Title: Through a Glass, Darkly

Category: NCIS (idea crossover with a book)

Rating: T/PG-13 for violence and depictions of gore (Gen)

Set in early season 4, before "Twisted Sister", AU from there

Disclaimer: Don't own, just playing, yadda yadda

Summary: A terrorist attack has long-term effects on Gibbs' team.


Dan Simmons pushed the door handle and absently nodded at the pair of passengers as they boarded the Metro bus, swiped their fare cards and took the last unoccupied seat directly behind the driver. They were two of his normal customers; a petite Asian woman in her late teens with a heavily laden backpack and a tall white man in his late twenties, dressed in a suit and tie and carrying a black shoulder bag. Simmons had been picking both of them up at this spot for well over a year, ever since he had taken over this particular early morning express route.

Simmons pulled the handle to close the doors and eased the bus away from the curve, heading towards the exit that would take him to the inner loop of the Beltway. After he had navigated the exit ramp and merge lane, he glanced into his rear view mirror and smiled; same routine, different day. Even the passengers were engaged in a seemingly set ritual, varied only by their individual personalities: reading, texting, watching the other passengers with amusement or annoyance, or merely staring off into space, with his last two passengers engaged in the latter. Dan felt a sense of comfort from the scene on his bus as he counted down the days until his retirement, when he could adopt a whole new routine, hopefully minus the traffic and diesel fumes he encountered in this one.

He pressed down on the gas pedal and felt the bus surge forward as he tried to keep up with the pace of the other cars. Suddenly he felt a jolt, as if something had caught the rear bumper of the bus, and a cacophony of sound exploded behind him. The screams of his passengers assaulted his ears as he fought to maintain control of the steering wheel, but his faithful companion had suddenly developed a mind of its own and the bus lurched sickeningly to the right. The screams grew louder as the side of the bus hit the concrete of the highway and its momentum carried it into a slow sliding roll. Simmons was peripherally away of the sounds of bodies being slammed around behind him and the wet thuds as they made contact with the interior of the bus caused his stomach to lurch. He felt his seatbelt painfully cut into him as the bus flipped over, slamming him into the side window. He felt one last flood of agony before his head met the glass with a sickening crunch and darkness overwhelmed him.


Tony DiNozzo exited the elevator and walked to his desk, surprised to find the rest of his team absent. He checked his watch and frowned; Ziva was still occasionally late, but McGee never was. Tony often though that punctuality was hardwired into the Probie's brain, and to make it into the office before the younger agent was a rare occurrence indeed. He wondered if maybe his team had left without him, but reconsidered. Gibbs would have called him if there had been an early case, if for no other reason than to berate him for being tardy.

The elevator doors opened and a rather harried-looking Ziva emerged, annoyance clear in her expression.

"I am sorry that I am late. There was a major accident on the Beltway and traffic was-."

"A good agent anticipates problems and works around them, Ziva," Tony interrupted with a mocking tone. "You should know by now the traffic in DC is nothing if unpredictable." Ziva huffed.

"I am aware of that, Tony, but today was much worse than usual. It is practically a deadlock."

"Gridlock. Any idea what happened?"

"I believe it was a Metro bus that crashed. I did not hear anything else."

"Yikes. That's going to be a nightmare." Tony glanced at McGee's desk again. "Have you heard from McGee? Maybe he's stuck in traffic."

"No, I have not." Ziva pulled out her cell phone, dialed a number, and put the phone to her ear. A frown crossed her features as she listened. "It says the customer is not available. Why would he have turned off his phone?"

"No idea, but I wouldn't want to be in Probie's shoes when Gibbs finds out he broke rule number three."

"Speaking of…" Tony looked around. "Where is Gibbs?"

"I do not know. Perhaps he is with the Director. He—." She was interrupted by Director Shepard, Gibbs, and Fornell emerging from MTAC. Gibbs headed directly for the elevator, the expression on his face sending a chill down DiNozzo's spine. He turned his attention to Jenny, whose expression inspired a similar sense of foreboding.

"Director, what-?" Jenny stopped and looked down at the bullpen, took a deep breath and addressed the agents below.

"We have a serious situation unfolding, and the FBI has asked for assistance of all federal and local police agencies. This morning at approximately 0617, a bomb was detonated aboard a Metro city bus as it was traveling on the southbound side of the Beltway, resulting in multiple casualties. We are trying to keep as much of a lid on the situation as possible to avoid a public panic, but it is the current belief that this was a terrorist attack.

"Tony, Ziva, you will need to go with Dr. Mallard and Mr. Palmer to help with the recovery of bodies from the scene, and to work with the FBI's investigators in whatever capacity you are needed. We have pledged the resources of NCIS to assist with the identification of the victims. The FBI will be working on the evidence from the bombing."

Tony felt the blood drain from his face. He was aware of what it had been like for the agency during 9/11, and his fear that they would see a repeat of that horror was potentially being justified. He noticed that Gibbs had not emerged from the elevator on their level and returned his attention to the director, who had descended the stairs to the bullpen.

"What about Gibbs? Is he-?"

"Three survivors were pulled from the wreckage and were taken to University Medical Center. Jethro is on his way there."

"Why? Wouldn't he be better at the scene?" Tony expected Jenny's usual sharp retort reserved for whenever someone questioned her judgment, but she did not immediately respond. Finally she met the agent's eyes.

"I sent him because…he needs to be there. One of the people taken to the hospital was Special Agent McGee."

Please let me know if this sounds interesting enough to continue.