That is officially four weeks of daily updates, something I never believed I would manage to do, let alone keep the story rolling along this much. It's certainly been a learning experience for me, and hopefully an enjoyable ride for everyone else along the way.
I never thought I'd be able to write such a big story, let alone stick to my promised daily updates. The plot was something I'd had brewing for a while, but as ever, half the fun is how the story twists and turns along the way, developing little twists that even I, the writer, didn't expect. Leon Vance showed up unexpected and took over a couple of chapters, running gags developed (Tony's phone calls = disaster. ALWAYS.).
I just felt it was time to say thank you to everyone who's been reading this, giving me support, praise and pointing out the flaws when needed. I don't think I could quite have managed it without you guys.
Thanks. A lot.
Chapter Twenty Eight
“Uh-huh,” Gibbs grunted in a very disbelieving tone. He waggled his gun to the side slightly. “Why don’t you both separate for a moment, and we’ll work it out.”
Reluctantly, both of the women let go of the other and stepped a pace away from the other. Given that, after McGee’s brilliant idea, both of them were wearing identical clothes, this was not going to be easy especially in the dim emergency lighting.
The Summers on the left shrugged. “Shoot us both, Spock?” she joked, half heartedly. The one on the right just glared at her.
Gibbs pursed his lip. “Okay, Summers, what was the password we worked out for this possibility?”
Summers on the left blinked. Summers on the right also blinked. “We didn’t come up with one...” said the one on the left eventually.
Gibbs immediately swung his gun to cover the one on the right. “Correct.”
The Summers on the left exhaled a sigh of relief, and ran one hand up through her blonde hair, restoring it to near normal. “Glad we got that sorted.”
The one on the right gaped at Gibbs. “No! I’m the real one! She’s just bluffing!” Her hand reached towards her jacket. “I’ve still got my cell,” she said urgently, “Let me call Fornell!”
“No moves!” Gibbs barked out, his brain racing. She’d said Fornell, which was something Buffy Summers wouldn’t know... A flash of shock ran through him as a small half-noticed detail ran through his mind. Something on Summers on the left... her wrists.
There had been what had seemed to be bracelets on them.
Or what his brain was now urgently telling him was the remains of handcuffs.
“Ha! And Faith says I suck at bluffing!” a delighted voice came from the left of him as his gun was expertly kicked out of his grasp and sent flying down the corridor.
~ + ~
“Come on, McGee!” Tony DiNozzo urged. “You got the lighting fixed, now let’s go get ‘em!”
“Think about it for a moment, Tony!” Tim McGee snapped, now sat in front of the access computer in the server room. His hands flew over the keyboard, opening up the system of internal cameras. “They’ve had enough time to get anywhere in the building by now. If I can find them first, we can intercept them!”
Tony was almost hoping from one foot to the other in impatience. “Well, move with the technical hoodoo then!”
“Patience, padawan,” intoned McGee, his fingers punching up view after view after view of NCIS headquarters.
“Hey! I do the film quotes thing, Probie!” replied a testy sounding DiNozzo before he suddenly grinned. “Guess you’re finally learning from the master.”
“Gibbs isn’t here, Tony,” smirked McGee right back instantly, and for a moment, everything was all right with the world again.
“Got one!” McGee sat up straight in the chair. “It’s Lehane. She’s in the morgue, and it looks like.... she’s duct-taping Ducky to his chair.”
~ + ~
“Sorry, dude, but once you find a theme that works, best to stick with it.”
“Well, I must say I certainly appreciate your not adhering me to the wall like poor Timothy earlier,” Ducky replied ruefully.
Faith grinned. “Special bonus, I’m even letting you keep your pants on.”
“Oh my,” Ducky breathed. “For some reason, Timothy quite forgot to mention that part to me.” He frowned. “Though I suppose that might explain Abby’s quite evident distress later.”
“Needs must when the devil duct-tapes,” shrugged Faith, testing how tightly Ducky’s arms were now attached to his chair. “Now, are you sure someone’s going to be along soon enough?”
Ducky smiled gently. “I assure you, my dear, that someone is probably already on their way.”
Faith smiled back at him, but still moved quickly over to where she’d piled up her spoils. Each and every one of Ducky’s notes and files on Seaman Balboa had been grabbed and stored away in a backpack Mr Palmer had left behind. To them, she’d added all the samples he’d taken from the poor lady’s body, and finally the contents of his vaccum.
“You’re not even going to leave a poor, puzzled doctor even a trace of dust to analyse?” he said, half jokingly.
Faith stretched over the morgue table to grab the backpack, and Ducky found himself admiring the way her leather pants fit her. Turning around, she grinned lazily. “Look on the bright side, Doc – We had to burn down the last place to avoid that.”
She crossed the room in a quick walk, bent over and kissed him on the forehead. “Nightie-night, Doc,” she said, and was gone.
Ah, well. That could have gone most horribly different. Ducky settled back in his chair, and waited for Jethro to arrive. After all, while he was waiting, he had a most intriguing puzzle to consider.
Just how had Miss Lehane managed to burn Seaman Balboa’s body down to sheer dust and ashes? Enough heat to somehow destroy the bones to such an extent that she could use his lab vaccum to collect everything.
Yes, most intriguing indeed.
~ + ~
Ziva ran down another corridor, still failing to find where Rosenberg had managed to escape to. The red-headed woman had backed around a corner, but had still managed to disappear in the mere seconds before Ziva had followed her.
Gibbs would have her intestines for suspenders if she was unsuccessful.
She paused. She could hear someone running along the next corridor, heading towards the nearby intersection...there. Quickly, she ghosted over to the side, and waited patiently. Her quarry came closer... closer...
She stuck out her foot at just the perfect moment, and was rewarded by seeing her target trip and fall flat on the floor. She moved across to her latest victim, and studied them before speaking. “Tony?”
DiNozzo rolled over, and glared at her from his prone position. “Ziva,” he said flatly. “Today just couldn’t get any worse, could it?”
Ziva rolled her eyes, but still offered her hand to help him up. “We should proceed onwards. I have lost my prey at the moment, but two of us should enable us to cover more ground.”
Tony’s eyes almost glowed with anger. “Lehane’s in the morgue. With Ducky.”
Ziva stiffened. “Let us hurry then.”
Tony nodded, and the two of them resumed running in the direction Tony had been taking. “McGee’s on the cameras now, trying to find the other,” Tony said, as they entered the stairwell, headed downwards. “He says to tell you there are three of them.”
Startled, Ziva almost missed a step. “There are three Buffy Summers running around?”
“No, no,” Tony said impatiently, waving it away. “At least, I hope not. McGee reckons Summers and Lehane are working with a third woman.”
“Oh, Tony, we must have words about just whom you give your number out to in the middle of cases...”
~ + ~