Summary: Because any way you play it, Caitlin Todd had to die.
A/N: Uh. …so, I really, really don't like Kate. And then I thought it'd be fun to kill her… multiple times. Call it stress relief. And yes, I do have a thing with Abby and Ziva. Shaddup.
"You did good, Kate," and she thinks that's the first time she's ever heard such sincere admiration for something that has nothing to do with sex from DiNozzo.
"For once, Tony's right." Gibbs. He's alright, if the tone of his voice is anything to go by, and she grins to herself as she thinks the fun she'll have reminding him that he actually agreed with Tony on something.
She stands up, the adrenalin pounding through her veins in a way she hasn't felt since her days on the presidential detail. Gibbs is in front of her, Tony just a bit off to the side. Neither are dead, and she breathes out a silent sigh of relief for that, sending up a heart-felt prayer to God in thanks. And both men have just given her true praise, in complete agreement and she gets the feeling, for the first time, that she is utterly and unequivocally accepted and respected by these two men. It is as if she has been let into the inner rooms of the most prestigious club of which she had been wondering around for the last two years. She feels a rush of contentment, and allows a grin to break out on her face.
"Wow," she says lightly. "I thought I'd die before I ever got a—" and the world disappears.
She picks up the phone, watching as it all plays out on the screen in front of her. She doesn't let herself bight her nails, because it's a bad habit that she has been very good about not indulging, lately. The cold plastic rests against her cheek, and she sucks in deep breaths as she is transferred from one fake recipient to another, assuring that the call will not be traced.
She steals herself for what she is about to do, pulling up a file on her computer and staring at the picture. "Ziva? The line's secure."
The other woman gives a slight snort of laughter. "I had no doubt. What is it?"
"I sent you the wrong personnel file. Tell the team that they're not to make any move against agent Gibbs."
Ziva is silent on the other end for a long moment. "Are you sure?"
Abby inhales, exhales. "Yes. It must have been a computer glitch, I'm sorry. The agent you want is Caitlin Todd. I'm forwarding her personnel file to you right now."
"Send it straight on to Mission Ops," the Israeli tells her.
"Alright. It's going now."
Neither woman speaks until Abby's computer dings the response, and opening the message she reads the short line of text.
"It's done," she says into the receiver. "I don't suppose I get to know when the hit's scheduled for?"
"No," Ziva says without hesitation.
Abby laughs. "Didn't think so. I gotta go, I'll see you …sometime. We're running an op next month, right?"
"Most likely, yes."
"Oh, David, one other thing. If anything happens to Agent Gibbs, I will personally rip out the throats of whoever's responsible."
"I know, Abigail," Ziva answers quietly. Abby breathes out.
"Right." She drops the hand piece into the cradle, and carefully erases all traces of her actions on the computer. When Kate enters the lab five minutes later, Abby is bopping her head in time to the music and spinning around in her chair. She hops up cheerily, bouncing over to Kate.
"Hey, Kate! That weekend still on with the spa and stuff?"
Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs is very good at getting his way. Well, at least most of the time. It all happened in slow motion, the man with the gun spinning to find himself face-to-face with Gibbs' own weapon, the panicked look on his face, and then the flash and crack as his gun went off. If Gibbs had had his way, the damned secret service agent whom he had grown to respect over the last couple of days would not have jumped in the path of the shot. If Gibbs had his way, she would not be lying there on the ground, her blood mixing with that of the bastard that had shot her where he lies with Gibbs' bullets in his chest.
Gibbs turns to the men and women around him. Tony's moving toward the man, his gun trained on the prone figure while he fumbled for his cuffs with the other hand.
"He's dead, DiNozzo," Gibbs says when Tony is passing right beside him. The younger man pauses, nods and tucks away the cufs, letting the gun fall to his side and staring down at Agent Todd's body.
"Damn," he breathes.
"Get Ducky. Maybe—maybe he can help her."
"Right." and Tony is off running, pushing past the people gathered on the plane.
"They're dead," a reporter shouts suddenly. His exclamation sets off an explosion of noise as the group begins to chatter. Gibbs shakes himself out of his state of slight shock, briefly closing his eyes to get himself back under control.
A good agent has been killed. Maybe not even that good, if her record of office romance is anything to go by. People die every day. She would have known the risks when she signed up. He sighs quietly, because she didn't sign up to die protecting Special Agent Jethro Gibbs. He is not the president, just an NCIS agent totally screwing up her life and yet she had taken a bullet for him without a thought. And as he walks away from the two bodies, needing to call the director, let him know what has happened, he knows that he will dream of Caitlin Todd that night.
Detective Tony DiNozzo stares at his captain in mortification.
"You're sticking' me with a rookie, boss! You can't be serious. Me and Chad, we work together fine. There's no reason to split us up."
Captain Liam Rodgers shrugs apathetically. "I'm not givin' you a choice, DiNozzo. You take her or you find another precinct. And with that stunt you pulled last month I'd like to see you try to get anyone to take you in."
Tony rocks back on his heals, swearing internally. "You're never gonna let that one drop, are you?"
The older man shakes his head, a smirk playing at the corners of his mouth and Tony feels a chill. "Nope."
"Who're you saddling Chad with?"
Rodgers relaxes, now, knowing, Tony is sure, that he is just stalling the inevitable. "We're getting an influx of rookies. He's getting another kid, Jimmy something."
"Influx. That's a big word, " Tony mutters.
"What was that, DiNozzo?" Rodgers stands up. Tony can almost see his ego puffing up around him like some sort of demented coat of pillowed armor.
"Nothing. At. All," he says in a carefully measured tone, and spins on his heal to go finish up his last case report before the new kid arrives. The phone on Rodgers' desk rings, and he holds up a staying hand when Tony moves to leave.
"Rodgers. Yes, that's right -- Really? -- You sure about that? -- Damn. -- Yeah. … Thanks, good to know. … I'm still gonna need a new cop to fill her place—yeah, yeah. … Bye." He slams down the receiver, and looks at Tony.
"What?" Tony asks when he doesn't say anything for a moment.
"Looks like ya got your wish, DiNozzo. Your rookie, Kate Todd? Well it turns out she isn't a very good driver. That was the Commissioner's office. Miss Todd was just admitted to the Baltimore morgue. Died in a car crash this morning. You can stick with that partner of yours and his rookie for now until I can find you another kid to train."
Tony shrugs, turning to leave the office. He automatically goes through the process of feeling sorry for the victim, their friends and family, and finally for himself because he is so jaded, and then he strolls over to the coffeepot, pours a cup and thanks God he's not being stuck with a rookie that day.
FBI agent McGee settles himself down at his brand new desk, flipping on the monitor and tower of his brand new computer and depositing his cell phone, pager and PDA into the brand new drawer of his brand new desk. All around him the large office is filled with bustle and chatter, the ringing of phones and the clink of coffee cups. A young woman pokes her head out from under the desk to his left.
"You got a spare router?" He is a little taken-a-back by her black pigtails and heavy makeup, but quickly recovers.
"Um, no. Sorry."
"God damn cheep bureaucracies screwing everything up with their budget cuts and do you see a flash card floating around anywhere because I stuck the program on that this morning 'cause I lent my memory stick out to my friend and I didn't have any other ones with me so I had to load it on to a flash card 'cause a floppy, well, duh… Christ, I need more coffee."
"Uh—" Tim blinks rapidly, trying to keep up with her chatter.
She turns away from him, snatching up a file folder before making a run toward the break room, waving the folder in the air snapping "Urgent, out of the way!" as she pushes people aside.
Just then, a tall man enters the large lab, eyes scanning the rows of desks and computers until they land on McGee. He moves confidently across the room, the hacking experts darting out of his way.
"Timothy McGee?" he asks, standing over the younger agent.
"Uh, yes… Sir?" McGee isn't sure if he's supposed to sit or stand or bow.
"I'm Special Agent Jonathan Todd. I run this department. It's a pleasure to meet you."
"You too, Sir," Tim stutters, fiddling with his jacket awkwardly.
The older man's phone jingles, and he pulls it from his pocket, speaking quietly into the receiver, tossing McGee an apologetic glance.
Tim, feeling unsure, begins taking things out of his backpack and putting them into desk drawers.
"My God!" he hears Agent Todd exclaim from behind him, but he figures it's absolutely none of his business, and silently continues with his self-assigned task.
Finally, the other man hangs up the phone, and McGee spins back around in his chair to face him. "Sir?"
The man is pale and looks shaken, his gaze directed somewhere over Tim's shoulder. "I'll get Abby to brief you. I—There's been a family emergency. My daughter, Caitlin, just had a heart attack."
Officer Ziva David has always liked motorcycles. The wind whips her hair back as she flies through the streets of downtown Los Angeles, just missing cars and pedestrians alike. The bike comes to a stop outside of a restaurant which looks to be ridiculously expensive, only servicing those who have the fortune to be very well off.
"You drive like a psychotic on Meth," her partner, Officer Abigail Sciuto comments, breathless as she jumps off the motorcycle. Ziva grins at her from under her helmet.
"You love it."
"Damn straight," the other woman loops her arm through Ziva's. "C'mon, we've only got half an hour."
"You worried, Sciuto?" Ziva smirks as they make their way behind the building and into an alley that is inhabited only by scruffy looking tabby cats.
"With you, always."
"Your confidence in me is overwhelming."
Abigail shrugs. "They made sure we weren't in camera range, right?"
"A little embarrassed?" Ziva reaches into a dumpster and pulls out two large bags, handing one to Abigail and keeping the other for herself.
"Nope. Just don't feel like putting on a little strip show for Lavi and Raz."
"They need something exciting in their lives. We get to have all the fun." Ziva pulls off her leather jacket and tank top, and slides the pin-striped shirt over her arms, buttoning it quickly. She pulls on the suit pants, jacket and finishes with a pair of sensible dress shoes. Abigail is done at about the same time she is, and they go through the automatic check of all their weapons before shoving their biker clothing into the trash bins and picking up their briefcases.
The office building looks just as ritzy as the restaurant, and Ziva is glad they had thought to bring hair brushes and makeup, the motorbike ride having utterly destroyed any semblance her hair had ever had of professionalism. They flash their very fake I.Ds at the guard that stands at the front door, and enter the building on full alert. Nothing should happen yet. They should be the ones to make the first move.
The office out of which the terrorists are running the trade agreement is located on the fifth floor, and as they stand in the elevator Ziva hopes she will not find who she thinks she will find present there.
When they knock politely at the door, it takes a long moment for it to open. three men and a woman sit around the desk, and they enter just as a transaction is taking place.
"We're here on behalf of Mr. Worner," Abigail states, smiling reservedly and arching a haughty eyebrow at the group. She is very good at playing the ice-queen.
"Ah, Yes." And when the man speaks she knows that it is him, and hopes that he will not recognize her, it has been so long. Ari stands, extending a hand to both women before gesturing them to their seats.
"Ladies, please allow me to introduce to you Mr. Morgan of International Bankers Of America, Mr. Estili of the IRGC who is currently working on the SNSC and Miss Caitlin Todd, currently working in tandem with myself in the acquisition of weapons and money for my organization."
Ziva takes the seat to which Ari points her, and Abigail does the same. Their job is to sit in on the meeting, gather as much information as possible, both through the microphones attached under their skin and the cameras that have been pointed at the office where the group has gathered. Of course, Ziva thinks as Estili pulls a gun, things never go according to plan.
When the shooting is over, only Ari has made it out alive, leaving the others dead on the floor of the office. Abigail brushes off her hands. "That was fun."
Ziva stares down at the form of the dead woman by her feet in disgust. She kneels down, pulling out the woman's I.D.
"NCIS," she reads from the small plasticized card. Abigail winces minutely.
"Had a friend who went into that," she says softly, and Ziva can tell that she doesn't want to say any more on the matter.
"Post-op, now," she says unenthusiastically. And we should probably leave before security shows up." Abigail nods, jumps over the dead NCIS agent's body, and drops out of sight over the window sill. Ziva follows close behind, her last glimpse of the office the woman's dead, staring eyes.
Daniel stands with his two brothers, parents and grandparents outside in the rain. He doesn't understand why they have to come to church on a Saturday, or why Katie isn't there. His mommy has told him that Katie is an angel now, but he doesn't think she'd miss church because of that. He wonders if she wears a long white dress now, or still dresses in the pink outfits their mother picks out for her.
It's raining, and he shifts uncomfortably in his Sunday best, scuffing his shoe in the mud. They begin to walk, and he takes his mother's hand, trailing along despondently behind her through the soaking wet grass.
"Mommy, I want to go home," he tells her, shivering and pulling his coat tighter around himself.
"Hush, Daniel," she tells him sharply. "Don't whine. Your sister wouldn't have liked that."
"Why isn't she here?" he asks. His mother looks away for a moment, and then turns back.
"She's an angel now, sweetheart. She's with God."
"Is she gonna come see us, still?" he asks, for he will miss his little sister if she decides to stay with God forever.
"She's watching over us right now," his mother whispers, and he looks up, expecting to see Katie floating above them in a long white dress with wings unfurled, but there is only the gray sky and the rain.
They stop walking, and his mother tells him to stay with his brothers while she and their father stand over a grave. He isn't sure, but he thinks his mommy is crying.
"Come on, Danny," his older brother takes his hand and leads him toward the headstone that is covered in flowers.
"What's it say?" he asks of the older boy, staring at the beautiful white marble angel above the headstone.
"It says 'Katie Todd, February 13, 1973 to May 15, 1976. The joy of our hearts."