This is my twenty-second NCIS mystery and the second of my Third Season. The list of stories got so extensive I moved it, with summaries, to my profile.
The usual legal disclaimers apply. I don't own anyone except Rev. Siobhan Sha-vawn O'Mallory and original Agents.
Rating: T or NCis-17.
The apartment was once home, but now the small, dark rooms with their coats of dreary, long-ago off-white paint are empty, desolate, barren. Gradually everything has been sold save a table, a chair and a radio. It's over. Tomorrow the electricity goes off.
'Happens,' the woman reflects bitterly, 'when you stop paying the bills and tell them to take their negotiations and fuck themselves.'
Tomorrow it doesn't matter if the electricity goes off. If the heat goes off, she doesn't need the phone, there hasn't been anything to eat in days. The roaches can die of starvation.
The girdle is ready. The bracing had been the hardest challenge, solved by metal sheeting wrapped firmly over and over about her torso, closer than any man will hold her ever again. Twenty-five cylinders. Twenty-five damnations. More than enough.
She only has to destroy six, herself and five soulless monsters. She indulges in a minute of cursing them, but their end will be so much better.
'Thou shalt not kill.' That's been drilled into her all her life, right next to 'honor thy husband'. Well, there's no more husband, and tomorrow she'll do far worse than kill.
They're going to know why it's happening before she detonates the bombs. They're going to know everything before they go to hell.
She picks up the leather band, wraps the twenty-five cylindars about her waist, binds the covering metal about her. She bends and twists, tests her range of movement. It's snug, stiff, but doesn't interfere with breathing or motion.
Soon it'll do both.
The approach had been the second major problem. One doesn't walk uninvited into the Washington Navy Yard, certainly not wearing twenty-five bombs. Planning, and the search for an opportunity, had taken a month.
Gibbs is out, he's too smart. Da-veed is too suspicious, so slipping into her car is impossible; the bitch inspects it every morning. The Chink Palmer is too unpredictable. One would think a new-married woman would be more stable, but she seems to have quite the night life separate from her husband. Tailing her was easy; the bitch spends some evenings in a downtown building that's guarded far too closely. It's some kind of 'members only' club and she can't ever predict how long the cunt will be away from her car.
The husband? Even more unpredictable. There needs to be a body to autopsy or he might not even go into work. There'll soon be as much work as he can handle, but that's no help now.
DiNozzo's night life revolves around his wang. He might be home or elsewhere, so he's the most unpredictable of all.
Ironically that leaves McGee. What joy, what glorious justice!
The bastard's as predictable as either of his books. He's home every night by midnight unless a case holds him over, but even then he's utterly bland and uninspired - again just like his books. Though following him for weeks had revealed an unhealthy interest in his Church, it'd quickly turned out he's less interested in the Church than in its priest.
'Dating a priest, how sick is that?'
Yes, McGee, who's home every night by midnight, who parks his car and never gives it a second thought, McGee is her way in. The bastard who deservesit most will be the one who dooms his friends to hell.
Michelle Palmer is surprised to hear music as she climbs the last flight to the fourth floor apartment. Music isn't unusual but it's twenty two thirty. Jimmy's voice ranges over the music, and though the door prevents her from hearing clearly enough she knows that 'He's sure not studying.'
He's devoted every evening - and night - to his books, studying for his Medical School finals, going so far several times as to block her out. She hadn't minded much, she'd just gone to the Wiccan temple instead, knowing he'll go back to giving her physicals when the pressure is off. But now it sounds like his studies have been diverted to Webber's 'Phantom of the Opera', but it's not Michael Crawford singing the 'Music of the Night'.
She unlocks and opens the door as quietly as she can, and gets a pair of surprises as she steps into the living room and closes the door.
Jimmy stands in the center of the room facing the stereo, his back to her, and he's obviously adjusted the controls to filter out the Phantom's vocal. He's the one she heard singing, which is the pleasant surprise; he has an excellent and inspiring voice.
"Close your eyes and surrender to your darkest dreams, purge your thoughts of the life you knew before..."
The unpleasant surprise is that he's 'borrowed' one of her long, hooded Wiccan cloaks to use as a cape. It'd normally make her very angry, he knows better than to touch her equipment, but she's too surprised to be angry. She steps up behind him, forgetting annoyance in fascination.
She loves to hear him sing, especially when he has no idea she can hear him and he busts out with unbridled passion. The hood is up, rather like the Phantom wore his cloak in 'Point of No Return' but she's glad he's not singing that other; it's a duet and he holds back for her.
"...and you'll live as you've never lived before."
She decides she doesn't mind his borrowing her cloak, the song is heavily erotic when Crawford sings it, infinitely more so when he does. He's deeply into the music, she's deeply into him. Erotic? Crawford's excellent but he doesn't come close to what Jimmy does to her.
"Open up your mind, let your fantasies unwind-"
'Oh yes. You know my fantasies, Phantom.'
"- in this darkness which you know you cannot fight..."
'I won't fight. Except to tussle in bed.' She listens rapturously, letting him carry her away.
"- let your soul take you where you LONG TO BEEEEEEEEE..."
'Oh, yes. Please yes.'
"Only then can you belong to me."
'Yes! Body and soul, I belong to you!'
"Touch me. Trust me. Savor each sensation..."
'Oh, touch me. Please touch me!'
Engrossed in preparation for his finals, he hasn't touched her since before she'd gone to that Haunted House weekend. Now she feels him, feels his hands on her, has to clutch the front of her skirt, press hard to keep her hands off him and feels his hands touching her, feels those sensations center in her-
"Let the dream begin, let your darker side give in..."
'Oh Jimmy, I give." She feels her flesh come to a boil. 'I give."
"...the power of the Music of the Night."
The music swells, climaxes - and so nearly does she.
"You alone can make my song take fliiight..." His voice strokes her, caresses her, she can feel his hands, his whole body on her. "Help me make the Music of the Niiiiiiiiiiiiight."
That note strokes her like a bow across the strings of her vagina. The music fades, he turns, jumps guiltily when he sees her behind him.
"Oh Phantom - take me," she cries. "Ravage me!"
He slams backward onto the floor under her.
The blonde woman has the last of her possessions laid out on the floor before her; the pistol, the twenty-five cylinders attached to the steel brace, the small detonator, the tool box, the wire hanger, the long black leather coat and the keys. Pocketing the keys in her blouse, she puts the hinged brace about her waist. It's barely comfortable, the brace holds the metal tubes snug against her.
God is with her.
She won't have to endure the brace long.
Only for the rest of her life.