- Rough Draft
- Work in Progress
- Discussion - Murder
- Hate Crimes
- No Beta
- Violence - Canon-Level
- Action Adventure
- Alternate Universe
- Crime Drama
- Urban Fantasy
“So how did you end up in M.C.I.S.?” Fox pointed to the left as they left the conference room.
Gibbs said, “Worked as a Navy cop for quite a while. When my boss was asked to set up M.C.I.S., he asked me to go with him.”
“What’s his name, Morrow? The director?” Gibbs nodded. “Seems like sort of a jump from Navy cop to Magic cop.”
Gibbs shrugged. “Not really. Crime is crime. Finding a perpetrator is pretty much the same whether magic is involved or not.”
Fox stopped and looked at him hard. “Except for one crime.”
Gibbs met his gaze, expression neutral. “Yeah.”
They were standing in a bullpen full of cops, some of whom were not bothering to pretend to work. Fox sent one of them a glare and the man called out, “Alright. Let’s see if we can get at least a little work done today, people.”
Fox led Gibbs down a short hall and into a fairly large office. It was neat, with four file cabinets, two bookshelves filled with what looked like procedural manuals, and a large wooden desk that was showing its long use. On the desk was an In/Out tray with both compartments stacked deep, a picture of a nice looking woman with three kids, and a computer. Fox reached into a desk drawer and pulled out a case file, placing it on the “visitor’s” side of the desk and pointed to a chair there. “You said you might have other things you’d like to see?”
Gibbs sat down and opened the file. “DiNozzo’s HR file, any report he made on the incident in question and a few of his case reports that are unrelated to the incident.” He looked up. “Maybe some about cases involving his magic and some just plain police work?”
Fox said, “Sure. Want some coffee?”
Gibbs smiled. “Oh, yeah. That would be good.”
“So who is the person he is accused of using magic without consent on,” Sciuto said evenly. Dan licked his lips, glanced at the other cops in the room and then met her eyes.
“Her name is Sarah McHale. Address is 1831 Brill St. We were there doing a follow up on the door to door the unis did the night before, near a crime scene. Double homicide.”
Tony suddenly knew what Dan was going to say, and felt a rush of anger… and maybe just a touch of glee. He kept his face neutral, remembering clearly what had happened.
The door opened as far as the chain allowed and a small white woman with large brown eyes stared at them with barely concealed trepidation.
Dan smiled at her, making full use of his boyish face. “Hello, ma’am. I’m BPD Detective Danny Price. My partner is Detective DiNozzo. We’re looking for…” He looked at his open notebook. “… a Ms. Sarah McHale.”
She looked a little spooked, but said quietly, “That’s me.”
Dan gave her another smile. “You spoke with some officers last night after the incident down the block. We want to ask a few more questions. May we come in?“
The woman stared at them a moment. Then she said, “I don’t know anything about it. I’m sorry.”
“I understand, ma’am. The uniformed officers that talked to you that night said you might have heard the gunshots?” She nodded hesitantly, glancing at Tony and then back to Dan. Tony smiled at her, keeping it mild. She looked like she was going to slam the door any second. He knew it didn’t necessarily mean anything. People in this part of town were very cautious about cops, even though it was a relatively quiet area. He had labeled this part of Baltimore “poor but honest” in his mental map of the city. Most of the residences, small houses built in the late 40s and early 50s with GI Bill money, were rentals these days. The area held a wide range of ethnicities and mostly working poor. Drugs and other crime were present, but hadn’t taken over.
“I know dealing with cops is kind of a hassle, ma’am, but we are trying to make sure that nothing like that happens around here again,” Dan continued.
She said, “But I really can’t tell you anything important.”
Tony spoke for the first time. “Thing is, Ms. McHale, one piece of a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle doesn’t seem important, but you can’t put the whole puzzle together if you don’t have that little unimportant piece.” He gave her a self-deprecating little smile, as if to say, Yeah, I know it’s a stupid analogy.
She sighed and closed the door long enough to get the chain off and then gestured inside. “I’m working mid-shift today so I have to leave pretty soon.”
“That’s fine, ma’am. This won’t take too long.”
Tony saw that she had her long dirty blonde hair put up in a French braid and was wearing pale green scrubs. She got them set on a low couch, offered them coffee or tea, which they declined. Tony glanced around the room. It was neat and tidy, even though it looked like it had been furnished from used furniture stores, though possibly some was old stuff gifted by a parent. Nothing matched but nothing was completely decrepit either, except the carpet which was heavily worn and covered in some odd places with small area rugs, suggesting that stains or tears were being hidden. Some effort had gone into accessories that more or less pulled the room together, a lamp shade, a couple of pillows and an afghan draped on the chair she chose to sit in. Tony glanced into the kitchen and he could see it was neat, with a few dishes in the drainer.
Dan said, “What do you do for a living, ma’am?”
“I’m a CNA. Certified Nursing Assistant.”
Tony murmured, “Ah, the ones who do all the dirty work,” and saw a flicker of a smile for a moment which died when he asked, “Did you know either of the men who were killed, Ms. McHale?”
She shook her head. “No. My boyfriend said he knew one of them a while back but he hadn’t seen him in several years.”
Dan looked at his notebook. “This is Michael Davis, correct? He lives here with you?”
“Now, you told the officer you talked to that you were doing the dishes when you heard the shots?”
She nodded, her hands in a knot in her lap. “I really wasn’t sure they were shots. It was just I couldn’t think what else they could have been. Five of them… I think there were five. They sounded…” She swallowed. “They sounded like someone hitting a washing machine with a baseball bat as hard as he could, but… but real fast, you know?”
“Yeah, it was a big caliber,” Dan said. “What time was that?”
She shrugged. “I’m not sure. We had just finished supper when Mick got a call from a friend. When he left it was about 8:30. I started the dishes right away. I was kind of…” she smiled slightly. “I was kind of pissed at him. We were supposed to watch a movie together.” She glanced at each of them, then dropped her eyes to her hands. “I was mad, so I sort of used that to get started on the dishes. I… We don’t have a dishwasher.”
Tony said, “So it was, what, about 8:40 or 8:45?”
“I guess so.”
Dan asked. “When you heard the shots did you do anything?”
She frowned. “Like what?”
“Go outside, look around, maybe call somebody?”
She shook her head. “No. I just… I just listened for a minute. I was expecting to hear sirens. Pretty soon I could hear them coming and I went back to the dishes. That’s when the guy ran by.”
Dan and Tony looked at each other. Dan said. “What guy?”
She said hurriedly, “I didn’t really see him. I mean, just a glimpse. He ran past in my side yard. The light from the kitchen was on him for just a second.” She hesitated. “I don’t think I told the other cops about that. I was kind of flustered and I only remembered it later.” She looked searchingly at each of them. “I guess I should have called you guys?”
Dan said mildly, “It’s okay, ma’am. People often forget something during the first interview. That’s what these follow up calls are for. What can you tell us about the man you saw.”
She shook her head, “Nothing really. I mean I don’t think he was especially tall. I didn’t really see his face.”
“Which way was he running?”
“From the front of my house to the back.”
“His race?” Dan asked.
She shook her head again. “I’m not sure. Not like really dark. That’s all I can say.”
“What was he wearing?” Tony asked, ignoring the dirty look Dan gave him. Dan had made it clear for a while now that he preferred to pretend that Tony wasn’t even there, and resented it when Tony asked questions.
Sarah said, “I really don’t know. I mean, it wasn’t anything really colorful, I’m pretty sure.”
“What about hair color?”
She looked at each of them again, “I honestly don’t remember. It was just a flash, you know? He just ran past and… Then he was gone. I didn’t even really connect it to the trouble. I mean, kids go through that way as a shortcut to the bodega over on Weston because we’re the only house on this side of the block with no fence. I didn’t pay that much attention. I was wondering what was going on outside. I could hear the cop cars coming down the street. I was going to go look out my front window.” She added with some trepidation. “Do you think he was the one who shot those guys?”
Tony shrugged and Dan said, “Maybe. Maybe not. We would have a better idea if you could remember more.”
She sighed. “I’m sorry I can’t help.”
There was a moment of silence while Tony tried to think of something else to ask. He was pretty sure that the woman was being honest with them. He was startled when Dan said, “Tony can help. I mean, if you really want to remember.”
Tony didn’t bother to hide the glare at his partner. This was not the time for this.
Dan met Tony’s eyes. His expression seemed to be a mix of expectation and like he was daring Tony to do something. Tony shook his head slightly. He actually preferred not to use his magic on non-magicals. There was always something to worry about, even if he had the enthusiastic consent of someone. And the truth was that there was very little he could do with magic to help her remember. His talent had its uses, but that was not one of them.
Dan said, “Tony.” He was starting to look pissed now, and Tony was just tired of it. He could tell him no, but that was going to cost him later.
Dan said, “Come on, Tony. You know you can help.”
“How?” she asked him.
Tony sighed. His expression solemn, he raised his right hand, making sure she could see the tattoo, and snapped his fingers. Green light danced around them for a moment and then died away.
The woman jerked back in her chair, eyes wide. In a high pitched voice, she said, “You can’t. You can’t use magic on me.”
“Actually, ma’am, he can.” As the fear in her face increased, and she started trying to get out of her chair, he put out a placating hand. “Only in very specific situations. In this case, only with your permission.”
Tony pulled out what looked almost like a patrol officer’s ticket book, though it was much thinner. He started filling out spaces on the form while Dan told the woman, “Magic can be legally used on a non-magical individual if there is a court order. That’s pretty rare, usually when we can convince a judge that it is a matter of national security. And there have been a couple of cases where a court let us use magic to find out if someone is lying.”
She glared at Tony. “I’m not lying.”
Dan smiled at the woman. “We don’t think you are, ma’am. You said you wished you could remember more and my partner can help with that because the other legal way he can use magic on you is if you give him permission.” Tony pulled the form, including a yellow duplicate page, out of the book and set it down on the coffee table, putting his pen next to it. Dan indicated the form. “Read it carefully, and if you decide you want him to help you remember details, sign it. Then I’ll sign it as witness. I assure you that the only magic used on you will be exactly what is described on that form. I will put a bullet in his head myself if I find out he’s done anything else.” Dan sounded very sincere. Tony knew it was because he was.