Disclaimer: I don't own any of the NCIS or Buffy characters. I'm not making any money from this story. The only thing I get is the pleasure of writing.
“Good Morning, Tony.” Ziva David said as she walked by Tony’s desk. “Long night?” she inquired as she got a good look at his appearance.
Tony DiNozzo was not in the mood for Ziva’s wit this morning. He had, in fact, had a very long night and the morning was not starting off well. He hadn’t had time to shave this morning and his clothes, though clean, were just not up to his usual standards.
Ziva made it to her desk before she realized Tony hadn’t answered her. Her concern jumped up a notch.
She walked back over to stand in front of his desk and took in his appearance. He looked ragged and tired, more than just a late night would account for.
“Tony, are you alright?” she couldn’t quite hide all the concern in her voice.
Tony looked from the computer screen, where he’d been pretending to work, to Ziva and forced his trademark grin. “Couldn’t be better. Like you said, late night.” He wiggled his eyebrows for effect.
Ziva didn’t believe him, something was going on. She was about to question him further when the elevator dinged and Gibbs walked out.
“Morning, boss.” Tony called as he walked by.
Gibbs didn’t answer. He sat his coffee down on his desk and started to open the drawer where he kept his gun.
“Gear up.” he said as he checked his clip and holstered his weapon. “We got a dead petty officer in an abandoned warehouse in Norfolk.”
Ziva and Tony both hurried to get their gear.
“Where’s McGee?” Gibbs barked.
“Not here.” Ziva said.
“Well, find him.” Gibbs almost yelled.
McGee picked that moment to get off the elevator.
“Nice of you to join us, McGee. Let’s go. You’re driving.” Gibbs said as he threw a surprised and confused Timothy McGee the keys to the van.
Gibbs grabbed his coffee and headed for the elevator leaving his three agents scrambling to catch up.
“Where are we going?” McGee whispered to Ziva as they raced to the elevator.
“Dead petty officer at Norfolk.” Ziva answered.
The scene was very similar to what they had seen before. There were local police and emergency vehicles everywhere. The yellow crime scene tape was up and there were onlookers standing around waiting for a glimpse of something, anything so they could go tell everyone what they saw.
The warehouse itself, though large, was unimpressive. It was old and badly in need of repair. At one time it has been used as a storage warehouse for an electronics company. But, the company went bankrupt and the warehouse was abandoned.
Gibbs walked up to the first uniformed cop he saw and flipped open his ID. “What do we have?” he demanded.
The officer on the scene answered immediately. “A couple of homeless guys found her in building this morning. They said they were just going in for shelter, but they both had a couple bottles of liquor.”
“How do you know she’s one of ours?” Gibbs asked.
“One of the homeless guys found her purse. Said they didn’t touch the body and the purse was laying a few feet from her. They claim they were just trying to find her ID. More than likely they just wanted to see if there was any money.”
“Where are these guys now?”
The office pointed about 20 yards to the south. “Two officers are taking their statements.”
“Ziva! The homeless guys.”
Ziva nodded and started to walk towards the men.
Gibbs looked at McGee and Tony. “McGee, DiNozzo, you’re with me.”
The office led them inside the warehouse.
The body was only a few feet inside the door.
McGee immediately started to taking pictures as Gibbs knealed and got a closer look at the body. Tony began searching the immediate area looking for any evidence. The room was large, about 4,000 square feet with 20 foot ceilings and several roll up doors large enough to drive trucks in and out. The area was open with only a few boxes or other small debris laying around.
She had been identified as Petty Officer Amelia Rhodes, age 23, stationed at Norfolk.
Gibbs studied her features. She had been a beautiful woman with blonde hair and green eyes. Those once beautiful eyes now started back at him, lifeless, and her blonde hair was matted with blood.
Gibbs heard movement behind him and turned to find Ducky behind him.
“What do we have, Jethro?” Ducky asked.
“Petty Officer Amelia Rhodes. Call came in early this morning. Looks like someone slashed her throat.”
“Well, my dear.” Ducky cooed as he inserted the liver probe. “Looks like someone definitely did a number on you.”
Ducky looked at the probe and then up at Gibbs. “I’d place time of death between 5 and 5:30 this morning. I won’t know a definite cause of death until I complete the autopsy, but her throat has definitely been slashed as you observed but there is something odd about it. It reminds me of when I was in medical school…”
“Not now, Ducky.” Gibbs cut off the story before Ducky could get started. “Get her back. I want to know how she died.”
“You don’t think it was the slashed throat?” Ducky asked.
Gibbs gave him a look. “You and I both know there isn’t enough blood here for that. So either her throat was slashed after she died or this is a body dump. I want to know which.”
Ducky’s assistant, Jimmy Palmer, chose that moment to arrive with gurney and he and Ducky set to work preparing the body for transport.
“Hey, boss.” Tony called from the other end of the room. “I think I’ve got something.”
Gibbs was at Tony’s side in seconds.
“There’s a blood trail.” Tony said, pointing to the small drops of blood on the dusty floor. “From what I can see it goes through that door toward the back of the building.”
Gibbs looked and saw several small puddles of blood.
Gibbs wasn’t sure what was setting his alarm bells off, but they were screaming at him. He pulled his weapon and cautiously began to make his way toward the door, being careful not to step in the blood.
Tony didn’t understand why Gibbs had pulled his weapon, but he knew better than to question Gibbs’ gut. It had been right too many times. So, without any words, he too pulled his weapon and followed his boss, watching his back.
They slowly made their way through the doorway to what was probably office space. There were still several desks and filing cabinets in the large room.
Another door towards the rear of the room probably led to the back part of the warehouse. That was where the blood trail was leading them.
As they made their way through the office, they made note of several filing cabinets that have been turned over and desks that were askew with marks on the tops of desks where the dust has been disturbed.
The back room of the warehouse is much smaller than the front, only about 40 ft by 40 ft. and unlike the front where most everything had been cleared out, this room was cluttered with boxes and equipment.
Nothing was immediately out of place, but Gibbs did not lower his gun.
He motioned to Tony to take the left side of the room and he took the right. He was so intent on looking for a threat, he almost missed the hand that was sticking out from underneath several layers of debris.
Tony rushed over and followed Gibbs’ gaze. He still had his camera hanging from a strap around his neck. He holstered his gun and snapped a few quick photos.
Then, he and Gibbs started moving the debris covering the rest of the body. It was another blonde, female body.
They got the body uncovered and Tony snapped a few more pictures as Gibbs pulled out his phone.
“Ducky. We’ve got another body in the back room.” he said and snapped his phone shut.
“Tony, get a picture of that blood drop on her left shoulder.”
“Why, boss? There’s blood all over her.”
“Because that’s my blood.” Gibbs answered and held his hand out for Tony to see the cut across his palm. “I cut my hand on a piece of sheet metal.”
Tony nodded and snapped the picture.
Jethro studied this body. She had multiple bruises on her face and body and probably broken bones, but her throat had not been slashed like the petty officer. She looked somehow familiar to him, but he was sure he’d never met her.
Gibbs leaned a little closer to study a mark on her neck.
Gibbs pulled out his phone and barked into it. “I need paramedics, NOW!”
Tony looked at the blonde and saw her fingers move slightly. “Oh my God, she’s alive.”
“And we’re going to keep her that way.” Gibbs said as he began to clear more of the debris away from her so the paramedics could get to her and administer aid.
It only took a couple of minutes to get paramedics to the site. There was a very weak pulse, but it was there and she was barely breathing. They quickly prepared her for transport to the hospital.
“I want this entire warehouse searched and everything taken back to Abby.” Gibbs ordered.
Ziva met Gibbs just outside the warehouse.
“What do you have?” he demanded.
“They gave me the same story as they gave the police. Admitted they were looking for somewhere to drink. Arrived around 6 this morning after a police officer ran them out of the alley they were sleeping in a few blocks away. I’m trying to track him down now to confirm. One of the guys is ex-Navy and when he saw the Petty Officer’s ID, decided to call it in instead of just leaving her. Swear they didn‘t see or hear anything.”
“Did they go anywhere else in the building?”
“They say no. They found her, ransacked her purse and called the police. I believe they are telling the truth.”
Gibbs nodded. He trusted Ziva’s opinion. She had a knack for knowing if someone was telling the truth.
“I want you at the hospital. As soon as this woman wakes up, I want to know.”
“Is she a victim or a suspect?” Ziva asked.
“There’s evidence of fight between several people and, so far, we haven’t found a knife. She was beaten pretty badly and there were no marks on the petty officer’s hands to indicate she’d been in fight. Right now, she’s a victim.”
Ziva nodded and rushed to catch the ambulance before they left with the woman.