A/N: Heh, heh, heh… heh… *notices glaring townspeople with pitchforks and torches* oh. See it's kind of a funny story. Really, there are legitimate reasons for my not updating in forever. But you don't care so… on with the story!
Once the team had finished processing the crime scene, they headed back to NCIS. Gibbs went down to check on Kate and Abby and deliver another heaping load of evidence at which the pair groaned. They reached eagerly for the Caf-Pow and coffee that Gibbs held in his hands for them then Abby went back to instructing Kate on how to test a blood sample. Their leader left and returned to the bullpen because he knew perfectly well that Ducky would not have even changed into his greens yet, much less perform the autopsy. He sat down at his desk and began massaging his temples.
"Hey boss, um, I was wondering…" Tony began, as he sifted through the mountainous load of files on his desk. "How are we splitting all of this stuff up? Cause it'll be kinda confusing to try and figure out four different case at once…"
The realization hit Gibbs as Tony said that. "What did you just ask?"
"How are we working the cases?" Tony repeated.
"No, you said splitting up," Gibbs replied, "Which is exactly what we shouldn't be doing."
He was met with confused expressions, raised eyebrows, and wary looks.
"What?" Tony asked carefully.
"We're splitting everything up which is why we're not getting the full picture. We need to mix it all up so that we can see how it all interrelates. There might be references to something in the Petty Officers' files that helps us with who shot Abby, or something dealing with Kate that helps us in figuring out who killed Paula," Gibbs explained as he stood up and strode over to his senior field agent's desk. "Hell, maybe the same person or persons is behind all of it,"
"Okay?" Tony replied, still slightly confused as Gibbs took all the folders and began passing one out to each agent.
"Ziva you'll take Paula. Tony- petty officers. McGee you've got Abby." Gibbs detailed and slapped the corresponding file on each desk. He sat back down at his desk and it was understood that Gibbs would review what little information they had on Kate, Ari, and Eli. "If one person is focusing on one case but everyone is compiling the information then we should get something,"
"Okay. Let's go through what we know so far." Gibbs instructed, "We know that the license plate number on Paula's car was also the one that Abby remembers seeing the person who shot her drive off in."
"So we can assume that the person or persons responsible for those crimes are the same." McGee interjected. "I think we should put out a B.O.L.O. on Agent Cassidy's plate since the killer's plate was swapped with her own. Well, supposedly."
"Do it, McGee," Gibbs decided and went on to the next part, "DiNozzo is the rest of Post and Noel's unit still under that protection detail?"
"Yep. Their C.O. is personally overseeing everything."
Gibbs skimmed over the first page of his file for a few seconds then snapped his head up, "Wouldn't you be concerned if someone who was supposed to be dead came through security?" he asked.
"I would be," Tony replied, "Why?"
"Why didn't security call the Director and ask her why a Special Agent who was thought to be dead was coming in the building?" Gibbs wondered angrily. "Especially since Kate had her badge and everything?" He reached for his phone and dialed the number to security but halfway through, he stopped and replaced the phone on its base.
"What is it boss?" Tony inquired.
"They would have. Someone in security is in on the Kate thing." He groaned and leaned back in his chair. "Ziva! What do we have on Cassidy that relates to this?"
"Well, Agent Cassidy was working on stopping a drug cartel leader who is attempting to bring his dealers up the east coast. Other than that, not much was out of the ordinary."
Gibbs froze for half a second before responding with, "Never heard of them,"
It was quiet for a few minutes, save for the sound of pages turning, and pens scribbling. That gave Tony an idea. "Hey boss, this doesn't add up,"
"A lot of things aren't adding up DiNozzo."
"No. Well, yeah I mean you're right about that but…. How did the note in Petty Officer Post's front pocket not have any blood on it? It was spotless. Even if someone had put it there after he was dead, it'd still have something on it. And why was it scrawled? The other note was scripted but this one was written hastily, as if they were running out of time."
"Ziva are you sure you didn't hear or see anything when you were leaving?" Gibbs inquired.
The Israeli nodded. "I am sure."
"I am sure that we're going to have a lot of paperwork to do when this is over…" Gibbs muttered. "Everything has at least one tiny thing that's relevant to everything else. The license plate is a big one. Then there's the notes from the petty officer that made it sound as though Kate was the next victim. What are we missing?"
"A lot." Tony grumbled and flipped to the next page of the file in front of him.
The elevator pinged and the sound of Abby's platform boots and Kate's heels were heard rushing into the bullpen.
"Gibbs, we found something," Kate announced.
"What?" he replied as all the agent's heads snapped up to listen.
"You were wrong," Abby began, earning a questioning look from Gibbs and shocked glances between the team members. "About the note with the perfume. Or I guess, Tony was wrong. But either way someone screwed up. Actually it probably was Tony since you're el jefe and don't make mistakes-"
"Abby, to the point?" Gibbs interrupted. Tony swallowed and prayed he hadn't screwed up, at least not too much. Gibbs was about to snap at the slightest thing and Tony didn't want it to be something he'd done.
"Right. Well Kate was about to test the perfume on the second note to find out what brand it was and when she sniffed it she recognized it as her own- no surprise there."
"But," Kate interceded, "It's also Cassidy's. It's the Escada she had in Guantanamo Bay a couple years back. When we were deplaning in DC I asked her what it was and started wearing it myself,"
"Soooo," Abby drawled, "The case with the Petty Officers is definitely linked with Paula's murder and…"
"The person who shot you," Ziva finished.
"As much as I'd hate to break rule eight, Boss," Tony said, "I think it's safe to assume that the whole Ari and Eli deal is somehow linked with the rest of this mess?"
"Why do you say that, DiNozzo?" Gibbs queried. He wasn't being accusatory, merely inquisitive.
"Because there's no such thing as coincidences?" Tony offered.
"Alright, well if it does, then how does it interrelate?" McGee asked.
"Find out," Gibbs ordered. "That's a good job Abby, Kate," he said and nodded to each of them in turn.
"Wait, I am still lost?" Ziva piped up. "How did Tony screw up, Abby?"
"Well I guess that wasn't entirely fair," the Goth admitted, "Technically it was Kate's perfume on the note, but since it was also Paula's the note was obviously referring to her… We thought it was Kate because that's who Tony knew the perfume belonged to. But once we realized that Kate was fine, we really should have started running down anyone in relation to any of the cases that wore the perfume,"
"Two things," Ziva held up her fingers in correspondence, "One, Agent Cassidy technically wasn't a part of any of the cases when we found the note so even if we'd run down a list of potential victims she wouldn't have been considered one. And two, Tony weren't you saying that you were with Agent Cassidy early this morning? If you could remember the perfume being Kate's from almost a year ago, then why didn't you recognize the scent at Agent Cassidy's apartment? Especially when you knew it was pertinent to our ongoing investigation and the person wearing it was most likely threatened?"
Everyone swiveled to face Tony with disbelieving eyes. The senior field agent looked shocked, not guilty.
"DiNozzo?" Gibbs said.
"I… I… I have no idea to tell you the truth,"
"No idea about what?"
"All of it,"
"Alright," Gibbs sighed and tried to move the conversation in a more productive direction, "So we've got the license plate, the perfume, and the notes linking all of the cases, excluding the Eli thing. David," he turned to face the assassin, "Do you know anything at all that could possibly associate Mossad with any of this? Why did everything that happened with Kate suddenly arise just as all of this got hinky?"
"I do not know,"
"That's the point dammit!" Gibbs very nearly roared. "We don't know anything…"
His phone rang and Gibbs, grateful for the distraction (his team was staring, rather concernedly), answered it promptly.
"Jethro- I think I've found something," Ducky said excitedly.
Sorry for the ridiculously long wait. I couldn't think of a single idea and was hung up on a million things that you don't want to hear about. Sorry that this is a crappy chapter… Sorry about breaking rule 6, yada yada yada the same usual spiel. . .
I don't think this story will be put on hiatus. Yet. I just am not as pumped up about it as I was when I started it. Granted, if I'd had the time to write as much as I'd wanted to when I first began this fanfic it would probably be a lot better, and have less continuity errors. In all honesty it would be finished.
If anyone is still interested in this, please review to let me know. Otherwise, I'm afraid this will be put on hiatus once school starts (apprx. 3 weeks). I'll probably update with one or two chapters before then, but I need to know if anyone wants me to continue with this.