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One Shot, One Hundred Kills....
by: keith (Send Feedback)
Series: - No Series - #1
Chapters: 001 Word Count: 4641
Character(s): Abby Sciuto, Caitlyn (Kate) Todd
Category(ies): Alternate Universe
Episode(s): 2-23 Twilight, 3-01 Kill Ari (1)
Crossover Shows: Highlander
Summary: An NCIS and HIGHLANDER crossover. Kate died from the sniper's bullet...then she woke up.
“Wake up, Kate. You have to wake up.”
Kate groaned and tried to sit up. Her head ached. The lights in the ceiling hurt her eyes. The insistent voice rattled her whole skull. She turned her head, but the bright lights reflected off of chrome and hurt even more than the lights above.
“Oh, god, did Tony finally get me drunk?” she wailed.
“Later, Kate, you have to get up.”
Details started to penetrate the fog of pain. She was lying on cold metal, under a thin sheet. She was naked. “Oh, tell me I didn’t have sex while I was drunk… Just how drunk was I?” She looked around to find Abby standing beside her bed. “Tell me I didn’t sleep with Tony, Abby. Lie if you have to, just tell me I didn’t.”
“You didn’t sleep with Tony, Kate. Now put these on.” The technician shoved some coveralls into her arms. She seemed agitated. Kate wondered why NCIS coveralls were the best she could find.
“Where are my clothes? Where am _I_?” The NCIS agent finally realized she was in Ducky’s morgue. “Oh, god…was there a party?”
“Get dressed, Kate. We have to go.” Suddenly, the urgency made sense. They had to get out of here before Ducky or Tony found her. She grabbed the coveralls and started to dress. She wasn’t sure who’d be the worst coworker to be found by. Tony’d laugh. Ducky’d keep it their secret, but she’d be reminded every time their eye’s met. Gibbs’d…she paused as she thought of her supervisor.
There was something about Gibbs, something important. Something had happened. Something she felt…really good about, whatever it was. “It was a celebration, wasn’t it?”
“What?” Abby turned and stared at her.
“I got drunk at a celebration. We were all excited because…of something.” She closed the zipper. Abby handed her a pair of sneakers. As she put them on she continued reconstructing the afternoon. “We stopped…someone. I stopped someone. I saved…Gibbs?”
Tears welled in Abby’s eyes as she nodded. “Yeah, Kate, you saved Gibbs. You took a bullet for him.”
“Well, actually, my vest took the bullet.”
“There was another… Yeah, Kate,” Abby nodded, a little sadly, “you’re right. Can we go, now?”
They made their way quickly to the elevator. Kate was surprised to notice that it was three in the morning. But at least there was no one in the hallway to see them. Then, instead of up, they went down. The forensics expert led the field agent out into the garage.
“Why are we here, Abs? I can just scurry out the front door.”
“No, Kate, you can’t.” Abby turned to face her, taking both of Kate’s hands in her own. “Look, I’m breaking about a zillion rules here. And an oath. And a promise. And…and I don’t know what all else. But you have to know something. You died.”
“What? What are you talking about?”
“You died. There was another bullet. He put it through your skull, here.” She drove a fingernail into Kate’s forehead and pushed. It was a little tender, and made her headache throb. Abby went on. “They brought you back here, and processed you. Ducky took the bullet out of your skull. You’ll be glad to know he kept you covered the whole time.
“Gibbs is really messed up about your death. Everyone is. But that’s your old life. You have to move on.”
“Abby…is this a Goth thing?” Kate rubbed her face and tried to even frame her next question.
“Take off your shoe, Kate.”
“Kate, I love you, but you’re not open to extreme possibility. Just take off your shoe. Your left one.”
“Okay, if it’ll move this conversation along.” She bent and pulled off the sneaker. Tied to her foot was a toe tag. She stared at it. She hadn’t noticed it when she donned the shoe. How could she not have noticed a toe tag?
In the corner of her eye, she noticed something reflecting. Abby was handing her a small pair of scissors. She took them and clipped off the tag. It was real. The signatures, the circumstances, the date, the time… no one at NCIS would joke about this. Okay, well, Tony might, but that was certainly Ducky’s sig. He wouldn’t ever, ever participate in…
“I died? Then what am I doing…?”
“You’re an immortal, Kate. A secret group of people that get up after they’re dead and move on. There’s rules and a prophecy and swords and cool blue lightning…but that can wait. Thing is, you have to leave your life behind. I’lll help, but you have to do what I say. Really. Lives depend on it.”
“Abby…what, how, who’s…how do you know about all this?” She looked up at her confusing friend. Abby merely raised her hand and showed Kate her wrist. Her pale, blank wrist.
“See this? With all the tattoos I have, this is the one I can’t wear. For all that your life is a secret, now, my other job is one, too. I’m a Watcher. I’ll explain it all. Again, it’s against all the rules, but I will. Now. Do you trust me, Kate?”
“I…I do.” Kate nodded firmly and held out her hand. Abby took it, shook it, and nodded back.
“Okay, then. Get in the trunk.” Beside them was a Chevy Nova that had been brought in for an investigation. “It’s the only way out of the building. It’s being towed to the junkyard tomorrow. I’ve put food and water and a reading light in there, you’ll be fine. I’m already taking some time off tomorrow; I’ll meet you there and take you where you need to go. Please, Kate? Pretty please?”
“Okay,” Kate shrugged. “Okay, as long as you don’t do the puppy-dog eyes again.”
Abby gave her a hug and helped her climb in. Inside she found a few pillows and made herself comfortable. A Styrofoam cooler had some fruit and bottled water. Abby pointed out a reading light and shut the trunk lid.
Kate fished out a bottle of water and sipped it awkwardly in the combined space. The headache ebbed slowly. At the same time, the day’s events came back. She remembered stopping the bullet, the ache in her chest behind the vest. Her Secret Service instructor would be proud.
As she reached for a second bottle, she felt some paper taped to the lid of the cooler. The booklight turned up to questing fingers and she examined the sheet.
It was a pamphlet of some sort. The little bat-girl drawing Kate had made of Abby was down in the corner, as a logo. The title was ‘So, you woke up in the morgue, huh?’ She laughed at the sheer absurdity of it all, then settled against the pillows and started to read.
Abby knocked on the trunk, warning Kate to protect her eyes. She opened it and helped her friend out. Kate wasn’t surprised to find herself in a junk yard, from the sounds that had surrounded her for the last hour.
Abby rushed her across the yard into the office. Clothes, food and, blessedly, a toilet waited there for her.
When she felt human again…or, what she remembered of humans, she realized, she started asking questions. “So, what do-?”
“Actually, Kate, can you ask in the car?” Abby was bouncing on the balls of her feet as urgently as she had in the morgue. Kate started to wonder how she’d gotten to be alone in the junk yard; what sort of arrangement she’d made. Was there a bribe? A party? “We really have to get going. We have to meet someone.”
“Okay. Can I use the phone, first?” She started looking around the office. Abby stepped up and leaned in towards her face.
“No, Kate. There’s no one you can call. Everyone thinks you’re dead. Boyfriends, family, co-workers, they have to keep on thinking you’re dead. And it’s not just your secret. There are others. Come one.”
Abby pulled into the parking lot of a seedy motel near the airport. Kate glanced around from the passenger seat. “Are you serious, Abby? I feel like I need shots just looking at the place.”
“We need to avoid anyplace with too many security cameras, Kate.”
“Why, Abby?” She turned to her friend as she parked in the back of the building. “Why hide? No one’s looking for me. No one has a reason to look for me. As you keep pointing out, I’m dead to the world. I fell down on a bullet and I died. Everyone thinks I’m lying on a slab.
“No one will look for me. Even if they start looking for a missing corpse, they won’t expect me to be walking into a motel near the airport!” She realized she was screaming as Abby crouched lower and lower into her seat. “So. Um. Well. Anyway, the best part of being dead is that you don’t have to hide, right?”
Abby was shaking her head. “Think about it, Kate. Maybe no one is looking for you, but they’re looking for your killer.
“If someone runs across a picture of you, walking around a day after Gibbs reported that a terrorist killed you, they’re going to think something’s going on and he’s in on it. That we’re all in on it.”
Kate grudgingly accepted the observation and followed her friend into the room. Once they were inside, with the drapes drawn, Abby asked which bed Kate wanted. She shook her head and asked “Why are we here?”
“Fair enough,” Abby answered. “You have to start a new life. And I found someone to teach you what you need to know. We’re going to meet him here. Then he’ll take you somewhere.”
“I don’t know,” Abby shrugged. “He’ll help you figure it out.”
“MacLeod. Duncan.” Her voice went low and husky. “Duncan MacLeod of The Clan MacLeod. You’ll love him.”
Abby refused to answer any questions about the Immortals, or the Watchers. The first would be better from a fellow Immortal, she maintained, and the latter would only make sense after she learned about the people they watched.
Kate tried to use her best interrogation techniques to worm some information out of her friend. Gibbs had taught her well but Abby proved to be a tough nut to crack.
“Nice try, Kate, but Go Fish.”
That evening, her death was mentioned on the news. It finally sank in that it was real. She turned off the TV and curled up on the bed. Abby watched as she started rocking back and forth, staring into space.
“What is it, sweetheart?”
“I’m dead. Not literally, but to the world. Whoever shot me…they did worse than kill me. They took me out of Gibbs’ life, out of Ducky’s, my mom’s, Dad, Frank… But they all have someone to turn to. Someone to help them.” A single tear leaked unnoticed down her face.
Abby moved to Kate’s side, taking wrapping an arm around the rocking shoulders. She didn’t try to stop the catharsis, just to buffer it. Kate went on after a small silence. “I’m alone. That one bullet took everyone out of my life.”
She gave a short, humorless laugh. “Gibbs told me the sniper motto is ‘one-shot, one-kill.’ This guy shot once and took every single person I know out of my life. It’s like he killed Mom, Dad, Frank, Dolores, Bea, Sam, the other Sam, Ducky, Gibbs, Tim, Tony, that cute guy at Starbucks who knows how I take it…with one bullet. One shot, a hundred kills.”
The tears were flowing freely, now. Abby cried in sympathy. “But you’re not completely alone, Kate,” she whispered. “I’m here. You haven’t lost me.” She hugged the former corpse tightly but there was no response.
She was patient though. After a while, Kate reached out a hand and grabbed the arm wrapped around her. She squeezed it for a while. Then she took an arm, and finally turned to grab the Goth girl in a warm, tight hug.
Abby stroked her back gently. “You can always cry on my shoulder, Kate.”
Kate woke up first. Abby’s arm was around her waist as the girl snuggled up close to Kate’s back. She snuck out and away from the bed. They’d left the AC running. Now, outside of the covers, the room was a meat locker. She groaned at that thought, turned off the fan and padded naked to the bathroom.
When she came out, she left the bathroom light on, with the door just slightly cracked open. Then she leaned on the wall and gazed at the spill of dark hair crossing the pillow.
She’d never had a woman lover before. Was this how Immortals behaved, or was it a reaction to not-quite-dying? Had she always wanted this, and finally had no reason not to? Or was it a desperate grab for one last piece of her former life?
She shrugged and shook her head. Too many questions. All she had was questions. She started to slip in between the sheets of the other bed. Then she noticed that Abby was reaching around on the bed, trying to find her.
With a sigh, she put a t-shirt on, then climbed back in beside Abby. The heat from the other body was welcome after the chill of the room. Abby hugged her close and sighed contentedly. Kate drifted back to sleep.
Abby had to go back to work in the morning. The investigation into Kate’s murder was still on-going. Gibbs was pissed enough that she’d taken half a day, but she’d pleaded a medical emergency of a feminine nature. As expected, Gibbs had let her go before she could begin explaining what it was.
“You should be ashamed of yourself, Abby,” Kate scolded her. “Trading on Gibbs’ fear of the Feminine Mysteries.”
“I only use it for absolute emergencies, I swear. Now, here, this is the best I could do.” She produced a large kitchen knife and handed it to the agent. “What you really need is a sword.”
“What I really need is a gun!” Kate insisted. The other woman just shook her head.
“Think about it, Kate. If someone attacks you, and they hear gunshots, cops’ll take you into custody. And it won’t be long before you’re explaining to Jethro why you’re not dead.” Then they hugged goodbye and she drove off. Kate was alone with the television for the day. She kept looking over at the phone, but she’d finally accepted that she was, and had to be, dead.
Towards evening, the skin of her scalp got horribly taut. It felt stretched, in all directions. She could feel almost every individual hair. It felt like someone was pulling on every follicle.
Kate glanced towards the mirror, expecting to look like a cartoon character that had been electrocuted. To her surprise, she looked normal. Eventually the sensation passed.
Shortly after that, Abby came back. She was talking a mile a minute as she came in the room. “Hey, Kate, he’s here. He wanted to meet you but wanted to get an introduction. I said I could call but I’d have to leave the NCIS building. I mean, it was odd enough to be talking to him on the phone, but if there was any chance anyone would pick up or overhear me talking to Kate a day after Kate died, then that was just too much risk to bear, so he said he’d wait until I could come over and …”
“ABBY!” Sciuto spun around at the shout.
“What is it, Kate?
“Who are you talking about?”
A deep but smooth voice from the doorway caused Kate to spin around. “I think she means me. Hi. I’m Duncan MacLeod.” A man stood in the doorway, smiling. The first thing she noticed was how non-threatening his stance was. His hands were out and empty, he leaned slightly back and his coat was open. There was a small smile that showed no teeth, and his eyes twinkled. He had to be doing it on purpose, trying to look friendly.
Kate really disliked being manipulated.
“So, you look so harmless,” she said, in a voice she usually used only on Tony…’usually’ being ‘used to’ now, she thought with a brief stab of misery. “Am I supposed to believe that you’re unarmed, too? That you’re safe as a big ol’ teddy bear?”
His smile got wider at that, and pearly white teeth shone. Duncan stepped into the room and closed the door behind him. Somehow, in the same motion, he drew a sword and swung it towards Kate.
She wasn’t fully aware of what was happening, but reflexes trained by two federal agencies kicked in. When the sword, something oriental looking, got to a foot from her face, it struck her kitchen knife. The twinkle in his eyes never left, but his eyebrows rose.
“Nicely done, Kate,” he said with a nod.
An hour later, over the remains of Chinese take-out, Kate’s questions about the Immortals and the Watchers had been answered. In general, anyway. “But how did you two meet?” she asked them. “Are you his watcher, Abs?”
“Oh, no,” Abby denied. “I’m not a field Watcher. I’m just a historian, and I consult sometimes on Immortal events in the DC area. I got into the Watchers after a traffic accident. I pulled a guy out of a burning car, and he stood up, thanked me, and walked away.”
Abby and Duncan shared a look right then. From the smile on Duncan’s face, he must have been the guy.
“Duncan’s watcher explained to me what had happened and recruited me. He was impressed with my ability to not fall to pieces in a crisis. So, a few years later, I’m at a beheading, trying to figure out just whose head got taken, when Duncan sees me.”
“I’d learned about the Watchers since she helped me, and I still wanted to thank her for saving me. When I realized she was a Watcher, I knew I could thank her properly.” They smiled at each other again.
“Wait,” Kate asked, “Saved you? You wouldn’t have died in the fire, would you?”
“No,” he admitted with a shudder, “I’d have lived. Until the last smokey breath, the last flame…” Kate shuddered in sympathy. “Then I’d have woken up in a morgue somewhere. My life in the US would be over.”
“The whole US? Are you saying I have to leave the states?” The man across from her nodded.
“You’re dead in DC for the next fifty years,” he explained. “It’s a thumb rule for avoiding old friends that might recognize or remember you. You’re dead in the US for twenty five years. After that you can claim to be a long lost daughter of yourself, but it’s best to move on completely.
“There are people we can contact to get your fingerprints out of the various data bases, and your DNA, but there’s still just too great a chance of your photo crossing someone’s desk.
“You need to travel abroad. We need to get you some ID, and teach you how to make your own. You need to be taught to fight, to recognize other Immortals, to understand the prophecy and the rules.”
“Where will I go?” she asked, staring at her hands on the table.
“Well, a friend of mine, Darius, used to say there are two kinds of Immortals.” Duncan leaned back in his chair and ran a finger around the rim of his glass. “Some of us do the same thing over and over for ever, some of us try different things. You can go protect people, or be a cop, or fight terrorism, or you can go do something new.” He turned back to look at her. “Do you have any hobbies?”
“Oh! Kate!” Abby interrupted. “You can draw. Really well. You should get into that. You finally have the time to practice.” Before Kate could answer, the sound of a beeper intruded. Kate automatically reached for her hip, before remembering that she didn’t wear one anymore. Hers was probably in Evidence, or her personal effects.
“Whoops. Gotta go,” Abby announced. “Gibbs wants me to come back to the lab.” She shook her head. “And he’s asking politely. Your death really shook him up, Kate. He’s bringing coffee to Tony and Tim, he apologized to Palmer…it’s like a World Gone Mad.” She got up to leave.
“What?” Kate was amazed. “Coffee? For Magee? You’re making that up.” Abby just shook her head. Kate turned to Duncan, leaning forward. “I have to talk with him. Tell him I’m alive. He’s no good to anyone like this. He’ll never catch my killer.”
“No.” Abby stood beside Kate, fists clenched. “No. That’s not what he needs. You can’t help him by telling him everything he knows is a lie. He’ll get through this. And when he does, he will find whoever did this, and bring him to justice. Gibbs will jail him if he has to push the bastard through the lock one spoonful at a time.” Kate looked back up at her friend. She remembered that Abby had known their boss a lot longer than she had.
“Okay. Can’t argue that.” Abby relaxed, a little, said goodbyes and left.
Duncan finished his drink and pulled out a wad of cash. Kate stared at it, trying to estimate the worth. An inch of $100 dollar bills…
“We’ll travel by cash. In Vancouver, I can get your documents made. It’ll take a few days, so you can think it over.” Kate looked up from the cash.
“Think what over? Oh. The future. Yeah. That’ll have to wait. I can’t leave just yet.”
Duncan shook his head. “You can’t say goodbye. You can’t be seen. You can’t…”
“I can’t go. I can’t leave them right now. The whole team could be in danger.” Kate was adamant on that. “I can’t leave until I’m sure they’re safe.”
“You have a lot to learn, Kate. I didn’t end up here by accident. Abby didn’t find you by accident. People who have a need to know will find you.”
“I can take care of myself.”
“Only with a gun. Not with the sort –“ Duncan was interrupted when the table rose up to meet him in the face. He reacted quickly but still was slammed to the floor for a moment. By the time he was up, Kate was through the door. He ran out of the room but couldn’t see her.
This was her territory, he knew. He could find her, eventually, but so could others. He shook his head and stormed back into the room. Damn, the Scot thought, four hundred years and I still never expect women to be competent at this sort of thing. He started straightening the room.
“Abby’ll be pissed,” he muttered. Kate was out there, without a weapon, without a clear idea what she needed to do, and without… He lifted the table and knelt to inspect under the bed. Well, at least she wasn’t without cash. He smiled in chagrin and started to haul stuff out to the car.
Kate had considered the situation very carefully. She knew that Gibbs’ had ordered everyone on his team to stay close, inside NCIS. It was a defensive move, a fear-motivated one. It was unlike Gibbs. You didn’t catch terrorists by being terrified.
But until everyone got over her ‘death’ it was at least a safe place for everyone to adjust. Almost.
NCIS Headquarters was located in the Navy Yard. ‘Aboard’ the Navy Yard, the regulars had kept correcting Kate. She’d always thought it was a ridiculous way of saying that a building was on the grounds. But nautical traditions seemed to have supernatural staying power.
Anyone trying to attack NCIS personnel would have to not only get out of the HQ, but have the added challenge of getting off the Navy Yard. Ari had done it, once, but he was too smart to count on being able to do it again. Especially after her own death put the unit on high alert.
Abby’s lab, though, was on the side of the building that faced away from the water. Several of the high rise buildings outside the Yard were high enough to provide a really good sniper an opportunity.
Kate had examined the possible sites and scored the very best, second and third best positions for a sniper. Then she’d set herself up to cover the second best.
She waited patiently through the day, watching through the sniper scope. A dark figure finally arrived. Quickly and efficiently, he set up his weapon. Kate readied hers. She watched him sight in, adjusting his scope carefully, then wait.
As he lifted his face from the scope to glance around, Kate saw that it was Ari. He glanced in her direction, and her heart pounded in her chest, but he didn’t see her. The fear made her scalp go all tight again, but she took a few breaths until it cleared.
‘Must be waiting for Abby,’ she thought. Then she saw his smile. She knew he was about to fire. She took careful aim and played the targeting laser across the end of his scope.
The red light distracted him at just the right moment. He fired, but pulled it slightly. Kate was sure he’d missed, but could only hope that the round hadn’t hit anyone else by accident. She moved the dot to the rooftop beside him. He recognized the target laser.
He didn’t try for a second shot, just took cover from the counter-sniper aiming at him. A few moments later, he was off the roof and out of sight.
Kate lowered her rifle scope with the laser duct-taped to it. Without ID and only a few hours’ to prepare, she’d had no chance to acquire a weapon to challenge someone like Ari with. So she’d adapted and overcome.
Gibbs’d be so proud.
She’d have to be careful leaving the area. There would be NCIS all over the place. They were looking for someone in another building, but the search would spread out. She had to go.
As she jumped down from the air conditioner, she found herself face to face with MacLeod. He didn’t seem upset, in fact he had about a half of a smile on.
“Are you done?” he asked.
“Yeah. I think so. The near miss will spur Gibbs out of his shell. He’ll use his people rather than hide them.” She glanced over her shoulder but the NCIS building wasn’t even visible from here. “Yeah,” she repeated. “I’m ready to move on.”
They walked to the stairs. And to the future.
MTAC - NCIS Fic