“You are carrying a book,” Ziva announced as Tony rounded the divider into their section of the bullpen.
“Yes, Ziva,” Tony replied with a grin, “I most certainly am.”
“What is it?” Ziva asked.
“A good book loaned to me by a good friend,” Tony replied as he put his coat over the back of his chair and sat down. “I was pleasantly surprised even, I’m not usually a fan of mysteries, but Sandy is.”
“Another of your girlfriends?” McGee asked.
“Sandy? He is most certainly not a girl,” Tony retorted, “He’s a frat brother.”
“What kind of mystery?” Ziva asked.
“A murder mystery,” Tony said. He tucked the book into his desk for safe keeping and booted up his computer. “The author’s very unknown, this is his first book, but he’s getting some attention now.”
“What is it called?” McGee asked, sounding far too casual.
Tony turned, ready to poke his co-worker a bit.
“Dead sailor at Meridian Hill, grab your gear,” Gibbs announced.
Tony grabbed his bag and slid it over his shoulder and glanced at McGee, “A Killer Best Friend, by Quinten Vosley. You should read it, it’s really good.”
He paused as an odd expression crossed McGee’s face, a mix of relief and disappointment.
“DiNozzo, McGee!” Gibbs called.
“On your six boss,” Tony replied, hurrying for the elevator with McGee steps behind him.
The drive to Meridian Hill Park was terrifying but thankfully short, and Tony scrambled out of the car to make contact with the city cops who had cordoned the area and were keeping the bystanders at bay. As he got closer, he recognized one of the cops as a detective he’d ran into on other occasions and altered his path to speak with the man.
“Agent DiNozzo,” Henry Dimes said easily, shaking Tony’s hand.
“Detective Dimes,” Tony replied, “what do we have?”
“Naval Lieutenant attacked on his morning run and killed,” Dimes said, gesturing Tony further away from the crowd. “There’s a witness, an unbonded Guide. We had to call in the Center to get him some help, so he’s with them.”
Tony whistled softly, “Right, I’ll need that information of course. How bad was it?”
“Not as bad as you might expect,” Dimes said, “Kid broadcast enough to get attention but locked it down before it got bad. Detectives Aldives and Cortain were in the area and Cortain picked up the distress and back tracked it here.” Dimes indicated two women standing on the far side of the crime scene, where there were no bystanders. Tony didn’t have to look hard to pick up their Sentinel and Guide tags, it was clear in the way they stood who and what they were.
“Right,” Tony said. “Thanks Joe.”
“No problem,” Dimes said, “see you around.”
Tony headed over to where Gibbs was talking to Ducky over the body.
“What do you have?” Gibbs asked.
“Witness,” Tony said, keeping his voice soft and his face away from the crowd. “Unbonded guide saw it. They had to get the Center to send people to help him. Detectives Aldives and Cortain were first on the scene after it happened, Cortain picked up the guide’s distress and back tracked it.”
Gibbs glared at him a for a moment, his opinion of people taking his witnesses clear, then he jabbed Tony in the chest, “Talk to the detectives, then get down to the Center and get a statement from that guide.”
“On it,” Tony said quickly and headed for the Detectives. He flipped his notebook to a clean sheet and summoned up his most charming smile, “Detective Aldives and Detective Cortain, I’m Very Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo, NCIS. I’m here to get your statement.”
“We were following up on some leads for a series of robberies in the area when I sensed it,” Cortain said, “it was a panic-distress broadcast of a guide, but it wasn’t at a level that Jenny could sense at first, but by the time we got here a lot more people were picking it up. We found the guide standing just inside the woods, staring at the body and highly distressed, although his actual broadcasting was dying off quickly. He wasn’t coherent, whatever set him off, he needed to be at the Center, so Jenny called it in while I tried to help him.”
“Do you have any information on the Guide?” Tony asked.
“No,” Jenny Aldives said, “he wouldn’t say anything.”
“Did you see anything else, anyone acting strange or leaving the area in a hurry?”
“No,” Jenny replied, “and I looked. That level of distress in a Guide, I wasn’t going to take chances.”
Tony nodded, a Sentinel with their Guide in danger was a fearsome thing to behold.
“Is there anything either of you noticed or saw at any point?” Tony pushed, “No matter how insignificant you think it is.”
Tony wasn’t a guide, to be able to ease them into remembering the little things, but he was good at relaxing people and getting them to remember things they didn’t expect. But as good as he was, there was a limit to what he could get and so he left the pair with his number and returned as the others were packing away the tools.
“That had better be good,” Gibbs said.
“The killer was a Sensitive,” Tony replied quietly, “not a Guide, but there’s a strong chance they were on somebody’s radar. Cortain thought they were the sort that could come online with the right kind of push.”
There it was, that moment of frustration that this could get buried with the GSC.
“It’s not a Guide, Gibbs. Cortain said the Center might want access to seal the killer’s mind, but other than that, they don’t really have jurisdiction except for the unbonded Guide who saw it happen.” Tony met his boss’s eyes for a moment, then glanced away, “I can’t go to the Center to get the Guide’s statement. I’m unbonded.”
“I’ll take care of it,” Gibbs said.
Tony nodded, trying not to wince at the number of angry calls about baby guides he’d have to field if Gibbs decided to go in person. He was still getting nasty emails from the last time they’d run into a GSC investigation.