So here are the snippets and plot outline for my one and only NCIS/SGA fic - a.k.a. the one in which Abby has the ATA gene, Rodney dies - sort of, and Gibbs gets to ride in a spaceship (and is exactly as happy about that as one might think).
Tentative title: "The Devil You Know"
This story started out spinning off the episode from season one with the small-town sheriff who has a thing for Gibbs. On top of all my other issues with this story, I've now completely forgotten everything else about that episode too.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
"Jethro," the sheriff greeted him, leaning on her patrol car.
"Hey, you remember me." She pushed off from the patrol car and came to join him. Both of them ducked under the yellow POLICE LINE tape and stepped down into knee-high weeds. "I did wonder. You never returned my calls, Jethro."
"I returned this one."
She snorted. "Yeah, because I found you a body. Just like a man -- never call unless you want something."
Her grin was, to his annoyance, somewhat infectious. Gibbs returned it with a slight quirk of his lips, that dropped away when the weeds parted and he got a look at Charlie's John Doe. She'd told him over the phone what she'd found, why she'd called him. He still didn't like it, though.
Closed cases weren't supposed to come back and haunt you.
In the early afternoon sun, the white expanse of body was somehow obscene. Caucasian. Male. Buck naked, hands tied behind his back, and stone-cold dead.
Talk about deja vu.
"The twins are in jail," Gibbs said, squatting down beside the corpse as his team went into action around him. "I checked to make sure neither one of them's up for parole. They're not."
"You check to see if they're triplets?"
Gibbs looked up at her.
The sheriff shrugged. "Just asking. Thing is, I'd be handling this myself if it didn't look like your closed case might not be so closed. This is a small town, Jethro -- we don't get a whole lot of execution-style killings up here."
"And you said your witness saw a blond woman in the field."
"Got this witness around somewhere?"
"Back in town. Didn't want to leave her cooling her heels out here while we waited for you boys to show up. And girls," Charlie added when Ziva shot her a look over the ever-present camera.
"I'll want to talk to her later." Gibbs straightened up and surveyed the scene. It was all too familiar from the last set of murders -- an open field with road on one side and woods on the other.
"She's a waitress, works in town." Charlie pointed at the road. "Pulled off for a smoke right about where my patrol car's parked, around ten this morning. Said she was driving her mom's car -- hers is in the shop -- and didn't want to light up inside. Looked out across the field and saw a blond woman rabbit into the woods. Then she saw the body -- you can see it pretty good from the road. Called nine-eleven on her cell."
"You cordon off the area?"
Charlie's shoulders lifted in another brief shrug. "We gave it a shot, but by the time we got out here, there's a dozen places the perp coulda gone. The road winds around a lot; all she'd have to do is cut through the woods to wherever she left her car and take off."
"Anybody live around here?"
"Not so you could walk to. Nothing but fields for miles."
Gibbs looked back to the road, constructing the scene in his head, the witness's line of sight. "What about the victim's car?"
"Not a sign of it," Charlie said. "Either the victim and the perp came in the same car, or she ditched it somewhere."
"You keep people off the shoulder? Look for tracks?"
Charlie slapped him on the arm, making him jump. "This isn't my first rodeo, Jethro." Crossing her arms, she went on, "It rained yesterday evening. Only car tracks we found are the witness's. Got some casts for you boys."
"Think she's involved?"
"Hell, Jethro, I don't know. I believe her, but she's down at lock-up if you want to have your boys -- or girls -- take a crack at her."
"Soon as we're done out here." Gibbs looked down at his feet, where Ducky was rolling the body to get a temperature. "You get all that?"
"The pertinent bits, I believe." Ducky studied the thermometer thoughtfully. "Reminds me of a case in seventy-six, or was it seventy-seven? The young lady had a tattoo of a butterfly, on her ankle, if I recall. Her body appeared perfectly intact, but I found a small mark just under the second --"
Gibbs cleared his throat and squatted down, hands loosely laced together across his knees. "Time of death match what she just said?"
With Gerald's assistance, Ducky rolled the body carefully back onto its front, and wiped the thermometer fastidiously. "Considering the weather conditions, and give or take a few minutes ... it would appear so."
"So we have a witness placing a blond woman out here around the time the victim was killed. She say what this blond woman looked like?"
Charlie stuck her hands in her pockets and looked down at him. "Blond woman, probably white. Black leather jacket. Witness said she thought the woman looked like a biker type."
"That's motorcycles, boss," Tony called as he circled the scene, making notes on his sketchpad and staring at the ground. "Not bicycles."
Gibbs shot him a look.
"Back to work. Right, boss."
"Jethro, you should look at this," Ducky said, pressing his gloved fingers lightly to the victim's upper back.
Gibbs looked. Pale, mostly hairless, a few freckles here and there. "What am I looking at?"
"Nothing," Ducky said. "In other words, there is no gunshot wound. It's a very different modus operandi from the earlier murders that we investigated here. Have a look at this." He touched one of the victim's bound, swollen hands. "Note the discoloration and swelling."
Gibbs pointed. "Hands were tied up before he died."
"Excellent, Jethro; you do pay attention. And, where the other victims were bound with cord, this killer used wire." Ducky shifted the victim's hands minutely to the side, revealing a thin silvery line wrapped twice around them, so buried in the swollen flesh that it was nearly invisible.
The skin around the wire looked abraded, raw. "He struggled," Gibbs said.
"So it would appear. He did not go gentle, not into that good night. Ah, and here's the part that's odder yet, and most reminiscent of that young lady with her butterfly." Ducky tilted the victim's head to the side, examining the forehead and hairline. "I see no sign of a bullet hole anywhere, not just in the back. Nor do I see evidence of stab wounds, or blood. Without getting him on the table, I wouldn't even venture a guess at what killed him, Jethro. He doesn't seem to have a mark on him."
"He is dead, though, I assume," Gibbs said dryly.
"Oh yes. Very dead." A smile played around Ducky's mouth. "Living people generally object to having a thermometer shoved into their liver."
"Thanks for that image, Duck." Gibbs frowned, the possibilities sorting themselves into well-ordered boxes in his mind. "You think we might be dealing with some kind of infectious agent?"
Ducky sat back on his heels and studied the soft ridges of the victim's spine under the pallid flesh. "I suppose it can't entirely be ruled out until we do his bloodwork, but I see no signs of disease, either. It appears that he simply ... dropped dead."
"With his hands tied behind his back."
"Ah yes, quite true; unlikely, that."
"Hey, boss!" Tony's shout came from the edge of the woods. "Got something over here you oughta take a look at."
The open woodland gave over to the field in a tangle of undergrowth. Tony was kneeling at the edge of it, using the tip of a ballpoint pen to poke at something under the weeds. Leaning over him, Gibbs caught a flash of gold.
"Not sure, really. Some sort of jewelry, I think." Tony's pen shifted aside a wad of leaf-mold, and a curving gold surface winked in the sun. Gibbs caught small flashes of green and red -- emeralds and rubies? Abby would be able to tell. In any case, it looked expensive.
"Nothing's growing over it, boss. Hasn't been here long. Looks like it fell here, or was kicked."
"Snap it, bag and tag; you know how to do your job, DiNozzo."
"While I've got you over here ..." Tony used the tip of the pen to point out into the field. "Ziva and I think there's something hinky with the witness's story."
"Why is everything always hinky with you?"
Tony cleared his throat and folded his hands carefully together. "Don't you want to hear what's hinky?"
"Enlighten me, DiNozzo."
Tony pointed, emphatically, into the woods with the pen. "What does that look like to you?"
Gibbs waited just a fraction of a second to make his point. "I said, enlighten me, DiNozzo."
I just noticed that this scene includes both Ziva and Gerald (who was only in the first half of the first season). Oops. This pretty much typifies the problems that I was having with the story -- I started watching it after I'd only seen a little bit of NCIS, and kept trying to retrofit the cast changes to what I'd already written.
This is the single biggest chunk of the story that I wrote. Otherwise, there are a few random bits and pieces ...
"Hey yourself, Tony."
Tony deposited a small evidence baggie on her desk. Whatever it contained was dirt-encrusted and gave a loud clunk. "See what you can get off this, okay? I gotta run, go talk to a pair of incarcerated identical twins."
Abby decided not to touch that comment, instead raising an eyebrow as she picked up the baggie. Under the dirt, the object caught the light, gleaming gold with little winks of red and green jewels. "Oh, now, what have you brought me here, the crown jewels?"
"Some kind of bracelet, I think. Found near a John Doe. Gibbs wants to know what it is and what it's worth, and if you can lift any prints off it."
And a rather familiar-looking John Doe ...
Ducky carefully gripped the corpse's wrist, turning it over. "Do you have the bracelet, my dear?"
"Right here ... my dear." Abby dangled the baggie from two fingertips.
"Excellent. Consider these marks, please."
The dead man's wrist was bruised with the livid marks of his bonds; above that, Abby caught a glimpse of a scar creasing his forearm in a thin pale line above the vein. But under that ...
"Ooh, what's this?" She bent close, nose almost touching the bloodless skin. There were two punctures in his wrist, like the bite of a cobra. Above that, a faintly darker line could just be seen, circling the wrist across the base of the old scar.
"Shall we look at the inside of the bracelet, Abigail?"
"Oh, clever, very clever." Though she'd already taken prints and examined it for DNA, she still handled it with great care even through the baggie. Very carefully, she tilted apart the two hinged halves. Inside, the twin needles gleamed, made of a darker metal than the outer layer of the gold cuff. When she lowered it next to the John Doe's wrist, the marks lined up with the needles and the upper edge of the bracelet.
"Ah. A perfect match." Ducky nodded. "It appears that he was wearing it. These wounds, I believe, were inflicted pre-mortem."
"Hardcore," Abby breathed, twisting the bracelet so that the spikes caught the light. "Think he was in the scene?"
Ducky's eyebrows rose behind his face shield. "The scene?"
"Yeah, you know, BDSM? S&M? I know people who wear gear like this when they're out in public; it's a way of demonstrating --" She trailed off when she saw his expression, and sighed. "You people are so vanilla." Touching the scar on the corpse's forearm lightly with her gloved fingertips, she asked, "What is this, anyway? Old suicide attempt?"
"From the angle, it's not self-inflicted, nor is it likely that a wound of this depth and positioning could have been inflicted in a fight."
"Back to the BDSM," Abby said brightly.
"I should say torture, rather. To look at him, one might say our John Doe had led a quite sedentary lifestyle. Nine to fiver, works out occasionally in the gym, but nothing to speak of. However, the scars tell a different story." Ducky laid the arm back down carefully on the examining table. "Besides the knife wound, this man has also has been shot in the ribs and received some sort of projectile wound to his backside. I've also found burn scars and evidence of past cranial trauma, all fairly recent -- within the last few years, at least. If I had to venture a guess, I'd say that he has been in combat."
Abby looked down at the pale face, soft and composed in death. "He doesn't look much like a soldier." She laid her gloved hand on the corpse's forehead, and gently brushed back his thinning brown hair with her thumb. "He looks sweet."
"He's dead, my dear," Ducky said over his shoulder, turning to lay his scalpel aside. "They all look, as you put it, sweet. Also peaceful and a host of other adjectives that may be entirely inaccurate."
"Maybe, but it's sad to think there might be someone out there who loves him, who doesn't know where he is." Abby gave the cold forehead one last, light caress before withdrawing her hand.
"And it's your job and Gibbs's to find those people, while it is mine to find out how he died."
"How's that coming?"
"I believe I know what he died of, though the precise cause remains a mystery. Some sort of massive shock to his system. He appears to have suffered an intense convulsion and pulmonary failure."
"What could do that?"
"With no other symptoms, it's quite odd. Electric shock, but I haven't found burns. Some sort of toxin, perhaps. How is your toxicology screening coming along?"
"It's just a waiting game now, Duck. I've also sent off his DNA and prints. If he's been in the military, we'll have him."
OH RODNEY NOOOOO ....
Then there would have been a bunch of important plot stuff in here I never wrote, in which Abby takes the bracelet out of the bag to look at it more closely, and it snaps onto her wrist and won't come off. She ends up having to sneak it out of the NCIS building because she can't get it off. When she sleeps, she has vivid, weird dreams -- the bracelet contains Rodney's memories (and more, but she doesn't know that yet), which she's now reliving.
The body is identified as Rodney McKay's, and there's a rather poignant scene at NCIS headquarters, which I kind of regret not writing, in which John and Sam show up to claim it. Unfortunately, so does a Goa'uld who I tentatively named Bastet because I didn't think that one had been done yet (though I wasn't sure and obviously hadn't gotten around to the point of looking it up). She's pissed off to find that they autopsied him, because now she has to throw him in a sarcophagus before she can use the bracelet to reunite soul with body -- which is what it's for; he'd stolen it and escaped -- and continue interrogating him, as she'd been doing before he'd escaped. She rings back to an orbiting, cloaked ship with Abby, because the bracelet still won't come off.
Looking at the Cliff Notes version of the plot is reminding me all over again just exactly how little sense any of this makes. There is definitely a reason I never finished this story.
Gritting her teeth, Abby hauled the lid of the sarcophagus back into position, then stepped back when Bastet waved the serpent-shaped gun at her. Bastet manipulated a few controls on the side of the thing; in spite of herself, Abby couldn't help leaning forward, trying to get a better look at what the other woman was doing.
"Well." Bastet circled the sarcophagus, her cold features shifting into a faint smirk. "While we wait for Dr. McKay, I'd like to test a theory. This way, my dear."
Bastet directed her down a series of corridors. Abby stopped in her tracks when the final door irised open onto a room she recognized all too clearly from John Doe's nightmares. No, not John Doe. McKay. His name's McKay.
"Sit, please," Bastet said.
Swallowing stiffly, her mouth dry as dust, Abby sat down in one of the straight-backed chairs at the table in the middle of the room. An assortment of small objects were scattered about on the table. The first thing they made Abby think of was D&D props. Here's the Sceptor of Gondor, she thought with the faintest edge of hysteria, staring at a slender silver object about a foot long, encircled with a ring of sparkly studs like the ones on the bracelet around her own wrist. And that one over there looks like it should be called --
"Pick something up," Bastet said, sitting on the edge of the table and resting the serpent gun on the shiny surface, pointed at Abby.
Abby tried, but couldn't quite bring herself to meet the woman's frigid eyes. "Which one? Does it matter?"
"Not really." Bastet crossed her legs. "You see, it's possible that the bracelet works for anyone once it's initialized. But maybe that's not the case. Pick something up."
Abby sighed and picked up a palm-sized round object that she mentally dubbed the Amulet of Yindor. The dark red stone in the center of the device gleamed dully in her hand, like clotted blood. Cool. "Will this do?"
"It will," Bastet said. "Now concentrate on it. Imagine it turning on."
Abby gave a mental shrug -- best not to argue with the crazy alien lady with the weird gun -- and thought On.
To her amazement, and not-so-well-hidden delight, the dark red jewel began to glow with a deep, pulsing light. "Sweet! What is this thing? Like, an alien strobe?"
"In point of fact, I'm not precisely sure what it is. But I do know one thing." Bastet's thin lips curled. "You, my dear, have Alterran genes. Congratulations."
Then there's a bunch of stuff with newly alive-again Rodney and Abby on the ship, trying to escape and getting to know each other, while John and Sam try to find them and Gibbs tries to figure out what the hell is going on. And at some point Gibbs winds up on the ship and they all steal it, because Gibbs + alien spaceship was a combination I really couldn't resist.
Abby went to her knees in the sandy soil. Up close, the flower was even stranger -- asymmetrical stamens with a weird sort of spike organ curving back from the middle. She reached for it.
Something hit her hard in the back of the head.
"Don't touch that," Gibbs snapped, standing over her.
She glared up at him, rubbing the back of her head. "Why not?"
"Because we're on a --" There was a fractional hesitation as he looked around, but the evidence of his senses could not be easily denied. "... an alien planet," he finished with visible reluctance, "and for all you know, it could --"
"Burrow into my intestines and burst out in the middle of the lab!" Abby finished for him, with swooping hand gestures.
"You're spending way too much time with DiNozzo, Abs."
"Come on, Gibbs. It's just a little flower. An alien flower!"
"Touch it and die, Abby. And it might not even be me who kills you." He turned back towards Bastet's ship.
Ha. Yeah. So somewhere in there, Rodney's friends find out he's not dead, and Rodney, John, Abby & Gibbs save the world. Or something. What's above is pretty much all I wrote, except for a few snatches of dialogue from other parts of the story. (This also gives you an idea of how non-linear my writing process usually is when I first start a story; it's very much a matter of brainstorming and writing snippets from any part of the story that inspires me, only later settling down to mostly-linear writing.)
I had some fun character stuff in mind for this, and kind of regret not writing more of it when I was actively inspired, but now that I look at my notes, I think the plot was just never gonna come together into anything coherent, and the NCIS character voices don't sound right at all. It was fun to think about, though.