(reposted - this was on the GibbsKate egroup, posted years ago)
(written way back before Kate met her fate on non-syndicated episodes)
fandom: NAVY_NCIS, HIGHLANDER.
summary: three of the crew get sent to investigate a murder...only to find a few things missing -- like the victim.
notes: I'll try to be as historically accurate.
notes: the town of Oakenfeld is not real. I made it up for this story.
I also intend to *finish* this story...that means no gaping holes the size of the Sahel. :)
ON THE ROAD, PENNSYLVANIA:
"Thanks for letting me come along," Abby said, sitting in the back,
"Not a problem," Gibbs said, thinking that an extra pair of arms and legs would probably make the detective work get solved sooner.
"Never actually been to Oakenfeld," Abby said. "But I've heard a lot about it." While Gibbs was wondering if that was or wasn't a good thing, "It's got the largest Goth population in the state..."
And Kate wondered whether or not that in itself was a good thing.
"...and we'll be there just in time for Samhain," Abby was saying.
"Do I want to know what that is?" Gibbs asked.
"It's a holiday," Kate said, before Abby could.
"Yeah," Abby confirmed, "but not just any holiday. It's -"
"Two more miles," Kate said, reading the roadside sign.
"Joy," Gibbs grumbled.
The crime scene, half a mile from town, was a good ten minutes' walk from the road, into the thick woods. There was a spot marked where a mass of blood had been spilled & a body had fallen. There was a pit in the ground twentyfive feet away from the blood; the pit having been dug by man-sized shovels that were still lying alongside the pit. All the rest of the evidence had already been taken to town, they were informed by a police officer who went with them to their car (leaving two other officers at the site to guard it), and showed them the way to the holding cells.
Officer Hopper, at the police station, introduced himself; Abby was very excited, until she realized that the black-on-white features of his face were natural rather than applied. Kate noted that, for a man who either had a tapeworm or a beer belly, Officer Hopper was surprisingly agile & nimble.
The two Navy men were waiting patiently for the NCIS, and didn't complain when Hopper stayed in the room to listen. One of them -- Quinn -- was stoic and silent, refusing to answer anything but for his name, rank, serial number. The other -- Vinter -- was quick to confess to shooting a man who'd stumbled onto him and Quinn digging up a box in the woods.
After talking to the officers, Hopper took Gibbs, Kate, and Abby to his office. "So, where's the body?" Gibbs asked.
"That's the strange part," Hopper said.
"He shot it `til it wasn't recognizable?" Abby guessed.
"Then what?" Kate asked.
"We didn't find a body in the woods."
"That could be a problem," to which Gibbs nodded agreement.
Hopper nodded also. "But there is someone that matches the description Lt. Vinter gave of the man he shot."
"Great. Where's the morgue we'll find him at?"
"You won't. His name's Angus deRed. He's alive and well, helping at the town soup kitchen."
HALF HOUR LATER:
Kate and Gibbs were already in the room when the police brought deRed in.
"The guy's new in town," Officer Hopper said, "so that already saddles him with most of the suspicion now that this' taken place."
"We'll bear that in mind," Kate said as the doors to the room opened.
The man was caucasian, and definately scrawny, with a large beaky nose, and an academic air about him -- though that might've been from the `ALASKA UNIVERSITY' sweatsuit he was wearing. "Good afternoon, Mr. de Red," Officer Hopper said. "This is Agent Todd, and this is Agent Gibbs. They're with the NCIS."
"The who?" deRed asked puzzledly.
"We investigate cases for the Navy," Kate answered.
"Oh," deRed, aka Methos, said. "So why do you want to talk to me? I'm nobody special."
"Your name came up," Gibbs said.
It happens, Methos thought to himself.
"You're a potential witness to a crime," Gibbs continued.
"But I've never been in the Navy."
"It also involved a few Navy officers," Hopper said. "They said they saw you in the woods two nights ago."
deRed nodded. "I was in the woods. It's a big woods."
Kate took the photos out of the envelope she'd been holding under one arm. "Have you seen either of these men?" placing the two photos on the table in front of deRed.
"Yes," he answered, looking carefully at the photos.
"Two nights ago?" Hopper asked.
"Where were you when you saw them?"
"I was in the woods at the time," Methos said.
"Doing what?" Gibbs asked.
Wearing his best `exasperated' face, "Relieving myself, if you must know. Anyway, I was just finishing up, when I heard people talking. Now, I don't know about you, but I like to get in where I can hear people plotting."
"Who did you hear?" Kate asked.
"The two guys - they were wearing uniforms of some sort...my eyes aren't good enough to tell one from another, I'm sorry. But I did manage to see some of the gold that they were packing away; it was really shiny."
"How much gold was there?"
"I don't know. I just saw some gold lying on the crate that – were they digging it out or burying it?" he asked the NCIS agents.
"That's what we're trying to determine," Gibbs said.
"I'm so glad someone's hard at work to solve this," Methos said, sounding utterly serious.
"Thanks," Gibbs said, not sure how to take that. "And then what, after you saw the gold?"
"I guess I was just so surprised - all that gold...I snapped a twig beneath my foot," looking properly sheepish. "They looked up and saw me. I suppose there wasn't as much cover behind those trees as I'd thought."
"That's all they did?" Kate asked, sounding thoroughly skeptical. "They just stared at you?"
"They fired at me," an indignant Methos said, "but I managed to get away."
"You seem pretty whole and untouched by it," Gibbs remarked.
"Physically, sure; but as for my nerves..." holding up a trembling hand, fingers extended, "I fear I'll never play the piano again."
Kate managed not to roll her eyes. Wasn't that a cliche, she asked herself: that whole `piano' bit.
After insisting that she, and not the waitress, would carry the coffees, Kate made her way to the back table. Gibbs'd picked it out for it's easy view of the front & rear doors, as well as the nearby window.
She watched him, savoring him as he sat there. His hair, his hands, his eyes...
"Something's not right," Gibbs said as Kate sat down with her coffee & handed him his.
"Too much sugar?" Kate asked.
Taking a sip, "No, no, this's fine. It's that guy we talked to today -"
"deRed," Kate supplied.
"Him," Gibbs confirmed. "Something's not right about him."
"Oh?" Kate asked, her back tensing.
"Yeah. I mean, he was too calm. Even that bit with his hands..."
Her back relaxing, "Think we should ask Abby to see if he's in a theater troupe?"
"That would explain a few things...but there's more. Something..."
"You think he's lying to us?" Kate asked.
"Or just omitting a few things." Things, Gibbs thought to himself, that might be minor, or they might just solve the case.
"Like what?" Kate asked, curious.
"If I knew that, I wouldn't be considering having him brought in for another chat." After an hour of having him go over - and over and over - his story, they'd let him go...though he was being watched by the police, just in case he tried to skip town.
"Now, or after our coffee?"
"After," Gibbs assured her. "But...I don't know...I looked in his eyes, and it was almost like he was expecting us to have him brought back in."
Kate smiled. "It's not like you ever published those rules of yours."
"There goes that theory about how he was acting," Gibbs said, playing along, a slight smile on his face as well.
Gibbs opened the door, which'd been unlocked. "Hello?"
"In here," Kate's voice beckoned. Gibbs suspected that this was identical in layout to his own motel room -- and indeed, it turned out to be just so, as he walked through the single hallway. When he creacked open her bedroom door, "Could you give me a hand here?" she asked him.
Opening the door the rest of the way, Gibbs saw that Kate was wearing a strapless evening dress -- and backless too -- and was applying blue woad to her face. "You need my help for that?" he asked, mentally kicking himself for the stupidity of the question: she wouldn't have asked if she didn't need help.
"I've got my face pretty much done up...but I can't reach most of my back. I was wondering, if you'd mind?" her pretty eyes smiling at him.
Doing his best to keep his knees from going weak, Gibbs walked over and picked up a cup of woad. "Just lather it on?"
It was strange, doing this; but Gibbs didn't ask questions - not when his fingers tingled every time they touched her back. "Awful lot of work for camoflage," he said when he felt he could trust his voice.
Kate turned around and gazed up at him. "Who said anything about camoflage?" she asked.
Gibbs woke up, alone, in bed, in his motel room. Through the thin walls, he could hear Abby snoring.
Looking at the cup by his bedside, Gibbs muttered "That does it: no more decaf before bedtime."
The town was like many old towns, built at the turn of the century, during the arrival of the 1900s. Double-storey houses with shops on the ground floor, streets lined with cobblestones the size of fists and feet, and the feeling of permanence.
Kate and Abby were walking around town, scouting for other potential witnesses who might have gone unnoticed thus far, when they turned a corner...
"So that's what the noise was," Kate said dryly, seeing the crowd of Goths partying in the street. Abby's eyes were wide, and she was whispering something to herself...unable to make out the words, "What's the matter?" Kate asked.
"I've never seen so many Goths in one place before," Abby confessed.
"I have," Kate said.
"At a little town just barely north of the Alps," Kate said. Looking from the crowd to her wristwatch, "Shouldn't they be doing this after the sun's gone down?"
Abby waggled a finger at Kate. "That's a negative stereotype."
"And one that's popular with most Goths," Kate said.
"Yeah," Abby muttered.
On a hunch, a feeling along her spine, Kate looked at the edge of the crowd, peered, squinted...and she saw him. "I'm going in," she told Abby, taking off at a run.
Abby tried to follow, but found herself lost in the maelstrom of the crowd of Goth bodies that Kate had plunged amongst. It took her a while to extracate herself from the morass -- she surprised herself: she wasn't comfortable pressed in a Goth crowd...it was, she found, no different than any other crowd. Abby sat down along the sidewalk, catching her breath.
When she reached down for her cellphone to let Gibbs know that Todd was running the bulls, Abby found that her phone was missing. Pickpocketed by Goths, she thought to herself.
Kate was keeping a steady distance behind the one she was chasing, not losing ground in the pursuit. Slowly, as they ran against the human current, up the gentle rise of the hill, up the road, less and less distance separated the two. Finally, the Goths trickled out, leaving her and her quarry to run alone.
A block later, she grabbed his shoulder, forcing him to stop. "Methos," she said.
"I am not walking away from this," Methos said firmly.
AROUND THE 4TH CENTURY A.D.:
Instinctively, reflexively, her eyelids opened, her lips parting to gasp, sucking in vital air. Sunlight stabbed her irises, and she pulled her eyelids tightly shut, even as she continued to, quieter now, pull in more breath to fill her lungs back up. Her hands felt around, felt grass beneath her, grass with the occasional clotted blood here and there. Still on the battlefield.
She lay there for a minute, her mind wrapping around that thought, grasping it. There was the sound of the occasional bird, the rustle of branches in the wind, even the cry of lost goats; but of mankind, of the armies and the peoples which had so recently been engaged upon this patch of earth...not a sound.
That thought, again.
She was *still*on*the*battlefield* ??
Opening her eyes again, she sat up , her attention on where she had been run through. There was a layer of dried blood in the spot . . . but no damage beyond that. "My skin isn't even nicked," she said quietly in amazement.
"It never gets old," a man's voice said, though it sounded like he was talking to himself.
She looked up, seeing a man standing there, facing the sun, but looking down at her, a reflective look in his eyes. His clothes were clearly that of the Ostrogoths; she knew their garb anywhere. Her hand flying down to where she kept her dagger -
It wasn't there.
"Never fall for the same problem twice, if you can help it," the man advised her, a smile on his face. It didn't seem to be a gothic face, she thought. But the clothes -- clearly the man had set his loyalties to them.
"Who are you?" she demanded.
"Someone who had been passing through."
"What is your name?"
"Yours. Your parentage. Your clan or tribe. Your employers."
"Me, myself, I, and me."
She could take him, she could feel it in her bones. Even without her dagger, she knew he would be no match for her. Leaping to her feet, she saw him move in a blur -- and she was bowled over, back onto the ground. He held a sword in his hands, having struck her with the flat side of it. "How dare you!"
"How dare I?" he asked, almost openly laughing. Laughing at her!
She sumersaulted forwards, and leaped at him. Her hands found their target, and wrapped around his throat, as the force or her leap had knocked them to the ground: her atop him. He didn't try to fight her, didn't bother to knock her hands away; he slapped the inside of her elbows, and, once her arms were bent, plunged a dagger – her dagger -- into her back.
Her hands slowly went numb as the blackness returned for her.
"Well, at least you tried something that isn't par for the course," the man told her, looking at her from beyond his large nose.
"What?" she said, and thought she said "I thought -" but wasn't sure, as it might've been a similar word in her language...
"I know," he told her. "It's what everyone expects, in the beginning. You'll get used to it." And, under his breath, "There goes my vacation."
That man, Kate knew, became her teacher, her tutor. Through the ferocity of her fighting style & the wit she had displayed during her training, he had revealed to her that, once, he had been called Methos.
"True," Kate said. "You seem to be running."
"You admit it?"
"I admit that I wasn't about to skip town," Methos said. "Not just yet, at any rate."
A FEW MINUTES LATER:
It was the same coffeehouse that she'd been in with Gibbs yesterday. Before, she'd been certain; now Kate decided - absolutely and without question - that she liked being with Gibbs more. I always did like younger men, Kate thought to herself.
"How long have you been here?" Kate asked once they were both sitting.
"Ask around, and that's the truth. I showed up, and got a job, so I could find the gold."
"After Quinn and Vinter buried it."
Methos made a disbelieving sound.
"They weren't burying the gold," Methos said. "They were digging it up."
"What makes you so sure of that?" Kate asked, investigatively digging, even now.
"Well, for one thing, that soil hasn't been disturbed since 1937. So, either the two of us missed the inner sounds of another Immortal...or those young officers were engaged in theft."
"So, how'd they know the gold was there to begin with?" Kate asked.
"One of the officers -- Quinn -- has a mother in the Watchers," Methos said. "She found out that Kurgan had buried a crateful of gold in the woods out here."
"And how do you know so much about his mother?"
"Actually, I don't know much about the Kurgan's mother. But, as for Quinn...Kate, I founded the Watchers; did you think I couldn't get back in if I needed to?" half-answering the question.
"And you think that either Lt. Quinn found out on his own, or that she told him?" Kate asked.
"For gold from the Spanish Civil War? I'd say so."
"Speaking from experience?"
"Not really. I was nowhere near the area when they had their civil war."
"You took the gold, didn't you?" Kate asked him, suspecting him of evading the question.
"Why not? I knew of a few charitable organizations that were in need of it," he replied.
"Besides the `Me, myself, I, and me' fund?" Kate asked.
"Didn't even count that one," Methos said. "I was going to donate the money -- once I'd converted it into dollars -- to various hospitals." Probably ask for the construction of an wing or ten in memory of Alexa.
They sat there, the two of them.
"And not a word you've just told me," Kate said, "is admissable in court."
Methos just smiled.
"Which is why you told me," Kate said, "isn't it?"
"That's one reason," he said.
"What's another one?"
"You didn't try to fight me."
HALF AN HOUR LATER:
Methos and Kate caught up with Abby only half a minute before Gibbs arrived alongside them.
"Friend of yours?" Abby asked, not noticing Gibbs' reaction – a tightening of his gut, a cold shiver in his innards.
"From college," Kate confirmed. "I thought he might have an idea what'd happened."
"Just because he looks a little like deRed?" Gibbs asked.
"Yeah," Kate said.
Methos's posture, his entire body language was different now than it'd been when he'd been pretending to be `Angus deRed'. Kate saw more similarity between the two, but that was because she knew him.
"Sorry, but I haven't a clue," Methos said, speaking with clipped tones, like he was from far north, "about what happened out there in them woods. Wish I could help."
"Don't worry," Gibbs said. To Kate, "Quinn and Vinter are being shipped out."
"What'll happen to them?" Methos asked.
"Probably psychological treatments and discharges from the Navy for both of them."
"Gibbs, this is, Amos McAndrew," Kate said. "Amos, this is my friend, Gibbs."
"Nice to meet you," Methos said.
"Yeah," Gibbs said.
"And you are?" Methos asked to Abby.
"I'm Abby," Abby said. Trying to assert what she'd thought about herself, "I'm a Goth," Abby said.
"No," Methos said, not sure he was really having this conversation, "you're a Goth wanna-be."
"What makes you so sure of that?" she wanted to know.
In the dialect of Latin used by Kate's Visigothic kin, "Because I've met the real deal," Methos said, and walked away.
"What's his problem?" Abby asked.
"He had a few bad encounters with Goths," Kate said.
"So've I," Abby said; "but I don't let that prejudice me againce them."
"You feeling up for a cup of coffee before we head back to the office?" Gibbs asked Kate.
"Lead on," Kate said, smiling at him.