Tribute to Whom Tribute is Due

Chapter 6

Gibbs and McGee drove to Tony's apartment while Tim tried several times to get a hold of Tony, even though he knew by the second call that the senior field agent's phone was turned off. Whatever Tony was doing was obviously important enough to him to allow anything to get in his way.

When the two agents walked into Tony's apartment, they found that there were things strewn around everywhere, showing that Tony had not been his usual self, as he usually kept his place tidy and well kept. They also found half emptied takeout food boxes and a couple of beer bottles left on his coffee table, as well as a broken beer bottle on the floor near a wall, indicating that Tony had thrown it against the wall in a fit of anger.

"What could have possibly upset Tony so much that has caused all this?" Tim asked worriedly. "I mean, I know he's been hurting over Ziva leaving, but…"

"There's something more to it," Gibbs answered softly as he bent down to pick up the larger shards of glass. "He's gone undercover again, but this time for personal reasons."

Tim continued looking around until his eyes stopped on Tony's laptop, then he took a seat in front of it and turned it on as he responded, "Whatever is going on with him, there may be something on his computer that could help us figure it out, although I hate to invade his privacy like this."

Gibbs walked into Tony's bedroom and opened up a drawer in his nightstand, finding his senior field agent's gun and badge, then Gibbs spoke up saying, "If you find anything that will help us find him, then invading his privacy will be worth it, and we need to find him as soon as possible. He left his gun and badge behind. If he is investigating something, he's somewhere that isn't safe for him to be made as an agent. Work your magic, McGee."

"It doesn't look like there's anything of interest to us here, except for a couple of emails that might be something… something that could be worth a look into," Tim replied as he opened one up sent to Tony by someone named Jimmy Irons with the subject titled, 'Urgent!'

"Tony asked this guy for a favor," Gibbs said as he read through the short and vague email, then pulled out his cell phone to make a call. "He must be a part of this. I'm going to call Abby to ask her if she can quickly find out who this Jimmy Irons is."

Their team's bright forensic scientist picked up after her phone rang only once, as Abby swiftly cried, "Gibbs! Gibbs! Did you find Tony yet?"

Gibbs answered, "We haven't been gone that long, Abbs. Listen, we need you to do something for us. Can you look up the name Jimmy Irons for me? He may have some information that could help us?"

"You've got it, just give me a few seconds," she replied as she began to type wildly on her keypad. "It looks like Jimmy Irons is an ex drug dealer, who now works as an informant with Baltimore PD. His record is pretty lengthy, but it doesn't appear that he's done anything in quite some time."

"Perhaps Tony turned him around, which is why he's in contact with him now," Gibbs answered. "I need you to send me his address, Abby. We need to go talk with him ourselves."

Abby quickly replied, "You've got it, boss man. I'm sending it to you now. Good luck!"

Gibbs hung up and then turned back to McGee as he said, "We've got ourselves a suspect and an address. Let's go."

"I also might have something else," Tim stated after he walked away from the computer, then picked up a business card that was sticking out from underneath one of the takeout boxes with a very familiar name on it, and showed it to Gibbs. "I think I might know why Tony's doing whatever it is that he's doing. It looks like Jason King might be involved in this too."

"We've now got two people to go see," the team leader grumbled sternly. "I suggest we start with King first."

Meanwhile…

A few hours after his first appoint with Dr. Woolsey, Tony wandered around the rehab center making it look to others like he was just checking out his new surroundings when in truth he was actually searching for anything suspicious. Throughout the day, he also spoke to several of the other patients in hope that they might be able to point him toward Jason's friend. Unfortunately, he had yet to get anyone to answer him, as most of the people in there were very distrusting.

Tony was about to head back to his room for the night until mostly everyone else was asleep, when he planned to sneak out in order to continue his search in the more restricted areas, until he was suddenly interrupted by another of the patients, whose hands shook, indicating that he had a tough addiction to whatever drugs he had a problem with.

The man spoke first saying, "You really should get out of here while you have the chance, young man. Things aren't right here and if you stick around, you'll end up getting caught up in whatever's wrong."

Tony stared at the older man as he asked, "Exactly what is going on here, Rudy?"

"I don't know, but the people that work here have been acting strangely," the man answered. "They're up to something and eventually, we'll all get caught up in it."

"If you're so worried, why don't you just leave?" Tony asked oddly.

Rudy responded, "I don't have much of a choice. If I want to see my daughter again, then I have to stay and complete the program. I'll be alright, but you're new meat around here. I suggest you watch your back."

Tony replied, "So I've been told. Listen, do you know another patient named Craig Lucien?"

"I did know him," Rudy answered. "Big, tough guy; kind of had a temper. I haven't seen him for a few days now though. He seems to have checked out. Why do you ask?"

"I was just curious," Tony responded. "Never mind. Thanks for the warning, Rudy. I'll try to keep my head down. You do the same."

Rudy glared at him, then walked away as he replied, "I always do, kid."

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