Disclaimer: NCIS and all its characters are not owned by me, but by Bellisarius and CBS. I do, however, own any characters you don't recognise.
A/N: A recent holiday to Kosovo opened my eyes to what a fabulous, unique country it is (or will be once the UN lets it be independent). It is utterly crazy, and all the people there are slightly mad, but everyone is also wonderfully friendly and welcoming. The oddity of some of the conditions seemed to good an opportunity to waste, and I couldn't resist sending Gibbs and company over there. A brief, very brief, history is that Kosovo was a province of Serbia in the old Yugoslavia, but when Yugoslavia broke up, the Serbs began to take basic rights and liberties away from the mainly Albanian Kosovans. This ended up in many Kosovans being killed, and NATO invaded in 1999 to prevent the Kosovans being slaughtered. The UN followed, and they're still there. Kosovo isn't an independent country, because the UN is still there, but it probably will be soon.
This is my first attempt at the NCIS fandom, so please read and review. All constructive criticism welcome (of course anyone who was no criticism to offer is also very welcome!). This is set at some unspecified time in Season 2, when McGee was still new and nervous, and Kate was still alive.
Tony was flicking paper clips at Kate – a pastime that never got boring as far as he was concerned – when Gibbs stalked into the bullpen, throwing an empty coffee cup into the bin as he did so.
"Grab your gear," he barked. Tony and Kate exchanged long-suffering looks, while McGee leapt to obey. Gibbs was clearly in a foul mood. Wherever they were going, this would not be a fun day.
"Where're we off to boss?" Tony asked, as he quickly grabbed everything he thought he might need.
"Pristina." Gibbs spat the word out. He looked around at his team, aware that it was hardly fair to take out his bad mood on them. It wasn't their fault they were being sent to the back end of nowhere. His tone softened slightly. "You'll need your passports and a couple of days' worth of clothes. Meet me at the airport in 90 minutes. Oh, and pack your weapons in your case – the Brits don't like guns on planes."
As Tony, Kate and McGee made their way down to the parking garage, Tony said, "So where the hell is Pristina?"
"Kosovo," Kate answered shortly.
"Great." Tony brightened up considerably. "Loads of hot European girls."
Kate rolled her eyes. "Kosovo is a Muslim country and Ramadan starts in a couple of days. Ramadan Tony? The Muslim month of fasting and prayer?"
"I do know what Ramadan is Kate." McGee winced as their sniping continued. With Gibbs in one of his moods and Tony and Kate snapping at each other, it looked like being a very long day.
The most direct route they could find was to fly into London's Gatwick Airport and transfer on to a British Airways flight to Pristina. Gibbs had explained the little he had been told – two dead Marines in two days – and then settled into a stony silence, apparently set on drinking American Airlines dry of coffee before they landed in London, leaving Tony free to flirt with the stewardesses in peace, broken only by the occasional comment from Kate. Eight hours later, they arrived in London with just enough time to transfer to the other terminal and make their way around the seemingly vast airport to their gate. The 737 was only partially full – at least half the seats were empty – and, through the curtain, Tony noticed that there was only one person in Club Class.
He stood up and went to chat to the tall, pretty stewardess. McGee watched, feeling the familiar flash of jealousy as the stewardess laughed at something Tony said. He wished he had the same easy way of talking to women. Kate followed his look and sighed. "Tony! Just sit down and get out of the way!"
Gibbs looked up from the newspaper he was reading. "DiNozzo! Get your ass over here!"
Tony walked back down to them and leaned on the headrest of the seat in front. "Yes boss?" he asked innocently.
"You better have a result," Gibbs growled. He was tired and these airplane seats were damned uncomfortable after the first three hours.
Tony's grin widened. "When have I ever let you down? Don't answer that," he added hastily at Gibbs' expression. "Jenny, the very pretty stewardess over there, agrees that we do need our own jet, but said that, for the moment, you and me, boss, are upgraded to Club."
Gibbs' face lit up with his lightening fast, rarely seen grin as he moved to the forward section of the plane. Tony turned back to the other members of his team. "Sorry, there was only room for us two," he said, sounding distinctly unrepentant.
"Tony!" Joint cries of protest from McGee and Kate only made Tony's smile brighten as he settled into the comfy, spacious Club Class seats.
He could get used to the British way of doing things, Tony considered as the 'Fasten Seatbelt' sign lit up on the approach to Pristina. A choice of free magazines and newspapers, an endless supply of whatever drink he named, and a three course meal served on real china plates had made the flight very enjoyable. Especially as he knew Kate and McGee were having to rough it in Economy. Tony made a show of stretching and yawning once they landed, causing Kate to grit her teeth.
The terminal building was distinctly unimpressive as they lined up for Passport Control. After the briefest of glances, their passports were stamped with the UNMIK logo and they were waved through to Baggage Reclaim. Which wasn't there. Instead of the usual conveyor belt, there was an arrow pointing back outside. Baffled, the NCIS team joined everyone else from their flight under an underpass and waited. After a few minutes, a jeep pulled up towing a container piled high with all their luggage.
"You have got to be kidding," Kate said, her eyes wide. This was meant to be the capital city's airport?
"Apparently not," Gibbs replied as he elbowed his way through the crowd. Fortunately, their luggage was near the top and Gibbs and Tony managed to get it quickly. Leaving everyone else to squabble over who owned what, Gibbs led his team through Customs – one very bored looking policeman who was reading a newspaper – and out into the bright Kosovan sunshine.
"Special Agent Gibbs?" A tall, spare Marine with closely cropped blond hair called out. "Captain Joshua Barrett, sir. Both of the dead Corporals were under my command."
"I hope you can tell me what's going on," Gibbs said sharply. "We've had no information and no explanation as to why we were called in."
"Everything will be explained, sir, just not here. I'll explain when we get you to your hotel. We hired two interpreters for you: Isak Mirovic and Edvina Yashi." Isak was shorter than Gibbs with short, dark hair and a scruffy beard. Edvina had shoulder length blonde hair, dark eyes and high Slavic cheekbones. Tony increased the wattage of his smile, and was rewarded with a shy smile from Edvina and an elbow in the ribs from Kate. Barrett smiled. "Welcome to Pristina, Agent Gibbs."