Robin polished off her dinner in record time and was painstakingly cleaning the grease and salt off her fingers when Ziva got up to go on a bathroom run. Robin stood up as well, knowing full well that if nature called later on, someone might be too busy to see her to the W.C.*
"Ziva!" Robin called quickly, standing. "Since you're already going, can I go along?"
Ziva nodded and waited for Robin to catch up, then proceeded onwards to the restroom. Tony looked after them, and then looked over to McGee's desk, which was empty. No one to tease. Tony sighed and settled down to start some actual work.
Robin was washing her hands when Ziva, hands dry already, leaned against the wall, studying the young Scotswoman. Robin for the most part ignored her, but as she dried her hands, she met Ziva's gaze and was forced to ask,
"There is something not quite right about you," Ziva told her, studying her as though she was a puzzle to be solved.
"And this coming from you?" Robin scoffed, throwing away a paper towel. "You're about as normal as a Skirt and Dragon pair."
"As a what?" Ziva asked, confused.
"Never mind," Robin said dismissively, completely at ease with being suspicious to Ziva. She didn't trust any of them either, so Gibbs and his team being on their guard were perfectly natural. They had only just met.
As they returned to the bullpen, Robin picked up her book. Subtracting the interruptions, she had been reading for about five hours, by her count. And taking about five hours to read two hundred pages, give or take a few was not bad, for her anyway. She opened Deep Six once more and resumed reading to the clatter of typing.
"Got anything for me Abs?" Gibbs asked as he strode into her lab. McGee's head shot up, catching the smell of barbecue.
"Umm," Abby said, her eyes locked on the bag of food. Gibbs handed her the bag and Abby began explaining as she unwrapped her food.
"Major Mass Spec has been working on the swabs and—" suddenly the computer began beeping and Abby beamed at Gibbs. "Thanks Obi-Wan. According to this…O'Malley and Rayes both use Kiwi shoe polish containing…"
"Mink oil," Gibbs finished.
"Correctamundo, el jefe," Abby said, delighted. Just then, the video-communicator she had with Ducky blinked on.
"Abigail? Is Jethro there with you?"
"Yeah, he's right here."
Gibbs stuck his head into the view of the camera. "You got something for me, Duck?"
"Indeed. I think you should have a look at this. It reminds me of…Jethro?" But Gibbs had already left Abby's lab and was heading down to the morgue.
Robin was getting too tired to concentrate on the book. It was giving her a headache, so she put it down and listened to the sounds of NCIS. Clattering keyboards, the occasional phone ringing, soft chatter pierced only twice by the dinging bell of the elevator. She wanted to engrain the sounds of NCIS in her mind forever, as today was the first day she had met her father. She dug through her purse, which had been returned to her. She pulled out a digital tape recorder and began speaking into it. Her soft words soon reached Ziva's ears and the other woman's head shot up, concentrating on the unknown language Robin was speaking. She could make out maybe five words out of the whole thing. 'Father, NCIS, first meeting, mix-up, team' were the terms she thought she caught, but she really wasn't sure.
"You are speaking Inti now?" Ziva asked.
"It's an audio diary. A private audio diary, which I would prefer no one had an ear on. So yes, Inti is the way to go. It's easier than our Gaelic—Scottish Gaelic, before you ask."
"How many languages do you speak?" Ziva enquired.
"Since Inti is a mixture of hundreds of languages, it's really hard to go with an exact number," Robin replied.
"You are avoiding the question."
"You're being nosy."
Tony chuckled, "She's got you there, Ziva. 'Nosy ninja' has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?"
"As does 'dead DiNozzo'" Ziva responded, lifting her gaze to rest on her partner.
He didn't say anything, but the whole dangerous-I-can-kill-you-with-office-supplies thing was a turn on. The threat, though he was sure she would hurt him if he continued bugging her, was more attractive than it was frightening. Robin watched the whole scenario, carefully piecing together the book and the scene before her. She half expected Gibbs to walk in that very moment and say—
"What've you got?"
Robin blinked, confirming that Gibbs was there, not something she imagined. He was. The accuracy of the book was a little unsettling. Tony stood first and rattled off some unrelated data. Ziva had about the same to offer.
"Ducky had some news for me. Cause of death was suffocation, but not by smoke. They were drugged, then gassed with something. Abby's working on the samples now."
"Where does that leave us, Boss?"
"McGee usually handles going through computer information."
"Look up the phone records of all the possible suspects—home, work, and cell. Look for any common numbers or anything suspicious. Split them. Once you're done, go home. Get some sleep. We'll start again in the morning."
"Yes, Boss." Tony replied. Ziva nodded and the pair resumed their typing. Gibbs turned to Robin.
"Ducky's going home in a few minutes. He'll be picking you up and taking you with him. You have luggage?"
"I have a rental car outside with my luggage in it. And I booked a hotel room."
Gibbs indicated the phone sitting on McGee's desk. "Call and cancel."
Robin thought a moment, considering, but then obeyed. Gibbs looked up at Tony and Ziva, whom had stopped typing as soon as he had begun speaking to Robin.
"Something wrong with your computers?"
"No Boss. Getting to work." Tony gave himself a sharp slap to the back of the head. As Gibbs walked out of the bullpen, he gave Ziva a head slap as well.
"Eavesdropping is rude, Officer David."
"It will not happen again Gibbs."
"Yeah. Right." He walked into the elevator, hitting the button that would take him back to Abby's lab.
Ducky arrived as Robin was nervously toying with her necklace. He smiled warmly at her,
"Ready to go my dear?"
Robin nodded slowly, uncertain. "I don't see why I cannae just go to my hotel room."
"Special Agent Gibbs already has exposed you to the case. So now you have to stay with an agent to insure that you keep any information to yourself." Ducky headed toward the elevator and Robin followed him, her purse slung over one shoulder.
"I need to get my things from the car first. I parked in the visitor's lot."
Ducky nodded calmly and after Robin collected her suitcase and a backpack, they proceeded to his car. When she saw it, Robin gasped in delight. She walked around it, examining the car from all angles.
"It's a vintage Morgan," Ducky explained proudly. Robin ran her fingers over the car's hood ever-so-carefully.
"Frumoaso," she breathed.
Ducky nodded, smiling. "You can put your things in the back."
Robin did so, and walked around to the right side of the car and climbed in. The driver's seat was on the left, as it was supposed to be. Why they drove on the wrong side of the road and had their seat on the right rather than the left was a mystery to her. But as she was technically American, she would respect the country's differences, as she respected the differences of the Inti peoples. Ducky began to drive and Robin looked over at him, hardly believing that he was truly there.
"Tell me another story," she said softly, hopeful.
Ducky smiled and began to speak; spinning a tale of what he had done in his youth. Robin listened, enchanted, as the Morgan rumbled quietly to her father's house.
"What've you got for me Abs?"
"Gibbs! Right on schedule, as usual."
"Right. Well, I identified the substance, Gibbs. And you're not going to like it."
There was a pause and Gibbs moved his head forward and tilted it slightly to one side, waiting.
"It's called Cyclon B. As soon as it hits the air, it produces hydrogen cyanide. They were poisoned, Gibbs."
Gibbs nodded tersely and walked out of the lab, calling over his shoulder, "Go home, Abs, McGee. We have a lot of work to do tomorrow."
"Gibbs, it's only eight o'clock," Abby protested.
"And once you clean up, drive home, and have taken care of things there, it'll be nine or nine-thirty. Go get some sleep, Abs."
"Gibbs, I haven't gone to bed at nine-thirty since…Gibbs?" But he was already gone.
Robin listened to three stories on the way to Ducky's house. Once she got there, was showed around, and was fixed a hot cup of tea, she had heard five. By the time she had finished her tea, it was eight. Her eyelids were drooping. It was 9:38 at night here. She was too tired to calculate the time at home. She trudged upstairs to the room she was staying in.
She changed into pajamas; loose clothes that were soft and comfortable. She halfway through her first decade of the rosary when she fell asleep.
Tony and Ziva were mostly through the phone calls when Gibbs stopped in. It was nearly ten.
"Go home. Finish tomorrow."
"Gibbs, we—" Ziva began, but Gibbs shot her a look and she shut up.
Ziva and Tony collected their gear and rode down the elevator together, then walked to their respective cars.
"It has been an odd day."
"Yup," Tony agreed. He let his gaze rest on her as she turned to walk to her car. She was so beautiful…but he forced his gaze off of her and walked to his own car. He drove home and went to bed, as did she.
Abby and Tim cleaned up the lab to the best of their abilities and went home separately. Abby made a quick call to the sisters as she had promised. Tim sat at his typewriter and thought for a while, trying to process the events of the day. How could so much have occurred since that morning? It seemed to him that the day had been much longer, a week, a year. He set his fingers gently on the keys and closed his eyes, breathed in and out. Soft jazz played in the background. His fingers sprung to life and McGee typed whatever came to mind, just letting the words flow until his mind was empty and he could feel sleep tugging at him. It was only then that he put away his record, filed his free writing piece until he could read it with a clear head. His eyes skimmed the first line as he filed it away and it relayed in his mind as his eyes shut, head on the pillow.
It was Tommy that spoke first to the red-haired woman before them, even before Tibbs. "Who are you?"
Gibbs's sandpaper moved steadily with the grain of the wood, smoothing as he thought. He had seen many things as an NCIS agent, and this sickened him as much as any other murder. It took a twisted sort of mind to commit murder and this one was…he wasn't sure what the word was for it. Sick covered most crimes, and brutal, vicious, and wrong came to mind, but those weren't the right words either. Somehow, though, his gut told him that there was more to this case. Things were only taking off.
*W.C. stands for water closet and in Europe is a term for the bathroom.
BUM BUM BUUUUUM!!!! Many thanks to my excellent Beta and of course, Don Bellisario for creating these fabulous characters (except for Robin and Amy of course.) Reviews make me very happy and make me want to write more, so if you want me to write more, review me!!! Commentary and criticism welcome, but no flames please. It's just not polite.
PS: Sorry it took so long. I've been busy with a capital B!!!