“Well, this situation does have a few advantages,” Tony says.
“DiNozzo,” Gibbs says from his spot at the window. He fires off another shot. They all flatten themselves against the floor of the once and future crime scene as return fire punches another hole in the upper pane of glass. Tim checks his phone for the umpteenth time, but their dead captain’s cabin hasn’t picked itself up and moved far enough to the edge of the forest to pick up cell signal. Alternatively, it hasn’t picked itself up and moved far enough back into the forest to keep their friendly neighborhood snipers from covering every door and window bigger than a breadbox.
“Doctor Mallard, maybe you should come over here,” Jimmy says from his position behind the nightstand. “I don’t think Captain Flynn needs protecting anymore.”
Ducky starts to inch across the floor towards Jimmy, but another shot makes them all jump, and he throws himself over Flynn’s body again.
“No, really,” Tony says.
“Gibbs, do you want me up there with you?” Kate asks with an extra edge of desperation in her tone. She’s wedged up against one wall, more to avoid flying glass than flying bullets, but who knows at this point. Tony and Tim are nearly piled on top of her, and Tony’s been grinning inappropriately ever since. Tim would be irritated, but Tony is actually using this whole mess to accidentally on purpose rest his hand on Tim’s ass, and it’s distracting him. They are going to have words when they get home. Sex, but then words.
Gibbs gives them a brief look that speaks volumes of his opinion of the three of them. “No room, sorry.”
Kate subsides with a cranky little sigh.
“Because,” Tony says, since common sense is nearly absent from his tiny tiny brain, “this is kind of nice.” He rolls back into Tim, who just shoves him, and leers over at Kate. “My own personal DiNozzo sandwich.”
Kate’s punch to the stomach isn’t a surprise at all, but the way Tony whimpers and folds in half definitely is.
And just like that, the whole situation changes.
Kate is nearly as white as Tony, and she only stops apologizing when Tony raises a shaky hand and pokes her in the stomach. “There, we’re even,” he says just above a whisper. “Shut up.”
From behind the fortress of bedroom furniture, which at least lets them sit up enough to lean over Tony as he lies on the floor, Ducky presses a hand carefully against Tony’s abdomen, which leads to another one of those miserable noises. Tim keeps his hand gentle as it smoothes through Tony’s sweaty hair, but his eyes shoot back to Ducky’s face.
“I think you can consider your apology sufficient, Kate,” Ducky says. “I suspect Anthony has been in pain for longer than a few minutes.”
“Bad takeout,” Tony says through clenched teeth.
“A bad appendix,” Ducky corrects him, and next to him Jimmy swears for the first time since Tim has known him. “Jethro, we need to get out of here.”
Gibbs doesn’t snap at Ducky, and Tim is officially terrified.
To review: no backup. No communications. Organized crime thugs with rifles and improving aim willing to keep them pinned down until they run out of ammo. Rapidly dwindling ammo. Also some trail mix, a half-empty bottle of vodka, and half a million in stolen U.S. currency, which Tim ticks off out of some sense of completeness.
“Your brains, Fezzig’s strength, my steel,” Tony quotes. ”Maybe if I had a week to plan.”
Everyone but Tim and Jimmy looks confused.
“So I should look for a wheelbarrow?” Tim asks. At some point in the last half hour, Tony grabbed his hand, or maybe Tim grabbed Tony’s, and he can’t bring himself to care. Rule 12 can go fuck itself.
“Or a holocaust cloak,” Tony says.
Kate finishes her third inventory of the weapons and ammunition. She looks up at Gibbs and they have some kind of silent debate; she nods sharply and looks away. “I’m making a run for it.”
“Good,” Tim says. “I’m coming.”
“Timothy,” Ducky says.
“No,” Kate says.
Tony sucks in a breath. “Probie—“ He cuts himself off with a flurry of coughing that turns into retching. Ducky’s hands clench on empty air, and Tim knows he’s thinking of the medical kit he always carries in the autopsy van. General office opinion judges that habit somewhere between creepily optimistic and creepily creepy, but Tim will carry it for him in the future—carry it inside, where it will be of some damn use, not right outside, where he could see it if he stood up, right before he got his head shot off.
He helps Tony rinse out his mouth with the dead captain’s vodka.
“Hope it wasn’t poisoned,” Tony says.
“Flynn was shot, Tony,” Ducky says dryly.
“Give me an extra clip, Kate,” Tim says. Tony grabs at him. “Damn it, Tony! I know I’m not as good as Gibbs or Kate, but the more people that go out, the better your chances are.”
“So when one of you gets killed, the other one might only get hurt really badly?”
Tim starts to deny it, but, yeah. He shrugs. Kate has her “take a bullet for the Commander in Chief” face on.
Tony tugs at Tim, who reluctantly bends down to him. Tony is radiating heat. Tim leans his forehead against Tony’s temple and sighs. Ducky is suddenly very busy in the opposite direction.
“You’re not gonna die,” Tim says.
“Well, forgive me if I don’t think anyone should,” Tony says. “Come on, you’re the great brain here. There’s got to be a better way.”
“Yes, absolutely, we have all the makings of a grand plan here!” Tim says a little too loudly; Tony winces back. “I’ll just concoct a magical solution with gunpowder, pillowcases, vodka, and…”
He sits straight up. “Down!” Gibbs snaps, and Jimmy, of all people, throws himself bodily at Tim as a bullet crosses the room much lower than any of the others.
“Don’t spill the vodka!” Tim blurts. “I mean, thank you.”
Jimmy’s ears are red as he scoots back over by Ducky.
“Now get on with it,” Gibbs says. “Whatever your giant brain has just cooked up.”
“Wait, what are you thinking?” Kate asks. “Does it actually require a wheelbarrow? Because I don’t think there’s one in the closet or anything.”
“Just metaphorical ones,” Tim says. “Can you get a dozen or so cartridges out and pry them open? I need the powder.”
She looks dubious, but she looks dubious while reaching for a magazine with one hand and her Swiss army knife with the other, so that’s fine.
“Gibbs, pillows,” Tim says. “Jimmy, reach for the closest bag of money you can get to. Tony, lie there and be pretty.”
Tony huffs out a tiny laugh. “On it, boss.”
Tim picks up the bottle of vodka.
To review: one former sniper. One vehicle filled with fuel in the former sniper’s sight line. A few pillowcases of crumpled currency to toss near the vehicle’s tank to soak up the gas, with an extra seasoning of gunpowder. And one run of the mill ordinary Molotov cocktail. It’s not a holocaust cloak, but it does bring every vehicle with a siren in the county bearing down on them in less than ten minutes, so Tim figures that's just fine.