A/N; This is a continuation of 'Deceptive appearances.' You really have to read that one first to understand what the hell they're talking about in this fic. My little NCIS-crossovers are turning into a series! I really didn't plan that, it just happened!
I should be working on Tintomara, but I'm kinda stuck, and I needed something other to focus on. Thus, this little fic was born (or, well, written...)
Useful info; The thing about the submarine is totally true. I did not make that up! Anyone remember hearing about that? Check this out, if you're interested;
(That may also help you figure out the title...)
Anyway, enjoy this continuation of 'Deceptive Appearances'. I will continue it, I promise, I just don't know when. Unfortunately it won't be until chapter 21 of 'Tintomara' is up. Please don't hate me?
Disclaimer: I own nothing. BTVS belong to Joss Whedon and mutant enemy, NCIS belong to... I'm not really sure, but it's not mine. Please don't sue me?
It had been three days, and he was still angry. Pissed as hell that a crime under his jurisdiction had been snatched away from him right under his nose. It wasn't that it was a particularly important case, he had no personal interest in the victim or anything else for that matter. It was the principle of the thing!
This was his case, dammit!
Someone was holding out on him. Someone had taken the body, and according to his superiors it had all been very legal and straight, with the right paperwork and everything. It had all been very neat. Too neat...
One-eyed men in mysterious, unmarked vans that took bodies from crime-scenes... there was something not quite right with that picture. He snorted to himself. Too right there was something wrong with that picture! It sounded like a bad spy-novel for crying out loud!
He'd been like a terrier after a bone the last three days. He'd been barking up every possible tree, the director, the FBI, various contacts within various branches of law-enforcement, the government and some of his seedier underground 'acquaintances'. There had been nothing.
Well, that wasn't quite true. There had been sincere confusion from most of the people he'd talked to. They didn't seem to know anything, except that there was nothing he could do about the situation. It was all legit. But there had also been some strange reactions when they realized just what 'organization' that was behind all this strangeness. The Watchers council... that name had turned a few heads.
Strangely enough, the reactions had come from the people on opposite sides of the information chain. His contacts closest to the streets and the people high up, closer to the government had definitely known something, but they were all very tight-lipped about it. But what knowledge could a senator and a former drug dealer have in common? It didn't make any sense. Both his boss and Fornell from the bureau had appeared totally clueless. He had hit a brick wall.
But he hadn't really, had he? There was one more he could ask. Someone that had manage to avoid him almost completely for the last three days. Ducky.
It was time to corner the doctor.
He had just donned himself in his hat and coat, and was ready to head home. It was late, he was tired, and he had a 37-year old Glenfiddich waiting for him at the house. He was a firm believer that a small glass before bed was good for your health. It certainly helped him sleep better.
When he was less then two feet from the door it suddenly opened and revealed a grim-faced Leroy Jethro Gibbs on the other side. Ducky stopped in his tracks, sighed, and whipped his hat off. The unwanted confrontation he had been trying to avoid for three days had caught up with him. He turned and walked back towards his desk. Gibbs followed.
Ducky sat down in his chair heavily. Gibbs remained standing, looking at him without saying a word. After a few tense seconds of this, Ducky felt like he had to speak first.
“I am assuming you are here to talk to me about the incident with the now missing body three days ago?”
“You know something. You seemed very familiar with the organization that took over the investigation, and you have been avoiding me for the last 72 hours. You said you'd talk to me. Now talk!”
“I said I might be able to give you some answers when you'd calmed down.”
Gibbs slowly leaned down and put his knuckles on the desk. He leaned forward towards Ducky's face.
“How long have you known me, Ducky?” he asked with a calm voice. “How did you think I would react? This is as calm as I'm gonna get before I get some answers.”
Ducky sighed again. He knew Jethro all to well, and he could envision his reaction when he told him a story about vampires and demons, and people that devoted their life to fighting them. That was not going to go over well. But he knew Gibbs would not let this go.
He made his decision.
“I am going to tell you a simile. A story that seemingly has nothing to do with this case, but has some similarities. A scenario, if you will. When I'm done, you can decide if you want to know more.” his gaze never wavered from Gibbs' eyes. “Can you be satisfied with that?”
Gibbs stood up straight and rounded the desk. He sat down on the edge of it and tried his best to stare Ducky down. “Why can't you just tell me straight on what's going on?”
“Because you won't believe me.”
Gibbs blinked. He hadn't anticipated that. But Ducky had an open, sincere look on his face, and he'd never had any cause to doubt him before. He was one of his best friends, and he would trust him with his life, which was why it was so hard to know the older man was hiding something from him.
“All right, fine. Tell me your simile. But when you're done, and I want you to continue talking, you will. Got that?”
“Loud and clear, Jethro. Loud and clear.”
Ducky leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes. After about half a minute he started talking.
“In 1981 a Soviet submarine ran aground about two miles from the main Swedish naval base at the time, in a restricted military zone. It was stuck on a rock for almost ten days. It was huge news all over the world. Do you remember this?”
Gibbs stared at him incredulously. “What the hell has that to do with my missing corpse?!”
Ducky sighed. “Absolutely nothing. That's the point. It's a simile, Jethro. Will you just hear me out?”
Gibbs nodded grudgingly and Ducky continued.
“The submarine crew claimed it was an error in navigation, and that they thought they were about ten miles off the coast of Poland. The Swedish government however saw the intrusion as an act of espionage. The swedes secretly started measuring for radioactive materials through the hull of the sub, and they detected uranium, probably from a torpedo with the power of the Nagasaki bomb.”
“I have a weak memory of it. It was a big political scandal.” Gibbs looked thoughtful as he tried to remember something that had happened more than 25 years before on another continent.
“Yes it was. More than you think. The Soviet navy sent a rescue task force to reclaim the submarine, and it was mainly composed of heavily armed destroyers and high-sea tugs. However, Sweden was determined to safeguard the country's territorial integrity, and the coastal artillery locked on the Soviet ships as soon as they came within radar distance. The Swedish Prime minister had issued the order to 'hold the border', which meant that if a Soviet vessel came within the twelve-mile territorial limit the Swedish armed forces would open fire. What do you think the consequences would have been of that?”
Gibbs eyebrows rose as he considered the implications of such an act. “It would have been an act of war! It would have started a conflict between a neutral country and the Soviet union that could have dragged the rest of the world with it! It was in the middle of the cold war, the U.S wouldn't have been able to stay out of it! My God, It would have been disastrous!”
Ducky smiled a little. “Yes, exactly. I see you're starting to understand. The soviet government also realized this, and gave the orders to stay out of Swedish territorial waters. After ten days a couple of Swedish tug-boats dragged the sub back to international waters where it was greeted by the rescue force. The situation had been deflated.”
Ducky quieted. It was completely silent for a couple of seconds before Gibbs spoke.
“Well? What does this have to do with anything?”
Ducky sighed again, but continued talking. “The Soviet authorities had not anticipated such a strong reaction from the Swedish government. They thought they would be able to just sail right in and take back their missing submarine, without any consequences. Since Sweden was a small, neutral country without any real power global-wise, they imagined they could just bully the Swedish government into giving in to their demands. It didn't work. Several newspapers dubbed Sweden as 'the mouse that roared', since such a small country dared to stand up to the super-power of the soviet union.” He quieted again, but not for long.
“Do you see where I'm going with this, Jethro?”
Gibbs shook his head. “I can honestly say that I don't.”
“In our scenario, with our missing corpse and the organization that claimed the investigation, you, my friend, play the part of Russia.”
Gibbs face was a mask of confusion and indignation. “What?”
“You are the soviet union, and the watchers council are Sweden. You are trespassing on their territory, and since you are used to getting your own way in these matters you expect them to cave eventually and give you what you want. I'm telling you Jethro, that you have put yourself in the same situation that the Soviets did all those years ago. You cannot bully them into giving in, and pressuring them will ultimately lead to consequences you will not be willing to face. The watchers council may appear small and insignificant, but they have more leverage than you think. They will retaliate, and you might unleash powers you're not ready to face. The soviet chose the peaceful way out of a sticky situation, and although they damaged their relationship with Sweden for decades ahead, they managed to come out of it relatively unscathed. What will you do?”
Silence ruled yet again. Neither one of them said anything, until Gibbs sighed. He rose from his position at the edge of Ducky's desk.
“I am not satisfied in the least. That little story you just told me only served to make me even more convinced there is something to this that I need to know about. You promised to tell me if I wanted you to. Will you keep your word?”
Ducky nodded courtly. He really didn't want to, but he had no choice. He knew that Jethro would just dig and dig until he found out what he wanted.
He opened his desk drawer and pulled out a business-card. On it was a name and a phone number, nothing else. He had spent some time the last three days trying to acquire it, since he had known all along it would eventually come down to this. It had not been easy, but he had done it. His dealing with the watchers in the past had really been a huge help.
Gibbs took the card from Ducky's hand and looked at it.
“Rupert Giles”, he read out loud. “Who's this?”
“Someone with the answers you're looking for.” Ducky answered him.
Gibbs still didn't look convinced. “Why can't you just tell me yourself? You obviously know something.”
Ducky shook his head. “Again, Jethro, I would if I could, but you would not believe what I have to say.” He indicated the card in Gibbs' hand. “That man could give you solid proof of what you are going to hear, and you will need it, trust me.”
Gibbs looked down at the card again. Then he looked at Ducky, nodded curtly at him and turned around and left. He had a phone call to make.
Ducky sighed and shook his head. He stood up and put on his hat again. He could practically hear that Glenfiddich calling his name.