Disclaimer: NCIS and The Last of the Mohicans do not belong to me.
A/N: This was written for my own amusement, and will probably make most sense if you are at least a bit familiar with The Last of the Mohicans (though Tony does his best to explain things along the way...) This started with the realization of a few similarities. It just kind of snowballed from there.
"Ever seen Last of the Mohicans? 1992? Daniel Day-Lewis and Madeleine Stowe?"
Saleem fingered the hilt of his knife.
"Course not," Tony scoffed. "You probably read the book instead." He shook his head in disgust. "If you had seen the movie, Saleem, you'd know how all this is going to end."
"And how is that?"
Tony arched against the unforgiving chair. "Well, first - and this is a spoiler alert - it's different from the book." He laughed softly. "Ends the same for you either way, but we'll get to that. First, we have to establish the characters. Setting. Then comes the plot." Across from him, Ziva sat slumped and unmoving in the dimly lit cell.
"I do not wish to know about a movie." Saleem leaned in close, silver blade in hand. "Tell me about NCIS."
"Not afraid of a few spoilers, are you?" Tony questioned. "If you were, you shouldn't have given me truth serum!" He rocked against the chair with his last words as if punctuating his point. Amused, Saleem backed away.
Tony took a slow breath and began. "Takes place during the French and Indian war. Funny they call it that, when it was the French and English doing the fighting. Actually, the colonists and the natives seemed to be the ones getting killed." He twitched against the invisible tightness in his throat while he watched his partner before him. "Seems like it's never the ones dying who give the orders." Bruises glowed darkly on Ziva's pale skin.
Dragging his eyes back to Saleem, Tony continued, "Anyway, it takes place on the frontier, in the middle of nowhere with just these outpost forts and...camps." His eyes skittered around the room. "Real primitive places. Lot of guns, though. But you're probably familiar with all that," he grinned up at Saleem and earned a slap.
"Enough. Tell me about your people."
"I am," Tony spat. He swallowed against the burning in his throat. "First, there's Cora Munro. She's not from America, but over time she comes to appreciate it there. To understand it. To like it." Ziva raised her gaze slightly, a question forming in her swollen eyes.
"Cora, she's the daughter of Colonel Munro. He's British. Well, actually Scottish, but that's a whole other thing. Anyway, she's the daughter of this real important English officer." He swallowed. "Long, dark hair. Dark eyes." His words slowed as he tried to stop them from tumbling out of his mouth. "She's beautiful." His eyes found Ziva's with purpose and she lowered her head.
Tony exhaled a breath before picking up again. "Anyway, there's this Huron Indian, Magua, working with the French. Nasty guy. Got a thing for knives." He looked up at their captor. "You'd like him. Got a lot in common." Saleem reached for a canteen, but did not speak. "He's got a blood vengeance against Colonel Munro. And even though he may have his reasons, he decides to take it out on Cora. Munro's daughter." Tony eyed Ziva's bent form. "Any of this sounding familiar, Saleem?" he asked, a bite in his words.
Replacing the canteen's cap, Saleem looked on with a disinterested glare.
"No? I'm surprised. It really should. Well, here's where it gets good. There's these three guys, and two of them are the last of a vanishing people. The Mohicans. Bet you couldn't guess that from the title," he laughed. "Anyway, the father, his name is Chingachgook. Strong, silent type. Doesn't say much, but he's clearly the one in charge. I wouldn't want to cross him." He gestured with his chin toward Ziva. "She gets what I'm talking about here." He almost thought he saw a smile, but maybe that was just the serum flowing in his blood.
"Then there's Chingachgook's son, Uncas." Tony observed McGee's crumpled form, motionless on the ground. "Course, things don't turn out so well for him," he muttered softly. He inhaled the dusty air. "Anyway, midway through the movie Cora and her sister, Alice, are taken by-"
"Who is the third man?" Saleem interrupted. Tony's eyes narrowed slightly in confusion. "You said there were three men. This Chingachgook, Uncas, and...?"
Tony's lips pulled into a grin. "Ah, see, now you're interested!" Saleem turned to peer out the window into the distance. "I told you it's a good story!" He swallowed against the dryness in his throat. "The third man, Saleem, is Hawkeye. Nathaniel. La Longue Carabine. Adopted son of Chingachgook. Daniel Day-Lewis in a role he should have gotten more credit for." Tony straightened his shoulders and squared his chest. "He's the masculine yet sensitive hero of our story."
"And you fancy yourself this 'long rifle'?" Saleem asked.
Tony chuckled. "You know your French! Of course you do. Probably got that from a book, too. Anyway, Magua, that's the Huron, kidnaps the Munro girls. Leads them north into Huron land. And all the while Chingachgook and his sons are following on their trail. Why?" He turned to Ziva and captured her eyes before he spoke. "Because Hawkeye's in love with Cora. 'No matter how long it takes, no matter how far, I will find you.' That's what he promises." Ziva shied away from his heavy gaze. Tony leaned back. Facing the ceiling, he sighed. "Great scene, under the falls..."
"What is your point, Agent DiNozzo?"
His head snapped forward to glare at Saleem. "My point is that those three men run day and night to find them." His voice darkened. "And you know, you just know, they're never going to stop, because there's nothing Hawkeye won't do to get Cora back. Or, Saleem," he leaned forward as far as his bonds would allow, "to exact his revenge."
"Was that some sort of threat? Your friend is bound on the floor. This one?" He gestured with the tip of his knife to Ziva's pale neck. "Can't even rise from her chair. You overestimate your capabilities...Hawkeye," he smirked.
Tony's lip curled dangerously. "We haven't gotten to the end of the movie yet, Saleem." In the silence that followed, he continued, his words slow and quiet. "There's a showdown, a reckoning, on top of this mountain." He sighed, eyes focused on Ziva's defeated face. "It was too late by the time they all got to Alice." He swallowed against the words that would come next. "Cora's sister died," he concluded softly. The statement hung in the dusty air. A solitary tear slid down a bruised cheek. "And Uncas, well, that's where I'd like to make a little plot change. Desert's pretty flat, Saleem. No cliffs around here."
Saleem smirked. "And what of the gallant Hawkeye?"
Tony continued, voice matter-of-fact. "Oh, he did his part. Held the Hurons at bay. In the end he got the girl."
"And Magua? The savage villain? Felled by Hawkeye, I suppose, to rescue the girl. A typical ending." Saleem looked pointedly at Tony's bound wrists. "I do not think that is a possibility here."
"Oh, no, Saleem. That's where you're wrong. Didn't I tell you? That's the twist. You'd think it'd be Hawkeye, but it's not." Tony grinned and pulled in a breath. "In the end, it's Chingachgook who takes Magua down."
There's a whistle and a belated crack, but Saleem is already dead on the floor.