This is my first NCIS fanfiction. I wrote it a long time ago and it's been sitting on my computer for far too long. This is a casefic that manages to be wrapped up in 8 short chapters. Cool, huh? The only reason this story is being posted is because I'm cleaning out all of my old folders of fanfiction before I go to college. I hope you enjoy the story!
**This is really embarrassing, but I caught this mistake as I was uploading the chapters. The team investigates a murder, but the man killed is a marine, not a naval officer. That is a really awful and horrible mistake. If you can play along and forgive me for such a stupid error, I think you'll enjoy the story...hopefully.**
"Hey, do you have an A/C hose that would fit an Acura MDX from 2004?" A kind, quick drawl jerks me out of my daze. It's Tuesday morning, boring and slow in the shop. I didn't even hear the kind little lady in front of me come in from the scorching summer heat. She had a southern drawl—not from here. I was actually surprised that she knew exactly what part she needed. You didn't see that so much these days.
"Yes, ma'am," I responded, flashing her a quick smile to make up for my daydreaming, getting up and stretching to reach the part she needed off the wall, wincing when I felt the wounds on my thigh stretch. "This should do the trick for you."
"Thanks, you have no idea how much I needed this part." She said gratefully as I rung up the A/C hose, bagging it for her. "Do you accept AAA cards?" She asked, pulling out an insurance card instead of money to pay for the part.
"We do, I just have to get a form for you to fill out. One sec," I said, filling with dread as I headed for the office. Dad was probably nursing a hangover in there—I didn't want to make him mad by waking him up. I crossed the shop and fished my keys out of my pocket. When I went to put them in the lock, I realized that there was a bullet in the there instead—we'd been broken into. That was just perfect. I'd probably take the blame for something Dad did in a drunken stupor. With a sigh, I pushed the door open, ready to take the insults. Luckily, he was still passed out cold, his forehead resting on the desk. Walking closer, I jerked to a halt when I noticed the dark red pool of blood around his head. Even though I didn't want to, I inched closer, around the edge of the desk, and got a look at his face.
He was dead.
"Where the hell are we?" DiNozzo asked blearily, getting out of the car and blinking in the harsh sunlight. The summer heat was making waves across the landscape, and the asphalt was radiating overwhelming warmth. Looking around, I silently asked the same question. We were in front of a high metal fence and gate, which were open, leading to a dirt yard, full of cars, parts, tires and huge oil drums. There was one ranch style house across the street, but the rest of the road was deserted. The sidewalk was old, cracked, and home to many different kinds of weeds. The dirt in the motoryard in front of us was cracked and rock hard, packed firmly down and dried under the merciless sun. It was hard to believe we were even in Virginia—it felt like we were in the deep South. The setting was intriguing, and I tucked it away for later story writing.
"Dumfries, Virginia," Ziva stated, examining the PRIVATE PROPERTY sign on the gate to the junkyard we were in front of. She was used to the heat. After all, she did come from Israel.
"You mean Hickville." Tony corrected in a grumble, pulling his baseball cap lower over his forehead, trying to block some of the sun.
"Hello, there!" Ducky greeted us cheerfully, suddenly appearing at the gate, watching Palmer try to push the gurney holding the body over the rough ground with slight amusement. "I'd stay and chat, but it's dreadfully hot, and cadavers and heat don't mix, do they, Mr. Palmer?"
"Absolutely not, Doctor." Palmer said, half listening, half forcing the gurney over the broken sidewalk and to the autopsy truck.
"Hey, you three coming or what?" Gibbs asked in irritation, appearing beside Ducky. In the heat he had ditched his coffee early and the lack of caffeine made him grumpier than ever.
"Of course we are, Boss, we were just admiring the lovely weeds growing in the sidewalk," Tony said loudly, adjusting his hat again, ducking quickly past Gibbs before he could be slapped for being a smart aleck. I followed Ziva in, craning my head up to look at the huge, tall stacks of cars that seemed to scrape the sky. It seemed like every car ever made had wound its way up here and collapsed. A few yards away, half hidden among cars, was a small steel building with car parts in the window—so this place actually inhabited people. That was reassuring.
"Tony, process the office and shop with Ziva. McGee, you're with me." Gibbs ordered, and I nearly groaned out loud. Of course Ziva and Tony would get to go into air conditioning while I had to walk around a desert for clues. For the next hour I swallowed all complaints and pain and looked among the cars, oil barrels and junk, trying to find something that was evidence and not trash.
"Not much there boss, just the two bullets and all the bloody papers on the desk. We did find all of these files in the office though—thought we could take them with us." Tony sounded much too cheerful when he crossed the scorching dirt towards Gibbs and I, sticking to the slightly cooler shade created by the stacks of cars. He sat down two boxes and I nearly groaned again; they were all paper files, not digital, and it'd be my job to go through them all. Ziva raised two sealed evidence bags for Gibbs' inspection when he turned to glare at them.
"You'll need a warrant for those files." A cool but definitely unfriendly voice came from nowhere, making Gibbs shoot up, hand resting on his gun. Ziva did the same, looking around for the source of the voice. I slowly stood up, trying to pinpoint the sound.
"Whose there? Show yourself." Gibbs commanded, not in the mood today for games.
"Up here," The voice said calmly, and we all turned around, shielding our eyes against the sun and looking up at the highest car tower in the lot, at least three stories tall, supported by other, shorter stacks around it. Sitting at the very, very top was a person, an old fashioned BB-gun resting next to them. Against the harsh glare of the sun, all I could discern was a black silhouette. "And like I said, you'll need a warrant if you want those files."
"NCIS, Federal Agents. Come down from there." Gibbs ordered. The person slung the strap of the BB gun over their shoulder and started the long descent down, climbing down the cars as if it was a cliff with a quick ease, but their gait was weighted more to their right side, as if they had a limp. As they got out of the glare of the sun, I realized it was a teenage girl. She had two brown braids trailing down her shoulders that were full of natural highlights, very tan skin from the sun, and lots of freckles. She had on khaki walking shorts, army style, a white tank top, and sandals. "Why are you trespassing in a crime scene?" Gibbs demanded as soon as her feet touched the ground.
"One, no one asked me to leave, two, the actual crime scene is in the shop, and three, I'm the dead bastards' daughter." The girl said sharply, picking up on Gibbs' gruff manner instantly. Ziva, Tony and I exchanged looks while Gibbs just stared at the girl a minute. "Now, can I help you?" She continued, adjusting the strap on her shoulder.
"Yeah," Gibbs said, clearly irritated. "You can come in for questioning about your father's death, Ms…?"
"Rayne. Rayne Grean, and I'm not answering any questions until you have just cause to bring me in for questioning." She said crossing her arms, not backing down, which was surprising, with Gibbs on the warpath and all.
"I'll have you arrested for hindering a federal investigation." Gibbs threatened.
"You can try, sir, but that would be against the law." She said frostily, not breaking eye contact. "When you have a damn good reason to talk to me and take those files, you'll have to prove it. Until then—"
"Do not play games with me," Gibbs said dangerously, taking an intimidating step forward.
"You marines are all the same. No one is above the law." Rayne said disgustedly, raising her chin in defiance. Gibbs eyes flashed angrily, but before he could rip the girl's head off, his cell phone rang. He whirled around and flipped it open, storming away.
"Are you the one who found the body?" Ziva asked, not missing a beat.
"Yes," She answered, slinging her BB gun off her shoulder and leaning it against the mountain of cars behind her. As Ziva asked her about the positioning of the body, I snuck a look at Gibbs. He was standing in the shade of a car stack across the lot, brows furrowed as he listened to the person on the phone. He still looked pissed.
"Did you hear anything last night, like, gee, I don't know, a gun going off?" Tony asked rudely, breaking me from my day dream.
"In case you didn't notice, there is a shooting range three miles from here. I heard about twenty gunshots last night." Rayne said frostily, clearly not intimidated by Tony either. Ziva snorted in laughter, but turned it quickly into a cough. She probably found the whole situation amusing.
"What?" I snarled into my phone, stalking away from the girl, trying not to arrest her. She'd been right about everything, and it was irritating. She reminded me of Allison Hart.
"I have preliminary autopsy reports already, if you want them." Ducky said calmly, as if I hadn't snarled at him.
"What do you got, Duck?" I asked, trying to calm down.
"Well, one bullet, right in the forehead was the cause of death, but this man was well on his way before he strayed across the bullet's path. His liver was so full of fat, it took me a while to actually find any real liver cells. This man had a severe case of alcoholic cirrhosis. He's probably been drinking very heavily for about fourteen years." Duck explained, sounding disgusted. He was touchy about people destroying their bodies for no reason; to him, they were more important than anything. I glanced at the girl, Rayne. She was sizing up DiNozzo, even though he had a good two feet in height on her. Maybe that's why she was so unfriendly. "You know, I once met a man in Wales-" Ducky started, but I cut him off, not in the mood for one of his long stories.
"Thanks, Duck." I hung up and walked back over, letting myself get mean again. She wasn't going to get away with her last comment about the marine core. "Your father was a drinker, huh?" I asked, and she stiffened, turning away from DiNozzo to glare at me with unmasked hatred.
"It got him kicked out of the marine core two summers ago. Now, can I help you with anything else?" She changed the topic fast—I'd hit a sore spot. Good.
"No. But we'll be back," I promised, stepping closer, turning it into a threat. She said nothing, just glared at me with angry brown eyes, and I felt her gaze on us as we left, getting into the car. "Don't get too comfortable. DiNozzo, go across the street and talk to the neighbor. Ziva, go to the shooting range, back up her story. What was her alibi?" I asked.
"She didn't have one. She apparently spent the night in that tower of cars, and started work at seven this morning. She did not worry about where her father was." Ziva supplied. "Her father was a drunk?"
"According to Ducky, Private Grean has been drinking heavily for fourteen years." I replied.
"This is gunna be a tough one, huh, boss?" DiNozzo asked in his loud, probing voice that got under your skin, and I turned and gave him a death glare. "Right, well, see ya," he said hastily, ducking out of the car and crossing the street to talk to the neighbor.
"Ziva, we'll drop you off at the shooting range and I'll come back to pick up you and DiNozzo. McGee, you're with me," I ordered, starting up the car and peeling out.