Summary: Tony finds himself buried in his work. Will his team find him in time? What will be the outcome of their unexpected case?
Rated: FR13
Categories: General > Case File, General > Drama
Genre: Case Fic
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: None
Story Notes
Written for Purple Muse for the 2017 WEE
It’s All a Matter of Time

When the elevator dinged Tony looked up and smiled at the two young ladies who exited and were walking toward the bullpen.

“Well, well Emily. To what do we owe the honor of your presence? And who is this lovely young woman with you?” he smiled as he stood and met them. He extended his hand in greeting, as Emily looked toward her Uncle Gibbs.

“This is my neighbor, Melody Marquard,” she introduced her companion. “I babysit for her and her husband.”

Gibbs raised his eyebrows slightly wondering why his Goddaughter decided to bring her neighbor to NCIS.

Tony realizing there was more to the story sat back on his desk, while Tim and Ellie also focused their attention on what was about to be revealed.

“Emily has told me a lot about you, Mr. Gibbs and the work you and your team do,” Melody began. “I know it may be a lot to ask, but I need some help and finding my husband.”

“Is he AWOL?” Tony asked and shrugged as his boss glared clearly wanting to get the details without making the young woman defensive.

“He’s on leave presently, but due back to join his regiment at the end of the week. I’m afraid he’s got caught up in something that will not only delay his making it to join them, but may have him in a lot worse trouble.”

Gibbs rolled his head to loosen the tension that was starting to build. It was fortunate they didn’t have a current case to work on, because he sensed there was going to be a time consuming adventure ahead for them.

“Explain,” he stated softly.

“It all started a few weeks ago when our son was diagnosed with a congenital heart condition. It’s treatable, but expensive. I’m afraid that Dwayne is looking for a way to get the money and not necessarily in a legal way.”

“When was the last time you spoke with him?” Gibbs asked.

“He calls every night, but he won’t tell me where he is or what he is up to. He just says he’s going to take care of everything.”

Gibbs nodded. “Alright McGee, track his cell and see if you can get a location. Bishop see if there’s any communication through Homeland. I doubt he’s going to be doing this all on his own. DiNozzo look for any reports of holdups, just in case he’s working that end.”

“Emily why don’t you take Mrs. Marquard up to the conference room and get her something to drink.”

“Alright Uncle Gibbs,” she began to lead her neighbor toward the stairs, but turned back to add, “Thanks.”

Two days later….

Only me. No one else would find themselves in this situation. Not McGee, he’s too smart to get caught up in the chase. He is always one to plan ahead. Bishop even warned me to wait for her, but she was taking too long on her intel from her source at Homeland Security. It may be the last predicament for this very special agent, Tony smirked to himself. Gotta keep your sense of humor, even to the end.

Tony wiped at the sweat that trickled down his face. I wonder if it would be better if I was stuck some place cooler as I take my last breath. I never really liked sweating- well sometimes it wasn’t too bad, he laughed to himself recalling a few hot nights he spent with former lovers.

Sweating on the job wasn’t one of the times. The bad guys take it as a sign of weakness. There must be something to that because I’m feeling pretty weak right now. Maybe if I just let myself fall asleep death will sneak up on me and I won’t even know it, Tony’s eyes closed slowly….

“Where was he going?” Gibbs demanded from the two agents standing in front of his desk. “DiNozzo had to tell you something.”

“Boss, all I know is he said he had a good lead on Corporal Marquard.

The lead agent glared, but turned to his younger agent.

“I was getting intel from Homeland that Marquard had teamed up with an old friend he served with when he was in Iraq, Sgt. Dennis Leonard. The sergeant was dishonorably discharged three years ago for stealing weapons and ammunition. Apparently, they didn’t retrieve all of it back. They assumed he sold it on the black market. I think he held onto at least some of it and Cpl. Marquard knew it. Whether they actually teamed up or not they don’t know yet, but there was definitely some communication between the two of them.

Gibbs threw down his glasses as he got to his feet. He examined the map on the screen whey they had narrowed the search for their suspect and now presumably their senior field agent.

As if willing the map to reveal a clue, Gibbs narrowed his eyes and pointed, “Here.”

“Boss?” McGee looked and tried to guess what Gibbs was seeing.

“Zoom in here,” he pointed again.

Tim rushed to his computer and punched the keyboard to bring the area in closer for inspection.

“Right here,” Gibbs grabbed his keys, ID and weapon. Tim and Ellie shrugged, but followed suit. Rushing to reach the elevator heading to only Gibbs knew where, but trusting his gut would help find their friend before any harm could come to him, if they weren’t too late already.

“We should get him out,” Marquard argued.

“No way! He gets out we may as well turn ourselves in,” Leonard replied.

“Hell die, if he’s not dead already.”

“Better him than us, or at least me.”

“I’m not a killer,” Marquard paced and ran his hand over his short cropped hair. “I only wanted to get money for my kid.”

“Oh please. Don’t start that holier than thou crap. You sought me out. You wanted the weapons.”

“Only as a means,” Marquard stopped and shook his head. He’d managed to turn a bad situation into one that couldn’t end well for him. His biggest regret was that his son was only not going to get the help he needed, but he’d have to suffer his illness with his father by his side.

“Right. I don’t need to be here. You owe me my share.”


“Yeah, fine. Only you don’t have anything yet.”

“I’ll get it to you.”

“No we’ll get it together. If we head toward Mexico, we can hit a few banks. You can pay up and we’ll go our separate ways. Hanging around here will only bring his pals hoping to rescue him.”

Marquard looked at the building where they had practically buried the federal agent alive. Glancing back at his cohort he shrugged. “Ah the hell with him. Let’s go.” He grabbed his duffle and a rifle as he followed Leonard to his car.

The voices were muffled, but still recognizable. Were they looking for him? Would they rescue him before it was too late? If time ran out would they even know who was responsible? If there was enough room and he had enough energy he’d give himself an almighty Gibbs’ slap for his stubbornness. He must be losing the battle, he thought. How could his team, especially his boss not know who had done this. He trusted them implicitly to find them. Gibbs no doubt wouldn’t be happy with his going off on his own, but Tony would take his wrath to be saved.

The voices grew louder and he could make out the bark of his boss. He smiled just as light shone in blinding him momentarily.

“Laying down on the job, Tony?” Tim asked the sense of relief evident in his gibe.

The influx of air cooled Tony’s sweating face and he took as deep of breath as he could manage. It was evident to him then, how close he probably was to not surviving.

“Let’s get him out of there and make sure he’s alright.”

“Right here,” Ducky moved in to where Tony was laying. Though covered in dirt and not able to move his legs which were buried in dirt up to his waist, he looked unscathed. “How did you manage to get yourself in this predicament?”

“Funny story,” Tony began noticing Gibbs wasn’t agreeing with that sentiment. “I came out following McGee’s hunch that they would hide out somewhere remote. I lucked out and saw a cloud of dirt from a car driving down to here. I parked up a ways and came down, but I guess I wasn’t stealth enough, because Leonard spotted me and somehow got behind me while I was attempting to text my location to you guys. He pushed me into the cabin and we tousled for a bit until I slid down into this pit. I guess he figured I did myself in, because he just let the dirt continue to rain down and walked back out, I presume to finish making the robbery plans with Marquard.”

“Yeah I guess that must be about right,” Ellie said. “We ran into them as we were making our way down to save you.”

“So you stopped Dwayne from digging himself into deep trouble?”

“Guess that depends on how you ex plain this situation. He did leave you to die,” Gibbs remarked.

“I couldn’t hear their conversation much, but it did sound like they argued before they left.”

“Well, let’s get you outta here and cleaned up. We can determine any charges after that,” Gibbs reached out his hand and after a nod from Ducky helped to pull his agent free.

A month later…

“Hey Emily. Nice to see you again,” Tony smiled in greeting.

“Hey yourself Tony. I just wanted to update you all on the Marquard’s.”

The trio of agents gathered in the center of the bullpen and Gibbs leaned back in his chair. Having their attention, Emily smiled, “Their baby had a successful operation and is recovering nicely. Cpl. Marquard will be joining his regiment in a few weeks. After learning of the circumstances of his child they granted him a continuance of his leave.”

“Good news,” Ellie smiled.

“Yeah, thanks for letting us know,” Tim said.

“And Tony,” Emily turned to the lead agent. “He wanted me to express his regret and also his gratitude for you not pressing charges against him.”

“Hey no real harm done, though it’s as close to harm as ever want to come any time soon.”

Tim looked quizzically at Emily, “So where did they get the money for the surgery?”
The young woman smiled and tilted he head toward her Godfather, “An anonymous donor is all they were told.”

The three agents looked toward their boss who was suddenly very interested in the papers on his desk. Looking up at their glances, he said, “Don’t you all have some work to be doing?”

“Right boss,” they gave their goodbyes to Emily and made their ways back to their desks.

As Emily waited for the elevator she looked back toward Gibbs’ desk and saw him stand up and give her a wave good-bye. She mouthed, “Thank you,” and left knowing he wouldn’t want any more credit than knowing things worked out well for the young family.

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