Title: Timely Arrival
Challenge: The Writer’s Table Thursday Vignettes on Rough Trade (image prompt)
Fandom: NCIS, sentinel fusion
Relationship/Characters: Tony DiNozzo, Original Male Character (played by Idris Elba)
Rating/Warnings: M; offscreen kidnapping, assault, mentions of human trafficking, canon-typical violence
Notes: Written for the visual prompt above, Idris Elba and a really big damned tiger.
Word Count: 1193
Summary: An arrest takes an interesting turn for sentinel Tony DiNozzo and his team.
You never knew what to expect during a tactical breach, except the unexpected. Still, there was unexpected, and then there was this.
“It took you long enough.”
The man was beautiful, and normally Tony would be happy to spend some time interviewing — or just admiring — him, but he was outshone by his companion. A full-grown Sumatran tiger.
Lying on the ground of the warehouse in various states of unconsciousness were the sailors, the team were investigating for smuggling and human trafficking.
“Well, shit.” Tony lowered his gun.
“Aptly put,” the unknown guide said as he rose to his feet. The tiger stood as well, every ounce of five hundred pounds. He eyed them all, including Ziva, who had yet to lower her gun. “You’re not from the SG taskforce.”
Tony reached over and nudged Ziva’s barrel downwards, making her glare. “Do not point your gun at a guide, Ziva.”
“How do you know —”
“Who else but an alpha guide wanders around DC with a tiger and can drop a roomful of people without a scratch on anyone? Are we expecting the taskforce?” Tony asked. The SG taskforce was an interagency division dealing with matters of sentinels and guides that required tactical assaults instead of meetings. They didn’t answer to the Centre, not directly, but Centre ‘suggestions’ had a way of showing up on the agenda.
“As I managed to get a message out before I let these wankers take me, yes.”
Gibbs holstered his gun. “McGee, call the task force, tell them we found one of theirs during an NCIS op. Tony, does this,” he waved at the bodies, “account for everyone in the building?”
“No,” Tony and the guide said at the same time. Tony waved the other man on.
“There are two children in the office.” The guide pointed to the only enclosed space in the warehouse. “Guide twins, about six. They were brought in after me, at which point I grew tired of playing their games.”
Well, that explained the unconscious sailors and the steady heartbeats Tony had picked up. He glared at the nearest body, wishing he’d wake up. So Tony could shoot him.
Gibbs growled. “Ziva, go outside and call the Centre for an ambulance and youth coordinator. Then you and McGee can process these,” he nudged a downed sailor.
Ziva and McGee fled, cell phones already in hand. The guide raised a brow; his tiger chuffed.
Gibbs headed for the office. “I’ve got this. Tony, deal with him.”
“Sure, boss. Whatever you say, boss.” Tony dug into a pocket on his tac vest for zip ties and bent to cuff the closest sailor. Tightly. A guide packed a wallop when they overwhelmed the psionic centres of the brain, as this one had, so it was unlikely the smugglers would wake for hours without assistance.
But it made him feel better. Also, procedure.
“I hope you don’t intend to use those on me, as well. Shayari might have something to say about it.”
“Yeah, no,” Tony said. “I know better. How long did you play helpless for these stellar examples of naval honour?”
“About fourteen hours. It was sad, actually.” He crossed his arms, watching as Tony bound each of the seven men. “They waved a gun and made a few vague threats about behaving so they might choose me a nice new owner,” Tony growled, echoing the tiger, Shayari, “and assumed I was cowed.”
“Morons.” He tightened the last zip. “People watch too much tv — which is ironic, coming from me, but still.” He stood up and studied the guide, who looked unruffled and amused by his ordeal. His spirit animal was a little more expressive, the tip of her tail flicking slowly as she watched Tony.
“Jesus, I can’t believe they bought the helpless act. You couldn’t be more of a threat if you made an effort. Remind me to complain to their training officers.”
“In their defence — ” Tony snorted, and Shayari showed her teeth. The guide chuckled, laying a hand on her head and rubbing the base of one ear. “True, but the image of a guide as an empathetic and nurturing figure is deeply rooted.”
“So is kudzu, and it can still overwhelm you before you can blink.”
The guide smiled slowly. It was stupidly attractive. “That’s the first time I’ve been compared to an invasive weed.”
“Yeah, I’m sure it’s usually Adonis or other specimens of male beauty —”
“You should talk, agent.”
“ — but the analogy worked. Besides, kudzu is a useful plant in its native environment. It’s only when you take it from its habitat and plant it because it looks pretty that is takes over and kicks your ass. Special Agent Tony DiNozzo, NCIS.”
“Caleb Bishop, Sentinel/Guide Taskforce Commander.”
“Of course you are,” Tony said. “I repeat, morons. Anyone involved in kidnapping guides for human trafficking should, at the least, be able to identify the most high profile sentinels and guides who might be sent after them. I’m definitely going to talk to their training officers.”
“I did only move to the area last week. I was previously stationed with the unit attached to Interpol.”
“Welcome to Washington. Come for the promotion, stay for the abductions.”
“Well, I won’t be bored.”
“You,” Tony said quietly, “are very dangerous.”
Bishop smiled again. “Most people would say that you’re the dangerous one, Agent. After all, I’m a guide, and you’re an online sentinel.”
He was, and it was currently very hard to stop from letting his sense of smell and sight dial-up. “I need a gun or a knife to drop seven people. At the very least, there would be some bruising. Anyone who thinks the sentinel is the most dangerous one in a pair is criminally stupid.”
“As we are both currently employed, there are plenty of criminals. Many of them quite stupid.” Bishop tilted his head. “And now you are being dumb, sentinel. I’ve been very patient but, as is evident, my patience has limits.”
Tony was suddenly aware that the tiger spirit guide had circled behind him. He felt the press of a there-but-not-there form against his legs and ass for a moment before Shayari gave him a solid push forward. Right into Caleb Bishop.
Who smelt and felt fantastic, despite the lingering scent of adrenaline, foreign body odour and eau de warehouse. Tony wanted to taste him, right where he could see the pulse of his heart in his neck.
“‘Bout damn time you showed up, guide,” Tony grumbled, fisting his hands in the man’s shirt and sniffing his neck.
“Don’t blame me, sentinel.” One big hand stroked over Tony’s back and up to cup his skull. He wanted to purr like Shayari, winding around their legs, was doing. “Like I said earlier, I’ve been waiting for you. You’re the one who took his time.”
“Not my fault. Besides, you can clearly take care of yourself.” He gave into temptation and licked his guide’s throat. Caleb shuddered.
“True enough, but I’d rather take care of you.”
“No getting kidnapped. That’s my job, and I’ve got practice.”
“Let’s agree to disagree on that point.”