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 Post subject: Facing one's fears
PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 11:55 am 
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Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2008 1:09 am
Posts: 3902
Location: In the Kingdom of Dragons
Title: X-Sergeant X-Dr. Hiccups
Name: Sanna
Aliases: nfa_dragon, Paragon Dragon, sg_slasher, Dragonette
Gender: Female
link: My Story Board profile
link: My LiveJournal
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Title: Facing one's fears
Rating: FR-13
Category: fantasy, gen, case fic
Summary: Tony is deathly afraid of dragons, but when a case forces the team to work alongside one, Tony realizes that he must get over his fears in order for the case to be solved.

Written for the Very Alternate Universe Challenge

Put any comments in the discussion thread, please.

Chapter 1

The house was shaking and pieces of the ceiling was falling down all around them. The air was filled with the roars of the dragon outside, mixed with the sound of windows and roof tiles breaking when the monster tried to get in. Tony pressed himself into a corner under the kitchen counter as far as he could go, clutching his teddy bear against his chest while he watched Daddy try to pry the kitchen door open. At last he succeeded and hauled Tony out of his hiding place and pushed him towards the door.

“Tony, get out of here! Run!”

“What about Mommy?”

“I'll go get her, son, but you have to be brave for me and run. Go! Now!”

“Daddy...”

“Go!”

Tony did as he was told and ran away from the house as fast as his little legs could carry him, hearing Daddy yell at the dragon to keep the monster's attention on himself and not on Tony. Tony didn't stop until he reached the edge of the woods and there a loud, crunching noise, followed by horrified screaming, made him turn around and...

Tony woke up with a scream and sat up with a jolt, trembling from head to toe and completely drenched in sweat. He closed his eyes and forced himself to take deep breaths, relieved that he'd woken before the dream got to the most horrid part, but that didn't stop him from remembering.

Tony got out of bed and walked to the bathroom where he leaned heavily against the sink, starring at himself in the mirror with haunted eyes. He was white as a ghost and his damp hair clung to his scalp. He was still shaking, and no matter how hard he tried he couldn't stop. In his mind he kept seeing his parents getting eaten by the mad dragon, and he could still hear his mother's screams when the beast ended her life. Sighing heavily, Tony turned on the water and splashed his face a couple of times before going back to bed, knowing that he probably wouldn't get any more sleep that night.

---

“DiNozzo.”

Tony looked up at the sound of Gibbs' voice and gave him a small nod. “Morning, Boss.”

“Is there a reason to why you're in so early?” Gibbs asked and got a shrug in reply.

“Couldn't sleep.”

It wasn't the full truth and Gibbs knew it, Tony could tell as much by the look the older man gave him, but he let the matter drop and sat down behind his own desk, placing his ever-present cup of coffee beside his keyboard. Tony could feel Gibbs look up at him from time to time but Tony ignored him and kept his eyes on his computer screen.

He had went to work several hours earlier, so early that only the guards on night watch had been in the building. He'd gotten strange looks by the guards at the entrance but a glare that could have rivaled Gibbs' kept them from asking questions. After an hour of tossing and turning and seeing images from the nightmare every time he closed his eyes, Tony had given up on sleep completely and decided to go to the office and get some paperwork done.

The elevator dinged and announced the arrival of McGee and Ziva. They were both laughing at something they'd been talking about in the elevator but stopped as soon as they reached the bull pen.

“Good morning”, McGee said, but then he paused and gave Tony an assessing look. “You okay, Tony?”

“I'm fine”, Tony snapped without looking up from his computer screen, hoping that McGee would take the hint and leave him alone. He knew he looked like shit – heck, he even felt like shit – but he didn't feel like talking about it.

“Are you sure you are fine, Tony?” Ziva asked. “You look like death hung over.”

“It's warmed over, Zee-vah”, Tony replied, “and, yes, I'm sure.”

“If you three are done you can grab your gear”, Gibbs said then and rose from his chair. “We've got a case.”

Tony sighed with relief, grabbed his gear and jumped up to follow Gibbs.

“What have we got, Boss?” he asked as they stepped onto the elevator.

“A marine officer found dead in Shenandoah”, Gibbs replied. “Possibly killed by a dragon.”

Tony felt the blood disappear from his face.

“Dragon?” he choked out.

“Got a problem with that, DiNozzo?”

“No, Boss”, Tony lied. “None at all.”

He could feel the others eyes on him but Tony kept his eyes resolutely on the wall ahead of him. He knew that Gibbs knew how his parents had died, it was in his file after all, but he was pretty sure that neither McGee or Ziva knew, and if they did they had refrained from mentioning it. What Tony had managed to keep to himself from them all, though, was that he hated dragons with a vengeance and didn't trust any of them.

Most people who knew about Tony's feelings towards dragon had often tried to make him see how ridiculous he was, that he had no reason to blame all the dragons for something one individual had done, one that also had been executed for the crime it had committed by orders from the dragon tribunal, but to Tony they were all monsters, monsters that he preferred not to have anything to do with.

When they arrived in Shenandoah national park they were lead to the crime scene by the rangers who had found the body. One of them was a chatty, young man who went on and on about his theories on what kind of dragon that had killed the body and why. Tony was relieved when they got close to the crime scene and Gibbs told the rangers in a none-too-friendly tone of voice to stay out of the way; he was actually surprised that Gibbs hadn't told the man to shut up a long time ago.

They could all feel the smell of burnt flesh in the air just seconds before they saw the mutilated body. Tony was ordered to shoot and sketch and had to take some calming breaths before he could get himself to approach the body. The right side and the face was completely burnt and blackened, and it had deep gashes from huge claws all over the torso and thighs combine with puncture wounds from large, sharp teeth, and the clothes, which could be recognized as a marine uniform even in their current state, were torn to shreds.

“Poor fellow”, Ducky said softly when he saw the body. “What a horrible way to go.”

Tony could do nothing but agree while he took pictures of the body from different angles and tried his best to suppress the images of his parents lying dead, burned and torn to pieces on the ground.

“Do you have any idea of what kind of dragon did this, Duck?” Gibbs asked and crouched down beside his friend as the old ME pushed the liver probe inside the victim's stomach.

“No, and I don't think I will be able to tell, not even after the autopsy”, Ducky replied gravely.

“Why not?” McGee asked. “I thought all dragons killed in a way specific for their species?”

“They do, but this individual seems to have learned the ways of killing of other species than its own. If I didn't know better I'd say that this was done by no less than three different dragons, but this is the work of one. The only thing I know for sure is that this dragon is not from this area.”

“How can you tell, Ducky?” Tony asked.

“Because the ranger said that only forest dragons live here, and their teeth and claws are not big enough to have caused these wounds.”

“The forest dragons might still have seen the dragon who did this”, Gibbs said and stood up. He told Ducky and Palmer to take the body back to NCIS and Ziva and McGee to take one of the rangers and go see if they could find one of the dragons living the area and ask it some questions while he and Tony finished processing the scene. When they'd searched through every single square inch and found everything worthy of bagging and tagging, which wasn't much, they returned to the car and waited for Ziva and McGee to return.

“You think you can handle this case, DiNozzo?” Gibbs suddenly asked and Tony was surprised by the gentle tone.

“Yeah, I'm sure, Boss”, he said but he wouldn't look at Gibbs.

Gibbs was just about to say something more when the sound of large wings made both men look up at the sky, just in time to see a green and brown dragon about the size of an elephant come flying towards them. Tony felt his heart start to race and hadn't it been for the firm, calming hand Gibbs put on his shoulder he didn't know what he'd done . The dragon landed fifty meters or so away and to Tony's surprise he saw that McGee, Ziva and the ranger were sitting on its back. They climbed down, and as soon as they were out of the way the dragon flew off.

“The dragon couldn't tell us anything useful, Boss”, McGee said once he and Ziva had reached Gibbs and Tony. “She hadn't heard or seen anything suspicious lately, and she didn't know anything about a rogue dragon crossing into this territory. She promised to keep her eyes open and inform the other dragons hear about the murder. If any of them knows anything, they will contact us through the rangers.”

Gibbs wasn't happy about the news, that much was clear. They got into the car and Gibbs drove them at breakneck speed back to NCIS. They took what little evidence they had down to Abby but all of it turned out to be useless. Not even Ducky's autopsy could help them, nor the dragon DNA that Abby managed to get from the victim. All they managed to do was to identify the body as Major Robin Beech, a man with a clean record who'd never even talked about picking a fight with a dragon, and no one who knew him could think of any reason to why a dragon would want to kill him.

The team soon had to admit defeat, but before they had a chance to drop the case a new body was found, and it was another marine officer. It soon turned out that Major Robin Beech was only the first of many be murdered by the dragon serial killer.

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"It's either there or it isn't. If you happen to be one, you're stuck with it. You'll write whether you get paid for it or not.
You won't be able to help yourself. When it's going well, it's like reaching up into heaven and pulling down fire. It's better
than any dope you can buy. When it's not going well, it's much like giving birth to a baby elephant."
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Newest story: Four things Tim lived to regret, and one thing he didn't - FR7, Tim-centered, general


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