An Affair to Remember
See Chapter One for Disclaimer & General Notes
"I like trying to get pregnant, I'm not so sure about childbirth."
"We were too quick to gloat Giles. There was some kind of explosion in Washington near the Capitol building and some NCIS Agents just picked up two of our girls. I don't know why or what they were doing there, but I'll find out and call you back."
+ flashback: earlier in the afternoon +
Eva and Ava were newly assigned Slayers and very proud of the fact that they were assigned to Washington, DC. They went through special training to enable them to recognize police and Federal Agents and others of that ilk so as to stay further in the shadows than most Slayers needed to. But today, as they walked along a busy street dodging tourists, Ava spotted a young man walking a little oddly. "Eva," she said quietly, "do you see anything 'off' about that guy?"
She took a quick glance and said, "Nope." But then she took a second look, and sniffed the air, and said, "Maybe. What's that odd smell?"
Ava surreptitiously moved closer and cautiously pulled in a deep breath through her nose. She paused to allow Eva to catch up and said, "Plastic explosives, once you smell it, you never forget it."
"How come no one else has noticed?"
"Slayer enhanced senses, of course. In open air like this, most would never notice."
"Hmmm, what should we do?"
"Hang back, for one. For another, we need backup."
"Don't look now," said Eva, "but we've picked up a tail. Federal, I think."
"Oh jeez, that's all we need. Let's do some shopping while I call Xander." She flipped her cell phone open and called. After a couple of minutes of conversation, she said, "Help's three hours away. We're on our own for now."
"Oh shit. How about our Pentagon contact?"
"Xander is on to them even as we speak."
"For that matter, why don't we call the cops? This is their thing, after all."
"That's being done, too. But we'll keep following until others are here."
"Well, what can go wrong with that plan?"
Eva and Ava continued to follow their suspect who headed towards the Washington Mall. As he passed the reflecting pool his pace picked up, as if he saw his intended target. Even though the target wasn't known, the slayers decided this was a good place to stop him. They stepped up to either side of him, even with a small crowd around, and
Eva grabbed the man's hands while Ava ripped his jacked down the front. Once it was clear that he wore a suicide vest, they flipped him over and threw him as far as they could into the reflecting pond on the mall. They turned and nonchalantly stepped behind other tourists and strolled slowly along. The bomber yelled as he flew through the air and was more than fifty feet away when his explosives went off, scattering bloody bits across the water amid screams and yells from the tourists.
Director Shepherd appeared to be fully relaxed in her seat in MTAC. But if anyone observed her closely, they would have noticed tightened muscle groups, narrowed eyes, lines in her forehead, and several other indications of internal stress. Around her the MTAC crew was very busy, tense messages quietly being sent around to different chairs and different agencies and different field agents. Jen tried to take in everything, but it would have been impossible for any one person to absorb every fact coming over the screens. Still, she was getting a good overview, and that's just what was needed.
A CPO seconded from the Navy said over his private channel to the Director, "Ma'am, I've got it, coming up on screen two in five seconds."
"Thank you Chief," Jenny replied.*
She looked at the screen and watched as it went to snow, then black, then a low resolution image of the scene at the Washington Mall from twenty minutes earlier came up. The Chief commented the image with arrows and notes in real time, so Jenny had no trouble identifying the soon to be exploded presumed terrorist. She watched as two girls apparently met with him. Jen couldn't see what was happening: there were too many people around and the quality of the tape was less than desirable. But it wasn't many seconds later when the man suddenly shot out across the reflecting pool, a good fifteen or twenty meters. Did the girls throw the man? Even for two girls working together that was a prodigious throw. She reflected on the athleticism of Giles' girls. 'Is there a connection?' she wondered.
It happened that three NCIS agents had been following the girls. They were taken by surprise when the two they were following suddenly threw a man out over the reflecting pool. And taken completely aback when he exploded. So they did the only thing they could think of: they arrested the two girls. Jenny nodded at the screen, 'Good,' she thought, 'an interview should get to the bottom of this.'
The director reviewed the tape several more times and finally came to a conclusion. She picked up her phone asked the legal department to obtain warrants for the arrest of Buffy Summers and Rupert Giles.
+ End Flashback +
Giles flew to New York the next day. He rented a car, drove towards Washington, and checked into a conveniently located Marriott in Virginia in order to try to catch up on sleep and reduce his jet lag. He took off his jacket and fell to the bed with his tie only half off.
About two hours later somebody softly knocked on his door. He groaned, got up off the bed, and opened up without any of his usual precautions. His ex-wife walked in.
He was very surprised. "Jenny! I didn't expect you here. Are you planning to arrest me?"
"No," she replied as she walked by him, very closely, and turned around to face him. "Although I am in the process of obtaining a warrant for your arrest."
"So why are you here, in my hotel room?"
"I'm not entirely convinced of your involvement. In fact, we're still investigating."
"I see." He couldn't help but notice that she was wearing a very short, loose summer dress with a plunging neckline. He also was intensely aware that her breasts were unconstrained beneath the thin fabric. His eyes locked onto her chest and he started breathing heavier.
"This is an unofficial visit, very unofficial, very private, and very personal. I am so very confused about you, I thought I'd wear a different hat or no hat at all, so to speak, today." She raised her arms up over her head and reached back behind her neck. Giles gaze focused more intently on her breasts as they rose up. Then she unclipped the clasp behind her neck and released her hands. Her dress fell to the floor and puddled around her feet, leaving her dressed only in a tiny lacy thong. Giles couldn't help but notice her thatch of red pubic hair that puffed out to either side of the tiny strap of cloth between her legs. He stepped to her and ran his left hand down her back to her buttocks as he kissed her while his right hand fondled her front, sliding down and slipping between her and her thong.
"I've missed you so much, Jenny, so very much."
"Mmmm," she replied. She undressed him, he finished undressing her, and they fell onto the bed.
- 000 -
"Now pay attention Director, I'm not through yet," said Abby. "My curiosity was aroused by my second set of tests. Now the standard test shows us a whole rainbow of answers, it includes in the results compounds that are similar to but not the same as pure GHB. So I ran the samples through a gas chromatograph to really find out what was there. And what I found is just weird. You weren't fed true GHB after all, it was a derivative of GHB. And I even know the approximate amount. Here, look at this chart. Here's a graph: the time is on the x-axis, and the amount you must have been given is on the y-axis to have this amount left when you took the samples.
"Now here I could go on about anabolic reactions and metabolic pathways, but I suspect you don't care about the mechanism. So what happened, is this derivative was introduced the night before the sample was taken, probably between ten and midnight, and it broke down over time. What it did though, is, well, I'm not entirely sure, but it might have been revved up enough to affect your memory, targeted memories perhaps. I don't like this, I really want to find the original formula and study it before I can truly decide what the effect of this derivative was."
Jenny frowned some more. She said, "Thank you Abby. I'll see what I can do to get a sample."
Clearly dismissed, Abby went back to her lab.
Jenny sat back and thought, and got more and more angry.
Director Shepherd sat in the darkened MTAC and studied a satellite image on the huge screen in front of her. She occasionally thumbed her remote to toggle a super-imposed map on top of the image. She heard Jethro come in and sit down beside her.
"Recognize this?" she asked.
Gibbs replied glumly, "Yeah, the so-called 'summer camp' for the Sunnydale group."
"Yes. But look up there." She indicated a set of structures to the west of the camp using a laser pointer. "See this camp? It looks military, but I can't find anyone who will admit to running it. I was able to confirm that much that it is US Government property. But this camp is about three miles from the girls place. Here's a public trail that winds between the two properties, and on the satellite image what looks like a trail between the two camps. But much of it is under trees so I can't be absolutely certain it connects. It doesn't show up at all on the map, anyones map: street maps, topographic surveys, nowhere. And yet, there are tantalizing glimpses – so much so that it would be highly unlikely that there isn't a trail between the two."
"So what does that mean?"
"Those girls are all fine athletes – we've determined that much for sure – so they could probably run that three miles in thirty minutes or less, no problem. I've been searching through the archives and I can't find a complete set, but a few photos have shown some of the girls headed in that direction, and I found one with some headed back. And more intriguing, I found one that showed what could be some of them at the anti-tank range. But I can't tell for sure because the image was a low-horizon shot. It would appear that the satellites in this area are often tasked to be looking elsewhere whenever anyone is at this camp."
"Do you mean to tell me that the Sunnydale Memorial Summer Camp is sponsored by the Pentagon?" Jethro asked incredulously.
"Maybe. Still doesn't tell us who sent us those bogus pictures. Or why."
"This is starting to smell like some sort of conspiracy, Jenny. And I really don't like where this is heading."
"You and me both, Jethro. For now, all we can do is keep digging."
oo oo oo
"Jethro, how is the investigation of the IWC going? Have we found Rupert Giles yet? Or Ms. Summers? Or anything at all?" I asked.
"No, nothing. I keep running into roadblocks thrown up by other people and agencies. I think the Pentagon is behind most of it."
"The Pentagon?" I asked wonderingly, "who at the Pentagon?"
"I don't know," Jethro answered.
My secretary rushed down the stairs and handed me a message. I read it. Gibbs asked, "Anything wrong?"
"No, apparently I have an appointment at the Pentagon with the Chief of Naval Operations."
"Well, isn't that coincidental."
It took about an hour to get to the Pentagon from the Navy Yard. I went directly to the CNO's office and told the secretary that I was expected. She got on the phone and about thirty seconds later the CNO himself came out of his office and greeted me. That worried me, he'd never done that before. Always in the past he made me wait just to show me who's the boss – or maybe he was actually that busy – either way I'd always had to wait.
"Good morning, Director Shepherd," he said, "today we have a little surprise for you. Well, it's a big surprise really. At any rate, Admiral Fitzsimmons will see you in his office. I want to assure you that Fitz isn't crazy, that everything he is about to tell you is true. See me before you leave."
And he guided me into another office and closed the door with him outside and me inside. I turned around and was about to introduce myself to Admiral Fitzsimmons when I noticed two other people in the room. I frowned and said, "Rupert Giles and Buffy Summers. What is going on? Why are you sitting comfortably in well upholstered furniture in an Admiral's office instead of being held at a much less comfortable brig?"
"Director Shepherd I presume?" said the Admiral sitting behind the desk, who I had snubbed unintentionally.
"Oh, sorry sir, yes. I'm Director Shepherd. How do you do sir?"
"And I am Admiral Fitzsimmons. I'm fine, thank you for asking. Please, have a seat." He pointed to a chair next to Giles.
"I'm not certain I wish to sit next to Mr. Giles as I believe he might possibly be a terrorist, or at least is some sort of sympathizer." I saw Giles grimace out of the corner of my eye.
"Director," said the Admiral, "trust me when I tell you this, but he is not a terrorist, nor does his organization have anything whatsoever to do with terrorists or the aims of terrorists. The International Slayers and Watchers Council is outside the politics of countries such as this one. Indeed, I have it on good authority that they consider politics to be petty, not worth worrying about."
"Uh, what? How can that be? We identified two girls who go to this Cleveland School as associating with a suicide bomber! You remember, the one here on the mall? The guy set off his bomb within sight of the White House? And two naval officers found dead in Virginia were somehow connected with this man, and that one's sister!"
"You are wrong on all counts Director, they were attempting to stop a terrible thing. And they actually succeeded. If it wasn't for them it would have been far far worse."
"Excuse me sir, but how can I believe that?"
"I believe it is my turn now," said Rupert as he turned towards me. "Dear Jenny, this is going to be hard for you to believe, but the world is a far older place than you know. Before mankind, the world was not a paradise, it was a hell inhabited by demons. Over a millennia, those demons lost their purchase on this Earth, and left this reality. But they left behind certain magics, certain creatures, demons who fed off the first humans, and infected, so to speak, other humans. These came to be known as vampires."
I stared at Rupert with dumbfounded amazement. Why wasn't the Admiral calling security to come arrest this lunatic?
Buffy spoke up for the first time, "He really loves doing this part."
Rupert continued, "Thousands of years ago, no one actually knows how long ago, a young woman was imbued with the power and knowledge to defeat vampires and demons. She was the first Vampire Slayer. When she died, another was called. And so it continued for thousands of years. 'Into each generation a Slayer is born, one girl in all the world, a Chosen One. One born with the strength and skill to hunt the vampires..."
Buffy interrupted, "But that's out of date now. We have a lot of Vampire Slayers now, although we don't care to advertise the exact number – not even to our friends. But there's even more evil for us to hunt, too, so it evens out."
I looked at Buffy. Was she too part of this madness? She added, "I'm the senior Vampire Slayer and you don't believe a word of this, do you?"
I shook my head and said, "No. Admiral, are you going to call security or shall I?"
Admiral Fitzsimmons said, "No one is calling security. I assure you Madam Director, that every word you heard, is true. And we will prove it." He reached down under his desk and picked up a thick metal rod, with some difficulty since it was heavy. He handed it to me and I nearly dropped it. But I heaved it up and inspected it. It was a one inch diameter chunk of iron rebar, about three feet long. The Admiral instructed me to give it to Buffy. Buffy took it easily from my hands and casually bent it into a 'U' shape. Then she handed it back to me. As my mind went blank, I sat down. Rupert guided me to the couch or I would have landed on the floor. I still held the bent bar in my lap. I tugged at it a few more times, to no effect.
The Admiral said, "I have some tapes for you to watch, and again, I assure you, and so will the CNO as well as SECNAV and POTUS if you so desire, that these are straight security tapes, not Photoshopped or otherwise modified in any fashion whatsoever."
The Admiral's couch was easily big enough for all four of us. I ended up between Buffy and Giles, which I had not intended, but there it was. They had about a half an hour of various tapes to to show me, and when they were done, my worldview was permanently altered.
Front Steps of the Pentagon
Early Friday Afternoon
oo oo oo
Much later, I walked down the steps with Rupert and Buffy. I couldn't think of anything to say, actually, I was very nearly in a state of shock. I was about to signal my driver when Giles said, "Shall we retire to my hotel room and discuss this? You need some coffee my dear."
I replied, "What I need is a stiff drink." Rupert looked at me with a strange expression. "But that's not gonna happen, is it? After all, that's how this whole affair started."
"Well no," said Rupert, "not actually. If you'll come with us, I have the means with which to restore your memory, the missing hour or so in Las Vegas."
"Yes Rupert, we shall do that straightaway." I was suddenly very angry again – all this time, all this time, he could have made me whole and didn't?
While Willow prepared her potions and spell reversal equipment, I watched Jenny. She was brittle, nearly in a state of shock. I could see that she was under a tremendous strain just trying to keep her cool. And then there was Willow: I could see she was of two minds about this: one, she thought it was a mistake to do this; two, she really hated tampering with memories in the first place and was still beset with lingering irritation at me and Dawn for persuading her to research it.
Once Willow was ready, and Jenny was lying back on the couch, as relaxed as we could get her, it only took about five minutes for her memories to return. Watching her expressions go from relaxed, to curiosity, to fear, to combat ready, to combat, to puzzlement, back to fear, to extreme fear, as she relived the events in Las Vegas, was disconcerting, to say the least.
oo oo oo
+ Jenny's missing hour +
I grinned to myself as I aimed for the lingerie department. I could see Agent Smith getting was more and more agitated as the displays became more and more risqué. He started to hang back, and when I turned to look at a display of three topless mannequins wearing the tiniest little lacy thongs I had ever seen, he turned beet red.
"Uh, ma'am?" he asked manfully, "perhaps I should wait at the front? Unless, I mean, no one's going to attack you here, are they?"
"Go ahead Agent Smith," I relented, "there's a small waiting area by the front. I should be about twenty minutes." He was so easy to rattle, poor guy. In the meantime, I really did need some new underwear and I didn't care to have my security detail file reports on my preferred brands and styles.
I stopped by a rack of sheer teddies and hummed softly to myself as I fingered the fabric. I kind of wondered just who I was planning to impress with this exceedingly sensual and suggestive little garment. But, what the heck, maybe I'd find out later, I thought, as I took it from the rack, as well a few other skimpy underthings including several of the little thongs in a variety of colors, and went to the checkout.
I had just replaced my credit card in my purse when I heard what sounded like a faint scream and some yelling coming from the back of the store. I glanced at the clerk, she looked puzzled. I looked towards the front to see if I could see Smith, but he must have been way on the other side of the store by now. When a second, rather more forceful yell echoed from the back of the store, I said to clerk, "Here's my hotel and room number, deliver these for me." I wrote down the info on my receipt.
I turned resolutely towards the back, pulled my jacket aside, put my hand on my gun, but didn't draw it yet, and rushed towards trouble. I ran past the dressing rooms and found myself at a small loading dock. The doors were open, but there was a security grill baring the opening. I looked at the arrangements with approval, somebody had thought out how such a space would be used and kept secure. The grill had a manual lock on the inside, which couldn't be reached from the outside. Once I went through the door, I'd have to return around the building or wait for someone to let me back in. But then, there was another scream and a yell, and somebody yelled: "Slay her! I'm gonna kill you and dance on your corpse!"
Well, that was enough for me, I drew my weapon, pulled the slide back and let it snap forward to load and cock my gun, opened the security grill and cautiously made my way around the corner, across the alley and through a rough ad hoc opening in a wood fence.
I saw six young women, no, some were girls, and one older man who was mostly watching, fighting a group of men wearing some kind of Halloween masks. I couldn't see that anyone had guns, they were armed with sticks, knives and swords, of all things. I didn't stop to think, I just pointed my gun at the masked men and yelled as loudly as I could, "FEDERAL AGENTS! FREEZE!" That should do it, I thought with satisfaction.
Damn, I thought wrong. What I had thought of as the victims looked at me more in annoyance than anything else. I hadn't stopped any of them from fighting. I looked a little closer and realized that the fighting was a lot rougher than I had thought at first, these girls were really hitting hard and getting hit hard! Then one of the masked men attacked me! So I shot him. He slowed a little. I shot him again, right in the heart. He didn't slow much more at all. What the hell? I figured he must be wearing a bullet-roof vest, so I shot him yet again, this time in his right eye. He still didn't stop, although he did complain about my shooting him. By then I was out of time – he grabbed me around my waist and neck with vice-like grips. I could now see that he wasn't wearing any kind of mask, his face was disfigured and he had actual fangs, and his fangs were headed towards my neck. I hit him using every trick I had learned. I used the dirtiest Krav Maga strikes I could and nothing would dislodge him. His strength and toughness was astonishing, even as blood dripped from his empty eye socket. I even fell back on the old knee to the crotch trick, but even that hardly fazed him. Then, then, well, he just burst into dust! I fell back into the arms of a man, luckily the one who looked like a man, and not a disfigured one. In front of me, holding a wooden stake, was a fierce looking brunet in black leather. She nodded at me then turned to strike at another. I watched in amazement from the arms of the still unidentified male as the girl thrust her stake into the heart of another attacker, and he too burst into dust. By now I felt like screaming, but I didn't. I wondered if Agent Smith missed me yet. I watched the girls, and some of them couldn't have been more than sixteen or so, mop up the rest.
When it was over, I shakily removed myself from the arms of this stranger, holstered my weapon, and started asking questions. I fear I got a little angry. A little angry? No, a lot angry. They explained to me what was going on. Vampires? Vampires existed? But I kept arguing, I wanted to call the Pentagon, get the CNO and Jethro both in on this. They kept trying to calm me down but I just got more and more agitated and argumentative. After a particularly angry exchange, the girl in black grabbed me, and handcuffed me with my own handcuffs! I started to scream bloody murder but she gagged me. Then a younger woman, about twenty two or so, burnt a little twig in front of me, said some words in Latin, and I was out of it.
Except now I was looking at the scene in a sort of double-vision thing. I could see my actions, and their actions. My body was following directions, but I could not understand how or what they were doing. And so I watched as Mr. Giles and I drank a couple of drinks, got fed the GHB derivative by one of the girls, and we both took it I saw, and neither of us knew it. We laughed at each others jokes, I said I had a bag of new lingerie which should be in my room by now which could be put to good use for our pleasure. We got along, we really enjoyed each other's company. He laughed, then he asked me to marry him. I laughed yes. We ducked out of the lounge and the rest I had already figured out.
+ End Flashback +
oo oo oo
Back at my office I sat down behind my desk and deliberated.
I got the CNO and SECNAV on a conference call and I asked for my orders. They told me what they had already decided. I didn't like it, but I had no wiggle room, at all.
I told my secretary to get Agent Gibbs in for a conference. He came in and sat without a word. I said, "The case is closed."
"WHAT? How can that be?"
"It's classified well above your level, be thankful. The perpetrators were identified and they died."
"They were killed? By whom? When? Why isn't any of this in a report somewhere?"
"It is in a report somewhere – down in the bowels of the Pentagon, classified to a level you've never heard of."
"So they must have been terrorists, and they were dealt with using our new unconstitutional methods. Can I at least know why they attacked Captain Crandell's house?"
"They were killed in a shootout before they could explain themselves. And complaining about unconstitutional methods is rich, coming from you."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Do you believe I'm stupid?"
"Of course not, the opposite is true."
"Then why did you think I wouldn't figure out what happened to the murderers of your family?"
"Okay, but I know that I'm guilty, if they ever catch me with enough proof, I'd go to prison for the rest of my life. I'd go willingly in those circumstances, even though I hope the proof is never found, or even suspected."
"Except by me."
"Yeah, and you've got something to hang me with, if you want to. But for the government of the United States to officially get into the business of ignoring the Constitution is another matter entirely, one that I don't care for. So, I ask again, what happened?"
"I can't tell you. But mark the case closed with the notation to see the DRI Department at the Pentagon for further questions."
"Would they answer my questions?"
"No, they would not."
"I sincerely wish I didn't think that somebody is covering up something!"
"Well, in way I suppose they are, but if you knew what it was, you would approve, Jethro."
"Why don't you let me be the judge of that?"
"Because it's classified."
Jethro got up and left, anger evident in his every movement.
Back down in the bullpen, he gathered his troops and said, "The case is closed."
After listening to everyone's objections, he said, "It's out of our hands. But, I want to find out about the DRI department, I want to find out about Riley Finn and his merry men, I want to find out about Buffy Summers and Rupert Giles and their girls. But, we cannot investigate any of this openly."
"Then what are we supposed to do?"
"While we investigate other cases, if you should come across references to these people, jot it down. Preferably in an illegible manner, and let me know. But no follow-ups, no reports, nothing in writing, no obvious investigating."
"Okay boss," they agreed.
A few weeks passed. NCIS opened several quite ordinary investigations: a murder of a sailor just weeks out of boot camp; the burglary of a supply depot; an investigation into the destruction of a cruiser's reduction gears; a charge of sexual misconduct of a Chief Boatswains Mate; an investigation of a sailor killed by a large grinding wheel that self-destructed; and the disappearance of a Senior Petty Officer on liberty in Bayonne, New Jersey.
During all this Ziva and DiNozzo continued to look into the SWCI and the DRI, at least at first. But Gibbs noticed the quiet reports were tapering off. In fact, he hadn't heard a thing for more than a week. He stopped by DiNozzo's desk and asked, "Did you find anything more of Buffy Summer's life before she moved to Sunnydale?"
Tony looked up in confusion, "Uh, who?"
"Buffy! Buffy Summers! The cute blonde?"
"Uh, I don't know who you're talking about boss," he replied, wondering if one them was losing their mind and hoping it wasn't him.
Gibbs frowned and looked at Ziva. Ziva said, "Oh, the blonde chick, Tony. She was here last month for a consultation. But Gibbs, that was finished and filed, no further action, the dying plants were natural, not sabotage or neglect."
Gibbs wondered if he were going mad, then had a sudden horrible thought. He said, "Oh yeah, forget about it." He turned a went up the stairs to the director's office.
Storming in, he demanded, "What the hell is going on? Is Willow Rosenberg screwing with...?" But he broke off suddenly when he couldn't remember why he needed to talk to the Director.
Jenn asked, "Yes Jethro? What is it?"
"Uh, I had an important question, it's on the tip of my tongue..." He trailed off and turned away. Suddenly turning back, he said, "Oh yeah, we're almost out of Form 685 sierra stroke delta. But I would prefer to go back the stroke charlie forms, the deltas don't have enough room for listing the witnesses."
"Now Jethro, you just add the one of the 685 supplemental forms to the back..."
"But those are blank! They were misprinted!"
The Director raised an eyebrow. "Blank? You think maybe that could have been on purpose?"
"Oh, I see. Gives us plenty of room for whatever is needed. Gotcha. Well, we still need to order more."
"I'll get right on it, don't worry."
oo oo oo
I watched sadly as Gibbs left my office. I knew exactly how he felt and I wished we didn't have to do it to him. But Giles' arguments were decisive and unassailable. Besides, this time we didn't have to use Willow's specific memory eraser – Willow said all she had to do was to magnify the effects of the Spontaneous Demonic Disbelief Spell, which she explained was sort of like background radiation, except on a magical plane. She went on to explain to me that the effects of the disbelief spell generally made people believe in magical things that weren't true, and not believe magical things that were true. It took an eye-opening experience to reverse the disbelief, and it was surprisingly easy to reassert the original spell. Especially on people who didn't want to believe in the first place. Which means that I remember what I wish I could forget, while Gibbs forgot what he wanted to remember. But when my memory was erased in Las Vegas, I desperately wanted it back – and now I just wanted to...
Oh, forget about it.
* The official NCIS website tells us that MTAC stands for 'Multiple Threat Assessment Center' and it used to be called ATAC, but that's about all. Given that NCIS is inextricably entwined with the Navy, it seems reasonable that some of the support personnel could be active duty Navy. But I have no inside information – I'm just writing fiction.