That Empty Feeling of Being Full
Wolves and Werewolves
Wolves and Werewolves – the pack a.d.
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
- Albert Einstein
‟Meet your new agent.″
‟New... Don't you think it's a bit soon, Director?″
‟I'm sorry McGee, but I think we've waited as long as possible. It's just been you and Jericho for a month, and Angel will still be on desk duty for a while. Agent David can't keep lending you her agents forever. And yes, I absolutely knew about that.″
Purposefully avoiding his gaze, McGee opened the file, and the Director gave commentary as he read. ‟Her name is Amy Travis. Well qualified. Second in her training class, and previous experience in local law enforcement. She looked very professional in her photograph, straight, red hair tied back neatly, a calm, determined look on her face. Could have qualified for detective if it weren't for her age. She's twenty-three now. High marks in weapons proficiency. I assure you, she comes very highly recommended.″
‟I'm sure she does,″ he said.
‟It's just a trial run for now. She'll be here tomorrow, so I suggest you go ahead and discuss it with your team.″ He turned to leave. ‟I'll expect all of you in my office nine o'clock tomorrow morning.″
Tim stared after him for a moment, still holding the open folder loosely in his hands. This was insane. If the Director thought for one moment that this was the right time to start over, then he clearly couldn't see how the team was actually faring. Trying to get them to accept a new agent this soon, and another young, innocent-looking woman at that, was probably the worst thing the Director could put on them.
He looked back down at his workspace; Angel was throwing little paper balls in Matt's direction, and he was ignoring her completely, still staring off into space. They were slowly getting back to normal, but he didn't know what this might do to them.
The Director was right of course, he was a little low on manpower. And it had to happen eventually. That empty desk couldn't stay empty for long. As usual, they started over, did all the same things all over again and again, and moved on.
Angel, however, didn't take the news so lightly.
‟What? Another one, just like that?″ Angel snapped her fingers to go with the statement. ‟Let me see that picture again.″
Matt handed over the file without a word.
‟Pretty, young, female. Exactly what this team will be missing now. 'Hey, let's just toss another one at them and hope she sticks.'″
‟Angel,″ McGee chastised. He looked around the break room. A few agents loitered around the vending machines, but they weren't paying any attention to the conversation at hand.
‟Oh, was that rude? Sorry, I must be a little off my game.″
‟Can we please just give her a chance?″
‟Chance? Sure! Why not? I suppose she deserves at least that much.″
‟Well, the Director wants us to meet her tomorrow.″
‟Are you fucking kidding me?″ she snapped the folder shut and threw it back into Matt's hands. He caught it without hesitation and opened it again. ‟He gives us a day's notice and expects us to just take her, no questions asked.″
‟What happened to giving her a chance?″
‟He couldn't give us an extra month? We haven't even completely cleaned out Shauna's desk.″
‟Angel, it's happening. There's no point in arguing.″
‟What? There is always a point in arguing.″
‟Angel, please,″ he begged. She was angry, he could tell. No matter what it had seemed, Angel had always been the closest to Shauna.
She huffed, and turned to Matt. ‟What do you think?″
‟Its not so bad,″ he replied.
‟Oh sure! He's on board.″
‟He's right, Angel. She's just another agent. She's not trying to replace anybody. She didn't even know Shauna,″ McGee said.
‟But...″ she looked at McGee and saw the pleading look on his face. ‟Fine. I guess she does deserve a chance.″
And so, the next morning, they made their way to the Director's office. Angel was still a bit angry about the short notice, but she had given up the fight. The secretary buzzed them in, and McGee let the way.
‟Ah, there you are,″ said Director Braxton, standing up from the conference table. ‟I was just telling agent Travis about the perks of the job. Come in. Come in.″
Amy Travis stood as well, coming around the table. ‟Nice to meet you all,″ she said, holding out her hand. ‟You must be Special Agent McGee?″ She shook his hand. ‟And Matt Jericho. And Angela de Luca.″ She shook their hands in turn.
Angel had reluctantly promised to play nice, so she smiled politely and said, ‟Hello.″
Amy nodded in response. She looked so young. If McGee didn't know for a fact that she was twenty-three, he would have thought she was still in high school. Her red hair was tied neatly at the base of her neck with a thin black ribbon, and she wore a blue button up shirt with a neatly pressed vest, a pair of slacks, and what were unmistakably solid black converse tennis shoes. She smiled easily as he looked at her, clearly something that she did a lot, going by the laugh lines around her mouth.
Director Braxton touched Amy on the elbow and said, ‟Why don't we all take a seat.″
They all took a place around the table, the team on one side, the Director and Amy on the other. ‟As you know, Miss Travis here is very much qualified to work with your team. However, I understand that it might be a difficult transition coming from the recent tragedy. I am hoping that you can all get past all that and work together seamlessly.″
Amy frowned in sympathy. ‟I am so sorry to hear about what happened,″ she said. ‟When I heard I almost didn't want to come, but the Director insisted.″
‟Yes,″ he said. ‟I need my people at peak performance, and I'm certain that it will all work out. Now, as for the particulars, Amy here has some previous experience as a patrol officer, but none yet with NCIS, so she will be in the position of Probationary Agent for now.″ He looked at Amy. ‟That means that you will be on probation for a year. Monthly evaluations, , and at any point, you may be placed on a new team or in a different type of duty post.″
She nodded. ‟Understood.″
‟Miss de Luca here will be on desk duty for another week, so I would expect you'd have to jump right into some field duties.″
McGee spoke up. ‟Is that all, Director?″
He looked to McGee's and his team with a mixture of amusement and annoyance. ‟Is there anything you would like to say to say, Special Agent McGee?″
McGee opened his mouth to respond, but was cut off the his phone ringing. Dispatch. ‟Sorry, Director, but we have to go.″ The team stood.
The dispatch operator gave him the information, and he hung up, looking at Amy. ‟You all set to go? We've got a case.″
Her eyes widened in excitement and she jumped up out her seat. ‟Of course. The paperwork's taken care of. I'm all yours.″
‟Good luck,″ the Director called as the door shut behind them.
McGee pointed towards the bullpen as they passed. ‟Desk, Angel.″
He heard her curse as he continued on.
‟So, where are we going?″ Amy asked as they got in the car.
‟A missing Naval petty officer has been found. Alive.″ He started the engine and immediately took off. ‟She says she's been kidnapped.″
‟Did she say by who?″
‟Don't know yet, Travis. We're going to see her at the hospital.″
She sat forward from the back seat. ‟So what do you want me to do when we get there?″
McGee saw Matt roll his eyes. She talked more than Shauna, that was for sure. And she didn't appear to be afraid of him. ‟Just watch for now.″
‟Got it, Special Agent McGee.″
‟Just call me McGee.″
‟Oh, thanks.″ She sat back. Then forward again. ‟Hey, McGee, is – ″
‟Travis,″ he said, cutting her off.
‟Just save it.″
‟Oh,″ she sat back. ‟Okay.″
They made it the rest of the ride in peace. When they arrived at the hospital, they were shown into a small room with the blinds on the windows shut tight. A young woman sat alone on the bed, wrapped in a blanket and wearing a set of scrubs. There was a distinct scent of seawater in the air, and her hair looked as if it had been wet rather recently.
‟Special Agent McGee, NCIS, ma'am.″ He took a seat right in front of her. The other two remained standing. ‟This is Agent Jericho and Agent Travis. What's your name?″
‟Petty Officer Charlotte Riggs.″
‟What can you tell me about what happened, Petty Officer? You said you were kidnapped?″
‟Do you know who kidnapped you?″
‟No,″ she said in a small voice. ‟I don't know his name.″
‟Is there anything you can tell me that would help to identify him?″
‟I, uh... I don't know.″
‟What did he look like?″
‟Um... white. Brown hair. A – uh, tattoo on his left bicep. A snake.″ McGee could hear Amy scratching away in a notebook behind him. He knew it was Amy, because Matt had a particularly keen memory. He could just hear something, and then go back to the office and write it all down practically word for word.
Petty Officer Riggs looked at Amy dazedly for second and then turned her attention back to Tim. ‟I – I don't really remember.″
Tim smiled at her. ‟That's alright. So, what happened?″
Her voice was shaking slightly. ‟Umm... I, uh, I was at a bar.″
‟By yourself,″ Amy interjected. McGee didn't remind her that she was just an observer. It would only endeavor to stress out Charlotte even more.
‟Oh, um. Yeah.″ More writing. ‟I sometimes go there to relax on my days off. I know the bartender there. But she wasn't working last night. My CO probably thought I ran off, huh?″ She laughed halfheartedly, looking back at Amy.
‟You were reported AWOL. Some M.P.s were out looking for you; they'll probably be here soon.″
‟Um, anyway, I was getting ready to leave, when this really cute guy came up and started hitting on me. We were – um. He invited me back to his place, and I, uh – ‟
‟It's alright. Was this the guy that took you?″
She nodded. ‟He said he lived down by the docks.″ The shaking was back. ‟So, we were driving, and I kept asking him where, and he just kept saying 'you'll see', or 'almost there.'″
McGee nodded patiently. ‟It's okay. What happened next?″
Charlotte cleared her throat. ‟Well, we got on his boat, and we took off. He didn't tell me that there would be another guy there, but I was into it. We started kissing, but he was a little pushy, so I told him to stop. I tried to fight him off, but the second guy came in and...″
McGee took hold of her hand. ‟He raped you?″
Taking a shuttering breath, Charlotte nodded her head yes. She looked down, avoiding eye contact with all of them. McGee could hear Matt breathing less then-steadily behind him.
‟What happened ne - ‟
Amy stepped forward. ‟Could you describe the boat?″
McGee looked at Amy, to tell her not to interrupt, but then Charlotte chuckled.
‟I'm a sailor, ma'am. I think I could describe a little boat.″
Tim stood, motioning for Matt to follow him outside, while Amy got the details.
They stopped just on the other side of the door. ‟We going to find the boat?″ Matt said.
Tim shook his head, eyes on Amy. She was listening intently, writing down everything that Charlotte was saying. ‟I need you to call her CO at the Navy Yard and tell him to call off his goons. We'll be taking her to NCIS to get a statement as soon as she's out of the hospital. ″
Matt nodded, and pulled out his phone, stepping away to somewhere quiet.
McGee went back to the conference room. ‟How did you escape?″ Amy was asking.
Charlotte shrugged with a little smirk. ‟I swam. I jumped off the boat when they let me go to the bathroom. Must have about a mile – I went way farther than that in boot camp. And thank God it wasn't too cold this time of year. Anyway, I swam to shore and asked someone to call the cops.″ She spoke a lot steadier now. ‟Those men, they probably thought that I'd drowned. I didn't tell the guy I was Navy. But if they think that I'm lost at sea, they'll probably go back to the same dock. You can catch them. I can show you.″
Tim spoke, causing both women to look up. ‟You can tell us. If you could give us a statement, we'll get this all taken care of.″ He looked at Amy, and she handed Charlotte her notebook. ‟We'll get these guys, don't worry.″
When they arrived back, Matt took Amy to legal to get a warrant for the boat. McGee found Angel in the bullpen sitting behind Shauna's desk, arm pushed all the way into the back of one of the drawers. ‟One hell of a mess,″ she said without looking up. She drew her hand back out clutching an old candy wrapper. ‟Trash all over this thing.″
He stopped in front of her. ‟It's still cleaner than yours.″
‟So, how'd she do?″ Angel asked, checking another drawer.
‟Well enough. Didn't exactly observe from the shadows, but she put the victim at ease.″
Angel nodded, still looking inside the desk. ‟It'll be weird, though, right? Some stranger in Shauna's seat? Using her computer. You've dealt with this before. Kate Todd? Someone new just taking their place.″
‟Yeah.″ He thought of the first time Ziva tried to sit in Kate's desk. It had felt so wrong then. ‟It's weird at first. But – well, things change.″ He looked to Ziva's current desk. He wondered where she was.
‟She's on a call-out. Dead Marine in a lake, or something.″ She got down on her knees and reached under the desk, coming up with a crumpled old post-it. ‟'Call Andrew Rickneiser.'″ She looked up at McGee with an arched eyebrow. ‟You asked Ziva on an actual date yet?″ she asked, face completely serious.
‟What? What are you talking about?″
‟What am I talking about?″ she asked dubiously. ‟I see the googly eyes you two make at each other all the time. I swear, you're like a couple of love-struck teenagers. You can't fool me,″ she pointed at herself, a smug look on her face. ‟Angel sees all.″
Tim sighed in vexation. ‟Just mind you own business, Ange.″
‟Business? I have no business. I've just been sitting at home for the past month, nobody to talk to. I was so bored, I actually considered joining a religion. The least you can do for me is let me in on some prime romantic entanglements. I haven't had sex in so long, even hearing about a straight couple is something.″
He turned back to his desk in silence.
‟Oh, come on! If you're not going to let me into the field, at least give me something to get my mind off my boredom.″
Tim sighed as he sat down. ‟I –‟ but, thank the heavens, his phone cut him off. Angel looked extremely disappointed.
‟Boss,″ Matt said, ‟we got the warrant. You ready?″
‟On my way.″ He looked at Angel with a falsely sympathetic face. ‟Sorry, sweetie. Looks like you'll have to bother someone else if you're bored. I hear Bobby's got a new cat named Thumbelina. Why don't you ask him about that.″
She actually looked intrigued.
The two men were exactly where Charlotte said they would be. They pulled up in front of a boat by the name of The Sphinx, and exited the car.
Amy cracked her knuckles comically and looked to McGee. ‟So, how are we going to do this? I've never arrested someone on a boat before.″
McGee sighed exasperatedly. ‟You are going to stay here and wait for us to come back. I meant it when I said 'observe.'″
She looked disappointed. ‟Well, what if one of them gets past you?″
He rolled his eyes, looking as Matt adjusted his handcuffs. ‟If, by some chance, one of them gets past both of us and out the one exit to the boat, then, yes. You may get them.″
She nodded, eyes alert with anticipation. ‟Right. Good luck.″
‟Thanks. Come on, Jericho.″
The two men fit the description exactly. McGee and Matt took them into custody without very much effort. They took them back to NCIS and placed them into separate interrogation rooms.
‟So what do you say, Boss?″ Angel asked him as they, Matt and Amy stood in the hallway outside of the rooms. ‟I could go in there and throw them off with my womanly charms, and then you can go and take them down.″ She waggled her eyebrows. ‟Come on. You know that's perfect.″
She did this every time. ‟Angel,″ he said, long-sufferingly. ‟I think Matt and I can handle it. I need you to try and show Amy what to look for.″
She narrowed her eyes at him.
He placed a hand on her shoulder. ‟I would trust no one else to talk as much as you. Surely, Amy can manage to get something useful out of it.″
So Angel stood in the observation room, arms crossed and glaring at the back of McGee's head. Amy stood next to her, hands on the bottom frame of the window, and nose less then an inch away from the glass. She gazed intently at the scene before her.
‟So...″ Angel said, and Amy looked to her. ‟Why'd you get into law enforcement?″
‟Well, surely there were better options. No staying up late checking out lead. Something with no risk of getting shot every time you go into the field. Why this?″
Amy blinked at the rapid slew of words. ‟Oh, uh, well... I don't know.″ She looked back to the interrogation room. McGee was staring silently at the suspect, waiting for him to make the first move. ‟I just wanted to do better than everybody thought that I would.″
‟What is that supposed to mean?″
‟I – well, I didn't come from the best family, and so nobody really expected me to achieve anything. And law enforcement is really... I don't know. Noble.″
‟You wanted to be noble″
‟Yes.″ She looked back up to Angel.
Angel shrugged. ‟Fair enough.″ She turned her back to the glass and continued to stare at Amy. ‟But why NCIS?″
‟Ever killed anyone?″
Her eyes widened at the abrupt question. ‟Um... No.″
‟Ever been shot at?″
‟Did you shoot back?″
‟Do you have a boyfriend?″
‟Not right now.″
‟Ever been with a woman before?″ Angel asked, turning her body more towards Amy.
‟No.″ Amy squared off with her.
‟Were you bullied in high school?″
‟No. And I didn't bully anyone, in case that's your next question.″
‟How do you feel about – ″
The door to the observation room suddenly flew open, snapping their attention to it. McGee stood there, looking like he could murder them both. ‟Would you two keep it down? You're screwing up my interrogation.″
AN: If you're reading this, thank you sooo much for sticking with me. I know it's tough trying to read a story that never gets updated, but you're really great for trying. I'll be working on chapter sixteen, which seems to be the one that is really giving me trouble. I think that after that, I've got the ending pretty well planned out and it should go off pretty smoothly. Thanks for reading!