Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Perfect Crime: An NCIS FanFic Episode: Part I

Below lies the first 2300 or so words of my short, NCIS fanfic story, The Perfect Crime. As of tonight, I have 4710 words written, and I expect another couple thousand before the week is out and the story wraps up. Come back in a couple days for the second part, and the final part should be up by next weekend.





The Perfect Crime

An NCIS FanFic Epsiode

Part I








A spear of sunlight tangled in the space between the desktop and the monitor, and Ziva leaned away. It was either that or fish her sunglasses out of her bag.

Fish. She liked that term.

“Read anything good lately?”

Lips pressed tight, Ziva lifted her gaze from the book and flashed a glare at Tony. So what if she was reading beneath her desk? It wasn’t like she needed to be doing something else, and besides, each book helped her learn just that much more English, and that helped her do a better job.

“Pack it up, Ziva, McGee,” Gibbs barked as he came around the corner, coffee in hand, and she nearly lost her place. “We’ve got a body in Newport News.”




“He’s my ex-boyfriend, yes, Agent Gibbs, but I haven’t seen him in at least five years,” the woman intoned from the hallway. Some tremulous something in her voice drew Tim’s view back to the man’s body crammed into the tub in front of him. Elias Haas. A Navy officer, apparently. The poor guy. So far, it looked like he’d just had enough, had it with life, and let himself in here, quite a nice little house, actually, while the house owner was out, then electrocuted himself in the tub using the blow dryer. Not a very dignified way to go, but a lot less messy than a gun. He apparently knew her, the houseowner, and probably didn’t want her to see him like that. And have to clean it up.

Sometimes an NCIS officer found himself thankful for the small things.

Gibbs said something, but Tim couldn’t quite make it out. A question, certainly. “I . . . I wouldn’t have,” the woman answered. “It’s, uh, well, don’t laugh, but it’s against my own personal set of rules. Brooklyn’s Rule Number Seven: ‘Hands and thoughts off the exes.’ Once they’re gone, let them go, and don’t take them back.”

Of its own accord, Tim’s hand stilled on the brush he’d been using to collect detritus from the floor tile. He stood up, then inched closer to the bathroom door, and prayed his soles kept each slinking step silent. He hadn’t gotten a very good look at her when he came in. Forties, he remembered. Sort of auburnish hair, long, but nothing else about her had seemed noteworthy. Did she just say she has a code of rules?

A redhead with a Gibbs’ code?

He peeked out, but couldn’t see anything but Gibbs’ back. Oh, and there was Ziva, leaning into the hallway from the other side of Gibbs and what he thought he remembered as the kitchen. Mossad she might be, and a trained killer, but her eyes were as round and black as the planet mercury.

In fact, Ziva looked a little too shocked, but the thought slid away as Gibbs’ head turned, and the sallow hall light caught the gleam of Gibbs’ teeth as he ducked his head to write something on the pad he held.

Gibbs was smiling. At a crime scene. At the redheaded woman with the Code.

“And does it work?” That was Gibbs. Gibbs asking a banal question. And then he shifted his weight from one leg to the other, moved just enough, and Tim saw her face.

Pretty. She was pretty. Longish hair, like he remembered, and a little browner than red. More on the voluptuous side. Confident, but vulnerable. Sad, shocked, but unafraid.

She was smiling, too, just a small smile, a smile you might expect from someone who’d just had a dead man found in her bathroom, but that wasn’t it. Something was there, something else, filling the space between her and Gibbs.

“It works when you follow the rules,” she answered softly. The look she raised with her eyes wasn’t the one that meant you wish you had followed your own advice; it was the one that said you wish everyone else would.

And then Jimmy Palmer pushed a gurney into the hall and broke the spell.




“What do you mean, ‘he smiled at her’?” came Tony’s harsh whisper.

Abby watched Ziva glance guiltily at the closed door behind her and pretend she hadn’t heard Tony, whom she’d apparently deigned unworthy of a firsthand accounting of the scoop. That reminded her. Something smelled odd in here, which wasn’t odd in itself. Not in her lab. But the smell itself was odd. Not something she’d smelled before.

“You should have seen him, Abby,” Ziva went on, as excited as Abby had ever seen her. “All teeth.” Ziva demonstrated an awkward smile. “Like he liked her. And he hardly said a word!” Ziva shook her head and stared her amazement at some spot over Abby’s right shoulder. “Her name is Brooklyn Hill.”

“Wait, wait,” Abby interrupted, and waved her hands in the air to still Ziva’s torrent. “Brooklyn Hill? The Brooklyn Hill?” Excitement rose in a silky wave, or strummed like the note of a steel guitar string. “The bestselling author of The Perfect Crime?” She was single, Abby was certain. And smart. And pretty.

Ziva’s attention snapped back, as intense as a searchlight. “She wrote a book about committing perfect crimes? How to avoid being caught?”

“No, no.” It was Tony’s turn to interrupt. “It’s fiction, Ziva, like the book in your top left drawer, though Brooklyn’s book is a murder-mystery, and therefore slightly less riveting than your pleasantly amusing tome since it isn’t about falling in love with your cousin’s landlord during a last minute trip to the coast of Maine . . .”

“Shut up, Tony!” chorused Abby and Ziva, then turned to each other and smiled.

“Have you read it? The Perfect Crime?” McGee asked the room –Tony? Abby? – as he slid through the door and pushed it closed it behind him. “You need to open this door, Abby. I’ve never seen it closed before. If you don’t, you’re going to have Gibbs asking . . .”

A hand slid through the small space between jam and door edge. “Yes, Abby. Why is the door shut?”

Gibbs.

The door slid open. If swallows really made noise outside your throat, the room was a cacophony. Well, except that it was silent.

“Abby!”

Her breath caught. “Gibbs! Well, we were, uh, just talking about, um, Brooklyn’s book, and, uh . . .”

He didn’t wait for the lie, but the tone of his voice said it was because his patience had almost dried, and not because he’d scoured up a sliver of sympathy for her – their – unease. “What have you got about the dead officer?”

“Well,” McGee broke in, and spoke quickly to try and hem the awkwardness. “Captain Haas had a reason to kill himself. He was just back from a Middle East deployment. When he got back here, Command awarded him top secret clearance and told him he was shipping back out to Iraq to work as an undercover operative. Drugs. To catch smugglers, I mean. That’s . . .”

“Not a good reason to kill himself, probie,” Tony interrupted. “I am sure that Captain Haas . . .”

Annoyance pinched McGee’s face. “I didn’t say it was a good reason, Tony. I just said he had a reason . . .”

“And?” Gibbs’ attention shifted to Abby.

Abby smiled. “The room was clean, Gibbs.” That would certainly make him happy. That Brooklyn hadn’t seen it. That she’d told the truth. “No evidence anyone was around when he took that last bath. But Ducky has something. He asked me to tell you to come down.”

With a nod, he turned and walked out. “Library hour is over. Get back to work!”




“Ah, Jethro.” As the door shut, Dr. Mallard lifted from a crouch near the wall and used a hand to straighten his back.

Brows up, Gibbs sipped his coffee. “What you got, Duck?”

Dr. Mallard flashed a smile, then leaned over the cold silver table, and the dead officer atop it. “Just testing a theory.” He stared down into the officer’s face. “You weren’t all what they said, hmm, were you?”

Before Gibbs could ask again, Ducky turned to Gibbs. “The poor boy. Just back from Egypt and now about to head back out into the desert. Undercover again. For years to come. Again. A poor fate for any man, most certainly.”

Gibbs bit. “But . . . ?”

“Ah, Jethro, you always know when I am about to reveal that something else lies at the heart of the problem. Persepacity is a quality largely lacking in today’s youth . . .”

“Ducky.”

“Take a look at this, Jethro.” With a finger, Dr. Mallard pointed to a small, square mark nearly hidden beneath the cadaver’s upper arm.

“He was in the bathtub, Duck. Electrocuted. He probably thrashed around when the current hit the water.”

Using his thumb, Dr. Mallard inched the body’s elbow away from his body. “And look at this lividity. Here. Inside his elbow.” Heaving a sigh, Dr. Mallard stood and turned to face Gibbs. “It doesn’t match the levity on his back, and legs.” Dr. Mallard paused. “No, Jethro. This boy’s mark, and the one on his opposite arm, are not from thrashing in the bathtub.” Dr. Mallard paused. “I believe these bruises were received several hours pre-mortem, and I am certain he received them while being restrained. I’ve found what might be clamp-marks on the, uh, more sensitive areas of his anatomy, and I’ve sent his blood to Abby to check for toxins.”

Dr. Mallard put a hand on Gibbs’ arm. “Jethro, this man was tortured, and then murdered hours before he ever made it to the bathtub. I don’t think whoever did this thought anyone would look beneath the surface, but the electrocution was just the means they used to cover it up.”




The door creaked when Brooklyn opened it, and before she could catch it, a smile escaped when she saw Gibbs standing outside. What was it about this guy, anyway? He was cute, sure, but there was something else. Something good, something light, but she knew it was buried miles beneath a mountain of dark. And there was a lot of dark in him. But even so, she was sure he was a good man, an honorable man. One who followed a code of his own. That was something very big. Something that righted a lot of wrongs in a person.

“Ms. Hill. May I come in?”

Brooklyn pulled open the door the rest of the way and motioned for Gibbs to come in.

Oh. Gibbs and some other agent, a man, who followed him inside. So this was business.

But Gibbs’ gaze stayed locked on hers, and a ruddy interest bobbed behind his eyes, a wanting, even though he was trying damned hard to keep it buried. Her face warmed, and she raised her hand to her cover her mouth, and old nervous habit that rose like Lazarus every single time she found herself attracted to a man, and it took some effort to push it back down to her side.

“Ms. Hill, this is Agent DiNozzo. I have some additional questions for you, if you don’t mind.”

“I don’t,” Brooklyn told him, and she knew he knew she meant it. “Can I get you two some coffee? A pot of Sumatra just finished.” She smiled at the startle Gibbs stifled. Did he like Sumatra, too? “I drink coffee while I write,” she explained, then motioned for them to sit on the couch while she went to pour them each a cup.

“Captain Haas was murdered,” Gibbs told her when she sat the two cups on her purple, festive coasters pocking the smooth lines of the chestnut coffeetable. Savannah, her sister, had given them to her last time she’d been by. A week ago? Coasters and some other odds and kitsch she’d picked up during her latest trek to Mexico. She met his eyes, then dropped into the chair she’d pulled up to the far end of the coffeetable. Her breath had caught, and she had to force it back out.

“Someone forced him into the bathtub?” she made herself ask.

“They did,” Gibbs confirmed, though she could tell that he was holding something back. “Did Captain Haas have any enemies? Know anyone who might have a reason to want him dead?”

The paneled walls in this living room seemed too dark. From the pictures, she’d thought she’d like them, and she had at first. But pictures can’t convey the feel of a room, and this one was too dark. Like Gibbs, the whole house hid its secrets.

Brooklyn shook her head. “I just don’t know, Agent Gibbs. Like I told you, I hadn’t seen Elias in five years. I got the occasional birthday card, and every year he shipped me a Christmas present, but that’s it. We hadn’t talked since, well, since I told him to pack his things. It was just two weeks ago I moved back to Newport News from Dallas, and I don’t even know how Elias knew where I lived.” A thought rose, but she pushed it aside. “The truth is that he’s never been the kind of guy to make enemies, and I don’t know if he’s made any since we split up. I’m sorry.”

“If he didn’t have any enemies, what did he do to make you kick him out?”

A simple question. Had she imagined that he might have more than one reason for asking?

Even so, she couldn’t tell him. Not all of it. “We’re . . . we were not compatible. He, uh, lives by a different set of rules than I do. It wasn’t a screaming match, Agent Gibbs. We just decided like rational adults that it would be better if we parted.”

A nod was her answer. With it, she knew that Gibbs knew she was holding back. Like he had. Still, she hoped he didn’t think . . .

“We’re staying in town,” he told her as he rose. “For a few days.” He handed her a business card. “Call me if you think of anything you think I should know.”

She opened her mouth, but the weight of Agent DiNozzo’s stare kept her voice inside her throat.




2 comments:

  1. I love the kind of drawling, rolling style of this. 'Ruddy' threw me as it's used as a swear word here, like 'bloody' lol!

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  2. Thanks! It reads a lot like an actual episode, which amuses me more than I can say. We'll see how the rest of it holds up. ;-p

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