Disclaimer: JAG and Navy NCIS are owned by DPB, Belisarius Productions, Paramount Pictures, and CBS Television.
AN: Co-authored by CRene. Thanks to Abby for the beta-reading.
Feedback: Always welcome and appreciated. Can be sent to email@example.com.
Kaitlin Todd’s Apartment
0337 hours (local)
Something was ringing. Ringing loudly. And it wasn’t stopping. It started off pretty quietly, but now it was louder. It would stop for a moment, and then start again. Blinking her eyes in the darkness, she felt almost dizzy and completely annoyed by the ringing. What was it? How to stop it? There it went again. Realization dawning, Kate rolled over, still three-fourths of the way asleep, and picked up the phone. “‘Lo?” she mumbled sleepily.
“Umm…” she mumbled, nodding. She knew him, but she couldn’t place his voice.
“I need help,” he said quickly. His voice was almost pleading.
Slowly waking and sitting up in the bed, the covers falling from her shoulders, still unable to place his voice, she found herself agreeing. “Okay.”
“I’m in trouble,” he said. “I’m in the brig at Guantanamo Bay. They’ve arrested me for treason.”
“They arrested you? For treason?” His face was slowly coming to her, surfacing through the fog of sleep, but she still couldn’t place him exactly.
“I didn’t do it, Kate. So I need your help. In the morning, I need you to go to JAG Headquarters in Falls Church. Talk to Commander Rabb and Colonel MacKenzie. I need a lawyer, a good one, and they’re the best. I don’t want whoever the system would stick me with. Make sure they get on my case and get me out of here!” He sounded desperate now.
“Commander Rabb and Colonel MacKenzie. Got it,” Kate repeated back to him.
“Thanks, Kate. I know…” he began. “I owe you one.”
She could see him clearly now, just as he looked the last time she saw him. “I think you owe me more than one.”
“Thank you,” he said, before a voice in the background put a quick end to the conversation. The phone went silent.
Lying back down, her head sinking back into the pillow, Kate closed her eyes, returning to sleep, a voice from her past haunting her dreams.
Falls Church, Virginia
1000 hours (local)
The elevator doors opened to reveal the petite brunette. She didn’t know why she was here. He had no right to call her at his time of need; a couple of years ago he had made up his mind for both of them on what and who was more important.
Walking into the bullpen, she knew that she couldn’t turn her back on him even after all of this time. She had to do this; he needed her to do this.
“Excuse me, can you tell me where I could find Commander Rabb or Colonel Mackenzie?” she asked the female Lieutenant standing by the copy machine.
“Colonel Mackenzie is in court at the moment,” the Lieutenant stated.
“Then I need to speak to Commander Rabb,” she requested. “It’s very important that I speak to one of them.”
As Harm walked out of his office, he could see Harriet with the petite brunette, and quickly recognized the badge she was flashing in Harriet’s face. He didn’t need this today. “What’s going on, Lieutenant Sims?” Harm asked, coming up behind Harriet.
“Sir, this is Agent Todd from NCIS. She is won’t tell me what’s going on, Commander,” Harriet told him.
“I have nothing to say to you or anyone at NCIS, Agent Todd, so please just leave,” Harm ordered.
“I can’t do that, Commander,” Kate stated, leveling her gaze at him.
Sturgis and Mac walked into the bullpen and quickly noticed the confrontation among Harm, Harriet, and the young woman. Mac knew she had to stop Harm from doing anything too drastic, especially after she heard her say ‘NCIS.’ “Harm, what’s going on?” Mac asked, putting her hand on his arm, trying to calm him down.
“NCIS has decided to hassle us again,” Harm replied, folding his arms across his broad chest, staring down at the shorter woman.
“Colonel Mackenzie?” Kate asked.
“Yes,” Mac replied, giving the woman a questioning look.
“Can we go somewhere and talk privately?” Kate pleaded.
“I said leave,” Harm demanded, turning around and walking away, his posture stiff with tension.
“You don’t understand,” Kate sighed. “Victor asked me to come here.”
Harm stopped in his tracks and turned around looking into Mac’s eyes. There was only one person named Victor that would ask for Harm and Mac’s help.
“Gunny,” Mac mouthed to Harm.
“My office,” Harm said, leading the two ladies to his office. He knew this had to be big if Gunny was involved. Both he and Mac owed Gunny their lives. Whatever trouble he was in, they would do their best to help him.
1017 hours (local)
Looking up from his computer, Gibbs asked the younger man sitting at a desk across the aisle from him, “You seen Kate this morning?”
“No, Boss,” Tony responded automatically, continuing to look through the information on the papers in front of him.
“Odd...” Gibbs mused. “She’s usually in by now.”
“Want me to call her?” Tony asked, still looking at the papers in front of him.
After shutting down the program on his computer, pausing in his endless quest to recognize his face, Gibbs rose from his chair, a folder in one hand and a half-full coffee cup in the other, passed Tony and said, “Find out where she is. And why she isn’t here. I’ve got work for you two.”
“I’m on it, Boss,” Tony nodded, turning away from the folder on his desk. Picking up the phone on his desk, he dialed Kate’s home number, but got no answer. Trying her cell phone, he was about to hang up when she answered.
“Kate, it’s Tony. Gibbs wants to know where you are.”
“I’m at JAG Headquarters,” Kate began, her voice firm. “I needed to speak to a couple of lawyers.”
“Ooh…” Tony trailed off, leaning back in his chair, a smile on his face. “What did you do, Kate?”
Laughing lightly, knowing Tony’s mind was drifting, Kate answered, “Whatever you are thinking, you’re wrong.” Sobering, she went on, “Just tell Gibbs I’ll be there in a little while. I’ll explain what I can then.”
“All right,” Tony agreed, leaning forward in his chair. “But as a warning, he says he’s got work for us to do.”
Sighing heavily, Kate said, “Thanks, Tony,” before she hung up.
1755 hours (local)
He sat there in the ten by ten cell wondering how in the hell he got himself into this mess. Actually he knew how it happened, but why it happened, he couldn’t figure out.
Calling Kate was the only option at the time. Now he wondered if he’d made a mistake. They had not parted on the best of terms more than two years ago. He hoped she would forgive him for the mistakes of the past and help him now.
“Gunny,” the female voice mumbled from beyond the steel bars.
Victor jumped up instantly at the sound of her voice. He would know the Colonel’s voice anywhere.
“Colonel,” he said looking over at her through the bars, then over to Commander Rabb standing beside her.
“Gunny, what happened?” Commander Rabb inquired.
“Sir, all I can tell you is I am an innocent man,” Victor replied.
“Well, let’s see what we can do about getting you out of here,” Mac told him. They had to get Gunny alone to figure out exactly what happened. She knew what he was being charged with, and she knew without a doubt that he was innocent.
“Mac, don’t you think you are jumping the gun here?” Harm questioned as the two of them entered the conference room ten minutes later.
“What are you talking about?”
“Promising Gunny we will get him out,” Harm said.
“We will. Harm, you know Gunny, there is no way he could do these things.”
“But we haven’t even heard his story.”
“It doesn’t matter. Something is going on here, and I’m going to find out exactly what it is.”
“What I would like to know is how NCIS got involved,” Harm wondered. “Agent Todd would not tell us how she knew Gunny.”
“Let it go, Harm. It’s her right to not tell us,” Mac pointed out.
“But maybe Gunny will…” Harm continued.
“Harm, give it up.”
“Mac, I never give up, no matter what the circumstances,” Harm explained, sitting down at the table and opening the file on Gunnery Sergeant Victor Galindez.
Pacing the room, Mac was mulling over the thoughts in her head. The last she knew, Gunny was still TAD to the CIA. Somehow, that didn’t make Mac feel any better.
The door opened and Gunny was led into the room by a guard, who sat him down.
“You can take those off,” Harm told the guard sternly.
The guard looked for a moment at Gunny before removing the handcuffs. “Knock when you’re done,” he said to the lawyers.
Once he was gone, Gunny relaxed slightly and smiled at Harm. “I must say, Sir, it is good to see you in that uniform again.”
Smiling in return, Harm nodded, “It’s good to be back in the uniform.”
Ceasing her pacing, Mac asked, “Gunny, what is going on?”
Leaning forward in his chair, Gunny answered honestly, “I’m not quite sure, Ma’am.”
Raising his eyebrows, Harm watched Gunny closely.
Shrugging his shoulders, Gunny went on, “I was working on a mission with Clayton Webb, trying to get some information. We were tracking Ari Tahir, a known terrorist. He’s made some strikes in the States and we received word that he was hiding out in Cuba. Agent Culpeper was found dead two days ago. Shortly thereafter, I was dragged in here and accused of giving information to the other side, letting them know we were tracking them,” he finished sadly.
Glaring down at Gunny with worry in her eyes, Mac asked, “Has Clay done anything to try and get you out of here?”
“I don’t think so, Ma’am,” Gunny answered firmly.
Swallowing hard, Mac asked, “When was the last time you talked to Clay?”
“Not since before Agent Culpeper’s body was found, Ma’am.”
Turning away from both Gunny and Harm, Mac walked a few steps away. Something wasn’t right here.
“I have to ask,” Harm began seriously. “You didn’t do it, right?”
“No, Sir,” Gunny answered firmly. “I would give my life for this country before I would give information to the enemy.”
Nodding, smiling slightly, Harm glanced up at Mac, who likewise had a slight smile on her lips. They would do everything they could to get Gunny out of this.
1830 hours (local)
Looking over the info JAG had sent over, Gibbs was immediately concerned when he spotted the name. When he had asked Kate why Gunnery Sergeant Galindez had called her, she had said they had been good friends several years ago. However, Gibbs had felt that there was something more. Regardless of his reasons, she was now involved in this with him. Closing the folder, he pushed back his chair and approached Kate and Tony. “Kate, pack your bags.”
Looking up from her work, she asked, “Where am I going?”
“What about me, Boss?” Tony asked.
“You’re staying,” Gibbs responded quickly. “We might need you here.”
“Sure, Boss,” Tony sighed heavily.
Getting up from her seat, Kate asked, “Is this about Galindez?”
Nodding, Gibbs added, “And Ari Tahir.”
Puzzled, Kate followed him away from her desk, knowing that Victor’s phone call to her in the middle of the night had led to something big, and whatever it was, it wasn’t pretty.
Watching the two of them go, Tony leaned back in his chair, his eyes flashing, “You’re staying. We might need you here,” he grumbled to himself. Kate always gets to do the fun stuff. Well, perhaps while they were gone, he and Abby could figure out something fun to do on their own.
2130 hours (local)
She sat on her bed with the phone in front of her, dialing the number for the third time that day. No matter how many times she dialed his number, no one would answer. She would always get the same response, ‘The provider you are trying to call is not available or is out of the service area.’ “Damn cell phones!” she shouted.
Hearing her frustration as he walked across the room, he couldn’t help but smile. He knew it wasn’t the best reaction, but it was the only reaction he had.
“Problem, Mac?” he asked, stopping by her door.
He couldn’t help but to admire her as she sat on the bed in shorts and a tank top, all ready to call it a night. She could look very sexy in a pair of shorts and tank top, or even in a potato sack.
“Why is it that when you need to get in touch with someone they are nowhere around, but when you would rather have them be 3000 miles away, they are right there?” Mac answered with a question of her own, throwing the cell phone on her bed.
“Can’t answer that one, Mac,” he replied sitting down on the edge of the bed. He had the strange idea that she was talking about Clayton Webb.
“Harm, I need to know his reason for leaving Gunny to take the fall for this,” Mac explained.
She had all but confirmed his suspicion with that statement. “I’m sure you do, but it’s late and we have interviews tomorrow. Get some sleep,” he recommended.
“I can’t sleep, not when Gunny is in the brig for something he didn’t do,” Mac stated.
“Okay,” Harm sighed. He got up from the bed and began walking out of the bedroom. He couldn’t help it. She had all the faith in the world that Gunny was innocent. He was also positive Gunny was innocent, but it was the way she was going at it. “Wish you felt that way when I was arrested,” he mumbled, finally stepping out of the room.
“What was that?” she questioned, somewhat perturbed by his tone.
“Oh, nothing. Go to bed, Marine,” he ordered.
They had moved too far ahead the past couple of weeks to let the past break them apart again. They needed to be working together on this one.
Temporary Offices for JAG and NCIS
0930 hours (local)
Walking through the hallway, he was on a mission. He knew what he needed to do and he would stop at nothing to do it. Finally after months of looking for the man that had held his employees captive, he would have the last word. Spotting him instantly through the crowd, Agent Jethro Gibbs knew he had found the man that could capture Ari Tahir. “Commander Rabb, what a pleasure to see you again,” Gibbs snarled, walking up behind him.
“What are you doing here, Gibbs?” Harm questioned, his tone bitter.
“Here to make sure your man pays for what he has done,” Gibbs answered nonchalantly.
“My man? As in Gunnery Sergeant Galindez? He is innocent of all charges, not that you care or anything. You are willing to throw an innocent man in jail for a crime he didn’t commit,” Harm explained.
“I did find the truth about Lieutenant Singer’s murder, didn’t I?”
“With my help, yes,” Harm stated. “And only because your crew finally came to their senses.”
“Well, it looks like this time we are working together,” Gibbs stated.
“Not on your life,” Harm growled.
“Commander Rabb,” Kate called, anger flashing in her eyes as she walked up to the two men. “Can I ask why you felt like you needed to tell Victor about my experience with Tahir?”
“What?” Gibbs asked, surprised. Why would Kate’s involvement with Tahir matter to the Gunnery Sergeant?
“He knew Tahir had some involvement with NCIS. He figured it out on his own once I told him you were with NCIS,” Harm explained, shrugging his shoulders.
“Now he won’t see me,” Kate argued. “You had no right to tell him.”
“I was doing my job. You came to us, remember?” Harm pointed out.
“I came to you because he asked me to,” Kate responded crossly.
“What is your relationship with my client, Agent Todd?” Harm demanded.
“None of your damn business,” she snapped before looking over at Gibbs and walking away. She didn’t want Gibbs to know about her past with Victor. Hell, she didn’t want anyone to know about her past with him. She had worked so hard to get over him the past couple of years and now he had appeared back in her life just to cause more grief. No, it wasn’t going to happen.
Puzzled, both Harm and Gibbs watched as Kate stalked angrily down the hallway.
Approaching the two men from the other end of the hall, Mac saw Kate as she disappeared around the corner. She also saw Harm standing, with his arms across his chest, and another man, who she recognized as soon as he turned around.
When Mac neared them, Harm ignored Gibbs and asked, “Could you get in touch with him?”
Knowing to whom Harm was referring, Mac just shook her head. Nodding her head in the direction of Kate’s departure, she asked, “Is everything okay with her?”
“No,” Harm answered. “She’s upset because Gunny figured out that she was involved with Tahir at NCIS.”
“I’m still trying to figure out Agent Todd’s connection to Gunny,” Mac mused.
“Aren’t we all?” Harm added, glaring pointedly at Gibbs.
Pushing his way past Harm and Mac, Gibbs said, “Your guess is as good as mine.”
1935 hours (local)
“You will call me if you hear from him. That is an order,” Mac growled into the phone at the woman before slamming it down. “Arrgg!!” Mac let out in frustration as she flopped back on her bed. This was infuriating! She needed to talk to Clay to figure out what was going on. The CIA was being of no help whatsoever, Gunny had no idea where Clay had disappeared to, NCIS couldn’t find a trace of him having ever been here, and Mac couldn’t help but to feel that Clay held the key to this whole situation. Harm was off with Gibbs, interviewing others who had been involved in the situation. Mac had convinced them to take Kate along, just in case they started butting heads again. Plus, Mac had the feeling that keeping Kate in the loop would help her out, ease whatever it was that she was feeling.
Rubbing at her temples, Mac wanted nothing more than to get out of there. It was hot, humid, frustrating… Interrupted by the sound of a light knocking on her window, Mac sat upright, all thoughts gone from her head. Moving quickly to the window, she pulled back the curtain, surprised to see the face of one Clayton Webb. His hair was disheveled, a few days growth on his face, his eyes bloodshot and glassy, and his clothes were stained with dirt. Quickly sliding the window open, Mac wanted to shout, but managed to keep her voice to a whisper, “Where the hell have you been?”
“I can’t stay long, Sarah,” Clay hissed. “I’ve got to leave, but I had to see you.”
“What the hell is going on? Gunny is in the brig, charged with treason-”
“I know. But Gunny shouldn’t take the fall for this.”
“Then why is he?!”
Looking around, glancing quickly over his shoulder, Clay answered, “I don’t know, Sarah. I’m still trying to figure out a way to get him out.”
“Look, NCIS is working with Harm and me, work with us. You have information we need.”
“I can’t give it to you. It’s-”
“Don’t you dare tell me it’s classified! That’s not going to work this time!” Mac was having a difficult time keeping her voice down, but she had to, as Clay was obviously nervous.
Running his hands through his hair, looking over his shoulder again, Clay stated, “I just can’t tell you. I have to…” trailing off, he ducked down for a moment. “I have to go. Just know that Gunny didn’t do it.”
“Clay, wait,” Mac ordered, her voice strong. “Don’t you dare walk away from me!”
“I’m sorry, Sarah,” he said, taking off at a quick, hunched, walk. Within moments, he was gone.
Closing the window, Mac continued to stare into the darkness for another minute before she sat down on the bed. “So help me, Clay, if I find out you had anything to do with causing this situation…”
1945 hours (local)
He had found the break they needed, and as he walked into the interrogation room to interview Lieutenant Davis, he was shocked to see someone else there. “Gibbs, get away from my witness,” Harm shouted, walking into the room with a scowl on his face.
“Commander, you might want to tell your witness that he is playing a dangerous game,” Gibbs warned Harm.
“Lieutenant, don’t worry about him. His bark his worse than his bite,” Harm replied, taking a seat across from Lieutenant Andrew Davis.
“Lieutenant, we have witnesses stating that you and Gunnery Sergeant Galindez were seen together at Renucci’s,” Gibbs stated.
“Everyone goes to that bar, Sir,” Davis replied.
“But not everyone is on trial for treason,” Gibbs said, pounding his fist on the table. “How do you know Galindez? Were you there when he met with Tahir?”
“Who is Tahir, Sir?” he questioned.
“You know damn well who he is,” Gibbs growled.
“Gibbs, calm down,” Harm ordered.
“Commander, I don’t know what he is talking about. The only man I saw with Galindez that night was a man named Webb,” he explained.
“Webb,” Harm mumbled. He couldn’t believe it. This couldn’t be the key they needed to unlock this case.
“You know the man?” Gibbs questioned Harm.
“Sir,” Davis sighed, glancing towards Harm.
“Tell me what you remember about that night,” Harm requested.
“I had met Gunny a few days before, and we had gotten to know one another. I knew he was a Marine and all, but I wasn’t aware of any new additions to the unit. Well, that night he came in with a man in a suit, and that man sure wasn’t a Marine,” Davis explained.
“Who was this man?” Gibbs asked.
“Galindez told me his name was Webb. He wasn’t happy to see Webb there. Galindez went to talk to him and then left in a hurry, looking mad,” Davis said, shrugging his shoulders and looking down at the table.
Curious, a picture beginning to take shape in his mind, Harm asked, “Did you see Webb talk to anybody else?”
“He sat at the bar and had a few drinks, but before he left, he got up and talked to a man in a corner booth. I don’t know what he said, but after Webb left, the guy looked pretty smug.”
“Can you describe this man?” Gibbs asked.
Nodding, Davis went on, “He was a thin man, dark skin, dark hair. His eyes were dark, too, and he looked like a bad guy. There was a scar above his left eye, but that’s all I noticed,” Davis finished weakly. “I know it isn’t much. Sorry.”
Flipping quickly through the file in his hands, Gibbs pulled out a sheet of paper and put it down in front of Davis. “Do you see him in any one of these pictures?”
Immediately, Davis pointed to one in the upper left corner. “That’s him.”
Looking up at Harm, Gibbs smiled. “That’s one of Tahir’s men.”
Harm nodded. It looked like they might be able to clear Gunny’s name.
2210 hours (local)
Walking calmly and quietly into Mac’s room, Harm couldn’t suppress his grin as he told her, “Gunny’s out, Mac, cleared of all charges.”
“Good,” she whispered weakly from the bed. “I’m glad.”
Thinking about the charges now attached to Webb’s name, Harm couldn’t find the words to tell her, so he said the only words he could think of saying. “I’m sorry, Mac.” The look on her face startled him when she looked up. Her cheeks were tear-stained, her eyes bloodshot. “What happened?” he asked, moving closer to the bed where she was seated, her knees under the covers and pulled up to her chest.
“It was Clay,” she whispered.
He didn’t know how she knew, but she did. “I know. I’m sorry, Mac.”
Mac didn’t know how Harm knew, but she knew he had to have found someone with the information. “You called him in, right?”
“I had to,” Harm answered quietly, sitting next to her on the bed.
Looking up at him, fresh tears in her eyes, Mac smiled weakly and said, “I know.”
“They haven’t found him yet.”
“Clay’s smart. He knew they were looking for him.” Looking away from Harm, she pulled the covers up slightly. “I’m not sure they’ll ever find him.” Leaning her weight into Harm, she was glad when he put his arm over her shoulders. “I was a fool for ever getting involved with him.”
“No,” Harm said, pulling her closer. “He was the fool for ever letting you go.” Kissing the top of her head, he was content to give her whatever comfort he could.
2237 hours (local)
Gunny and Kate sat in a heavy silence at the table. Other patrons of the restaurant went about their lives, unconcerned with the two of them. It was Kate who broke the silence, asking the question that had been plaguing her for days. “Why’d you call me, Vic?”
Sighing, Gunny answered honestly, “I wanted someone I could trust, someone I knew would help me. I wanted someone who could get into JAG, get them to listen. I wanted…” Gunny trailed off, looking away from her. “I wanted to hear your voice.”
It was a long while before Kate answered. “It was nice to hear your voice. But next time, Vic, don’t wait more than two years before you call me again. And try not to call me from the brig,” she smiled.
Meeting her gaze, Gunny smiled as well. He couldn’t let her get away again.
The End, for now, maybe...