Note: Last chapter ! Unedited for now, because I think I'd like to rework on the whole story to improve it
MAJOR THANKS to everyone who followed Small Variations, for your encouragements, nice reviews, and mostly for your patience, since it took me 2 years to complete those 9 chapters!
I -may- try to write a sequel to this, or another SG1/NCIS crossover, for the NFA Challenge. I think I have an idea but, well, seeing how slow I write, I should probably not promise anything !
Anyway, now to the chapter !
Disbelief. Pain. Joy. Nostalgia. Sadness. Excitement. Simultaneously, a mix of contradictory feelings had overwhelmed Gibbs when he had seen her.
Now he was staring at her intently as she sat in the conference room. He listened as she went on with her story of how she had been looking for McGee in Colorado, and had suddenly found herself alone...
"in the basement of a house somewhere in the suburb of Washington. And I know what you're thinking, Gibbs, but I can assure you that I was not on any kind of drugs."
Gibbs was miles away from thinking that at this precise moment, but this elicited a smile from him nonetheless. He realized how much he had missed that sarcasm. How much he had missed her.
"Anyway, since I couldn't reach McGee, and I was in DC anyway, I called Steve," Kate went on, pointing in the direction of Stan Burley.
"Steve?" repeated Gibbs, raising an eyebrow. He looked in Stan's direction. The latter just shrugged, indicating that he had no idea, either.
Kate did not seem to notice, and went on explaining : "well, yes, you know, in case of an emergency, call your boss. Makes sense in most parts of the world."
"He's your Boss?" asked DiNozzo, who had just entered the room.
Kate frowned upon seeing Tony. She turned to Burley and asked, bluntly: "What kind of sick joke is this, Steve ?"
Tony frowned. Even for Kate, this reaction to his arrival seemed a bit extreme. "What do you mean?" asked Stan, who had not been briefed on the specifics of the situation, and had just as much trouble figuring it all out as Kate did.
"You are kidding, right?" retorted Kate.
Tony and Stan looked at each other, shaking their heads in shared confusion. Gibbs, however, had a feeling he knew what this was about.
"Tony is dead, isn't he?"
The tears which appeared in the corner of Kate's eyes were all the confirmation he needed. "You were there on the roof with us when Ari shot him. Why do you have to ask? What is this all about?"
Tony had paled significantly.
Gibbs sighed, and passed a hand before his eyes. "Look, Kate, what I am going to tell you is... extremely complicated, not to mention unbelievable by all standards. But basically, this man is really Tony. Only, he is not the Tony you know, just as I am not the Gibbs you know... and as you are not the Kate we knew."
One look at Gibbs and Tony told Kate that nobody was joking here. "What are you talking about? Are you all clones or something?"
Gibbs sighed. "Something like that. Let's just say - all we know, really - that an Airforce experiment went wrong, which erm... generated copies of everyone of us." More or less.
Kate couldn't help laughing. "Oh right, like Tesla in The Prestige?"
"Exactly like that," confirmed Tony, who had hardly recovered from the fact that Kate, of all people, was quoting movie references.
"You know, even for you guys, this joke is really bad."
"We're not joking, Kate," said Gibbs. "Or else, how would you explain that Tony is here? That you suddenly teletransported here from Colorado?"
Kate sighed in defeat. "I..."
"Trust me, I had trouble believing any of this at first as well," added Tony. "But none of this makes sense anyway..."
Everyone remained silent for a long time. It was Kate who spoke again first. "What happened to McGee?" she asked, sounding exhausted.
It took Gibbs and Tony over half an hour to explain everything to her and Burley. "I am adding you both to the team on this case," Gibbs told them once the explanation was over. Burley just nodded, unsure of what to say or believe anymore.
"What about me?" asked Kate. "since I- I am technically supposed to be dead, how can I be part of your team? The Director-"
Gibbs gave her a small smile. "Oh I don't think the Director will have anything to say about this. Besides, it's only temporary, until we find a way to get you back to your home -"
"-that may take a long time, Boss," said McGee. He had just joined them and was obviously out of breath. He gave Kate a strange look before he continued. "According to Major Carter, they have no idea at the moment how to calibrate the device to send Kate - or anyone- back to the right place."
"What does that mean?" asked Burley.
Gibbs tilted his head. "I guess it means that we are going to have to find Kate a more permanent status here -"
"Sorry, Kate," McGee added.
She gave him a small smile. "It's not exactly your fault, Tim. I just hope that your DiNozzo is less annoying than yours..."
Tony nearly choked at that.
Jenny Sheppard entered the room at that moment, and gave McGee a nod. The latter cleared his throat. "Hum, Boss - It also means something else, actually. According to Major Carter, it is going to get very crowded in here."
"Well, it seems that there may be three exit devices left outside the two we already found. And she believes that each of these devices are likely to generate duplicates from people from any version of our team -"
"-who are all going to end up calling here," finished Jenny. "Which is why I have assured the Air Force of our complete cooperation on this case. We are going to help them find the remaining devices and put an end to this."
Gibbs mentally measured the implications of this, and concluded that he was going to need to hit something or someone in a violent fashion. "Where is O'Neill?" he asked. So I can tell him what I really think of him and his stupid plans.
"He and the rest of SG-1 left an hour ago," answered the Director nonchalantly, heading for the door.
"And Jethro," she added with a not-so-well-hidden smile, "Cheyenne Mountain is a heavily guarded facility, so I wouldn't waste too much energy on trying to reach him..."
As the door closed, Tony's phone started to ring. "DiNozzo?" he greeted.
"Tony! Where were you?" replied an angry woman's voice.
"Who is that?"
"Paula Cassidy, of course!"
Burley had to physically prevent Gibbs from throwing something violently on the floor. The coming weeks promised to be very, very, very long...