The Thrill of the Chase

by Nix
(crimsonquills AT gmail DOT com)

Author's Notes: Not betaed. This is completely, totally Aurelia's fault. I said, "I have no bunny for the image challenge." And she said, "Why not ___?" And I said, "Oh God, now I'm going to have to write that."

The doors jarred Tony's arm for a moment before he overcame their momentum and they swung open, spilling him onto the sidewalk. He paused for a split second, glanced around for his suspect, and spotted the man diving into the driver's seat of a dark blue Mazda. Tony took two hurried steps towards his own vehicle before registering the slashed tires. He cursed loudly and glanced around for another option.

There! Tony lunged for the back door of the cab and slid into it so fast he impacted against the far door. "Follow that car!" he shouted, and braced himself for the cabbie's confusion and resistance.

Instead, the man wrenched the steering wheel around and hit the gas and they were out into traffic so quickly that Tony barely had time to lunge back across the seat and pull the passenger side back door closed again. "Which car?" the cabbie demanded briskly. "Fast! There's an intersection coming up."

"The blue Mazda," Tony responded, still a little surprised. He leaned between the front seats and pointed towards his quarry, which was just darting through the intersection on a--thankfully--green light.

"Got it," the cabbie grunted. The car leaped forward again, throwing Tony back into the back seat. He sprawled there for a moment, a little dazed, and wondered what the hell he'd gotten himself into. Sliding over to the passenger side of the back seat, Tony peered between the seats at the cabbie.

He was an older guy, but in pretty good shape from what Tony could see. No paunch, anyway, which meant he put work into taking care of himself, since driving a cab wasn't a particularly physically demanding job. His gray hair was buzzed short and he wore a dark blue t-shirt with some kind of writing across the chest and a pair of khaki colored pants. His gaze was fixed on Tony's quarry, never so much as glancing away. Tony knew cops who weren't this focused during a chase. He wished he could read the text on the guy's shirt; he had the feeling it wouldn't be any of the usual inane t-shirt slogans.

"You want to tell me why we're chasing this guy?" the cabbie asked.

Tony opened his mouth to respond when the cabbie suddenly cursed and spun the steering wheel expertly, taking the car around a corner so abruptly it fish-tailed a little. Tony glanced out the window and paled, seeing them slide between two fast moving vehicles with mere inches to spare. The car steadied on its new heading, leaving blaring horns in its wake, and Tony glanced back to the front of the cab to find the cabbie looking at him expectantly via the rearview mirror.

"Yeah, sorry," Tony said, working his tongue around in his dry mouth, trying to generate a little moisture. The cabbie, thank God, turned his attention back to the road once Tony started talking. "I'm D.C. police. The guy in the blue Mazda is a murder suspect."

The cabbie grunted. "So, D.C. police, you got a name?"

Traffic thickened ahead, but the cabbie didn't even slow down, instead following the blue Mazda on a crazily weaving course, darting between and around cars even as the gaps the Mazda took narrowed in its wake. Tony clutched the seat in front of him with one hand and the seat beneath him with the other. "Tony DiNozzo," he said, a little faintly. Abruptly traffic closed behind the Mazda. "Shit! Street's blocked."

"Only on this side," the cabbie said.

"What-- Jesus Christ!" Tony shouted as the cab swung out into oncoming traffic, dodging cars until they passed the clot of traffic and darted back into the correct lane. "Do you have a name? And a fucking driver's license?"

The cabbie actually laughed. "Gibbs," he said, gesturing at where his license was displayed on the dash. "Jethro Gibbs."

"Where the hell did you learn to drive, Gibbs?" Tony asked, looking at Gibbs in the rearview mirror instead of at the road. It seemed easier that way, even if it did leave him unprepared for sudden, lurching changes in direction.


Tony gaped for a moment. "Are you kidding?"

The cabbie met Tony's gaze in the rearview mirror, crinkles forming around the corners of his blue eyes as he smiled. "Well, not originally. But I figured you meant the aggressive driving techniques."

"Aggressive is one word for it. Suicidal is another," Tony shot back.

"You're my passenger, you're not buckled in, and there are no airbags in the backseat," Gibbs observed. "Wouldn't 'homicidal' be a better term?"

"Not when your passenger is a homicide cop, it isn't."

Gibbs chuckled again. "I-- Hang on," he said abruptly, cutting himself off. "I think I can corner this guy."

"Don't--" Tony's jaw clicked shut against his will as he was tossed roughly against the side of the car, wheels squealing as the cab leaped forward and changed lanes sharply, driving the blue Mazda into a side street. The moment the Mazda had turned Gibbs slammed on the brakes, throwing Tony painfully against the back of the front seats, and threw the car into reverse, screeching back to the side street. Halfway down the street Tony spotted the Mazda coming back at them and realized it must have been a dead end. Gibbs spun the cab and hit the brakes again, leaving the car blocking the entire street. The Mazda skidded to a halt.

Tony sucked in his breath, opened the door, and slid out, gun in hand. "Harris!" he shouted. "Keep your hands on the wheel! Do not fucking move!" He edged up to the driver's side door. Just as he drew level it swung open hard and fast, slamming into Tony and knocking him to the ground. His gun flew out of his hand and skittered across the asphalt.

Tony was vaguely aware of Harris leaping over him, towards the gun, as he struggled to get his breath back. Gasping, he finally scrambled to his feet, half expecting to find Harris holding his own weapon on him.

Instead, he came to his feet to find Harris frozen, hands in the air, as the cabbie held the gun on him. Gibbs's hands were rock steady, his feet were spread in a comfortable shooter's stance, and his gaze was hard and cold. Facing him directly, Tony was finally able to read the text on his shirt: U.S. Marine Corps. Tony broke into a grin and shook his head. "Shit, Harris," he said. "You're in trouble now. He's ex-military, he's a civilian, and I'm not feeling too inclined to argue if he decides to off you and call it self defense."

Harris didn't speak. Tony was pretty sure he didn't even breathe. He just waited, eyes fixed on Gibbs like a deer in the headlights, and submitted when Tony pulled his hands behind his back, cuffed him, and made him kneel and cross his ankles.

"You mind if I use the radio in your cab to call for a squad car?" Tony asked Gibbs, who was still covering Harris with Tony's gun, though he'd relaxed his stance a fraction.

"Go ahead," Gibbs allowed. "But you should probably be holding this when they get here."

Tony grinned, nodded, and turned away. He slid into the cab and made the call. By the time the squad car had arrived to transport Harris Tony had traded off positions with Gibbs, though Gibbs remained at Tony's side, watching Harris with a wary eye. He didn't move until Tony had read Harris his rights and the uniforms had locked him securely into the back of the car.

When that was done, Gibbs turned and walked back to his car, limping heavily for even those few steps. He grimaced as he lowered himself down to sit heavily in the driver's seat, one leg stretched out.

"You hurt?" Tony asked, nodding at his leg.

Gibbs snorted. "This hurt's been around a while," he said dismissively.

Which explained a lot. "I'm going to have to ask you to come down to the station and give a statement."

"No problem."

Tony raised an eyebrow. "You don't mind?"

Gibbs smirked at him. "I'll leave the meter running."