Child's Play

Summary: Katie and Leigh follow in their family's footsteps. Set in the 'Future Perfect' universe.

Disclaimer: Caitlyn and Leigh are mine; the rest belong to other people.

This takes place in the 'Future Perfect' universe, which features Katie and Leigh, the twin daughters of Tim and Abby.

Gibbs stepped out onto his back porch to check on the girls. He'd persuaded Tim and Abby to let them just be kids for part of the summer, between school and camp – no schedules, no organised activities, just long summer days, a backyard, and spontaneous trips for ice cream or to the local pool. And he was pretty sure he was enjoying it as much as they were.

He leaned against the railing, watching them for a moment before he realised what they were doing. An old piece of clothesline from the back shed was spread out on the lawn in a rough circle. Within its confines, Katie was picking unseen items out of the grass and placing them carefully in sandwich bags. Leigh was busily dabbing crushed-up sidewalk chalk onto the lawn furniture with an old paint brush. Both girls were concentrating hard and working methodically.

A wide grin spread across his face as he realised they were playing 'crime scene.'

He slipped quietly back into the house and returned a minute later with a camera. He snapped a few pictures without the girls noticing. The 'action' shots would no doubt find their way to the walls of Abby's lab and to Tim's wallet, and he suspected that the entire Agency would see them before the end of the week.

Slinging the camera around his neck, he strolled over to the perimeter they had established, carefully staying outside the 'crime scene tape.' He waited patiently until the twins looked up from their tasks.

'What's the case?'

'We've got a dead body. Suspicious circumstances.'

'Cause of death?' he asked, suppressing a laugh.

'Looks like blunt force trauma.'

He really did laugh this time, at Katie's serious explanation. Oh, yeah, they were definitely their parents' children.

Leigh beckoned him over the 'police line' and he moved close enough to see the focus of their attention. At the centre of the circle lay a dead bird.

'Can you help me with the autopsy, Uncle Gibbs? I need a knife to make the Y-incision, but Mama will be mad...'

'I thought you were a field agent, not an ME?' he asked, hoping to distract her. There was no way he was letting them cut open that bird. Abby would have a fit about the diseases that could be spread by the tiny corpse. Not to mention his own unwillingness to participate in such a ghoulish form of child's play.

'Yeah, but...'

'You look like a field agent to me. And field agents don't do autopsies.'


'Did you take your crime scene photos yet?'

'No. Don't have a camera. But I did sketches. Uncle Tony says you always have to do sketches.'

Gibbs smiled at Leigh's enthusiastically displayed notebook.

'That's great, Leigh. How 'bout we take some pictures, and then I'll help you make a cast of those footprints,' he asked, pointing at the cat's paw prints clearly visible in the soft earth of a flowerbed, which had been marked with a numbered piece of construction paper.

'Ok,' Leigh cheerfully agreed, reaching for the camera that he handed to her. Katie took a little longer to talk around to the idea, but she eventually forgot her insistence on autopsying the bird. Both girls already knew how to work the camera, but Gibbs pointed out some useful angles for their photos, finally hoisting Katie onto his shoulders for an 'aerial' view of the entire scene.

When Tim arrived a few hours later to pick up the girls, he found them sitting on the back porch with Gibbs, drinking lemonade, NCIS ball caps falling almost over their eyes. He'd barely registered the presence of the 'crime scene' before he was grabbed by both hands and dragged around it on a tour. The 'victim' had already been buried in a corner of the yard, a heap of bedraggled daisies marking the grave. Tim flicked carefully through the pages of sketches, and held dozens of zip-sealed baggies up to examine their contents, which ranged from a feather to a tiny pink stiletto belonging to a Barbie doll. He smiled at the brightly-coloured fingerprints that had been lifted with clear tape and pressed onto sheets of printer paper, and submitted with mock indignity to having his own prints taken 'for elimination purposes.' He nodded seriously as Leigh pointed out the miniature tent protecting a pool of drying plaster from any overnight rain and explained that he couldn't see the footprints until the next day.

Meeting Gibbs's eyes over the girls' heads, the two men exchanged a look of pride and amusement. Tim nodded gratefully as his former boss slid the memory card from the camera into his shirt pocket. Abby was already working late on some samples for DiNozzo, but he had a feeling she wouldn't mind having this 'evidence' to process when she got home.