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03 September 2010 @ 08:59 pm
Manhunter 3/3  
Here it is, part the third of Manhunter, which draws to a close this particular arc of Watcher!Abby. This story begins here and the rest of the Watcher!Abby series can be found here (links to strangevisitor7's journal.

Thanks as always to my co-author strangevisitor7 for her ninja beta skills.
NCIS and Highlander still don't belong to me *sighs*

Manhunter Part Three

Ducky was returning to the office after lunch and as he got out of his Morgan and crossed the lot he spotted Gibbs at the front door and wondered who he was waiting for.

“Hello, Jethro,” he greeted once he was in earshot. Gibbs gave a non-committed grunt in return and fell in step beside Ducky, answering Ducky’s first question and leaving him with another: what did Gibbs want?

They walked through lobby security and into the elevator in relative silence, broken only by Ducky greeting the guard on duty as they signed in. Once in the elevator and heading down toward autopsy, Gibbs flicked the switch to stop the car and turned to Ducky.

“Six months ago I’d never even heard of an Immortal. Now I’ve got three in my life. Is there anything else I need to know?” he declared. Ducky started to smile but stifled it at Gibbs’ glare.

“Not that I know of, Jethro,” he answered. Gibbs continued to glare at him for a moment and then, seemingly satisfied, he started the elevator again.

“Just do me a favour, Duck. Next time one of your stiffs walks out of autopsy; keep me out of it.”

“Oh I tried this time, Jethro,” he said with a chuckle. “By the way, I’ve got my findings ready for you, if you’d care to join me downstairs.”

Gibbs nodded and they both continued down to autopsy.

“Thank you for giving Richard a chance to prove himself,” Ducky said as he hung his coat on the stand. Gibbs’ response was to raise one querying eyebrow so Ducky clarified, “By letting him work this case.”

“Just so I can keep a closer eye on him,” he replied. Ducky smiled; he knew Gibbs was already starting to warm to Richie and he was sure he’d eventually grow to like him as much as he did.

“You know, you’re very lucky to have Mathew on this case,” Ducky said, changing the topic. “He’s been a law enforcement officer almost his entire life; that’s a lot of experience.”

“Let me guess, he was a sheriff in the Old West,” Gibbs said with barely contained sarcasm.

“No, I think he was in Germany at that time. But he was a sheriff in Medieval England. And in his mortal life he was a knight. You two probably share a similar code of ethics. I wouldn’t be surprised if he has his own ‘rules’ too,” Ducky explained with a grin.

He let Gibbs digest that information as he collected the files he needed from his desk. At the sight of them, Gibbs’ mind was back on the case immediately.

“What have you got?”

“I’ve gone over the original ME reports and while I’ve nothing new to add, I can confirm they were definitely all killed by the same person,” Ducky answered. “Your killer is definitely male, and he is consumed by rage. He feels compelled to completely destroy these men in every way.”

“Tell me something I didn’t know, Doctor.”

“Oh. Well, yes. My psychological profile obviously contains a degree of conjecture, Jethro…”

“Out with it, Ducky.”

“The man you’re looking for is more than likely homosexual, but definitely in denial. I would think that he is in a state of self loathing, and that in the destruction of these men he is symbolically destroying himself. My guess is he’s either in the military or an extremely male-dominated profession such as a builder,” he continued.

“Or a dockworker,” Gibbs suggested. Ducky nodded.

“Could be. Our killer has fixated on Eric Castle and men who look like him. It’s only a theory, but I think our killer took a huge risk and entered a relationship with Mr. Castle. I think it’s fair to assume that Castle ended the relationship, breaking our man’s heart and his slender grip on sanity,” Ducky finished.

“So, he’s completely whacko? That’s your professional opinion?” Gibbs said with a wry smile and headed toward the door.

“Well, it’s not quite that simple, but essentially, yes.”

“Thanks, Duck.”

*-*

Gibbs mulled over what Ducky had said about Mathew as he made his way back up to the squad room. There was no denying that a thousand years in law enforcement was impressive, though it didn’t necessarily follow that Truman was any good at it, just that he didn’t know anything else. On the other hand, Gibbs was beginning to appreciate the kind of contribution an Immortal could make to NCIS. Richie was fitting in well with the team and Gibbs was forced to admit that he already had good instincts and showed the potential to be a good agent, if he chose to be.

He exited the elevator and made his way round to the bullpen where he saw Blaine and McGee huddled around McGee’s computer. They looked up at his approach and Gibbs could tell from their faces that they’d found a connection between Packer and Castle.

“Looks like Richie was on to something, Boss” McGee said and then nodded to Richie to explain.

Blaine looked like a kid at Christmas and Gibbs was secretly pleased that Tim was being mature enough to let him have this moment of triumph. He made a mental note to do something nice for McGee later, maybe let him take point when they brought in Packer.

“Beginning about a year ago, there are several phone calls back and forth between Packer and a cell phone registered to Eric Castle. It was a secondary account, which is why it didn’t show up on our first search,” Richie explained as Tim brought up the phone records on the big screen. “Then, about two months before Castle’s death, he stops calling. Packer tries to call him a few times and then all communication between the two stops completely.”

“We’ve also got Packer using his credit card at a gay bar, and using ATMs near a couple more,” McGee continued. “Looks like Castle and Packer might have been lovers, Boss.”

“That’s good work, you two. Let’s bring him in for questioning. McGee…”

“Get a warrant to search his home; on it, Boss.”

“Blaine, I want you to continue this research. There has to be a connection between Packer and the other victims. If he is our killer, I don’t want this scumbag to walk,” Gibbs instructed.

Richie was already headed to the desk he’d been using and Gibbs smiled. The kid learned quick.

Not a kid, Gibbs had to remind himself as he headed for the elevator with McGee. But he had such a boyish enthusiasm, sometimes it was hard to remember that he wasn’t the teenager he pretended to be. The thought reminded him that there was another Immortal involved with this case that needed to be kept in the loop. Yanking his cell phone from his belt, Gibbs dialled the number for Agent Truman.

*-*

Tony hit the speed dial on his phone as he and Ziva made their way back to the car and Gibbs answered almost immediately.

“Boss, we’ve got a lead,” he said without preamble. “The dockworkers are pointing the finger at one of their own, apparently he’s a regular Anthony Hopkins in Psycho, freaks everyone out. Guy’s name is…. Packer, yeah…uh, okay Boss.”

He flipped shut his cell after Gibbs hung up on him and stared mutely at the phone for a moment before dropping it in his pocket.

“Let me guess, he already knew all about Packer,” Ziva said with a smirk. They reached the car and Tony fished the keys out to unlock it.

“He and McProbie are already on their way to his place with a warrant, he wants us to meet them there,” Tony confirmed as he dropped into the driver’s seat. “I hate it when he does that.”

*-*

McGee sat in the passenger seat of Gibbs’ car and the senior agent was next to him as they watched Packer’s house. They’d arrived a little while ago and parked on the opposite side of the street, a couple of houses away. Packer was definitely at home, they’d watched him take out his trash a few minutes earlier.

Agent Truman had joined them and was now sitting on the back seat as they waited for Tony and Ziva.

Tim felt Gibbs shift beside him so he switched his focus to the street and spotted Tony and Ziva pulling up.

They all got out of the cars and approached Packer’s house, guns drawn and bent low to avoid detection. At Gibbs’ signal, Tony and Ziva went either side of the house to cover any other exits and the other three continued up to the front door.

In an unusual act, Gibbs let Truman take the lead. Then, equally curiously, but to McGee’s delight, Gibbs brought up the rear, letting Tim take point for the NCIS team. When they were all in position, Tim gave the nod to Truman, who banged on the door.

“Federal Agents, Mr. Packer. We’d like a word!”

There was no answer, so Truman banged and called out again. After waiting a suitable time, Truman gave the nod to McGee, who then broke in the door.

They entered the house and searched, each taking a different route, McGee passed through the living room and into the kitchen where he met Tony entering through the back door.

“Clear,” Tim called out. Seconds later, Gibbs and Truman called out the same.

They congregated in the living room, where Ziva joined them.

“He has not left the house from the front or side,” she said.

“He didn’t pass me either,” Tony chipped in.

“Then where the hell is he? This house only has one floor,” Gibbs practically growled.

“This place was built in the fifties, right?” Truman asked, but he was already heading to the kitchen without waiting for an answer. “It’s quite common for houses built then…” he stopped and indicated a patch of linoleum that was curled up. Nodding, Gibbs pointed his gun at the patch as Truman pulled it up to reveal a hatch. “…to have a basement bomb shelter,” he finished in a near whisper.

“On three,” Gibbs said. Truman nodded and grasped the latch as the others all aimed their weapons. Truman raised three fingers of the hand on the latch and silently counted down by lowering them one at a time. At zero he flung open the hatch and all five agents pointed their guns into the hole.

“Federal agents, drop your weapon and put your hands on your head,” Truman commanded.

He was answered by gunfire from the hole that sent everyone diving for cover.

Once safe, McGee turned and returned fire down the hatch.

There was more fire from the person in the basement, presumably Packer. Tony and Ziva didn’t have a clear line of sight from their spot; Agent Truman was blocking it. He was standing right behind the hatch.

Stupid, thought McGee, that won’t offer much protection.

But it did give Truman a perfect line of fire and his next shot must have hit Packer. There was a sound of smashing glass from the basement and then silence as the shots ceased. Cautiously, Truman and Gibbs edged forward and peered into the basement. When they lowered their weapons, McGee came forward, as did Tony and Ziva. Packer was lying at the bottom of a staircase with a single gunshot wound to the head, surrounded by bottles and jars he must have broken in his fall.

Truman pulled a face.

“Damn, now we can’t question him,” he muttered.

“Less paperwork though,” Tony quipped.

“But how do we know for certain he’s our guy?” McGee asked.

“He fired first. Good enough for me,” Gibbs replied and began walking away.

“I shall call Ducky,” Ziva said as she pulled out her cell phone.

“I’m sure forensics will find some evidence,” Truman assured McGee. Tim nodded but he still wasn’t satisfied.

“It would just be good to know why,” he said. Tony clapped him on the back.

“Probie, sometimes people are just stone-cold crazy, there is no why.”

*-*

A search of the house produced pictures of Castle and the other victims, along with personal items and rope and gas that Abby matched to the type used in the killings. Also, Richie had found time cards that showed Packer was working at the docks when Winchester had come ashore and on the night Methos had been killed. It wasn’t conclusive, but with Packer dead and the killings over, it seemed they had enough evidence to close the case.

“So that’s it? Investigation over?” Richie asked Mathew. He looked around the cubicle that had been his temporary desk for the duration of the case and had to admit he was disappointed that his time on Gibbs’ team seemed to be ending already.

“There are reports to file, but pretty much,” Mathew agreed and then he held out his hand. “Good luck, Richie.”

Richie took the hand and shook it.

“I don’t know what you said to Gibbs to make him change his mind about me, but thank you.”

“I haven’t said anything,” Mathew replied, faintly surprised. “Perhaps Gibbs just sees what a fine agent you could be.”

Richie was about to retort when the agent in question appeared. Gibbs and Mathew made their goodbyes, which were brief, but Richie thought he detected a note of respect between the two. Once Mathew had left, Gibbs turned to glare at Richie.

“I want to make something very clear to you, Ryan,” he began, putting emphasis on Richie’s real name. “I’m gonna be watching you and if any of my team is put in danger because of you or your Game, I will be after your head.”

Richie knew that Gibbs meant that literally and he nodded his understanding.

“Got it, Boss.”

Gibbs regarded him for a moment, nodded and then handed Richie an envelope. Richie opened it and broke into a big goofy smile as he read the letter inside.

“This way you’re right under my nose,” Gibbs said in a threatening tone.

Richie wasn’t entirely certain, but he thought he was starting to get a read on Gibbs and that this was a gesture of trust and friendship from the older man, despite the threat it was couched in.

“Yes, Boss,” he answered. Gibbs started to walk away, so Richie called after him. “Thank you, Gibbs.”

“Just don’t let me down, Blaine.”

Richie looked down at the piece of paper again in wonder. With immediate effect, he was being transferred to act as Abby’s new lab assistant.
 
 
 
Black Rookgrachonok on September 3rd, 2010 09:00 pm (UTC)
So good to see them again, I missed the crew:). Richie is fully on board, yes! Gibbs has a habit of turning geeks to fine agents, though, so we'll see where it goes:).
But, I don't want to be a pie,: watcher abbyidontlikegravy on September 6th, 2010 11:30 am (UTC)
Thanks hon, I missed them too!

The series so far has been set about two/three years ago and I think that the plan is now to bring it up to date so that we can move the story on and include some more recent aspects of canon. I say think, because that was the plan last time I checked!

Glad you're sticking with us, and hopefully we'll be writing more frequently from now on. As long as the muses don't disappear to Bora Bora again!
I will call her George: Richie Smilestrangevisitor7 on September 3rd, 2010 09:15 pm (UTC)
YAY! All finished. You did a great job balancing a real case agaisnt Gibbs dealing with too many Immortals LOL.

Now it's time for me to get back to this universe too.
But, I don't want to be a pie,: watcher abbyidontlikegravy on September 6th, 2010 11:31 am (UTC)
Thank you hon. And yes, it is ;-)

squeakypiggysqueakypiggy on September 3rd, 2010 10:26 pm (UTC)
I really enjoyed this update to the story, thank you for sharing ^_^
But, I don't want to be a pie,: watcher abbyidontlikegravy on September 6th, 2010 11:31 am (UTC)
Thank you for reading, glad you enjoyed it :)
The other Weird Al: Highlander - Richie bikeaeron_lanart on September 4th, 2010 12:22 am (UTC)
Yay for Richie being on board properly now. I love this verse, and this fic was a great addition to it
But, I don't want to be a pie,: watcher abbyidontlikegravy on September 6th, 2010 11:34 am (UTC)
Thanks hon. I love writing these kinds of plots (as you well know) but I have a bugger of a time writing satisfactory endings, which is why I tend to stick to less plotty, more character driven stuff. Luckily for me NCIS is pretty character driven anyway!!


Oo, while I've got you here, do you think it would be a good idea to post Marsh Barton here, flocked? It didn't get through the competition and I'd like someone to read it, but I'm obviously nervous about posting something that actually is my character!
The other Weird Alaeron_lanart on September 6th, 2010 01:55 pm (UTC)
Post it under flock and custom filter, then you can choose who sees it.
But, I don't want to be a pie,: richie smileidontlikegravy on September 6th, 2010 02:03 pm (UTC)
Oo thanks, didn't know you could do that. Groovy :)
dnaliadnalia on September 4th, 2010 12:24 am (UTC)
I love this 'verse so much!

Too bad they didn't get to find out exactly why the guy was doing it, though.

And I hope Richie fares better than Abby's last "assistant" ;)

ETA: Just noticed this:
apparently he’s a regular Anthony Hopkins in Psycho, freaks everyone out.

I think you mean Anthony Perkins.

Edited at 2010-09-04 12:34 am (UTC)
But, I don't want to be a pie,: watcher abbyidontlikegravy on September 6th, 2010 11:36 am (UTC)
*cough* I'm glad you spotted my deliberate mistake! *facepalm* I can't believe I did that.

Glad you enjoyed it otherwise, and don't worry, I don't think Richie has any plans to frame anyone for murder, least of all Tony ;-)
KickAir 8P~: Mona Lisa Psychkickair8p on September 4th, 2010 01:58 am (UTC)
Happymaking!

~
But, I don't want to be a pie,: watcher abbyidontlikegravy on September 6th, 2010 11:44 am (UTC)
Thank you! :)
bugeyedmonsterbugeyedmonster on September 4th, 2010 02:44 am (UTC)
Yeah! Updated! Happy now.
But, I don't want to be a pie,: watcher abbyidontlikegravy on September 6th, 2010 11:47 am (UTC)
If you're happy, I'm happy. :)
Deanie: abby brightdeaniebtvs on September 4th, 2010 05:30 am (UTC)
I'm so glad there's more to this fic. I love the Watcher!Abby verse. Nice integration of Richie into the team -- and your Gibbs' voice is just perfect. Wonderful fic!
But, I don't want to be a pie,: watcher abbyidontlikegravy on September 6th, 2010 11:48 am (UTC)
Thank you very much! I was worried about Gibbs so I'm really pleased to hear that.

I love this 'verse too, so there's definitely more to come, hopefully not such a long gap between updates this time :)
Rhi: Toshvipersweb on September 10th, 2010 04:08 am (UTC)
cool. I like the ending. And how aware Gibbs is of his people. It's always nice to see that in a fic.
Marcus L. Rowlandffutures on September 11th, 2010 08:32 am (UTC)
That ought to be interesting. Does he know enough science to be useful?
(Anonymous) on March 8th, 2011 01:37 am (UTC)
OMG! Too awesome for me!
I am bouncing off the walls at how awesome these fics are! Just finished the Watcher Abby series up to this one and I'm totally jonesing for more! Richie in Abby's lab? I think he'll be the one assistant she won't actually mind. At least he won't turn out like that one assistant that tried to frame DiNozzo. XD I love your writing and how spot on the characters are; you really got Gibbs to a T, and to me that is more that amazing since I'm still finding him hard to write for myself. Congrats! So good that all I want is more more more! You won't disappoint, will you? XP
~(__€>