Disclaimer: I own neither Angel nor NCIS. Never did, never will.
AN: This story takes place after Angel ended and at some point in NCIS after the Chip fiasco.
Abby's New Assistant
When the doors opened, Gibbs was met with the sight of one Abigail Sciuto standing outsider her lab and stomping her boot at Director Vance like a petulant, heavily-tattooed two year old.
"I did not agree to this and I won't," asserted Abby with some color in her usually pale face.
"What's going on?" asked Gibbs, striding forward to hand Abby her Caf-Pow. He liked to keep her happy as that was what kept her efficient.
"Miss Sciuto here is upset with her new assistant," answered Vance, not taking his eyes off of Abby.
"I have nothing against her," interjected Abby. "I'm against being given an assistant when I don't want one. Look, Director, I don't want another Chip."
"She will not be another Chip," snapped Vance, finally beginning to lose his patience with the forensics expert. "Ms. Burkle is a highly qualified candidate and a lovely young woman." With that, Vance turned on his heel and went back to his office. Discussion over.
Once the elevator doors had dinged, signaling Vance's departure, Gibbs turned to Abby with a smirk on his face. He understood why she was nervous about a new assistant but he believed that she needed help. Her workload seemed only to increase but there was still just one of her. One woman could not do it all. He also found her stomping her platform-clad foot amusing. "So, new assistant …" he prodded.
"Yeah," huffed Abby. "Want to meet her?"
Gibbs just shrugged and walked into Abby's lab, which was missing its normally ear-splitting music, a sure sign that Abby was upset. At first Gibbs didn't see the new assistant. The lab looked normal. Then, sitting all the way in a corner, out of the way, sat Abby's new assistant, preparing slides. The young woman was very pretty, if a bit bony. She had her big brown eyes hidden behind safety goggles and her long brown hair up in a neat ponytail. She did not even seem to register Gibbs' entrance; she was so caught up in her work and, Gibbs thought, she did not have the training to be always vigilant. He would have to change that. Working at NCIS could be dangerous; she needed to be aware of her surroundings, be able to spot hazards and to report them to the proper authorities.
Turning back to Abby, Gibbs just quirked a brow. And then he jumped. If anyone asked later, he would deny it, but he definitely jumped when the new assistant said "hello," suddenly standing right behind him.
"Hi," Gibbs replied, turning back to her and wondering how she had moved so silently.
"Gibbs, meet Fred Burkle," introduced Abby. "Fred, meet Special Agent Gibbs."
Gibbs wasn't sure if he should offer his hand to the girl or not. Looking at her face, he could swear that he saw nothing there—a complete ice queen. Her eyes just seemed blank and she seemed to be studying him in an oddly detached way. In the blink of an eye, however, her face softened, her mouth curving into a large, almost geeky smile. And her eyes—which a moment ago had seemed as cold as to have specks of purple ice in them, if Gibbs could trust his own eyes—were now a warm, chocolaty brown and seemed to have a smile all their own.
"Hi," Fred said, with a slight Texan twang while offering her hand. "It's a pleasure to meet you. I'm just so excited to be here."
Gibbs took her hand and let her ramble on excitedly about how much she loved science and forensics and how interested she was in just learning everything that they do there. She seemed nice enough, but he just could not shake the feeling that there was more to her. He would watch her closely while she was here.
Finally breaking off Fred's babbling, Gibbs turned to Abby and asked for news on their latest case. Fred just amiably went back to work. Out of the periphery of his eye, however, Gibbs could swear that, when she thought no one was looking at her, her back straightened to an almost painful degree and her smile became a straight, grim line again.
It had been three weeks since Fred had joined NCIS and she was mostly fitting in. Despite her initial misgivings, Abby liked her new assistant. She found Fred to be companionable, intelligent, and efficient—three things Abby really appreciated. Fred was good at her job, there was no denying that. And she had done something to Abby's mass spec that sped it up to an almost unbelievable speed. Abby got her results so quickly now that she had less time to goof off while waiting for results. Gibbs really liked the upgrades to the mass spec.
Abby's only concern was how well Fred seemed to get along with McGee. McGee had taken to Fred like a koala takes to eucalyptus trees. The two could sit and geek out together for hours, a warm smile plastered on Fred's face the entire time. McGee could see nothing wrong with Fred and couldn't understand what Tony and Ziva were talking about.
Although Ziva liked Fred and enjoyed having conversations with the woman, she could not shake her initial impression that Fred was hiding something. Something about the woman just seemed fake. She was like a facsimile of a cheerful, Texan genius—identical, but just not the real deal.
Tony downright disliked Fred. He found her cold and imposing but, if he were to be honest with himself, it was mainly his fault. Their initial meeting had not gone well. Abby had left them alone as she went to go ask Ducky a question. Fred had seemed almost sad when Abby had gone to visit Ducky and Jimmy on her own. Fred got along very well with Ducky, even though she had only known him for a few days. She absorbed his stories with a voraciousness that Ducky had never experienced before. Nevertheless, Fred was stuck in the lab with Tony.
Tony immediately noticed how attractive Abby's new assistant was. When he had heard that Abby's new assistant was named Fred, he had pictured some creepy guy, possibly with a mustache. He had not been prepared for Fred's unassuming beauty. He immediately fixed his most charming smile onto his face and turned his suave up to eleven. "Hey there. So, your Abby's new assistant? Welcome to NCIS."
"Thanks," smiled Fred, perfectly warm and friendly. "I'm so excited to be here. All this equipment, it's dizzying."
Smiling back, Tony got closer. "So, where're you from? You have an accent."
"I'm originally from Texas but I spent a while in L.A. I went to school up there. I've only been her a week or so," she chattered.
"Well, that would explain the accent. If you need someone to show you around, I'd love to. I could show you both the sights and the places a new resident of D.C. needs to know." Moving closer, Tony continued, "You know, I know this quiet little place that serves the best Chinese food. It's a bit out of the way, but the food's good and, with you, the company will be better."
And just like that Fred changed. Her face became hard and all the smile went out of her eyes. When she next spoke, her Texan accent had completely disappeared and her cadence was oddly monotonous. "I do not wish to go any place with you. I find you overbearing and arrogant. Leave." With that, Fred turned back to her work and did not spare another glance for Tony.
Tony left, feeling shaken. From then on, every time he got too close to Fred, her spine would straighten and she would shoot him a "drop dead" look. He couldn't even call it a glare because there was not enough emotion on her face for her look to be classified as anything but a look.
Nevertheless, the people who mattered liked Fred. Abby had accepted her and found that she liked having an assistant who wasn't trying to kill her; Vance enjoyed the lab's productivity; McGee had a new geek to play with; Ducky and Jimmy enjoyed talking to her; and Gibbs found her interesting. Gibbs, like Tony and Ziva, knew there was something off about her but it didn't seem dangerous. He couldn't blame her for her coolness around Tony. Despite Rule #12, Tony had still propositioned her and she had shot him down. No one wanted to be disregarded as a colleague and treated like a conquest at work. As for Ziva, she often had trouble accepting new people to the group. Ducky probably would have had some fancy name for why that was, but Gibbs just thought that, despite having been at NCIS for years, Ziva was still a bit nervous about her position as the newest member of the team. A new face just drove that home for Ziva.
Gibbs would continue to watch Fred but he had already mostly relaxed around her. She just seemed like a nice and nerdy scientist whose people skills were fairly well-developed but not entirely so. Gibbs had met others like her and it just didn't bother him. He had more important things to worry about, like their latest case.
The team's latest case—two months after Fred's addition to the unit—was going to hell and no one in their right mind would deny it. It seemed that Abby had another fan—she, after all, had so many—and this fan was committing murders to get her attention. Agent Gibbs and the rest of the team still did not know who this guy was but they were fairly certain he was after Abby. All of his crimes were staged in a way that made the bulk of the evidence go to Abby and left her with her hands full while the rest of the team just sat waiting for anything conclusive to fall into their laps. Not to mention, the love letters their murderer was sending to the forensics lab were getting creepier and creepier. Abby was not letting the attention discourage her though. If anything, it made her want to catch the guy even more. She hated that this guy was trying to rattle her. If she were to be honest with herself though, he was rattling her. Badly.
"This evidence just doesn't make sense," Abby muttered to herself. "This guy is just too smart. He's better than us." Upon seeing her assistant looking at her, Abby shored up and said, "I didn't mean that. We just need a new approach."
Putting on Fred's Southern twang and her sweet smile, Abby's assistant told her, "Don't worry. We'll get this guy. Maybe you just need to get a good night's sleep. You do that and I bet everything will make tons more sense in the morning. Everything will be right as rain with cherries on top."
"Yeah, you're probably right," replied Abby, smiling at her mousy assistant's weird sayings. "I'll call Gibbs; he'll want to escort me home."
But Gibbs did not want Abby to go home. He was worried that this psycho would go to Abby's place. He could post McGee there to watch her, but why dangle the bait and put Abby's life in jeopardy.
"She could stay with me," Fred cut in.
"Oh, please, please," Abby begged, making her eyes go wide, not unlike a puppy's.
"Fine," acquiesced Gibbs, "but I want McGee with you guys."
"Sure thing, boss," said Fred sweetly.
McGee, Abby, and Fred were just settling down to watch a movie when Fred quirked her head to the side in a wonderful impersonation of a dog hearing something.
"What is it?" McGee asked his friend.
"I heard something," she responded almost robotically.
The three grew silent and listened closely. After about a minute, McGee heard it too. It was like a slight scratching noise at the window. He could almost kick himself for not having heard it first. Pulling out his gun, he got up to investigate, but just before he got to the window in Fred's apartment, the glass shattered.
"Let's go," McGee shouted to the women, ushering and barricading them into Fred's bedroom. Had it just been him there, he would have stayed put and tried to take this guy down, but he did not want to risk his coworkers. They may be tough ladies, but they were not trained to deal with this kind of stuff. Gibbs had tasked him with keeping them safe, not catching the guy. He quickly pulled out his phone and called Gibbs, alerting him to the situation.
As they waited for Gibbs and the team, the pounding on the door became frantic. The insane man on the other side just kept moaning Abby's name and crying about his love for her. Needless to say, Abby and McGee were pretty freaked out.
Then, with the sound of splintering wood, Fred's bedroom door splintered. Abby's stalker burst into the room and they were very unhappy to see him wielding an axe, a la Jack Torrance in The Shining. "I just love you so much," he cried.
"Drop the weapon," said McGee, training his gun on the man. "Drop it now."
"Who are you?" the man asked, his eyes darting between McGee and Abby. "Abby, who is this man? What are you doing with him?" He sounded like a two-timed lover.
"Um, trying not to die," Abby responded despite her terror. Her eyes were opened so widely in fear that it was a surprise they didn't pop out of her skull.
"Drop the weapon," repeated McGee.
Suddenly Gibbs, Tony, and Ziva burst through Fred's apartment's door. The man panicked and rushed at McGee.
Before anyone could even get off a shot, however, Fred was standing between the man and McGee. Abby's lab assistant grabbed the man with one hand and the axe with the other. He struggled against her, crying, but she remained as calm as a bottle of valium. She was concentrating deeply on stopping the man without killing him; she knew that Gibbs would be displeased if the man were to die.
Her concentration was broken, however, when Gibbs yelled at her to step back. She could register the higher-than-usual octave of his voice denoting fear. Fear for her? She wasn't sure but she did not like for her boss to sound like that. In her moment of lost concentration, the man managed to swipe her with the axe. It was a minor wound for an old one, merely a gash in her abdomen, but it was enough to halt her.
She needed more strength.
Summoning her energies, Fred allowed herself to become something she hadn't become in months. Her true self. Illyria. Her skin and hair took on their true blue coloring and her eyes paled. Her loose blouse and skirt disappeared, becoming tightfitting, imposing red armor.
"You should not have done that," she said coldly, keeping her fury simmering just below the surface. It disgusted her that a mere mortal had been able to harm her.
"Wh-wh-what are you?" the man stuttered, terrified. And he wasn't the only scared one. Abby's eyes had somehow managed to bulge out of her skull even more and McGee, Tony, and Ziva had all lowered their weapons in their shock. They were no longer sure whom they should be targeting. Gibbs was the only one who kept his weapon trained on the axe-wielding man. As far as Gibbs was concerned, Fred—whatever she was—was still on their side. He could deal with this new twist later. Right now he just needed to protect his people.
"I am your god," Illyria replied, tightening her hold on the man's throat. He began to choke, gasping for air and begging for his life, but Illyria was unsatisfied with his gasps and kept up her pressure. She slowly felt the fight go out of him, as he passed out from anoxia. Reining herself back in, Illyria fought the urge just to crush his windpipe and let him die. Instead she let him go and dropped him to the floor.
"What are you?" asked Tony in wonderment. Illyria turned her head jerkily to the trio of agents at the door and gazed at them with her piercing eyes. It was then that she realized that Gibbs gun was now trained on her.
"I have not killed him," she informed Gibbs.
"That wasn't the question Agent Dinozzo asked you," said Gibbs. "What are you?"
"I will not harm you. I will continue working at NCIS," Illyria stated, as if that settled the matter.
"Who are you?" Gibbs ground out, his voice letting Illyria know that he would get an answer from her.
Had Illyria understood such human traits as sighing, she would have sighed. "I am the god-king Illyria."
"King?" muttered Tony under his breath. "I knew there had to be a reason she didn't like me. She's a man."
"That doesn't tell me what you are," insisted Gibbs, ignoring Tony as usual and pushing down the urge to remind Tony of his long-ago make-out session with a tranny.
"I am an old one," replied Illyria, no longer caring what they knew. She would not allow them to harm her. "Long ago, demons walked upon this planet, passing from one dimension to the next with the ease with which you take a step, but we were forced to relinquish our claim. But I do not need to explain myself to such lowly creatures."
"If we're such lowly creatures," asked Gibbs, "then why even stay here? Why work at NCIS?"
Illyria merely cocked her head to the other side, letting Gibbs know that she was not answering his questions.
"I will return to work tomorrow," she stated.
"Why?" asked Gibbs again.
"You are not afraid of me," stated Illyria.
Although it had not been a question, Gibbs felt the need to answer. "No, I'm not; I know you, Fred."
"They are afraid," she said, motioning to the others with one arm. The other arm was covering the gash in her abdomen. It pained her, yet she could not let the mortals see her weakness. A ruler does not show weakness to his subjects.
"Yes, they are," said Gibbs. "You just told us that you're a demon. A 'god-king.' I'll ask you again: If you are so powerful, then why do you work at NCIS?"
"I once worked with other mortals," she said, no longer looking at Gibbs but gazing at a blank patch of wall. Gibbs would have said she was lost in her memories but he suddenly realized how little he knew about Abby's assistant. He didn't feel he could say anything about her with any kind of certainty anymore. "I assumed Winifred Burkle's body. I worked with her 'friends.'" She said the word "friends" with a hint of disapproval. "It was not unpleasant," she concluded.
"Where are they now?" asked Gibbs, softly this time.
"Where are the other demons, the other old ones?" asked Ziva, jumping into the conversation. She was no longer as afraid. This creature was injured and clearly sad. She could understand losing one team and searching for another. She had left the Mossad and joined NCIS for a similar reason—she wanted to belong somewhere.
"The others are gone."
Gibbs finally lowered his gun, convinced that Fred—or Illyria—was not a threat to him or his team. "Come on," he said to her. "We're going to call Ducky so that he can have a look at your wound."
Had any of the others said this to her, Illyria would have refused them, but she merely walked over to Gibbs, holding her head high, and allowed him to pull out his cellphone and call Ducky. Illyria felt contented despite the evening's events.
After hanging up the phone, Gibbs felt Illyria looking at him with an intensity with which no one had ever looked at him before.
"You will be my Quahazan," said Illyria.
Although it was a statement and not a question, Gibbs nodded his head once in the affirmative. He did not entirely understand Illyria's words, but he understood the meaning behind them. She was part of his team now and he would take care of her.
He already had a computer geek, a playboy, a Mossad agent, and a goth—what harm could a god-king do?
If you liked it, please review!