Guide Squared 6/6
Everything hurt. He was certain not a square inch of skin had been left uninjured due to the detonation of the bomb in the small enclosed cellar room. His hearing had been turned up in order to locate the bomb. He tried to turn it down before the blast but was not entirely successful. The detective from Cascade still experienced ringing in his ears but his substitute guide was able to help him regain some control in spite of the physical discomfort. He and LJ needed all his senses to work in order to conduct them out the tunnels they found as they escaped the area of destruction.
LJ leaned against the wall, brushed dirt out of his short, salt and pepper colored hair then slapped the hand against his pants. He rested his hand on the sentinel's shoulder. "How's the headache? Do you need more of a break?"
Ellison let his head dip forward then shook his head slowly as if that small movement caused great pain. "No. I'm good. Just a little...achy. We need to keep going. Blair probably thinks I'm...we're dead. I hate to think what he is going through. I know how I would feel if the places were reversed." Jim looked up LJ noting the blood on his forehead had started to dry only to leave thick, cracked, jagged lines to run down the left side of his face. "How are you doing? Your vision any better?"
"I still see more than one of you, if that's what you're asking. Hell though - that's better than the not seeing I was doing right after the explosion. Probably have a concussion or some such thing," he assured. "If you're good to go then, let's move out. Tony'll be in charge and I -- I..."
"Don't you think Tony will do a good job leading your team? Do you think his personal feelings --"
"--personal feelings? DiNozzo? For me?" LJ objected. "No, I know he'll do a good job. He's a very good agent. It's just-" LJ stared at Ellison.
"-it's just what, LJ? Man, I can't believe I'm saying this, but when you see DiNozzo, tell him how you feel. Just TELL HIM, ok?" As Jim started to walk down the dark hallway, Gibbs reached out and grabbed a piece of the ripped up shirt.
"When did you become so in touch with your feelings?" Gibbs teased as they slowly walked. Gibbs needed to hang onto Ellison's shirt and walk behind him since the tunnels were pitch black. If it had not been for Ellison's sentinel vision, they would have been truly lost.
When they first started to find their way through the maze of tunnels, it was only due to Jim's sense of smell that they were able to determine which direction to turn. Jim still sensed fresh air, so they continued to follow that trail. After a couple of hours, Ellison stopped abruptly, turned silently and put a hand over LJ's mouth.
"I hear voices. Not sure who they are, but one of the heartbeats belong to Blair," he rasped into the NCIS agent's ear, "and his beat is elevated. He's scared-" Ellison started to walk towards the beloved sound of his lover. He had to help, had to find...
LJ held tight and pulled back on Ellison's ripped shirt. Anger flared from the sentinel as his progress to his guide was impeded.
Gibbs whispered sentinel soft, "Can you tell why he's scared? Is he - or Tony - hurt? Listen!" Gibbs implored.
Gibbs did not by see Ellison's nod, but since Jim no longer struggled to move forward, LJ assumed his request was understood. Ellison felt the guide's touch on his back, so he continued to stretch his hearing further down the tunnels. After a few minutes, the sentinel gently pushed Gibbs away from the voices so they could speak.
"We've got company, and it isn't just Blair and Tony. Seems our rescuers need to be rescued. These tunnels were storage places for some local gunrunners. That was the reason for the bomb in the first place. An opposing gang wanted to put them out of business by blowing up their stash. Well, we know how that went. Now the first group is down here prepping to move their cache to a new location. Blair bumped into one of their guards. They have him standing, facing a wall. They don't have Tony and so far I haven't noticed his presence," Jim cautiously expressed.
"You don't think Tony is-"
"-No," JJ interrupted. "I don't think so. The other men have not implied any other intruders beyond Blair. Before you say anything, LJ, I also don't believe Tony sent Blair by himself. Tony is probably staying hidden using his senses to stay out of reach of -"
Jim turned abruptly as he heard soft footsteps behind them. He pushed Gibbs down as he lowered his own body to stay low and out of the vision of -
"Tony!" Ellison whispered softly. He started to stand again, bringing Gibbs up with as he grabbed the guide's elbow.
Gibbs shook free of the hand, stood up and was ready to ask what he heard when he saw a light coming directly towards him. Behind the light he could see the face of the man bearing the flashlight. "Tony," Gibbs breathed relieved.
"Boss," Tony smiled, "you look pretty good for someone that was locked in a cellar with a bomb."
Gibbs whacked the back of Tony's head then remarked, "I'd look a whole lot better if we could exit this tunnel."
"Ah, there's a gun runner gang holding Blair, Boss, so it will take just a little longer to get you out of here. But let me say-"
"Gentlemen," Ellison interjected, "talk later, save Blair now. Thoughts?"
"Well, there are four gang members down here. There's a passage around where the cache is stored, which is how I got around them just now," Tony imparted thoughtfully. "They are located in the middle of a donut shaped area, passages on either side of them that we can use to sneak up on them to take them out. There are guards on either side of the passage directly into and out of their storage area where a man is posted, leaving only two with Blair and they are packing the weapons onto carts."
"Good report Tony," Jim commented. "I think, LJ, it's best that Tony and I do the stealth work, taking out the guards, since we can move around without the flashlight." Tony handed the flashlight over Gibbs. "We'll then move onto the two by Blair and -"
"-and I'll be there waiting for you with Blair. Sounds like a plan. Let's move." Gibbs started to move then whispered to Tony, "Be careful, Tony. We need to talk."
"Right Boss. Careful. Good safety thought," Tony remarked glibly.
"I mean it DiNozzo!"
"Right Boss. Safety is the word of the day. You can count on me," he whispered, turned and left Jethro Gibbs.
The two sentinels had no difficulty subduing the guards. They approached the men loading the carts and noticed Gibbs holding a gun on the two gang members while Blair sat, relaxed, on the dirt floor.
Ellison called out to Gibbs and Sandburg to advise them of their approach. Blair pointed his flashlight in the direction of the voice. He stood, waited, then finally Jim's face entered the beam of light.
"Jim!" he bellowed. "Oh man, am I glad to see you." Blair ran into the open arms of his sentinel.
Jim grunted from the pain of Blair's joyous and strong hug. Hearing the groan, Blair immediately released his injured lover. Jim reached out to his guide and pulled him gently into his arms again. "That's good, Chief. I'd rather feel you touching me right now than worry about a couple of aches."
Grinning ear to ear, "You too, man, you too," Blair agreed as he lightly laid his head on Jim's shoulder.
Tony cleared his throat. "Guys, this homecoming is very heartwarming, but I believe I hear the rest of the search party coming this way." He stepped over to Gibbs then whispered, "I'll be ready for that talk when you are Boss, count on it," Tony assured.
Gibbs never let his eyes leave the men loading the cart. "I'm holding you to that, DiNozzo."
Hours later, reports written, wounds tended to, the four men returned to the hotel where they first met.
Blair plopped into the chair. "I don't know what to do first: shower, eat or sleep. It's a toss up!"
Jim walked up behind the chair, gently massaging his lover's shoulders. "I have a thought. How about I call for room service, *we* take a shower, wait for the food to arrive then eat in bed?"
"Ah, Jim, we have company," Blair commented hesitantly, pointing at Gibbs and DiNozzo. "We can't just..."
He moved his hands into the curly locks of his guide, "Let them get their own room, Blair."
"Ok, ok we can take a hint!" Gibbs smirked. "Let's go DiNozzo. Time for that talk."
"I'm ready, Boss." Tony reached out and cupped Gibbs' chin. Jethro's eyes widened at the touch, then relaxed again as Tony's thumb stroked his cheek.
"Wait a second," Gibbs asked as he stepped out of Tony's touch. He took two quick steps to the desk, picked up the receiver and placed a call. "Yes, I need to make a reservation - for tonight - yes, 1 room - yes there will be two adults"
Tony walked over to the desk and stood close to Gibbs as Jethro continued to talk on the phone.
"- I would prefer a king bed. - Yes? Great. We'll be there for the key in a few minutes." Gibbs hung up the phone and looked at Tony. "Is that all right with you Tony? Guess I should have-"
Tony put his palms on Gibbs checks, drew the man close to him and kissed him thoroughly until Tony finally had to come up for air. "Does that answer your question, Boss, ah, Jethro?"
"Yeah, Tony, that answers my question. I also think that was the conversation we were supposed to have."
"That's fine with me. There's already too much talking going on if-"
Gibbs pulled Tony to himself, wrapped one arm around Tony's waist while the free hand went behind Tony's head and gently pushed Tony's lips to meet Jethro's. The two NCIS agents never heard Jim place the room service order or leave the room.
"Do you think they'll notice we're not there anytime soon?" Blair inquired as they entered the elevator.
"Maybe," Jim contemplated, "when the food arrives. Hope they like steak. Got them some strawberries-"
"-and whipped cream?"
"-and whipped cream for dessert. Now all we have to do is pick up their key, go to the other room and pick up where we left off." Jim assured.
The elevator stopped and they exited the cubicle. Blair smiled knowing he and his love had many more nights together, a lifetime and then some. Blair tugged on Jim's arm. "Hey, next time you want to help a buddy, can we bring back up from the PD?"