…and now he has Granger." Gibbs answered, his eyes never leaving the garage.

"What?" Don exclaimed, and then winced at the pain it caused his head.

"Hiding behind the door, attacked Granger from behind." Gibbs reported succinctly.

"God, first McGee and Ziva, now Granger…" Tony shook his head in disbelief at the down turns this op had taken.

"Don't count him out yet…" Don was cut off by the sounds of gunfire from inside the garage.

Without waiting Tony and Gibbs rushed the door, followed a little less steadily by Epps.

Bursting through the door, Gibbs barked. "Federal agents…freeze!"

As the three agents poured into the room they immediately took in the situation. The suspect was on the floor…a growing red stain on his chest, while Colby was half laying, half sitting on the ground: gun aimed where the suspect once stood.

"Colby!" Don yelled going to his agent as the young man sank down to the floor with a groan: the gun clattering to the floor when it fell from his grasp.

Meanwhile, Gibbs watched as Tony bent to check the suspect. "Dead boss."

Gibbs nodded and holstered his weapon. "Go, tell SWAT to stand down…get Tim and Ziva out of that damn shed."

As Tony quickly left the building to check on his friends, Gibbs knelt down beside the fallen FBI agent, taking in the blood pooling beneath his left arm and the growing knot on his head. "What's the damage?"

"Nothin'." Colby said, not quite suppressing a groan as Don applied pressure to the wound.

"It's not nothing Colb, you got a deep cut to your arm…it's gonna need stitches and looks like you took another knock to the head." Don chastised his agent. "Gonna have to make sure it's not a concussion."

Gibbs gave a tight smile before standing. "I'll send the EMT's in."

######################################################

Epps felt a little out of place sitting in the waiting room with the rest of the NCIS team as they all waited word on the condition of the three agents.

He watched as they comforted each other in different ways. Gibbs had a comforting arm wrapped around the woman he came find out was Abby. He didn't quite know how to react to the hysterical Goth when she barged into the ER earlier, nearly hysterical to find out two or her co-workers were seriously injured, and further surprised Don when she expressed an equal amount of concern for his own agent.

"He's like a mini-Gibbs…he can't die." she had exclaimed.

Gibbs and Don raised confused eyebrows at the comparison, causing Tony to snicker and interject that he would explain later.

"Abby, he's not going to die, okay, he's tough." Don explained. "He probably has a concussion and he needs some stitches in his arm; he'll be fine."

So now they all just sat…waiting for news of the agents' conditions.

"This is ridiculous." Tony huffed, rising from his chair to pace. "It's been hours; shouldn't they know something by now…shouldn't they at least be done with Granger by now?"

Don couldn't help but share in the agents frustration…didn't doctors know how hard it was for people to just sit and wait for hours on end without any kind of update.

"Tony, Ducky and Palmer both are back there with them…when they have something they'll tell us." Gibbs said, taking in his agitated agent he said. "I need coffee, come over here and sit with Abby."

Tony stopped his pacing to look at his boss and friend. Abby was leaning against Gibbs shoulder, dozing.

"Sure boss." Tony said with a sigh.

Tony has just traded places with Gibbs when the bay doors opened and Ducky came out followed by Granger.

Jumping up, Epps went to his agent. "How are you Colb?"

"Fine Don." Colby answered tiredly.

"Sure you are, that's why I've spent the last three hours sitting in the ER waiting on you." Don chastised gently, as he took in his friends haggard appearance. "So what's the verdict?"

Colby's upper arm was heavily swathed in bandages and resting in a sling, and the knot on his head was now surrounded by a deep purple bruise.

Without looking at his boss, Colby gave a shrug with his good arm. "Just what ya' see."

Don raised an eyebrow at his agent before turning a questioning look towards the doctor. "What's he not telling me?"

"Young Mr. Granger here also sustained a few cracked ribs in the altercation." Ducky supplied.

"Hey, what happened to doctor/patient confidentiality." Colby groused.

"I am a sworn to report injuries to one's supervisor, especially if it impedes their ability to perform their duties." Ducky responded.

"Give it up Granger." Tony said in amusement. "Ducky loves to throw his weight around. He'd see us all riding desks for a paper cut if he could."

"Ride a desk! You can't be serious?" Colby exclaimed. "Don, he's not an agency doctor."

"Sorry Colb," Don said with a smile. "CIA, FBI, NCIS, doesn't matter...the doc here has the authority as a doctor for the enforcement agencies to bench any agent from any agency."

Colby's groan got a chuckle from everybody in the room, even Gibbs.

The commotion roused Abby who looked up at the crowd. She jumped from her seat and wrapped her arms around the startled agent.

"I was so worried." she exclaimed. "Oh, you poor baby, you look awful…how is he Ducky?"

"He'll need another trip back through the doors if you don't release him Abigail dear." Ducky quipped good naturedly.

"Oh, sorry." she said, stepping back from Colby to look him up and down. "You're gonna be okay right?"

"Yes Abby, I'm gonna be fine, just a few stitches and a whopper of a headache." Colby reassured the woman.

Wanting to take the attention away from his own injuries Colby asked. "What about your agents, Ziva and Tim? Have you heard anything?"

"Duck?" Gibbs turned to the older man.

"That's the other reason I came out here. They will both need a few days in the hospital but they are both going to be fine, in time." Ducky reported.

"How bad is it?" Tony asked tightly.

"Ziva fared better than our Timothy. She suffered from a hairline fracture to her lower leg and sustained quite a few cuts and bruises from the flying debris."

"And Timmy?" Abby asked fearfully.

"Timothy has a deep bullet graze to his head resulting in a rather severe concussion, also, due to the time it took to get medical attention the wound was beginning to show signs of infection. He also has four broken ribs and cuts and abrasions, no doubt sustained from flying debris." Ducky reported.

"Can we see them?" Abby asked.

"Shortly, my dear." Ducky assured the young woman. "They are being moved into their rooms now. Mr. Palmer will come and get us when they are settled."

They group had just settled to wait when Fornell and Vance strode into the waiting area; both taking in the scene with practiced eyes.

Fornell eyed Colby's battered appearance critically before turning to Gibbs. "What the hell happened out their Gibbs. How does an FBI agent nearly get himself killed during an NCIS run op?"

"Joint op Tobias." Gibbs said mildly.

"Joint operation my ass." Tobias huffed angrily.

Stepping in Don said. "Hey, the case hadn't been officially turned over to NCIS…the FBI still had stake in the op…it was a judgment call on my part; and despite the injuries we closed the case…together."

Don looked over at Gibbs who gave a nod of agreement. "It was a good call. We couldn't have taken the suspects out without the combined efforts of both NCIS and the FBI."

Vance watched the interplay between the agents with some amusement and no small amount of surprise. It was a well known fact that Gibbs didn't work and play well with agents in his own agency, but to see him clearly and without any reluctance have these FBI agents back was cause for curiosity.

"I will look forward to reading the reports." Vance interjected, looking over all the agents in the room. "From all of you."

Fornell turned to Epps and said sternly. "I too will be most interested in that report Agent Epps."

"Yes sir." Don said.

Fornell eyed the agent a moment more before turning to Gibbs. "Your agents all right?"

"They will be." Gibbs said.

Just then Jimmy came through the bay doors to announce that Tim and Ziva were settled and could have visitors for a few minutes.

"I'll leave you to it then." Tobias said, turning to Don one last time. "Stop by my office before you fly out agent Epps."

Don gave a nod and the older agent turned and headed to the elevators.

Looking over at Jimmy Don said. "That's probably our cue to leave…"

"No! You can't leave yet, you have to come meet Ziva and McGee…you saved their lives!" Abby exclaimed, grabbing Don's arm. "They'll want to meet you."

Don looked at the exuberant woman in surprise, not quite knowing how to respond when he heard chuckles from around the room.

"Give it up Epps…Abby has spoken." Tony said with a smile. "And what Abby wants, Abby gets."

Don looked over at Gibbs who just smiled and gave a slight nod. "Let's go."

THE END