Faith spontaneously combusted into gales of laughter. “Oh, man,” she said, gasping for air, “Where the hell did you drag her up from?”
Gibbs’s headache started to return with a vengeance. “I told you...” he started.
“No no nooo. No,” interrupted a still laughing Faith, wagging her finger at him, “That ain’t my B. No way, no how. Face forward, true believer and give it up.”
Crap. Double crap. Gibbs shifted through any number of strategies quickly in his head, and plumped for the obvious one. “You’re right, but you do appreciate we had to try,” he said quietly.
“Oh man,” Faith said, wiping a tear from one eye, “That might well have worked on some of the mini’s but me and B go way back. And that beautifully artistic sob....” She started laughing hard again.
“You and her been working together for a while then?”
“Oh years, years. Ever since the ‘Dale,” Faith smiled and shook her head. “Think I’ve managed to get the stick up her ass down to a more manageable size at least. Don’t envy you starting all over with your one.”
Gibbs frowned. “You don’t seem surprised at this turn of events. Were you expecting her?” he said, still trying to keep the conversation at a chatty, friendly level before Lehane stopped laughing and clammed up again.
“Well, hell, you know the odds,” Faith smirked at him, “Look at me and DiNozzo, and strictly from an appreciative viewpoint here, may I just say woo – that boy’s grown up some nicely.”
“I’d pass it on, but I doubt his ego needs any more ammunition,” Gibbs said dryly.
Faith snorted loudly, but still kept on smiling broadly. “Damn straight, Grumps.” She saw the distaste that flashed across his face momentarily, and smirked again. “Oops. That’s B’s term for you, ain’t it? Sorry.”
She leant forward over the desk, moving sensuously, almost catlike. “What would you like me to call you, Agent Gibbs? Leeee-roy? Pops?” she purred, gazing directly into Gibbs’s eyes, “Daddy?”
Gibbs couldn’t hide the wince, or the raw pain that still ripped through him occasionally after all these years. Lehane couldn’t miss it either.
“Oh.” She sat down abruptly on her side of the table between them. “Sorry, dude. Didn’t mean to reopen old wounds like that. Sorry.”
Gibbs knew now, in the very centre of his gut, that both Lehane and Summers needed to respect someone before they could even begin to take them seriously. And part of that was knowing when they’d crossed the line. “It... was a long time ago,” he said eventually, acknowledging that she’d seen a bit of him most didn’t.
“Yeah, well, some things never heal as well as we’d like ‘em too,” Faith said quietly, one hand running unconsciously across her left hand side. She looked up, sadly caught his eye again. “Tell you what, I’ll make you a deal. I’ll answer your next three questions, whatever you ask.”
“Only three?” Gibbs asked, raising an eyebrow.
A small, sad smile twitched at the side of Lehane’s mouth for a moment. “I know people who would count that as one of them. Lucky for you I’m still feeling guilty.” She looked down again, leaned back in her chair. “Three’s the magic number. Three wishes, three tasks for the hero to overcome, three musketeers. Third time’s the charm.”
Gibbs studied her. “You have some unexpected depths,” he observed.
“And you learn fast,” a somewhat more amused sounding Faith fired back. “As for my depths, these days I kinda insist on being bought dinner first before I show ‘em.”
“Okay,” Gibbs said, suddenly serious. “First question. What were you doing in the warehouse, and how’d you get in there?”
Faith pulled a face. “Technically, that’s two questions. We were following someone who really didn’t want to meet us, and just happened to run into his first vic. As to how, would you believe Star Trek teleportation?”
“No, I wouldn’t,” Gibbs stood and glared at her. “I thought you were going to take this seriously.”
“And I didn’t think you were the kind of weasel that would cheat on the deal!” Faith also stood up and glared right back over the table.
“Fine. Second question,” Gibbs bit off. Leaning forward, hands pressed on the edge of the table, he found himself looking directly into Lehane’s face. “What happened to Seaman Balboa?”
“Zero got to her first,” Faith snarled at him, her cuffed hands also on the edge of her side of the table. “Death by neck trauma with a large amount of blood loss I imagine. That would be his normal method.”
“Third question,” Gibbs said, staring directly into Lehane’s eyes, only inches separating them. “Where is this Zero now?”
“Dead!” Faith almost spat out in front of him, her eyes lighting up. “That bastard ain’t going to be bothering anyone else ever again. Dust to dust and ashes to ashes.”
“You killed him?”
“Damn straight. Just wish it was in time for jogger girl.”
“And then you set fire to the house.”
“Nah, that wasn’t me,” Faith smirked and sat back down again. “You want B for that – she’s the fire girl. Fire good, Buffy pretty. All the way back to her high school gym.”
Her face shut down. “Me? I’m the murderer girl,” she said in a small, bitter tone.
Suddenly weary, Gibbs sat back down as well. They regarded each other steadily, Faith with her arms now folded protectively across her chest. After a moment, Gibbs nodded at her. “I think we’re done for now.”
“I think so too,” Faith replied, her gaze just as intently focused on him. “But we’ll speak again.”
Gibbs nodded again as he stood up. “Yes. Yes, I think we will.”
He left the interview room, and stood for a moment in the corridor. Taking a deep breath in through his nose, he straightened up and went to find his agents.
~ + ~
To be honest, the way this case had been going, he really should have expected what he saw when he did when he turned the corner.
The door ahead of him crashed open, and Tony DiNozzo and Summers reeled out into the corridor, fighting viciously.
Crashing into the wall, Tony gasped for air but still managed to swing a punch into Summers’s head, knocking her back a few steps. She responded by ducking his follow-up, and launching a haymaker directly into his ribs.
“You... you idiot!” she swore as he slammed back into the wall, and delivered a vicious knee to the groin which Gibbs would have sworn caused Tony’s eyes to bulge out for a moment. As Tony dropped to the ground, she turned around, fists still clenched, and spotted him watching her further down the corridor.
“Gibbs!” she snarled and stepped towards him.
~ + ~