Timothy McGee was fast approaching sleep when a tall, thin man in a ragged dress shirt that had clearly seen better days exited the warehouse that they had been surveilling for the past week.
"Tony," he hissed, putting down the binoculars, and elbowing Tony in the side.
Anthony DiNozzo gurgled in a disgruntled manner, snuffled and turned his face toward the window. McGee poked him again.
Tony gave a violent start, and then sat up in an instant, wiping drool from his mouth.
"What is it, McGee?" he said, tone a couple of notches below snarling.
"Some guy just left the warehouse. Look, he's standing right there."
Tony grabbed the binoculars and frowned. "How did he get in? There's only one exit."
"Let's find out."
They swiftly left the car, and made their way to the man, flanking him before he had a chance to escape. He looked from Tony to McGee, his youthful face showing confusion.
"NCIS," said Tony, pulling out his badge.
The man squinted at it. "Oh, sorry, could you remind me which one that is? I get them all mixed up in this brain of mine. Incidentally, you're American, aren't you?"
"This is America," said Tony in a 'duh' voice.
"Oh, must've overshot it quite a bit. So where am I?"
"Huh. Year and date?"
Tony exchanged a 'this guy is crazy' look with McGee.
"April 16, 2010," McGee said.
"Ooh. Overshot quite a bit," the man repeated absently, rubbing at his chin. "Well, there's nothing to it—just have to go back to the TARDIS, then. Good meeting you chaps."
Tony and McGee both drew their guns, and the man eyed them with palpable distaste.
"Now really, you Americans and your guns. Always 'shoot first and ask questions later'. Can't we just conduct a normal conversation without all the fuss?"
"What were you doing in the warehouse?"
"You know, you still haven't told me what NCIS stands for. Let me see…Nearly Chocolate Inside Stars…no, that can't be right, although there is a reason why they call them 'Mars bars'…"
"Naval Criminal Investigative Service," Tony snapped. "We're federal agents, and we want to know what you were doing in there."
"I was parking the TARDIS," the man said patiently.
"Time and Relative Dimensions in Space."
"Is that code for something?" McGee whispered to Tony, who shrugged.
"She's my ship," the man said with more than a trace of pride.
"Your ship?" Tony said slowly.
"Yes. My space ship. Travel throughout the galaxies, me, sometimes alone, sometimes with a companion. Prefer to have someone with me, though; rather have an audience to prattle on to. It gets a bit lonely...which reminds me, I have to get back, there's someone waiting for me, you see...I promised her five minutes..."
"He's crazy," McGee said in a sotto voice.
"You think, McGee?" Tony said, holstering his weapon. "You're going to have to come with us, sir; we need to ask you a few questions."
Tony and McGee each grabbed an arm and led him to the car, protesting all the way.
"Now, really, there's no need for this kind of behaviour!" the man exclaimed, trying to twist away.
But he was no match for their combined strength, and they had him handcuffed shortly.
"Says his name is Dr. John Smith—but just to call him 'the Doctor'," Tony said from outside the interview room where 'John Smith' was sitting, twiddling his thumbs and protesting his involuntary imprisonment.
"He says that he travels through the galaxy in some sort of space ship," McGee reported. "A TARDIS—Tony and I went into the warehouse—didn't find anything."
"McGee was convinced we'd find one," Tony guffawed.
McGee shot Tony a glare. "Okay, how do you think he could've gotten in?"
"There was a window—tiny, but he's skinny enough—he could've wiggled through."
"It was ten feet off the ground, Tony!"
"Enough," said Leroy Jethro Gibbs. "What else do we know?"
"That is it," Ziva David said. "There is no record of a John Smith entering the country or leaving the country. He has no form of identification. There was a blank piece of paper in his wallet. We also confiscated some sort of weapon which Abby is examining now."
"What do you think, Duck?" Gibbs consulted the elderly M.E.
Dr. 'Ducky' Mallard frowned in thought. "He's very convinced of this delusion. I don't believe that he is merely putting on an act."
"Do you think he knows about the weapons sale?"
"I believe that he's hiding something, Jethro. But I can hardly imagine what."
"Tony...see if Smith has any other aliases. Ziva...see if you can find anyone matching his description missing from the local psychiatric hospitals."
Gibbs swept out of the room, and headed next door.
John Smith ceased his diatribe on the U.S. constitution as soon as Gibbs entered, shutting the door behind him with a quiet click.
"Oh, hello there." Smith flashed a smile. "You were watching from behind that glass, weren't you? Yes, fascinating, you humans and your technology. Double sided glass. Mind if I touch it?"
Smith stood eagerly, and tapped at the glass, smiling. After a pause, he licked it to the mutual consternation of McGee and Ducky.
"Oh dear," Ducky said.
"That's disgusting," McGee said, reeling away from the window.
"Ingenious," Smith said, smacking his lips together.
"You're not human?"
"Nope, I'm not. Time Lord from Gallifrey but that'll hardly mean anything to someone like you. We can, for illustrative purposes, call me simply an alien."
He grinned, lighting up his young face, and rocked back and forth on his heels.
"You seem rather fond of talking in short sentences, aren't you?" Smith wandered back to his seat. "Yes, I'm an alien, two hearts, humanoid features, and I don't want to hear any 'but you look like a human' rubbish, because Time Lords were here first, and that, as they say, is that."
"You have a British accent."
"Do I?" Smith said, lightly. "Had a 'Northern accent' once, but then, lots of planets have a north as you know. I don't know why everyone's so fussed about 'accents'. "
Gibbs ignored this bit of nonsense and got straight to the point. "What were you doing in the warehouse?"
"Answered this question already, didn't I? Parked the TARDIS there—and I'd rather not be explaining that again soon."
"Do you know this man?"
Gibbs pushed over a file, which Smith looked over disinterestedly.
"Haven't met him. Know a lot of people, me, sometimes I meet them before I should, but I can't help crossing my own time steam. Call it an occupational hazard of sorts. He's important to you, is he?"
"And there you go again. Blimey, I don't think I could fit that much meaning into one little word. This gob of mine never stops moving...what did he do, exactly?"
"He's an arms dealer."
"Ooh. That's nasty, that is. Chops off arms and sells them...oh, you didn't mean literal arms, did you? Right, well, weapons are nasty buggers; don't like them myself, only one I need's my brain...and my mouth."
He beamed; apparently proud of his ability to talk the ears off of anyone he wanted.
"You were carrying a weapon," Gibbs stated, leaning forward.
"Nope. Not me. Already said that I didn't like them. Unless you're mistakenly referring to my sonic screwdriver, which I would incidentally like returned to me. Isn't there some sort of human law about 'stop and search'?"
"We had probable cause to believe that you had a concealed weapon." Gibbs smirked.
"That's not good," Smith said, sounding abruptly agitated. He ran a hand through his hair, green eyes widening as he stared at the table. "Shadow Proclamation won't like that—my sonic screwdriver in the hands of a human. And he's going to take it apart...could change everything..."
Smith looked up. "I need to use the loo."
"W.C., bathroom, toilet, whatever your lot calls it," Smith said, making a frustrated gesture.
"No." Gibbs stood up and went to the door, hand lingering on the doorknob.
Smith stood up as well, a move that was hardly impressive, considering he had the physical presence of a preying mantis. "You can't possibly deny me a bathroom!"
"Done it before." Gibbs shut the door, and went to observe Smith from behind the glass.
"Jethro," Ducky began, the instant he entered the room. "The man is obviously disturbed; he believes he is an alien for heaven's sake! You shouldn't—"
"That screwdriver of his invoked real fear, Duck. It's not a toy," Gibbs said, watching Smith pace, continuously running a hand through his hair.
"I have given my official medical opinion," Ducky said, in a disappointed tone. "You'd do well to listen to it."
Ducky sighed and left.
Gibbs' mobile rang. "Yeah."
"An Interpol agent is here for Smith," Ziva reported quietly.
Gibbs snapped his phone shut, and wondered, not for the first time, who exactly this man was.
When he entered the bullpen, a young, attractive red headed woman was standing next to Tony's desk, smiling almost fondly at his attempt to chat her up.
"I'm married," she said with a prominent Scottish accent. She held up her left hand and pointed to her wedding ring.
Tony, chastened, shut his mouth, and then, seeing Gibbs, bounded up to introduce the woman.
"Boss, this is—"
"I can speak for myself," she said, turning her back on him.
This earned a smile from Ziva, who found it hard to hide her glee at Tony's shocked face.
"Who are you?"
"Amelia Pond from Interpol." She took out a wallet, flashed her ID quickly and put it back in her pocket.
"Yes." Pond crossed her arms, and raised an eyebrow, as if daring Gibbs to question her credentials.
"A little young, aren't you?"
"That's none of your business. Where are you keeping Smith?"
"What does Interpol want with him?"
"Smith is a suspect in an ongoing investigation," Pond said, and Gibbs smirked tightly at the familiar, vague phrasing. He had given similar lines to other law enforcement agencies. "I'm not allowed to give out any more details."
"He did not show up when we ran him through the databases," Ziva said from her desk.
"John Smith is an alias."
"Got that," Tony said with a lazy grin.
"I don't have time for this," Pond said. "Where are you keeping him?"
Gibbs turned to see a young man jog up.
"My partner, Rory Williams," Pond said, tilting her head to the new arrival.
"Got it," Williams said shortly and the two exchanged glances.
"Gibbs!" Abby said, storming up to them, face tight with anger. "This guy just comes into my lab and takes away that really cool thingy, claiming he's from Interpol!"
Williams and Pond looked at her and exchanged slightly smiling side glances.
"You!" Abby said, noticing Williams for the first time. She poked him in the chest. He flinched and shied away, stepping closer to Pond. "Give! It! Back!"
"Abby," Gibbs said warningly, and she desisted, still eying Williams as though he had committed a horrible atrocity.
"Where is he?" Pond snapped, stepping closer to Gibbs.
Williams made a move as if to touch her, but apparently thought better of it.
"What for?" said Pond sharply.
Gibbs looked back at her. "He mysteriously turned up in a warehouse we were investigating. We thought he might've had something to do with a case we were working on."
"But he didn't."
"Far as we can tell." Gibbs looked at Abby. "I've got it covered, Abs."
Abby narrowed her eyes, but walked away.
Gibbs turned to Pond. "You're aware Smith claims to be an alien from out of space?"
"The man's a loony," Williams admitted freely.
Pond nudged him with her elbow, and he added almost hastily, "But don't let that fool you. He's orchestrated a number of...incidents...singlehandedly."
"They call him the Oncoming Storm," Pond said, and Gibbs could have sworn that she sounded proud.
"This guy?" Gibbs said sceptically, letting Pond and Williams into the observation room so that they could see Smith for themselves.
Smith stood in the middle of the room, gripping hair with both hands and pacing back and forth, muttering in a language that was almost certainly not human.
"He's speaking in gibberish, boss," McGee reported, eyes flickering from Pond to Williams curiously. "Been doing that for a few minutes now."
"Gibberish to you is another man's Gallifreyan," Pond said tartly, and now it was Williams' turn to nudge her.
"McGee, this is Amelia Pond and Rory Williams from Interpol," Gibbs introduced them brusquely, wondering where Pond's previous comment had come from.
McGee politely nodded at both of them, but only Williams responded in kind. Pond was occupied with staring at Smith, an inscrutable look on her face.
"We, er, think he might be aiming to get out of the charges using an insanity defence," Williams said to Gibbs. "It's quite important that we talk to him."
"One of you," Gibbs said, his gut telling him that something was not quite right with these people.
Williams motioned to Pond, who nodded.
Gibbs escorted her into the interview room, careful to watch Smith's expression when he saw the woman.
"Doctor," Pond said, taking a seat at the table.
Gibbs stood in the corner, his arms folded, gut twisting uneasily.
"Who are you?" Smith said, sounding genuinely bewildered.
Pond smiled. It was not the smile of a cop finally catching a long awaited prey, but the smile of a woman looking at a dearest, old friend.
"I know an Amelia, with red hair just like yours, need to get back to her, you know. Promised her five minutes and—" Smith broke off his nonsensical rambling to peer closer at Pond. "Amelia?"
"You know who I am," Pond stated quietly.
"You're a policewoman? In America?"
"Not much time to explain. You'll understand soon. What's important right now is that we get you back to the TARDIS, so you're where you're supposed to be."
At this, Gibbs' gut sounded a klaxon warning, and he started forward, pulling out his gun. He pointed it at Pond, who immediately stood up.
"Hands up!" he barked. "You're not going anywhere."
"Rory!" Pond shouted, throwing her hands up.
Smith remained seated, looking completely baffled.
"What's going on?" he said, looking from Gibbs' gun to Pond.
The double pane window shattered and Williams vaulted into the room, holding the same small, pulsing blue weapon that he had appropriated from Abby's lab.
"Not like what I'm used to, but it'll do," Williams said, pointing it Gibbs. "Gun down, please, that's my wife you're threatening."
"You're married?" Smith exclaimed, looking scandalized.
"Yeah," Williams replied, although the question had clearly been intended for Pond. "Just for your future reference, though...I won't forgive you for the stag party even though I say I do."
"What?" Smith said, voice climbing higher in pitch.
"Put the weapon down!" Gibbs said, swinging the gun from Pond to Williams. He was starting to feel increasingly wrong footed, all of these different time tenses and people who knew each other, but didn't know each other. Where was McGee?
"All systems go," Pond said, speaking into a mobile phone, and Gibbs wondered who she was talking to.
And then the event happened that firmly convinced Gibbs he was in the Twilight Zone.
"Get back!" Pond yelled, wrenching Smith out of his seat, and she stood with Williams in the corner.
A blue police call box materialized in the room on top of the table.
Gibbs, still holding his gun, but paralyzed with absolute shock, watched as a man, identical to Smith stepped out, this time dressed in a red bowtie and a patched tweed jacket.
"Hullo," he said cheerfully to Gibbs. "Good job, you lot."
Pond beamed and Williams nodded, looking as though faint praise from this man was not as good as his wife seemed to think.
"You're wearing a bowtie," said Smith, stepping forward, looking at his double.
"Yeah, yeah. Bowties are cool." Smith's double adjusted it proudly.
"That they are," Smith acknowledged. He tugged self-consciously at his own ruined tie. "Is it just me, or do these temporal disturbances and paradoxical time crossing events happen more often than not?"
"Yes," Williams said, handing him the tiny weapon.
"Thank you," Smith said, looking at him with careful consideration. "So you marry Amelia, eh?"
"Well," Pond said cheerfully, giving him a push towards the call box. "You'd better get going! You've got a date with a cricket bat!"
"What?" Smith said in confusion, but his double merely grinned.
"You get a fez, too," the double added, which caused Pond to inexplicably groan.
"Doctor, stop corrupting your past self!"
Smith raised his eyebrows, nodded at the paralyzed Gibbs and shut the door behind him.
The police call box dematerialized with a vworp. Gibbs, utterly gobsmacked at this point, looked at the remaining three people in the room, unsure of whether he should call Ducky to get his head examined, or arrest all of them just for confusing him until his brain hurt.
"What's going on?" he demanded finally, holstering his weapon.
"Just a bit of time travel paradox," Smith's double—future self?—said blithely. "Sorry if we disturbed you, but I don't fancy ending up in jail again."
"You're a time travelling alien," Gibbs said in disbelief. He didn't think those words could ever come out of his mouth—even in jest.
"Yeah, yeah." He didn't sound the least bit apologetic.
"How...what...?" Gibbs' mouth worked, but no words came out. He was suddenly finding it hard to even form sentences.
"He's in shock," Pond said, sounding oddly compassionate. "Doctor, shouldn't we do something for him?"
"I'm not taking in anymore strays, Amy Pond. Besides, he'll get over it."
"Speaking of strays, I found Tony," Pond offered with a mischievous smile.
The double groaned. "I told him to stay in the TARDIS. No one ever listens to me, do they? I shouldn't even bother giving any instructions anymore. One rule, one simple rule and you all get it into your heads to disobey. Where is he? We have to get him back as soon as possible—can't have us both crossing our past selves at the same time. The fabric of the universe will warp."
"Are you done?" Pond said, sounding both impatient and bored at this passionate speech.
"I found younger Tony. But not too young. I think we pick him up soon."
"Ah." The double nodded. He looked at Gibbs, who started to get the horrible feeling that one of his team members was about to be abducted by aliens. "Has Tony gotten shot yet?"
The double sighed. "Have you been to Panama?"
"What's the date?"
"April 16, 2010."
"You're still on your honeymoon," the double said to Pond and Williams. To Gibbs, he said, "We'll be back in a couple of months for him. Speaking of which, when he gets shot, don't be too hard on yourself. It's not your fault. He wanted me to tell you that."
With this cryptic, unsettlingly prophetic statement, the trio exited, leaving Gibbs to grasp weakly onto the edge of the table for support, and to seriously consider retirement.
If he was starting to hallucinate police call boxes appearing during interrogations of time travelling aliens, it was a sign that his brain had taken a permanent leave of absence.
When Tony arrived ten minutes later, Gibbs was still standing like a statue, unable to move.
"Boss!" he exclaimed, looking from the destruction to the ashen faced Gibbs. "What happened? Where'd Smith go?"
"DiNozzo," Gibbs said, finding a weary smirk and dreaming about the full bottle of bourbon in his basement. "You wouldn't believe me if I told you."
Two years earlier, in Leadworth, England...
The Doctor came to, handcuffed to the radiator by Adult-Amy. There was no spark of recognition in her eyes, as she stared down at him in her policewoman uniform. Hazily, his mind still shaken by that blasted cricket bat, he hazily thought that life will at least never be dull with her on board the TARDIS.
And he should probably keep the handcuffs away from her.