6. First meeting
Great thanks for all the new reviews and recommendations. Always inspiring! Just so that my faithful readers do not freak out: I won’t be able to do more updates before August or maybe even September. Just so that you don’t think I abandoned you :-)
Another point that I didn’t want to tackle before: it doesn’t seem to have been too obvious – I am glad it doesn’t – but I’m not a native English speaker. It’s actually my second foreign language. That’s why I am really open and not insulted at all when you point out any language mistake I make (though I make my best so that it doesn’t happen much). Helps me get better!
I hope you’ll enjoy this chapter, and wish you all a nice summer before my next update. Looking forward to your reviews!
“Listen, Angel, all I am asking you is to come here so that we can get her out!” shouted Faith. She was standing at a pay phone in the most remote alley she could find. It was night, and for once, she wasn’t really enjoying the chill and the dark. After having explained to Angel everything that had happened, she was now trying to get his little vampire ass down here to get her sister Slayer out. How could that be so difficult for tooth guy to figure that one out?
“No, Faith, what Buffy told you is right. You need to come back to Sunnydale. There is nothing that we can do for now.” replied Angel. “After you showing up at the hospital, they probably doubled security. Even with the two of us, the only thing we would manage to do is to get you or Buffy killed. Or both.”
“It my fault, Angel!” she said, crying as she slowly glided along the wall until she was squatting on the ground. “I fucked up, and she is paying the price for it! I want to get her out!”
“And I promise you that we will, Faith” said Angel in the most reassuring voice that he could muster. “But I want her out alive. So we need to wait until they lax security enough. And it means we need you back here in the meantime. We can’t let an apocalypse fester while she is behind bars.”
Angel just heard Faith breathing heavily on the other side of the line.
“Faith!” he continued firmly. “Do you promise me you are coming back right now, before trying anything rash again?” he asked tentatively.
“Yes.” She said, still sobbing, before hanging up. If even Angel wasn’t coming for B, there wasn’t much more that she could do for now. And deep in her mind, she knew he was right. Another try would only end up badly.
As she hung up, Angle sighed. It was the right thing to do, he knew it. It didn’t mean that he had to like it. Buffy, His Buffy, had been shot. Almost died. And now was behind bars. He had sworn to himself that he would protect her with his life. And he had almost failed. Failed to protect the only woman that he had ever loved. He would get her out. Soon. He couldn’t bear imagining her in a room, questioned by policemen. Without him. Alone.
Gibbs’ daughter was sleeping. It was the morning, and she had been in the interrogation room for fifteen hours now. The room had been laid out to accommodate her medical needs. She was lying on a bed, with medical equipment monitoring her, but a chair had been placed in the room’s corner to allow Gibbs to seat once he would arrive. DiNozzo, Ziva and McGee were standing behind the two-way mirror, waiting for their boss to start the interrogation.
“I still can’t figure out how that girl and the brunette were able to cause so much trouble.” said DiNozzo. “My legs are still painful from the kick of that brunette on the hospital’s roof.”
“I’m more remembering how she threw a knife through my shoulder, Tony. That’s way worse than a kick!” replied McGee drily.
“It’s like this girl is Leeloo. Able to defeat lots of people – us – just with martial arts!” continued Tony.
“Lee… who?” asked Ziva.
DiNozzo looked at the Mossad liaison officer with a mix of desperation and resignation. “It’s from a movie, Ziva. The Fifth Element? A classic with Bruce Willis?” He sighted at the indifferent look of her friend. “Never mind.”
“I’m really wondering how he will handle this one.” said Ziva.
“And when he will drop the ‘Luke, I am your father’ bomb.” added DiNozzo with a sonorous voice.
“Are you sure that the brunette didn’t hit you in the head, Tony?” asked McGee.
“Does anyone has any idea of where Gibbs is?” asked Ziva, not letting DiNozzo time to react to McGee’s comment. She was beginning to be tired of all the waiting.
“I think he’s in Sheppard’s office back at NCIS.” replied McGee.
Both Ziva and Tony frowned.
“You should have told me right at once, Jethro!” yelled the director behind the door. Cynthia was behind her desk and was certainly not going to interrupt the director’s rant against Gibbs. But the assistant was definitely going to prick up her ear.
On the other side of the door, Gibbs leaned on the director’s desk, menacing. “And what if I did, Jenny? You would have asked me to give up the case! That’s out of question!”
“You can’t be serious about this, Jethro! You can’t be neutral when questioning your own daughter!”
“I won’t leave her, Jenny. If anyone is going to question her, it’s going to be me!”
“I should know by now that you would be so stubborn! Very well, Jethro.” She looked at him straight in the eyes. “You have six hours to get valuable information from her. It’s much more than what you need in a normal case. And I’ll personally watch you interviewing her.”
Gibbs calmed down a little. He couldn’t show it, but he wasn’t expecting so much from Jenny. As a director, he knew she would take some of the blame if anyone learned that she had let him interrogate his own daughter. “Thanks, Jenn.”
Slightly changing the subject, the redhead asked “Did you figure out how she can be your daughter, Jethro?”
“I don’t have the slightest idea, Jenny. From her age, she would have to be born when I was with Shannon. I would have seen it if Shannon had been pregnant a second time. I asked Abby to try to find clues about it, but for now, it’s a complete mystery.”
When opening the door of the recording room, Gibbs violently hit DiNozzo, who was about to go out. He grabbed his nose, which was bleeding.
“Outch, Boss. I …” started DiNozzo, before seeing that Gibbs wasn’t in the mood for jokes. “I… I was going to Director Sheppard’s office to tell you that your daughter was awake.”
Gibbs looked at her, pensive. She had her eyes opened, and was calmly observing the room, and the medical equipment around her. She looked by far fit enough to sustain a questioning session, which was quite impressive, given the seriousness of her recent wound. Without waiting, Gibbs left the recording room, heading towards Her.
“Jethro, what are you doing? Aren’t you supposed to wait a few hours to destabilize her?” asked Shepard in the corridor.
“I would if I had more than six hours, Jenn. But don’t worry, it’s going to be OK.” he replied. At least, I hope it will be, he thought for himself. He then took a deep breath, and entered the interrogation room.
Gibbs slowly came in the room, looking at her daughter laying on the bed. She seemed to be studying him, and it seemed that she wasn’t going to talk unless asked. He sat on the chair, put a few papers down on the table, and waited a few seconds, a stern expression on his face. Much to his surprise, she started to talk first.
“So, you are the cop who shot me twice in the chest, right? Are you just here to enjoy seeing me wounded or are you the one going to question me?”
This was a father-daughter relationship that was starting well, Gibbs thought! He was already impressed by her strength of character. If she was as stubborn as he was, it wouldn’t be easy to get any information from her quickly. “Well, I see you have a good memory. I am happy to see that it wasn’t affected by your injury. We never were formally introduced, though.” He took a deep breath. “I’m special agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs.”
Buffy smiled at the name. At least, she wasn’t the only one with a weird name, she thought.
“Why are you smiling?” Gibbs asked immediately, though he was quite sure of the answer.
“It’s nothing, Agent Gibbs. It’s just an uncommon name.”
“I suppose it is.” He replied, calmly. “So, let us begin, miss …” he asked tentatively. Getting her name would be a good start, he thought.
Buffy had prepared the answer. She knew they would try to read her to see if she was lying, so she had repeated the name in her head a dozen of times. She looked straight in his eyes, careful not to give any sigh of hesitation. “You can call me Joan.” That was a good name. She almost felt like a Joan.
“That’s surprising.” said Ziva, looking at the scene behind the glass.
“What is?” asked the director.
“She is lying.” replied Ziva. “She seems to have prepared the lie, but she isn’t a trained liar. She isn’t blinking, and has a too closed expression to make it believable. I would have expected her organization to train her better on interrogation techniques.”
“Anyway, she looks as stubborn as Gibbs is. It will be tough to get anything out of her!” said DiNozzo.
Gibbs was spreading photos on the table for her daughter to look. “Private Guerrini, Private Deponte and First Class Amaturo. All three killed in Iraq.” he started. “Special agent DiNozzo, Special agent McGee, Officier David, Officier Woolfolk, …” he continued, fingering the photos one by one. Joan seemed unfazed, almost blasé while he did so. That wasn’t boding well. Only a trained killer or someone used to gruesome situation wouldn’t have been horrified by the photos of the three dead Marines. “… Officer Lacey, Officier Wright, Officier Jones, Private Deming. All injured in action in their encounters with you and Faith Lehane.” he continued.
At the mention of Faith’s last name, Buffy’s heart started pounding harder. They had her name! At least it seemed they didn’t know hers. But it would make it harder for Faith to stay out of their radar for long. That wasn’t good at all. She did her best to look at the photos without showing any sign of stress.
Gibbs had noticed his daughter cheeks flushing as he mentioned Lehane’s name, even though she was trying to hide her surprise. He had disconcerted her and had to press his advantage. “These are serious crimes, Joan.” he continued quickly, leaning on the table. “Three murders, plus repeated assault against federal agents. Theft of military material.” He took a breath that he hoped would go unnoticed, before continuing. This was going to hurt him as much as it was going to hurt her. “You are risking the chair if you don’t help us, Joan.”
To his surprise, she didn’t look that alarmed. She looked at him with determination. “Neither I nor Faith murdered anyone, Agent Gibbs. The three murders you mention, they were committed by… other guys.” she finished, breaking his stare and looking down. Gibbs was relieved, as he saw she wasn’t lying: she wasn’t a murderer! But it was also obvious that she knew more about these ‘other guys’ than she was letting on.
“If you are trying to protect these ‘other guys’, Joan, don’t. Protecting them will only bring you more trouble.” He looked expectantly at his daughter, hoping that she would open up.
Buffy couldn’t help smiling. “Protecting them? Me and Faith are their worst enemies!”
Even though he wasn’t getting much useful information from this interrogation, Gibbs liked his daughter answers. “I’m just trying to help you, Joan. You seem like a nice girl, and I don’t want you to end up your life in prison.” he said gently.
“Oh, that’s so nice of you Agent Gibbs.” she said sarcastically. “Nice interrogation technique! You try to sound like you are my father.” The silverhead seemed surprised by her words, and it seemed like Buffy had struck a sensitive chord. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to be rude. Well I did, but not that much. At least, it would mean that you cared more than my real father…” she added to lessen the blow.
“Well, your father wouldn’t be happy to see his daughter end up in prison for the rest of her life, would he, Joan?” he said, standing up. “You don’t have much time, Joan. We won’t be able to make a deal with you if we learn what we need from other sources.” he added bluntly. “You need to do the right thing. Allow me to help you. To avoid you a life sentence, or worse, the chair.” he said just before he left the room.
After the agent left, Buffy lied on her bed, thinking. Strange questioning session… This… Gibbs seemed like a very experienced agent. She would have thought he would try to push her more – not that it would have worked. But something in his behavior was strange, though she couldn’t single it out. And contrary to other cops she had met – like the one trying to arrest her after Kendra’s death – she felt no animosity towards him. Just the contrary. He seemed like a good human being. It was a shame that they were on opposite sides.
She sighed. The situation wasn’t good. They had her fingerprints and picture now, so, even if she escaped, her life would be forever different. Luckily, they did not have her name, so she would probably be fine after she came back to Sunnydale. At least, she hoped so. The main problem was that they had Faith’s name. Luckily, her sister Slayer didn’t own a house, nor did she go to school, so it wouldn’t pinpoint the police to Sunnydale either. But both of their lives were going to be more complicated from now on.
She calmly looked at the room around her again. Escaping the building wasn’t going to be easy, but first, she had to escape the room. She looked at the door, then the mirror, then the door again. Well, after all, escaping the room was going to be the fun part, she thought. She just needed to get a bit better first. She tried to see if she could get up now. She put one of her feet outside of the bed, then the other. But it was painful. She was in no shape to run or fight for the moment. She had to wait two or preferably three more days before an escape. She sighed again, and lied down again. More waiting ahead…
Back at NCIS, Gibbs was at his desk with his agents and Jenny. They were writing at a paperboard, trying to make some sense out of his daughter first reactions.
“So, she has never been trained to lie properly, but she is used to the sight of blood.” started DiNozzo, writing on the board. “Which means she is probably a freelance terro…” She saw Gibbs’ disapproving look, and corrected. “… contractor. She added that she didn’t kill the Marines in Iraq, and that she and Lehane worked for a different organization than the killers. Which means …”
“… that we still have killers on the loose.” finished the director. “If she was telling the truth, that is.”
“What is really surprising is her attitude towards jail or death penalty. It doesn’t really seem to worry her to say the least.” said McGee. “Do you think that she somehow has friends in high places that could bail her out?”
“Or maybe she is planning on escaping?” suggested Ziva.
“From here?” asked DiNozzo, out of disbelief.
“Probably not. But once she is transferred to jail, a well-organized employer might send a rescue team.” she replied.
Gibbs was not completely in the conversation, and was letting his agent do the talking. He was still replaying in his head the interrogation, wondering how it could have done it better. And wondering when he would reveal to his daughter who she really was. He was interrupted in his line of thoughts by the phone. It was Abby.
“Gibbs! I think I have something. Can you come down?” she asked.
“So, Abbs, what have you got for me?” asked Gibbs, busting in her lab.
“Well, it’s not really something…” she started, immediately making Gibbs frown. “It’s more of an idea. I listed all the possibilities that could explain how Joan can be your daughter. If we figure out which is the right one, maybe we can figure out her real name.”
She waited a moment, trying to decipher Gibbs’ expression. “I’ve already tried to figure it out, Abbs.” he just said. At the Goth disapproving look, he however conceded. “OK, I’m listening.”
“So…” she started enthusiastically. “I’ve listed twelve different possibilities. We think that she was born a few years after Kelly, but when you were still with Shanon. Thus, she could be Shanon’s daughter somehow…”
“I think we can rule that one out, Abbs.” said Gibbs, visibly trying to avoid painful memories to reemerge.
“Second,” she continued “we could be mistaking on her age. Maybe she could be much older or younger than she seems. The tests I can run are not completely accurate. Which would have her conceived before or after you were with Shanon.”
“Impossible. She can’t be less than sixteen, and there wasn’t… Before Shanon…” tried Gibbs.
“Third,” said Abby, rapidly changing the subject to avoid Gibbs useless pain. “It’s difficult to say, Gibbs, and I think I can rule it out by myself. But to be thorough, I needed to…”
“Abby?” insisted Gibbs.
She sighed. “Could she have been conceived with another woman while you were with Shanon?” she asked, with a contrite look on her face.
“No.” firmly replied Gibbs.
“I thought as much, Gibbs. I am really s…”
“It’s OK Abbs. I understand. What is number four?”
“Well, it could be sperm donation. That would explain it.”
“Well you can rule that one…” started Gibbs before stopping. “Abbs, you are a genius!” He simply said, grabbing the lab technician in his arms.