Buffy, the Vampire Slayer
In a Crossover Fan Fiction with
A Murder in Norfolk
This story is neither sequel nor prequel to Buffy Goes to Washington, it's completely unconnected, even though I used some of the same conventions and characters. Also, Riley is a Marine. I know, I know, there were several BtVS episodes that clearly defined him as Army, but ever since he told Faith-in-Buffy to close the door because 'he didn't want a bunch of marines watching him boink his girlfriend' (or words to that effect), I haven't been able to think think of him as anything but a Marine. Of course it doesn't help that they didn't use their military ranks, which was clearly an excuse to ignore the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878.
Part One is told entirely from the viewpoint of the NCIS agents, who are not aware of anything supernatural. Because Slayers, Watchers, and friends of same do not publicize their world, the various clues will have some meanings that elude the NCIS. Most of the clues should be obvious to any readers familiar with Buffy.
Disclaimer: I'm playing on other people's turf for fun but not profit.
Rating: PG-15 (T) for a few four letter words and descriptions of violence.
They had witnessed the aftermath of horrific crimes, they had seen bloodier sights, they had all seen bodies more mutilated than this one, they had all seen the ghastly results of emotions run wild and uncontrolled. But those memories still hadn't prepared them for this.
"Dafook muzarut," said Ziva, with feeling.
"Un-freakin'-believable!" said Tony.
Gibbs shook his head mournfully.
McGee couldn't say anything.
Dr. Mallard contemplated the corpse silently.
They were in Norfolk, Virginia, at the U. S. Navy's Little Creek Amphibious Base, standing at the back of concrete warehouse. They were gazing at a sixteen year old dead girl who had been run through with a sword. The sword was still stuck through her chest, right through her ribcage and heart, and out her back and into the concrete wall of the building, leaving her body suspended by the sword alone, as if she were an insect skewered in a display case.
"How, uh, how do you suppose she got impaled to a wall nine feet above the ground?" asked McGee.
"And how do you suppose that someone was able to drive that sword powerfully enough to penetrate concrete?" asked Ziva.
Gibbs shook his head some more and said, "That's what we're paid to find out." He looked at the ground and added, "There's plenty of good tracks, get plaster impressions of everything here." He swept his arm from left to right and then behind him to indicate where he wanted impressions taken.
A battleship-gray pickup truck pulled up outside of the crime scene tape. A weatherbeaten Navy CPO heaved himself out of the truck and ducked under the tape.
Gibbs said, "Hey, Chief Brandt, long time no see."
"Hey Gunny," he replied, "I wish it were under better fuckin' circumstances."
"Yeah." They both stared bleakly at the dead girl.
"So Gunny, you still married?"
"Naw, it's been a few years."
"What was that, number four?"
"Oh, CINCHOUSE has stuck around for twenty years, think I'll keep her."
"Guys," said Gibbs, "this is Master Chief Brandt, the Base Master-at-Arms. He's in charge of the the Little Creek Police Precinct."
The other agents exchanged greetings.
"You know who she is, Chief?" asked DiNozzo.
"Fuck yeah, I've seen her around, she's Lilly Hornsby, she lives, er, lived, on base with her parents. Her father is Lt. Commander Hornsby, the Executive fucking Officer of the USS Gripper ARS-55, her mom's a nurse at the Boone Clinic on base. This is gonna fuckin' ruin 'em."
"You haven't told them yet, have you?" Gibbs asked, a little sharply.
"No. I was waiting for you NCIS wienies—I don't want to get my ass caught in a legal fuckin' bight."
"How come NCIS Little Creek isn't here? This is their backyard after all," asked DiNozzo.
"Nearly every damn NCIS agent between Washington and Atlanta are on a big investigation over in Portsmouth where some crazy bastard went on a killing spree yesterday. We'd be there too, but we got called for this one at the last minute. The few who aren't there are at a conference back in Washington, where we'd be if we weren't here," said Gibbs.
Ziva frowned and said sarcastically, "Well, as sorry as I am that we missed out on what I am sure is an exciting and vital law enforcement conference, it sure sounds like a bureaucratic mixup that we're here and the people who should be here are there."
"Hey," said the Chief, "that's the fuckin' Navy for ya. Whatta ya gonna do?"
"OK, nows as good a time as any to go find Commander Hornsby and break the news I s'ppose," said Gibbs.
The Chief pointed across the baseball diamond and parking lots towards the channel from Chesapeake Bay and said, "There's the Gripper coming in now. She was out in the bay doing some trials when their brand fuckin' new SPS-73 surface radar went tits up, 'course it was after yesterday's fog rolled in, so they had to drop anchor and stay out all night. I guess the Captain didn't trust comin' in on GPS alone—the fuckin' channel's only a hundred yards wide at the deep parts—so some poor bastard had to ring the fuckin' ship's bell every two minutes. Come near to drove me crazy hearin' it from two miles away, it musta felt like a royal cluster-fuck to the poor bastards on board. It'll be another fuckin' hour before they secure from Sea and Anchor Detail, and I imagine the XO won't be able to get away until late tonight, and he'll be fuckin' pissed as hell when he gets home. Then we'll fuckin' destroy 'em with this. Poor godamned fucker, not a good day for him, nope not a good day atall, and he just don't fuckin' know it yet."
"No Chief, we'll meet the ship at the pier, talk to the captain, then the XO, then escort him home to talk to his wife." Gibbs sighed deeply and continued, "You know, this part of the job just gets worse every time I have to do it." He turned to DiNozzo and said, "You and Ziva start canvassing while McGee processes the scene with Palmer, I'll join you later. And set up crime scene tape further out, I don't want sightseers since we can't cut her down before we've finished with the plaster casts. Chief, can you get some more guys out here for a little crowd control?"
"Sure Gunny," he said as they headed towards the truck.
As they drove off, Ziva asked Tony, "What the hell is CINCHOUSE?"
Tony laughed and said, "Can't say I ever heard of CINCHOUSE before, but I'd guess it must be Commander-In-Chief-House, which would be his wife of course."
"Oh," answered Ziva, utterly uncertain whether she should be annoyed or not. "And the badge that said FMF?"
"Fleet Marine Force support specialist. Probably how he knows Gibbs."
"So what's an FMF actually do?"
"Other than showing Marines where to stow their guns and duffel bags I don't really know."
"Hah!" said Ziva, "you memorized the Bluejackets Manual but don't really know shit about the Navy, right?"
"Kind of in between, really. I've picked up a lot in the last few years, more'n you, that's fer sure."
"OK oh wise one, what did the Chief mean about getting his ass caught in a bite?"
"That's an easy one Ziva. A bight is loop of rope, except they don't call it that in the Navy, they insist that it's line. So, if some poor sailer happens to be standing in a bight when an anchor or something is let go, he gets caught, jerked along the deck, pulled through the hawse-pipe and squished down to a uniform eight inch diameter in a few seconds, and probably ripped to pieces at the same. I imagine you'd be dead so fast you wouldn't even be aware of what happened."(1)
"Mossad is starting to sound safer to me all the time," Ziva replied with an involuntary shiver as she gazed down at the harbor where a ship was preparing to tie up to the pier.
"Hi, are you Mrs. Campbell? I'm Special Agent Tony DiNozzo of the NCIS."
"Yes, that's me. What can I do for you?"
"Do you know the girl from next door, Lilly Hornsby?"
"Why yes, what has that little hooligan done now?"
"She's been in an accident," said Tony.
"Oh dear, I hope she isn't too badly hurt."
"It was fatal."
"Oh my god, that poor girl, poor Patsy, I'll have to bake her some bread, excuse me, I need to call the other girls and ..."
"Before you go," Tony got a word in edgewise, "would you mind answering some questions?"
"Oh my, yes. What happened anyway?"
"It's still under investigation."
"Oh dear oh dear. Would you like to come in? I'll make coffee Agent Donut."
"That's Agent DiNozzo. Thanks, but coffee isn't necessary Mrs. Campbell."
They sat in the living room and Tony asked, "Have you seen anything unusual next door recently?"
"What do you mean by unusual?"
"Anything that you might remark on to your friends. Anything out of the ordinary, especially anything concerning Lilly."
"Well Agent Di-nacho, there was that one-eyed man."
"One-eyed man?" Tony repeated skeptically, "and that's Agent DiNozzo.".
"Yes, he was a handsome young man, he wore a dark brown jacket that set off his leather eyepatch nicely, Calvin Klein Jeans and a dress shirt. I can't remember the color of his shirt, but he was a little overdue for a haircut."
"Yes, thats very good, where did you see him?"
"I saw them together at school—I teach social studies—but I didn't think anything of it since he had a visitor's pass."
"And what school would that be?"
"The John F. Kennedy High School, it's off base, we have an elementary school on base, but the kids have to go to the local junior high and high schools."
"I see. Where did you see this one-eyed man?"
"Oh, he and Lilly were sitting at one of the picnic tables. I noticed particularly because of the eyepatch, of course. Naturally, strange men on school grounds also draw my attention, but they were sitting across from each other, in full view of the front office and they were simply talking about something, personal business perhaps. When I saw the pass clipped to his jacket, I continued on. It seemed above board. Oh, now I remember, his shirt was a perfectly lovely shade of light blue with darker impressions of forest leaves."
"And when was this?"
"When did you see this one-eyed man with Lilly?"
"Oh," she replied, "about a month or two ago, I think."
"And did you see him again?"
"No, oh wait, yes. I noticed him at the base gym a day or two later, and Lilly was there too, and another girl was with them. But I just had a brief glimpse of them as they went in. Do you suppose they were up to no good at the gym?"
"I doubt it. But we will follow up. Was there anything else? You said she was a 'little hooligan'. Why did you say that?"
"Oh, I would never speak ill of the dead. Please ignore my comment, it wasn't anything important."
"Now Mrs. Campbell, this is a homicide investigation, if you have any information that could help us, it is your duty to tell me."
"Homicide? She was murdered? Oh that poor girl, that poor family."
"Perhaps you shouldn't mention that to anyone else for a day or two. But in light of that, do you have anything else to add?"
"Well Agent Nacho, since you put it that way. She was a very nice girl, polite, always a good word, until about three months ago. Then I started to see her outside at odd hours of the night. I don't always sleep well at my age, so I get up and have some warm milk, or perhaps a little sip of Sherry, over by the window overlooking my back yard. I sometimes see wild animals going about their business. You know we actually have deer here in Norfolk? Of course seabirds are common, and I've seen foxes, both gray and red..."
Tony interrupted her, "Yes, the animals are very interesting but could you get back to Ms. Hornsby?"
"Oh, yes. Well, I would often see her sneaking across the back yard, jumping over the irrigation ditch out back, going into that patch of woods at the edge of the development heading over to the nature trail. Several times I saw her meet another girl over there. God only knows what they were up to."
"And that's why you thought she was a hooligan? Because she was sneaking out at night?"
"Yes of course, no proper young lady would be caught dead out in the woods at night." A moment later she frowned at her unfortunate choice of words.
"She was a teenager, Mrs. Campbell, such behavior is not completely unheard of."
She sniffed, "Not in my day, I assure you, and even if it did happen, surely not every night for months on end!"
"Well, the frequency does seem unusual. Is there anything else you'd like to add?"
"I can't think of anything."
"OK, here's my card. Call me if you should think of anything at all."
"Ah, Ms. David is it?" asked Chief Brandt.
"It's Agent Ziva David."
"Yes ma'am, well, this is Sam McWilliams, one of our Little Creek Police officers seconded from the DoD. He saw something you should hear. Shall we have a seat in my office?"
After they sat down, Ziva asked, "So, what do you have for me?"
"Well ma'am, about three weeks ago I was approaching the base exchange when I noticed young Miss Hornsby walking with a man wearing an eyepatch and another young woman."
"What time was this?"
"About 2130 hours, I have the date in my logbook, I'll get it."
"Later, describe this man for me please."
"Mid twenties, jeans and a brown jacket, leather eyepatch, brown hair, clean shaved, about six foot, dark shoes, Caucasian, maybe one-niner-zero pounds. He seemed physically fit, but that's just a guess."
"And the young woman?"
"I didn't get a good look at her, she was behind the others, but she was a redhead, shorter than the man, taller than Lilly. That's about all I could see of her."
"Good, now how about Lilly?"
"She was wearing jeans and a sweater. She appeared happy, sort of bouncing along the sidewalk with plenty of energy. It seemed like she was urging the others to hurry up. I nearly stopped to see what they were up to because while their presence and actions looked reasonably normal, they weren't completely innocent."
"How could you tell?" asked Ziva.
"Oh, you know, when you've been doin' this for awhile you get a feel for people. People doing crime are usually furtive, especially when they are trying hard not to be. These three were out for more than a walk, but they weren't furtive and none of them were touching each other or leaning in the way lovers do, and this was near the base exchange and theater, so there were plenty of legitimate reasons to be there and no reason for me to stop. He could have been an uncle, or maybe a friend of the family by the way he was acting."
"So what was unusual about them?"
"All three seemed unusually watchful. They walked along the sidewalk in the middle of the base as if they expected to be attacked at any moment. Well, I thought it was my imagination, and continued on—I wish I had stopped now.
"If it's worth anything, I doubt it would've made any difference if you had stopped, but thank you, and thanks for noting the details. Get me the exact date and I'll be on my way."
A day later they were back at the NCIS office. Ziva, McGee, and Tony were all industriously working at their respective desks under the watchful eye of Jethro Gibbs. McGee broke the silence with an excited curse, "Holy freakin' hell!"
"What is it McGee?" asked Gibbs.
"Look at this boss!" McGee was practically frothing with anger as he pointed to his monitor.
Gibbs stared over McGee's shoulder and said, "Those are the crime scene photos, right?"
"They've been posted to the net!"
"What? What are you looking at? And how did you find them?" asked Gibbs.
"I did a search for Lilly Hornsby and I found a thread on the forum for retired NCIS, DCIS, DSS, CID, and whole lot of other agencies. I followed a link to this page, on MySpace dot com, of all places. Worse, these pictures are not our crime scene shots, these were taken around sunrise, several hours before she was discovered. As you can see the fog hadn't lifted yet in these shots."
McGee heard an odd noise and turned sharply to look at Gibbs and asked, "Boss, did you just growl?"
"Yes. Find out who the hell put those pictures up."
"So far, all I got was somebody named Drusilla, no last name. Look here, it says: Likes -- midnight walks in cemeteries, hot blooded young studs, dolls, jasmine, Miss Edith, and dancing under the moon with red lips. Dislikes – suntan and spikes. There's also some incomprehensible poetry and more pictures, including one which claims to be this Drusilla and another woman named Darla. Oddly, she refers to Darla as both her grandmother and her child. There's no address, but she mentions Virginia. Also Brazil and California, so there's no telling where she is."
"Get a warrant and get over to your Space-dot-com people, see what you can find," ordered Gibbs, "oh, and somebody find out the exact time the fog lifted in Norfolk."
"Sure boss. But that's MySpace."
"That's what I said, your Space."
Tony asked, "Who's on first?"
"DiNozzo!" yelled Gibbs across the eight foot space, "what have you found on those suspicious characters?"
"The neighbors saw the one-eyed man several times over the previous three months, but the parents never saw him or any of his female companions, with one exception. We found them on security tapes from the front gate, his name is Alexander Harris. There were several different women with him on different occasions, we haven't identified any of them yet. The one girl that the parents recognize they thought was a school friend, they thought she was about the same age as Lilly, although they agree she could have been a year or two older."
Gibbs impatiently interrupted, "Records? Address?"
"He works at a private boarding school near Cleveland, Ohio called the Sunnydale Memorial School for Girls; he's listed on the School's website as the Facilities Manager, so what he was doing here is anybody's guess. Police records list him here and there as a witness in a number of violent incidents dating back to his early teen years in California, but he was never charged with anything that I could find. In fact, reading the police reports between the lines, I doubt that he was ever seriously suspected of any serious crime himself, but he may have known more than he said."
Gibbs frowned for a moment and said, "Call him, see if he'll come by for an interview. If not, we'll have to go see him. His female companions probably came from the school, so see if he volunteers their names. Oh yeah, and print out that whole website, five copies, one set to each of us and one to Abby."
"Geez, I wish somebody would introduce Gibbs to the twenty-first century," said Abby with disgust as she flipped through a pile of paper, "why didn't you just forward the URL to me McGee? Like I need more dead trees down here."
"Gibbs told me to do it this way, anyway, the URL is on each page."
Abby glared at McGee.
"Of course, you know that already. I guess I'll leave you to it."
"Wait McGee, do you want any of my results yet?"
"Oh, uh sure Abbey. What have you got?"
"This sword, it was made in the Middle Ages, I believe in Italy. The workmanship is wonderful, although the lack of decoration makes it look cheaper than it really is. This is a museum piece, but I doubt it's ever seen the inside of a museum unless somebody was robbing it. I think it has seen use for centuries, there are flecks of old blood caught in the cracks between the pommel and the guard that are older than me. It's possible that I'll be able to trace the ownership, but I wouldn't hold my breath."
"Yep, that's it. I'll have some prelim results on the impressions this afternoon. Now get out of here!"
"Okee dokee," said Abby to the assembled crew, "now what I have here is the computer analysis of the ground impressions. To begin with, the soil consists of clay and organic particles aggregated into plates and granules, along with varying percentages of humus and moisture. The moisture content and granularity is consistent with fog and light drizzle, which is exactly what the weather was starting yesterday afternoon and continuing through the night in Norfolk. The soil itself is consistent with typical soils in and around Little Creek. It is convenient that the moisture, clay content, and soil structure were nearly perfect for taking impressions, so I was able to get a very good simulation for what may have happened. But I may need someone to run down there and do a hardness test at the ground for me, sort of like a Rockwell or Brinell but for soils, in order to refine my reconstruction."
As Abbey turned to her computer, her short dress swirled outward in an arresting manner that highlighted her legs. She started to type some commands while she continued to talk, "So, I was able to estimate the weights required to make these impressions. Naturally, I also compared the footprints of known persons, that is all of you, to the unknown samples and the test impressions with known weights, anyway, I see you're all half asleep now so on with the demo."
On the large screen above Abbey, a computer generated graphic of the crime scene popped up. It was lacking in textures and the lighting was flat, but the main components were there: the building, bushes and trees, a picnic table, and a sword-wielding perpetrator with his victim. As well as the very carefully modeled ground, complete with all the footprints, vegetation, and other odd impressions.
"Now," Abbey lectured while pointing at the static display, "you will note the relative size difference of the figures: the girl weighed ninety-five pounds and was four foot eleven. At fifteen, she had not come into her full height or weight yet. It was easy to compare her footprints and because she was of known weight, it was elementary to calculate the force with which she was leaping about. Her opponent's weight is not known, but can only be inferred from the impressions he left—he had very big feet and is pretty heavy, but he still managed to jump around athletically. There are some odd impressions of something I can't quite identify, he was carrying a rope or a whip or something that occasionally touched the ground behind him—almost like a tail which is impossible of course—but keep an eye out for something like that as you investigate. Now this computer generated animation is, well, uh, unusual. It looks more like a cartoon than reality, but this is what my calculations say. That's not to say I won't be going over the figures again, and again, and double checking and refining every conclusion. But, that said, here are the preliminary results."
Abbey punched a button and the animation started. First they saw a tall figure running towards the building, behind him was the girl, chasing him and swinging a sword, the very same sword that was later found pinning her to the wall.
Gibbs said, "Hold it, stop! Are you kidding me Abbey? You think the victim was chasing the perpetrator? What makes you think that?"
Abbey stopped the animation and said, "Because her footprints are overlaid on top of his, Gibbs, the tracks are quite clear."
Tony added, "Yeah boss, it looked that way at the scene to the naked eye, as unbelievable as it sounds."
"And besides," added Ziva, "if you saw some crazy person running at you with a sword, wouldn't you run? Even if the sword-wielder were less than half your size? Unless you had a gun, of course. Swords are capable of causing terrible injuries, far worse than a bullet or even a knife."
Gibbs grunted and said, "Hell, so now when we finally find this guy he's gonna start screaming self-defense! We're gonna look like absolute fools, especially if his defense lawyer sees this."
"And of course, we are legally obligated to make sure the defense does see this."
"Ah, to hell with it," he muttered, "we have to catch him first. Continue Abbey."
Abbey started the program again. They watched as the perpetrator jumped over the sword, which the girl had swung towards his legs, and they saw the girl make some odd motions and swings in a direction opposite of the man.
Abbey stopped the motion and interjected, "OK, the animation is inconclusive here because, as you know, a computer is a totally obedient moron, and I haven't made enough sense of the evidence for this slice of the timeline to be able to tell the computer what to do. Through here the footsteps don't make sense, it's almost as if there were a third person present, but if so that person stayed on the sidewalk. There are a few anomalous impressions that could be someone else, but I don't know for sure. So there's some guesswork here. But we quickly get back to what I believe I can prove." And she pushed a button on her keyboard.
The agents watched as the fight progressed, concluding with the girl losing her sword to her foe and getting run through and pinned to the wall after some prodigious, almost cartoonish leaps.
Abbey said, "And that's all folks! At least so far. I know that some of this reconstruction is not something that I would care to defend in court, yet, but I can assure you that the math fits, we know which impressions are hers, we know which are his. And we know how much she weighed and can calculate how hard she had to hit the ground. We have several impressions of her sword slashing the ground, so we know she was armed with it, and we know how she was standing in relationship to him every step of the way, well every step from the parking lot anyway. However, this reconstruction is not complete, once I have factored in all the new evidence that you all are collecting for me, my conclusions may change."
"What new evidence?" Gibbs asked grumpily.
"I don't know Gibbs, you haven't got it yet, but we're missing something, I just wish I knew what it was," said Abbey with a half-twist and some clanks as her chains and necklaces swirled about, "and in the meantime, I should point out that we don't know the gender of the perpetrator, he or she could be short and chunky, or tall and thin, but I think he's probably seven feet tall at about three hundred fifty pounds or so."
"And might have a tail," said DiNozzo with a grin.
"Well no Tony, people don't have tails. He must have been carrying something that dragged once in while," Abbey said acerbically, "but look out for a suspect with some kind of foot injury or congenital birth defect that affected his feet, because his shoes were oddly shaped. When you find this guy, his shoes will be a dead giveaway."
Stay tuned for the next installment.
(1) Tony got some of the details wrong, since anchors are usually on chain, not line, but his story is essentially correct.