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09 January 2010 @ 04:30 pm
Manhunter - A Watcher!Abby fic 1/?  
Oh yeah, we're back baby! This is the next part of the storyline that began with Methos turning up in Renewed Acquaintances and is part of the wider Watcher!Abby series that I co-author with the fabulous strangevisitor7, who has been a wonderful and prompt beta as always.

Disclaimer:NCIS and Highlander do not belong to me, never have, never will. *pouts*

Manhunter

Gibbs strode into the bullpen to find his team huddled together around Tony’s desk. Not an unusual occurrence, but something in their postures told Gibbs that something was up.

“DiNozzo!” he barked, causing the three agents to jump, and Gibbs allowed himself a small inward smile that even Ziva hadn’t noticed his approach.

“Yeahboss?” Tony replied cautiously.

“Have you caught our guy? Because I can’t think of another reason why you’d all be standing around doing nothing while there's a serial killer out there.”

“That would be my fault,” said a familiar voice, and Gibbs looked up to see Fornell coming down the stairs with another agent that Gibbs didn’t recognise. “This case is ours, Jethro.”

“Two of the victims are connected to the Navy. That makes this our case, Tobias,” Gibbs said coolly. Fornell smiled.

“Which is why I’ve decided to let you work with us on this,” he replied. “Agent Truman here will be liaising with your team.”

Gibbs grunted a greeting at the agent, but Truman seemed distracted by something. Ignoring the man, Gibbs turned his glare on Fornell and then nodded in the direction of the elevator. Without waiting for Tobias to respond, he strode towards his ‘office’ assuming the FBI agent would follow. The case was complicated enough without entering into a pissing contest with the FBI and Gibbs was fine with joint jurisdiction, but he never liked to acquiesce to Tobias without at least appearing to hate the idea of sharing.

*-*

As he climbed the stairs, Richie nearly dropped the hard drive he was carrying when he felt the presence of another Immortal in the NCIS building. He rounded the corner and continued out onto the floor and smiled in relief when he spotted Mathew McCormick. Mathew smiled back and approached Richie, who placed the computer on the nearest desk and waited.

“Mathew,” he greeted, a little uncertainty in his voice. Mathew nodded confirmation.

“That’s right, Mathew Truman, FBI. It’s Richie, right? Richie…?” he replied, holding out a hand. Richie noted that Mathew had lost his Southern drawl for this alias; his accent was more Eastern Seaboard. It was a good trick, and one Richie hoped he could learn one day.

“Richie Blaine,” he answered as he took the proffered hand. “It’s good to see you again.”

“Yes. We’ll have to catch up later.”

“Definitely.”

*-*

A few hours later, Richie was sitting in a booth at his favourite bar near NCIS when Mathew slipped into the seat opposite and nodded his thanks for the beer that was waiting for him.

“So, NCIS?” he said without preamble. Richie chuckled.

“Not the first place I’d think of looking for me,” he agreed. “But amazingly it seems to suit me. I think I might stick around; made some good friends here,” Richie left the implied question in his tone and Mathew picked up on it.

“No objections here. I’d be a hypocrite if I did. Besides, a few misdemeanours as a kid don’t say anything about character now. From what MacLeod’s said about you, I think you’ve the makings of a good agent,” he replied before taking a drink of the beer.

Richie drank some of his own, a little lost for words at the statement.

“What do you know about the case I’m on?” Mathew continued.

“A little, water cooler gossip mostly. Although I do know something that isn’t in the files,” Richie answered. Mathew raised an eyebrow in question. “The third victim, it was Dr. Clifford, not his twin. He’s one of us.”

“And Gibbs didn't question that? From what Fornell has told me Gibbs doesn't seem like a man easily …oh, he knows, doesn’t he?” Mathew asked. There was no accusation in his tone, but Richie felt a little guilty nonetheless.

“It’s complicated, but I had no other option. There are two others at NCIS who know, but they aren’t agents.”

“Watchers?” Mathew asked, making Richie start. He hadn’t realised Mathew knew of the Watchers. He nodded. “That might be useful. Thanks for the info. Is this Dr. Clifford still in town? And more importantly, is he friendly?”

“He’s still here for now; Gibbs insisted he be available through the investigation. He’s… well he’s not the kind to fight first, let’s put it that way. I know him as Adam Pierson, but he’s had plenty of aliases, so I don’t know if you’ve got a beef with him. Tall, thin, loves his beer,” Richie explained.

“Slouches in a way that no human should be able?” Mathew asked. Richie laughed and nodded. “Oh, we go way back, and I don’t want his head.”

*-*

Methos sighed as he felt the presence of another Immortal. He’d had enough of Richie and his guilt for several lifetimes. It had been fun at first to torture him, but the young Immortal was so sincere in his contrition that it was now feeling a little like kicking a puppy. So, he was relieved and a little surprised as he turned a corner to discover Mathew McCormick waiting for him outside his office.

“This is an unexpected pleasure,” Methos said as he opened the door to his office and ushered Mathew inside.

“Official business, Dr. Clifford,” Mathew replied as they walked in and Methos closed the door behind them. He indicated for Mathew to take a seat on a couch in the corner and then did the same on a nearby armchair.

“Has the FBI taken over the serial killer case?” Methos asked and Mathew nodded his confirmation.

“We’re sharing with NCIS, anyway. Jurisdiction is a little fuzzy and Fornell and Gibbs have a history,” he explained.

Methos smiled, it looked like Agent Gibbs was going to leave him alone now and he could get on with Adam Clifford’s life. It was all someone else’s problem now.

“So, what can I do to help the FBI?”

*-*

“Agent Gibbs, could I have a word with you?” Mathew asked as he walked towards Gibbs’ desk. “In private?”

Gibbs gave him an assessing look before standing and heading to the elevator. Mutely, Mathew followed. Once they were inside, Gibbs pressed the button for the first floor, then once the elevator began moving he abruptly flicked the stop switch.

“Talk,” Gibbs said finally. Mathew briefly weighed up his options and decided on the direct approach.

“You can be completely honest with me on this case, Agent Gibbs. I’m Immortal,” he said. Gibbs’ expression was inscrutable, even to someone with as much practise at reading people as Mathew. “I want you to know, I don’t make a habit of revealing my status to mortals, but I think this investigation will run a lot smoother if we’re both on the same page.”

Gibbs nodded and looked thoughtful for a few moments.

“You’ve spoken to Clifford?”

“Yes. And to Richie. That’s why I made the decision to share what I am. I don’t want to exclude your team from this investigation, but obviously I want to limit the number of people who know about Immortals, and especially me,” Mathew said.

“My team can work on a need to know basis. But believe me, if I think they need to know then I will tell them, Agent Truman. I’m not a Watcher, I swore no oath,” Gibbs replied.

It was Mathew’s turn to nod in agreement. Gibbs started up the elevator again and jabbed the button to take them back up to the bullpen.

*-*

Richie stood in front of Ziva’s desk, watching as Mathew and the team all caught up on the details of the case. To Richie’s great surprise and that of the rest of the team, Gibbs had instructed him to be a part of the briefing too, but he was unsure of his place so he kept a little distance.

“The first victim, Eric Castle, a 28 year old insurance broker from DC, was found on Dec 17th, his badly charred remains discovered by a neighbour when she was putting out her trash after the holidays,” DiNozzo said and gave a shudder before pressing a button on his beloved remote and bringing up a picture of the next victim beside that of the first.

The similarities between the two men were striking, they could have been related. McGee picked up a folder from his desk and took up the thread of the narrative.

“Second victim was Carl LeStrade, 35, a dentist in Baltimore. Divorced, no kids, he was found on Dec 5th sitting on a park bench. Again, his body was badly burned…” he said. Ziva held up a hand to interrupt.

“If he was found first, why is he the second victim?” she asked.

Mathew decided to step in at this point and explain.

“It’s not uncommon for a serial killer's first victim to be someone they’re familiar with. Because of that, they take more care in disposing of or hiding the remains in order to prevent us connecting them to the victims. But the coroners report indicates from the decomposition that Castle died at least three weeks before LeStrade,” he said and then nodded to DiNozzo to continue.

Tony brought up a picture of Methos and Richie squirmed a little. He still felt so bad about everything that had happened, about the mess he’d created for Methos, Ducky and Abs, even if it was all over with for now.

“Daniel Clifford,” Tony said. It sounded to Richie like there was an awful lot put into those two words, but it may have only been his own guilt. Even so, the tension in the group definitely rose. Everyone present had been affected by the aftermath of that particular case, even if Gibb's team didn’t have all the facts yet. “The body was found at the Navy Yard one week ago. We chalked this one up to a suicide at first, but evidence now confirms that he was the third victim.”

“Doctor Adam Clifford, the deceased’s brother, has been very co-operative with the investigation, but he’s got nothing useful,” Gibbs said.

The statement startled Tony, Tim and Ziva and made Richie’s guts squirm again as he realised Gibbs was putting a firm stop on the investigation into Adam Clifford as a suspect. He felt awful about putting the senior agent in this position and focussed his attention back on the screen before he betrayed his emotions.

It was obvious from the photographs that Methos had indeed been killed by the same guy. Whoever this sicko was, he was obviously going after men who looked like Eric Castle. Tony visibly shook himself before returning to his topic and pressing the button to bring up the picture of a young naval officer.

“And the most recent victim, Gunnery Sergeant Paul Winchester, 22. Just got back from a tour in Iraq two days ago, his body turned up yesterday, very near to where Clifford’s body was discovered. Apart from the physical similarities, and being in the DC area, there is nothing obvious to connect these men together,” Tony finished.

They all continued to look at the screen for a moment and then broke for their individual desks in a well-practised routine that left Richie and Mathew looking on in mild bewilderment.

“Tony, you and Ziva head down to the naval dockyards, find out everything you can about Gunnery Sergeant Winchester,” Gibbs instructed as he moved. Tony and Ziva both grabbed their guns and packs and headed for the elevator. “McGee!”

“Check out the bank statements, phone records and LeStrade’s patient files. On it boss!” McGee replied and was already at his computer, typing furiously.

“Blaine, help McGee,” Gibbs commanded, making Richie start.

“Er… yes, boss,” Richie replied and scuttled toward McGee’s desk. He wasn’t sure, but he thought he saw Gibbs smile as he went past.

“Agent Truman, you and I will go question Eric Castle’s spouse. Let’s see exactly why this guy is so obsessed with him,” Gibbs said. Richie didn’t see or hear a reply, but when he turned around, Gibbs and Mathew were heading to the elevator.

Richie turned back to Tim and let out a breath.

“Is Gibbs always like that?” he asked. Tim looked up at him and Richie was shocked to realise that he was looking at him with suspicion. It looked like he was going to have to be honest with everyone if they were ever going to trust him. But right now they had more pressing matters. “So, what do you want me to do?”
 
 
This week I am mostly feeling: accomplishedaccomplished
Current Music: Under the Radar, Abney Park
 
 
 
Black Rook: Ceirdwyngrachonok on January 9th, 2010 05:52 pm (UTC)
Good beginning of the year:)! They are lucky Mattew showed up - mush less problems this way:). And yes, Richie will have to tell the rest of guys - or they'll figure they out themselves:).
But, I don't want to be a pie,: watcher abbyidontlikegravy on January 10th, 2010 05:34 pm (UTC)
Yeah it was convenient that Mathew is on the case, wasn't it? ;-p

Very happy you like it. :)
LadyTygerEyezladytygereyez on January 9th, 2010 06:48 pm (UTC)
I am liking this. You've got the characters down pat, and I love how you write Gibbs. *grin* Methos...well, I think he writes himself, as does Abby. Don't you think so?

Thank you for sharing. I look forward to the next part.
But, I don't want to be a pie,: watcher abbyidontlikegravy on January 10th, 2010 05:38 pm (UTC)
Thanks for reading, I'm glad you think so. Methos has been a bit of a pain recently, but I think that's because I overworked him a bit in 2008 and he's sulking ;-). But Abby definitely writes herself! She's always a blast to write.
Marcus L. Rowlandffutures on January 9th, 2010 06:52 pm (UTC)
Winchester? PLEASE don't go there...
bugeyedmonsterbugeyedmonster on January 10th, 2010 12:48 am (UTC)
Oh, I hadn't even caught that until you mentioned it... and I don't even watch SPN.
But, I don't want to be a pie,: watcher abbyidontlikegravy on January 10th, 2010 05:36 pm (UTC)
No, nothing is further from my mind. It's just coincidence as is the other victims being Castle and LeStrade. I was just amusing myself.
I will call her George: Tony on your sixstrangevisitor7 on January 9th, 2010 08:28 pm (UTC)
\o/ love the way this is shaping up - You're doing a great job of making this feel like an episode of the show. Can't wait to read the rest :D
But, I don't want to be a pie,: abbeyidontlikegravy on January 10th, 2010 05:47 pm (UTC)
Thank you! That really means a lot to me.


Part two is in the works at the moment but I'm working a lot of overtime this week so it might take a while to get typed. Trust me, you'll be the first to see it ;-)
Kayla Shay: Highlander - Ooooh!kaylashay on January 9th, 2010 11:45 pm (UTC)
Yay! Love the Watch!Abby series... And it's great to see Richie getting dragged into team interaction and realizing that others will probably find out about him before all is said and done.

:-)
But, I don't want to be a pie,: watcher abbyidontlikegravy on January 10th, 2010 05:50 pm (UTC)
Well, it's such a tight-knit team that sooner or later questions would be asked.

Glad you're enjoying and that you weren't put off by the long gap! :)
bugeyedmonsterbugeyedmonster on January 10th, 2010 12:46 am (UTC)
Yeah! More! And Matthew! I love Matthew. He never got enough airtime in the series. And there was so much story material to choose from with his age.

And Gibbs finally got some sort of reaction out of Richie, ha!

But, I don't want to be a pie,: watcher abbyidontlikegravy on January 10th, 2010 05:51 pm (UTC)
Glad you like hon! I'm looking forward to writing more Mathew, haven't done it before and it's nice to give secondary Immortals a bit more time :)
catyuycatyuy on January 10th, 2010 05:46 am (UTC)
YIPPEE!!!!
I'm so happy for more of this verse.
But, I don't want to be a pie,: watcher abbyidontlikegravy on January 10th, 2010 05:52 pm (UTC)
*beams*

And I'm happy that you're happy :)

Rhi: bloody torchwoodvipersweb on January 10th, 2010 08:57 pm (UTC)
I love how Matthew recognizes Methos from the start of Richie's description. Priceless.
Will be fun to see how this works out.
But, I don't want to be a pie,: watcher abbyidontlikegravy on January 10th, 2010 11:21 pm (UTC)
Thanks!

I'm so nervous about this one, I mean it actually has a plot which is so unlike me! ;-)
jedimasterstarjedimasterstar on January 12th, 2010 12:29 am (UTC)
Loving this so far. I love Gibbs. And Richie. Haven't seen the episode with Matthew yet (I watch things out of order, unfortunately), but I know who he is, though.

I have read the other stories in this 'verse before and I'm glad to see more!

Until next time!
But, I don't want to be a pie,: watcher abbyidontlikegravy on January 12th, 2010 06:41 pm (UTC)
Thanks for reading and for commenting, glad you're enjoying the series. :)
jolinar_rosha: moogie approvedjolinar_rosha on January 13th, 2010 08:57 pm (UTC)
oh oh oh, new Watcher Abby fic! I can't stop grinning - I've really missed this 'verse! Me is *happy*! a wonderful start - the plot is bound to thicken, and I love the addition of Mathew!
Can't wait to see more!
*rubs hands in utter maniacal glee*
But, I don't want to be a pie,: watcher abbyidontlikegravy on January 14th, 2010 07:10 pm (UTC)
LOL

I'm very glad you're happy! And much icon love :)

I've missed this series too, it feels good to be writing it again. Hopefully the muses will remain cooperative and it won't be so long this time!
(Deleted comment)
But, I don't want to be a pie,: watcher abbyidontlikegravy on March 15th, 2010 09:09 pm (UTC)
Thanks! glad you enjoyed :)

he's an enlisted Marine.

I know, but from Richie's point of view he just saw a generic guy in a uniform, he hasn't been working for NCIS long enough to know the differences yet. I think this might also be a bit of a cultural thing: from my understanding, here in the UK naval officer can refer to anyone, enlisted or commissioned, serving with the Royal Marines, Royal Navy, Merchant Navy etc as opposed to Naval Officer which would mean an officer in the Royal Navy. But thanks for pointing it out. :)