Those who knew Ernie Everett back in his high school stoner days when he'd been going by "Ice" and shaving his nickname into his hair would have been surprised at how his life had turned out since then. How it had ended, with him lying dead in a gutter, would not have been as surprising to them though. Three days of hanging in a cage with nothing to do but wait for rescue after being captured by real life witches can change a man. It had completely destroyed his friend Jay for instance. That change had caused him to turn his life around, culminating in him joining the Navy right out of high school and working his way up the ranks as he married and became a family man.

If life had been more like a fairy tale, Max Dennison who'd been in love with Ernie's wife back during their high school days would have been married to Allison, and she wouldn't have stayed up all night waiting for Ernie, who was finally home on leave, growing increasingly convinced that he was cheating on her until the call came and tore her life apart. Life was not a fairytale, people changed, they grew up and grew apart, and it was a rare few who married their first love and stayed with them throughout the rest of their lives. It is more often than not one's second or third love that one marries, as was the case with Allison and Ernie. After Ernie had cleaned himself up and joined the Navy, he became a much better prospect than the weed-smoking, candy stealing, juvenile delinquent he had been. Allison saw that one day when he returned on leave, and gave him a chance, a chance that led to marriage, kids, a house in the suburbs, and all that stuff.

On the day Lieutenant Everett's life ended, he had left behind a wife and two young sons. Three days after Lieutenant Everett's life ended, a team from the NCIS offices in the Washington Navy Yard turned up to see if his death had been related to a case they had down in D.C., and see if they could give Everett's wife and sons some answers as to why he had died. On that team were Former Marine Leroy Jethro Gibbs, Former Police Detective Anthony DiNozzo, Former Mossad Agent Ziva David, and Former Farmboy Cursed to be a Cat Timothy McGee who had originally been known as Thackery Binx. Of these four, McGee was naturally the least happy to be there, and even less happy to be investigating something he was rapidly beginning to realize had been tied to his previous life as an immortal feline who'd been forced to find any number of ways to communicate before he'd been allowed to talk again on his final night as a cat.

Figuring that his being here in Salem and investigating the death of Ernie of all people couldn't be a coincidence, McGee turned his attention away from the events in D.C. and turned it towards that which connected him to the deceased Lieutenant. His first stop would naturally be the Sanderson Sisters' home which was once again a working museum with gift shop which had remained open this time since he hadn't been there to sabotage things like he had the last time around as he'd waited for the building which was standing due to magic to crumble to dust after nature took its course like it should have.

Max Dennison, who'd bought the property in better times, ran the museum which was now his sole source of income full-time. Fortunately, for the sake of his survival and his chances of making payments on his underwater mortgage, a good number of tourists dropped by and bought kitschy souvenirs each week. Not that Tim had been keeping track...Much.

As DiNozzo, who'd come with him, poked around the museum and laughed at the exhibits, Tim asked Max questions, questions that caused the man to frown as if he were trying to place him. Most people had forgotten the events of that Halloween back in '93, but then again, they'd only been peripherally aware of them if at all. Having a complete stranger come to town and start asking Max about someone who'd been connected to those events must've been disconcerting. Fortunately, after a good two years in California, another seven years in college in Baltimore Maryland and Cambridge Massachusetts, some time in Norfolk, and the last several years in D.C., he'd ditched his seventeenth-century colonial accent which would have immediately given him away.

After Max had answered the questions he'd asked to the best of his abilities, he pretended to poke around the museum despite the fact that he just wanted to get the hell out of here since this place had always made his skin crawl. In fact, he actually had tried to leave as soon as he was done questioning the Dennison boy who was now approaching middle-age but, DiNozzo had needled him until he'd ended up staying long enough to satisfy the senior agent who was nearly three hundred years his junior. When he came to a certain exhibit case that was clean and completely dust free, he frowned.

"Wasn't there a book here?" he asked.

"Yes." Max said, giving him a suspicious look. "But, it was stolen a long time ago."

"What's so important about the book McGeek?" DiNozzo asked him as they left the museum with Max's eyes following them as they did so.

"Aside from the fact that it was several centuries old and extremely valuable?" he replied. "Some people believed that it contained magical spells that actually worked."

DiNozzo snorted at this and made a movie reference that he couldn't quite catch since he wasn't paying attention as they made their way to the car. Despite the fact that he touted himself as being a man of science, that lovely art that was as far from magic as he could get, he wasn't nearly so flippant about this. He'd seen the effects of the spells contained within that book of the black arts firsthand. This was bad, very bad.

In the wrong hands, the book could cause chaos and destruction on an unprecedented scale. In the hands of your everyday witch, the book could cause an incalculable amount of damage. The best anyone could hope for was that the book was in the hands of a slightly less than scrupulous collector who valued it for its rarity rather than what it contained.

&!&!&!&

As agents DiNozzo and McGee drove away, Max turned and went back inside the museum. It couldn't have been a coincidence that they had been here asking about that Navy guy's death. That Navy guy that he hadn't associated with that moron who'd jacked his shoes that eventful Halloween after his family had first arrived in Salem until he'd gone to give his condolences to Allison with whom he'd lost touch over the years. The more timid looking one, McGee, had asked him a number of questions pertaining to that Halloween that very few people knew the truth about.

Amongst the living, it had just been him, Dani, Allison, Jay, and Ernie who'd had any idea of what had really happened that night. The children who'd been ensnared by Sarah Sanderson's magic, the overworked police who'd eventually gotten the children home, and the parents who had danced until dawn at the party at the Town Hall had had no idea what had happened that night and postulated that something had been released into either the air or the water, and eventually forgot all about it as soon as the brief media furor was over.

Now, nearly twenty years later, someone had come knocking and asking about the event. Someone who had known about the existence of the book which had been stolen prior to the museum's re-opening. He had little doubt that the man was with NCIS. What he doubted however was the man's reason for being here, especially after the death of one of the few people who had known about that night, a death that he'd heard had been a mugging gone wrong.

Sighing, he called the Salem Police Department. His sister picked up on the third ring.

"Whaddo ya want Max?" Dani asked.

"I had someone come around asking me some odd questions related to That Night." he replied, immediately getting to the point since his sister was undoubtedly busy. "Can you find anything out about a NCIS agent named Timothy McGee?"