NCIS Squad Room - Monday 5 AM
The young man awoke at his desk with a start. Damn it, not a single lead! He inwardly fumed as he looked at the searches he'd been running on his computer overnight. He'd tried everything, bank account pings, driver's license, toll cards, credit cards, phone records, all of it and he came up with zilch, nata, zip, absolutely nothing. Not a single trace. He'd already spent every spare minute since he'd gotten the call on Thursday afternoon, the entire weekend, trying to get a lead from co-workers, roommates, fellow students, professors, and again, he'd come up empty. Over and over again, he'd gotten the same answer,
"5 on Wednesday."
If he didn't get any more information than this by lunchtime today, he would have to make one of the worst phone calls anyone in law enforcement ever has to make. He knew he should have made this call days ago, but he kept putting it off, hoping against hope that the end result would be, that the call wouldn't be needed. This was one thing he was not looking forward to doing. In fact, he had never in his life, wanted to be the one to have to make this call.
Exhausted and worried out of his mind, beaten down, run ragged, and emotionally wiped out, he dragged himself up out of his chair and headed to the break room for coffee. He'd have to freshen up soon, too. But, he'd take care of that after he'd had some caffeine. These last 5 days had taken almost everything he had to give. He hadn't slept in days, couldn't eat, and was barely functioning. Not knowing how much more of this he could take, he rolled his shoulders to loosen them up, and kept going. Nothing else would be acceptable.
Gibbs had gotten the sense that he was needed at work sooner than usual this morning, and found himself in the squad room before 05:30. His gut hadn't stopped churning and his sixth sense was kicking in, too. It felt strange, but oh, so quiet, and quiet was good. Quiet was peaceful and soothing and, why the hell was his agent's desk cluttered, like someone had been using it all night?
Curiosity piqued now, and his gut not calming down, he headed over, wanting to get a better look at what his agent could possibly working on at this hour, knowing it couldn't be good. He hadn't gotten very far when his phone rang. Who the hell would call me at this hour?
"Yeah. Gibbs" he growled into his phone.
"Agent Gibbs, I think you need to come to the break room on your floor." A very shaken Agent Dwyer got immediately to the point. No wonder Gibbs liked the guy.
"Dwyer? What's going on?" Gibbs demanded, his gut suddenly twisting just a little tighter.
"I've got one of your agents here, I can't explain it, Sir, you might want to come see this for yourself." Dwyer respectfully offered.
"On my way." Gibbs growled. Snapping his phone shut, he stomped down on the urge the hurl it into the wall when it rang again almost immediately.
"Yeah. Gibbs!" He barked, much more aggravated now.
"Good morning to you too, Jethro." Jen greeted dryly. "Before things get crazy, I need to see you in MTAC"
"They're already getting crazy, Jen. I just got here, it's not even six yet, and I've been called to the break room for something "I might want to see for myself!"
"What's going on?" Jen asked
"Well, Jen, I don't know. I haven't gotten there yet! I'll let you know when I find out." Gibbs snapped his phone shut again, stowing the offensive thing in his pocket. Taking deep, deliberately calming breaths, he worked hard to lose his temper and find the good mood he'd come in here with.
Stepping into the near empty break room, Gibbs was brought up short by the sight now in front of him. Standing in front of the window, head bowed, touching the glass, shoulders silently shaking in either tears or laughter, was his agent.
Sending Agent Dwyer a look of thanks, Gibbs waited until the reporting agent politely vacated the room, before he approached his agent. "Hey." he quietly attempted to get the young man's attention. Getting no response, he tried one more time, but with a bit more force.
Startled, his agent jolted out of his lost in misery, state of mind. Taking the time to wipe his face dry and take a deep breath, he finally turned to face the music. "Boss?" he asked, his voice still unsteady, knowing Gibbs would be pissed at this outwardly display of emotion in the workplace, AND he would be pissed that any of his agents were here this early.
"What's going on?" Gibbs asked in genuine concern.
The young man tried to stay silent, sending his eyes to the floor, not wanting to get this conversation going, it was too upsetting and he needed to get his head back into the game. He knew work wouldn't wait for him to get his emotions under wraps. He had to crack down on himself. Having this conversation with Gibbs now, would not accomplish that.
"Talk to me. What's going on?" Gibbs insisted.
The Agent silently slid the report he'd filed on Thursday evening out of his breast pocket and handed it to his boss, knowing it would do a hell ova better job explaining things than he ever could, especially right now.
Gibbs read what he'd just been handed, his gut twisting more with every sentence he comprehended. There were no clues, no pieces of information to grasp at, no hope. Reading over the details of everything that this young man had done and everyone that he had spoken with, before he'd even taken this drastic and painful step. Gibbs was astounded. Had he even had any help with this?
"Why didn't you come to me?" Gibbs asked quietly, more confused than angry that his agent hadn't asked him for help. He pointedly pocketed the paper, making it well known that he was now actively getting involved, no matter what the answer to the question he'd just asked was.
"Because, Boss, it wasn't work related, so I didn't think you'd appreciate being asked to get involved." his agent explained plainly, honestly, and without pulling any punches, he simply wasn't in the mood to worry about Gibbs' reaction right now. "Can we keep this just between us, please?" he pleaded.
Looking at him, Gibbs could see the desperation behind the request. It was obvious that his agent didn't have faith that this situation would bring out the best in the team's relationships. The last thing he wanted right now was more stress, but, then again, he was selling his teammates short. Wanting to keep the peace, and the inside track he now had on what his agent was going through, Gibbs nodded in agreement, choosing for the moment, to let his agent's explanation simmer on the back burner. "Okay. For now. But, I have to tell the Director."
"Thank you. I'm going back to my desk now. I'm sorry if it's late." the young man said as he refilled his coffee cup and headed back to his desk, leaving a surprised and concerned boss behind.
Getting back to his desk, the agent noticed that he wasn't late, after all. He still had time to at least let his coffee work out his feeling of sluggishness. He prayed that they be able to solve this. The more he thought about it, the more he berated himself for not having enough faith in Gibbs, to bring it to him, to ask him for help, their rocky working relationship aside. Gibbs had risen to the occasion flawlessly the last time there had been trouble afoot, even going so far as to make sure his agents played it by the book and didn't do anything stupid.
The longer he sat there, the more angry he felt with himself, mixed with the fear and helplessness, it was a brewing volcano, just waiting to explode. Suddenly, he couldn't take another second of it. Sending a quick email to his boss, he took himself down the back stairs, away from the confined space of the squad room.
Gibbs headed up to MTAC, to meet with Jenny, wanting to get whatever it was this was about, over and done with quickly. As he sat down next to Jen, she silently pointed to the screen in front of them. As Gibbs turned his head, he saw that Jenny had pulled security footage from the squad room showing his agent coming back to work, the time was 8 Friday night. Everyone had gone home at six, even Gibbs; himself had left at 7:30. Gibbs recalled the young man had torn out of there like, oh God! - When had he gotten word? He was waiting until we had all left, so he could come back in and run a search!
As the footage continued, it showed the agent fire up his computer and steadily type away for what, when fast-forwarded, amounted to the entire night. Apparently, he finally dozed around 3 AM. Fast-forwarding through the entire weekend showed him doing the same thing each night.
"Jethro, this isn't a surprise to you." Jen observed.
"No, Jen, as of about 10 minutes ago, it's not." Gibbs silently handed her the Police Report.