Well, howdy. Thanks for coming to check out my story. I 'm working hard on it, and it gets better as it goes. At least I think so, ha ha! :) Hope you like it!

Disclaimer: I don't own NCIS.

Belly Up

It's turning into fall outside, and the leaves are just beginning to change from vibrant greens to rich reds and yellows. Most bathing suits are being packed away, and few people are still venturing into the Maryland coast waters. Those few included Marcy, a confident college student, on her way to a secluded corner of the beach for a secret rendezvous with her boyfriend. She shivered as she approached the meeting spot, pulling her sweater tighter. It was chilly for a morning this early in fall. She nodded it off, smiling at the thought of her boyfriend's arms around h-

"AAH!!" she screamed, as a pair of cold, wet hands tugged on her leg. Not really thinking, she dashed into the only other exit, the ocean, when she heard laughing from behind her. She turned to see her boyfriend, Kiefer, lying on the ground in hysterics. He rolled over onto his knees and gave her a not-so-apologetic smile.

"I can't believe you fell for that!" he exclaimed.

"Yeah, yeah. Not funny!" Marcy said, a defensive edge to her voice. She felt a wave coming in, and exited the water.

"It so WAS! You should have seen your-" he cut short, his whole body turning white.

"What's the matter?" she asked. Kiefer mumbled something inaudible, and pointed a shaky finger towards the water.

Confused, she looked back, and was met with the startling sight of a pale, floating body, complete with a bullet hole in the back. But when the next wave hit, it rolled the body over and revealed something even more frightening.

The woman had no face.

Though a gorgeous, fun day in Washington, D.C, it was anything but in the NCIS offices. Special Agent Gibbs and his team had just finished a lengthy, time consuming case, and were now plagued with paperwork. Gibbs let out somewhat of a sigh, and threw down his pen. The team glanced up for a minute, but didn't bother questioning him. They understood. Every time it seemed like it was all done, there was another stack underneath. Gibbs went to start again, but felt his phone begin to vibrate, and picked it up, relishing the break.

"Yeah, Gibbs."

"Jethro, I'd like for you and your team to come down here. We have a dead Marine with an unfortunate, and...disturbing, postmortem injury that you need to see."

"On our way, Duck."

DiNozzo glanced up at him. "What's going on, Boss?"

"Dead Marine. We're going to autopsy, all of us."

A few minutes later, the team filed into the room one by one, taking note of the body on one of the tables.

"Oh, good, you're all here!" said Ducky. He walked over to the table, and hesitated with the covering.

"Something wrong, Ducky?" Ziva asked.

"Well, not really, but I must warn you. What you're about to see is not very pleasant," he said.

"Bah, we can handle it, Ducky!" Tony said with a laugh. He'd seen dead bodies before. But even he shuddered when the ME revealed the body.

"Now, this poor girl was shot in the back, right through the lungs. Blood appears to have flooded her lungs, likely her cause of death. However, as you can see, someone decided to add insult to injury," he explained. The woman's face was unidentifiable, melted and muddled all together- just a blob of skin. Not even her nose or eyes stuck out anymore, her face a completely blank slate. It wasn't so much an image that inspired disgust, but more so curiosity.

"How did the police find out she was a Marine if they couldn't even identify her?" Ziva asked. She winced looking at the body, and felt a pang of sadness for the woman. A beeping sound came from the fax machine in the corner, and Ducky went to retrieve whatever it was.

"When the Baltimore PD sent her over this morning, they provided some substantial evidence of her identity, matching the rest of her body to the description of a missing Captain from Delaware. But I suppose her tattoo convinced them as well, if you'd like to pull down the covers a bit farther," the man said. Gibbs reached for the cover and pulled it down farther, revealing a mini Marine Corps. logo tattooed beneath her left breast. McGee's body stiffened at the sight, and he lost his breath.

"It couldn't be," he murmured. Ducky and the others looked at him curiously, for a moment, but turned their attention back to the papers in the ME's hand.

"These are the DNA results from the Baltimore Lab. According to them, our Marine's name is Cpt. Arlene-" "- Lutz."

It was McGee who had responded. Ducky nodded at the team, surprised that the agent seemed to have already known. Gibbs turned to McGee, and looked him in the eye.

" You know her?" he questioned.

"Yeah...," McGee answered, placing his hand on the Cpt.'s shoulder," I grew up with her."

Hey, thanks for reading! I'd love it if you could review, and give me some constructive criticism. See you next time!

-Lauren