"Please speak slooowly and solemnly, young man. Plus, I would be much obliged if you would revert to proper English, too. I really cannot make any sense of your ramblings."
When Tony and Ziva arrived at the scene of the accident, after having been called by their teammate who had been on his way in from Silver Spring, they cast questioning glances towards one another at the strident tones in a very posh British accent which could be heard over the general hub and seemed to come from an elderly and rather portly and visibly upset, yet domineering woman.
They couldn't make out the poor law enforcement officer's reply but as they got closer, they could observe his flustered face and nervous demeanor. Tim stood nearby assessing the situation, at the same time placating a motley party of British visitors who got involved in a car crash and stood shakily to the side.
When Tim left the five people he'd succeeded in calming down somewhat, he joined the woman who, still obviously in charge, excitedly tried to explain to the officer what had occurred making wild gestures, indicating whom she thought responsible for sending their vehicle seating seven off its intended trajectory and onto the soft shoulder.
"Now you will have to do better than that, officer as we can't stay long. We're namely visiting my brilliant son, Sheridan, here, who has his humble abode - including a jacuzzi, two bathrooms, 6 bedrooms, swish kitchen with all modern amenities, and a wonderful and lush garden - in the best part of Washington. He was so nice to welcome us at the airport." She had to take a deep breath after getting all this out in one rush.
Again some mumbling could barely be discerned, and this time it didn't come from the officer, but from her - it was plain to all - long suffering husband who'd been standing by demurely, waiting for an opportunity to get a word in edgewise.
"Oh Richard, dear; let me handle this," she said in a patronizing way, patting his arm before turning back to the flustered agent.
"Anyway," she huffed. "What is it with these young people tearing about so recklessly? Something should be done about road safety. I shall personally send a letter to your President."
"That won't be necessary, Mrs...ah...Bucket." Tim missed the exasperated rolling of the eyes of the drama lady as he turned to the harassed looking officer: "I'll take it from here." The man breathed a sigh of relief as he went to take care of the scene, thankful to get away from this relic from 'the golden age'.
"The name, young man, is Bouquet - à la française! And who may you be? I do trust you will not revert to these mindless Americanisms that officer just used? Don't they teach the youngsters some proper Queen's English, these days? The impurity and sheeeeeerrr corruption of the English language! Oh, I do so despair!"
For a moment, Tim, was befuddled by this outlandish behavior, but he quickly recovered, deciding they were dealing with some fruitcake and shouldn't pay too close attention to her railing. Best course of action was to remain calm and take great care in explaining things just in case she wouldn't get it...in American English. For all he knew, she might even have sustained some head injury. He nodded to himself. Yup, that might be the reason for her odd behavior.
"Mrs...Hyacinth Bouquet?" Tim produced his badge and tucking it away again after she'd acknowledged it, he introduced himself. "I'm Agent McGee of NCIS."
"Oh! Agent? Another police constable? What are you still doing here? Shouldn't you be off chasing this person who was so imprudent to lose control of his vehicle? We are sooooo fortunate we weren't badly injured! Or worse! Oh dear God! I can't bear the very thought!"
Tim patiently waited until she was done rambling.
"And where, sir, are the rest of your accouterments?"
He closed his eyes and silently counted to three. What could she possibly mean by that? What was he missing?
"You know? Your equipment? Handcuffs? Do you carry a gun? Why are you out of uniform?"
A portly and sloven man in appearance, hands dug deep in his pockets, sauntered up towards them from where he'd stood gawking at Tim's Porsche. He was the complete opposite of this stuffy, pedantic and very British...woman and the epitome of both a couch potato and a sloth.
"Must be an unda' cova' coppa'. Y' know. Loik them geezers from the Met. Loik Starsky an' 'Utch." Onslow interposed languidly in a sappy dialect.
Daisy, all smiles after the moment of perturbation caused by the accident, now sounded very excited. "Oh, this is so thrilling. Reminds me of when daddy went missing."
"He wasn't missing, dear. He'd just been mislaid," Hyacinth said.
A thin blonde woman, who had introduced herself as Hyacinth's sister, Rose, also made her way towards them with quick and ill balanced steps, coming to a halt right next to Tim. She stumbled a little and just managed to catch his arm to steady herself, unsettling him by leaning in even closer whilst wrapping one arm around him and placing a hand on his chest. He didn't like the predatory look in her made up eyes and tried to free himself from her clutches.
"And, oh my, isn't he such a dearie? What a handsome maaaaannnn... Would you show me your gun? A plain clothes police officer! I'm thrilled to hear about your adventures," Rose purred.
Tim visibly squirmed. What was this he'd got himself into? A nightmare?
He didn't notice his team mates watching his predicament, nor the glee they didn't even bother to hide. When he finally did catch sight of them, they could see him visibly relax as he excused himself to the party and started to walk towards his co-workers.
"Please, Tony, don't even think it," Tim said in a flat tone before Tony could utter one word, not liking the look on Tony's face.
"I wouldn't dare, McStud."
Tim rolled his eyes. "Yeah, right... But... Jeez! These people are total nutters!" Tim hissed to his companions, casting an anxious glance over his shoulders to the bunch of British people which seemed to have stepped right out of a sitcom.
"Okay, fine. So, the accident? What happened?"
Clearing his throat, Tim explained. "It wasn't an accident. Someone deliberately tried to drive them off the Beltway." He gave a derisive snort as he continued. "Guess they noticed a little too late, luckily, that traffic was significantly slowing down and so was the car of the Britons. So when they swerved their car to collide with the Britons, the latter were already slowing down in anticipation of the traffic ahead and their car just took a brush on the driver side of the front wheel and bumper. They were able to pull over safely." He shrugged. "The other car got away over the hard shoulder and took the next exit. Nobody was injured but..." and he leaned closer "man!...such a loopy bunch!"
"Did they get a good look at the other car?" Ziva wanted to know, attempting to keep acting professional even if she wanted to give in to a fit of giggles.
"Hmmm... The color varies as does the vehicle. He rolled his eyes. "Six people and they manage to come up with just as many different descriptions! No way you're getting detailed and accurate information from them now."
"But I saw the other vehicle," Tim added with a mischievous grin.
"Why didn't you say so in the first place, McDevious?" Tony grunted.
"You didn't ask the right question, Tony," Tim smirked.
"Oh, put a lint on it, you two." Ziva called over from where she stood, snapping pictures of the damage.
"Lid," Tony and Tim simultaneously corrected her.
"We should take...them...to the Yard. Maybe Abby can run through some facial recognition with them," Tim said, sighing resignedly.
"Yoo-hoooo, officer McGeeeeee!"
With a barely silenced groan, Tim left his team mates and walked back to...the Bucket woman...and her family and explained the need for their presence at the Yard. He then politely excused himself and quickly made for his Porsche which still stood parked behind the rental.
Tony and Ziva offered to take the party to the NCIS HQ in the SUV, but Mrs Bucket...'Bouquet'...sweetly, yet strongly declined, insisting she didn't want to step inside a police car. It didn't matter that the NCIS car wasn't anything like a regular police car.
"I daresay, your sweet agent with the Scottish name, has quite a prestigious car," Rose said with longing.
Ziva turned towards Tim who'd caught what had just been said and saw his eyes widen as he discreetly, yet emphatically, shook his head. She was amused how his ears had turned a deeper shade of crimson.
She took pity on him and was about to steer the Bucket party with the necessary authority towards the SUV.
Alas, Hyacinth, following up on her sister's approving remark, hadn't hesitated to stalk over to the very posh silver Porsche. There she stood on the passenger side, defiantly, eyeing Tim over the top as she silently willed him to walk around and open the door to her.
Stifling an oath, he reluctantly obliged, then went around again to his side and slipped behind the steering wheel of his beloved car.
There simply was no reasoning with this obsessive and snobbish woman.
If only he'd left half an hour sooner...
The Buckets were ushered into one of the conference rooms overlooking the Anacostia.
In contrast to the others, Hyacinth was now sitting quietly and very erect at the table: "I always like to face the window".
She was doing her best to look as unruffled as possible after she'd suffered a clash of generations with the resident goth as Abby had rode the elevator with her and Agent McGee. Much to Tim's surprise, she hadn't appeared too bothered by her own sister Rose's flirty way of dressing and overt seduction tactics. Or else, which seemed more probable, she tried to ignore it.
However, he was thankful Abby had somehow managed to stop her babbling. He wasn't too sure how much longer he could sit it out with this woman in all her manic demeanor.
The secretary floated into the room with tea and coffee and as she was busy serving, Tim walked into the room and sat down.
"I don't suppose you have anything fancier than this...cheap hotel…crockery? This is such a far cry of my hand painted Periwinkle cups and saucers. And how about some fresh cream cakes?"
He took a deep breath and opened his mouth, about to start the interview...when Gibbs came in, walked to the table where he leaned over to take the small plate with cookies to put them right in front of her.
"Have these. You can have them all. My sincere apologies the décor of our conference room isn't as plush plum velvet as you'd expected. And please accept my most sincere apologies for the…cheap yet solid hotel china, Mrs...Bouw-kay," the team leader said mockingly, making Tim laugh inwardly.
"I don't understand why that's so hard to remember. It is a name with standing, dear sir. The Bouquets are of Norman descent. I do wish people stopped pronouncing the name like it belongs to some sheep-raising English tenant farmers."
Choosing to ignore her, he bent over the files. "You're Hyacinth Bucket...aka 'Bouquet'..."
He bit his tongue and merely looked at her with expressionless eyes he knew would maybe put her off.
And it worked.
Satisfied, he went on: "...living Waney Edge, Blossom Avenue 12, Fuddleton... Married to Richard..."
"Yes, yes. We already know who we are, Agent McGee. No need to remind us, you know? And before you ask: the address most definitely is not the Chinese take-away." She said peevishly.
"Okay… Then let's get down to the…ah…accident."
"Please do, Agent McGee," Rose said, her sparkling, hungry eyes staring deeply into Tim's. So much so he couldn't concentrate.
"McGee. Focus!" Gibbs snapped his fingers in front of his agent's face.
"Uhm…yeah…Uhm… You see; the accident wasn't an accident."
"You seem to be pretty sure about that," Richard said slowly.
"Please proceed, Agent McGee," Hyacinth urged him on.
Gibbs spoke. "Somebody deliberately pushed you off the road. They hadn't expected the traffic to have virtually come to a stand-still. So there were no casualties. Just the damage to the minivan."
Tim consulted his file and continued. "We… Following a chase, the police were able to stop our man at a road block. The traffic cams gave us further evidence this was the SUV who ran into your vehicle and sped away."
"He's being interrogated as we speak and it happens he's an acquaintance of…" Gibbs looked down his documents, "Sheridan Bucket".
"Then why would anyone mean harm on poor Sheridan?"
"The man in custody had tried to date Sheridan. He'd met Sheridan at the "Pink Pants" bar. "
"Well… He was just visiting a bar! So?"
Okay. Tim scratched his head. How to explain this?
This was the moment for Richard to jump in, seeing how the agent struggled to break to his wife what everybody except Hyacinth herself already knew.
"Because he's gay, Hyacinth, that's why. It was a gay bar. Sheridan, our son, is a homosexual."
"This can't be! I can't believe this! Not my Sheridan! He's academically gifted and so obviously destined for high places!"
"Hyacinth," Richard said. "Haven't we discussed this before about why Sheridan shows very little interest in girls? Besides, he studies "Tapestry Design and Advanced Needlework". Don't know how that will help him to a career in high places…"
Sheridan just sat there, blushing.
"Rich-aaard! Good grief, Richard! Sheridan! Tell me this isn't true! If Daddy had been here, he'd have had an apoplexy!"
"It's the truth and it's time you faced it…" Richard muttered stubbornly.
"Anyways, back to the case. From what the man's been telling us, his motive turned out to be based on his own gay son who had committed suicide after his lover broke up the relationship. Our man, never having accepted his son's sexual preference, had decided to target gay men whom he blamed for dragging his son into their world. After a phone call to the ex-boyfriend of his son – from his son's cell, he went to the bar where he found his first target: Sheridan. So he followed your son to the airport and…you know the rest."
"But why wait until I'd picked up my family?" The hitherto silent Sheridan now wanted to know.
"Opportunity. No more. And mulling over what he was going to do. He acted more on impulse than anything. That and the grief for losing his only son this way."
The Buckets all sat silently as they digested this news.
"Well, luckily none of you are harmed, so I can only wish you the best with your vacation in the States. Have a nice day."
Gibbs then walked out, followed by Tim who'd gathered up the documents and tapped them against the table before putting them back into the file.