Working For Jethro Gibbs
An NCIS/Witchblade crossover
Disclaimer: Not mine
Thanks to Shordy for the beta.
Written for the crossover challenge over at NCIS flashfiction.
Notes: Everything involved with the Joan Of Ark thing is completely from my own imagination.
Tony pushed the heals of his palms into his eyes, rubbing the sleep away and wishing that the flight from DC to New York would last just a few more hours. Possibly just long enough for him to get back the good night's sleep that he had been so unjustly robbed of the night before. Apparently, Jethro Gibbs had no concept of personal time. Working with him on Tony's last case in Baltimore had done nothing to prepare him for the rigorous schedule that the ex-Marine insisted on keeping them on. It hadn't taken him more than a week to realize that any personal life he was hoping to cultivate in DC was going to be sketchy at best. Fastening his seat belt and running his fingers through his hair he was having a tough time recollecting the almost super natural draw that Gibbs had that had made Tony so eager to work for him.
"The two NYPD detectives assigned to the case are meeting us at the airport," Gibbs stated, fastening his own belt. "Ducky flew in this morning. He's taking a look at the body and talking to the coroner that performed the autopsy. Meanwhile, you and I are gonna be interviewing friends and family of the deceased, see if they knew of anyone who would want to kill him or his boyfriend. If Abby wasn't on vacation, I'd have her get the flight rosters from the airlines of people who flew back and forth between New York and DC within the last three days, but since she is, you're gonna do that while I'm getting the case notes from the LEOs."
Tony catalogued his boss's soliloquy away for future reference. He hoped, for their sakes, that the detectives in charge were good. He flipped through the case file on his lap to find their names.
"Daniel Woo and Sarah Pezzini," he read out loud. "Huh. Wonder if she's hot." He wasn't quite accustomed to the feel of the older man's hand meeting the back of his head, but he had a feeling that it wasn't going to take long.
Tony's cell rang almost as soon as they deplaned and he winced at the death glare he got from Gibbs as he stopped to dig it out of his carryon.
It took him a minute to identify the voice on the other end. "Hey Tony. I've been calling you for an hour. Where are you? And why weren't you or Gibbs answering your phones? Is Gibbs there? Can I talk to him?"
He was one of the few people who could keep up with Abby Sciuto's rapid fire manner of communicating. "Hi. My phone was off. New York. We were on the plane. Right beside me. Yes." He handed the phone over to Gibbs before the lab tech could get in another word. "It's Abby."
Gibbs took the phone and moved a few paces away before saying anything. Just far enough to prevent Tony from eavesdropping on his boss's side of the conversation. Not that Tony had any intentions of eavesdropping. Even if he was more attracted to the unreserved lab technician than he'd been to any woman in a long while. He did not try to inch closer to Gibbs to attempt to accidentally overhear the conversation. Instead, he played at being the personification of professionalism and scanned the crowded terminal for their NYPD counterparts. He did not let his thoughts wander, even if he was mildly curious why Abby was calling Gibbs when she was supposedly on holidays.
"Agent Gibbs?" a woman's voice came from directly behind him. He spun in place, almost dropping his bag.
"Detective Pezzini?" At the woman's sharp nod, he continued. "I'm Agent Anthony DiNozzo. The older gentleman over there on the cell phone would be Agent Gibbs. It's a pleasure to meet one of New York's finest. I only wish it were under better circumstances."
He held out his hand to shake as he spoke, and she regarded it in the same way one would study a particularly strange insect. After she hadn't made any move to shake it for a period of time that had far surpassed uncomfortable, he let the apparently offensive appendage drop back to his side.
"My partner's waiting outside with the car," she said shortly. He frowned. This trip would be no fun at all if he had to work with a female version of Gibbs.
"We ready to go?" Tony did not show any outward signs that he'd just had the shit scared out of him, this time. A fact for which he was extremely grateful. Gibbs stood beside him, studying Detective Pezzini with a steady gaze that revealed nothing of his opinion of her.
She stared back, hostility playing at the edges of her obviously forced smile. Tony was getting the feeling that today was not one of her better days. At least, he hoped she was normally a tad more personable most of the time.
"Detective Pezzini? Allow me to present Special Agent Jethro Gibbs," Tony tried to break the heavy silence between the two. The woman sent him a glance that wasn't quite amused, but not quite as cold as her previous interactions with him.
They did not shake hands. Instead, Pezzini nodded stiffly in Gibbs' direction before spinning on her heal and striding toward the exit. "Car's outside," she threw over her shoulder unnecessarily.
Tony walked beside Gibbs, waiting for the older man to either state his observations of the detective or divulge what his phone conversation with Abby had consisted of. Of course, neither piece of information was forthcoming, and they walked to the black sedan in an awkward silence.
Tony's wish for a detective with a few more social skills than Pezzini seemed to have been granted. Daniel Woo, or Danny as he insisted they call him, was a friendly man with an open smile and confident demeanor. Only his eyes, which studied Tony and Gibbs in a manner which reminded Tony of Gibbs himself, hinted that he was not a man to be trifled with.
"I'll need to see your case notes as soon as possible," Gibbs told the two detectives, sliding into the front seat, leaving Tony and the rather uncommunicative female officer to the back.
"We've got them with us," she told him, digging in the back of the seat and pulling out two folders, handing one to Gibbs and one to Tony. "You'll find crime scene photos, coroner's notes, eye witness reports and the vic's phone records for the last month. There was no pattern that we could find."
"What's that mark on his forehead?" Tony asked, holding up one of the photos taken of the body at the scene.
"We don't know. We've been trying to identify it, try and relate it to any gangs or religious cults in the area but so far, nothing," Danny told them.
"One of the witness's claimed to have seen explosions, and yet it looks like the cause of death was the fact that someone decided they'd like his head as a lawn ornament," Gibbs flipped to the coroner's notes to confirm.
Tony snorted. "They didn't do a very good job, the head's still partially attached. I'd ask for a refund."
"Some kids were letting off fireworks near where the body was found. We figure the witness freaked at the sight of someone getting his head chopped off, and just assumed they were bombs," Pezzini shrugged.
"Looks pretty much identical to the body we found," Tony decided. "Same style of killing, same positioning, same mark on the forehead."
"I have our lab tech running that through some sources that most people wouldn't think to check," Gibbs informed everyone. "I just talked to her after we got off the plane and she says she's got it narrowed down to a few choices. She's supposed to have some results within the hour."
Tony frowned. "She's on vacation, boss."
"The world doesn't stop just because someone's on vacation, DiNozzo."
"A friend of mine might be able to track down the origins of the symbol for us," Pezzini spoke up. "He said he'd call if he got anything."
"Have you interviewed the victim's friends? Family? Coworkers? Anyone that might have any idea why someone would want him dead?" Gibbs asked.
"None of them seem to know anything. At first, we thought it might be his old girlfriend, but it turns out she's been in a coma for the last three months, so that was out. According to everyone, he was a good kid, if a little scatterbrained," Danny explained. "He was a painter. His parents said they wished he'd settle down with someone stable, a dentist or a lawyer so that he'd have enough money to live comfortably, but they also said they understood that he really loved his current boyfriend and they weren't going to interfere."
"Maybe they lied," Tony said immediately.
"Exactly what we thought," Danny nodded. "Right now the parents are the main suspects."
"Tony, you go interview the parents again," Gibbs instructed the younger agent.
"We have the transcripts—"Pezzini began, but Gibbs cut her off.
"I'd like to have my agent meet them for himself and make his own judgments."
She sighed. "Whatever floats your boat."
Gibbs disappeared almost as soon as they arrived at the eleventh Precinct, going with Danny and another detective, McCardey, to talk to Ducky. This left Tony and Pezzini, whom, after much prodding from him had grudgingly allowed him to call her Sara, to head out to the house of the parents.
"So. You worked here long?" Tony asked as they pulled out into traffic.
She shrugged. "Yeah."
He blew out a frustrated breath. "You know, most people enjoy conversation with other people. That requires more than one word answers."
Her cell rang, giving her an excuse to completely ignore his existence. "Pezzini. … Hey!" her tone changed completely, and he actually caught the hints of a smile around her lips. "Yeah. I did. You did? Perfect. No, no I'll come. Ok. See you soon. Thanks."
She hung up and made a quick turn, driving back in the direction they had just come. "That was my friend. The one who's working on finding that symbol. He's got something."
Tony sighed. "Excellent."
The shop they pulled up in front of reminded Tony of something out of a bad horror movie. A display in the window showed off a variety of shrunken heads, and when they entered, cheerfully ignoring the sign that announced that the shop was closed, the first thing that caught his eye was a massive tapestry depicting three intertwined snakes.
She led him to the back and up a flight of stairs. "Gabe?"
A head of messy dark hair poked out of the door. "Hey chief. Who's your friend?"
"Navy cop. A seaman who happened to be our guy's boyfriend got murdered in DC yesterday, and he and his friends are here checking out the connection. You still haven't got your stereo fixed?"
He shook his head, holding the door open for them to enter. "It's fixed, she and I just have very drastically different tastes in music, so we finally agreed on nothing." He jerked his head toward the computer, where a head of black hair was bent over a notebook as long pale fingers typed without looking. Tony's mouth fell open.
Her head jerked up and he had to do a double take when he realized that she was without her customary pigtails. "Hey DiNozzo. What the hell are you doing here?"
He frowned. "I should ask you the same question. I thought you were on vacation."
She stood up, closing the notebook. "I am. Or at least I was until Gibbs called."
"Technically, Sara asked first," Gabriel cut in.
"I'm starting to feel like the big bad wolf," Sara shrugged out of her jacket and sat down.
"Do you stalk little girls or pigs?" Abby asked, looking at the other woman in a way that could only be described as predatory.
"Neither. But I have my own personal stalker, if that counts for anything."
Abby shrugged. "Sure. That works."
"So. That symbol," Tony tried to get the conversation back on safer ground where Abby's attentions were not being utterly taken up by the admittedly hot cop. Not that Tony was jealous. Because he wasn't.
"Right." Gabriel walked over to the computer, and Abby handed him the notebook, practically draping herself over his shoulder as he pulled up something on the monitor. Tony decided that he was reading way too much into her actions. She was a physically affectionate person. He knew this. He'd witnessed it and been on the receiving end of it more than once.
"What we've got here is a mark associated with Joan of Ark," Gabriel began to explain. "It was the brand that all of the soldiers that were captured while under her command were marked with so that everyone would know they'd fought specifically for her. Later, Charles VII had anyone marked like that declared heroes. It hasn't been seen anywhere aside from museums since 1482."
"Why is it popping up now?" Tony asked, not expecting an answer. He didn't get one, but when he looked up he found Sara and Gabriel exchanging meaningful looks. Sara stood, yanking on her jacket. "Was your man religious?" she asked Tony.
He nodded. "Roman Catholic."
She grinned. "Ours too. And the church that he attended has a statue of Joan of Ark right outside. I'd be willing to bet that whoever this guy is, he's getting rid of people that he sees as being loyal to her."
Tony frowned. "Ok, but why go after these two specific victims?"
She shrugged. "There's got to be a closer connection between them. Something related to their religion that no one else from their churches were a part of."
Tony thought back on their body. "Hang on. The marks were drawn on with black body paint, correct? Why would a killer go to all the trouble of making sure the paint was safe to have in contact with the skin? Ducky—our coroner – said that the mark wasn't done post-mortem."
"You're thinking they did them themselves." Sara seemed to ponder this. "You mean, like a cult of Joan of Ark worshipers?"
Tony shrugged. "It sounds stupid when you say it like that."
"I'm sure it exists," Abby cut in. "There's practically a cult for everything out there. I had a girlfriend, once, who was part of the cult of the—"Gabriel covered her mouth.
"I so don't want to know."
Tony cleared his throat pointedly, but before he could speak, Sara's phone rang. He wondered if it had a vendetta against him.
"Ten bucks says it's Nottingham," Gabriel challenged Abby.
"Of course it's Nottingham."
"I'm gonna call Gibbs, tell him what we found," Tony decided. Abby held up a hand.
"Hang on. Let's see what Nottingham has to say."
He frowned in confusion, but put the phone away nonetheless. Pezzini hung up, already heading for the door. "That was—"
"Nottingham," Abby and Gabriel chorused.
The door exploded inwards in a shower of splinters. Tony pulled his gun. The man in the doorway had a crazed look in his eyes, a vicious snarl on his lips and a very large sword in his hands. Tony took an involuntary step backwards because really, that was a very big sword.
"You're early," Sara said, not looking too concerned. "Ian said I had at least five minutes to lure you away from here. I suppose you want to do the whole fight to the death thing right— whoa!" She jumped back as the man lunged, missing her by a hair's breadth.
Tony released the safety on his gun. Sara pulled her own weapon, but the man kicked it out of her hand without a second's warning. Tony noted that she was starting to look pissed.
"You must be sent back to the demon world from whence you came, witch!" the attacker growled, eyes blazing. Behind him, he heard Abby choke off a semi-hysterical giggle.
"Nice to meet you too," Sara snapped, and very suddenly, she had a very large sword as well. Tony blinked rapidly, trying to figure out where it had come from. There was no way she'd been carrying it around with her, and he hadn't seen her pull it from any hiding places in the apartment, either.
What followed was more something Tony would have expected to see on a battle field at Camelot rather than in a New York apartment. The blades of the two opponents clashed together, sparks flying from the metal as it collided. He was forced back into a corner, and was pretty sure Abby and Gabriel had stuffed themselves beneath the desk to avoid getting sliced in half. A couple of times he was ready to get in a shot at the man, but they were both moving at incredible speeds, and he'd never have time to actually fire before Sara would be in the way again. The sword fight lasted upwards of twenty minutes, and by the end both of them seemed to be slowing down. Finally, Sara had cornered the man and managed to knock the sword from his hands with her own.
"Who the hell are you?" she panted, pressing her blade into his throat.
The man smiled. "I am the first of many. You may kill me, but we will not cease until you and your followers are gone from this world."
She shook her head. "O…Kay…" Keeping the sword at his throat with one hand, she pulled out her cuffs with the other and began reading him his rights as she cuffed him and dragged him towards the door. When she stopped to retrieve her gun, Tony realized that the sword she'd been carrying was nowhere to be seen.
"I'll take this idiot down for booking then come back and get you," she told Tony. He stepped forward.
"If you don't mind, I'd like to come with you now."
She shook her head. "I have some things I want to discuss with our new friend, here. And I'm sure you have questions."
Once she had left, Abby turned to Gabriel. Both of them looked about ready to pass out. "That means she and Nottingham are gonna beat the shit out of him, doesn't it?"
He laughed weakly. "Yeah. It probably does." He walked over to Tony, smiling awkwardly. "Look. Agent DiNozzo. I know you probably want some answers, but let me tell you now, it's safer for you if you don't get them."
Tony scoffed. "How about you let me decide that."
Abby stepped up behind him, resting a hand on his shoulder. "Tony, he's right. Please just let this go. We caught the killer, everything's fine." She wrapped her arms around his waist from behind.
He breathed out slowly and looked between the serious expressions of the two with resignation. "You're not going to tell me even if I do ask, so what's the point." He pulled out of Abby's embrace and paced across the apartment. "Damn. I knew working for Gibbs was going to be weird, but this is a bit excessive."