"Family of Rayne Grean?" The nurse called, and I quickly stood up.
"How is she doing?" I asked lowly, ignoring how McGee and DiNozzo exchanged looks over my behavior.
"The surgery was successful. The bullet fragments were all removed," She handed me a jar full of tiny slivers of bullet. "Reconstruction of the sternum took much longer than we thought, especially because we had to bypass her heart to stitch closed the hole in her pericardium. However, she's been moved to a room. When she wakes up, we'll let you know." She said sympathetically.
"Did you find anything in her physical? It needs to be documented for the investigation." I asked, and the nurses' face dropped.
"Her medical records where highly incomplete. Of the broken bones that were reported, we found more than double when we performed x-rays. It looks as if the abuse Ms. Grean received is worse than anyone thought."
"Was a rape SAE performed?" I asked, filling with dread. (A/N: Rape SAE kits or Rape Sexual Assault Evidence Kits are used in real life.)
"Yes, I'll have that sent to your labs as well, along with the updated x-rays and a full report of the newest injuries. Once she's feeling better, your agents can come in to collect other evidence."
Walking out of the hospital, I called Abby, trying to fight down another wave of dread. She'd had the SAE kit for over two hours now, and was bound to have something. "Do you have anything, Abby?" I asked, getting into my car as she picked up the phone.
"Yes. Rayne Grean was not raped by Dean Koziol or Garrett Weber. However, she's not a virgin. It's impossible to tell if she was raped previously, or chose to have sex." Abby said quietly, and I let out a deep breath. It was better news than I'd been hoping for. "Is she ok?"
"The surgery was a success. Once she heals more, I'll talk to her. McGee and DiNozzo are on security detail. Ziva is at the crime scene yet."
"And I have a boatload of evidence to process. I'll talk to you later—and please bring a Caf-Pow!, I'm dying back here." Abby whined.
"I'll see what I can do." I said, unable to not smile. As Abby processed the evidence, the story of what happened to Rayne came together. After being kidnapped from her home in Dumfries, she was thrown in the bed of Dean Koziol's truck, bound, and transported to the abandoned barn that belonged to Garrett Weber's great grandfather. Once they were there, they locked her in a horse stall. While they waited for her to wake up, they dug a hole four miles away, clearly preparing to dump her body. Abby had their fingerprints on the rope used to tie up Rayne, the wrench they beat her with, the stable door, the stools, and the shovels used to dig the hole. The gun was registered to Koziol. The case was airtight, and for that, I was grateful. It meant that Rayne didn't have to testify in court.
Waiting was hard. It would be a waste of time to wait around at the hospital until I could talk to Rayne again, so I stayed away as long as I could before going crazy. I couldn't help but care for Rayne's safety. She had lost her mother and father, and I'd lost my wife and daughter. For some reason, I felt connected to her. I wanted to know how she'd move forward with her life, and I wanted to make sure that she stayed safe. Finally, when I couldn't take it anymore, I went back to the hospital. "Agent Gibbs," The secretary greeted me as I walked into intensive care. "Ms. Grean is stable and doing better. A lot of the pain she was feeling earlier is under control."
"Good. Can I see her?" I asked, and she nodded, pushing the button that controlled the doors, letting me through. After a few twists and turns, I moved silently to the doorway and looked in. Rayne was propped up in bed, electrodes coming out from underneath her hospital gown. With her free hand, she had a book spread open on her lap, reading, her other arm done up in a sling. Her face was still battered and bruised, but the deeper cuts had been bandaged and probably stitched closed. Around both of her wrists were thick bandages from where the thin, sharp, nylon rope had cut into her skin. After looking at her for a second, I knocked lightly on the doorframe, making her head shoot up. "Rayne," I greeted her, walking into the room, trying to forget how it'd felt to feel her blood ooze over my hands, gushing with her pulse.
"Agent Gibbs," She greeted me, sounding slightly confused. She slowly dog-eared her page and then closed her book. On a closer glance, I saw the title: Street Law. "Can I help you?" She asked, setting the book on the vanity.
"Just wanted to see how you were doing," I said easily, coming over and sitting on the chair beside her. She laughed, then winced, pressing a hand to her chest.
"Something tells me there is something else you want from me." She said, and her openness surprised me. Our exchanges had always been cold, but maybe we could make a fresh start.
"Yeah, well, I've learned to multitask." I said, and a smile twitched at her lips. "Still studying law?" I asked, and she glanced at the book, then shrugged lightly.
"College has been put on hold, obviously, so I thought I'd stay caught up." She said, adjusting the strap on her sling.
"So you'll be leaving Dumfries, then?" I asked, and she frowned.
"I'll be leaving nothing behind but some bad memories. How does this pertain to your investigation?" I asked, and I leaned forward.
"It doesn't. I wanted to know." I said simply, and she raised an eyebrow, wincing again as it stretched a cut.
"Why?" She asked, looking confused.
"Because I care." I said truthfully, and she blinked, looking surprised and almost a little hurt.
"Well, you've joined a short list of those who do, Agent Gibbs. Now, what can I do for you?" She asked, looking away, and I felt my brow crease. She put herself down all the time—had her father enforced that idea in her head?
"I'm here to talk about what happened." I said carefully, starting slowly, watching her expression. Her eyes immediately went blank, her face smoothing; it was like looking at a wall. That kind of reaction was not what I was expecting.
"You need to be more specific." She said, already guessing that we'd finally figured out just how much abuse she had taken in the short 18 years she'd been alive.
"Let's start at the beginning then." I suggested. "You're medical records were incomplete." I stated the obvious, but she shook her head.
"They weren't incomplete. I only went to the hospital when it was absolutely necessary- and they only took x-rays of the injury I came in for." She said, and I just stared at her. "Ok, look, they would always ask me if something more was going on, or if I wanted them to perform a more…thorough physical, but I always said no. I couldn't afford it." She said after meeting my gaze and quickly looking away.
"So, what, you'd just set the bones at home?" I asked in disbelief, filling with shock when she nodded like it was nothing.
"There was plenty of booze around to numb the pain, and if I really needed help, I'd go to Vinny, the doctor who works at the skating rink. It's not as bad as you'd think." She said a bit defensively as I just kept staring at her, getting angrier by the minute. No kid should ever have to stay home from the hospital and set their own broken bones. She was stronger than I ever could have imagined, but it was also horrifying. "Agent Gibbs, are you ok?" Her voice broke me out of my angry daydream (I was picturing what I'd do to her father if he was still alive). She looked worried, watching me closely.
"Fine. What happened in the shop with those two?" I asked, and her face instantly went blank again- she knew exactly what I was talking about.
"I was working on a car. They came in, and I said the place was closed. Then Dean pulled a gun on me." She said, her voice hard. "His friend robbed the store—took all the money from the register. After that, I tried to escape by hitting both of them with the wrench, one in the ear and one in the shoulder. One of them grabbed the wrench and turned it on me." She said stiffly.
"You hit the two of them real good." I complimented her, but she didn't smile. She still didn't have a feeling of satisfaction for hurting others, even after what those two did to her. Her ability to control her own emotions to think logically was astounding.
"After that, I woke up in the horse stall. From there, they moved me to the ring, tied me to one of the stools, and started asking where the money from the life insurance policy was." She continued, voice eerily neutral. "I bluffed and told them that there wasn't one."
"Do you know where the money is?" I asked her, and she nodded without hesitation.
"Remember the highest car stack in the lot? That's where I sleep mostly- all of the money is directly in the car below it under the dash. There's about four hundred and ninety seven thousand dollars in there."
"Enough for your education and then some." I prompted, and she shrugged. "Rayne, if you need to talk to anyone about what's happened-"
"I don't." She said brusquely, interrupting me.
"Rayne, you can't keep this all bottled up inside. You don't have to hide anything anymore; you don't have to protect anyone anymore." I said, watching her closely. She grimaced to the wall opposite, and then looked at me.
"I don't want to talk to a therapist. They make me feel some kind of fragile little victim, and I'm not." Rayne said after a minute of just looking at me. It was clearly difficult for her to share personal thoughts or emotions. "It's their business to know all of your business, and I don't like that at all."
"I was going to say that if you needed someone to talk to, I'm always open." I said, and her eyes widened a little in surprise.
"I-I'm not sure I could do that," she said honestly, and I cocked an eyebrow, as if to say, why not? "This might seem stupid, even a little offensive, especially to you, but…I'm afraid of Marines, army personnel, police officers, you name it."
"Are you afraid now?" I asked after a second, and she hesitated, but then shook her head. "I don't want you to be afraid. You can trust me." I said, leaning back as I said it. Rayne didn't say anything; she just grimaced once more, looking away. "The case is airtight, so we won't be contacting you to testify in court. The case is closed, Rayne. We won't be bothering you anymore." I said after a moment of silence. I knew that it was hard to open up, especially to someone you didn't know and still instinctively feared. I withdrew my card and placed it on top of her book on the vanity. "If you ever need anything, anything at all, you call that number." I said with as much firmness as I thought she could handle. Rayne turned to look at me then, eyes sad. "Goodbye, Rayne." I said after another moment of silence. When she didn't answer, I turned for the door.
"Semper Fi," her voice was so quiet, I almost didn't catch it. I turned back to smile at her, suddenly very glad that she'd put forth the obvious effort to say those two little words. Somehow, I knew that Rayne Grean would be alright.
"Semper Fi." I repeated, giving her a thankful nod before striding out.