McGee and Ziva discovery that a couple of hours of peace and quiet stolen while on the job comes with a price. Second warning: If you like McGee and Ziva, you might want to pass on this story.
Disclaimer: Just borrowing them for a little fun.
Second story offered up for what I hope is your enjoyment. Unlike the first story, this one isn't quite finished yet, so it won't be updated as quickly. Thanks to Scousemuz1k, Binky, and SASundance for feedback, suggestions, and encouragement. All booboos are mine.
A sharp tapping on both car windows sounded loudly in the peaceful quiet.
Jerking awake from a half doze, Ziva dropped the book she'd been holding then stopped her reflexive reach for her weapon at the sight of a gun barrel pointed straight at her head from a couple of feet away. Next to her, McGee was slower to respond, engrossed in his technical journal, but as his eyes opened wide at the sight of the handgun's barrel taking dead aim at him from the other side of the closed car window he dropped the magazine and raised his hands.
As quickly as she'd frozen, Ziva reverted to her default setting of annoyance, and rolled her eyes, starting to drop her hands. The gun's holder cocked it, and his eyes narrowed as he commanded loudly, "Keep your hands in sight!"
McGee said nervously, "Ah, Ziva, I think you should do what they say. They're a bit nervous and might just…"
Ziva interrupted him, yelling back at the man, "We are federal agents! I suggest you put your weapons away before we…"
"Ziva! Just do what they say for now. We can set this right easily enough without causing a problem. Gibbs will kill us if we attract attention."
Scowling, Ziva raised her hands vowing to kill McGee with a half a paperclip if these cops didn't back off and leave them alone quickly.
Both the car doors were jerked open and they were ordered to exit the car and place their hands on the top of their car. McGee quickly complied, hoping Ziva would just do what she was told to for once. As the cop on his side of the car spotted his Sig holstered at his waist, she yelled at her partner, "Gun!"
Eyeing the cop who stood just out of range, Ziva slowly, insolently turned to put her hands on the car top. She told him, "We are federal agents. Put that gun away before I rip it from your hands and shove it down your throat."
The officer didn't bat an eye at her threat, "Keep your hands on the car, Miss. If you are who you say you are, then we will find out soon enough. Until then, you will do as you're told."
Fuming, Ziva stared over her shoulder at the cop who spoke. Miss? Miss?
McGee squeezed his eyes shut and prayed that the officer wouldn't shoot first and ask questions later if Ziva didn't calm down.
Within a minute, McGee and Ziva were both disarmed though in Ziva's case, the four knives in addition to her Sig Sauer and backup weapon seemed a bit excessive even to McGee. Since McGee had been reasonable and complied with the officer's orders quickly and without fuss, he remained uncuffed. Ziva, however, tried once to resist when being disarmed and had been surprised when the cop expertly countered her moves. As a result, she was not only in cuffs, but she was unable to attempt to free herself as the cop kept a restraining hand on the cuffs, not leaving her unattended. It was obvious that Ziva hadn't made herself popular with them. McGee silently sighed with relief when the two cops remained professional in spite of the eyerolls and less than cooperative attitude of his fellow agent.
The older of the two officers, a graying and lean man whose watchful eyes and controlled expression gave away little of what he was thinking, passed Ziva's credentials to his partner, a younger woman whose friendly disposition put McGee at ease. The officer returned to the police cruiser to call in and confirm their identities.
The officer commented, "You're making the neighbors here nervous by sitting in your car for a while now not doing much of anything. They're big on neighborhood watch here. I doubt the feds have such bottomless resources as to let the two of you sit idly in a car in the middle of a gated neighborhood for hours. Care to share what you're doing?"
Ziva looked him up and down over her shoulder, and snorted, "You do not need to know."
McGee turned to her, and scolded her in a low voice, "Ziva, you don't need to antagonize them! They're just doing their job. Cut it with the attitude." He forced himself to not step back as she glared at him sharply.
Turning to the officer, he tried to compensate for Ziva's rude manner, embarrassed at her behavior as well as being caught out with no warning. "We're working a murder investigation. Our partner's out canvassing the neighborhood posing as someone interested in buying a house in the area. We're gathering voice recordings of the residents to compare to a message we have on voice mail. We're hoping that we'll get a match and identify the man who left the voice message."
"What's your interest in the man who left the message?" The cop shifted closer to the car, eyeing the interior through the open front doors, still not removing his hand from the cuffs around Ziva's wrists to her frustration.
McGee spoke before Ziva could, seeing she was ready to impatiently snap at the officer, "He's a person of interest in the murder of a Naval officer. We have reason to believe that he may live in this neighborhood, and just want to ask him some questions at this time."
The other officer returned, handing the IDs to McGee with a "They check out," to her partner.
As soon as Ziva as uncuffed, she immediately retrieved her weapons. "If you are satisfied, you can leave. We do not need your presence here attracting any attention."
With a non-committal smile that didn't reach his eyes, the first officer stared at her, not moving an inch. "Where's your partner? We'll avoid the area he's in and let the other patrols in the area know what's up so you won't be bothered again."
Irritated at the officer for not leaving, Ziva said, "We do not know exactly where he is, but he should be returning soon."
Raising an eyebrow, the man asked, "Takes three of you to gather voice recordings? Seems like it'd be a one person job."
McGee leaned into the sedan and turned on the receiver, catching Tony's slightly breathless voice as he called out to 'jogger people'. "Yeah, but you never know when something might come up - gotta cover each other's backs." Eyeing his watch and doing some quick calculations in his head, he told the officers, "Tony should be back within the next 15 minutes – he's been working his way back in this direction. It'd be great if you could avoid the area for another half hour or so until we finish."
The woman officer said in a quiet aside to her partner that the agents couldn't hear, "How do you back up your partner if you don't know where he is?"
The older officer acknowledged his partner's comment with a quiet nod, then spoke to the two agents, "You need any help, just let us know." With that, the officers left.
McGee and Ziva exchanged glances, "Well, at least it was a break from the monotony, McGee."
Taking a deep breath and relaxing, McGee replied, "Yeah. I hope Tony's almost finished though. Wonder how much longer he's gonna be." With a yawn, he wandered around the car for a minute stretching his legs before joining Ziva inside, picking up his magazine and trying to find where he'd left off.
Later that evening, the older officer picked up the reports of the day's actions from the printer that he and his partner had finally finished. Damn paperwork was gonna be the death of him he grumbled quietly. As the two officers quickly sorted out and stapled together the incident reports, signing them, and eyeing the clock, the younger cop commented, "Wonder if those feds got anything useful. Be nice if they'd clue us in. Never know when we might stumble across something that'd help them out."
With a grunt, the older officer answered her, "Don't know many feds who'd give us the time of day."
As the woman pulled on her jacket, she said, "Want me to drop those off on my way out?"
"Nah. Gotta hit the john. I'll drop 'em off on the way. Get outta here and enjoy the rest of the evening."
"Ok. See you tomorrow then."
As he sorted out the last pages, he stopped to review the report on the feds. Snotty lady, he opined as he thought about Ziva. Her partner didn't seem too happy with her – even called her out on it. Waste of resources though for both to be there. One person would have been enough to cover their partner. Must be nice to have the resources to have two of them sitting around all day.
He wondered how their partner viewed them sitting in quiet solitude while he did the legwork…and how could they have been backing him up if the receiver had been off? He clearly remembered the man, McGee, turning it on just before they left. If that's how they ran things at this fed agency, he was glad he was a cop. Shaking his head at such a lapse in protocol and judgment, he picked up a pencil and wrote a quick note on the report, "Receiver not on. How could the two feds in the car back up their partner if they couldn't hear him and had no idea where he was?" Let some bean counter at their agency ponder that one, he thought.
Grabbing his jacket, he picked up the reports, turned off his desk lamp, and headed off, thinking of a nice cold beer and barbeque wings for dinner….
The following week, a manilla envelope containing a courtesy copy of the incident report from the responding PD arrived at the NCIS mailroom and was routed to a growing pile of low priority mail awaiting sorting and forwarding to the appropriate departments. Unfortunately, the two person unit that was responsible for this was only manned sporadically when the envelope arrived. One person was on maternity leave, and the other had unexpectedly transferred to Florida to care for an elderly relative who'd become incapacitated and needed living assistance.
The person hired to replace the staff member who'd resigned struggled through the backlog, but it took another two weeks before all the mail had been properly forwarded. The clerk, after reading enough of the report to check on the relevant associated case, was unsure where to send it. He was a newly minted paralegal and gung-ho on determining the mail routing based on his expensive and unseasoned education. Proud that he'd thought of it, he wondered if the report should be considered discoverable under the pretrial discovery process. But, who would know that answer? Should he send it to the legal department maybe?
Shrugging, he stuck a short sticky note on the report with his question and tossed it in the stack of mail heading to legal and promptly forgot about it.
Two days later, the report landed on the desk of a NCIS legal analyst. The analyst read the clerk's note, scanned the report, did a quick check on the case, and jotted a negative to the clerk's question. After adding a routing slip to send the report to the archives, she paused as she read the anonymous penciled comment. Dismissing it as irrelevant, and busy with other more pressing matters, she tossed it into the outgoing basket on her desk.
After lunch, the analyst picked up the outgoing stack of files and headed to the department's outgoing mail bin to send the items onward. She'd lifted her hand to drop the stack into the bin headed back to the mail room, then hesitated. Why had the receiver been off she wondered as she recalled the penciled note. Nothing had come of it since the investigative notes for that assignment hadn't mentioned anything extraordinary happening. But….thinking more on it she wondered, if the two field agents had been there to provide backup for Tony DiNozzo, why had the receiver been turned off?
Shaking herself mentally, she asked herself what business was it of hers? Gibbs had his own way of running his team, and maybe that was one of those special rules of his. And he certainly wouldn't remotely like anyone questioning how he ran his team. She didn't want to deal with him on anything. Nodding to herself, she tossed the stack into the bin and started to turn away.
An annoying internal voice spoke up even louder - why had the receiver been off? Darn it, she scolded herself, what difference does it make to me? Maybe there was a reason why it was turned off. But…she, like most people in the building, knew of Ziva David's temper, and how she didn't exactly like or respect Tony and wasn't all that careful about who might be around when she expressed herself on the topic. Surely she wouldn't have left Tony hanging out there without backup, would she? And surely McGee, who was sensible, wouldn't have let her get away with something like that. Right?
Why was this bothering her so much? She stood looking at the mail bin and knew that it was going to drive her nuts if she just let the report head to the archives. With a sign of exasperation, she pulled the report out of the pile and walked back to her desk. Darn it all, she was going to regret this, she just knew it.
She pulled up the investigation notes and started reading until she got to the section on the voice recordings. Reading and rereading the notes, she still found herself torn between thinking something was wrong with the receiver being off, and uncertainty as to whether she understood enough about field operations to know if there actually had been a good reason for what happened.
After several minutes of dithering, she came up with a compromise she thought she could live with. Making a copy of the report, she picked up a red pen and circled the penciled comment and put a big question mark next to it. Sticking it into a well-used interoffice envelope, she addressed it to the internal affairs office, but left the sending department field empty. Let them deal with it, she thought. If everything was kosher, then no harm, no foul. But if there was something to what had happened, then they'd get the blame for bringing it up, not her.
She returned the original report to the outgoing mail bucket, but walked down a floor to another department and tossed the envelope addressed to the IA department into their outgoing mail bin - nothing like a little careful camouflage and misdirection, just in case. Returning to her desk, she picked up another pile of work and tried to put the whole mess out of her head.
Two days later, the interoffice envelope containing a copy of the report ended up in the IA office on the desk of the agent who screened and routed incoming mail. Working her way through the stack, she finally opened the envelope and removed the report. A quick scan of the document slowed to a more detailed and careful reading. A third reading, interrupted by frequent cross-referencing of case notes on her computer took an intense hour of work.
Sitting back with a thoughtful expression, the agent organized her thoughts. Jotting down some notes on a legal pad, she finally picked up the phone and called the lead agent for the department. "Gabe? I have something that I think you should see. You busy?"
Hanging up the phone, she collected her notes and rose. With a deep breath, she headed off to the corner office….