NCIS director Leon Vance chewed on his toothpick as the elevator rose through NCIS Headquarters. His otherwise impassive face betrayed no sign of the thoughts on his mind, but the subtle little tenseness of his jaw and the more frantic chewing than normal spoke volumes.
He nodded to one agent as he exited the elevator, but kept his gaze turned towards Gibbs and his team. Approaching them, he joined the group who were studying a file pulled up on the monitor screen. His eyes automatically scanned it, filed it and then performed a double take. Interesting.
“Gibbs,” he said tersely.
“Director,” Gibbs replied just as curtly.
Vance chewed on the toothpick again, and looked at the FBI file displayed closely. “Any particular reason for this file being open?”
Gibbs raised his eyebrow. “Apart from wanting her for assault on an NCIS officer, interfering with an ongoing investigation and probably trespassing on a naval base? No.”
Vance checked his watch. “And this would be the little situation you had at MacArthur about three hours ago?”
Gibbs just narrowed his eyes. Off to the side he could see Ziva bristling silently at the whole encounter being reduced down to a ‘little situation’, but she managed to not say anything out loud.
Unlike DiNozzo of course. “You mean when we had our asses handed to us, Director?” he enquired in a bitter tone.
Vance’s look studied Tony for a moment, and Tony suddenly remembered the months he’d spent stuck on USS Seahawk
as the Agent Afloat. That had been Vance as well, come to think of it. He flashed a weak smile, and shut up.
Vance returned his gaze to the screen in front and Elizabeth Summers. “I think you’ll find Miss Summers here will have an alibi for that time, with about 14 witnesses or so to swear it wasn’t her. Including me.”
Abby squeaked. “But I got her fingerprints!”
Gibbs pinched his brow in pain. Yes, there was definitely a headache coming. “Care to explain?”
Vance nodded once. “Got called in for a meeting this morning for an overview of one FBI operation investigating the Morelli family. They’ve managed to get one agent deep inside the family posing as a ditzy, shoe-obsessed Californian girlfriend.”
“Summers,” Gibbs said flatly, not even asking.
“Girl’s got a lot of serious brainpower and guts behind a front that’d fool anyone.” Vance chewed on his toothpick a couple more times, before taking it out and regarding it thoughtfully. “Impressed the hell outa me.”
“Huh,” Gibbs said quietly. “Still doesn’t change the fact that my team got beat up this morning though.”
“Anyhow, just as I was getting to hear all the details ‘bout how the FBI reckon the Morelli’s are using their connections to smuggle stuff in on our ships, I get McGee panicking on the phone. Turns out we got hacked better and faster than anyone’s ever managed before.” Vance’s gaze flicked round the group. Gibbs as poker-faced as ever, McGee looked embarrassed, David and DiNozzo surprised to hear it and Scuito... who the hell could tell what Scuito thought at any moment.
He nodded once to Gibbs again. “Okay, I knew I told you to keep the hacking way under your hat, but you can let the rest of your team know as well.” He glanced up at the monitor again. “Looks like you’re going to have a weird enough case as is, so I ain’t gonna be tying your hands behind your back to do it.”
He snorted, and tossed the sad looking toothpick into the bin behind him. “But you keep that knowledge that one hacker went straight through all our best firewalls to yourselves. Not even mentioned to the other teams. Nothing. Zip.”
“Whoa!” said Abby, eyes wide. “All
of them?” She turned and hit McGee on the shoulder. “And you never told me?” she demanded.
Tim stared at her, then the Director, and back to Abby. He threw his hands up in a what-can-you-do way, and promptly received another punch from Abby. Tony winced in sympathy.
Vance pulled another toothpick out from his stash inside his jacket, placed it inside his mouth and set off towards his office. “Summers should be finishing testifying round about now. You might want to speak to your own contacts, Gibbs.”
“Boss?” asked Tony anxiously, as the Director finally vanished from sight. “Now what?”
“We do our godamned jobs, DiNozzo,” snarled Gibbs. He pulled out his cell phone, and dialled one number. “Tobias? Need a word with one of your agents...”
At his computer, McGee settled back down to running all the image files Gibbs had earlier given to him. “What?” he said without looking up, feeling Abby staring at him. “Couldn’t tell you anything – Vance slapped top security over the whole thing.”
Abby smiled, and then bent down and kissed McGee on the top of his head. “I know. You’re a good man, Timothy McGee.”
A hopeful sounding voice came from the direction of Tony’s desk. “Hey, I’m keeping secrets from you as well....”
Abby beamed at McGee, made a series of complicated hand gestures in Tony’s direction, and bounced off in the direction of her lab, happily humming all the way.
Staring after her, Tony crossed himself. “I’m fairly sure that was Goth for ‘may all your testicles drop off’” he said glumly before returning to work.
~ + ~