Sometimes it's boring being dead. No need for nice restaurants, suntan lotion, books or credit cards. I look just the same as I did the day I died – well, apart from actually being dead that is. Rather than sit around gossiping all day with various deceased relatives, or attending an art group run by Picasso, dress design class with Coco Chanel, or a lecture by Proust, I've decided to go back to work – back to NCIS. By the way, I'm Kate.
NCIS HQ 0700hrs
Gibbs is in. Now there's a surprise! If it wasn't for the fact that he smells faintly of sawdust, and that comes from the boat he's still hand building in his basement, I'd swear he lived here 24/7. I wander over and look over his shoulder at what's on the screen. Nope, don't recognise this case; must be something new since I was last here. But then, it would be – I've been dead for what? Three years now? It doesn't seem that long. He looks the same – maybe the hair's a little greyer, but that's hardly surprising - DiNozzo has that effect on people.
My desk is (was?) beside his and its being used. Last time I was here – well, actually I was IN Autopsy – but last time I appeared in the bullpen was the day Ari shot me and I was asking Gibbs why I died. He didn't answer me then. He definitely won't answer me now, cause he believes I'm gone – as in completely, totally and utterly not here. But, I am here, and I've got something to tell him. Nothing earth-shattering – I've got no idea who'll win the World Series, the NFL play-offs, or the next election. Just want to tell him that I miss him – well, that I miss him and I know someone else loves him. I got this vibration a couple of months ago – just an infinitesimal 'feeling' that something was happening – a bit like goose bumps, but stronger. I knew where it was coming from, but I wanted to know who it was that was reacting this way. So, here I am, trying to find out who it is that loves Gibbs.
NCIS looks pretty much the same as it did. A few more posters behind Tony's desk; more computer stuff stacked on Tim's. And my desk has a business card with "Ziva David" on it. She must be my replacement.
The lift doors ping and out walks a pretty brunette with brown eyes. Her "Good Morning Gibbs" is pleasantly accented, but not one I can't place. As she walks by me, it hits me. She's the one. She loves him. Now, I'm dead, so technically I can't feel anything – but there's a sense of something within me and I think it's a spark of jealousy. I envy her – or I would, if I could feel envy – because I felt the same way. It was totally unrequited love; he'd never have made a move and I was too in awe of him (ok as well as too shy and probably a bit too inexperienced as well) to press it; but there was some spark there. That much I am positive about.
Ziva David (pronounced so Gibbs says as Dah-Veed) is roughly my height and weight, but younger. Long dark brown hair, chocolate coloured eyes, tanned skin – none of which are high on Gibbs' want list. He prefers sophisticated red heads with good dress sense and oodles of sex appeal. Brunette field agents just aren't his type – worst luck. But I'm here to sort that little problem out. You see I've changed since I died – I've gone from NCIS Field Agent to Guardian Angel in one bound.
The good thing about being an angel is you can go anywhere – just think the place and you're there. Space Mountain at Walt Disney World? Top of the Eiffel Tower? DC on Inauguration Day? Taj Mahal on Valentine's Day? Edinburgh at New Year? No problem for me. But the place I need to be right now is where someone I love can sense me. I head for Forensics and Abby.
She's already in. The music's still at a deafening level as I stand by the sliding door. Abby's bopping along to it and suddenly she stops, turns and cocks her head to the side. She walks over and turns down the music, and is half-way back to her computer terminal when she turns again and says softly "Kate, is that you?" Now, here's the deal. Live people can't hear or see me; but I can make my presence felt in so many ways. As Abby's facing my general direction I can will the door open (well, if I can flip myself to Florida to ride Space Mountain – opening a door's a breeze) and I do. She sees there's no-one there and grins. "Been a long time. I've missed you. I got a note from your Mother thanking me for your birthday flowers, I hope you liked them."
I walk across to her and take her hand. She looks down, a little startled as to why her fingers have suddenly become cooler and even though I know she can't hear I say "Thanks Abby for remembering me. Lily of the Valley was always my favourites." She turns her head and looks directly into my eyes and smiles softly. "You're welcome Kate" is her quiet response. I'm stunned into silence.
The lab door slides open and there stands Tony. He's still as nattily dressed as ever, still as handsome (though I'd never told him that!) and the trademark grin still in place. His hand is bandaged and Abby hugs him gently and kisses his cheek. "How are the ribs? Getting better?"
"Yes. I can now breathe without my eyes watering and my hand's better too. I think Gibbs has just about forgiven me, though maybe he hasn't. I can't tell the difference between his good moods and bad ..."
"Oh that's easy" replies Abbs "he kisses when he's in a good mood and scowls when he's in a bad one".
"Not likely he'd kiss me".
"Who would kiss who DiNozzo?" Gibbs appears wraith-like behind both of them.
Tony looks like a rabbit caught in the headlights! It's so funny I actually laugh and Abby turns herself towards me again. For a second I wonder if she can hear me … or maybe she can sense me?
"Em, you Boss. Abbs said you kiss her when you're in a good mood and scowl at her when you're in a bad one. Personally, I've never seen you in a bad mood with her. Sure, I've seen you kiss her plenty times, in a platonic, non-threatening, kinda milkshake way …." He was babbling and he knew it. The more he babbled the higher Gibbs eyebrows went. This is just too funny!! I must hear how he gets out of this!
"Well" said Gibbs, patting his cheek gently "if you want me to kiss you DiNozzo, all you have to do is ask".
Abby whoops with laughter and promptly starts singing "Gibbs and Tony sitting in a tree, K I S S I N G …"
"I'm in a good mood now Abby, but it can change" he warns her.
"Aw Gibbs, here was me wondering if I could be Godmother to your expected Tibblets!" I could teach them all kid of cool things like …"
A raised eyebrow, arms crossed over his chest and the patented "Gibbs stare" stop Abby's rambling chain of thought.
"DiNozzo, upstairs. Abbs, back to what you were doing. Now!"
Abby pouts at him (only she could get away with that) and turns back to her computer. DiNozzo follows Gibbs out and she hears the lift ping.
"Looks like it's just us Kate" she says, turning to face me. "You're still looking great by the way."
OMG! (We don't say that out loud where I come from) She can see and hear me!!!!
ABBY'S LAB, 0800hrs
"Abby, you can see me??" I can't keep the incredulity out of my voice.
"Yep. And obviously I can hear you as well. But I'm probably the only person in the building who can. We all still miss you and it's nice to see you again. Can you stay for a bit?" Abby's tone is conversational and light – obviously talking to dead people isn't new to her.
My expression must speak volumes and my confusion is obvious to her.
"I would sometimes talk to Grandma Scuito. Occasionally Grandpa would visit and he'd bring Mr Sorensen who'd lived next door. Mr Sorensen used to give me peppermint sweets when I was a kid – and I always think of him when I see those red and white striped balls wrapped in cellophane. Haven't seen any of them for a while though. Maybe they've finally gone over?" So, she knows what happens. After death, we're really only permitted to stay around to tidy things up, make sure our relatives are recovering from us dying, then we move on. Except for me. I got sidetracked into the whole Guardian Angel bit and although I no longer wear a gun and carry a badge, the job description's pretty similar. Protect, protect, protect. Do all you can to ensure that your charges safe; don't step on the toes of other Angels in the area; do not, under any circumstances, intervene with Death (he can severely injure or even kill an Angel if he feels the intervention is unwarranted); God (aka The Boss) is never, ever wrong – he knows best - always.
I knew Abby would understand. Somehow being dead doesn't seem so final now that she can see me. I hope The Boss is ok with this; normally it requires a tiny bit of painless DNA tweaking to ensure that live humans can't see the dead. Most, if not all, would find it very unsettling and frightening to suddenly have Great Aunty Mary appear in the kitchen, plonk herself down on a chair and start complaining about her bunions aching – all this about 8 years after she'd died. Abby's obviously slipped through the net and I am so grateful for it.
"So" she asks "what are you doing back here? Trying to turn Tony into a human; helping Tim with his next book; making sure Gibbs doesn't set fire to his boat?"
"Nope. I'm here for Ziva."
"Ziva?" There's a slight note of panic in her voice. "She's not going to … I mean, she won't … It's going to be ok, isn't it? She's not leaving us, is she?"
"No Abby. Ziva is not going to die. At least, not just now – it'll happen eventually, like with everyone. But she's ok for now. I'm here to help love along."
"Love? Who's she in love with? She's never mentioned a man? Oh hell … Oh my God! Am I allowed to say hell to an Angel? And I blasphemed too! Oh now that means I'm going to Fire Pit Numero Uno when I die. And I wanted to see Grandma again …."
"Abby, Abby, Abbs!" I yell at her. "You're going nowhere. The Boss, well, my Boss knows people invoke his name all the time and although he's not thrilled about it, he does understand. But the bad language needs to be toned down. I'm here because Ziva loves someone; he doesn't know it yet, and he's not quite ready to accept the love. I have to open his eyes to her and the feelings he has that are buried deep. That's it. I can't weave a magic spell; I can't throw runes or read Tarot cards; all I can do is what I can do and nothing more. Either he accepts her love or he doesn't. I can't force it."
Abbs nods and says: "Can I ask who he is, or make a guess?" I nod. She turns and types 3 words on the computer – silver haired fox flashes up on the plasma; I nod back to her, and she beams. The lab door slides open and a puzzled Ziva enters and looks around.
"Abby, whom were you speaking to? I heard you talking, but there's no-one here. Or is it some new computer software you have?"
"No Ziva, I'm talking to Kate. She's standing in front of Major Mass Spec. And we're discussing you."
Ziva pales and turns round, fully expecting me to materialise in front of her. I don't. But as she glances towards the door, I let her see my reflection and I can't resist a little wave. Full materialisation is awkward, but a reflection's easier to project. She stares at me, searching my face and her eyes travel all over me. I know she does not believe what she sees – so I mouth hello to her. She steps back against a table and says "hello" out loud. The lab door opens again and Gibbs comes in wearing a definitely un-amused expression and not carrying Caf-Pow! He looks at Abby who's beaming at Ziva, then looks at Ziva, who's staring at the door. His eyebrows raise and Abby offers an explanation.
"Kate's here! Isn't it great Gibbs! What, no Caf-Pow? You know I can't work without one at my side. Kate, Kate, say hi to Gibbs." She turns to him and adds "I've already introduced her to Ziva." Gibbs looks at Abby, then Ziva. He's obviously lost in here amongst these delusional, demented women. So, taking a deep breath (even though I really don't need it) I make myself fully materialise in front of Major Mass Spec. Gibbs' eyes almost pop out, Abby bounces on her toes and Ziva faints for the first time in her life.
"Hello Jethro (I almost call him Boss – but that's reserved for someone else now) it's nice to see you again."
Then Ducky arrives.