Spoilers: Yankee White and Twilight for NCIS, Posse Comitas for West Wing. Take place early in season 3 (NCIS) and 5 (TWW)
Disclaimer: Sad to say I don't own the rights to either of these shows. I'm just borrowing the characters (and the plane) and will return them safely when I'm done.
A/N: I read a prompt at a commentathon for CJ/Gibbs and "the wrong man." This is much too longfor a comment, but my muse couldn't resist. Thanks to the brilliant Calleighj for the beta'ing and the idea to use lyrics from Hallelujah for the title. Also, I know the timeline doesn't quite line up between the shows, but I fudged it a bit.
"This seems rather like a case of déja vu," Ducky commented as he knelt down next to the body.
"Not quite, Duck." Gibbs looked up from his notebook and gave the plane cabin a sweeping glance. True, they were once again aboard Air Force One, but the Secret Service agent watching them had a receding hairline and lines around his eyes that made him appear older than he probably was. Agent Butterfield wasn't arguing for jurisdiction over the body or asking any questions either. After he had given them a brief report on the events that led up to the Lieutenant's death he had moved to the corner of the room where he was out of the way.
"Nevertheless it is rather interesting to see the changes they've made in the past few years. The chairs have been recovered, I think. Don't you agree, Lieutenant?" he asked amiably as he stuck the liver probe into the dead man's flesh.
"I'm more interested in cause of death than decorating styles, Ducky. What can you tell me?"
"Well, Jethro, unlike the last Navy officer..." Ducky was interrupted when a woman stepped into the room. She was tall, probably close to his own height of six foot if she wasn't wearing high heels, with auburn hair and a slight frown on her face.
"Ron do we know anything yet? The press is getting that cannibalistic look in their eyes and I'd like to give them some answers before they decide that I'm dinner."
"I suggest you order them sandwiches then, because it's going to be a while before we have anything for you." Gibbs answered.
"I'm sure you can give me..." The woman turned as she spoke, her words fading as her eyes widened. Gibbs thought it was the sight of Ducky removing the liver probe that had silenced her, but she was looking directly at him.
"You okay?" he asked, flicking his gaze briefly over to the man standing in the corner before looking back at the woman.
"I... I'm fine." She pressed her lips together briefly and breathed deeply through her nose before exhaling. Agent Butterfield took a couple of steps in her direction but she stopped him with a shake of her head. He nodded resignedly, but kept his focus on her instead of the body.
"I'm Special Agent Gibbs, NCIS. You're CJ Cregg, right?" He might not watch much TV, but he had seen a few White House press briefings.
"How did you... Oh, of course." She sometimes forgot that as the representative of the White House she was so recognizable. For just a moment she thought he knew her for another reason. "I should leave you to your work." She backed out of the room in a hurry and Agent Butterfield, after a moment, returned his silent attention to Ducky and the dead man.
"Duck?" Gibbs said, not needing to voice the question.
"Go ahead, Jethro. I still have a few questions to ask of our friend here, and perhaps by the time you get back my erstwhile assistant will have arrived with the stretcher."
Tucking his notepad back into his pocket Gibbs walked out of the meeting room and into the hallway. CJ Creig hadn't gone far; she was leaning against the wall just a few feet from the door. Her eyes were closed, her mouth covered by the fingertips of one of her hands.
"Funny, you don't look okay," he said as he positioned himself across from her.
"What the…" Her eyes flew open and her hand fell to her side where it clenched into a light fist. "Sorry, I wasn't expecting anyone. You startled me."
"Did you know the Lieutenant well? You seem a little shaken." His gut told him that there was something he was missing, and he was going to make sure it wasn't something that would affect his case.
"I didn't know him at all, unless you count the five minute conversation we had during lunch before I was called away by Josh."
"Something is bothering you," he stated.
"It's nothing," she said, unconvincingly. "I should get back to the press before they get even more restless."
"CJ, please. I don't like to be called Ms. or ma'am." She sighed softly, glancing to her left and right as if making sure the hallway was still empty. "It's just that you remind me of someone. When I first saw you..."
"I'm sorry for your loss." There was something about the look in her eyes that reminded Gibbs of Abby, tears shimmering and a sad smile on her face as she mourned for Kate, and he almost reached out to touch her.
"I didn't say that he was dead, Agent Gibbs."
"You didn't have to say it out loud, it's pretty obvious. You've got an expressive face; I hope you don't play poker."
"For your information I'm a damn good poker player."
"Is that why you owe me about three paychecks and a box of cigars?" CJ looked half annoyed and half relieved when a bearded man in a brown suit joined them.
"That was just me lulling you into a false sense of, you know, thinking you were winning."
"Well it worked because I won and now you owe me. You can start earning your keep by getting those reporters of yours to stay away from me. Already three of them have found me in the past twenty minutes and annoyed me with their questions."
"Which I'm sure you answered politely Toby," CJ said sarcastically, but she smiled at him with a measure of affection. "Agent Gibbs, did you have any more questions? I really should..."
"Go ahead. If I think of anything else I'll find you." CJ turned to leave, and though it was only the slightest movement Gibbs noticed that the man named Toby squeezed her hand as she walked past.
"You have another agent working with you, right?" Toby asked when they were alone.
"Yeah, a couple of them." Gibbs examined the man who now occupied the space directly in front of him. Toby, who he guessed must also be one of the President's senior staff, was not nearly as easy to read.
"If you need anything else from CJ it might be a good idea to have one of them ask her."
"And why would I want to do that?" In his own mind he had already cleared CJ Cregg of any involvement in the Navy Lieutenant's death and didn't expect to need to talk to her again, at least not in an official capacity.
"Because you look too damn much like someone you're not, and CJ shouldn't have to deal with that on top of everything else." Toby waved his hand at the doorway to the room where Ducky was working. Gibbs thought for a moment, then nodded.
"I shouldn't have any more questions for her, but if I do I can have Tony ask them."
"You know it isn't just the way you look, though your resemblance to Simon Donovan is startling. There's something less substantial; your manner, or Donna might call it your vibe. Maybe it's because you're a special agent too." Toby shook his head and looked down at his hand as if hoping to find something there: a cigar, a drink, or answers.
"Donovan was Secret Service, protection detail." Toby scowled slightly when he said the word 'protection.'
"The convenience store in New York last spring," Gibbs commented, putting all the pieces together. Washington, for being such a large city, was quite interlinked, and the various law enforcement branches particularly so. He had never known Agent Donovan but he had heard of the man's death. Kate had gone to the funeral. If he was a poetic man he might consider that ironic, given that almost exactly a year later it was Kate in the coffin. Killed in the line of duty, both of them, and neither one aware of what they left behind.
"That was him. Not half an hour before that his team caught the psychopath that had been threatening CJ. His assignment was over, and he and CJ..." Toby paused and flicked his gaze out the window as if he could see something other than the view of the tarmac. "Anyway, it would be better if someone else asks her questions."
Toby walked away, heading back in the direction he had originally come from. As Gibbs watched him leave he wondered about CJ Creig, and if Simon Donovan had been aware of what he had when he was alive. He hoped the man had found some happiness before he died. Life, he was continually reminded, was too damn short.
His cell phone sounded, interrupting his thoughts. "Hey Abbs, what do you have for me?"
"Amazing news. I am about to make your day." Her voice was light and teasing, and just what he needed to hear.
"You always do, Abby. You always do." And he smiled as he listened to her report.