Chapter 1: The Practice
Disclaimer: I don't own anything dealing with the amazing show NCIS. Also a disclaimer for myself, I've only just started to watch NCIS and have become hooked! So excuse any OOCness, and it would be much appreciated if you spot it and could give me some pointers!
Summary: The team is given a very disturbing case dealing with the randomized killings of women all over the naval base ranging from secretaries to Special Agents and Officers and Sailors. All show signs of extreme abuse and torture, no links and hardly any evidence, the team is so caught up in the case that they don't notice the clues leading to the murderers ultimate target; Abby.
Pairings: Gibbs/Abby, of course, and then just slight hints of Tony/Ziva and maybe McGee will meet someone…
Shannon had stayed late at her desk working to organize her boss's schedule, she rubbed the collecting sleep from her eyes and shut off her computer. She grabbed her jacket, purse, and cell phone. She pushed in her chair and stretched the kinks from her aching back.
"Damn, I need a vacation," she mumbled to herself as she shrugged into her black felt jacket.
She locked the office doors behind her and took the elevator to the ground floor and exited through glass doors to the crisp autumn air and into the night. Her heels clicked loudly across the parking lot as she walked briskly to her vehicle. Her eyes darted about the lot looking for anything strange. Suddenly she heard a frantic meow as a white cat ran out into her view. The cat stopped and sat in a square of light from a nearby street light; the cat coked its head and meowed at Shannon.
"Ohhh, aren't you a darling." Shannon cooed as she walked up the cat. She knelt down to the pavement and reached her hand out to pet the cat. The cat seemed to regard her for a moment before she decided to extend her claws, hiss, and strike the poor woman's hand. "Ah, what was that for?" Shannon leapt back to her feet and held her hand close to her chest as she studied the scratches. The cat looked to the woman one last time before leaping off into the night.
"Seems she didn't like you."
Shannon gasped and turned to see a young man walking towards her. "Who are you, what are you doing here?"
The man smiled, "It's always the same questions, what makes you think you're the special one out of millions before you who have asked that and I will answer? It's not really a simple answer anyways. It does seem Snowy doesn't like you and when Snowy doesn't like someone that means they have to pay. We can do this the easy way, which doesn't seem to be the favorite, or the more favorable hard way." The man stopped walking towards the woman and smiled at her. He was wearing a jacket over a dark shirt and pants. He didn't look to have a weapon. He just stood there waiting for Shannon to answer.
Shannon stared at the man in shock, she couldn't seem to move. She opened and closed her mouth trying to form a response. She clutched her purse to her chest and drew out her pepper spray and hid it up her sleeve. She took a step back and looked to her left where her car waited only ten feet away. She turned her attention back on the man and watched as he took a few small steps towards her.
"Come on Shannon, you know you won't get away, I never let them get away. Hmm, but then of course I've never moved my operations to a Naval Base before, figured I'd step up my game, test the agents here. Get closer to someone…" he trailed with another queasy smile and stepped towards her some more and that's when he was prepared to run because this was always the point they would run hopefully to their nearby vehicles.
Shannon clenched her jaw and found she was able to move once again. He was nearing her but she had her keys and her car wasn't too far away. She looked to her sanctuary once more and then back to her attacker. She watched his face for any sign of knowing and before she could think again she bolted for her car.
The man chuckled and shook his head, he let her reach her car and insert her key. He ran to the woman and slammed his body into hers so that she would drop her pepper spray. It fell to the ground with a click and rolled under the car. He grabbed her wrist and snapped it easily. She cried out in extreme pain and tears started to stream from her eyes. The man smiled happily as he threw her a few feet across the lot. Shannon landed on her right side with sever road rash along her hip. She cried out in pain again and pushed herself into a sitting position. She didn't have enough time to realize what had just happened before she felt a stinging sensation on her head as her hair was yanked out and she was drug to her feet. A chuckle was heard as he slammed his knee into her face. Blood poured from her broken nose and split lip. Bruises were already appearing on her cheeks. He let go and she fell to her hands and knees. She tried to crawl back towards her car but her auburn hair cascading down and around her face made it difficult for her to see where she was going. The man grabbed her around her waist and made her stand to face him. He wore a black ski mask along with a thick pair of glasses. He smiled as he pushed her hair from her face and rested his hand on her bruised cheek. That's when she noticed he wore latex gloves.
"Shannon, you are truly a beautiful girl, but just not the one." He gripped her hips tightly and shoved her backwards down to the ground. She hit the pavement hard enough to fracture her tailbone. She cried out again and rolled to her left side as tears fell from her eyes once more. He kicked her forcefully in her back effectively snapping her spine and rendering her paralyzed. Shannon could hardly breath, the pain was too great and her vision had gone red. She tried to pull her battered body with her hands but she soon found one hand broken as the man stomped down hard on it. He wore heavy steel toed boots but the bottoms of his boots were flat so that they would leave no prints.
"Stop it!" Shannon yelled desperately with sobs racking her body.
"Sorry honey, but now that I got started I can't stop, this fun is just too addicting." The man laughed a low laugh and knelt down to her. She was lying on her stomach sobbing, her arm with the broken hand was bent at the elbow and her other arm was extended out reaching for the light. She raised her shaking head and saw the white cat from earlier studying her from the patch of light she was sitting in. The man knelt in front of the girl and grabbed her chin roughly. He lifted her head about a foot from the ground and slammed it into the pavement, the cracking of her skull made him shiver with ecstasy but she was still alive as he could hear her moan softly. He smoothed away the hair from around her face and watched the blood ooze from her mouth and nose. He let her head loll to the ground and he stood up, smiled down at his work and delivered the killing blow to her head with his steel toed boot. "Just one more step closer," he mumbled as he walked away and the eerie white cat followed after him.
The sun was just beginning to peek its way over the horizon as Abby's hearse pulled into the parking garage. She emerged wearing black fishnets with a classic plaid mini skirt, a black tee shirt with a skull wearing a pink bow and three inch, black platform shoes. Her jet black hair was pulled back into two identical pigtails and her bangs hung easily across her brow. Her green eyes glittered excitedly as she thought about her 'babies.' Her shoes made loud clunking noises with every step she took towards the door. She pulled it open and breathed in the air of the NCIS building, "Work, sweet work," she said with joy in her voice as she made her way to the elevator.
"Ah good morning my dear Abigail," the ME Ducky greeted her as he too stepped into the elevator with the forensic scientist.
"Morning Ducky, got any stories from your latest victims?" she asked with an easy smile and slight joking tone in her voice.
The ME pushed the glasses up on his nose and looked to Abby, "My dear they are not my victims and they have told me many stories none of which are useful for any reason right now."
Abby nodded and smiled, they had hit a dry spell and so the only bodies Ducky had been getting so far were those of people who've passed away due to natural causes and one drug overdose. Abby too was bored and was almost at her wits end on what she could do with herself in her lab and so she had taken to bothering the agents in the bullpen along with Ducky and Palmer in the autopsy room. The elevator dinged signaling they had reached Abby's lab.
"Well this is where I leave you Ducky," she smiled as she stepped off.
"I'm sure I'll see you again Abigail," he smiled as the doors closed on her and he was taken to his morgue.
Abby set her purse on her cluttered desk, patted Bert the farting Hippo on his head and switched on the lights. Her lab jumped to life immediately and her red painted lips smiled widely. Her smile widened as she spied the Caf-Pow waiting for her.
"Hello morning pick-me-up," she chirped excitedly as she picked it up and began to sip noisily and hit a button on her computer which sent The Dead Lies blaring through her speakers. She began to absently type away at her computer not too sure what she was doing or looking for.
Meanwhile up in the bullpen DiNozzo was crumpling his scrap paper and throwing them at McGee's head. McGee wore an annoyed look and sighed loudly as he turned to face Tony only to successfully get hit square in the forehead.
"Bulls-eye," Tony cheered for himself as he pumped his fist with a dumb smile.
"So early in the morning DiNozzo?" Ziva asked with a smile as she slid easily into her desk chair.
"Ah, Zee-vah, how nice for you to grace us with your presence." Tony smiled as he turned in his chair to face her and he placed his feet atop his desk.
"How nice to see your three o'clock shadow," Ziva countered with a grin.
Tony raised his eye brows wondering what she meant, then he realized she meant five o'clock shadow.
"Uh, Ziva I think you meant five o'clock shadow, not three o'clock." McGee piped in as he swiveled his chair in her direction.
Ziva gave him a questioning look, "What is the difference? It's not like the hair on your face can tell the time anyways."
Without looking at McGee Tony tossed another crumpled ball of paper in his direction while he addressed Ziva, "Well Ziva I then must compliment you on your five o'clock shadow, oh but it's a bit darker than mine so maybe it's six o'clock over there in Ziva land."
Ziva grumbled under her breath and stood and she shot a hateful stare in Tony's direction.
"Stand down David," came the curt command from their boss Leroy Jethro Gibbs as he entered the bullpen; coffee in hand.
"Good morning boss, any cases for us fresh from the printer?" DiNozzo asked tossing one last paper ball at McGee while Gibbs was facing away from him.
"Stop throwing paper DiNozzo and we have a fresh one, gear up and head to the main parking lot," Gibbs ordered as he grabbed a file folder from his desk.
The other agents grabbed their packs and followed after Gibbs.
Ducky and Palmer were already in the lot snapping photos of the body. Ducky looked up as they neared him and his young assistant.
"Ah Jethro, this one doesn't require the use of gas, just a little leg power," Ducky quipped trying to make a joke.
"Makes it all the more chilling Ducky."
"That it does Jethro, her name is Shannon Tate, found her ID badge lying next to her car."
Gibbs nodded; DiNozzo and McGee had taken over photographing while Ziva collected evidence. She took samples of the blood found on and around the body along with some stray hairs and fibrous tissue found on the woman's hand.
"I estimated the time of death to be about 12:30 am," Ducky reported as he watched the zipper being pulled over the young woman's face. He had seen some brutal cases in his lifetime but this one was number two on his list.
"Must've been working a late night, if you know what I mean," Tony mumbled to McGee, McGee only shook his head and walked over to the car.
"DiNozzo, find out who she was, family, friends, figure out who was the last one to see her alive."
"Uh boss, I think that would be the killer," Tony regretted the words as soon as they were out of his mouth.
Gibbs fixed him with a stare.
"Right, on it boss."
"These hairs found on the victim's left hand are quite odd," Ziva commented as she handed them over to Gibbs.
Gibbs studied them and the blood samples. "Take these to Abby."
Ziva nodded and headed back to the building evidence bags in hand.
Gibbs studied the scene a bit longer while McGee was checking for more clues. He got down on his hands and knees to look under the car. He spotted the pepper spray, "Found something boss," he commented as he struggled to reach the can.
DiNozzo stepped up behind him and watched as McGee struggled to retrieve whatever was under the car, "Kinda wish you were Inspector Gadget about now huh probie?"
"Can it DiNozzo, get a bag ready for whatever it is McGee found."
"Right boss," Tony flipped open an evidence bag and crouched down to McGee holding it open.
McGee's fingers finally closed around the small can and he withdrew it, "Looks like our victim was prepared for an attacker."
"Get it down to Abby," Gibbs ordered and looked around. For as brutal as a crime that took place in the wee hours of the morning and all of the blood spilled Gibbs was troubled by the lack of evidence and clues. Gibbs was a bit taken aback when he first laid eyes on the young woman, she was beaten badly and he assumed she was alive for most of it. The thought made him sick that someone could be that cruel to another human, he then thought of his poor wife Shannon and daughter Kelly.
Tony secured the pepper spray and retrieved the bag the car keys were in and headed to Abby's Lab. "I'll get these to Abby right away boss."
Gibbs nodded curtly and turned back to the scene surveying it one last time trying to find something they missed. He scanned the brown leaves lying below the bare trees in the teen foot long stretch of trees and grass separating two sides of a parking lot. He was just about to turn and head back to the bullpen and follow up on any leads when he watched a white cat leap from behind a tree trunk, fix him with a look and ran away.
Back in Abby's lab she was so excited to finally have something to do that she was flying through testing all the samples she had received. She was, however, disappointed to see that they hadn't collected very much evidence. After only an hour of running the DNA she only found that all the DNA brought in was from the victim. The only thing that puzzled her was the fact that the white hairs found on the victims hand were from a cat.
A short while her phone rang and she picked up, "Gibbs I have nothing to report, the blood is all Shannon's and the hairs were from a cat, no prints on the pepper spray or the keys and nor prints; there's nothing Gibbs…" she trailed there waiting for him to respond.
Gibbs sighed before he answered her, "Well we haven't got much to go on, we're going to talk to her boss and check out her house, and hopefully we'll find something there."
Before Abby could get in a response he had hung up, "Nice talking to you too."
Abby sighed heavily and decided, sadly, that her work was done for now and so she decided to pay a visit to Ducky and Palmer.
"Hello," she called cheerfully as she entered the morgue.
"Ah, hello Abigail," Ducky called as he absently looked up from the body of Shannon Tate.
Abby walked over and stood next to him, she had seen pictures of the woman but suddenly felt sick when she looked upon her gruesome features. "This is a bad one Ducky, well not that you've never had bad ones before, kind of like that guy who got blown up on the ship, but this one is worse yet."
Ducky chuckled slightly at Abby's rambling, "Jethro, just in time."
Abby turned and smiled at her boss as he strode up to them, "Whatchya got for me Ducky?"
"Well it seems that this poor young woman had suffered greatly before receiving the killing blow to the head. She has a fractured tailbone, broken nose, snapped wrist, broken hand, and a dislocated spine which caused her to become paralyzed." Ducky shook his head as he turned back to the woman; her face was unnaturally swollen from all of the abuse it had received.
"We found white cat hair on her left hand, earlier I saw a white cat in the parking lot, seems she had been distracted by it and that's when our guy found the perfect moment to attack."
"That would explain the uncharacteristic scratch on her hand, they're the only scratches on her hands other than the scraping where he must've stomped on the hand."
Abby shuddered as Ducky recounted all the woman's injuries. Gibbs noticed and pulled her securely to his side and planted an affectionate kiss on the top of her head, "Don't worry Abs, we'll catch this sicko."
She nodded against his chest and sipped on her Caf-Pow. He released her and headed back upstairs where the rest of the team was gearing up to go to her house.
"Hey boss, we just got off the phone with Shannon's boss, according to him she was still at her desk when he left at 10 o'clock he also said she was known to put in long hours sometimes not leaving until 1 o'clock in the morning." Tony reported just as McGee had opened his mouth to report the same, he closed his mouth and looked to Tony incredulously. "Gotta be quicker on the draw probie."
"Thanks Tony," he mumbled under his breath.
Tony only smiled at him, "Ziva and I are going to check out her ex husbands house and see if he has an alibi."
Gibbs then turned his look onto McGee, he floundered for a moment, "I guess that leaves us with Shannon's house."
"You guess?" Gibbs asked raising an eyebrow as he brushed past his agents. They all looked after him for a moment before scrambling to go after him.
McGee and Gibbs pulled up to Shannon's and found it to be a nice looking house. It was a light blue color, moderate in size and surrounded by a chain link fence. Along her walk she had flowers growing. Gibbs was the first to reach her porch and rang her doorbell; no answer. He looked into the window and found nothing out of place. He then tried the door and found it locked.
"It's locked boss, now what?" McGee asked looking about the yard.
Gibbs fixed him with his patented stare.
"Right, I'll kick it in," as he said this Tim raised his leg and forcefully kicked the door wide open.
Gibbs and McGee drew their guns and both yelled, "NCIS."
No answer, they holstered their guns and stepped further into the house. Nothing was out of place and all the furniture was right side up. They only thing that looked a little off was a vase of black roses sitting on a table in a large blood red vase next to the door.
"Odd, you'd expect this in Abby's house," McGee mumbled studying them.
"Bag the flowers and the vase, I have a feeling these weren't put here by Shannon."
McGee nodded, gloved his hands and took the flowers from the vase and carefully put them into a large evidence bag, and then he emptied the water from the vase and put that into a separate evidence bag.
"Abby will love this," McGee said with a slight chuckle. He and Gibbs searched the house for more clues, but found nothing. Feeling a bit dejected Gibbs made his way back to their car and McGee followed, he had an odd feeling about the roses and wondered just what they meant.
A/N: So how was it for my first try?? I'd appreciate some amazing reviews! The more reviews I get the faster I'll update! And also constructive reviews would be appreciated and I'd love to know how I did with the characters!