“That was strangely.... anti-climatic,” said Ziva, finally holstering her gun.
Buffy Summers and Faith Lehane were now both in custody, handcuffed and being led away. From where she was standing, she could see Lehane raising her wrists in the restraints and saying something to her escort. Whatever it was, it caused them to flush and miss a step.
The two now totally cooperative women were taken to a separate car each, and placed in the rear before being driven away. Tony DiNozzo finally took his eyes off the car with Lehane in it, and refocused on Ziva. “Got to admit, that wasn’t how I saw that going down,” he said seriously, his face still intent.
“Oh?” Ziva said lightly, trying to provoke the Tony she was used to out of his hiding place. “From your earlier comments, I gained the impression you were looking forward to a rematch.”
“Let’s just say, I was hoping for more of a physical confrontation...” Tony smirked.
“Somehow I doubt either of those women would have let you get her drunk first, Tony,” Ziva smirked back in response.
She turned around, and studied the remains of 2376 North Bishop Drive. The fire was almost out now, just a few remaining flares glowing in the charred remains of what had been a large house. As she watched, the last of the firemen still remaining on site moved swiftly to douse them.
As if he was reading her mind, Tony appeared by her shoulder. “We gotta go in there in a moment.”
Ziva nodded. “Loose ends.”
Tony grimly studied the remains as well. “Before he went off with the prisoners, Gibbs told me to get a head count of everyone that should be around from the neighbours. We need to know what happened to the original hostage Andrea Masterson.”
Ziva kept watching the movements in the remains. “I do not like that none of the firemen have located any bodies so far. There is only a small area remaining to search, and I cannot see that Summers and Lehane would surrender before completing their mission.”
She looked directly at Tony. “I would not.”
“Something’s definitely off,” Tony replied, also watching the final quenching of the last few flickering flames. “McGee tell you about the cars?”
“No,” Ziva said, quirking one eyebrow upwards. “I was busy guarding the women.”
Tony nodded towards the side of the building and the charred concrete walls of a garage that blocked their view. “Behind that. McGee found the remains of the original silver Toyota Prius that everyone was after. Also all burned out, but nowhere near the main house fire.”
Ziva’s brow furrowed. “Destroying some kind of trace evidence, maybe? Are we sure that it was even Summers and Lehane who did this?”
“Dunno,” Tony shrugged. “And then there’s the UPS truck parked next to it. Completely unharmed, ‘cept for the broken driver side window with traces of blood inside.”
Ziva frowned unhappily. “So, we are now seeking Andrea Masterson, this Zero that the women were seeking, and a possible third person in the form of whoever was driving that truck.”
“Uh-huh, and Gibbs wants us back at NCIS as soon as possible.”
“Naturally.” After a moment, Ziva glanced away from the house, and caught Tony replacing his cell phone in his pocket. “Tony? Why are you smirking?”
“Oh, nothing really,” he said, still smirking broadly.
Ziva’s eyes narrowed. Oh, it was most something certainly... “Tell me Tony, or I will be forced to come up with something creative involving your lower intestines.”
Tony stared at her for a moment. “Why are your vague threats more scary than the most hardened criminal’s death threats?”
“Practice,” Ziva said tersely, and made a beckoning motion with her hands. “Out with it.”
Tony smirked again. “Oh, I might have sent Abby a picture of Probie duct-taped to the wall in his underwear.”
Ziva blinked. “You did not.”
This time, Tony was smiling broadly. “And after earlier today, when he didn’t mention that fight to her.... how do you think she’s going to react?”
Ziva studied Tony thoughtfully, a small smile playing at the corner of her mouth. “I do not think you have thought this through all the way, Tony.”
“Mmm.... what?” Tony indignantly said, looking at her. “It can’t fail! It’s a DiNozzo classic! Bases are loaded, three men on, swing and a hit. Pow! To the moon!”
Ziva sighed, and grinned internally. “You have forgotten what happened to McGee’s cell when he was being held in his apartment.”
Tony’s face showed perplexment. “It got broken. So what?”
Ziva smiled gently. This was going to be fun. “Firstly, that means that McGee has a perfectly valid reason for not letting Abby know.”
Tony’s cell started to ring. Automatically, he took it out of his pocket, his mind turning over that information. “Crap,” he said, “Which means....”
“So, Abby will automatically try his cell and fail. Now, even more worked up, who will Abby call next for information?”
Tony’s eyes grew wide, and he regarded the ringing cell in his hand with horror. “....whoever sent her the picture in the first place?”
Ziva just smiled.
~ + ~