Disclaimer : First, let me say that I don't particularly like crossovers. Just not my thing. However... I've had a fair amount of airport time recently. Those who know me know that my brain and airport time tend to combine in weird ways. So, you've been warned. Continue at your own risk :-) RLK
By R. L. Keller
Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs dropped the telephone receiver back into its cradle on his desk at NCIS Headquarters. “Grab your gear,” he called out the usual line to his team. Used to the routine, Agents Timothy McGee and Anthony Dinozzo, and Officer Ziva David, grabbed their backpacks and headed for the elevator. “Dead body at Norfolk on the sub dock,” Gibbs added, to let them know where they were headed.
As they all piled in and Ziva hit the button for the parking garage where they would pick up their rig, Gibbs smacked Dinozzo on the back of the head. “What's that for?” Dinozzo demanded, staring at his boss.
“Just getting a head start,” Gibbs told him dryly. “Seaview's in port.”
“Oh,” Dinozzo said, dropping his glare as well as lowering his head slightly. “Thank you, boss,” he added softly.
As McGee grinned broadly, David sent him a curious look. “Who is see-view?” she asked, her soft Israeli accent sounding out the strange word.
“Not who,” McGee told her, still with a slight grin despite the glare Dinozzo was sending him because of it, “what. She's a private submarine owned by the Nelson Institute of Marine Research.”
David's eyes lit up. “Oh. I know that submarine. It has those weird windows, yes?” McGee nodded. “But if it is a private sub, why is it at Norfolk?”
“The Institute does occasional work for the Navy,” it was Gibbs' turn to answer. “So she's allowed to use Navy ports.”
“And this is a problem for Tony because...?” David asked.
Dinozzo once more ducked his head as it was Gibbs' turn to smile softly before he answered. “The sub's owner is retired Admiral Harriman Nelson. The man's got a short fuse at the best of times, but Dinozzo holds the world's record for the shortest amount of time taken to tick him off.” The elevator reached the garage and the four headed for their car. Gibbs nodded at Dr. Donald Mallard, NCIS's coroner, as he and his assistant climbed into their van, preparing to follow. Ducky, as he was known affectionately, waved a hand back.
“And just how did you do that?” David asked Dinozzo all too innocently, getting back to the story.
“None of your business,” Dinozzo muttered, trying to end the conversation.
But Gibbs continued to explain. “We were working security along with several other teams at a charity event hosted by the SecNav's wife. Big splashy affair. I think half of DC was there.” A slight grin returned as Dinozzo started turning red. “The place was barely controlled chaos. Conversations going on all over the huge hall. Not cacophony, but you couldn't really hear what was going on more than about ten feet away.” Ziva nodded that she understood. “All of a sudden Tony decides that he recognizes a serial rapist/murderer in the group.”
“He matched the sketches and description,” Dinozzo tried to defend himself. “Even Kate said so,” he named the team's former member, killed in the line of duty.
“So, instead of trying to find out who the guy was first, or even getting any backup,” Gibbs continued as if Dinozzo hadn’t spoken, “Tony here wades through the crowd until he's standing right behind the guy, pulls his weapon, and tells him to walk quietly to the nearest exit.”
“I gather events did not go exactly as planned, Tony?” David again spoke, innocence now mingled with a hint of smugness and humor.
Dinozzo didn't say a word so Gibbs continued. “The group included Admiral Nelson and the SecNav himself. Instead of moving, the man turned and glared at Tony, and Nelson bellowed when he saw the gun. Instant silence, all over the room.”
“Man, there had to be nearly a thousand people there,” McGee interjected, “and instantly you could hear a pin drop.”
“McGee,” Dinozzo threatened. Unfortunately it had absolutely no effect, since Gibbs was directing the conversation.
Gibbs flipped his head in a gesture all three were familiar with. “Turn's out the guy was Seaview's CO, Capt. John Philips.” There was a choked-off snort from David. “Yeah,” Gibbs agreed. “Took Tony awhile to talk himself out of that mess.”
“Think positive, Tony,” David told him. “Perhaps Seaview will be docked far away from where we will be.”
Gibbs shook his head. “Only one dock at Norfolk is set up to handle subs, and that's the one we're headed for.”
“Oops,” David said, but there was no hiding the humor behind that one word.
“Sweet,” McGee added gleefully.
* * * *
“What's all the commotion out there?” Admiral Harriman Nelson asked his XO, Lt. Cdr. Charles P. Morton as he entered Seaview's Observation Nose. Before Chip could answer, Nelson looked around. “You know, I've been thinking. What would you say to redesigning Seaview and putting the Observation Nose one deck up?”
The blond looked up from the mound of paperwork he was arguing with. “Straight off the Control Room, sir? You don't think that would be a distraction to the Conn crew?”
“Humm. Hadn't thought of that angle.” He shrugged, and nodded out the submarine's unique windows to the activity across the dock in the Norfolk Naval Shipyards, where Seaview was tied up for some repairs.
“Lee walked over to the office a little while ago,” Chip named Seaview's skipper, Cdr. Lee Crane. “I expect him to stop and see what's going on when he comes back. Everything was quiet, then about 0745 all hell broke loose next to where the Wenatchee is docked. A couple of our crew said that they tried to find out, as they came back from leave, but the SP's chased them off.” He grinned ever so slightly. “Lee doesn't chase so easily.”
Nelson returned the grin but nodded once more outside, where several vehicles were pulling up. “Whatever it is, it would appear to be serious. NCIS has just arrived.” They watched in silence a few minutes, until another vehicle showed up on the dock. “Now that definitely has my curiosity piqued. That's the NCIS coroner's van from DC. Humm.” He sent Chip a quirky grin. “I wonder how hard the SP's would try to dislodge a nosy 3-star Admiral?”
Chip gathered his mounds of paperwork into a single stack. “Think I'll go along and help you find out. If you don't mind, sir,” he added quickly.
“Not a'tall, Chip, not a'tall,” and the pair headed topside.
As good a mood as Admiral Nelson appeared to be in, Chip was unprepared for the snarl that came out of his mouth as they neared the scene on the other side of the dock from where Seaview was tied up. But it only took him a moment to figure it out – one of the NCIS agents was the idiot that had tried to arrest Capt. Philips one night as a rapist/murderer. He was just about to consider his escape routes – Nelson showed every sign of imminent explosion – when a voice broke into his thoughts.
“Dinozzo, go help Ducky.” Chip recognized the voice as belonging to Special Agent Gibbs. A former Marine, the man was tough as nails. But Chip also knew him to be extremely good at his job.
“That's what Ducky has Palmer for,” whined Dinozzo.
“Did that sound like a request?” Gibbs spoke slowly and succinctly.
Chip saw Dinozzo look up from whatever he was doing, abruptly blanch when he caught sight of Nelson, and quickly head for the back of the van. Gibbs gave the departing back a quick grin and held out his hand. “Good to see you again, Admiral,” he greeted Nelson.
“It would appear to be for a rotten reason,” Nelson shook the man's hand.
“Yeah,” Gibbs agreed. “Not sure what we have yet. Ducky?” he addressed the man, now bent over a body partially hidden from view between two of the pallets sitting on the dock loaded with boxes of supplies apparently for the Wenatchee.
But before the coroner could answer, Dinozzo's voice was heard, still out of sight behind the van. “Move along,” he ordered someone, also out of sight. “Nothing of your business here.” Chip could hear a soft reply but not the actual words, and Lee stepped into sight. Chip hadn't seen him walk up, although he had to admit that he'd been distracted during Nelson's and Gibbs' short conversation by the other member of the NCIS team. Slender and dark-haired, she had a bit of an exotic look when she'd turned from where she'd been taking pictures as he and the Admiral first walked up. She'd sent him a smile, which had broadened briefly when Gibbs ordered Dinozzo away, but she'd quickly gone back to her job of documenting the scene.
As Lee ignored another order from Dinozzo and continued to walk forward, Nelson called out. “Lee.” Dinozzo had stepped out from behind the van and reached out a hand as if to grab Lee. At Nelson's call he stopped dead. Chip started to grin, but the expression turned to surprise as Lee spotted the woman.
“Ziva,” he stopped walking and said in an amazed voice.
“Lee,” she stopped taking pictures and stared at him.
“What are you doing here?” they said at the same time, then both grinned broadly and gave each other a quick hug before suddenly realizing that they'd become the center of everyone's attention. Even Dinozzo took a few steps closer, although still hugging the side of the van.
“I gather you two know each other,” Nelson told Lee blandly but his eyes were sparkling. It was very un-Lee-like to show that much emotion in public – even if it had been only a very brief moment.
Chip wasn't even trying to hold in his amusement at Lee's momentary discomfort before nodding. Gibbs, too, was sending the pair a curious look. “Officer Ziva David,” he made the introduction to Nelson, the accent on the second syllable of her last name.
“Commander Lee Crane, Seaview's captain,” Nelson returned the favor. Chip saw Dinozzo turn slightly green and retreat a couple steps, but still watch the pair intently.
“Ziva, ah, Officer David, and I met on an assignment,” Lee started to explain, “just before I was assigned to Seaview.” He turned back to David. “You're working with NCIS now?”
She glanced quickly at Gibbs, but answered. “I have been assigned as liaison between Mossad and NCIS.” She hesitated a second. “It is a long story.” She sent him a smile and a shrug.
“Where's Captain Philips?” Gibbs asked Nelson quietly, but not so quietly that the whole group didn't hear.
The Admiral hesitated ever so slightly. “Killed in the line of duty,” he answered gruffly. It was still too new a mental wound to come out easily. “Mossad?”
It was Gibbs' turn to shrug. “As Ziva says, it's a long story. Ducky?” he got back to business. Memories of losing Kate Todd were still too fresh in his memory as well.
“As you already know,” Dr. Mallard finally got a chance to answer, “I.D. on the body says that he's Gregory Salazar, a civilian mechanic working on base.”
“Fingerprint match confirmed,” Agent McGee added, holding up the small hand-held devise designed just for that purpose.
“At a quick glance, I'd say he was killed by being in the wrong place at the wrong time,” the doctor quipped. At Gibbs' instant glare, he continued. “Which was, by my estimation, approximately four hours ago. It would appear that he was smashed between these two pallets.”
“Not an accident,” was Gibbs' matter-of-fact conclusion.
“Not likely,” Mallard agreed, “given that the forklift driver then rather obviously backed off to set the pallet down before leaving.”
Gibbs turned back to Nelson. “COB on the Wenatchee found him when he and a couple of his men came out to start loading the supplies aboard. The pallets were already here. Nobody saw a blasted thing.”
“Tough one,” Nelson commiserated. But it got him back to Seaview business. “Lee, what did you find out?”
Lee frowned. “Not much, sir,” he muttered. “Seems the lieutenant in charge of assigning work crews has his hands full at the moment. I gather he thinks that Seaview is low on the priority pole. I tried to tell him just to release the parts and we'd do our own repairs.” He shrugged. “Didn't get very far. I was hoping maybe you could call someone higher up the food chain.”
Nelson's amiable expression turned instantly black as Lee was explaining. “Consider it done,” he growled, turned on his heel, and headed for Seaview.
Chip looked at Lee. “That wouldn't have been a Lt. Graybill, by any chance?”
Lee nodded. “Met him before?” It was Chip's turn to nod. “Who's in the radio shack?” Lee asked softly.
“Sparks,” Chip confirmed. “Thank heavens. He's used to the Admiral's....” He glanced at the NCIS team, who were all listening attentively. “Conversations,” he finished tactfully.
Gibbs grinned ever so slightly. “Anyone care to make a wager on how fast your supplies show up?” he asked.
Chip choked off a snort and Lee said to the agent. “Known the Admiral awhile, I gather.”
“Long enough,” Gibbs confirmed. He nodded in David's direction. “Assignment?” he asked.
Lee hesitated and sent Chip a quick look. The blond frowned but said nothing. “I get loaned out to ONI occasionally,” Lee finally answered softly.
Gibbs nodded and turned his gaze on David. “It was not long before I was sent here to...” she hesitated.
“Help Ari,” Gibbs finished the sentence in a growl. David merely nodded. Gibbs glared at her a moment before seeming to get himself back under control and abruptly moved closer to Dr. Mallard, leaving Chip, Lee and Ziva standing somewhat by themselves.
Lee turned back to Ziva. “Ari?” he asked. “Ari Aswari?”
Ziva nodded, an unhappy expression on her face. “It was not a good time.”
“That's an understatement.” Now that Nelson had left and Gibbs seemed occupied with Dr. Mallard, Dinozzo had walked closer. Chip saw David briefly glare at him before dropping her eyes. Dinozzo turned to Lee. “So, what does 'getting loaned out to ONI' mean?”
“Tony,” David admonished, “it is none of your business. How have you been?” she turned to Lee, trying to dismiss the other agent. “I have wondered where you were.” She smiled somewhat seductively.
Lee smiled shyly back. “And I, you. I was sorry that I had to leave so quickly.”
“Leave where?” Dinozzo once more interjected, walking to position himself almost between the two. Lee and David moved off a few feet, closer to the edge of the dock, in an apparent attempt to get away from the obnoxious agent and continue a private – hopefully – conversation. It wasn't to be; Dinozzo went with them, and Chip walked a cautious few feet closer himself. While Lee might have shown deference to the supply lieutenant, Chip figured that it was just Lee's way of not knowing quite how far he could rock the boat, so to speak, since he was so new aboard Seaview. But Chip, who had known Lee since they were roommates at Annapolis, also knew that Lee's dark Mediterranean complexion masked a dark, slightly evil temper when pushed too far. If Dinozzo didn't leave him alone... Well, Chip wanted to be close enough to enjoy the show!
(Hebrew) You appear to have healed from your wounds, David told Lee, with a casual glance up and down Lee's tall, lean body.
Chip buried a grin as Lee looked decidedly embarrassed by whatever Officer David had said. But his expression turned to one of surprise when Lee answered in the same language. ( ) It wasn’t as bad as it first looked. Chip assumed that it was Hebrew and had no idea that it was a language Lee spoke. But then, he had to remind himself that after they left Annapolis Chip and Lee hadn’t spent that much time together. With Lee having been called on to run errands for ONI – which Chip did not approve of, but knew that there wasn’t a whole lot he could do about it – Lee could, and probably had, picked up all sorts of talents that Chip wasn’t aware of.
“English,” Dinozzo ordered the pair. “It’s not polite to keep secrets from your partners.”
David gave her head a quick shake, and smiled at Lee. ( ) Tony believes that he needs to know everyone else’s business.
Lee ignored the other agent as well. ( ) And you haven’t yet shown him the error of ill-manners?
David chuckled softly. ( ) Gibbs disapproves of his agents killing each other.
“Ah,” Lee answered with a smile in his voice.
“You still haven’t told me where you met Ziva,” Dinozzo once more addressed Lee.
“Classified,” Lee told him, never taking his eyes off the woman. They both kept the enigmatic, slightly amused, expression on their faces.
“I have top level clearance,” Dinozzo insisted.
“I do not think you come even close to Lee’s, ah, Commander Crane’s, level of security, Tony,” Ziva told him.
Dinozzo snorted. “I rather doubt that, Ziva,” he put emphasis on her name. “I’m a highly trained field agent for NCIS. Crane here is just a glorified sub driver.”
“You have no idea what you are talking about, Tony,” David’s tone had turned impatient. Dinozzo’s only indication that he even heard her was to move to stand even closer to Lee. She continued to Lee. ( ) About Gibb’s rule against killing my fellow agents – I may have to test that rule in the very near future.
Lee sighed. ( ) There’s an idiot in every crowd. It caused David to laugh, and Lee joined her.
“Don’t you have somewhere else you need to be, Commander?” Dinozzo made the title sound ever so slightly derogatory.
Both Lee and David took another step away from Dinozzo. “Not really,” Lee told him lightly, although he was still looking at David, and she at him. Chip thought that he detected a slight nod of heads exchanged between Lee and David, and noticed that they were moving slowly closer to the edge of the dock, facing each other as they stood parallel to the water. Dinozzo, as he moved, was now almost facing the water, his back mostly to Chip. Chip had to instantly get his expression under control. This was getting interesting!
“Under present circumstances,” Chip added, wanting to needle the disgusting Dinozzo even further, “staying out of the Conn is probably a really good idea, at least for the next bit of time.”
Lee sighed again. “No joke,” he breathed.
“You’re interfering in a crime scene investigation,” Dinozzo changed tactics, and once more moved to get between Lee and David.
“Tony, the crime scene is way over there,” David pointed to where Gibbs was watching Dr. Mallard and his assistant put the body, now in a body bag, onto a gurney. Agent McGee was standing halfway between the two groups, apparently trying to keep track of both conversations.
“Then that’s where you and I should be.” Dinozzo reached out a hand and tried to grab David by the arm.
“Tony, you are being a, a,” she struggled for the term she wanted, “a donkey’s rear,” she finally settled on with a flip of her hand that took her arm out of Dinozzo’s grasp.
Lee grinned broadly. “Horse’s ass, Ziva,” he corrected her softly.
“Yes, that, too,” she agreed. McGee chuckled, and Dinozzo sent him quick glare.
But Dinozzo also apparently decided to switch tactics and turned slightly toward Chip, while still trying to keep his main focus on Lee and Ziva. “What happened to Capt. Philips?”
It gave Chip the opportunity to move several steps closer before answering. “Like the Admiral said, he was killed in the line of duty.”
“Why didn’t you get the job?” Dinozzo frowned when both Chip and Lee grinned at that question.
“Didn’t want it,” Chip answered truthfully, still smiling softly. He realized that the expression was confusing the pushy NCIS agent, and that made Chip smile even more broadly.
“You don’t mind working under this baby-face?”
“Tony,” David admonished him.
But once more both Chip and Lee grinned. As Lee waggled his hand at the woman, waving off her disgust with her fellow agent, Chip’s grin broke into a soft chuckle. “I put up with Lee as my roommate all four years at Annapolis.” He shrugged and sent part of his grin in Lee’s direction before continuing to Dinozzo. “I can handle pretty much anything he can dish out.” He chuckled louder as Lee sent him an ever-so-quick frown, but Lee’s expression returned quickly to one of subtle humor.
( ) He is not usually this obnoxious, Ziva told him.
( ) Is he at least a competent agent? Lee asked. He’d picked up on Admiral Nelson’s angry glances toward Dinozzo and had every intention of asking Chip about it later.
( ) He has his uses, Ziva admitted.
“English,” Dinozzo ordered, turning his back to Chip.
The move coincided with a whistle from the top of Seaview’s Conning Tower. All four turned in that direction, but Chip inexplicably stumbled slightly. In catching his balance he somehow managed to elbow Dinozzo hard enough to send the agent stumbling a couple of steps forward, toward the edge of the dock. And in trying to stop her partner from getting too close to the water David inadvertently shoved him even harder, sending the man headfirst over the edge.
“Oops,” she told both Lee and Chip.
“Dinozzo,” Gibbs yelled, walking over. “Get your butt out of the water.”
“This is not my fault,” Dinozzo tried to defend himself.
“That’s what you get for standing too close to the edge,” Gibbs yelled back with a glare. He glanced at the other three, all giving him totally innocent looks.
Chip waved toward Seaview, where COB Curley Jones was trying to get his two officers’ attention. “Looks like we’re being paged,” he said to Lee. “Good to see you again, Agent Gibbs. Officer David, a pleasure to meet you.” He glanced at Lee. There was no doubt in either’s mind that Chip was going to pester his old friend for more information about the Mossad officer and how Lee had met her.
Lee let out a sigh, already gearing himself up for that conversation. Dinozzo had been an irritation, but the blond was downright bulldog-persistent when he wanted information. “Agent Gibbs,” he put out a hand and shook Gibbs’ proffered one. “Ziva,” he nodded, “I’ll give you a call the next time I’m in DC.”
“I would like that,” she told him brightly, and laughed outright as Dinozzo finally pulled himself out of the water. “I am sure that we can arrange for more peaceful surroundings.” She glanced at a totally bedraggled Dinozzo and chuckled softly.
Lee nodded, a huge grin on his face, and he and Chip headed back to their own boat.
Dinozzo started to say something, glanced at Gibbs, and wisely shut his mouth.
“Sweet,” Agent McGee was heard to say brightly.