Tribute to Whom Tribute is Due

Chapter 7

A heavy knock sounded at his door, but it took the second one before Jason King finally got up to answer it, but when he did, he really wished he hadn't as he saw Agent Gibbs and McGee standing in front of him looking very cross. Without saying a word, Jason stepped aside and motioned for them to enter. Once they did, Gibbs pulled out the card Jason had given to Tony and held it up in front of his face, indicating that he was looking for answers as to why Tony had it.

When he didn't say anything right away, Gibbs became impatient and finally spoke up saying, "You know why we're here. You went to visit DiNozzo some time fairly recently and now, he's disappeared to help you out with something, without his gun, his badge, or his teammates to back him up. Tell us what we want to know, now."

Jason looked between the two agents and then responded, "I went to Tony for help because I needed his expertise as both a cop and an agent and I asked him not to share it with you because it's a sensitive matter."

"And also because you used Tony's guilt over what happened to your sister in order to blackmail him into helping you," Gibbs answered angrily.

"Tony did say you would figure everything out, though sooner than I would have expected," King replied solemnly. "I did what I had to do. Tony wasn't going to agree and so yes, I used guilt to get him to help me. I am not sorry. A very good friend's life is at stake. If anyone could help him, I knew DiNozzo could."

Saying the words he knew Gibbs was thinking too, McGee responded, "What you did was still wrong and if anything happens to Tony, you won't like the consequences. Where is Tony?"

Jason turned away from the agents as he answered, "I know the two of you are worried about your friend, but I can't risk you interfering with his investigation. If anything happens to Craig…"

"You ought to be more concerned if anything happens to Tony," Gibbs interrupted. "McGee's right. You won't like what happens to you if he's hurt or worse. Where is he?"

"You'll have to throw me in prison for obstruction," King replied coldly. "You heard what I said. I won't talk. If you care so much for your teammate, you'll have to do your job on your own."

Gibbs glared at Jason, then suddenly shoved him up against the wall of his apartment, and handcuffed his hands behind his back as he said, "Jason King, you're under arrest for obstruction and the blackmailing of a federal agent. Don't think that just because you work for Baltimore PD you'll be set free anytime soon. I won't let them help you."

After Gibbs finished and he and McGee walked Jason out to their car to place him in the back, McGee spoke up again saying, "Jason's captain isn't going to like this and as soon as he hears about this, Baltimore PD will have a grudge against NCIS from now on. We won't be able to depend on them for anything. What now?"

"Now we head over to speak with our second lead," Gibbs responded curtly. "We'll deal with King after we're finished."

Thanks to the D.C. traffic, it took them almost forty-five minutes before they pulled up in front of the broken down, wreck of an apartment building where Jimmy Irons lived. Before heading inside, Gibbs made sure that their arrestee was secure and wouldn't be able to escape while they were inside.

Within a few minutes McGee knocked on Irons' door and before he could knock again, the door opened slightly as the man inside peaked out to see who was there. Gibbs saw that the man seemed to be overly cautious and perhaps not too keen of police officers despite working with them for as long as he has, but pulled out his badge nonetheless, as did McGee, in order to announce themselves.

"Jimmy Irons, I'm Agent Gibbs and this is Agent McGee," Gibbs began. "We're with NCIS. We understand you know our teammate, Agent Tony DiNozzo?"

The man suddenly opened the door and motioned for the men to come inside, then quickly closed the door behind them, and spoke up as he answered, "You work with Tony? Is he all right?"

McGee replied, "Actually, we're not sure. We haven't been into contact with him for several days and we understand that you have been in contact with him recently."

"Why do you say that?" Jimmy asked skittishly.

"Because we read the emails the two of you exchanged," Gibbs responded. "What kind of favor did Tony ask from you? You obviously consider him a friend and I'm guessing he's probably helped out you out in the past when he worked with Baltimore PD, so he felt comfortable enough with asking you for help in return. Please help us out now."

Irons invited them to take a seat on his couch and then quickly tidied up as he finally answered, "You're right about Tony, Agent Gibbs. He did help me out a lot years ago. In fact, he saved my life more than once. I was glad to help him out, but when he asked me for drugs, which I knew how to get from an old dealer I knew from back when I dealt myself, not that I still do that stuff now…"

McGee looked at the man in confusion as he asked, "Tony asked for drugs? Did he say for what?"

"No and I didn't really push the matter, though I tried to at first, but he asked me not to ask any questions," Jimmy replied. "Seeing as you're here now though, I wish I had tried harder. He seemed pretty upset when he came by to pick the drugs up."

"What kind of drugs did he ask you for?" Gibbs asked again.

The man pacing across from them as they questioned him responded, "Whatever I could get my hands on, but only in low doses; methamphetamine, LSD, and maybe opium. For anyone taking them, it would be enough to show up in their blood work if they were being tested, but hardly enough to cause much harm, at least not long term harm. However, if combined, it could be much worse. I wish that I had more information, but…"

Gibbs interrupted, "You've been a big help, Mr. Irons. I just need to know one more thing. When was the last time you've seen Tony?"

"If you're asking me if he's come to me before for drugs, the answer's no, Agent Gibbs," Jimmy answered. "Surely you know that he would never take drugs himself unless it was life or death. If I had to guess, I think that the last time I saw him was about thirteen years ago."

"You're right," Gibbs stated worriedly. "Thank you for your time and again for your help. We'll see ourselves out."

Once the agents left, McGee spoke up as he asked, "You don't really think that Tony would be crazy enough to take those drugs himself, do you boss?"

Gibbs looked over at the younger man as he replied grimly, "Only if it was life or death and my gut's telling me that that's exactly what he's gotten himself into. Jason knows why. We need to find a way to get him to talk and soon, or we won't find DiNozzo in time."

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