AN: Haha Nope I'm not dead and I didn't disappear off the face of the Earth...its worse...I've been without the internet! AHH you guys have no idea how hard that was for me. Not only that but I dont have cable either so I havent been able to see the majority of this season of NCIS : ( On a high note I've just finished episode 3. Loved it! Anyway, I've finally got my mojo back for writing. This story has been causing me to actually lose sleep. I keep having scenes playing in my head and I cant sleep till I get them written down. And so everyone knows...I am REALLY REALLY REALLY sorry for the long hiatus on this story. I still love this story and will finish it I promise. Things start to move a little quicker in this chapter so I hope you all enjoy!


Chapter 7

He pulled up to the back of the building, glancing out his windows to see if the sound of his truck had drawn any attention from the neighboring buildings. Killing the lights before backing his truck up to the door and throwing it into park, he lifted the hood on his black wool coat and got out walking around to the covered bed of the truck and pulling the gate down.

"Hello, my dove," he said quietly, looking into the faded eyes of the woman that lay there. Gently pulling her out of the bed of the truck, he carried her to the door and leaned her so she was sitting up against it, leaning against the frame to keep her in place. He zipped her coat and gently closed her eyes, leaning down to place a kiss upon her blonde hair. "You're songs over now, my dove. Time to sleep."

He looked up at the darkened building before walking the few feet back to his truck and getting back in. He looked in the rear view and smiled. His next pet was waiting for him when he finished his shift tonight. "Your songs over, my dove," he said to the mirror. "It's time for the next one to begin."

He pulled away from the building, turning his headlights back on once he hit the main road, and started back toward Annapolis. "Time for work."

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"You are a friend of McGee?" Ziva asked as she sat behind her desk to await her partners' return.

"Years ago we were," Taylor replied. She leaned against the short partition beside the other woman's desk and folded her arms as she watched her son glance from the book in front of him to the computer screen at the desk he was seated at.

"He says your name was...Caelynn? I understand the need for some people to create new identities...many do not wish to be found. Is this why you have done so?"

Taylor shrugged slightly before answering, "I guess that could be part of the reason. Really though I just really didn't like my name. I was named after my father's mother. She was a stern woman...the last thing I wanted as a kid was to be confused for her so as soon as I was old enough to get away with it I started going by Lynn...When my father disowned me I decided I wanted to start over. My mother's maiden name was Mitchell and I'd always been fond of the name Taylor. So I had it legally changed."

She started to ask a question of her own but was cut off, "Why does he have a stapler with a mouse on it?" The two women looked over at the boy to see him holding up a small blue stapler.

"Agent DiNozzo uses a Mighty Mouse stapler?" Taylor asked with a laugh, turning back to the other woman.

"Come on kid," Tony cut in as he and Tim walked back into the bullpen, "Don't tell me you've never heard of Mighty Mouse." At the boy's blank stare he continued, setting a bag of food on his desk. "Come on...Mighty Mouse. Classic cartoon super hero."

"So, its a kids show."

"Which would explain why you like it so much Tony," Tim said, setting a fresh cup of coffee on Gibbs desk before handing Ziva her tea. A stifled laugh came from the boy behind the desk as Tony sent his partner a glare.

"It is not just a kid show," Tony grumbled, grabbing the stapler from the boy and shoving it in his jacket pocket.

"Whatever."

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"Can you think of anyone else you're brother would go to for help?"

"I'm sorry agent Gibbs, but if I knew of anyone I would've told you already. My brother and I rarely talk and, when we do, its never about who we're hanging out with." A soft ring came from the pocket of his jeans and he pulled out his cell phone. "It's my wife...do you mind..."

Gibbs gestured for the man to answer before leaning back in his seat.

"Hey Ames," he said as he answered, "I'm sure I'll be..." his voice trailed off and Gibbs could hear the frantic woman on the other end of the line. "Did you call the police?" he asked eyes wide. "Get out of the house and call the police, Amy. Get out and don't go back inside until I get there."

He hung up his phone and started to stand. "I'm really sorry agent Gibbs," as he spoke, he was already pulling on his jacket. "Someone broke into the apartment. I gotta get home."

Gibbs was already pulling the door opening and followed the man out. "You and Taylor drive together?"

"No, I met her here."

Gibbs nodded and led the man back to the bullpen.

"What's going on?" Taylor asked, noting the look on her friend's face. "What's happened?"

"Someone broke into the apartment," max replied quickly. "I hate to leave you here but I gotta get back to Amy."

"DiNozzo, David," Gibbs called out grabbing his gun and badge from his desk. "Grab your gear. We're following you back," he said to other man in a matter-of-fact tone. "McGee, finish up with miss Mitchell then go back to helping Abby."

"On it boss," McGee replied as the others disappeared into the elevator.

"He thinks its connected?"

"We don't believe in coincidences," McGee replied with a shrug.

Taylor nodded and glanced at the elevator where her friend had just disappeared. "If you don't mind, I'd like to finish up so we can go be with them."

"If it is the same person, it may not be safe..."

"Damn it Tim!" Taylor exclaimed, her voice low as she moved away from William. "Max is family. Dangerous or not I'm going to be with my family right now. I can drop Will off with Mia before I go, but that's the only concession I'm going to make about that."

Tim looked down at the shorter girl for a moment before turning his attention to the boy watching them from Tony's desk. "Hey William," he called out, "you ever seen a forensics lab before?"

Taylor smile slightly as her son got up and walked over to them, a bright smile on his face.

"You're wrong, you know," Tim said as the three made their way toward the elevator that would take them down to the lab. At his companions confused look, he continued, pressing the button and watching the doors slide closed, "You haven't changed at all."

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"Amy!" Max yelled as he sped from his car to embrace his wife. She clung to him tightly.

"They came in through Charlie's room," she exclaimed as she pulled away. "Those bastards came in through my baby's room!"

Max tightened his grip on his wife slightly and looked up at the apartment building. He watched as the three agents entered the building and whispered, "They'll get em, love. They'll get em."

"NCIS," Gibbs said, flashing his badge at the deputy who stood outside the apartment building. "What do we have?"

The deputy looked up at the older man for a moment before glancing into the apartment toward his boss...He sighed, turning back toward the agents. "Pretty standard B and E. That's all I can tell you without the Sarge's say so." The older man's eyes narrowed slightly as he looked down at the shorter man. "Wait here and I'll get the Sarge."

"What does NCIS want with a B&E of a Annapolis PD officers home?" The man that spoke was taller than Gibbs with short sandy-blond hair and deep brown eyes that were, narrowed suspiciously at the three before him. "Rhea's one of ours. We can take care of our own."

"Robbery may be connected to a case we've been investigating," Gibbs replied, looking up at the man before him calmly.

"You guys got a robbery similar to this on your end?"

"Murder."

"Murder?" The taller man's eyes widened slightly. "I don't see the connection there boys." He looked down the hallway towards the entrance for a moment, spotting Max where he stood with his wife. "You here for Max?"

Gibbs nodded silently and the man sighed. "Sargent Martin Rowling. Rhea's one of my best techs. I don't mind you looking around but, unless you find a link to your case, this one remains in my jurisdiction. You three are here by my tolerance and to observe only."

Gibbs smile slightly at the taller man's words and nodded. "What'ya got?"

"Looks like the perp came in through the kids room. Windows been opened and the dusts been disturbed. Amy came in, found the boy's door open and apparently knew something was wrong. Not too much has been disturbed, so they obviously knew what they were looking for. Once we've collected our evidence, we'll ask Max if he notices anything missing." He led the agents into the apartment before turning back to his work.

Gibbs immediately walked toward the door right off the living room.

One look at the room told him that the parents hadn't come in since the boy had died. Unused toys lay on shelves. A few even lay on the floor, forgotten. He crossed to the floor to the open window, pulling on his gloves as he walked.

"It was jimmied open from the fire escape," the CSU tech stated as he approached. "markings on the latch make me think what he used was relatively sharp. Didn't find any fingerprints, so he was probably wearing gloves. Got a decent shoe print in the dust though. Should be able to get something off that."

"You check the fire escape yet?"

"We got two guys down in the alley. Nilson's gonna start at the bottom of the ladder and work his way up. That way we don't compromise any prints that may be below here."

"Kitchen and Dining room don't seem to have been touched," Tony said looking into the small bedroom at his boss.

"Master bedroom and bathroom appear clear as well," Ziva added. "He appears to have gone directly for the desk in the living room along with the safe in the hall closet."

"I want you two to go down into the alley and help them look down there."

"On it boss."

"Yes Gibbs."

Gibbs watched the two agents leave before looking around the room once more. His eyes fell on a picture sitting on the end table of the boy and Taylor's son William. The younger boy looked to be no older than his daughter before she died. He shook his head silently at the thought before walking from the room.

"My boys are about done here agent Gibbs." Rowling said as he spotted the other man in the hall. "Got quite a few prints from the living room. Gotta get em to the lab to be able to determine if they're the perps or belong to the Rhea family. He seems to have gone straight for the safe and desk."

"Prior knowledge of the crime scene."

"Seems like it. We're gonna see if Max'll come in and see if he can tell us whats missing."

With a brisk nod, Gibbs turned and walked from the apartment to meet his agents in the alley. As he walked out of the building, his gaze fell on a now familiar face standing next to the Rhea family.

"Got here pretty fast," he said as he approached the trio.

"Nothing more important than family, Agent Gibbs," Taylor replied with a small smile.

"You finish up with Agent McGee?"

"We went through all the file that he had for me. He's working with your forensics tech...umm...Abby?...to get some more for me to look through. I don't really know what you guys expect me to find looking through all those pictures though. I don't personally know any of em 'cept my father. And we don't exactly talk anymore."

"Where's the boy?"

"Staying with a friend. Figured he didn't need to see his uncle's place turned into a crime scene." Taylor folded her arms over her chest and smirked slightly. "You gonna try and tell me its too dangerous to be here too?" At Gibbs' silent stare she let out a soft sigh. "I was only checking up on them. Don't worry I'm going home in just a few minutes."

Gibbs nodded approvingly before walking away toward the alley.

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"So do you think they're that protective of all their witnesses or is it just because of your past with Agent McGee?" Max asked as the older man walked away. "What did he say about Will?"

"Tim? He was pretty pissed at me for not telling him." Taylor laughed humorlessly, "Said I should've known better than to think he wouldn't want us. I guess that's one good thing to come from this. Maybe Will can finally know his dad." She sighed and looked up towards the apartment building. "I'm sorry, we're dwelling on my problems and someone just broke into your house..."

"I asked the question, Tay," Max replied, draping an arm protectively around both women. "I've probably investigated hundreds of robberies and home invasions in the few years I've worked for the department." He sighed sadly and pulled the women closer to him. "Feels a lot different from the other side. I keep thinking about what could've happened if they'd still be in there when you got home." He placed a soft kiss to his wife's forehead before resting his cheek to her hair.

"They weren't though," Amy replied softly. "I walked in and, as soon as I saw Charlie's door open, I knew something was wrong...That was when I called you." She looked over at the other woman and smiled. "Thank you for coming out Taylor. It means so much to us."

"You're family, Amy," Taylor replied with a smile, pulling the shorter woman in for a short hug. "I had to make sure you were OK." She looked over at the alley where the three NCIS agents were just emerging and sighed. "I should probably head home before I wind up with an escort." She giggle silently to herself before laughing. "God I hope their not this protective of all their witnesses. If so...I feel so sorry for anyone who witnesses a Navy crime. I'll see you guys tomorrow. You need anything, you give me a call OK." She gave both Amy and Max a brief hug before turning to walk back to her car.

"Max!"

Max turned at the sound of his name, "Martin," he replied, taking a step toward the man. "Find anything?"

"We'd like to know if you and your wife could come up and tell us what could be missing."

"Of course."

The couple followed the taller man into their home, Gibbs and his team quickly catching up with them. "It looks like whoever broke in knew what they were looking for," Rowling explained as they walked up the stairs. "Seems to have gone straight for the desk and the closet."

They entered the apartment and Max immediately turned toward the closet, opening the partially open safe door the rest of the way. "Money's missing, he said with a sigh, flipping through the papers within. "Birth certificates, Soc. Cards, passports...papers all seem to be here. Just the back up cash is missing."

"There's a picture missing from on the TV," Amy called out, causing Max to turn into the living room. "It's a family photo," she told the nearby officer. "Why would someone take the family photo?"

"We found a broken frame and a partial picture on the ground out back," one of the officers stated. "Looked like Max in the picture so we bagged it. I'll get it and we'll see if its the same one."

When the officer left the room, Max walked over to his desk and started shifting through the drawers. "My address books gone." He said, turning toward agent Gibbs. "I get the money. But what would he want with my address book?"

"Can you think of anyone who might be in your address book that he would go to?" Gibbs asked, walking up to the man.

"No. Most of our family lives out of state and none of my friends really liked him enough to help him out."

"Here's the photo." the officer walked back into the room and handed the evidence bag over. Max looked at it for a moment before dropping it and running out to his car to get his phone from his coat.

"What is it?" Amy asked, picking the picture up and turning it over to look at it. "Why would they do that?" Gibbs and Rowling walked up behind her and looked down at the picture.

"Who's missing?" Rowling asked, looking at the torn photo.

Amy looked over her shoulder at Gibbs before looking back at the photo. "Taylor."

"Who's that?"

"My witness," Gibbs exclaimed before running from the room, the other two agents close on his heels.


AN: Have I ever mentioned that I love cliff hangers? Heh yea I do. You know what I love more? REVIEWS! Please review and thank you so much to everyone that reviewed while I've been gone. Those reviews meant so much to me. I promise to get the next chapter out before too long. I've already got the scene playing in my mind. I just gotta get em written down. Till then...ciao

Kaydera