Title: Successor part 4 Author: Ceindreadh Email: Ceindreadh@eircom.net Genre (general, hetero or slash) Gen Rating: FRT 13 Summary: Post fic to Twilight. Life goes on. Warnings: I've been told this might need a tissue warning. Disclaimer. I don't own the NCIS characters, I'm only borrowing them, and I promise to return them in minty fresh condition when I'm finished. Elizabeth is my own creation.
Successor - part 03 (Abby's POV)
I'll be honest; I hated Elizabeth on sight.
She was in M-Tac talking with Tony, no, make that *laughing* with Tony when I first saw her. And I just felt, how dare she be there trying to weasel her way into everybody's affections like that. Not that it was difficult to get DiNozzo's attention. Being female and not ugly was always a good start. But it made my blood boil to see her there looking as if she belonged.
I know now it wasn't her fault. She was just there doing her job trying to be part of the team she was assigned to, but back then, six months after Kate's death, I was still in the phase of grieving where I resented people for living when Kate was dead. Kate had been one of my closest friends and nobody could take her place, not as a friend, not as a co-worker.
Although Gibbs didn't know it, he had an ally in me when it came to scaring off potential replacements for Kate. Even though our motives were different, we shared a common goal. He didn't want anybody else to get hurt because of him. I just didn't want anybody to take Kate's place. So whenever a new recruit showed up in my lab I went into full creepy Goth mode to freak them out. Sometimes it worked.
Tony once asked me how do Goth's mourn. "I mean, you're already there with the whole gloom and doom and black clothes and stuff, so what happens when you're in mourning? Do you dress up in bright colors?" This was before Kate's death; DiNozzo may not always think before he speaks, but he wasn't *that* tactless. It had been in the hospital after they'd given him the all clear from the Y-Pestis. He'd been a little morbid at the time, wondering how people would have reacted had he not survived. I told him the truth; that we'd all have been devastated to lose him. Then he went on about how he hoped we'd have all turned out in our best clothes for his funeral. I teased him about his plan to wear only boxer shorts in his coffin, just to give the ladies a thrill during the wake. Little did either of us know that only a few weeks later we'd be talking about funerals for real.
Anyway, I don't know about other Goths, but I mourned Kate in my own way. For starters, I don't sleep in my casket anymore. The night after Kate's funeral I was getting ready for bed and it suddenly hit me that she was going to be in a casket for all eternity. I spent most of the night sobbing and in the morning I packed away my funeral gown and the casket in a corner of my apartment and went out and bought my first 'real' bed. I didn't get rid of the casket. Sort of figured that I'd need it eventually and waste not want not.
I'll admit that I was horrible to Elizabeth that first time. I barely acknowledged her when Tony introduced us. I remember he had a wary look in his eyes as if he felt guilty at being caught being friends with this...this usurper. At the time I was thinking that he was right to feel guilty or embarrassed. Kate had been a good friend to him. How dare he make friends with a replacement? But then, that's Tony all over. He just can't help turning on the charm. Murder suspects, witnesses, the lady who takes his order at the coffee shop, he just can't help himself. So I suppose I shouldn't have blamed him for doing the same thing with Elizabeth. The day DiNozzo doesn't flirt with a woman is the day we'll be putting him in his coffin, boxer shorts and all.
Tony caught up with me that day as I was heading for the elevators. I just want to say that I *didn't* storm out in a huff. I left my report on Gibbs desk and was heading back to my lab when Tony joined me in the elevator. He didn't read me the riot act or anything for being rude, that's not Tony's style. And he wasn't tactless enough to ask me why I'd been rude. He just said, "I miss Kate too, Abbs."
"It didn't look like it from where I was standing," I'm not usually that snappy, but it burned my blood the way he was behaving. How could he have moved on so quickly? It was only six months. "Kate's rotting in the ground right now and you're behaving like she never existed!"
"No I'm not. I wake up every morning wishing she wasn't dead," he snapped back at me, then he sighed heavily, "But wishing isn't gonna make it so, and neither is being mean to people just because they're not her."
"You've changed your tune," I told him. "What happened to the guy who was determined to keep it just Gibbs and him?"
"Maybe he realized that it's easier to watch Gibbs's back when somebody's watching his. Look Abby, I think Elizabeth is a keeper and I'm hoping Gibbs will think so too. I can't make you like her as well, but please, just give her a chance. For me."
He looked at me with those big puppy dog eyes of his, but I wasn't about to promise him anything, least of all that.
I knew why I was behaving the way I was. If I accepted a replacement for Kate onto the team then it'd be like accepting for good that she wasn't coming back. Or at least that's what I'd been told in an online chat room. But right or wrong, I wasn't ready to move on, no matter what anybody said. And boy, people had plenty to say to me. First Tony. Then Gibbs showed up with his usual bribe of Caff Pow. He didn't order me to like Elizabeth, he just told me that for as long as she was working on his team, then he wanted me to treat her as part of the team. "If she quits because of me riding her hard that's one thing," he told me. "But I don't want anybody else getting black marks on their files because they can't be civil to one another, okay?"
I just sat there numb, thinking that I was the only person left who cared about Kate.
If it hadn't been for Ducky, I'd have probably never given Elizabeth a chance. He can be very sneaky when he wants to be. I'd agreed to have lunch with him one day after much persuasion. Not that I didn't want to have lunch with him, but those days I just tended to eat at my desk while running and rerunning computer simulations relating to Kate's death. I'd done the usual simulations in those first few terrible days after Kate was shot. You know, figuring out exactly where the shooter had been. I'd examined all the evidence, read through Tony's and Gibbs statements, and figured out exactly where they'd all been when Kate had died. And then I reran the simulation a hundred times to see if maybe something could have altered the outcome. If the wind had been blowing from a different direction or at a different speed. If maybe it had taken Gibbs and Tony a fraction of a second longer to pick Kate up from the ground. If Ari had sneezed at the wrong time, would he have missed Kate altogether. So many variables and so many outcomes. In some of them he missed Kate by a whisker...in others he managed to not only hit Kate, but also Tony. In the absolute worst one of all, the bullet hit all three of them...I deleted that result immediately, but in the back of my mind I could see it as clearly as if I'd been there.
Ducky however wouldn't take no for an answer and insisted on dragging me off to this wonderful little coffee shop that he said he'd just discovered. I should have known something was up, but it wasn't until we got inside and I saw Elizabeth sitting at a table that I knew I'd been set up. By the look on her face, she hadn't been expecting me either, but she smiled quickly as Ducky sat down between the two of us saying "Ah, the only thing better than lunch with a beautiful woman, is lunch with *two* beautiful women."
I figured that at least I'd get a free lunch out of it so I sat down as well, thinking that at least with Ducky around then there wouldn't be any problem with making conversation. Of course Ducky had other ideas and no sooner than the waitress had taken our order than he got a convenient page and had to go back to NCIS. He insisted that we stay and finish our lunch. "And please ladies, no bloodshed. I really do want to be able to come back here again."
So we were there looking at each other in silence until the food came. And Elizabeth said, "Shall we eat first? I hate to fight on an empty stomach."
"Whatever." In the back of my mind I was thinking up all sorts of revenge scenarios for Ducky for putting me in this situation. Elizabeth was the last person I wanted to have to spend my lunch break with...no, make that the second last, although she barely ranked higher than Ari on that list.
It would be easy to say "Oh yes, we talked and we bonded and sorted out our differences and became friends and we all lived happily ever after" but life isn't usually that simple, and although Elizabeth was making the effort I still wasn't really ready. Kate's death had hit me like somebody ripping out a piercing. And every time the skin was growing back, I'd see a new agent brought in as a replacement and it was like being ripped open all over again.
Don't ask me how it happened, but I found myself telling Elizabeth all this over our lunch. "Scars don't heal if you keep picking at them," she told me. "Sooner or later you have to let go." I was about to snap at her when she continued, "But nobody has the right to tell you when it's time for that to happen. Abby, I'm not trying to take her place; I'm just trying to do my job. And it'd be a lot easier if we could at least be...I'm not asking you to be my best friend or anything, but I'd like to be able to work with you as two professionals."
I wanted to keep on hating her. But I knew in my heart that if Kate were around then she'd be the first person telling me what an idiot I was being. Of course if she was still around then this whole situation would never have arisen.
So I gave Elizabeth her chance, guess I wasn't the only one willing to give her a chance because just over a year to the day after Kate's death, she was part of Gibbs team when they took Ari down and Ducky sent me a boxful of bullets that he'd extracted from the body. He'd marked down the one which he'd figured was the actual cause of death, and somehow I wasn't surprised to find that it matched to Elizabeth's gun.
Plus I got a cool new trajectory analysis out of it to use as my new screensaver. Something about watching all the bullets hit the Ari sim on my screen was nice and soothing. So yeah, I was pretty glad that Elizabeth had stuck around.
Post by ceindreadh on Jul 15, 2005 21:31:55 GMT -5
Title: Mad about the boat Author: Ceindreadh Email: Ceindreadh@eircom.net Website: n/a Permission to archive: Yes Fandom(s): NCIS Genre (general, hetero or slash) Gen Pairing/Characters: no pairings/ensemble fic Rating: FRT 13 Summary: Warnings: little bit of swearing Disclaimer. If I owned the NCIS characters then Tony would be wearing a lot less clothing. So I'm only borrowing them and promise to return them in minty fresh condition when I'm finished. Notes: I know absolutely nothing about boats and boat building so if I've made any mistakes I apologize.
Afterwards, none of them could remember clearly exactly who was responsible for the sequence of events that had led them to this point. But all were clear about one thing...this was all Gibbs's fault.
Several days earlier...
Gibbs was never the easiest of persons to get along with. There were some who felt he took a deliberate pride in pissing people off. There were others who believed that Gibbs lay awake at night thinking up ways to piss them off. There were those who knew that the second B in his name stood for 'nice guy'. And then there were his colleagues.
At any given time, the odds were that at least one if not more of Gibbs colleagues would have been in a state of annoyance towards him. The rate of annoyance for his team wasn't quite as high, but Gibbs still managed to piss some of them off at least once a month.
On rare occasions he even managed to piss them all off in the same day.
Today had been one of those days. No, make that one of those weeks. Gibbs had been in a grumpy humor for days and seemed to have deliberately targeted every member of his team.
He had told Abby to either turn off her music or get something decent to listen to. He had told Ducky to shut up with the stories and get on with an autopsy. Tony swore blind that he had heard McGee crying in the men's room after a particularly nasty encounter with Gibbs during a case. McGee had denied this, on the grounds that Tony couldn't have heard him because he was down in the Gym at the time, working out with a punch bag that bore a picture of Gibbs on it. Kate's sketchpad was pull of drawings of Gibbs suffering various horrible and painful deaths. Even Jimmy Palmer hadn't escaped Gibbs wrath, and had become so nervous one day during an autopsy that he had dropped a pile of intestines all over the floor.
"People, we have got to do something about Gibbs," Abby said to the group one day. They had gathered in a bar to drown their sorrows and bad mouth their boss.
"I think I prefer the idea of doing something *to* him," grumbled Tony. He rubbed the back of his head and winced slightly. Gibbs's swats had become a lot harder in the last few weeks and Tony was tempted to get Ducky to diagnose him with a concussion or something, just to put the wind up Gibbs. But the way Gibbs was acting these days he'd probably just rip up any doctor's cert that Tony could produce and put him on report for malingering. Either that or take him down to the Gym and kick his ass on the grounds that a bit of exercise would cure all ills.
"Does anybody know *why* he's been in such a bad mood lately? That is, worse than usual," asked Kate.
"I heard that Starbucks banned him from entering their latest competition," said McGee. "You know, the one with a first prize of a lifetimes supply of coffee."
"Yeah," said Tony. "They figured it'd put them out of business if he won."
"Really?" said Abby. "And it has absolutely nothing to do with you two switching his coffee for decaf while you were working that case in Norfolk last week?"
"We only did that for one day," protested Tony. "And it was Probie's idea. I just distracted Gibbs while McGee made the switch."
"Well whatever the reason for his bad temper these last few days, we cannot allow it to continue. Jethro has to learn that he must treat people properly, regardless of how provoked he is."
"So what do you suggest, Duck man?" asked Abby. "You think we should maybe stage an intervention?"
"I think perhaps maybe more drastic measures are in order."
Much later, nobody could remember exactly who had first brought up the idea. Had it not been for the copious amounts of alcohol consumed by all parties, it is likely that the plan would have remained just so much talk. Kate had definitely repeated her earlier suggestion about burning Gibbs's boat. Ducky had been the one to shoot it down. Not, he hastened to add, on the grounds that burning the boat was a bad idea, but simply because it would be well nigh impossible to burn the boat while preventing the house from being incinerated as well.
This led to a brief discussion on how Gibbs was planning on getting the boat out of the basement. "It's one of those...whasinams..." Tony said, "Ships inna jug...you know..."
"I think you mean bottle," said McGee.
"Don't mind if I do," said Tony. "Next rounds on McGee."
"He could be planning on knocking down part of the wall," said Jimmy Palmer. This was almost the first thing he had said all night and everybody looked at him in surprise, causing him to blush profusely. "I mean, it's probably not a supporting wall, so he'd just need to knock down enough of it to get the boat out. It could easily be rebuilt." He saw the expressions on the others faces and said quickly, "My Uncle owns a construction firm. I used to work for him during my summer vacation."
Later on everybody agreed that this was the point when the plans went from being just so much beer talking and started to take shape. Now all they needed was a time when Gibbs was going to be out of town.
The opportunity came sooner than expected. Gibbs was ordered to attend a top security terrorism briefing in New York and was to be gone for at least twenty-four hours. More than enough time by anyone's reckoning.
Gibbs headed down to his basement with a swing in his step. The briefing had gone well and finished early. The coffee had been plentiful and strong throughout his entire time away. And on the flight home he had been seated next to not one, but *two* redheads.
It was still early afternoon, and Director Morrow had told him there was no need to come back to work until the next day, so Gibbs planned to spend a few hours listening to the TV in his basement while working on his boat.
There was only one slight problem with this plan. Namely, the absence of said boat from said basement.
"So, let me get this straight," said the cop who had responded to Gibbs 911 call. "You had this boat in your basement and somebody stole it?"
"Yes, Officer," said Gibbs through gritted teeth. "It was here yesterday morning when I left for the airport. And now, as you can see, it's gone."
"And how big was this here boat?"
"About twenty feet or so."
The officer looked at Gibbs in surprise, "You were building a twenty foot boat in your basement?"
"I had *built* a twenty foot boat," snapped Gibbs. "All it needed were a few finishing touches and it would have been ready to launch."
"And how were you going to get it out of here?"
Gibbs looked around the basement as if the thought had never occurred to him before. "It's about building it, not sailing it," he snapped. "Look, are you going to investigate or not?"
"Well the way I see it," said the cop. "It's hard to see that there's a crime been committed. There's no sign of forced entry. You say that nothings been disturbed. And we only have your word for it that there *was* a boat here in the first place."
Gibbs glared at the cop. He knew he should have called Fornell and the F.B.I. instead.
The original plan had been to take the boat and burn it. Tony had suggested collecting up all the ashes afterwards and mailing them to Gibbs. But when they had seen the finished boat in Gibbs basement, nobody had the heart to destroy it. So another plan was formed.
"Take the boat, bring it for a spin round the marina, take lots of pictures and then return it to Gibbs basement. It'll drive him crazy wondering how the hell we did it."
"Still think we should burn it," muttered Kate.
So with the help of Jimmy's Uncle and with a lot of pushing and shoving, the boat was finally dragged out of the basement and loaded onto a truck that the team had clubbed together to hire for the day.
Ducky had a contact in a small marina not too far away. Once there, they unloaded the boat and brought it down to the water.
It was Abby who insisted that the boat be properly christened before they all set sail in her. She'd even brought along a special flask of extra strong coffee to do the job. But it was Ducky who came up with the name.
"I dub this boat the Marjorie Samantha Catherine," he said, as he poured the coffee and the rest of the team applauded.
"Why did you pick those names, Doctor Mallard?" asked Jimmy.
There was an evil grin on Ducky's face as he replied. "Because they happen to be the first names of Jethro's three ex-wives."
"Okay everybody, all aboard," called Abby.
"I call shotgun," yelled Tony as he, McGee and Jimmy pushed the boat down the ramp to the water.
A few minutes later they were all sitting in the boat, Tony steering and McGee and Jimmy pulling at the oars.
"So when you say 'a few finishing touches', what exactly had you left to do to it?" asked the cop.
Gibbs ran his hands through his hair. "I had to attach the mast. That was going to be the last thing; there wouldn't have been room to do it in here. The rudder hadn't been connected up properly. And oh yes, I had to caulk it properly."
"Cover it with sealant to make sure it was fully waterproof and wasn't going to spring a leak. If you don't caulk it properly then you might as well put to sea in a sieve for all the good it's going to be."
Afterwards, nobody could agree on who was the first to notice the water pooling round their ankles, but it was agreed that Abby was the first one to react, pouring out her Café-Pow and starting to bail out the water.
Being trained professionals, nobody panicked...much. Although Tony insisted later that it hadn't been *him* who screamed, "Abandon ship!"
It was very fortunate that due to the unconnected rudder, the boat had been going around in circles and was still in shallow waters. But it was still a very wet and bedraggled bunch of NCIS agents and staff that scrambled to shore.
Kate grimaced as she watched the Marjorie Samantha Catherine disappear beneath the surface. "Gibbs is going to kill us."
"Yeah, probably," said Tony. "Well, if he's going to kill us, we might as well go with out original plan."
And so Tony and McGee and Abby and Kate and Ducky and Jimmy had a nice picnic beside a good-sized bonfire.
Gibbs meanwhile narrowly avoided spending the night in custody for wasting police time and for using abusive language to a police officer.
Post by ceindreadh on Jul 25, 2005 16:21:14 GMT -5
Title: Fatal Dilemma Author: Ceindreadh Email: Ceindreadh@eircom.net Genre (general, hetero or slash) Gen Pairing/Characters: n/a Rating: FRT 13 Summary: What if you had a chance to change what had happened? Warnings: Twilight inspired fic, so yeah there's going to be character death. Also, you may need tissues. Disclaimer. I don't own them and I'm only borrowing them and I promise to return them in good condition when I'm finished.
"You did good," said Tony as he helped pull Kate to her feet.
"For once, DiNozzo's right," Gibbs added making them all laugh.
"Wow, I thought I'd die before I ever heard a com..." The bullet that shattered her skull cut off her words and she crumpled to the ground.
"That's not the way it's supposed to be, dammit." Kate turned to the shrouded figure beside her. "I'm not supposed to die like that. I should have died in the line of duty...not been murdered by that nice guy Ari, it's not *fair*..."
"Life seldom is," said the figure. "And most of the time, neither am I."
They were standing before a plasma screen, almost like the one back at N.C.I.S. headquarters. In fact, as Kate looked closer, it *was* the screen from headquarters, or at least its identical twin. There was even the same dent on the frame from where one of DiNozzo's games of office hockey had gone wrong.
"It's from your memory," the figure said. "As is everything on this plane."
"How did you...oh yeah, you're Death, you know everything," said Kate. She was still a bit frustrated by what had just happened. One second she had been standing on the rooftop with Gibbs and Tony. There had been a gunshot, and everything had faded away to be replaced by...well, it was like standing in a fog bank. She could have been there for seconds, or maybe hours before a figure in a shroud had appeared beside her and showed her her last few moments of life in an effort to convince her that they had indeed been her last few moments of life.
"As I said before, I am not Death, merely one of his servants. I am merely here to ease your transition into the next stage."
"You mean Heaven or Hell, right? What if I don't want to go? There's got to be a way around this, everything has a loophole, a way to change what happened, right?"
Death's servant gestured at the screen, which now showed a close up of Kate's body, the blood pooling around her head. "Does that *look* as if there's a loophole?"
Faced with the facts, Kate couldn't help but agree that it did look pretty final. "But can't I get a second chance? I mean, if I'd just moved a fraction of a second earlier then maybe the bullet would have missed me. I've been a good person all my life, I've served my country...please, I don't want to die...not...not like this. I wanted my life, my *death* to mean something." Kate found tears springing to her eyes. "I was supposed to protect Gibbs, to throw myself in front of a bullet for him. Not...not get shot down like this. Please, there's got to be a way you can change things...give me a second chance..."
Death's servant looked as if he was pondering the matter. Finally he spoke, "There is a chance...the outcome of this situation hung in the balance until the very last. My superiors..." He was silent for a moment as if listening to instructions. "Very well, Caitlin Todd. You have been granted a chance to make a change. However, you should be aware that the decisions you make will have consequences. What would have happened has been written, but you are about to rewrite it. Are you sure that you want to do this?"
"Yes, oh yes," Kate was definite about this. Anything was better than dying.
"Very well." Death's servant reached out and touched her on the forehead.
Kate found herself lying on the ground with Gibbs and Tony standing over her. "Protection detail over, Kate," said Gibbs as he reached out to pull her to her feet.
Kate hesitated as she took his hand. This was all so familiar, but something...in a flash she remembered what had happened the first time round and knew she had to do something to stop it. This time as Tony and Gibbs pulled her up, she managed to stumble and almost fall into Tony's arms.
"Whoa, no need to throw yourself at me like that, Kate," grinned Tony.
"You okay there Kate," said Gibbs, taking a step towards her. "You look..." The bullet shattered his skull cutting off his words and he folded to his knees and pitched forward onto the ground.
"NO!!" screamed Kate, even as she drew her gun and pointed it in the direction of where the shot had been fired.
"Gibbs? GIBBS!!!" Tony's scream of anguish stopped Kate in her tracks and she watched as Tony sank to his knees beside Gibbs's body, rolling it over quickly. The bullet hole in Gibbs's forehead was significantly larger than had been the one on her face she thought, even as she remembered the variation in size between entrance and exit wounds. "Oh man, no, this isn't right. Boss, come on, you can't be dead." Tony was moaning as if in pain. "Boss, come on." He shook Gibbs body and then realizing that it was no use, he crawled away and threw up.
Kate turned around and screamed into the air, "This wasn't supposed to happen, dammit!"
"And what did you think was going to happen, Caitlin?" The voice came from behind her, and when Kate turned around, she was back in the fog bank, with Death's servant beside her.
"I thought I was going to live..."
"And you did, but because you made the choice to step out of the path of the bullet, Gibbs made the choice to step into it."
"But Gibbs can't die, he *can't*...not because of me, not when I was protecting him."
"As it is written now, Gibbs is indeed dead," said Death's servant.
"Wait, as it is written *now*...but before it was written a different way, right? So maybe I can go back and change things, make sure that Gibbs doesn't die. Third time's the charm, holy Trinity and everything, right? Please, you have to let me do this. I was charged with the responsibility of protecting him, I can't fail him." Without being able to see the spirit's face, Kate couldn't tell if her words were getting through to him, "Please, you have to give me another chance."
Finally after what could equally well have been a few seconds or an hour, the spirit spoke again. "You may have one more chance to rewrite what has been written, but I warn you Caitlin Todd, that there are consequences to all your actions and eventually you will have to decide which version of what has been written is the final act. Make your choices wisely." This time his touch on Kate's forehead was more forceful and Kate felt herself falling backward...
Only to find herself flat on her back for the third time that day.
"Protection detail over, Kate," said Gibbs as he reached out to pull her to her feet.
Kate hesitated as she took his hand, hoping to find some way to keep them both out of the way of the bullet. Then she saw her chance. As Gibbs pulled her to her feet, she lunged at him yelling "Gun!"
The shot rang out as she knocked Gibbs to the ground. Kate landed on top him and held her breath, hardly able to believe that she'd done it.
Gibbs looked up at her, an expression of shock and puzzlement on his face. "How the hell did you know?"
Kate thought quickly, "I saw a red dot on your face...knew somebody had a tracer on you..."
"Ari, that nice guy." Gibbs pushed Kate away and looked in the direction the shot had come from. "He's probably long gone by now, dammit to hell."
"Come on, let's get out of her." Kate pushed herself to her feet, as did Gibbs. "Hey DiNozzo..." Her voice trailed off as she saw the look on Gibbs face, and when she turned around to see what he had seen, she gasped in shock. "Oh no, not Tony."
Gibbs pushed past her and sank to his knees beside Tony, who was lying flat on his back, a pool of blood around his head, his sightless eyes staring up into the sky. "Oh God, Tony," he said, his voice almost cracking. "That nice guy Ari, I swear he's going to pay for this." His voice rose into a scream, "DO YOU HEAR ME ARI? I WILL *KILL* YOU FOR THIS!"
Kate could only slump against the wall, eyes shut, thinking of how she had completely managed to screw things up. "It's not supposed to be like this," she sobbed, "This isn't supposed to happen."
"All things are supposed to happen, and none of them. The time has come for you to choose which one of them *will* happen."
Kate wasn't really surprised when she opened her eyes to see that she was back in the fog bank with Death's servant standing beside her. "What?" she asked wearily. "What do you mean I have to choose? Hasn't it already happened?"
"All things have happened. Events that were set in motion by your actions today have resulted in three paths. Each has their own consequences and rewards, but you will have to choose between them."
"I get to choose which of us bites the bullet. Oh that's just great," snapped Kate, frustrated by the whole thing. She pushed her hair back from her face. "Can't you make it so that we all survive?"
"That path is not within my power to offer you." The spirit seemed to hesitate briefly before continuing, "It is however within my power to tell you of the consequences of your possible choices. If you wish to know, that is."
"Yes, yes, tell me. What happens if Gibbs dies?" Kate didn't really want to know the answers, but she couldn't make an uninformed choice.
"If Jethro Gibbs dies on this rooftop, then Anthony DiNozzo will follow him to the grave six months later. He will devote his life to finding the man you know as Ari, but without the steadying influence of his 'Boss', he will become even more reckless and take unnecessary risks. Eventually he will be captured by factions close to Ari...and he will die...but not before they torture him for every last bit of information they can find."
Kate turned away from the plasma screen, fighting back the tears at the images that the spirit had shown her. "Don't, I can't let that happen." It took her a few minutes to compose herself and ask her next question. "And if Tony takes the bullet?" she asked, but not really wanting to hear the answer. "Will Gibbs be killed by Ari as well?"
"No," said the spirit, even as the plasma screen flared to life again.
Kate's relief was short lived as the spirit described to her how Gibbs would go completely off the rails without Tony around to curb his excesses. "Jethro Gibbs has always played things close to the line, but now...now he steps right over it. Twelve months after Anthony DiNozzo's death, ironically it's exactly a year to the day later, Gibbs is suspended from duty at N.C.I.S. pending an investigation into the death of a suspect he was supposed to bring in for interrogation. There's even talk of a prosecution for murder."
Kate was unable to tear her eyes away from the screen as she watched Gibbs - completely white haired by now - sit in his basement drinking from a bottle of bourbon. When he reached for his spare gun - his N.C.I.S. issue weapon having been taken from him already - she knew what he was planning on doing and yelled at the spirit to shut it off.
The screen went blank and then faded away completely leaving just Kate and Death's servant in the middle of the fog.
Kate's voice was breaking as she asked, "How...how can you expect me to choose between them? Whichever choice I make, they're both going to suffer..." Her voice trailed off as she realized that there was still one choice she could make.
The spirit nodded at her as the realization hit her.
"It's me," Kate said finally. "I'm the one who has to die...Tony and Gibbs, if one of them dies, the other will be damaged beyond repair...but together...they can survive my death...and bring Ari down. So...so I'm going to choose...my death, not theirs."
She looked up at the spirit. "This was never about me making a choice between them, was it?"
The spirit shook its head, "There was a choice to make, but it was a choice between accepting your fate and denying it. Only by seeing the alternatives could you allow yourself to move on to the next plane."
Kate took a deep breath before saying, "Then I guess it's time to move on." She took hold of the spirits outstretched hand as the fog bank faded away.
Title: Successor part 5 Author: Ceindreadh Email: Ceindreadh@eircom.net Website: n/a Permission to archive: Yes to WWOMB, anybody else, ask first. Fandom(s): NCIS Genre (general, hetero or slash) Gen Pairing/Characters: n/a Rating: FRT 13 Summary: Post fic to Twilight. Life goes on. Warnings: None Disclaimer. I don't own the NCIS characters - only Elizabeth - I'm only borrowing them, and I promise to return them in minty fresh condition when I'm finished.
Successor - part 05 Gibbs's second thoughts
Even though I'd more or less acknowledged the fact that Elizabeth was going to be sticking around for longer than a week, it still took a while before I treated her as a fully-fledged agent. The instinct to protect her as much as possible was strong in my mind and it was almost a month before I allowed her in the field. I would have kept her on desk duties indefinitely if she hadn't confronted me about it one day.
"Boss." She was starting to pick up some of DiNozzo's habits. Fortunately none of the more annoying ones, but I admit it felt good to hear another voice calling me 'Boss'. Anyway, I'd just gotten back from a meeting with Director Morrow and was ready to head out to a crime scene when Elizabeth blocked my way. "Boss, isn't it about time you started taking me with you and Tony?" There was a dangerous look in her eyes. The same look she tended to get when Tony was pushing things a bit too far.
I'd seen it only the other day when DiNozzo was trying to get her to type up a report for him. He'd found out that she was able to touch type and was trying to play on her team spirit by insisting that they share the workload. "Oh come on Elizabeth," he had said coaxingly. "You'll get this typed up in half the time. Pleeeeese." He had his back to me as I approached from the elevator so I couldn't see whether he was trying the lost puppy expression. It had never really worked on Kate, and I could see that Elizabeth was pretty immune to it as well. "Tell you what, you type up my report...and I'll show you my scars." Her response was to say, "Tell you what Tony, *you* type up your own report and I won't make you any new ones." Then she shot him that look and he backed away so quickly that he nearly bumped into me and narrowly avoided wearing my coffee.
But I was made of sterner stuff than DiNozzo and was immune to that sort of non-verbal aggression. Heck, I was a master of it myself and not about to be intimidated by a virtual novice who would have had to stand on tiptoes to even look me in the eye. "Special Agent Faulkner, what makes you think you're ready to work in the field?"
"Uh, four years working as a field agent before I transferred here, that's what. Boss, I'm not some wet behind the ears probationer who can't even take the safety off her gun. I've worked in the field before, I can handle it."
I knew that she was right. Her record spoke for itself, and if that wasn't vocal enough I also had DiNozzo on my back about getting Elizabeth out in the field. Practically every case we worked he was making snarky comments about how we'd have processed a scene or finished interviewing suspects a hell of a lot quicker if there were three of us doing it rather than two. The annoying thing was that he was right. And to be honest, there was no real reason for *not* having Elizabeth in the field. Only my desire to keep her out of harms way as much as possible.
But since I had more or less accepted the fact that she was going to stick around, at least for the foreseeable future, it would have been unfair of me to restrict her to paperwork that could be done by any agent only half as qualified as her. Okay, I had no problem with being unfair if it kept her safe. But as she reminded me, she was an N.C.I.S. agent who'd plenty of experience with fieldwork.
So I decided I'd let her work outside the office. But while I couldn't guarantee that I'd be able to protect her from Ari, I figured that I'd at least make sure she could handle herself against the rest of the lowlife perps we came up against.
Her shooting skills were good, not excellent by any means, but she had a high average on the firing range and practiced regularly. I'd kept myself apprised of her scores and noticed that on days when she'd had a run in with DiNozzo, her groupings tended to be considerably lower down the target body than was recommended. But hey, any guy she shot like that clearly wasn't going to pose much of a threat afterwards.
So the only thing left was to see could she handle herself in a combat situation. "Okay then. Fifteen hundred hours in the gym. I'll take you through some close quarters combat training. You perform to my standards and I'll take you out on the next case we get. Okay?"
"Of course." She walked away and I was sure I heard her say a muffled "YES!" as she got back to her desk.
I knew she wasn't going to be quite so happy after I'd finished with her. Now I was brought up to respect women. I have *never* laid my hand on a woman in anger...unless she was shooting at me or something. But I had no intention of treating Elizabeth like cut glass just because she was female. If she got into a struggle with a suspect, they weren't going to go easy on her because she was a woman, and neither would I.
Tony was there watching as I threw Elizabeth to the ground for what must have been the fifth or sixth time. All credit to her, she didn't complain or kick up a fuss, just picked herself up and came at me again. "You're not trying, Special Agent Faulkner," I snapped at her, trying to make her lose control. "Keep dancing around like that and you might make a suspect so dizzy he'll fall over, but that's the only way you'll beat him." I jabbed at her with my fist and watched as she ducked out of the way, but instead of attacking, she just kept out of my reach. "Dammit, try attacking for a change. Stop holding back." I knew from her record that Elizabeth had CQC training but she wasn't showing much signs of it.
"Hey," she snapped back at me, "I just don't want to hurt you and make you mad is all."
Okay, that made me stop in my tracks and laugh. "I promise you Elizabeth, that even if you *did* manage to hurt me, I will not get mad or take it personally. Okay?"
"Right, now that we've got that out of the way, attack me."
"Shouldn't we have some ground rules or something?"
Now I was starting to get annoyed, "Rules? This is a combat situation, there are no rul..." And that's when she kicked me in the groin.
I have to admit, that it was a well-aimed kick, and if it hadn't been for my protective cup then she could have done some serious damage. But she'd kicked hard enough to make me sink to my knees and for a few seconds the gym was spinning around me.
I could hear Elizabeth saying to DiNozzo, in a voice tinged with a little panic, "He *did* say he wouldn't get mad, right? And there weren't any rules."
Then DiNozzo's voice replying, "Technically he just said rul...and then he groaned, but I'm pretty sure that's what he meant." I felt DiNozzo's hand on my back, "Uh Boss, you want me to get an ice pack or something?"
I shook my head and then heard Elizabeth's voice again. "If I start running now, how far do you think I'd get before he caught me?"
"Ooh, I don't know. Gibbs can run pretty fast for a guy his age. Hey look, he's standing up. Guess we'll find out!"
"You don't have to start running," I growled as I climbed unsteadily to my feet. DiNozzo was looking at me, his expression half amused, half sympathetic. Elizabeth on the other hand was half worried, and half defiant.
"Boss, I'm sorry about that. But you *did* say..."
"Yeah Boss," chimed in Tony. "And you have to admit, she really got you. Mind you, she'd never have taken me by surprise like that. I mean, I've seen that movie a hundred times."
"Movie?" I probably should have known what he was talking about, but I was still in pain, okay.
"Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid. See Butch is about to have a knife fight with one of his team and he asks are there any rules."
Elizabeth chimed in, "And the guy starts to say that there aren't any." Oh great, I thought, another movie buff.
"And that's when Butch gets him where it hurts." DiNozzo turned to Elizabeth. "I just love that movie."
"Yeah, 'you fool, the fall's gonna kill you."
"When you've quite finished," I interrupted. They fell silent and looked at me. "We still have another fifteen minutes to go."
"You want to keep going, Boss?" said Tony. "Shouldn't you be taking it easy for a bit?"
"I should," I said, and I just know that I had an evil grin on my face as I clapped DiNozzo on the back. "That's why *you* are going to do the next fifteen minutes."
I have to admit, that it was almost worth the pain to see the petrified look that appeared on DiNozzo's face. Not to mention the evil grin that showed up on Elizabeth's. Funny how she seemed to have no qualms about attacking Tony in a practice session. She still ended up flat on her back more often than not, but she was able to react quickly and on a few occasions had managed to sweep Tony's legs out from under him before he could stop her. And once or twice, she even managed to keep on her feet while knocking *him* to the ground. On those occasions she faked a quick kick to the groin while not making contact, telling me that that would be her cue to and I'm quoting her, "run like hell"
So all in all, I was a lot happier about the prospect of letting Elizabeth out of the office. I knew that should Ari come after us again that there'd be little enough I could do about it, but at least she was as well prepared as I could make her for dealing with other dangerous elements.
Tony was delighted to have her out in the field, and on several occasions I even let them out without my supervision. They worked well together and seemed to get on fine.
Which is why it was such a surprise when Tony stopped by my desk after coming back from a case and said that he wanted Elizabeth off our team.
Title: Emetib part 1/3 Chapter 1: Night of the beast Author: Ceindreadh Email: Ceindreadh@eircom.net Genre (general, hetero or slash) gen Pairing/Characters: no pairing. Featured characters include Tony/Gibbs/Ducky/Kate Rating: FRT 13 Summary: Nothing can prepare the team for what happened on a full moon. Warnings: supernatural, little bit of humor. Disclaimer. If I owned the NCIS characters, Tony would wear considerably less clothing, so I'm only borrowing them, and I promise to return them in minty fresh condition when I'm finished. Notes: Inspired somewhat by the story Issums Bunny on ncis.fictionresource.com/index.php Thanks to Quislet for chapter title suggestions
"How bad it is, really?" Gibbs asked Ducky in a hushed tone as they sat beside Tony's hospital bed.
Ducky looked up from where he had been examining Tony's chart. "His right wrist is broken in two places. He has several deep lacerations, and he's lost a lot of blood. The I.V. is antibiotics to ward off potential infections, and of course they're worried about potential exposure to Rabies. But all in all, his condition is not considered serious, and they'll be releasing him in a day or two."
Gibbs ran his hand through his hair, "The Doc told me this already. You know that's not what I'm worried about. What about...the other thing?"
Ducky looked at him carefully. "Jethro, I know that my knowledge and experience is both vast and wide ranging, but I'm really not an expert on Lycanthrophy."
Twenty-four hours earlier, Gibbs hadn't believed in werewolves. He had believed in a Navy Lieutenant murdering his wife, with what looked like the aid of a trained attack dog. He had believed that the tracks around the cabin in the woods where he and Tony had traced the Lieutenant had come from that animal. He had believed that the cloudy night would provide enough cover from the full moon so that they could approach the cabin unnoticed.
He hadn't believed that a man could transform himself into a wolf, even as he launched himself at Tony. He also hadn't believed that anyone or anything could survive a whole clip of bullets being emptied into them.
But all these things had happened. Gibbs and Tony had been approaching the cabin, weapons drawn, when Lieutenant Collins had appeared in the doorway. Gibbs had ordered him to kneel on the ground with his hands up. Collins had appeared to be complying when the clouds had suddenly cleared and the light of the full moon shone down on him. It had been like watching a horror movie. Collins had screamed once and then had launched himself towards Tony who had been marginally closer than Gibbs.
Tony might have had a chance to fire, but for the slight distraction of seeing Collins morph into a wolf before his eyes, and by the time he had adjusted to the scenario, he was flat on his back with Collins's fangs sinking into his wrist.
Gibbs had shot the beast over and over, but it hadn't seemed to make a difference until the clouds once again shadowed the moon. As if it had been a signal, Collins let go of Tony and howled at the sky before bounding away.
"Wha...what the hell was that?" Tony gasped, his voice a mixture of shock and pain as Gibbs crouched down beside him.
"I have no idea."
Technically that wasn't true. Gibbs had seen enough movies in his life to recognize a werewolf when it jumped up and bit him, or rather bit DiNozzo. But even faced with the evidence of his own eyes and Tony's injuries, he was still finding it hard to accept. Aware that he was unlikely to be taken seriously if he told the true story, Gibbs instead let people think that Collins had set his dog on them when they approached the cabin and used the attack as cover for his escape. The lack of a dead dog was explained by Gibbs saying he hadn't been able to shoot it for fear of hitting Tony and had instead fired into the air to scare it away. For now that seemed to satisfy Kate and McGee, who had joined them at the hospital.
Gibbs sent them away quickly to try and find out where Collins was likely to head next, and then called in the one person he knew he could trust not to send for the men in white coats once he started talking about werewolves.
"You may not be an expert in Lycanthrophy, Duck," said Gibbs, wearily, "But you know more about myths and legends than anybody I know. So tell me, assuming for the sake of argument that I wasn't having some sort of crazy hallucination, just what are Tony's chances of turning into a wolf like Collins did?"
Ducky sighed, "It's difficult to say, Jethro. The rate of infection from a werewolf bite hasn't exactly been studied in any depth. The fact that the wound was irrigated and disinfected less than an hour after being inflicted could well reduce the chances of infection. I really couldn't speculate. Tony could be infected, or his body might somehow be able to fight it off. There are so many myths and stories about werewolves, many of which contradict each other. Some cultures believe that the werewolf is completely ruled by the moon, that they will change automatically once the full moon has risen. Others believe that a werewolf can change their shape at will, but will change involuntarily when the moon shines upon them."
"That would fit in with what happened tonight," said Gibbs. "Collins was human to start with, even though the moon was well risen."
Ducky continued as if Gibbs hadn't said a word, "And then there's speculation as to whether the werewolf is in control of his own actions or simply ruled by his animal instincts. There is one major consistency however."
"Oh yeah, and what's that?"
"That a person who has been bitten by a werewolf, if they're infected, will turn for the first time at the next full moon."
"Guess that gives me twenty-eight days then." Tony's voice was weak but coherent.
"Twenty-eight days for what, Tony?" asked Gibbs. He hadn't expected Tony to wake until morning what with all the drugs he'd been pumped full of.
"To find some silver bullets and make sure I don't hurt anybody."
"Don't even think about it DiNozzo," snapped Gibbs. "We don't even know if you're going to turn into a werewolf, and if you do...well we'll just have to figure out a way to keep you from hurting anybody while you're Changed, is that clear?"
"Yeah...yes Boss," Tony was barely able to keep his eyes open.
"Besides, Anthony," said Ducky, reassuringly. "Even if you do turn into a werewolf, and mind you, it's by no means certain. There's still the strong possibility that you will be in control of your actions. Some cultures believe that the person you are in life dictates your behavior once changed. You my boy would never knowingly cause harm to an innocent person, and I'm sure that should you Change, then the same will be true."
"Thanks Ducky." This time Tony's eyes closed and didn't open again.
Ducky checked Tony's pulse in response to Gibbs's worried expression. "He's sleeping Jethro, and so should you be."
"Ducky, what you said to Tony just now, do you really think that's what's going to happen?"
Ducky sighed, "I wish I knew Jethro, I wish I knew."
The next four weeks passed quickly. Too quickly for Gibbs's liking. The search for Collins had hit a dead end, and Gibbs was afraid that only the next full moon would provide a lead. He was hoping that the lead would not take the form of another dead body.
Tony meanwhile had been released from the hospital after a few days. He still had a cast on his wrist, but otherwise bore no signs of his attack. Physically that is. Gibbs knew him well enough to see that behind the teasing and the joking Tony was worried about what the next full moon would bring.
Gibbs was worried as well. He had pumped Ducky for all the information the older man had on werewolves, determined to find some way to fix things, but to no avail. And every day was a day closer to the full moon. Gibbs was torn between wishing it would never arrive, and wanting it to arrive quickly so that at least they would know what they were dealing with.
"We should hope for the best, Jethro," said Ducky, "But prepare for the worst."
To that end, Gibbs had spent a weekend working on his basement. The boat was pushed into a corner, and Gibbs placed a mattress on the floor against the wall. In that wall he attached a solid set of chains complete with shackles and a collar. He had also managed to obtain a few clips of silver bullets.
The night of the full moon, Tony and Ducky were at Gibbs house before sunset. Gibbs had put Kate and McGee on call that night, telling them that he had a suspicion that Collins would surface again and he wanted them to be ready. Neither had been told of what Tony was going to face that night, although Gibbs was sure that Abby suspected something. He knew he should have asked somebody else where to get a good strong set of chains.
In response to Abby's question as to why he needed them, Gibbs had snapped at her, "Because I want to chain DiNozzo in my basement, okay?" For once, Abby hadn't persisted in questioning him and for that Gibbs was grateful. Granted, Abby was likely to find the whole situation if not believable, then certainly not outside the realms of possibility. But Gibbs just felt that the less people that knew about Tony's situation the better...especially if it was going to be necessary to take drastic measures to rectify it.
"Guess we'd better get set up," said Tony, trying to force a smile and failing miserably. His cast had been removed a few days earlier and now both hands were clenched into fists.
"I'm sure it will be all right, Anthony," said Ducky, reassuringly. "And if not, then rest assured that I have taken some...precautions." He indicated a small box that he had placed on the table earlier. "That contains some of the strongest and fastest acting animal sedatives known to man. If necessary, I intend to drug you to the gills to prevent you from harming yourself or others."
Tony kicked at the mattress on the floor. "You could've picked a softer one, Boss," he said.
"Think yourself lucky I didn't just get a bale of straw," snapped Gibbs, trying not to show the concern he was feeling.
"Boss," said Tony. "Before you chain me up...I want you to promise me something..."
"What is it, DiNozzo?"
Tony swallowed hard before replying, "If I *do* go all wolf man...don't let me hurt anybody, *please*. Put me down if you have to, whatever it takes, but I don't want to end up a murderer. Promise me that."
"I promise, Tony. Now take your clothes off."
"What!" Tony backed away.
"You saw how big a wolf Collins turned into? You Change while you're wearing those clothes I'll be picking up pieces of cotton for a week, and you'll have to go home in the morning buck naked." Gibbs picked up a blanket from his workbench. "This will keep you warm until the moon rises."
"Well when you put it like that..."
A few minutes later, a blanket wrapped Tony was sitting on the mattress as Gibbs attached the shackles to his wrists and ankles. He had allowed enough slack so that Tony could sit or lie comfortably on the mattress, but not enough for him to get anywhere near the stairs.
Gibbs could feel Tony shivering slightly as he clasped the collar around his neck and locked it securely. "Hey, look at me, DiNozzo," he said. Tony turned his eyes on Gibbs. "You are going to get through this, okay? Whatever you turn in to, however much or little control you have over your actions, I promised you I wouldn't let you harm anyone...and that includes yourself. If I have to, I'll keep you chained up like this every month during the full moon to make sure you're safe. Ducky can diagnose you with something to make sure you're not on duty during full moons. This is going to be okay, understand?"
Tony nodded, unwilling to trust his voice to speak.
Gibbs checked his watch. "Okay, moonrise isn't for another hour or so. Get some rest if you can, this may be a long night."
Gibbs sat on the stairs and waited. His gun - loaded with silver bullets - was resting on his lap. Upstairs, Ducky was waiting in the hallway, another gun by his side. This one was loaded with anesthetic darts. Ducky had wanted to wait with them in the basement, but Gibbs hadn't wanted to have Ducky watching if it came to the point of having to shoot Tony, or whatever Tony was going to Change in to. The way Gibbs figured it, if he couldn't kill a were-Tony with the silver bullets, then he might at least slow him enough for Ducky to use the sleep darts on him. And while they would certainly not kill him, they should at least knock him out long enough for Ducky to finish him off with the remainder of the silver bullets.
Gibbs checked his watch for the tenth time in five minutes. It was just about time. As he looked up, he could see Tony suddenly tense in his position on the mattress. Gibbs put his hand on the gun and waited.
Upstairs, Ducky too waited for the moon to rise. He knew that the odds were sadly stacked against Tony remaining in his own form this night. He could only hope that the young man would retain enough of his human sentience while in animal form so that he would not be a danger to the people around him. But if it should come to that, Ducky was prepared to do what was necessary.
He had discussed the matter privately with Jethro. If Tony Changed and they weren't able to control him, then it was quite possible that they might have to kill him. It wasn't something that Ducky wanted to have to do, but it was a contingency that he felt should be prepared for, and Ducky didn't want to have to wait to plan a cover up until Tony's body was cooling at his feet. Things like faking autopsy reports and tox screens couldn't be done on the spur of the moment. But the alternative, that of letting a Changed Tony kill with impunity was not an option. Tony himself would not want it that way, but Ducky prayed that it wouldn't come to that.
Ducky rose to his feet as he heard movement on the basement staircase. No gunshots. That could be a good thing, if it meant that either Tony hadn't changed, or he had changed and kept his human awareness. Or it could be a bad thing, if he had Changed and managed to overpower Jethro before he could fire a shot. Either way, Ducky knew that he would soon find out the answer. He kept his hand on the dart gun as he watched the door to the basement.
"You can come down now."
Ducky almost sighed with relief. If Gibbs wanted him in the basement then it must be safe. He quickly turned the key and pulled the door open, moving carefully down the stairs, but still keeping the dart gun handy, just in case.
Ducky blinked, as his eyes grew accustomed to the light in the basement. He could see Gibbs crouched beside the mattress, his body blocking the view of the occupant. "Jethro, is he...what is he?" He took a few more steps down as Gibbs stood up.
"Say hello to were-Tony," said Gibbs, turning around to face Ducky.
Post by ceindreadh on Aug 18, 2005 18:00:40 GMT -5
I'd forgotton I'd only posted 1 part of this. Sorry for the delay and I'll post part 3 on Friday.
Title: Emetib Chapter 2: Miaow
Rating: FRT 13 Summary: Nothing can prepare the team for what happened on a full moon. Warnings: supernatural, little bit of humor. Disclaimer. If I owned the NCIS characters, Tony would wear considerably less clothing, so I'm only borrowing them, and I promise to return them in minty fresh condition when I'm finished. Notes: Inspired somewhat by the story Issums Bunny on ncis.fictionresource.com/index.php Thanks to Quislet for chapter title suggestions
Ducky found it hard to stifle a smile as he sat down at Gibbs kitchen table. Tony the cat was sitting on the table and washing himself unselfconsciously. They had been unable to ascertain as yet whether Tony retained any of his human memories and consciousness, or whether he was simply a common or garden housecat, albeit one who would hopefully turn back into a human at some stage.
So far were-Tony had shown no inclination to do anything other than eat, sleep, and clean himself. Not really much different from human Tony, Gibbs had commented dryly.
"Well it is early days," said Ducky. "This is all new to him as well. He may well be able to transform himself at will. But for now I think we should be thankful that he's harmless."
At that, Tony stopped washing himself and looked straight at Ducky. Shining claws appeared on his fore paws.
"Hmm, it would appear that maybe Tony *does* understand what's going on around him." To Tony he said, "I do apologize Anthony, perhaps I should have said, relatively harmless." To make amends, Ducky reached out and scratched Tony behind the ears, making the were-cat purr happily.
Gibbs was about to say something when they heard a banging at the door.
Tony tensed on the table, tail twitching warily as he looked in the direction of the noise.
"It's okay DiNozzo," said Gibbs, quickly scooping him up. "Ducky, go see who it is and send them away."
"Ducky?" said Kate in surprise. "What are you doing here?" Without waiting for an invitation, she stepped into the house, shaking out her umbrella.
"I was going to ask you the same question. Is something the matter?"
"I've been trying to get in touch with Gibbs all evening. He wasn't answering his cellphone."
"Ah yes," said Ducky, thinking quickly. "He, uh, accidentally dropped it down the stairs and it hasn't worked since."
"Probably chucked it down the stairs deliberately," said Kate, brushing some drops of water from her coat. "I need to speak to him, it's about Collins."
"What about Collins?" Gibbs asked, as he appeared in the hallway, Tony still in his arms.
"He was stopped by a traffic cop this afternoon on a routine stop. Pulled a gun and tried to escape and the patrolman shot him. He's in surgery at Bethesda now and...aww, where did you get that lovely cat?"
Before Gibbs could react, Kate had reached out and plucked Tony from his arms. "I never knew you had a pet. He is soooo adorable. And his eyes...I don't think I've ever seen a cat with eyes this blue."
Ducky tried to stifle a snort of laughter as he watched Tony snuggle in close to Kate's chest.
"I'm looking after him for a friend," snapped Gibbs.
"Well he's lovely," said Kate, stroking Tony gently. "Oh and you must be hungry..."
"What makes you say that, Caitlin?" asked Ducky.
"Well the way he's sort of kneading my chest...that's what cats do when they're hungry. It's from when they're kittens and trying to get their mother to give milk." Kate saw the expressions on the guy's faces and said, "What? We had pet cats when I was a kid. Trust me, I know what they do."
This time Ducky couldn't control the burst of laughter. Kate was looking blankly at them. "What? Hey, do either of you know where DiNozzo is? I've been trying to reach him all evening as well."
Gibbs had a resigned tone in his voice as he said; "You're holding him in your arms."
Kate looked at the cat then at Gibbs then at Tony.
"He was bitten by a werewolf last month. Tonight he turned into a were-cat."
Kate burst out laughing, but her laughter died away as she saw the serious expression on Gibbs face. "Wait...you're serious...you mean..." She looked down at the cat in her arms and could have sworn she saw it grin. Then she reacted as would any woman who had just been told that she was holding a were-cat that was really her co-worker in her arms. She squealed "Ewee, DiNozzo!!!" and threw him away from her.
Tony reacted as would any cat who'd just been chucked to the floor. Landing on his feet, he hissed and spat at Kate before making a run for the open door and disappearing into the rainy night.
"Tony!" yelled Gibbs, as he ran to the doorway, but the cat was nowhere to be seen. "goshdarn!" He turned to Kate. "What the hell did you do that for?"
"Hey, it wasn't your breasts he was groping. I didn't know he'd run like that," Kate snapped back.
"We have to find him, Jethro," said Ducky, picking up his coat. "He has no idea how to survive out there. Not to mention the embarrassment if he changes back to human form unexpectedly."
"Okay, Ducky you go up the block, I'll go down. Phone me if you find him."
"Wait, Gibbs. What about Collins?" Kate asked.
"You said he was in surgery...is he going to make it?"
"Probably not," admitted Kate. "He was in a bad way last I heard. The patrol officer swears he only shot him once, but that the guy was bleeding from what looked like a whole clip."
"Good," said Gibbs. Seeing her face he explained, "Ducky thinks that killing the were who sired Tony could break the curse. If Collins dies, then Tony might change back."
"I only said it was a theory, Jethro. At the moment I'm more worried about the fact that Collins is evidently not invulnerable in either lupine or human form...and that probably means that neither is Tony."
"Okay, Kate, you get over to Bethesda. Stay there until Collins is either dead or able to talk. And whatever you do, make damn sure they keep him out of the moonlight!"
Post by ceindreadh on Aug 19, 2005 12:10:48 GMT -5
Title: Emetib Chapter 3: Run Tony run! Author: Ceindreadh Email: Ceindreadh@eircom.net Pairing/Characters: no pairing. Featured characters include Tony/Gibbs/Ducky/Kate Rating: FRT 13 Summary: Nothing can prepare the team for what happened on a full moon. Warnings: supernatural, little bit of humor. Disclaimer. If I owned the NCIS characters, Tony would wear considerably less clothing, so I'm only borrowing them, and I promise to return them in minty fresh condition when I'm finished. Notes: Inspired somewhat by the story Issums Bunny on ncis.fictionresource.com/index.php Thanks to Quislet for chapter title suggestions
Ducky shone a torch into some garbage cans, "Anthony, if you're in there, please come out. I don't need to go sorting through rubbish in the rain at my age." A cat *did* shoot out of the garbage cans as Ducky shone the light on it, but it was a skinny black cat and not the sleek brown tabby that Tony had turned into. "Oh dear," sighed Ducky, "I always did have better luck with dogs." He continued up the block, hoping that Jethro would have better luck.
"Here kitty kitty kitty," called Gibbs, feeling just a little self-conscious. "Dammit Tony, where the hell did you get to?" Gibbs was considerably more worried than Ducky, as he knew exactly how many households in the immediate area had dogs...big ones. The house across the road had a German Shepherd who could eat Tony the cat in two bites. "DiNozzo!" yelled Gibbs. "Dammit, when I get you back, I'm getting you a collar with a GPS locator."
After walking to the end of the block, all Gibbs had to show for his search was wet hair and no DiNozzo. He was starting to get even more worried. Tony was fast enough in human form, with four legs he could be half way across town. But that was assuming that he had kept on running. Okay, he'd probably been a little shaken when Kate had thrown him but surely he'd have realized soon enough that she posed no threat. That was of course assuming that Tony the cat had as much or as little brains as Tony the human. Ducky had seemed convinced of cat Tony's sentience, and certainly the way he had behaved with Kate was evidence that Tony had retained his human consciousness. But maybe the feline brain had been taken over. Whatever. All Gibbs knew was that he had to find Tony and quickly.
"If I were Tony," Gibbs said to himself, "Where would I go?"
Two minutes later Gibbs was in front of a house about three doors down from his. As usual there was music coming from the house, was occupied by a bunch of air hostesses. Gibbs had had to interview one of them a few months earlier regarding a marine who'd gone missing just after disembarking from one of their flights. As Tony had been on his best behavior that week, Gibbs had taken him with him to conduct the interview and he remembered how attentive Tony had been to the young ladies living there, insisting on checking that he'd spelt all their names right.
"Special Agent...Gibbs?" said Betty, the woman he'd interviewed before. "What are you doing here? I thought you'd found your missing marine."
Gibbs put on his most pleasant smile, "I'm afraid I have another important case that needs your help. This time I'm missing a cat, have you seen him?"
"Oooh, it's not a tabby is it? Because one showed up on our doorstep only half an hour ago. Poor thing was wailing so pathetically that we just had to let him in and dry him off a bit."
Typical DiNozzo, thought Gibbs as he followed Betty into the living room where two of her housemates were busy making a fuss over Tony, petting and stroking him as he tucked into what looked like a bowl of chicken. As Gibbs's shadow fell upon him, Tony looked up with as guilty an expression as Gibbs had ever seen on his human face.
"Looks like you've made yourself at home, Di...Tony," said Gibbs. The smile on his face was one which he knew Tony would recognize...the smile that while to the untrained observer might look like the happy smile of a person who'd just found his lost kitty...but any member of Gibbs's team would easily recognize it as the smile of a man who was planning on retribution at a later date. "I hope he hasn't been any trouble, Miss Wu."
"Oh not at all, we've loved having him here. If you want we can look after him for you a bit longer." Betty picked up Tony and scratched his belly, making him squirm in delight. "He's sooo adorable."
"Oh he is that," said Gibbs. "But I'm just looking after him for a friend. Unfortunately a colleague of mine showed up unexpectedly and he did a runner, but I'll make sure that can't happen again." Cats don't usually gulp, but Gibbs was sure that Tony did just that as Betty handed him over. "Thank you ladies."
Gibbs didn't say a word to Tony until he'd gotten him back to his house and shut the door. Then he held him up and looked him straight in the eye saying, "Pull another stunt like that DiNozzo, and I swear I'll have you neutered!"
Tony wiggled and twisted in Gibbs's grip, his back legs almost crossing. Gibbs smiled as he hoisted Tony onto his shoulder and phoned Ducky.
"Ducky, you can come home. I've found our wanderer."
"Why am I not surprised that Anthony picked a house of young women to frequent?" Ducky sipped at a cup of coffee.
"Why am *I* not surprised that he turned into a tom cat?" Gibbs knocked back a healthy dose of his coffee.
Tony was again sitting on the table between them, his tail twitching idly as his head turned to follow the conversation.
"Tony," said Ducky, looking straight into the cat's blue eyes. "Do you understand what's going on here? Have you still the memories of your human form?"
Tony's response was to start licking his paw.
"I wonder is that intended to be a yes or a no?"
Gibbs shrugged, "We're talking DiNozzo here, Ducky. I find it hard enough to figure out what's going on his brain when he's human!"
The matter hadn't been resolved one way or another by the time Kate phoned Gibbs to tell him that Collins had died without regaining consciousness. As Tony was still covered with fur, this did prove that the death of the sire was not going to break the curse.
Gibbs had sat down on the floor with Tony, holding the cat firmly on his lap so that he could look him in the eye. "Tony, I still don't know if you even understand what I'm telling you now. I don't know if you'll remember it once you change back..." Gibbs kept silent over his concern that Tony might not even be *able* to change back. That was one worry that Tony didn't need on his mind - human or feline - at the moment. "But no matter what, you know that we've all got your back. Ducky, Kate, me. Abby and McGee if you want them in on it as well. We'll make sure that you're protected while you're like this, and we'll do whatever it takes to find out how to deal with your...situation." Gibbs found himself scratching Tony behind his ears. "You won't have to deal with this alone, and that's a promise." It took Gibbs a few seconds to realize that Tony's ears were starting to change in shape and that his hair was growing a bit longer...and his nose a bit bigger.
The Change back to human form was faster than when Tony had Changed earlier. Or maybe the earlier Change had just seemed to take a long time because Gibbs was so worried about what Tony was going to change into. Now he hadn't even time to move before he ended up with a naked Tony sitting in his lap.
"Hey Boss," said Tony, with remarkable composure given the circumstances. "Got any milk?" He landed on the floor with a thud.
So Tony returned to human form, apparently none the worse for his four-legged experience. He claimed that he had originally been unable to control his feline nature and it had only been after a few hours as a cat that he had realized that he was really a human. Gibbs only half believed him. Kate definitely *didn't* believe him. And Ducky was busy devising all sorts of cognitive tests to be performed if and when Tony became a cat again.
"It's all so fascinating my dear Anthony," Ducky had said the next day when Tony was fully human again. "There are so many unanswered questions. Do you have the ability to Change at will? Have your senses while human been affected in any way? Will you change involuntarily in any situation? It's all so fascinating."
Fascinating wasn't the word for it, thought Tony as he crept along beside a wall, trying to sneak up on a suspects house a few nights later. He still hadn't figured out a way to change into a cat on command, but fortunately he hadn't changed accidentally either. He had noticed that dogs tended to bark at him a lot...but then that wasn't really anything new. And he'd started finding sushi a much more palatable meal than ever before.
But it was the changes to his senses that were the most interesting...and the most fun. His balance had improved immensely, as had his sense of smell. And as for his night vision...well lets just say that his neighbors really should start drawing their curtains at night...at least if they were going to be doing *that* sort of thing in bed!
Post by ceindreadh on Aug 30, 2005 12:17:55 GMT -5
Title: Forgiveness and reflections Author: Ceindreadh Email: Ceindreadh@eircom.net Fandom(s): NCIS Genre (general, hetero or slash) gen Pairing/Characters: no pairing Rating: FRT 13 Summary: Tony has time to do a lot of thinking after SWAK Warnings: spoilers for SWAK Disclaimer. I don't own the NCIS characters, I'm only borrowing them, and I promise to return them in minty fresh condition when I'm finished. Notes: This fic pretty much evolved out of conversations and discussions I had with FatCat after we'd both *finally* gotten a chance to watch SWAK.
He nearly died that day, he knows that now. Lying there in the hospital bed, UV lights surrounding him, lips and fingers turning blue as his body tried in vain to suck oxygen into his lungs. He was at his lowest ebb, ready to just give up and stop fighting...certain that it was only going to be a matter of time before his body gave up the fight.
And then Gibbs had shown up, the hero on his white horse, come to save the day.
He had told Tony that he was going to live, and Tony had believed him. He'd figured that the doc's must have told Gibbs that everything was going to be all right, because Gibbs wouldn't lie to him about something like this. And the security and safety that the simple words implied had done more for Tony than any of the antibiotics being pumped into his veins.
Gibbs believed in him, believed that he was going to live, and Tony really hated to let Gibbs down. Even without Tony being aware of it, his body had started to fight back, to repair the damage caused by the pneumonic plague.
It had been several days later, when the danger was well and truly past, and Tony was on the road to recovery, that he found out the truth.
Brad had stopped by for his routine check on Tony's condition and had told him that he was being moved to a regular ward. "I honestly wasn't sure that you were going to make it, Tony," he had admitted. "We were doing the best we could but nothing seemed to be stopping the bug and well, I'll never give up on a patient when there's the slightest hope left, but there just wasn't anything more I could do. And then your boss just breezes in, and I don't know what exactly he said to you, but it must have worked, because from there on in you just started getting better."
Gibbs had been completely unapologetic when Tony had confronted him on his next visit. "I honestly didn't know if you were going to survive, DiNozzo," he had said, a note of concern tinting his voice. "The doc who'd made this bug said you had a 15% chance...maybe more cause you were fit and healthy to start with. I figured if you knew how low the odds were then you mightn't have been able to deal. But I also knew that you've never disobeyed an order of mind. Sure you might argue and grumble and maybe even whine a little. But you've never let me down, Tony, and I'm sure as hell glad you didn't decide to start now."
With a declaration like that, it's hard for Tony to stay ticked at Gibbs. Especially when everything he's said is right. Tony likes to buck the odds every once in a while, but remembering how sick he felt at that point, he has to wonder if he'd have just let go if Gibbs had been more forthcoming about his chances instead of taking his survival as a done deal. Tony's not complaining though. It worked, didn't it? And besides, he doesn't really have the energy these days to hold a grudge or anything.
He's forgiven Kate as well for her lie about being infected. He knows she meant well, and he has to admit that knowing there was somebody else there with him, somebody who *knew* him, was a bit of a comfort through the whole ordeal. Of course that doesn't wipe away the horror and guilt he felt when Kate told him he'd infected her. He'd been lying there feeling bad enough about the whole 'contaminating the office and making everyone get quarantined and burning their clothes' thing, but he'd consoled himself with the fact that really McGee's tie was so ugly that he'd probably be thanking him for getting rid of it, and besides, it was good for people to have to go through the drill, would make them more efficient when a real emergency happened. And then Brad had shown up and things had started getting serious and when Tony had been told it was Pneumonic Plague, he'd nearly freaked out, but again, it could have been worse because at least he was the only one suffering for his stupidity.
And then he found out he'd hurt Kate as well, and the guilt was just unbearable. He could live with being the cause of his own death, but hurting Kate as well because he didn't know better than to open an ambiguously addressed envelope...he felt like a sledgehammer had hit him, and it wasn't just the bug making him feel that way. And when she'd said that wasn't the worst of it, his mind was thinking 'what could be worse than *that*?' and the answer that hit him was, "Gibbs infected as well?" and if that had happened then he didn't think he'd have been able to bear it, the guilt would have smothered him completely. But no, it was just Kate being Kate, and even though he knows she meant well and just wanted an excuse to stay so she could keep sniping at him and distracting him from the fact that he was probably going to die. And even though he'd have probably done something similar if their positions were reversed, every now and then in his dreams he hears her saying it over and over and the guilt is just as bad every time. But he's forgiven her for that, really. And he's not planning on taking that wet t-shirt picture of her and getting it printed onto toilet paper and distributing it round the office, no, he won't do that...not until he's back at work anyway.
Somebody he finds it less easy to forgive is the girl who started all this. Maybe it's all the experience he's had in dealing with real rape victims, but Tony can't really feel much sympathy for somebody who let a false allegation be made. Okay, so the kid had a lovely time with her boyfriend being killed and then being stuck tied to a bed for two days. Boo hoo, Tony's heart bleeds for her, except no, that's not his heart, that's just where he's after spitting up some more blood. And okay, so being tied to a bed for so long might not have been the most comfortable of positions, but when Tony is hunched over an emesis basin and feeling like he's going to cough up a lung, he's a little less inclined to feel sorry for her. Okay, it wasn't her fault her mother went bat sweets crazy and cooked up this little plan to get what she perceived as justice, but it still doesn't wipe out the fact that if daughter dearest had told the truth then maybe Momma wouldn't have plotted her little scheme and he wouldn't be lying here and wondering if he'll ever have the strength to stand up again.
And as for the nutcase who cooked up the whole plot, well Tony knows that she's sick, that brain tumor whatever was affecting her mind, but it can't have messed it up too much or she wouldn't have been able to figure out a way to beat the system and get the bug into NCIS in the first place. He does pity her...a little, and in a way he can understand why she did what she did. Heck, if somebody he loved had been raped and it had been covered up, then he'd have done anything in his power to find out the truth. He wouldn't have killed for it though...or would he? If somebody hurt Kate or Gibbs then Tony knows that he'd do whatever it took to see them punished. Thoughts like that make it a little easier to forgive her. Especially now that he knows that she's dying and he's not.
He doesn't forgive McGee.
For the simple reason that McGee has done *nothing* to require forgiveness from him. Abby's told him how Tim has been so worried and fretting over the fact that he was the one who gave the envelope to him, when Tony knows damn well that he practically snatched it out of McGee's hands. And besides, Tony's the senior agent. If McGee had screwed up on *his* watch - and let's not forget that he didn't - then it's still Tony's responsibility. So there's nothing to forgive McGee for, and Tony doesn't even feel like milking McGee's guilt when he gets back to the office. Well maybe just a little bit. Might be worth faking a few coughs every now and then, especially when they're arguing over whose turn it is to go and get lunch.
But Tony doesn't like the thought that McGee's feeling guilty. He's told him before not to second guess himself, that what's done is done. But he knows that it's probably eating away at McGee inside. Maybe that's why Probie has only been to see him a few times in the hospital, and then only with Abby, and then he hardly said a word. Tony's gonna show him that he bears him no ill will. He might even tell some of the girls downstairs that Tim isn't really gay...well maybe he'll only tell a few...the less pretty ones, but they're still sweet kids and if he tells them that Tim is sort of struggling with his sexuality then he's sure they'll do their best to help him out. He might tell them that Tim's into stuff like wearing ladies underwear, though. Doesn't want to make it *too* easy for Probie now, does he? And it should be good for a laugh.
Not that Tony's really been able to laugh much these days. Oh it's not that there's nothing to laugh about, it's just that it hurts like hell to do so. It's not even a case of 'only when he laughs', more like 'only when he breathes'.
Although the bug is officially deceased, and his body working at repairing the damage it caused, Tony still feels like he's gonna hack up a lung when he gets a bad coughing fit. He hasn't been able to sleep through the night without having an episode, but Brad tells him that it will pass. Trouble is, when he's lying in bed staring up at the ceiling and too weak to even sit up without help from the nurses, it's very hard to even imagine that he'll ever be back to his full fitness again. It scares him sometimes just how much he's had to rely on other people. He's had nurses come round to wash him and shave him and while normally he'd have been delighted at all their attentions, he can't help but remember the times they'd had to help feed him as well, not to mention all the other duties.
Knowing that the pretty nurse with the nice smile has just spent the last half hour cleaning you up after you didn't manage to call for a bedpan in time, sort of puts a dampener on trying to chat her up.
But all things good or otherwise have to come to an end, and the day comes when Tony is finally let out of hospital. Or as Gibbs puts it, "The nurses finally got fed up with you, DiNozzo, so they're kicking you out."
Tony's sure that Gibbs didn't really mean it like that. He knows he can be a bit annoying, but they wouldn't be sending him home if he wasn't up to it, right? He's thinking that maybe he shouldn't have exaggerated his well being to Brad, and maybe he should have been a bit more honest about how tired he feels, but it's too late now and Gibbs is driving him home and lecturing him about staying in bed and resting.
And then they're at Tony's apartment and Gibbs is showing him a well stocked refrigerator and telling him there's enough frozen meals in the ice box to last him for weeks, and ordering him to have one a day because he'll be counting them before Tony goes back to work and God help him if there's too many left.
And then he waits until Tony is tucked up in his bed and tells him to leave his mobile within reach and not to go *anywhere*, even to the bathroom without having it with him. "I don't want to find you collapsed on the floor and not able to phone for help," Gibbs tells him.
Tony's sure that he won't need any help, he's feeling a lot more confident now that he's back in familiar surroundings. So much so that the very next day he leaves his phone behind him when he heads for the bathroom. Only it takes him a lot longer to get there than he'd thought and when he's finally finished and cleaned up and everything he has to sit down for a little while before he feels up to making the journey back to his bed. And then he has to take his time making his way back, and what with one thing and another, it's nearly an hour later when he finally crawls back under the covers and he's just about to drop off when Gibbs comes barging in and demanding to know why Tony didn't bring the phone with him. And Tony sees about a dozen missed calls on the phone and it sort of gives him a warm glow to know that Gibbs is looking out for him.
So Tony's ready to go back to work now, or rather he's bored stiff by his own company. He never thought he'd find himself thinking this, but he'd almost rather have spent the time in the hospital. At least then he wasn't alone with his own thoughts for too long, what with all the nurses and stuff.
But he's been on his own for too long now. Sure Gibbs has called round when he can, except for when he's been working late on a case, which is pretty much most of the time. And the first few days at home, Tony spent a lot of time IM'ing Abby in the lab, except for when she got busy and he was waiting there for ages before she'd be able to reply to him. And Kate emailed him every now and then, usually to tell him to stop sending her emails every five minutes because Gibbs was getting fed up with the message alert tone sounding all the time. And Probie's phoned him occasionally, except that Tony can't really talk a lot without getting breathless, and he doesn't want to let anybody know that because otherwise he'll just be told to stay at home for longer.
That's why he's avoided taking Ducky's calls as much as possible and managed to put him off visiting. Tony knows that Ducky will take one look at him and either ship him back to the hospital or worse, he'll tell Gibbs that he's not fit to go back to work. And Tony wants to go back to work...he *needs* to. He never thought he'd complain about having so much free time on his hands, but all he wants is to sit back at his desk and pretend that life is back to normal and that he doesn't wake in the middle of the night from dreams of being unable to breathe.
He wants to get back to work, to taunting Kate and teasing Probie, to listening to Ducky's rambling stories and pulling on Abby's pigtails. Heck, he even wants to have Gibbs smack him on the head again. He's missed them all and he hopes that they've missed him. Tony's biggest fear is that he'll go back to work and find that they got on so well without him that they don't need him any more. But he pushes that thought away. They *do* need him, really they do.
He's going to go back to work in the morning, and his first day back is going to be really great, he just knows it is.
as usual my muse kicked in while I was at work. Enjoy!
Title - Requiescat in pace Author: Ceindreadh Email: Ceindreadh@eircom.net Genre (general, hetero or slash) Gen Rating: FRT 15 Summary: Abby has a hard time letting go post Twilight. Warnings: spoilers for Kill Ari I & II Disclaimer. I don't own the NCIS characters, I'm only borrowing them, and I promise to return them in minty fresh condition when I'm finished.
Abby slammed the door behind her as she hurried into her apartment. She shrugged off her long black coat, dropping it on the floor behind her as she made her way into her bedroom. A few minutes later she was sitting cross-legged in her coffin, her Ouija board and pointer balanced on her knees. Closing her eyes, Abby let her hands relax on the pointer. "Come on Kate, I need to talk to you, please..."
"You know you don't have to use that thing all the time."
Abby opened her eyes and smiled at Kate who was sitting in the antique rocking chair a few feet away from the coffin.
"All you have to do is just think of me and I'll come, you know that."
"I know," said Abby, putting the Ouija board aside, "But it sort of feels weird to just sort of yell out your name."
"And using a Ouija board isn't?" They both laughed before Kate continued, "So what's up? Something hinky at work?"
Abby drew her knees up to her chest and wrapped her arms around them. "Things have been hinky for so long now, I don't know what it's like to be normal anymore. Everything's changed since you died. Ducky doesn't tell me stories the way he used to. Tony's bottling everything up inside of him. McGee looks like a kicked puppy every time somebody mentions your name, and Gibbs..." Abby's voice trailed off, and there was a catch in it when she continued, "Gibbs is blaming himself for you being killed."
"And so he should."
Abby's head jerked up in surprise. "You can't mean that, Kate. Gibbs would have stepped in front of that bullet for you if he could've. How can you blame him for Ari shooting you?"
Kate shrugged and tossed her long blonde hair out of the way. "If Gibbs hadn't shown up on Air Force One when he did...I'd never have joined N.C.I.S. Okay, maybe I'd have still had to resign from the Secret Service, but I'd have gotten another job. And I probably wouldn't even have resigned only he made me feel so guilty over the whole 'sleeping with somebody I work with' thing."
"Well there is rule twelve," pointed out Abby.
"Yeah, but I didn't exactly hear him ordering you and McGee to stop knocking boots, did I?"
"No," admitted Abby. "But we weren't assigned to the same command when we were hooked up."
"You always were his favorite," continued Kate. "You could get away with so much stuff. The rest of us tried it; he'd have had our guts for breakfast. You never did tell me your secret." She paused as if trying to collect her thoughts, before continuing, "Anyway, Gibbs was the one who hired me. If he hadn't done that then I'd never have crossed paths with Ari, and he wouldn't have shot me. Gibbs brought me to N.C.I.S. and then he couldn't protect me. If he'd been a better agent, a better *person*, then I wouldn't be dead..." Her voice softened a bit as she continued, "Or at least that's what he's telling himself right now. Oh Abby, it doesn't take profiling training to know that Gibbs is feeling as responsible for my death as if he'd painted a bulls eye right on my head. And he wasn't even able to kill Ari for me. He's hurting so badly, but there's nobody he can tell, because he's Gibbs and he has to be the nice guy who's on top of things and in charge no matter what."
Abby nodded in acknowledgement. "He hasn't been the same since you died. None of us have. Oh Kate, we all miss you so much."
"I know you do, Abby, but things have to move on. Agents die, move on, we get replaced, and life goes on. It has to go on. You can't keep living in the past. I'm dead Abby, and sitting here talking to me like I'm still alive...it's not helping you move on."
There were tears staining Abby's face as she looked up. "You're leaving me...again?"
"As long as you remember me, I'll never truly have left, but it's time for me to rest." Kate's hair was now back to its normal color and her Goth chick outfit had been replaced by an N.C.I.S. jacket and baseball cap. "But you need to move on. Talk to real people, not a memory. I know it's hard, but you're a survivor. You all are, and you all need to be."
"I don't want you to go," blurted out Abby through her tears. "You shouldn't be dead. It's not fair!"
"I know," said Kate. "I know. Take comfort from the fact that I died doing my job, a job I loved. I didn't suffer, I wasn't in pain. I wish things could have been different."
"So do I."
Abby could almost feel a pair of arms encircling her and giving a quick hug before fading away. When she looked up from her tears she was alone. As alone as she had been all along, but now she couldn't even conjure up the image of Kate to talk to. "Goodbye Kate," she said softly. "Requiescat in pace."
Title: Brothers in Arms Author: Ceindreadh Email: Ceindreadh@eircom.net Website: n/a Permission to archive: Yes to WWOMB, anybody else, please ask first. Fandom(s): NCIS Genre (general, hetero or slash) Gen Pairing/Characters: Tony/McGee Rating: FRT 13 Summary: Tim needs to deal with the aftermath of the shooting Warnings: spoilers for Probie Disclaimer. I don't own the NCIS characters, I'm only borrowing them, and I promise to return them in minty fresh condition when I'm finished. Notes: I don't know what NCIS procedures would be following a shooting, so I've sort of created my own.
"I'll handle it, Boss"
The sound of his landline ringing roused Tim from his bed in the early hours of a Saturday morning. Not that he had been sleeping...lying awake and staring at the ceiling had been all the rest he had gotten in the last few hours. Every night in the last week, he had fallen asleep only to wake from dreams of the shooting. Every night he replayed the scene in his mind, hoping that just this once he could make a difference...that maybe *this* would be the time when he managed to hold off on firing until he had assessed the situation properly. But it never happened, and Tim knew that even if he could change it in his dreams, it wouldn't change the reality of the situation. He had killed a man.
It didn't matter that Abby hadn't been able to tell for sure whether his had been the fatal bullet or not, he had still fired at somebody who hadn't deserved to be shot, and even if his bullet had passed harmlessly passed the guy, it still didn't change the fact that he had pulled the trigger with the intention of hitting his target.
It was that as much as anything that kept Tim awake after his nightmares. He knew that his work was being affected, as much by his disrupted sleep patterns as the guilt that was eating away at him. It was only a matter of time before Gibbs gave him his walking papers. He had seen Gibbs coming towards his desk, a look of thunder on his face, and if it hadn't been for Tony needing to speak to him about a cold case, Tim was sure that it would have been his last day as an agent.
But by the time Gibbs had come back from looking at the new evidence Tony had shown him, it was nearly time to finish work and he hadn't said anything. But Tim knew that by Monday he'd surely be clearing out his desk.
The landline had stopped ringing by now, and Tim buried his head in the pillow. But the silence was broken a few seconds later by the sound of his mobile.
Pulling the phone into his line of vision, Tim groaned as he saw Tony's name come up. He knew he could just let it go to the answering machine, but Tony was the persistent type and Tim knew from experience that he'd just keep calling and calling until he got through.
Sighing, Tim pressed the button. "Tony," he said, his voice flat and emotionless. "What do you want at 5am on a Saturday? Lose your keys down your date's dress again?"
"Hey, that only happened once, McGee, and boy, the search was worth it!"
"So what is it then?"
"Get dressed. I'll be outside your place in ten minutes."
"Tony, it's Saturday."
"Nine minutes, McGee, and dress casual." The connection was broken and Tim lay there looking at the phone for a few seconds. All he wanted to do was curl back up under the bedclothes and pretend that the whole of the last week hadn't happened...that he hadn't fired upon an undercover cop...that he hadn't killed a man whose only crime had been being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
But with Tony going to be showing up at his door in, Tim checked his watch, eight minutes, retreating back under the bedclothes was not an option. DiNozzo was just as likely to pick the lock again and start insulting his living quarters, and somehow Tim just didn't feel up to it...not today...and maybe not ever.
Seven minutes later, Tim was outside his apartment block, shivering slightly in the pre-dawn chill. " He pulled his jacket closer around him wondering just what case it was that had necessitated them coming in to work so early. "Must be pretty urgent," he thought, "Especially if they're scraping the bottom of the barrel and calling *me* in."
The beep of a horn alerted him to Tony's imminent arrival. Tim barely had time to fasten his seat belt before Tony took off.
"You look like crap, McGee," was Tony's first comment.
"Good morning to you too, Tony," snapped Tim.
"Hey, take it easy there, kiddo," Tony glanced sideways at McGee as he drove. "You been sleeping all right?"
Tim shifted uneasily in his seat. Tony always seemed to have this unerring ability to read him like a book. And while his interrogation skills might not be as good as Gibbs, he was persistent enough to not stop until he got his answers. "It's a lot easier to sleep when people don't keep phoning you."
"Try and catch some shut eye now," advised Tony. "There's plenty of time, and you'll probably need it."
Tim eyed him suspiciously. "We're only twenty minutes from NCIS...fifteen the way you drive..."
"Oh, did I say we were heading for the office? My bad."
Tim waited, but Tony didn't continue, so eventually he asked, "So where *are* we heading?"
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
Tony looked up and saw Gibbs walking through the office with a face like thunder. He knew what it had to be about. Standard NCIS policy after a fatal shooting, no matter what the circumstances, was that the agent in question had to be recertified on the firing range before they'd be reissued with their weapon. It was usually just a formality...you showed up, fired off a few rounds, and so long as your percentages were reasonable enough you got your gun back. Easy peasy, no problem. All an agent needed to do was to be able to get back on their horse and keep going. But for some agents, that proved more difficult than for others.
Tony had asked Martin, the firing range supervisor, to let him know when McGee had completed his recertification. He'd been planning on showing up to the kid's place with pizza to celebrate...but so far, the celebration had had to be put on hold. Tony didn't mind, he was a patient guy, but it was obvious from the look on Gibbs's face that *his* patience had run out. Martin had given Tony a heads up a few minutes earlier. "DiNozzo, better watch your step. Gibbs was down here earlier, checking up on your Probie, and he wasn't too happy to find he hadn't shown up yet."
Tony somehow hadn't been all that surprised. He knew that the shooting was weighing on McGee's mind, and he'd been doing his best to ease things for him. But something drastic was going to have to be done, and *soon*, if McGee was to have a future as an agent.
"Boss," called Tony, grabbing a random file from his desk and moving to intercept Gibbs before he could reach McGee's desk. "I got a cold case here, there's some evidence I need you to take a look at." He could see Gibbs's mouth open to say something and he quickly continued, "It's really important, Boss." He mouthed, "Please" to Gibbs, and almost imperceptibly, jerked his head towards the elevator.
"Okay," growled Gibbs, and turned towards the elevators.
Inside his 'conference room', Gibbs waited until the car had slown to a stop before he turned to Tony, "This had better be good, DiNozzo."
"It's about McGee," said Tony, quickly. "I know you're going to give him a hard time about the firing range."
"Ya think? Give me one good reason why I *shouldn't* give him a hard time? If he wants to be a special agent, he has to be prepared to use his weapon. If he can't pull his gun when needed, then there's no place for him in the field."
"I know, Boss, I know. I just...I don't think that having you yell at him is going to fix things."
"Do you have a better idea?" Gibbs voice was calm and even, but Tony knew that he wasn't happy.
"I...Boss, just let me handle it, okay? I know McGee; I know what makes him tick. Let me try and sort him out. Just give me some time."
"You have the weekend, Tony. I'm taking McGee down to the firing range on Monday, and if he can't get himself recertified then...he's off the team."
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
"A firing range," Tim looked at Tony in disbelief. "Why the hell are you taking me to a firing range?"
"Why do you think, Tim?" Tony's voice was gentle but firm.
"No, NO, I won't do it Tony." Tim's fists were clenched, "Stop the car or turn around. I'm not doing it."
Tony pulled over the car, grabbing Tim by the arm, as the younger man was about to reach for the door. "Tim," he said, looking him in the eyes. "Do you want to be an NCIS special agent?"
Tim swallowed hard, "Yes...no...I don't know, Tony...I just know that I don't think I can ever trust myself to fire a gun again."
"That's what today is for. Tim, even if you never fire your weapon in anger again. Even if you quit NCIS tomorrow and go to work for some fancy computer company. If that's what you want, then that's up to you. But I don't want you making that decision because you feel you don't have a choice. Let me help you Tim. Spend the day with me at my friend's firing range. Get back your confidence and your aim and pass your recertification on Monday. And then if you still can't face being in the field...well that'll be your choice, not something that was forced upon you. Will you at least try?"
Tim was silent for a few minutes before he replied, "Do I really have a choice?"
The grin was back on Tony's face as he replied, "Not really, no. I've booked the range and put down the deposit, and I'm damned if I'm gonna waste it."
Title: Elbow room Author: Ceindreadh Email: Ceindreadh@eircom.net Genre (general, hetero or slash) Gen Pairing/Characters: Ensemble Rating: FRT 13 Summary: Sometimes Kate could go just a little bit too far. Disclaimer. I don't own the NCIS characters, I'm only borrowing them, and I promise to return them in minty fresh condition when I'm finished. Notes: Set during S2 but no spoilers
"Yeouch," Tony yelped as Kate elbowed him in the stomach as she made her way back to her desk.
It was the second time that day that Kate had had cause to elbow DiNozzo. He was hitting new records for annoyingness.
It wasn't until she sat down at her desk that Kate realized that Tony hadn't returned to his workspace, but was still doubled over from her blow. Even as she looked at him, he crumpled to his knees, clutching his side.
"Give it a rest, DiNozzo," snapped Kate. "I didn't hit you *that* hard." A slight hint of worry crossed her mind as she realized that Tony did seem to be looking a little paler than usual, but she pushed it aside. He was probably just faking it to get back at her for all the times he'd made her elbow him before. "Stop messing around and get back to work. If Gibbs gets back from Norfolk and catches you acting the fool when there's work to be done then there'll be hell to pay."
McGee had also seen Tony fall to his knees and now he moved over beside him, putting his hand on Tony's shoulder as he said, "Uh, Kate, I don't think he's acting. Are you okay, Tony?"
There was a quick shake of Tony's head, "I'm fine," he forced out through gritted teeth. "Kate just...just winded me is all." He made as if to stand up, but groaned again and would have fallen over if McGee hadn't quickly grabbed him.
"I think you should let Ducky take a look at you," said McGee, even as he helped Tony to stand. "Kate, phone Ducky and tell him we're on the way down." He ignored Tony's feeble protests, as he wrapped his arm around him and gently but firmly started guiding him towards the elevator. At the back of his mind was the thought that no way in hell would he have been able to move Tony had the older man not wanted to be moved, so either Tony *was* playing some sort of trick on Kate, or he really was ill.
Kate picked up the phone automatically; still half convinced that this was just some prank that Tony was trying to pull. She was sure that she hadn't hit him *that* hard...certainly no harder than usual...and he *had* had it coming, what with his snarky comment about the type of women who would allow revealing photos of themselves to be displayed in public. The elevator doors closed on Tony and McGee as she waited for Ducky to answer.
McGee waited until the elevator doors had closed fully before saying, "Uh, Tony. If you're faking this just to freak out Kate and me, then mission accomplished...well, half of it anyway. But now would be a good time to come clean."
There was no sign of Tony pulling away from McGee's supporting arm as he said, "Wish I was faking it, Probie, but it feels like somebody kicked me in the stomach. Man, Kate must have spent last night sharpening her elbows just for me." He tried to straighten up, but ended up stifling a yelp of pain.
McGee quickly tightened his grip, "We're nearly there," he said reassuringly.
"My goodness, Anthony, what have you been doing to yourself?" asked Ducky as McGee helped Tony up onto a vacant autopsy table.
"He was..." McGee started to explain, but Tony cut him off.
"Pain in my stomach, Ducky," said Tony quickly. "Think it might be from that perp yesterday. You remember, McGee, he punched me in the stomach when I was bringing him in." Tony looked McGee straight in the eyes, his message clear.
"Oh yeah," said McGee, "That one." True, there had been a perp who'd resisted arrest, but his single swing at Tony had been easily blocked with no harm done. Still, if Tony wanted to cover for Kate, then it was his call, and McGee wasn't going to say anything.
"Hmm," said Ducky, as he pushed Tony back into a supine position. "And where exactly did he hit you?"
"Just about here..." Tony placed his hand over his stomach. "It was a little bit achy, no big deal, and then, bam...like I've been kicked by a mule."
Ducky applied gentle pressure around the indicated area, taking careful note of how much pain each movement was causing Tony. "I rather think you should get this checked out at a hospital," said Ducky, finally. "It may be just torn or damaged muscles, but if the blow was hard enough, you could have a small internal bleed."
"I'm fine," protested Tony weakly. "Look, it's probably just bad cramp or something. A few painkillers, a good nights sleep, and I'll be fine." He sat up quickly, only to suddenly turn even paler. McGee caught him as he swayed sideways, and lowered him back down on the table.
"That does it," said McGee, "I'll take you to Bethesda myself."
"I'll write you a referral, Timothy," said Ducky. "It'll save time."
"Don't I get a say in this?" grumbled Tony.
In response, Ducky prodded him in the side, making Tony whimper and curl up on the table. "You, Anthony are in no condition to do your job today. Get to the hospital and get checked out. More than likely it's just some deep tissue bruising, but I'd feel happier if you at least had a scan to rule out anything more serious."
"I'll make sure he gets there," said McGee, firmly as he helped Tony sit up on the table.
"Good lad, Timothy. I take it that Gibbs has not returned from his meeting in Norfolk?"
"No he hasn't," said Tony, "Which makes me in charge of the team."
"Not when it comes to matters of a medical nature," replied Ducky. "Unless of course you'd prefer to be the one to explain to Gibbs just when your medical knowledge exceeded mine."
McGee wouldn't have thought it possible, but Tony seemed to go even paler, and he made no further protest as he was helped to the car.
As Tony and McGee were heading for Bethesda, Kate was upstairs trying to convince herself that she hadn't *really* hit Tony all that hard. "He's just faking it in order to make me feel bad," Kate told herself. The only trouble was, it was working. Kate was starting to feel just a little guilty. Even if she hadn't really hurt him, she knew that all those elbow jabs she gave him could be quite painful. "He had it coming...going on the way he did. Besides, it was no worse than all the swats he gets from Gibbs." But the words sounded hollow, even to herself.
Although Tony might occasionally yelp when on the receiving end of a Gibbs Swat, Kate knew that Gibbs never truly intended to cause any damage. He knew how to pull his punches properly, and the swats were more a gesture of affection than a punishment.
But try as she might, Kate couldn't see her elbow jabs in the same light. "I'd shoot him if he tried anything like that on me," Kate thought guiltily, knowing that while she might piss Tony off, many times deliberately, he would still never raise a hand to her in anger.
Kate looked at her watch for the twentieth time. Tony and McGee had been gone for over an hour now. Gibbs was due back from Norfolk any minute now and Kate didn't relish the thought of having to explain to him where the rest of his team was. The sound of the elevator doors made her jump, and she tensed in anticipation, relaxing only when she saw Ducky emerge.
"Ducky!" said Kate, meeting him in front of the windows. "Where's Tony? Is he all right?"
"I thought it best that he get checked out at Bethesda," replied Ducky. Seeing the stricken expression on Kate's face, he added quickly, "It's just a precautionary measure. I'm sure that I'm being over careful, but it's better to err on the side of caution when there's the possibility of internal injuries...why Caitlin, what's wrong? You're looking almost as pale as Tony was."
"Why was Tony looking pale?" Gibbs voice made them both jump.
"I...he...we..." Kate stammered. Before she could get a clear word out, Gibbs's phone rang.
He looked at the display and then glanced over at McGee's empty desk before answering, "Gibbs. Talk to me."
Kate watched nervously as Gibbs paced towards his desk. "Oh God, Ducky, Gibbs is going to kill me! This is all my fault!"
Ducky looked at her curiously, but before he could say anything, Gibbs ended the call and barked over at them, "Special Agent Todd, do you mind explaining to me why exactly my senior agent is currently undergoing surgery at Bethesda?"
Kate paled even more, "Gibbs, I'm so sorry, this is all my fault...I...I...I elbowed Tony in the stomach and he just collapsed, and I thought he was faking, and I never meant to hurt him, just to shut him up, and...and....I'm really sorry."
"I don't think I'm the one you should be apologizing to."
"You're right, I know, and as soon as Tony's okay I'm going to apologize to him, you have my word on that," Kate swallowed hard before continuing, "He...he *is* going to be okay, isn't he?"
"McGee seemed to think so. Ducky, will you..."
"I'll phone the hospital at once and get a full update on Tony's condition, Jethro." Ducky patted Kate reassuringly on the shoulder before leaving.
"Gibbs, is there anything I can do?" Kate nearly flinched when Gibbs glared at her.
"Do you have any idea the amount of paperwork that has to be filed when an agent is injured while on duty?"
"No...but I will find out and I'll deal with every report and form that needs filing."
"Yes, yes you will." Kate had started to turn away but stopped when Gibbs continued in a lower tone, "And Kate? I don't like it when people on my team get hurt. I like it even less when it's a fellow agent that hurts them. Do we understand each other?"
Kate swallowed hard, "Yes Gibbs," she squeaked before scuttling away.
A few days later, McGee sat by Tony's hospital bed and nibbled at a cookie. "So Kate made you a whole box of her homemade cookies? And she's promised to type all your reports for a month when you're back on duty?"
"Yep, Probie," said Tony, propped up on several pillows. He was considerably paler than was usual for him, but well on the way to recovery. "And she's picking up my dry cleaning and she's getting my car cleaned."
"Hmm, I've just one question...when are you going to tell her that your appendicitis *wasn't* caused or aggravated by her elbowing you?"
Tony stretched out on the bed, wincing slightly as he tugged at the stitches in his side. "Oh I figure I'll drag it out a bit longer...maybe until I can get her to show me her tattoo!" He looked suspiciously at McGee, "You're not gonna tell her, are you Probie? Cause stitches or no, I can still kick your ass."
"Oh trust me, Tony," McGee took another bite of the cookie. "Keep sharing these cookies and your secret's safe with me."
Suddenly Kate's voice was heard yelling in the corridor, "DINOZZO!!! I'M GOING TO KILL YOU!"