Halloween Mystery

By Lizabeth S. Tucker

Once the case was over, Abby was on the team members about coming to her Halloween party. Dressed as she was in her Marilyn Monroe guise, she could barely get McGee to say two words in a row. Only she could've interpreted his stutters and stammers as being an agreement.

She turned her attention to Gibbs next. Tony wasn't certain if he was insulted or not by being passed over. He leaned back in his chair to watch the show. Gibbs was definitely not the party type, especially when it involved costumes.

"No."

"Please, Gibbs, you've got to come."

"Abs, I don't…"

"I know, you don't do parties. But it's my party, Gibbs, and I want you there." She bent forward, arching her back and displaying her surprising cleavage.

"No."

"Only people from NCIS will be there. Mostly." When she scented some weakness, she pounced, moving to entwined her arms around his neck. "Please? You can leave after an hour, I promise."

The beginning of a smiled tipped the corners of Gibbs' mouth. "Thirty minutes."

"Done!" Abby Sciuto, ace forensics expert, now aimed her sparkling green eyes toward Ziva David. "Ziva, will you come?"

"What is involved in this Halloween party?" the Mossad officer asked curiously.

"The usual. Everyone comes in costumes," Abby turned to grin at Gibbs. "Except Bossman. There's drinking and food and music."

"I don't know if I have a costume."

"I can help you with that, Ziva."

Ziva shrugged. "I will come."

"Great," Abby exclaimed, clapping her hands. That settled, she now moved her focus to an amused Tony. "You have to come now, Tony. Everyone else is, even Gibbs."

"Abby, my sweet, have I ever come to one of your parties?" He took her gently in his arms when she walked to stand between his legs.

"No, but I keep asking you."

Ziva was startled. "You have never gone to one of her parties?"

Tony shook his head. "Nope. I'm not much of a costume type of guy. Get too much of that working undercover."

"Please, Tony? Please, please, please?" A tiny moue with her red painted lips only got Abby a quick kiss.

"Tell you what, I'll think about it."

"Really?"

"Really."

She squealed before spinning off, her pleated skirt twirling out around her. "C'mon, Timmy, Ziva, we have to find outfits for you." She led the two off, leaving Gibbs and Tony alone.

"You really coming to the party?" Tony asked.

"Are you?" Gibbs countered.

"You know, I just might."

"Without a costume? You know Abby will be disappointed if you don't come in one."

"Oh, if I do decide to show up, it will definitely be in costume."

Gibbs turned his laser stare on his senior agent. "You're up to something."

Tony grinned. "Who, me? Wait and see, Gibbs, wait and see."

~NCIS~

The party was loud, glaring, and typical Abby. Gibbs was sipping on a beer, amazed when Ducky appeared dressed in a black suit with a cane. "Charlie Chaplin?"

"I can't walk like him anymore, the knees don't wish to cooperate like they used to, but with the right costume and a proper moustache?"

"It's perfect," Gibbs assured the medical examiner. "I do have one question, however."

"What is it?"

"Who or what is Palmer supposed to be?"

The two men looked across the room to where a bespectacled Jimmy Palmer stood, dressed in a too long purple robe that he kept tripping over. He was accompanied by Agent Michelle Lee in a red wig and attired in a similarly purple robe.

"I believe he is supposed to be Harry Potter."

"Who?"

"A young character from a series of children's books and films. Ask Tony, I'm certain he's seen and probably owns the films."

"Speaking of which, have you seen DiNozzo yet?" Gibbs asked, still checking the room in an effort to identify other NCIS personnel.

"He agreed to come?"

"He said he might. For Tony, that's about the same as a yes."

Ducky now began searching the room. He quickly spotted Ziva, dressed as Mata Hari. She had arrived looking somewhat uncomfortable, but quickly had adjusted when no one made inappropriate comments about her skimpy costume. Just another reason to believe that Anthony DiNozzo hadn't arrived yet.

Timothy McGee was harder to spot. He was wearing a fedora and carrying a whip, sweating heavily in a leather jacket. The fedora was pulled low over his eyes, making it difficult to see his face.

There was a wide array of costumes, most of which were store-bought or locally rented. Some people had come with masks, but ditched them after seeing that disguise wasn't a priority at Abby's parties.

One person in particular caught the medical examiner's eye. It was a man dressed in silver and black with his chest showing a soft pelt of hair. The outfit was sleeveless, but the man was wearing gloves, also silver and black, that ran up to his elbows. His face was covered with white paint with black triangles painted around both his eyes and two slashes running from his mouth back under his cheekbones toward his hair. This, in addition to some other touches of paint, gave one the impression of a cat.

"Jethro, do you know who that is?" Ducky asked.

Gibbs looked to where Ducky indicated and smiled. "Now this is one I do know. He's supposed to be a member of the rock group Kiss."

"Gibbs, since when do you know someone from popular culture, especially rock groups?" Abby asked, swooping in to grab the older man's arm.

"They did some concerts for the troops during Desert Storm."

"So who is the guy? He's got a rockin' bod."

All three of them stared at the man whose face was half hidden by hair hanging below his shoulders. As if he felt the stares, he turned to look at them before moving farther away from them. He stopped and spoke to Palmer, getting a weird stare from Agent Lee.

"He's too far away. I can't tell who it is." Gibbs tried squinting, but it didn't help.

"I'll cruise over there and see what I can find out." Abby was on the hunt and determined to get an answer.

For the next hour, Gibbs and Ducky munched on the appetizers and sipped their drinks while watching the chase. Every time Abby tried to get close enough to see the mysterious partygoer's face close up, he would move away. It never looked deliberate, but it was still done.

She had tried getting an answer from Jimmy Palmer, Ducky's assistant. He appeared to know who the stranger was, but he managed to keep his secret. Appealing to Michelle Lee had been useless. She claimed to be as puzzled as Abby was about the man's real identity.

Soon Gibbs was ready to leave, the loud music beginning to give him a headache. "Ducky, I'm callin' it a night."

"So soon?"

"I stayed longer than I had planned. Let me know if anyone ever figures out who the Kiss member really is."

"I shall, Jethro. Have a good evening," Ducky said with a wave of his glass.

As Gibbs wove his way through the crowd, he turned back to see the stranger looking at him. He still couldn't place who it could be. Then the man gave a devastatingly handsome grin and Gibbs knew instantly who it was. He saluted with a quick flick of his fingers at his forehead, slipping out into the night.

As he walked down the hallway, he wondered how long it would take Abby to discover that her mystery man was one Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo. It would definitely be interesting watching her until she discovered the truth. A rarely heard laugh came rolling out of Leroy Gibbs.

May 2008