“Uh oh. Gibbs. Head’s up.” Tony was the first to see Fornell and his two current flunkies stride off the elevator towards them with a little black thundercloud over their heads. Well, there would have been one if this was a cartoon. Gibbs stood to meet them head-on, coming around his desk as Fornell rounded the cubicle wall.
“You want to tell me why you waited three days to notify the Bureau that you had the Winchesters in your grasp and you let them go?”
“By the time we realized who they were, they were long gone,” Gibbs replied.
“So you just contacted two very dangerous criminals by accident.”
“We were following up on a lead, and they turned up. They made us before we made them and refused to show up for a second meet.”
“For a computer problem.” Fornell had obviously read the report.
“Yes,” said Gibbs easily, and with no intention of explaining further.
“Uh huh.” Fornell clearly didn’t buy it. “Conference room?”
Gibbs gestured back the way he’d come. “After you.”
As Gibbs and Fornell disappeared into the elevator, Tony and Kate both crossed their arms and stared down the remaining FBI agents. The taller one rolled his eyes and sat on the edge of McGee’s desk. “You know how many people are up in arms about this?” asked the other one.
“I don’t know,” said Tony with an easy smile. “Gibbs has a knack for pissing off so many people.”
Meanwhile, in the elevator, Gibbs was saying, “Tobias, have you read that case file? It reads like Swiss cheese.”
“Gibbs, my hands are tied on this one. I’m only here because someone seems to think we get along. I don’t know the lead agent on this case, but expect him to come gunning for you.”
“I’ll be sure to pretend to quake in my boots.”
The lead agent on the case turned out to not just be gunning for Gibbs but going for all out carpet bombing. His arrival had the homey feel of a hostile takeover.
“I’m looking for Gibbs,” was the first thing he said, coming to a stop at the entrance to their bullpen, a veritable entourage of agents behind him. Tony and Kate exchanged a glance as they came around their desks to meet him, closing ranks as Tony spoke.
“And you would be?”
“Special Agent Victor Henricksen,” the lead agent said very precisely. “You Gibbs?”
“No. He’s out at the moment, but if you leave your number and tell me what this is about I can take a message.” Tony smiled brightly. Henricksen was not amused and took two menacing step forward.
“Where is he?”
“Working a case,” said Kate. Gibbs and McGee were at Quantico interviewing engineers.
“Fine.” Henricksen looked from her to Tony. “I’ll start with you.”
“Start what?” Gibbs’s voice cut across the tension like a knife as he glared the other FBI agents out of his way. Henricksen, predictably, didn’t budge. McGee did a little dance trying to simultaneously get by to his desk and avoid the rapidly encroaching FBI agents.
“Questioning them on your recent encounter with Dean and Sam Winchester.”
“It’s all in my report,” Gibbs replied without looking at him. “What do you have?”
Kate went first with the phone records, followed by Tony with the DMV report and the records from previous assignments. Henricksen got in Gibbs’s face and said loudly, “I don’t think you appreciate the seriousness of the situation. You had two serial killers that you let get away –”
“I have three dead Marines and another one missing. Don’t tell me I don’t understand the seriousness of this situation,” Gibbs cut him off. “There is nothing I can do about the Winchesters now and you are going to wait until I am finished with this case before I or any of my people answer your questions. Understood?”
Henricksen actually blinked. “I hope you don’t mind if I wait here.”
Half an hour later, Gibbs and Henricksen were in each other’s faces.
“You’re getting in the way of my investigation!”
“You’re getting in the way of mine!”
It was like center ring at a three ring circus; everyone on the third floor was watching.
“Gibbs!” Director Morrow shouted down from on high, impatient and pissed off at the current standoff that was interrupting the conference call that had started this whole thing.
While Gibbs had been working, Henricksen had called his director to complain. A director that had now called Morrow to complain and apparently wanted Gibbs to explain himself personally.
Morrow glared down at his agent and made a snap decision he had actually hoped to avoid. “MTAC, now.”
Clearly fuming, Gibbs complied, shouting orders at his people to get them back to work on the three dead and one missing Marine.
“Sir,” he started as soon as he was within earshot.
“I can’t cover your ass if you shoot him, Gibbs,” Morrow said preemptively, leading the way into MTAC. “Now sit down and cool off.” He pointed at a seat in the back and to the side outside of the camera range. Gibbs shot him an irritated look but did as he was told for now which was all Morrow could ask for.
He nodded to the tech to resume the call. “Director Groves, I apologize for the interruption,” he said smoothly.
“I’m sure,” said Groves with more than a hint of exasperation. “I would greatly appreciate it if you would quit the stonewalling.”
“I assure you that I am not stonewalling you, Director. Your Agent Henricksen, is however impeding an ongoing investigation –”
“Just as your man is impeding ours. We’re talking about serial killers here, Director,” said Groves. “Every second wasted is another life lost. You do not understand how fast these men move.”
“And the serial killer that Agent Gibbs is investigating right now? Are his victims any less important?”
“That has –”
“Furthermore, if your Henricksen has nothing better to do than waste my people’s time while they have actual leads to follow up on, then he can wait until this case is closed to ask his questions.” Groves clenched his jaw but didn’t say anything right away. “I want him gone, Director Groves,” said Morrow. “He has half an hour before I let Gibbs arrest him for obstruction.”
He nodded for the connection to be cut and turned to Gibbs who was smiling.
“Thank you, sir,” he said.
“Find that Marine,” Morrow told him, but he smiled anyway.
Two days later, their Marine was found and Henricksen was back since Gibbs refused to let his people be dragged off to the Hoover building for questioning.
“Haunted,” Henricksen repeated.
“Haunted.” Abby tilted her head and gave him a stare that just dared him to question her. Henricksen clearly took a moment to take in the pigtails, black lipstick, tattoo, and head to toe black Abby was wearing that day.
Without a word, Henricksen got up and left the room. He stabbed a finger in Gibbs’s face who was standing just outside the door. “You expect me to believe this crap?!”
“It was in the report,” Gibbs shrugged, enjoying the throbbing at Henricksen’s temple a little too much. The report actually was better worded than that, but “inexplicable coding aberrations,” still didn’t explain much.
“Don’t think you can get away with this, Gibbs.” He’d had two hours of frustrating interviews that circled around weird shenanigans that were too outrageous to believe. That and every single one of Gibbs’s people told the same story with a straight and smiling face, and Henricksen was ready to shoot someone himself. “You’ve destroyed evidence, falsified reports, and all you have to show for it is a stick figure cartoon a five year old could draw.”
“We think it was Dean Winchester actually,” said Gibbs helpfully. The finger closed into a fist. Henricksen took a deep breath.
“You have a one hour reprieve. When I get back, you better have answers or I am slapping you and all you’re pretty little people with obstruction. Understand?”
Gibbs smirked and rolled his eyes because if Henricksen thought that NCIS hadn’t already put them through the wringer on this one he was sadly mistaken. “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”
Henricksen ended up not coming back. “The Winchesters surfaced again in Albuquerque,” said Fornell by way of both greeting and explanation when he turned up an hour later. “Called us themselves, of all things.”
“Imagine that,” said Gibbs blandly. Tony and Kate exchanged a look, then both their eyes darted quickly to Abby who was sitting on McGee’s desk where he was looking at her with similarly raised eyebrows.
“Amazing coincidence,” Fornell returned just as dryly. “I got those files you wanted. Henricksen’s done some good work with the Bureau.”
“Until now,” said Gibbs.
Fornell smiled instead of answering. “Don’t break him,” he said.
“Don’t worry,” piped up Abby with a grin. “Gibbs is just going to show him the error of his ways.”
“Uh huh. You owe me.” Gibbs just raised an eyebrow at that, until Fornell said, “Fine, we’re even. More even. Stop screwing around with FBI cases.”
“We’ll do that as soon as you stop screwing them up,” said Tony, but Fornell ignored him and left with a swirl of his trench coat. “You’d think he’d be happy that we’re helping them.”
“We’ll I’m glad they did screw this one up,” said Kate.
“Me too,” said Abby, standing up. “Sam says ‘hi,’ by the way.”
“How are they doing?” Kate asked as Abby hooked their arms together and started leading her toward the elevator.
“They’re good. Apparently they’re looking into a demonic rabbit problem.”
“That sounds . . . terrifying.”