Laurie Fields steps into her Aspen, Colorado restaurant and breathes a sigh of relief. She's finally home. She had spent the last few days helping some friends move and been on assignment with her SEAL team prior to that. Heading down the long hallway, she stops briefly in the office to let Max, her manager, know that she's back. Once that's done, she heads upstairs. She has a separate apartment above the store for those long nights when the roads won't let her drive home safely.
"Hey, Cook, have a phone call for you. She asked for you by name and said it is important." Carol Linsey is one of Laurie's newest chefs and from what Laurie has heard, the woman is doing an admirable job. The fact that she's answering the phones is indicative of the business's success.
"Thanks Carol. I'll take it in my office." Laurie hides a grimace as she strides down the hall towards the stairs and her office. She'd known that opening her restaurant, the Knotted C, could lead to a lot of headaches. She hadn't anticipated being at the beck and call for her friends when she did so.
However, when she enters her office she sees that the phone call in question is actually part of a private line that a very select few have the number to. That and the fact that they are asking for her by her real name is indicative of the importance of the call.
"This is Laurie Fields, how may I help you?" She kicks off her shoes as she waits for the reply.
"Dr. Fields, my name is Abby Sciuto. We met three years ago at a biochemical seminar near MIT. I was wondering if it would be possible for you to come to my lab here at NCIS?" Laurie takes a minute to remember the name and the person associated with it. The gothic forensic scientist had worn black the entire seminar and had been a blast to hang out with.
"I can be there on the next flight out unless you need me there sooner. May I ask what's going on?" Laurie can tell something is seriously wrong as the normally hyper person she associates with the name Abby Sciuto seems abnormally calm. Abby's next words confirm her fears.
"I can't say over an open line. Just please get here as quickly as possible". Abby hangs up before Laurie can tell her that she'll meet her in a few minutes. Laurie makes another phone call to her brother Cass to tell him of her change in plans. He'd planned on visiting the next day and Laurie wasn't sure how long her business in Washington would take.
"Hey be on alert. I just got a call to NCIS in Washington." Cass thinks about the ramifications of such a phone call and asks if she wants back up. "Not at this time, but be ready in case I call."
"You got it boss." Laurie isn't just Cass's sister. She's also their SEAL team leader. She heads into her suite and takes a shower. Changing into jeans, a short sleeved shirt and a light weight jacket, she also puts on a pair of hiking boots. She repacks her bag for at least a one night stay and then teleports to the Navy Yard. She pulls her cell phone out of her jacket pocket and dials Abby's lab.
"Abby's lab, what can I do for you?" Once again the tone is almost depressed compared to the happy, bouncy almost hyper-new-puppy scientist that Laurie remembers.
"You could meet me at the gates and tell me what's going on." Abby almost drops the phone as she checks the computers and gets visual verification that Laurie is indeed standing outside the gates.
"YES!" The excited scream almost deafens Laurie and she pulls the phone away from her ear. "I'll be right there." Abby turns and heads for the elevators. Leroy Jethro Gibbs steps out with a Caf-Pow in hand. Abby grabs it and his hand and pulls him into the elevator. She hits the button for the ground floor as she tells Gibbs what she's done.
"You trust her Abby?"
"Almost as much as I trust you Gibbs."
The comment makes him raise his eyebrows but he says nothing as he follows her out to the gates. Laurie is standing there talking quietly to the security guard when the other two come out. "Agent Gibbs, she said that Ms. Sciuto would explain."
"It's alright Jerry, I asked her to come here she's just a few hours earlier than I originally anticipated. I apologize for not letting you know she was coming."
Laurie gets her visitors badge and follows the other two back inside. Gibbs is frowning slightly as he knows he's seen her somewhere but for the life of him can't remember where it would have been.
"I take it we'll talk in your lab Abby?" Laurie is just wondering where and when she'll find out what exactly is going on.
"Yes. I'm sorry not to tell you more on the phone but it's important and I didn't know who else I could talk to."
"I take it this is in regards to one of your co-workers then?"
"Yes." Abby doesn't say anything else all the way back to her lab. Gibbs heads upstairs towards the briefing room and the rest of his team while Abby leads Laurie downstairs. Once inside, Abby hits a switch and Laurie winces slightly as she is inundated with Abby's music.
"Sorry, but I thought I read somewhere that you know Sign language and I need to talk to you without being overheard."
Laurie Signs her acknowledgement and again asks Abby what she is there for. Abby hands her two files and in Sign tells her that they are the personnel files for Tony DiNozzo. Tony is Gibbs' senior field agent and right hand man. Before she can open the files the elevator opens and Tony himself steps out. He winces slightly at the loud music and motions for Abby to turn it down a notch. As she does so, he turns and for the first time that day sees Laurie.
"Hey Abbs, Gibbs told me you might be needing a refill. Can I get anything for your friend here? Hello pretty lady, name's Tony."
"Thank you Tony. I'm okay for now, but my friend Laurie might appreciate some water if you can get her one."
Tony nods and looks at Laurie who holds out her hand. "I'm Laurie Fields, and a bottle of water would be nice, thank you."
Tony holds her hand a minute looking her up and down. Unlike most of Abby's friends, she's not dressed head to toe in black, and doesn't appear to have a noticeable tattoo. Her blonde hair is in a long braid down her back and she's not wearing any discernable makeup.
"So, how did you and Abby meet?"
Laurie smiles at him and tells him that they'd met three years ago at a chemistry seminar. Tony smiles back and asks if that means that she has a degree in chemistry.
"Actually I have three degrees. Chemistry is just one of them."
"And the other two are what?"
"I've a doctorate in medicine and another in cooking." She's watching him closely as she replies. She notices immediately the sudden coolness in his touch and his face pales as she tells him she's a doctor.
"So are you a practicing medic?"
"Not really, I'm pretty much just a consultant these days."
"So you're retired then?"
"Not from working, just from medicine. I'm on leave of absence for a couple of weeks and just got back from helping a couple friends move into new lodgings."
"Okay, hey Abbs, I'll be back soon with your refill." As he leaves both women watch him go. Laurie turns to Abby and Signs her observations. The main thing she'd noticed was the way he'd turned from her when she'd mentioned her doctorates.