Whatever It Takes

Chapter 2

At the motel…

Both Ducky and Palmer arrived just a few minutes behind Gibbs and the rest of the team. Ducky complimented Palmer for not getting them lost as he usually did. The young man, whom Tony called the autopsy gremlin from time to time, seemed to grow up more and more each day. Ducky was proud of him.

Once they entered the hotel room, they found the naked body of a young man on the bed, wearing his dog tags. Gibbs was the first to reach the body, as he leaned down to confirm what he already knew. The soldier was a petty officer in the navy.

Tony walked around the opposite side of the bed as he was the first to speak saying, "So, he was probably here to sleep with the call girl waiting for us to talk to her out in the hallway."

Gibbs replied, "Nope, the call girl was the one who found the body, along with someone else."

"If she was here with someone else, then why isn't he out there too," Ziva asked as she examined the body for herself?

"Let me guess," Tony answered for Gibbs. "The man is a politician, who called in some favors to be left out of the investigation in order to avoid the press finding out the truth that he is a sleazy scumbag."

Gibbs looked over at Tony and smiled as he asked, "Were you listening to the conversation between me and the Director this morning, DiNozzo?"

Tony chuckled as he responded, "You mean I was right? Hah! I mean, no Boss. It was just a good guess. I'd never try to overhear a conversation between you and the Director without permission."

"You mean unless it concerned you," McGee said.

"Maybe if it concerned me," Tony answered. "Sorry, Boss. So, what was it that the Director told you about this?"

Gibbs replied, "The politician who was here came into town for some kind of meeting and then came here for a secret rendezvous with a call girl by the name of Sugarplum. The Director has asked us to make do with her story of what happened and to forget about talking to the man. He wants to make sure that his name does not come out at all."

Ziva asked, "We are not actually going to listen to that order, are we? I mean, hookers are known to lie to avoid going to prison."

Tony cut in saying sarcastically, "And a politician doesn't? Please, they are the worst when dealing with this kind of situation. They will tell every possible lie until they screw up their story so much that they can no longer keep it straight and the truth comes out."

"Which is why I am going to go and talk with him as soon as we are done here," Gibbs said as he looked up at Tony. "DiNozzo, you get to come with me when I do. For right now, I want you to snap the pictures. McGee, bag and tag. And Ziva, I want you to go and talk with Sugarplum. Be nice to the girl."

"You got it, Boss," McGee said as he began to look around the room for any evidence that would lead them to the killer.

"Hey, Probie," Tony jibed. "Just be sure to not miss anything like you did last time. We don't need to spend more time on this case than we have to."

Tim McGee just ignored Tony's jibe remark and turn away from him in order to do his job. At the last crime scene they were at, McGee ended up missing out on a vital piece of evidence because his mind was more focused on getting his phone bill straightened out. Tony had been teasing him ever since.

Gibbs walked back over toward the body of the petty officer, who was being looked over by Ducky and Palmer. At first glance of the body, Gibbs could see that there were no obvious marks that showed what killed him. So, Gibbs bent down to take a closer look.

As he did so, he asked, "So, Duck, do you have a cause of death for me?"

Ducky kept examining the body as he responded, "As I am sure you have noticed, Jethro, there are no obvious marks that show how this poor lad died. However, from the looks of his pupils and the fact that he is, or was at the time wet, I'd say that he drowned."

"How could he have drowned," Tony asked? "I mean, there are no bodies of water anywhere around him and there is no bathtub."

"I'm afraid that there are several different ways to drown a victim, my Boy," Ducky answered. "All of them quite unpleasant I am afraid."

Gibbs shook his head and asked, "Do you have a time of death?"

Palmer replied, "It's hard to say because of the body being wet down and what appears to be washed, as well as the liver temperature, I'd say that the closest time of death was sometime around eight o'clock pm."

"Boss, I'm going to go get some more film from the car," Tony said before Gibbs could say anything more to Palmer or Ducky.

"Did you get pictures of everything already," Gibbs asked as Tony was about to step out of the room?

Tony looked at him and responded, "Yeah, but I just wanted to make sure I was thorough."

The retired marine replied, "Don't worry about getting anymore. Just go ahead and meet me at my car while I finish talking to Ducky. I want to go talk to politician before he has too much more time to come up with a story."

"Sure thing, Gibbs," Tony said as he walked out of the room.

Tony walked out of the motel through the lobby and headed to Gibbs' car. He opened the back door on the right side of the car and pulled out the empty camera bag in order to put the camera away. However, before he did, he took out the film, which he just had finished using, put it in one of the envelopes they used to keep it in, wrote on the envelope the date and case number, and placed it in his inside coat pocket.

Just as he was straightening up and getting ready to close the car door, a shot suddenly flew right past his face, as another one quickly followed, this time grazing his arm. Tony quickly ducked behind the car using it for cover, as more bullets were fired around him. He grabbed his arm to make sure that it was nothing serious and kept his head down as glass came crashing down on him from the car windows, windshield, and side mirror.

Still inside the motel room…

Ziva finally walked over to Gibbs to explain to him what she had learned from Sugarplum. However, before she could get too into the explanation, shots were suddenly fired from somewhere outside. Ducky and Palmer ducked down, as Gibbs, Ziva, and McGee all quickly pulled out their guns and ran out toward the sound of the gunshots.

Back outside…

Tony pulled out his gun and held it, but kept it tucked close to him. As the shots finally slowed down, he cautiously raised his head to see if he could tell where the shots were being fired from. As he did so, another shot was fired overhead, barely missing his head. He ducked back down and just raised his arm with his gun in hand to take a few shots of his own.

As Tony did so, he saw Gibbs, Ziva, and McGee come rushing out of the motel to his aid, all of whom were now firing their own shots toward the woods behind Tony, where the shots at him were being fired from. Neither of them could see who was shooting at Tony, but the woods gave him good cover.

The shots all stopped suddenly and the agents realized that whoever it was firing upon them was no longer around. Ziva and McGee slowly approached the direction from which the shots had come, as Gibbs ran over to Tony.

"Tony, are you hit," Gibbs asked?

"It's nothing but a graze, Boss," Tony answered. "I'm fine. I'm more shaken up than anything else. It looks like whoever killed our petty officer, doesn't want us around to look for clues that will lead us to him. Maybe we'll get lucky and find something in the evidence that will help us to solve it quickly."

"My gut tells me that that is just wishful thinking," Gibbs replied. "I'll help you up. Come on."

Ziva and McGee came walking back toward them as Ziva said, "The shooter is gone. All I found were some shell casings and footprints in the dirt. Whoever it was, they were good. He or she found a perfect spot to hide with plenty of cover. We may even be dealing with a professional."

McGee looked at her, then at Gibbs and responded, "If it's a professional, then the chances of us finding fingerprints on the casings are not good."

Tony looked at them both and replied, "I think if it were a professional, I would be dead. They had an opportunity to kill me when I walked out to the car."

"Let's just get the evidence back to Abby," Gibbs said. "Hopefully, she'll be able to give us some answers."

Gibbs got into the driver's seat, Tony sat in the passenger seat, while McGee and Ziva got into the back. Just as Gibbs was about to drive off, he looked over at Tony's hands, which were placed on his lap, and saw that they were shaking. As if he sensed that Gibbs was watching him, Tony quickly moved his hands from his lap and just stared out the window. Gibbs knew that something more was troubling his agent, but decided to remain quiet for the trip back to the base. He would talk to him when they could have a bit more privacy.

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