A/N—This is probably pretty early, but I wanted to post this "What if?" piece before we got too much information on the Port-to-Port killer. This is also my first attempt at psychological thriller, so I'm curious to see how it turned out. The main theme I wanted to explore in this piece was what eyes can (and can't) tell you about a person. Also, just to be clear, this isn't necessarily what I think will happen in the season finale; this is a totally out-of-left-field "What if?" Quite frankly, I'd be surprised if something like this actually happened.
"Alright. According to the anonymous tip we received, there is a body somewhere in this warehouse," EJ barked to the team surrounding her. "They didn't give us much information, but we know that this corpse was wrapped in plastic and had its ankles bound. If this is another one of his victims, that brings his total to eight on U.S. soil."
As Ziva readied her weapon and listened to EJ's speech, she couldn't help but feel a sense of unease creep up her spine. Glancing around at her teammates, she thought she sensed a similar something in their eyes, and this did nothing to alleviate the feeling.
"Now," EJ continued, "this is a rather large building of three floors, so we'll be splitting into teams of two. I want this warehouse swept as cleanly and as fast as possible. And weapons always at the ready," she said darkly. "After what happened last time..." she trailed off before regaining herself. She said sternly, "I don't want anything like that happening again, understood?"
Ziva felt a clench in her stomach as EJ started to separate them into teams. Unnecessarily re-checking her gun, she glanced up to see Gibbs' eyes staring in her direction, despite the fact that EJ was speaking directly to him.
"And Ziva, you'll be partnered with me," she said turning toward her. "We take the ground floor. Now let's find that body!" she ordered fiercely. Ziva set her shoulders and cast one more look around at her teammates before jogging after EJ. Despite her own reassurances, she couldn't quite rid herself of that deep sense of unease. Something wasn't right, wasn't adding up. And this followed her like an unwelcome cloud.
Entering the building, the teams went their separate ways, two of them heading toward the stairs to comb the upper floors. EJ and Ziva moved through their floor, checking the large rooms to no avail. Finally reaching the east end of the warehouse with no body in sight, EJ heaved a frustrated sigh and asked the rest of the team, "Any luck on your floors?"
But there was only silence in their ears. "Anybody?" she asked again. EJ and Ziva both tapped their ears, hoping to reinstate the broken line of communication between them and their team. "I am getting nothing," Ziva said. "How do we not know something has gone wrong again?" she asked, trying to keep her voice as level as possible.
"We don't," EJ replied stiffly. "Come on, let's head upst—What's that?" she said, pointing her gun at what appeared to be a handle of some sort set into the concrete floor. She walked over to it, nodded to Ziva as they both leveled their weapons, and pulled open what appeared to be a door in the floor. An odd hush whipped up from the opening as they both stared into the abyss.
"There was no basement of any kind listed in the floor plans," Ziva said quietly. A peculiar gleam suddenly entered EJ's eyes as she stared into the depths. "Let's go," she said fervently. "Our body could be down there."
"Should we not wait for the others?" Ziva inquired uneasily. Her glare still focused on the opening in front of them, EJ said firmly, "No. They have their jobs, we have ours. Hopefully we'll find what we're looking for," she said, removing her flashlight from her belt and shining it into the hole. Ziva did the same, noting an almost brand new, steel ladder that led to what appeared to be an empty corridor below.
"Let's go," EJ said again as she lowered herself down through the floor. As Ziva followed, her level of trepidation heightened along with the ground that rose past her eyes as she climbed down the ladder into a low-ceilinged tunnel. "This way," EJ's voice whispered from ahead as she saw her flashlight move further into the darkness.
Following EJ's lead, her gun ready, Ziva's senses heightened for every possible noise or movement, any sinister activity in the dark. She noticed how a faint smell of bleach clung to the air, reminding her of something sterile. This is exactly the kind of thing our Port-to-Port killer does, Ziva thought as she tightened the grip she had on her weapon.
EJ came to a stop by a door about 100 feet down the tunnel. She once again looked to Ziva before quickly opening it. Both of them rushed inside, their flashlights flicking around the room. At first glance, it seemed to be entirely empty until Ziva noticed a slight gleam in the corner. Focusing her beam in that direction, she swiftly crossed the concrete floor, coming upon what she realized was a simple Ziploc bag. As she bent to examine it, she found inside a pair of eyeballs wrapped in clear plastic, the green irises illuminated in the harsh glare of the light in her hand. She stared at them, transfixed, as she found a familiar quality to them. Swapping her flashlight to her right hand, she picked up the item as she heard EJ walk up behind her.
Ziva stared at the bag for a moment before turning to tell EJ what she found. As she spun around, still looking at the eyes, she heard an odd THUNK and felt something hit her midsection. For a moment, she stood stock still as she slowly lowered the bag, training her flashlight on the area just below her ribcage where a gloved hand held the hilt of a scalpel, the blade deep in her abdomen.
Her mouth slightly agape, she slowly moved her flashlight upward and saw a pair of emotionless eyes staring back at her from behind a black mask. Ziva felt an immense pain as the person swiftly pulled the knife from her body in a slashing motion, creating a three inch gash in her torso. As they stepped back, she felt her gun pulled from her limp hand. Falling to her knees, her flashlight rolled to her side and illuminated EJ's body lying some ten feet away, her lifeless eyes staring, her throat slit.
"Gibbs...! McGee...!" she gasped as she attempted once again to raise her team on her earbud. Unsurprised, she was met with more silence as the killer reached into his pocket and pulled out a small device, saying in a flat voice, "Frequency jammer. We can't have anybody knowing where we are, can we?" Ziva's attention suddenly sharpened, staring up at his equally flat eyes. She knew that voice. But why couldn't she place a name or face?
"Why...did you not...kill me...immediately...too?" she panted through labored breaths, holding her torso. "I definitely could have," he stated in a matter-of-fact voice. "Why...not?" she gasped again.
"I killed her out of necessity. As head of my case, she was privy to far more information on me than she was letting on; she wasn't sharing everything with the rest of her team. Based on these details, she suspected the next "body" would probably be found underground, so she assigned herself the ground floor. She was very...passionate about my case. I called in an anonymous tip about this warehouse, and as I suspected, she followed her instincts. I knew she wouldn't pass up an opportunity to find out more about me. You, on the other hand, I'm curious about."
As he spoke, Ziva attempted to shut off the pain she was feeling and focused all of her attention on her right hand as she slowly inched for the knife on her left hip. Glad for the darkness that disguised her true intentions, she asked, "Curious?...How?" He paused before saying, "You can see a lot in someone's eyes when you kill them."
"Does this...have anything...to do with...your apparent...obsession...with eyeballs?" she wheezed. Once again, he seemed to think about his words carefully before cryptically saying, "Partly. What I'm curious about is what I will see in your eyes."
"Why me?" she said sharply. "Curiosity," he repeated. "I've seen something in your eyes before. Something you're hiding, something that frightens you." Ziva stiffened, her task momentarily forgotten. "Where...have you seen me...before? Who...are you?" she winced. The man deflected, saying, "It doesn't matter who I am. It matters who you are. I want to find out what causes that look in your eye...What's eating at you?" he inquired as he cocked his head slightly. She did not answer, opting instead for her own question. "How did you know...I was to be...partnered with EJ?"
"I didn't. She was my only target. You just had the misfortune of being her choice. So I figured I might as well kill two birds with one stone, so to speak."
Suddenly, Ziva moved, throwing her knife at his chest. At the same time, the killer instinctively raised her own gun and fired. She felt the bullet rip through the left side of her throat as her knife embedded itself in the man's chest. Ziva collapsed onto her right side, clutching her neck in wide-eyed shock as she looked up at the man standing above her. He stared at his own chest for a moment before pulling the bloodless knife from his torso.
As he threw it into the darkness behind him, he said calmly, "Bulletproof vest. You probably should have worn one, too." He crossed the distance between them, and bent low over her as she fought for the air that barely came. For the first time, she was able to clearly see his eyes, a rich, deep brown. They glittered in the dark as he stared into her own. Both were silent for a fraction before he said, "There's fear, but...it's not the same kind that I remember." She watched in apprehension as he stood and said simply, "Interesting."
She waited for the final blow to come, a bullet to her head or a knife to her already mangled throat. Instead, he turned his back on her and walked swiftly toward the door, saying, "That gunshot will have attracted the attention of your teammates. It's time I disappear from here." Passing EJ's body, he briefly stooped by her head to retrieve something that Ziva could not see. "I hope they appreciate the bagged gift that you found," he said, straightening himself. As he turned his back on her once again, he exited the room, leaving the door slightly ajar. And as his footsteps died away, she was left in an eerie silence, panicking as the blood continued to flow from her wounds.
Wary of moving for fear of losing even more blood than she already had, she attempted to keep herself as still as possible. She felt the hot liquid pouring down her neck and seeping from her torso as she stared in shock at the floor that was steadily growing red in the light of her flashlight. Her eyes were inevitably drawn to EJ's body lying in its own pool of blood, her eyes continuing to stare in her direction. Ziva's shallow breathing quickened at the sight, acutely aware of the fact that she would soon encounter the same fate.
Suddenly, her earpiece crackled to life, and Gibbs' frantic voice burst through it. "—ere are Ziva and EJ? Has anybody had contact with them?" She heard her teammates all answer in the negative. Ziva willed herself to speak, to tell them where she was, but a gurgled rasp was all that would escape her. The panic within her rose to an unbearable level at the realization that they would not find her in time.
Then, that same familiar, emotionless voice said in her ear, "Basement. South-east corner." At the arrival of this unknown person in their midst, her team fell into a dead silence before a burst of frenzied voices erupted from her earpiece as the encroaching darkness in her own head swallowed her.
A/N—Now before anybody asks, no, there will not be a continuation of this piece. This is a season finale fic, after all (sorry to leave so many people hanging in suspense). Any comments, criticisms, and reviews are greatly appreciated. Until next time, happy reading.