Tony stepped off the elevator singing the title song from Oklahoma as he practically bounced across the floor on his way through the bullpen. After dropping his gloves at the edge of his desk, he pulled the knitted scarf from around his neck, and hung it up with his coat.
“You’re in a good mood today,” Kate observed.
“That’s because the sun is shining and it’s a beautiful day, Kate.”
Both Kate and McGee glanced out the window.
“It’s cold, blustery and snowy,” McGee said flatly.
Turning slightly, Tony looked out of the window, too. “Well, it was bright, sunny and beautiful in the movie I watched last night,” he said, bursting into song once again.
A head slap stopped him mid-verse.
“Really, Boss? It has cowboys, horses and a surrey with the fringe on top. As far as musicals go, I thought it would be right up your alley.”
“Not really, DiNozzo.”
“Right up your canyon? Prairie? Cattle range?”
“If you’re having trouble finding something to do, I’m sure I could make a couple suggestions.”
“Getting to work, Boss.”
Tony shot a glance across the bullpen. Gibbs had recently started wearing reading glasses when he worked at his desk. Tony thought they looked hot. Lately, everything about his boss seemed attractive to him, from his perfect silver hair, to his gruff nature. Tony had felt drawn to him from the first moment they met.
As much as it bothered him that Danny had turned out to be dirty, it gave him a perfect reason to accept Gibbs’ job offer. He had no issues leaving Baltimore PD to work under Gibbs at NCIS. Leaning back in his chair, he wished he spent more time actually underneath his boss and wondered what sex with Gibbs would be like. Certainly, it would be amazing.
Hearing his name snapped him out of his daydreaming. “Yes, Boss?”
“I said, grab your gear.”
“On it, Boss,” he said as he grabbed his coat, scarf and bag.
He knew it was dangerous, being lost in his thoughts and thinking about his sexual fantasies with his boss. As the team raced for the elevator, Tony scrambled to stand next to Gibbs.
Inhaling deeply, he asked, “Is that a new cologne?”
Gibbs scowled. “Sawdust and bourbon.”
“You really should bottle that stuff. Very sexy.”
Gibbs only glared back at him, which made Tony feel like a lovesick schoolboy.
Everyone on the team fastened their seatbelts as Gibbs revved the engine. Kate clung to the door handle. Tony was certain she was praying for their safety.
“We get a lead, Boss?” Tony asked.
Gibbs glared at him in the rearview mirror.
Leaning across the backseat, Tony looked to McGee. “Fill me in?” he whispered.
“Local cops spotted Patrick Lloyd and gave chase. One officer was shot. His partner stopped to assist him and call an ambulance,” Tim whispered as Gibbs pushed the accelerator harder.
“They lost Lloyd,” Tony mumbled softly.
“They called in reinforcements to scour the area, but no one else has seen him.”
“You know what this means?” questioned Tony.
“We have to catch him?” answered Tim.
“That case crossed into FBI territory. Fornell’s going to be there.”
Tony’s thoughts wandered back. Patrick Lloyd was a serial killer, who they suspected of killing a sailor, Tyler Ward. They’d gotten the case less than a month ago. Fornell had argued that the FBI already had jurisdiction. Gibbs insisted the Ward case fell into NCIS jurisdiction and he intended to investigate. There was no guarantee that Lloyd had murdered Ward, but the killing was similar to others tied to him. Gibbs still wanted to interview Lloyd and had the team tracking him with little success so far.
Gibbs pulled the car into a parking lot where a group of law enforcement officers were gathering. Many were beat cops in uniforms, but there were also several detectives and FBI agents in suits and heavy overcoats.
The team followed Gibbs over to Fornell to get updated.
“Has he been seen since the shooting?” Gibbs asked.
“What are you doing here?” Fornell asked. “Lloyd is wanted by the FBI.”
“He’s wanted by NCIS, too.”
Fornell eyed the group assembled. “I think we have this covered.”
“With a man as dangerous as Lloyd, I’d take the extra help.”
“Okay, you can stay. As long as you realize that you are only backing us up. When we get him, the FBI gets first crack at questioning him.”
Gibbs smiled. If his team took custody first, he fully intended to escort him back to NCIS headquarters. The FBI could have him when NCIS was done with him. “Where do you want us?”
Fornell laid a map of the area across the car hood as detectives, supervisors and other FBI agents stood close. “This is where he was first spotted by the beat cops.”
“Coffee shop.” Gibbs nodded knowingly. He understood the need for coffee.
“They called it in. Lloyd saw them and took off running. This is where he shot the cop.”
“How’s the officer doing?”
“He’s at the hospital, in surgery. The doctors think he’s going to make it.”
“Lloyd ran off in this general direction. We’ve set up road blocks, but there are still a lot of buildings he could be hiding in.”
Gibbs took a look at the map. “My team will take the park.”
“The park?” Fornell looked Gibbs in the eyes. He’d become fairly astute at reading Gibbs over the years. This time he was curious. Why did Gibbs want the park? What was his famous gut telling him?
“Yeah, we’ll be in the park.” Gibbs adjusted his microphone and earpiece. “What channel?”
Walking quickly across the lot, Gibbs went in the direction of the park, his team right behind him. At the edge of the park, he motioned for Kate and McGee to take the area to the left and for Tony to follow him.
It was beginning to snow as they started down a foot path. They both focused on searching the trees for movement. Being winter, most trees were barren of leaves giving them a good line of sight.
“What makes you think he’d go through the park?” asked Tony.
“I’ve seen his profile. He’s athletic, probably runs.”
Tony nodded as he peered around the area. “It’s not going to seem overly suspicious for someone to be running through a park.”
“There are plenty of trees for cover if he wants to stay put for a while.”
Tony rubbed his arms, then cupped his hands and blew across his bare fingers. “It’s a little chilly to be hiding outside.”
“He is a cold blooded killer.”
“Point taken,” Tony responded as he pushed his hands deep into his coat pockets.
“Where are your gloves, DiNozzo?”
“I think I left them on my desk. Sorry, Boss.”
“As long as you can still grab the bad guy and cuff him or shoot if necessary, we’re good.”
“I can do whatever it takes.”
The two of them walked quickly and listened to comments coming across their ear pieces. They caught a couple glimpses of Kate and Tim before hills and distance blocked the view of their teammates.
“Don’t want to give him too easy of a target,” Gibbs said softly as he lengthened his stride, effectively putting him a few feet ahead of Tony.
Remaining cautious, they moved quietly, listening and watching as they continued through the park. Gibbs turned sharply when Tony snapped a twig, motioning to him to keep the noise level lower.
“People walk and jog on the trail, Gibbs. Don’t you think it’s more suspicious if we’re too quiet?”
“It would be better if we had a dog,” Tony mused.
Gibbs smirked as he turned. “How many times do I have to tell you? You can’t put McGee on a leash.”
Tony had to jog a few steps to catch up with Gibbs’ brisk pace. “He may still need a little training, but he’s not a bad little McPup.”
Gibbs stopped so short that Tony ran right into him, grabbing Gibbs’ arm to keep from falling to the ground. Once he righted himself, he glanced into the distance to see what Gibbs was looking at. The man hadn’t noticed them yet. He was coming off a hill, walking quickly and looking around in different directions.
“That’s him,” Gibbs whispered.
“Are you sure?”
As Tony asked the question, Lloyd began walking very quickly in the other direction.
Kate called into her microphone. “Subject has been spotted, heading west through the park. We think he’s seen us.”
Gibbs responded, “We have him in sight. You and McGee hold back and go around. Cut him off if you can. Tony and I will come up behind him.”
Gibbs motioned to Tony and they left the path, intending to cut some distance between them and Lloyd before he noticed them. Within moments, Lloyd began jogging, continuing to look back as if he thought he was being followed. Once he caught sight of Tony and Gibbs coming toward him over an open field, he broke into a full run.
“Watch for a weapon,” warned Gibbs as they sped up their pursuit. “Perp is running,” he said into the microphone, “heading northwest. DiNozzo and I are behind him. If he draws a weapon watch the crossfire.”
“My team is coming your way,” said Fornell.
“He’s heading for the lake,” Gibbs called to Tony. “You go to the right, I’ll go left. We’ll cut him off on the far end. Kate and McGee will be here in a minute.”
“Got it, Boss,” Tony yelled back.
Lloyd got to the edge of the lake and looked back at them. Then he took off running across the frozen water.
“I got him, Boss,” Tony called as he followed Lloyd onto the ice.
“It’s not safe, DiNozzo! Go around!”
“I got him.”
Tony was slowly closing in on Lloyd as they crossed the frozen expanse. Gibbs followed along the left bank, watching the pair’s progress. “It’s not cold enough for a hard freeze, Tony,” he yelled. “It’s not going to hold your weight.”
It had held so far. Tony pulled all the energy he had into a final burst, coming close enough to Lloyd to tackle him. The two of them went down hard, ice cracking beneath them. Lloyd was fully immersed in the water a moment later. Tony was able to scramble back to the weakened edge. Taking off his scarf, he tossed the loose end into the water.
“Grab onto it, Patrick. If you don’t you’re going to die.”
“Or I could pull you in with me.”
Tony could hear Lloyd’s teeth chattering. “I can pull you out, take it.”
Gibbs watched the scene from the shoreline. “DiNozzo! You okay?”
“Fine, Boss. Come on, Lloyd. Do you really want to freeze to death?”
Lloyd grabbed at the scarf, wrapping the end around his hand and pulling. Tony pulled back. Another sickening crack broke the ice beneath Tony’s body.
“Tony!” Gibbs yelled. Pressing his microphone button, he demanded, “We need an ambulance here ASAP. We’re at the lake in the park. Get someone here now!”
“We’re close,” advised Fornell. “What’s going on?”
“DiNozzo chased the perp across the frozen lake. The ice broke.”
“They’re in the water?”
“Yeah, both of them.”
“I’ll get two ambulances on the way. We’ll be there soon.”
Gibbs gingerly stepped out on the frozen lake just as Kate and McGee came into view. “Stay on the shore. Fornell has an ambulance coming. Lead them here.”
Kate shaded her eyes with her hand. “Where are they?”
Gibbs pointed to the hole in the ice as he slowly inched his way across the surface.
“Gibbs, don’t go out there. It’s not safe.”
“I’m not going to stand by and let them die.”
Every few moments, one of them would bob above the water, gasping for air and grasping at the icy edge of the hole. When either one tried to get himself out, more ice broke, making the hole larger each time.
Gibbs thought of what he had on him. He found he had nothing to pull either man out of their predicament. “Where is that damn rescue team?”
As he got closer to the edge, Gibbs dropped to his knees first, then gradually onto his stomach. Using his hands, he slid his body closer to the hole where the ice had broken through.
“Tony! Tony?” he called when he heard the sirens from the ambulances nearing. “DiNozzo!”
A hand reached for him. He took hold and tugged while backing across the ice. The man was coughing and sputtering as Gibbs pulled him out of the water. It was only moments before he realized it wasn’t Tony. After getting Lloyd out, others began rushing across the ice. Fornell and his team had arrived as well as many from the local police department.
“Hey!” Gibbs yelled. “It’s not safe. Get everyone off the ice!”
He watched the others back away. Nodding to Fornell, he pushed Lloyd away from the hole. Fornell came close enough to grab Lloyd and handcuff him before dragging him toward an ambulance.
Gibbs looked back toward the hole. No other hands reached for help. No air bubbles were to be seen indicating that Tony there. Gibbs scanned across the thin ice, trying to catch a glimpse of his missing agent.
Minutes later a fire truck arrived. The firefighters laid ladders across the frozen lake, enabling their crew to get above the hole safely, with their harnesses attached to the ladder.
“Who’s down there?” one of the firefighters asked.
“Special Agent DiNozzo, NCIS. It’s been a few minutes. Any chance he’s still alive?”
“Yes. People have been pulled out after being submerged for an hour. If their core temperature drops enough, it may help to keep them alive.”
With a little urging, Gibbs backed away and allowed the firefighters to put their rescue efforts into motion. Fornell handed him a cup of steaming coffee.
“Thought you could use it.”
“I told him to stay off the damn ice,” Gibbs said as he watched for any sign of his agent.
“He got the guy.”
“He may have killed himself doing it.”
“DiNozzo? He’s got to be part cat. That kid has nine lives.”
Minutes later, the rescue team pulled Tony out of the icy water. Gibbs bit his lip. Tony wasn’t moving. The crew pulled him back across their ladder-bridge to safety and turned him over to the EMTs.
By the time Gibbs reached the ambulance, they had cut Tony’s clothing off and had wrapped him in warming blankets.
“Is he going to make it?” Gibbs asked, climbing into the ambulance. “He’s one of my Agents.”
“What’s his name?”
“DiNozzo. Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo, NCIS. I’m Gibbs, his boss.”
“He has a pulse, barely.”
“What’s that?” Gibbs asked pointing at a spot of blood on Tony’s forehead.
The EMT wiped the spot. “Gees, that could be a bullet hole. Let’s get this guy to the hospital ASAP. Let’s roll.”
Gibbs held on to Tony’s hand as they raced to the hospital. His skin was cold and pale to the touch. Gibbs began rubbing Tony’s hand between his own.
“Sir? Please don’t do that.”
Gibbs looked at the young EMT, wondering if he had been out of school for even a year. “I’m just trying to warm him up.”
“I know, but that could be dangerous. In cases of hypothermia, it’s important to warm his core first. Warming his extremities can cause cold blood back to his heart and that could kill him. It can also damage the skin itself.”
“Oh, okay.” Gibbs pulled his hand away and just stared at Tony. He listened to the EMT speak to a doctor at the hospital, advising him of the possible bullet wound.
The EMTs words stuck with him: ‘hypothermia’, ‘needs surgery’, ‘pupils non-responsive’, ‘pulse weak’, ‘on ventilator’.
He felt helpless. It crossed his mind that body heat could be used to warm another person, but didn’t think the EMT would approve of him stripping down and lying with Tony on the gurney.
It wasn’t long before they arrived at the hospital. Staff members whisked Tony away from him. Pulling out his phone, Gibbs called Ducky.