A/N: First story in a long time. Started watching NCIS and got hooked. Had a daughter in June so I've been a bit busy lately.
It was late at night in Norfolk and fairly quiet for an area frequented by Marines, Army, and Navy personnel alike. However, that may have had to do with the number of LEOs patrolling the area. The general census was get in trouble with the LEOs, get in real trouble with your C.O.
Just before midnight, two muffled shots rent the air before falling silent. Approximately five minutes later a cell phone began to ring, playing Bad Boys by Bob Marley. The owner either didn't or couldn't answer and the phone soon fell silent.
Two hours later the phone rang again and again there was no answer. This happened twice more before falling silent, each time two hours apart.
At approximately 7:30 a.m. a beat cop was making his rounds when he spotted a flash of honey-blonde hair in an alleyway just off a local watering hole. Curious but cautiously, he ventured in to the alley. When he saw the owner of the hair, he sighed heavily and reached for his radio to call in a homicide.
Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard studied the pale face of the blonde woman laying on the ground with two bullet holes staining her shirt. "My dear, you must have been quite the knock-out, with your hair and lovely eyes. Why, I'll bet you had your fair share of admirers," he said as he examined her. "A pity two bullets to your chest had to ruin that."
"What do we got, Duck?" asked Supervisory Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs, of the Major Crimes Response Team of Naval Criminal Investigative Service, crouching down beside the medical examiner.
"Ah, Jethro," Ducky said, by way of greeting. "I'm afraid this poor young woman suffered two shots to the chest, quite possibly at close range."
"Time of death?"
"Liver temp says between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m," Jimmy Palmer, Ducky's assistant, said, removing the liver probe and reading the numbers on the display.
"Think I can narrow it a bit further, Ducky," said Senior Field Agent Anthony "Tony" DiNozzo, as he joined them, a simple BlackBerry in one latex-gloved hand.
"Do tell," Ducky said, standing up.
"Lieutenant Suddth received and answered a call at 2304," Tony said. "She didn't answer the next call at 2407, nor any of the ones after that."
"Well, that certainly does narrow it down quite a bit," Ducky conceded.
"Background, DiNozzo," Gibbs said.
"Lieutenant Debra Suddth, 29, Navy JAG Corps, just got back from a six-month stint on the USS Eisenhower, serving as legal advisor to Captain Paul Riker," Tony said. "Lives alone in Norfolk but records say she has family in Washington."
In the background Gibbs could hear Junior Field Agent Timothy "Tim" McGee and Officer Ziva David as they worked, taking photos and making notes.
"Got two shell casings here, boss," Tim called, studying two empty grass cartridges near the mouth of the alley. Beside him, Ziva snapped photos of the cartridges.
"The shells are here but the victim is over there," she noted. "I do not think she was shot where she is now."
Ducky nodded. "The position of the body suggests she was dragged to where she is now, before the blood had time to settle. Someone didn't want her found just yet."
"Cash is missing but credit cards and i.d. are still here," Tony said. "That's how the LEOs identified her before calling us."
"No sign of a struggle or a scuffle on her," Palmer said, looking at Lt. Suddth's hands and face. "I'm thinking she may have been surprised."
"An alley like this, especially at night, would be a good place for an ambush," Ziva said, "especially since there is practically no lighting. Easy hide, easy kill."
"Witnesses?" Gibbs asked.
"None so far," Tony said. "No one heard anything, no one saw anything, but then again that's no surprise." Gibbs looked at him and he jerked his thumb at the building across the street, a bar called Triton's Watering Hole. "They like their music a little loud." Gibbs nodded in understanding. "LEOs reported no disturbances in the area; said it was a pretty quiet night."
"So in other words, we have nothing," Gibbs said.
"Looks like it at this point," Tony admitted reluctantly.
Two hours later, back at NCIS they had more than they'd had two hours ago but still not very much to go on. Ducky's initial autopsy of Lt. Suddth revealed she had not been assaulted, sexually or otherwise. There was no skin under her perfectly manicured nails, no bruising on her arms to suggest she'd been grabbed before being shot, not even a blow to the head to suggest she'd been hit before being shot.
"Even her tattoo is unremarkable," Ducky said, pointing out the lieutenant's tattoo of the astrological sign of Gemini, done right above her heart. "Of course, given her situation, it's of no surprise."
"Oh?" Gibbs asked.
"Well, her date of birth is June 1st, smack-dab in the middle of May 22nd to June 21st," Ducky said. "That and the fact that her medical records state she's a twin." Ducky had sent the two bullets he'd recovered up to Abby Sciuto, their forensic specialist, for analysis and comparison; hopefully they would get a hit somewhere.
Back upstairs Tim had some information. He had gone to work on Lt. Suddth's cell while Tony and Ziva had gone over to her apartment to see what, if anything, they could find that might shed some light on why someone had wanted her dead.
"Traced the number on Lt. Suddth's cell, boss," he said. "It belongs to her sister, Julie Suddth. I also accessed her voice mail. Julie called at least four times, starting at 2407 and continuing on every two hours. There's a catch, though."
"There's always a catch," Gibbs said impatiently.
"In this case, the catch is Julie does not appear to be speaking English when she left the messages."
"Play 'em," Gibbs said.
Tim hit a few keys and a clear, female voice began to speak.
"Liz, problemito? Tacha."
"Liz, loco? Urgo tacha."
"Mata. Persel worima. Problemita? Urgo tacha urgo!"
"Liz, nogo fetur, persel veta worima. Dina tacha NCIS mataee. Tacha."
"The only word I recognize out of all those messages is NCIS but I'm not even one-hundred percent sure about that," Tim said.
"Doesn't sound like any language I'm familiar with," Gibbs said.
"I've already called for a linguist to come up and see if maybe they might have better luck," Tim said.
"Background on her sister."
"You're going to love this," Tim said, hitting a few keys on his keyboard. He pointed to the plasma and said, "Meet FBI Agent Julie Suddth."
Gibbs turned around to look at the plasma and felt his eyes going wide. There, on the screen, was an exact image of Lt. Suddth, right down to her green eyes, honey blonde hair, and fair skin. As Gibbs watched, Tim pulled up Lt. Suddth's file photo and he studied the two women. Both had their hair pulled back and wore the same serious expression. They even wore the same color lipstick. The only difference between them was their clothing; Lt. Suddth wore her Navy uniform in her picture and Agent Suddth wore a baby blue blouse and soft brown blazer.
"I called her cell and had to leave a message as it was off at the time," Tim said. "Asked her to either call you or come in as soon as possible."
"I was in court at the time," came a very familiar female voice. "But now that I'm here, you can tell me what I can do for you."
Heads snapped around to discover FBI Senior Field Agent Tobias Fornell standing behind them with none other than Agent Julie Suddth next to him, wearing a faintly amused grin. She held up a large cup of coffee and waggled it slightly.
"Need a favor and willing to bribe to get it," she said.
Gibbs looked at her, looked at Fornell, and made a "Follow me" gesture at the senior agent. Curious, Fornell followed Gibbs to a corner where the stairs leading to the second level were.
"What's up, Gibbs?" Fornell asked quietly.
"What is she to you?" Gibbs asked bluntly but quietly.
"A good agent I've got a bit of a soft spot for, not that I'll ever admit it to her, or anyone else for that matter. Girl's got a mouth on her that's worse than DiNozzo's but she's got a good head on her shoulders and a steady aim," Fornell replied just as quietly. Then he threw Gibbs a sheepish grin and said, "That and an old man's fantasy. She's way out of my league but that doesn't mean I can't dream. She's good to Emily when she's at my office and if I thought I had a chance and the time..." He let the sentence trail off, shrugging at Gibbs' grin, before he turned serious and asked, "What's going on?"
Gibbs sighed heavily. "Her sister, Lieutenant Debra Suddth, was murdered around midnight last night in Norfolk; we're investigating."
Fornell's face blanched. "Damn. There goes her favor."
"Yeah, she was going to ask you to look in to her sister's disappearance. That's why she brought you coffee. Said she tried calling about four times since midnight and a source she contacted said her sister didn't show up to report in at JAG headquarters this morning after a six-month stint at sea," Fornell explained. "Apparently Debra was not the sort of person to just vanish off the radar without one damn good reason and Julie couldn't shake the feeling that something was badly wrong." He rubbed the back of his neck and said, "She's been with us for nearly eight years and I've worked with her before, enough to know she was very close to her sister. Given the fact that they're identical twins, that's no surprise. Any idea what happened?"
"Looks like she was caught by surprise and shot twice in the chest; Abby's still running ballistics," Gibbs said. "Killer tried to make it look like a mugging but in light of Agent Suddth, I'm starting to wonder if the lieutenant's death may or may not have been a case of mistaken identity."
"I can see your point," Fornell admitted. "Damn, this is gonna hit her hard."
"We may have to put her in protective custody, at least until we know more," Gibbs cautioned.
Fornell gave a short bark of laughter. "Good luck with that; Julie is not exactly the patient type nor is she inclined to let anyone protect her. To quote her, she's got a gun, she knows how to use it, and she's not afraid to use it."
"Experience?" Gibbs asked.
"Three years ago, witness to a murder via a gang member. That was a long three weeks," Fornell said, chuckling at the memory.
"And Lt. Suddth?"
"Got kicked to a ship for her safety," Fornell said. "Word of advice with regards to Julie; she may be a smartass but don't let that fool you. She cares a lot more than what she lets on and when she's been hurt, her method of survival is to get mouthy and throw jokes around like she's in a boxing ring, the kind of jokes that makes me want to hit her. Shrink figures she doesn't like to be seen as vulnerable."
Gibbs nodded, appreciating the input. "I've got to tell her and I've got questions for her," he warned.
"I understand," Fornell said. "Just, if she starts getting mouthy, don't take it personally."
"I could always do to her what I do to DiNozzo," Gibbs said, shrugging his shoulders.
Fornell grinned. "Now that I would pay to see."