Chapter Twenty Nine
“You know, in a way, I’m really sorry about this, Grumps,” Buffy Summers said cheerfully as she landed a hefty punch directly into Gibbs’ ribcage. Following it up with a spinning kick, she practically bounced up and down in the corridor as Gibbs flew to the floor. “It’s just, y’know, nice to stretch again after sitting down for so long.”
Her head snapped round, and she expertly stepped to the side, avoiding Elizabeth Summers’ rush. “No, really don’t think so. Now I’m over that whole unexpected wrestling with yourself in the dark debacle, I’m not going to go easy on you anymore.”
Her eyes narrowed as she watched Elizabeth’s face intently. The FBI agent managed to spin around before she hit the wall, and automatically fell into a fighting stance. “Though I will give you one free shot,” Buffy smirked, “.....if you tell me what that lipstick is.”
Elizabeth Summers stared at Buffy Summers who stared right back. A small smile crossed both their faces.
Elizabeth Summers started circling Buffy, who just turned in place, tracking her. “Why should I tell you?” she asked Buffy, raising one eyebrow. “It could be Avon, could be Cover Girl, could be any number of brands...”
Buffy smiled and made a beckoning gesture with one hand. “’Cos I know you. For a free shot, and you know I’d let you, you’d tell me.”
Elizabeth tilted her head, but still kept her guard raised. “Point,” she conceded, “Okay. Why don’t you tell me what you think it is?”
Buffy’s eyebrows also raised. “Ooh. Tricky,” she breathed, studying Elizabeth carefully. “Okay, well, please don’t say it’s Urban Decay cos everyone keeps trying to give me that because they like the name.”
Elizabeth rolled her eyes. “No. That’ll be the guys only going by the name, right?”
“I know! How hard would it be to get me something sharp and pointy like all the other girls, but no! Must remind Buffy of her feminine roots. Mind you, Faith only ever gets given knives, and I think she’s getting fed up of that.”
Buffy paused, mid-flow. “Wait. I’m digressing again. Hate that.” She studied Elizabeth again consideringly. “Could be Clinique, but I doubt it. I’d bet on Lancome, with a slight possibility that maybe it’s Maybel..”
She was abruptly cut off as a charging Agent Gibbs hit her from behind, carrying the two of them directly into Elizabeth Summers. “Damn it, Gibbs!!!”
~ + ~
“Ah, agents DiNozzo and David,” said Ducky happily as the two of them ran into the morgue. “I feel it best to inform you that Miss Lehane has already left, but if you could find the time to free me, I would most appreciate it.”
“I will watch the entrance, Tony,” Ziva spoke, automatically moving into a position where her drawn gun could cover the way in.
Tony nodded, and threaded his way across to where Ducky was duct-taped to his own chair. “You know, I’m sure we’ve had this little talk before about all your late night partying, Ducky. Am I going to have to get Gibbs to tell you off this time?” he joked, glancing around for a cutting implement.
Ducky glared at Tony. “Whereas my office is not normally this chaotic Anthony, I must protest at the implications strenuously. I may not have been able to witness most of it for myself, but there was quite a fracas between Miss Lehane and someone else.”
Tony studied the room with a fresh eye, suddenly more alert than before. Now that he was seeing it properly, his training could almost track the course of the fight across the room. The files knocked off that desk there, the disturbed furniture there... the burn marks on that table top there?
“Wait,” he said slowly, “That doesn’t make any sense.”
“I must assure you Tony it did. For one, I was very much present at the time. Now, about these bonds?”
Tony walked over to a nearby wall, and studied a scalpel that was buried in it around head height. “That’s.... a pretty powerful throw,” he mused out loud, before bending down and picking another one up from the floor where it had evidentially fallen after bouncing.
He crossed back to where Ducky was, and started to use the scalpel to sever the duct-tape strips. “No, sorry Ducky, I meant the number of people is wrong. Ziva told me that Rosenberg was with Buffy Summers, so that only leaves Lehane.”
Ziva glanced over sharply. “So, with whom was Lehane fighting with in here?”
Ducky wore a puzzled expression as he pulled one arm free. “Rosenberg?” he enquired.
“Their third person,” Ziva explained. “A red haired female, currently wearing a stolen Chief Petty Officers uniform and loose in this building.”
“And filling out that uniform pretty well, if I remember correctly.”
Ziva tilted her head. “Which reminds me Tony, from certain of her comments, I suspect I may be more to her taste than you.”
Tony’s head popped up, blinking, from where he was freeing Ducky’s legs. “You mean she...”
Ziva smiled. “I did not ask, she did not tell.”
~ + ~
Timothy McGee shot out of the server room in a hurry, his mind still racing. Dammit, he really should have added Tony’s cell number to this borrowed one he was still using. Or taken Tony’s for himself. If only he’d known Tony and Ziva were going to meet up...
Luckily, he’d seen their entrance into the morgue to free Ducky on the internal cameras, so at least he knew Ducky was okay. And then he’d seen Lehane in their bullpen, starting to go through all their desks.
The unconscious bodies of at least two of the MTAC techs were barely visible at the edges of the camera view, and Tim found his jaw aching in sympathy. Still, lesson learned: do not get within arm’s length of Lehane under any circumstances.
He’d stared at the camera feed for a good ten seconds, assessing the situation in a hurry. Tony and Ziva, busy with Ducky. Gibbs and Summers, probably still dealing with Summers the Second. Fornell, he’d seen organising people at the front desk, cutting off that exit.
No, it was down to him to deal with Lehane.
Running into the corridor, he found himself bouncing off someone. “Whoa! Sorry!” he quickly stammered.
“Oh no, no, totally my fault, I’m so sorry, it’s all this emergency lighting totally throwing off my balance and reactions,” the Chief Petty Officer babbled back at him. He stared at her for a moment. He’d worked around Abby long enough to recognise a Caf-Pow overdose when he saw one.
“You are a godsend!” he breathed. “Guard the server room, and don’t let anyone else in or out unless it’s someone from Gibbs’ team.” He studied the red-head for a moment. “You do know who is on Gibbs’ team, right?”
“Server room? Oh, server room!” she said, her eyes widening. “I can do that!”
“Gibbs?” he found himself repeating.
“Oh, yeah! Yeah! I’ve studied all of you,” she nodded excitedly, “Loved your work on tracing those money transfers through those Promethus encryption protocols. That was so cool!”
Really? McGee found himself brightening up, until he remembered he had to go arrest a dangerous criminal. “I got to run,” he said regretfully, turning to start moving quickly down the corridor again. “Just watch the server room, please!”
His voice drifted back from around the corner. “And no more Caf-Pow!”
~ + ~