A/N - This is my first ever fic... so please be kind, constructive critacism most welcome. Thanks to my fantabulous Beta Alder for putting up with my crazy midnight ramblings.
This is my entry for a local fanfic competition, where you have to take a crime show with a team and add supernatural elements.
Disclaimer: Not mine, in any way or form, if you sue you'll only end up with a cat... I'll try put them back in the condition I found them.
Tis AU obv, unless Bellisario has a *huge* surprise for us down the line *wink*... anyway, on with the story
Gibbs glared down at the charred remains of the body, his nose twitching at the smell of burnt flesh. This was the fourth body found in the parkland in as many weeks, all marines, all mutilated, then burnt to a crisp. Angrily he crumpled the ever present cardboard coffee cup before striding back to the van, leaving Dr Mallard and Jimmy Palmer to finish preparing the remains for transport.
Tony gazed after his angry boss, concern in his green eyes. He quickly finished jotting down the measurements before hurrying after Gibbs.
"Boss, Ziva's finished the photos, McGee is searching the area for anything to bag and tag… looks like the same MO so far though," Tony spoke quickly, not able to meet Gibbs' eyes. So far not a single shred of usable evidence had been retrieved from any of the scenes. A couple of smudged shoe prints, the tread too worn to be identifiable, course brown twine and candle wax… no trace, no prints. Nothing! And Marines kept dying.
There seemed to be no pattern to the victims either. First was PFC Carlos Delphos, six feet of Greek/Latin-American muscle, second was Sergeant Althea Turnbull, a petite blonde, third was Captain Joshua Reynaud, a member of the quartermaster staff and now Corporal Wayne Johnson, a young marine just back from his first tour of the Middle East. They were from different bases, had nothing in common, no ties to be found anywhere.
Nostrils flaring, Gibbs growled quietly as he looked over the crime scene again.
"DiNozzo, I want to know everything that Cpl Johnson has done since setting foot in the US. I need to know if he could have met any of the others at any time in his career. McGee, you can look at their computers, any way they could know each other on that internet thing. Ziva, you're with me, we're going to see Johnson's commanding officer"
"On it Boss," the chorus came from his agents as they headed off to their appointed tasks.
Later that evening they headed for the motel just outside Shenandoah National Park. Gibbs had decided to run a sweep of the area using the park staff, some volunteers and dogs, to look for signs of any other bodies. The motel accommodations consisted of small cabins arranged around the parking lot, each one containing two bedrooms, bathroom, a small kitchen and a lounge area. Gibbs and Tony shared one, Ziva and Tim another.
Shortly after eleven Tony knocked on the door leading to Gibbs' room.
"Boss, I had an idea about how the victims might know each other…" he started, trailing off as the door swung open to reveal an empty room. The window was wide open, the curtains blowing in the breeze.
Tony grabbed his gun and headed outside, walking as silently as he could, scanning the gloomy tree line and parking lot for any sign of his team leader. He knocked on McGee and Ziva's door.
"Psst, you guys seen Gibbs?" he whispered, when Tim answered the door. "He's disappeared from our cabin, without saying a word."
Tim looked worried, though Ziva just scowled.
"Gibbs is a big child, he can look after himself Tony." she said.
"Boy, he's a big boy, Ziva," Tim corrected her, though he looked more concerned. It was unlike Gibbs to just wander off in the middle of an investigation.
The three agents walked the perimeter of the motel quickly, peering into the trees as they went. Tony started as he caught a flash of grey flitting between the shrubs, but by the time he turned his torch in that direction there was nothing to be seen.
"Let's head back. Did you even try his cell?" Tim asked
"No…" Tony looked sheepish, beginning to think he had majorly overreacted. Something about this case had him spooked.
Arriving back at the cabin, Tony was still on edge. Gibbs' bag was still on his bed, his coat, pants, shirt and socks were neatly folded on the chair. A quick check showed his gun was safely stowed in the nightstand drawer. It looked like he had prepared for a shower… then vanished into thin air. Tony looked at the bag, it didn't look particularly full so it was possible that Gibbs had simply changed and gone out. He was just about to ring Gibbs' cell when he heard a noise in the bathroom.
"What the…?!" Tony jumped, he was certain the bathroom was clear before he bothered McGee and Ziva. He ran a hand down his face and shook his head, stepping clear of the door as Gibbs stepped back into his room, clad only in the motel's green towel. "Pull yourself together Tony, DiNozzos do not get freaked out like little girls getting told ghost stories," he muttered to himself.
"DiNozzo, you got something you wanna say? Or is there another reason your standing in my doorway in the middle of the night?" Gibbs' voice snapped him out of his reverie.
"No Boss, ah…it will wait til morning…night," Tony fled for his room, still wondering whether he was finally losing it.