The office is empty. Kensi and Dom are at a conference in San Diego, Sam and G are off doing their thing, and Nate is bored. He leans back in his chair, trying to balance on the rear two legs while letting his head fall back to stare at the ceiling. He's caught up on his paperwork, and he has two profiles to write up for new Agents before they can be assigned to teams, but nothing pressing. And he's so, so very bored. There's probably a technical term for it: a transient state in which the subject experiences a distinct lack of interest in his or her surroundings.
The sound of footsteps in the hallway shakes him out of his self-diagnosing daydream, and he lets the chair fall back to the floor and quickly leans over his desk, trying to look like he's doing actual work instead of wasting the afternoon away.
"If I were Hetty," a voice says from behind him, "I wouldn't buy this 'hard working' thing you've got going on for a second." Nate turns around to see Eric grinning at him. "But since I'm not Hetty, much to both your and my relief, I'll just poke my head in and hope that I'm not interrupting any deep thoughts."
"You're too gangly and unfashionable to be Hetty," Nate says. "Is she even here?" He pauses, then adds, "And what are you doing outside of your tower? Mingling with us lowly peons?"
"She's up in the Com Center," Eric says. "And I'm here to get you, since you were too out of it to notice your phone going off. Also, whatever, this shirt is awesome." He's wearing a particularly bright Hawaiian shirt today, in shades of green and pink.
Nate glances at his phone, which he'd flipped to silent when he sat down to (pretend to) work on his profiles. Sure enough, there are two missed calls flashing on the screen.
"C'mon, Doc," Eric says, already walking out of the room. "This time, they're asking specifically for you."
By the time Nate makes it up to the Com Center, Eric already has a video conference pulled up, and Hetty is talking a blonde woman, her voice a bit too polite. It takes him only a second to realize that they're hashing out the details of a joint investigation.
"I understand that your detectives discovered the body and collected the initial evidence," Hetty is saying. "But as it is a Marine fatality, this does fall under the jurisdiction of NCIS." Even in the dark of the Com room, Nate can tell that she's not planning to back down, her shoulders straight and her hands tugging her suit jacket straight, a sign of frustration.
"A Marine who retired from active duty six months ago," the blonde responds. "Making him a civilian, and under the jurisdiction of the SBPD."
"Despite his civilian status, he was still liaising with the Naval Research Division on several projects," Hetty responds.
Nate watches them go back and forth, neither woman letting up. It's almost entertaining, except for how this could go on for another hour if one of them doesn't let up.
It takes him another minute past that to realize that they're talking about Sam and G's case. Nate had vaguely paid attention to the case when Eric had been explaining it that morning, but it hadn't been something he was needed for, so he hadn't focused on it much beyond the basics: a dead Marine washed up on the beach, foul play suspected, and no suspects in custody.
"Why am I here?" he asks Eric in a low whisper.
Eric shrugs, eyes wide behind his glasses. He's following the video conference like it's a tennis match, back and forth. "Don't know," he says. "The LEOs asked for you by name, though."
By name? Nate frowns. The blonde on the screen had said she was with the SBPD, but Nate's never worked with San Bernardino's PD before, so he can't figure out why they'd ask for him. Unless—
Realization hits him just as the camera jerks suddenly, and a young man's face replaces the blonde police officer on screen.
"Hiya, Doctor Nate!" the man says cheerfully. "Long time no see."
Unless it's Santa Barbara, not San Bernardino, Nate thinks belatedly. He sighs and rubs the headache that's already forming between his eyes. "Shawn Spencer."
After the police officer (Karen Vick, Nate quickly learns) has pulled the camera back to her, after she and Hetty have hashed out the terms of their joint investigation, after Hetty has scrutinized Nate's clothing, forced him to change his shirt (twice), and bundled him into an SUV to drive two and a half hours up the coast, after all of this, Nate finally has time to sit back and think.
He tries to focus on the case at hand and what little he gleaned from Eric before he had to leave. He knows now that the victim is fifty-three year old Malcolm Haney, and that he washed up on the beach forty-eight hours after being reported missing. His civilian work with the Navy was confidential, but not weapons-related, from what Eric had been able to find.
By the time he makes it out of the city, he's gone over the case in his head twice, flipped through every radio station the SUV picked up, and managed to avoid thinking about Shawn Spencer for a whole— half an hour. Avoidance, Nate thinks, a means of disposing of minor conflicts whose resolutions would expend time or resources that could be otherwise applied to more useful application. Somehow, that's not entirely comforting.
Sam meets his SUV in the parking lot when Nate finally pulls into the Santa Barbara Police Station. The sun is setting behind them, and it makes the annoyed look on Sam's face look even more pained in the fiery orange light.
"What's up?" Nate asks, sliding out of the truck and stretching.
"They have a psychic," Sam growls. He says the last word like it's a curse, or a torment on his very existence.
Nate blinks. Not what he was expecting. "There's no such thing," he says.
"This guy?" Sam says, "He might make you change your mind on that. If he doesn't end up on the wrong end of my SIG-Sauer first."
"Aw, Sammy, I thought we were getting along." Sam's shoulder's tense, and Nate has a brief second to wonder if he's going to snap before Shawn Spencer appears, grinning cheerfully and sucking a smoothie through a straw.
"Wait," Nate says, catching up. "This is the psychic?"
Sam nods, leaning against the SUV. "So he claims."
Shawn wriggles his fingers. "Doctor Nate," he says. "Pineapple smoothie?"
Nate ignores the cup being offered to him. "Psychic?" he repeats.
"Shawn Spencer, private psychic investigator, finder of lost items, predictor of the future, purveyor of dreams and hopes, medium with the Other Side. Also, pet nanny on occasion." He pauses. "Pet manny?"
Sam's eye twitches.
"So, Doctor Nate," Shawn says, moving on, "what brings you out to sunny Santa Barbara this evening?"
"Um, you do," Nate points out. He glances over Shawn; he hasn't changed much since the last time Nate ran into him, back when his father was still an SPBD cop. Still the same messy brown hair, wide eyes, manic energy. "Wanna fill me in on why I was called out here? And when you became a psychic? And when you started working for the police?"
"One does not 'become' a psychic, Nathaniel," Shawn says. "Psychics are born, we are chosen by the spirits to guide mere mortals. And I don't work for the SBPD, I am a consult."
"You know this guy, Doc?" Sam asks, looking between the two of them.
"You could say that," Nate says, warily. There's a status quo within the team, a silent decision of 'don't ask, don't tell' in regards to personal lives, histories. It's why no one knows much about G's childhood, and why no one talks about Kensi's dating habits. He's not sure how much he should explain here, and how much he should keep to himself.
"Nate was my mother's doctoral student back in the old days," Shawn says cheerfully. "He came out and worked with the good ol' SBPD when he was writing his dissertation. That's how we met, of course, and became the very bestest friends ever. Well, except for Gus, Gus is definitely my very very bestest friend ever, sorry Doctor Nate, and—"
Nate rolls his eyes. Psychic or not, Spencer is still the same over-dramatic kid-in-a-grown-body that he'd been when Nate first met him years before.
Sam looks like he's on the verge of using Shawn for target practice, so Nate steps forward. He's not sure what Sam's problem is, why he's reacting so harshly when he's normally so Zen and relaxed, but it's not a good sign. "We should go in, check the case," he says quickly. Sam gives Shawn one last look, then turns and stalks inside. Nate makes a mental note, Agent Hanna displays extreme frustration, emotion may escalate to more extreme level if left unresolved. Possibility of interfering with case?
When he looks away from Sam's retreating back, Shawn is watching him carefully, eyes serious. He grins a second later, though, slaps Nate on the shoulder, and takes off back into the police station.
Subject proving difficult to analyze, Nate thinks. Self delusion of psychic powers, or purposeful deception of colleagues? Nervousness, low self-esteem, need for attention— the list goes on and on, and Nate gives up after a minute and heads into the building as well.
They've taken over a meeting room, files spread out and photos tacked to a corkboard propped against the wall. It's a far cry from the technology in Eric's lab, but it does the job. There are no windows, though, and Nate feels a bit claustrophobic, spoiled by the open-air layout and natural light of the NCIS office.
G is going over the case for the local LEOs, filling them in on what Eric has been able to find on the dead Marine's life. Malcolm Haney lived alone, was divorced and had one kid who lived with his mom, a doctor out in Boston. Haney saw him on Christmas, if he was lucky. Obsessive workaholic, non-social. Didn't own a cell phone, rarely made calls on his house phone. Emails were almost solely work-related. Finances stable, nothing out of the ordinary though.
He'd also done two tours during the Gulf War, and one in Afghanistan before retiring unexpectedly six months prior and cutting all ties with his former friends and fellow soldiers. He hadn't called his son in weeks, rarely left home, had his groceries delivered.
"Sudden onset of depression, triggered by something roughly six months ago," Nate says, once G has finished his run-down.
"You thinkin' suicidal?" Sam asks.
"Wait, is this guy a shrink?" This comes from one of the detectives who are leaning against a desk, looking grumpy. "Chief, first you let another agency take over my case, and then you bring a shrink into it, too?"
"Ignore Lassie," Shawn says, propped up on a desk and swinging his legs like a little kid. "And you're wrong about the suicide. Definitely murder."
G gives Shawn a distrustful look. "And how would you know that?" he asks.
Shawn sighs and makes a 'tut' sound under his breath. "Disbelievers," he says, mournfully.
Nate tries to hide a grin. He's not sure how Shawn knows, or what he's seen that they haven't (or, though every ounce of logic in him rejects the idea, if Shawn is actually psychic), but watching the pained look on Sam's face, the doubting one on G's, is rather amusing.
Shawn, showing some sense of self-preservation, seems to realize that one of the NCIS Agents is on the verge of arresting him and throwing him into a cell, and quickly adds, "The spirits are telling me that someone new entered our victim's life six months ago." He pauses, then adds, "A female someone."
"Girlfriend?" the petite blondeóJules, Nate remembersóasks.
"He never even leaves the house," Sam points out, "how's he gonna find a girlfriend if he doesn't even go to the store to get his own groceries?"
"Online dating?" Jules tries.
G glances through the printouts in front of him. "No dating websites accessed from his computer," he says.
While they talk, Nate studies Shawn, who is watching Jules and the other detectiveóNate is fairly certain that his name isn't actually Lassieówith a fond look on his face. He looks over to the bulletin board that they have set up against the wall, pictures of the Agent posted next to pictures of the beach where he was found, his house, his family.
It takes him a few minutes to notice it.
"A cleaning lady," Nate says.
G and Sam look over at him, and Jules trails off mid-sentence, surprised.
Nate quickly points to the pictures. "Pictures of the victim's house," he says. "Clean as a whistle. Vacuum lines in the carpet, bed made and corners tucked in. Very few men would be so neat, and a severely depressed man would be even less likely."
G already has his phone out, dialing from memory. "Eric," he says. "See if Haney hired a cleaning woman about six months ago." He flips the phone shut and nods at Nate. "Nice catch, Doc."
"So, what," the detective known as Lassie says. "It was the cleaning lady?"
Sam is thinking something over, and Nate watches, patiently. For all that Sam plays up his SEAL past, muscles flexing and weapons blazing, Nate's seen that he's also brilliant beneath the Jarhead exterior, he just doesn't show it the way Dom and Kensi do.
"Do we have the tox screen back yet?" he asks.
The chief shakes her head. "Not yet," she says. "They'll need at least forty eight hours to run the panels."
G glances at his watch. "It's getting late," he says. "Let's get some dinner, call it a night, and we'll get back tomorrow morning and look at this with fresh eyes."
The agents and detectives file out, but Nate hangs back, watching them go.
He doesn't even notice Shawn, still sitting on the desk, until he coughs.
"Oh, geeze," Nate says, jumping. He spares a moment to be thankful that he doesn't have any coffee in his hands at the moment.
"So, good observation skills back there," Shawn says, grinning.
"You saw it before I did," Nate points out.
Shawn looks innocent, wide-eyes. "I saw only what the spirits showed me," he says.
Purposely misleading those around him, Nate thinks. Propagating a hoax, but one that consists entirely of credible observations under an incredible guise. Why?
"You think too much, Doctor Nate," Shawn says. He hops off the desk. "Take a break from analyzing. C'mon, I'll take you to a restaurant where you can get the best pineapple stir fry outside of China."
"Pineapples aren't Chinese," Nate points out, but he follows Shawn out of the police station anyways.
Nate wakes up to someone knocking on his door. He yawns, blinks against the early morning sunlight filtering in through his hotel window, and, reluctantly, rolls out of bed to answer.
Sam is standing on the other side of the door, fully awake and dressed.
"Coast guard found a boat drifting off the coast," he says. "And Eric's got a name for our cleaning lady. Let's go, Doc, time's wasting."
Nate yawns. "Gimme five," he says.
Sam nods. Then he grins. "Nice boxers, by the way." He closes the door behind him as he leaves.
Nate glances down at his boxers, puzzled. They're his Rorschach Test boxers, a gift from his sister a few Christmases ago. "He's just messing with you," he tells himself, and goes to find a pair of pants.
While Jules and Sam go off to check out the boat, Nate tags along with G and the other detective, who introduces himself as Lassiter. Eric has provided them with a name of the cleaning lady that Haney had hired through Craigslist, a Celia Reese.
The address takes them to a tiny suburban neighborhood, not wealthy but definitely comfortable. The last known address of Ms. Reese is a two story white house with a neatly trimmed lawn and actual flower boxes in the windows. It's like something out of a picture book.
There's also a tiny blue car parked out front, and Shawn and another man are sitting on the front porch, sipping lemonade and bickering.
Lassiter groans at the sight, but Shawn just looks up and grins. "Morning, Lassie," he calls as they get out of the car. "Morning Doctor Nate! Morning Agent Callen!"
"What's got him in such a good mood?" Lassiter asks. It's a rhetoric question, apparently, because he stalks off before anyone can respond.
"Spencer," he says. "Mr. Guster. Please explain yourselves."
Nate stands with G and watches Lassiter interrogate (secretly fond and utterly resigned, despite apparent frustration and anger) the two men. Guster, a skinny black man, seems to be the yin to Shawn's yang. He is cool and collected, relaxed and talking calmly while Shawn flails about the place, trying to explain that the spirits led them to this house, where the old lady who lives upstairsóa Mrs. Clarkson who apparently makes the best lemonadeótold them that Celia Reese had rented the bottom floor of the house up until a few days ago, when she'd disappeared.
"Sounds fishy," G says softly to Nate.
"Which part?" Nate asks. "The lemonade being that good, or the part where Celia Reese vanished right before Malcolm Haney was killed?"
G gives him a flat look.
"You think she's a suspect?" Nate asks.
"Well, her actions are a bit suspicious," G points out. He flips his sunglasses off, squinting at the house against the bright sunlight.
"She could have fled in grief, or it could be a coincidence," Nate responds.
"I don't believe in coincidences," G says. "I'm gonna go search the bottom floor apartment, see if Celia Reese left anything behind in her quick departure."
Nate hangs back the rest of the day. There are pieces of evidence, tangible things, items that can be bagged and tagged and photographed, and that's not his area of expertise. Celia Reese is nowhere to be found, but they have Eric monitoring her credit cards and the cell phone that's in her name, in the hopes of getting a hit off of either or both.
When they meet back up at the police station, it's obvious that Jules and Sam have had even less luck. The boat was rented, paid for in cash, by a young woman. The kid at the rental counter, a bored college kid of nineteen, if that, gave a rough description that matched the one Mrs. Clarkson gave of her downstairs neighbor.
"I don't get it," Sam says, looking over the evidence. "So he's depressed, and she comes in and kills him? Why?"
G's phone rings, and he clicks it on, tapping the screen to bring it to speakerphone. "What do you have, Eric?" he asks.
"Your Celia Reese is a phantom," he says. "Her credit cards haven't been used in days, but a few days ago she made a large cash withdrawal from an ATM. I'm sending the video from the ATM feed over now." Sam's laptop, set up on a spare desk, pings. "What I do have, though, is a prescription card in her name, registered to a local pharmacy."
Lassiter leans forward. "Do you know what she was filling there?"
There's a sound of a keyboard clattering in the background. A second later, Eric says, "Restoril. Less commonly known as—"
"Temazepam. A strong bezodiazephine," Nate butts in. At the blank, confused looks he gets, he elaborates. "It's a depressant. Usually used as a sleeping drug. Highly toxic, addictive, and can cause suicidal thoughts in long-term users."
Shawn has been unusually quiet during the phone call, but at Nate's words he groans, closes his eyes and scrunches his face up into something vaguely resembling concentration. "Oh," he says, massaging his temples. "The spirits, they're trying to tell me something. They're saying Don't Look Back! Tom Scholz! Amanda!"
"Boston!" Guster proclaims, sitting up straight.
"Yes," Shawn says, opening his eyes. "The spirits tell me that the death of Mr. Honeyó
"Haney," Lassiter interrupts.
"-- somehow ties back to Boston." Shawn grins. "Well done, Gus."
There's a pause, and then Eric makes a noise on the phone that sounds suspiciously like laughter. "Is that the psychic?" he asks.
G rolls his eyes. "Thanks Eric," he says, and thumbs the phone off.
"The victim's ex-wife lives in Boston," Sam says a second later.
"But his ex-wife has been in Boston for the last three years," Jules says. "She hasn't been back to Santa Barbara since then, and their son hasn't been back since last Christmas."
"Why don't we just lock this guy up," Sam asks, pointing to Shawn, "Until he drops the psychic crap and tells us what's really going on?"
Frustration escalating to the point of taking action, Nate observes. It's like something out of a textbook; for whatever reason, Shawn is causing Sam to react in ways that he normally never would, and the normally calm SEAL is tense and angry.
"You're not locking Shawn up," Jules says.
"Yeah?" Sam straightens until he's looming over Jules' petite form. Nate has to give Jules credit, though; she doesn't back down, just shifts her shoulders and stares him down.
"Sam," Nate says, cutting through the standoff. It's a foolish move, because Sam, as unpredictably angry as he is, might turn his anger on Nate instead. "I need a coffee, and I saw a Starbucks down the road. Let's get out of here for a few minutes, get some fresh air."
For a second, Nate doesn't think that Sam will back down. But then Sam takes a deep breath, shakes his head, and walks out of the room without another word.
Nate meets G's eye, nods at him, and quickly walks off after Sam.
"You know," he says, catching up to the SEAL just outside of the building, "my job isn't just to profile suspects. I'm supposed to be profiling you guys, too, making sure you're handling the cases okay."
"I'm handling the case just fine," Sam says.
Nate nods easily. "Sure you are," he agrees. "Except for how Shawn Spencer is driving you up a wall and you're about to snap at him and get us thrown off of this case when the SBPD files a complaint against you."
"If they'd just admit that the kid is a fraud and let me have ten minutes in an interrogation room with him, I bet I'd have this case solved by the end of the day," Sam says angrily. He stops in the parking lot, kicking up a spray of loose gravel.
"Why are you letting this guy get to you?" Nate asks. "What's different about him, that he's getting you this riled up?"
"He's a fraud," Sam says again. "And he's lying to us, and someone's going to get hurt because of it."
Nate stares toward the water, just barely visible from where they're standing. "Something happened in the past," he says.
It's not a question, but Sam nods anyways.
"Someone got hurt?"
Sam rubs a hand over the back of his neck. "Someone almost got killed," he says.
"Tell me about it." Nate glances over at Sam, then looks back towards the water, waiting for Sam to answer, letting him take his time. He only spent a few months in Santa Barbara when he was working on his dissertation, but he likes how different it is from LA. It's quieter, for one, and the air smells cleaner.
"It was a couple of years before you started at NCIS," Sam says after a long minute. "We were working with the LAPD, and they were doing a research project, using psychics in the field. And this guy they brought in, he knew things, things that he couldn't possibly know. Long story short, he was in on it. And this junior agent, she almost got killed, and G almost got killed trying to save her."
"And you think Shawn is like this psychic?" Nate asks.
Sam doesn't answer.
"Look Shawn, he's not one of the bad guys. I know him. I know him enough to know that however he's getting this information, it's helpful. It's accurate. Is he psychic?" Nate shrugs. "No, probably not. But for whatever reason, he feels as though he has to put up this ruse, pretend to be something that he's not, so that people will believe him."
"I just don't like it." Sam is stubborn; it's usually a positive trait in him, but right now it's the opposite, and it's giving Nate a headache.
"Okay," he says, trying a different tack. "So why would a guy pretend to be a psychic?"
"Crap, Doc," Sam says. "You're the psychologist, not me. What are you trying to get at here? And use small words."
Nate laughs. "I'm saying that Shawn is using the psychic guise to cover for something."
"Yeah, to hide his involvement in the crime," Sam grumbles.
"Okay, you told me your story, so I'll tell you mine," Nate says. He leans against the side of one of the cop cars, tucking his hands in his trouser pockets. "When I met Shawn, he was this punk kid, maybe 20 or so. No college, just did odd jobs around Santa Barbara. His dad worked for the SBPD, so he was there every so often.
"Even back then, though, he would tell these lies. Some of them were subtle, some of them were completely outrageous. But it was always obvious that he was lying, and he'd eventually be called out on it and have to tell the truth."
"So he's a chronic liar."
"I think he just liked the attention, and he liked impressing people around him. He still does." Nate rubs his hands through his hair. "But now he's found a way to do that, to tell the truth and still get the attention that he wants. I heard the Chief say that they've been working with Shawn for over a year now, and he's solved dozens of cases in that time. He's lying about being a psychic, but he's just using that lie as a cover for the truth."
"You trust him?" Sam asks.
Nate nods. "All I'm saying," he says, "is that instead of getting angry at him, listen to what he's saying and find the truth beneath the acting."
Sam doesn't respond.
"Now, I wasn't kidding about that Starbucks," Nate says. "I need a grande Americano."
By the time they get back from Starbucks with enough coffee to keep the entire police station caffeinated, Eric has called back with more information, and G and Lassiter are bent over a file, reviewing notes.
Shawn takes a cup of coffee from them with a grin. He leans forward and whispers to Nate, loudly, "I think they've almost got it."
"Almost got what?" Nate asks.
"The key to solving their little mystery," Shawn responds.
"Wanna give us the answer, magic boy?" Sam asks. Nate glances at him sharply, but there's no animosity in his voice, and his face is carefully blank.
Shawn tilts his head, studying Sam, and grins at whatever he sees there. "Nope," he says. "The spirits don't deal in answers, only in hints."
"How 'bout a hint then?" Sam asks.
Shawn swings a chair around and sits in it backwards. "I could ask the spirits if they'd be so kind," he says. He closes his eyes and begins to hum.
"Is that Michael Jackson?" Gus asks.
"I don't fight the music that the spirits channel through me," Shawn says, cracking an eye open. "And you're ruining my jive here, Gus, c'mon."
"Yeah, well, you're ruining "Thriller" for me," Gus says, but he steps back and lets Shawn do his thing.
"The Spirits," Shawn says, pausing halfway through the chorus of the song, "have informed me that you should focus more on halves than on wholes."
"Halves," G murmurs. His eyebrows come together, and then he's sliding in front of the computer, typing quickly. "Halves," he says again. "Malcolm Haney's ex-wife, we have a file on her, right?"
Lassiter pulls the file, hastily put together when Haney's body was found, and then abandoned when she was ruled out as a suspect.
"Ha, look," G says, pointing triumphantly to the page. "Malcolm Haney was married to Judith Haney, but look at Judith's maiden name."
Sam leans over. "Reese," he says. "Judith Haney was born Judith Reese. It was her mother's first marriage, her father's second. And guess what?" he says, straightening up and glancing over at Shawn. "Judith Reese has a half sister named Celia."
The rest of the pieces fall in quickly after that. The tox screen comes back, and shows that Malcolm Haney's body was flooded with benzodiazepines, and Eric is able to trace the prescription from Celia to Judith, whose signature is found on the original script. The official cause of death from the autopsy is ruled to be asphyxiation due to smothering, though.
But the crowning glory on the case comes when the computer techs come back with the data from Haney's hard drive. Mostly work documents from the Navy, but also a legal document attached to an email from his lawyer, sent six and a half months prior.
"He was going to try to get custody of his son," Sam says, reading over the document. "He'd arranged with his lawyer to contest the original custody arrangements from the divorce."
"And Judith wasn't willing to give the kid up, so she hires her sister to have her husband killed?" Jules sounds doubtful.
"She tried to drug him," G points out. "No doctor would write a six-month prescription for a depressant, so she definitely knew what Celia was using it for."
"And Temazepam, especially over six months, would definitely make Haney depressed," Nate says. "Most likely even drive him to suicide. Which, as a doctor, Judith would be well aware of."
"Except he doesn't commit suicide, and Celia, who's been drugging him for the last six months, finally resorts to murder?"
"People have murdered for a lot less than a custody battle," G states.
There's a silence.
"So let's bring Celia Reese in for questioning, see what she has to say for herself," Lassiter says.
"One problem." G looks around the room. "No one can find her."
Shawn is flipping candies into his mouth on the desk. "Doctor Nate can find her," he says, missing a red candy and watching sadly as it hits the ground and rolls under Lassiter's desk.
Nate blinks. "I can?"
"Wait, no, that's a good idea," Sam jumps in. "You're all about getting into people's heads, right? So, get into Celia's head, tell us what you'd do if you were her."
"I can't just—" Nate trails off. The entire room is looking at him. "Um, okay, she's obviously not entirely stable, if she's willing to kill her ex-brother-in-law just because her half-sister asked her to. I'm assuming she's borderline personality, maybe bipolar. At this point, she's probably aimless; with Haney dead, she has no idea what to do next. And with the kind of faith she obviously has in Judith, to commit an act like this, I'm guessing she'll do her best to get to Boston."
"You think she's going to fly out?" Lassiter is already picking up the phone.
"Yeah," Nate says. "Driving would take too long. I'm thinking she'll buy a plane ticket, probably pay cash."
"Her name won't come up in Eric's searches then," G says. "The TSA passenger manifests are an entirely different system, we're going to have to put out a request with the FAA to get a hold of those."
"I'll put out a notice with airport security," Lassiter says, cradling the phone between his shoulder and his ear, "so they'll keep an eye out for her."
Nate leans back against the wall. "If I were her," he says, "I'd be nervous. She knows what she did was wrong. She doesn't feel guilty about it, or she wouldn't have poisoned the guy for six months, but asphyxiation is a lot more personal than drugging someone, so I'm thinking that will have shaken her up. If we can get her before she gets on a plane, I bet she'll spill everything easily enough."
"NCIS should make the arrests," Sam says quickly.
"Not a chance," Lassiter replies.
"It's across state lines, that makes it federal jurisdiction," Sam returns. "And we can organize an arrest in Boston a lot quicker than you can. You'll have to go through Boston PD, put in a request; if we make a request, NCIS agents in Boston can pick her up within a couple of hours."
Lassiter looks angry, but even he can't deny the logic.
Nate leaves them to hash out arrest warrants and organizing airport security sweeps to catch Celia Reese. He wanders out to the front of the building, sits on the front steps and lets the warm sunshine hit his face.
"You did good, Doctor Nate," Shawn says, plopping down on the stairs beside him.
"You gonna tell me your secret, how you know what you know, as a reward?" Nate asks.
Shawn just laughs.
"Yeah, I didn't think so," Nate says.
"You did good." It's the second time in as many days that someone's said the words to him. Nate's going to get a complex, at this rate.
He looks over at Sam, though, and shrugs. "Just doing my job," he says.
Sam looks through the window at the interrogation room next door, where Lassiter and G are playing good cop/bad cop with a shaky and emotionally unstable Celia Reese. They'd picked her up that morning, trying to board a flight to LAX and then on to Boston.
"It's been a weird few days," Sam says.
"Well, you managed not to maim Shawn Spencer, so I say we call it a win," Nate says, smiling.
"Yeah," Sam says. Inside the interrogation room, Celia breaks down and begins to admit to everything. "Definitely a win."