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PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2015 8:08 pm 
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Title: Goddess of Gab
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Sinister Deeds
by iheartGibbs
FR15
Written for the 2015 NFA White Elephant Exchange for Briwd
Genre: Case file, crossover, drama, alternate universe
NCIS Crossover with Marvel’s X-Men and related characters, small crossover with NCIS:NOLA
Summary: When people who have been presumed dead begin showing up in DC, Gibbs and the NCIS team are sent reeling. Aren’t clones supposed to be fiction?

--

Author’s note: Since the X-Men universe and NCIS universe are very obviously different, I had to adjust one to the other. For the purposes of this story, mutants are known only by comic books and legend. This is hard to reconcile with the history of the X-Men, given the struggle between humans and mutants, but this is a site primarily about NCIS. I felt it was more important to maintain the NCIS universe and to adjust the other accordingly.

ETA: for more information on the X-Men or the characters mentioned in this story, check out The Marvel Database
It's probably the most comprehensive database out there for Marvel.[/quote]

--

Prologue
March 2002

“Agent Todd, I presume.”

Kate spun around. She had sensed nothing, and hadn’t heard footsteps. A wheelchair. That would explain part of it, but how…?

“Can I help you?” she asked, her hand coming to rest on her holstered weapon.

“I didn’t mean to startle you,” said the man in the wheelchair, his manner soothing. “I’m Professor Charles Xavier. You’re wondering how I managed to take you by surprise.”

“Frankly, yes,” said Kate.

“You’re off duty now? Can we go somewhere to talk?”

As if a door had been opened, Kate could suddenly feel the customary deluge of emotion she had lived with most of her life. The man was sincere, or at least believed he was. Kate walked alongside him as they made their way to a secluded diner at the end of the street.

“Let’s talk about how my team is going to help you save the President.”


--

Chapter One
Present Day

“He didn’t get home until after midnight.” NCIS Probationary Special Agent Ellie Bishop’s eyes lit up as she conspiratorially shared with her coworkers.

“Trouble in paradise?” Agent Tony DiNozzo leaned back in his chair.

Ellie rolled her eyes. “That’s not what I meant.”

“It’s really not that big a deal,” said Agent Timothy McGee. “You should cut him some slack.”

“I don’t mind,” said Ellie. “Things have actually been a lot better between us lately. I’m just fascinated.”

“Easily amused,” said Tony. “Probably because of the Oklahoma thing.” He gave Tim a knowing glance.

Ellie sighed, exasperated. “Admit it, Tony. You’re as curious as I am.”

“Curiosity killed the cat,” said Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs as he rounded the corner, coffee in hand.

“Good morning, Boss,” said Tony, immediately bringing his chair back into proper position with a jolt.

Gibbs leveled a hard gaze at Tony. “That’s not all it’s killed,” he continued. “Grab your gear. We’ve got a body in Rock Creek Park.” He tossed the keys to Tim. “McGee, take DiNozzo. Bishop, you’re with me.”

“Do you think it was really a cat?” Tony asked Tim in a loud whisper as they scurried toward the elevator.

Gibbs slapped him soundly on the back of the head.

--

“Whaddya got, Duck?” Gibbs asked as the team made their way toward the crime scene.

NCIS Medical Examiner, Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard, and his assistant, Jimmy Palmer had been the first to arrive at the scene. They met the team at the edge of the cordoned-off area.

“I’m not sure how exactly to express…” said Ducky.

“Just say it.”

Ducky sighed at Gibbs’ interruption, though it was a common occurrence. Gibbs wasn’t known for his patience when it came to investigations.

Gibbs brushed past Ducky and began to walk toward the body.

“Prepare yourself, Jethro,” Ducky called out.

Gibbs turned back, finally heeding Ducky’s warnings. “What is it?”

“As I was saying,” said Ducky, “I’m not sure how it’s possible, but the victim…it’s Special Agent Pacci.”

“Chris was killed years ago,” said Gibbs.

“Yes, Jethro. I performed the autopsy, if you recall,” said Ducky. “Yet there can be no mistake. That man is Christopher Pacci.”

“Show me,” said Gibbs.

Lying on the ground was a body they had come to know very well. Images of crime scene photos from Pacci’s death flashed through Gibbs’ mind. Something strange was happening.

The team was almost completely silent as they processed the crime scene. Every photograph and measurement was taken with precision, as they all tried to come to terms with what they were seeing.

“Let’s get him back home, Duck. And get his DNA to Abby ASAP. I want to know what the hell is going on here,” said Gibbs as he strode off.

--

“He doesn’t simply resemble Agent Pacci,” said Ducky. “Every scar, mole and birthmark are there. This is undeniably Chris Pacci.”

“Is there evidence of what happened...before?” asked Tim, a bit uncomfortable.

“He doesn’t appear to have been gutted,” said Tony sarcastically.

“Clearly,” said Tim as he rolled his eyes at his coworker’s tone. “I meant…I don’t know what I meant.”

“Anything else hinky, Duck?” asked Gibbs.

“Cause of death is the gunshot wound to the head. There are no other signs of trauma.”

“Identical twin?” asked Bishop. She shrugged her shoulders. She hadn’t been working with NCIS when Agent Pacci was murdered, but she had familiarized herself with the case file after returning from the crime scene.

“A twin wouldn’t have the same identifying marks,” said Jimmy.

“Could someone have had plastic surgery to take over Pacci’s identity?” asked Tony. “Invasion of the Body Snatchers?”

“Two separate theories, Anthony,” said Ducky, “but I’m afraid neither is plausible. There are no small scars to indicate plastic surgery.”

“Clone,” said Jimmy. “Maybe we should call him Dolly Pacci.”

The silence that echoed in the autopsy room conveyed the inappropriateness of Jimmy’s comment.

“Sorry,” he muttered under his breath.

“Clones are fiction,” said Gibbs. “I need a better explanation.”

--

“Gibbs, no!” said NCIS Forensic Scientist Abby Scuito when Gibbs and the team came into her lab. “You’re too early. I’m not ready yet.” Abby stuck out her bottom lip in a pretty pout.

“Time’s wasting, Abs.”

As if on cue, a beeping sound alerted them to available results. She flashed Gibbs a smile that was somewhere between triumphant and grateful, as if his appearance was the reason the tests were completed.

“The DNA results are absolutely conclusive. 98% match to Chris Pacci,” said Abby, after taking a moment to peruse the screen. “How can that be, Gibbs? There’s no way he could have survived that.”

“DiNozzo, get me a court order to exhume Pacci’s grave,” said Gibbs.

“You don’t think…?” asked Tim.

“No,” said Gibbs. “We have to be missing something.” He spun on a heel and left the room as suddenly as he had arrived.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 5:24 pm 
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Chapter Two

“Watch your step, Sugar.” A beautiful lady with a large white streak through her brown hair suddenly grabbed Kate’s arm with a gloved hand. She had nearly stepped out into oncoming traffic.

“What’s da problem, cherie? It’s not like you to be reckless,” said a tall, handsome man with floppy brown hair and a Cajun accent.

“Gambit’s right,” the lady continued in her southern accented, honey tones, “That’s down right clumsy for you, Kate.”

“I’m sorry, Rogue,” said Kate. “I just have a strange feeling about all this.” She looked around, taking time to fully analyze her surroundings.

“Strange isn’t the half of it, when you’re dealing with Mister Sinister,” said Rogue. She turned her attention to Gambit. “Where did Scott say Arclight was seen?”

“Dat diner over ‘dere, Chère,” said Gambit.

The trio made their way to the diner and took a seat at a booth in the back, with a good view of both the entrance and the kitchen door.

A series of unexplained tremors in the area had tipped the X-Men off to the villain’s location. Where Arclight and the Marauders were, Mister Sinister was. He had been laying the groundwork for a major scheme, as thus far had been staying about three steps ahead of the X-Men.

“It’s so bizarre being back in DC,” said Kate. “It feels…haunted.”

“Haunted? There’s a lot worse to be afraid of than ghosts,” said Kate.

“Things dat go bump in da night,” said Gambit.

“Trust me,” said Kate, “I’m no stranger to the darker side of life, as you know.” She sighed. “I can’t explain it.”

“You’re about the most powerful empath I’ve ever met,” said Rogue. “If you’re feelin’ antsy, we durn well better pay attention.”

“I don’t know how to describe it exactly. Maybe it’s just being back in this city that was my home for so many years for the first time in a long while. I feel like I’m chasing my own ghosts. Maybe that’s what I meant when I said it felt haunted.”

“I’m with you ‘dere,” said Gambit. “I have a shady history with Sinister, myself. Can’t wait to get my hands on dat guy.”

After gleaning as much information as possible from the waitress without tipping their hand, the three settled into a comfortable silence and observed the establishment’s employees and guests. So far, there was no sign of Arclight or any of the other Marauders.

--

“Wouldn’t it be ironic if Pacci faked his own death?” asked Ellie.

“He didn’t fake it. No way,” said Tony. “We saw him. He was disemboweled. That’s hard to fake.”

“Why would it be ironic?” asked Tim.

“I know I wasn’t here, but the case Pacci was investigating was of someone, Lieutenant Commander Voss, who had faked his own death, right?”

“He definitely wasn’t dead,” said Tim, “Isn’t that right, Tony?”

“Shut up, McLoudMouth,” said Tony.

“It says here he was living as a woman named Amanda Reed,” said Ellie. “I think it’s admirable, to be who you want to be no matter what.”

“Not so admirable to kill a federal agent so you don’t get caught,” said Tony.

“But she shouldn’t have had to hide it. Come on, Tony, you were the first to defend Caitlyn Jenner for her bravery. What’s the difference?”

“That’s easy,” said Tim. “Tony didn’t make out with Caitlyn Jenner.”

“Shut up, McBlabblerButt,” said Tony.

“I think she’s hot,” said Jimmy, joining the conversation late.

“Amanda Reed or Caitlyn Jenner?” asked Ellie.

“Caitlyn,” said Jimmy, blushing. “The stuff with Reed and Pacci happened before I started working here, so I’m out of that. Plus, Reed was a psycho.”

“Exactly!” said Tony.

“So you’re saying you weren’t bothered by Reed being a dude, only that she was psycho?” asked Tim.

“It did bother me,” said Tony, “but I’d like to think I’ve evolved since then.”

“Stranger things have happened,” said Gibbs, rounding the corner. “Whaddya’ got for me?”

“There was a body in Pacci’s grave. He’s now with Ducky. Abby’s running samples for a DNA match,” said Tim.

“That much I know,” said Gibbs. “What else?”

“We found a paper trail,” said Ellie.

“A possible paper trail,” Tim was quick to interject, not wanting to get Gibbs’ expectations too high.

Gibbs motioned for them to get on with it.

“There was an apartment rented under Pacci’s old social security number,” said Tony. “But the name and description don’t match. Tim and I were just going to…”

“Go,” said Gibbs.

--

The pair of agents turned the corner and headed toward their parked vehicle. The apartment had proven to be a dead end. The description of the man who rented the apartment didn’t match Pacci. The renter was home. He turned out to be a known identity thief who had warrants out for his arrest in seven states. The local authorities had been contacted and an arrest had been made, but nothing seemed at all related to their case.

“I was afraid of that,” said Tim.

“Gibbs won’t like it,” said Tony.

“Gibbs won’t like anything short of presenting him with the killer, handcuffed and ready to give a full confession,” said Tim with a heavy sigh.

“Ah, cut him some slack. This is a weird case. And Pacci…that was personal,” said Tony.

Tony caught sight of a group walking down the sidewalk. One woman had caught his attention, not simply because she was attractive, but because she was wearing gloves on such a hot day. Then he noticed the lady next to her.

“What the…?” said Tony.

“Kate?” said Tim.

They looked at one another, mouths agape. When they turned back to look across the street, no one was there.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 5:06 pm 
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Chapter Three

“And you’re sure it was Agent Todd?” asked NCIS Director Leon Vance, after everyone had been briefed on what had transpired.

“Without a doubt,” said Tony.

“Well, maybe a little doubt,” said Tim, “given Pacci and what’s going on with this case.”

“What is going on with this case, McGee?” asked Gibbs, his face growing redder by the minute. “I would sure like to know.”

The answering silence left Tim wishing they hadn’t told anyone about seeing Kate, made Ellie want to hide under Vance’s desk or melt into the wallpaper, and made Tony want to follow after Gibbs until he was certain his boss understood how serious he was.

Vance stopped Tony from leaving the room with the shake of his head. The door slammed behind Gibbs.

“Just give him some time,” said Vance.

“I swear it was Kate,” said Tony.

“I believe that whomever you saw looked like Caitlin, Anthony,” said Ducky, “but I know she is gone.”

“That’s what we thought about Pacci,” said Tim.

“I don’t know what to think about anything, at this point,” said Ellie.

“Go. Investigate. Figure it out,” said Vance, leading the others toward the door. “Send Gibbs up when he gets back.”

The others left the room, but were careful not to seek Gibbs out. Each went to his own desk to try to dig up more leads.

--

“At last, the final stages of my plan are ready.” Mister Sinister’s voice echoed through the lab. His dark cape flowed behind him as he paced the room.

“She’s here. In DC,” Scalphunter reported to his master.

“She couldn’t hide from me forever. I knew she would surface,” Sinister’s voice resonated with glee. His calculating grin showed somewhat pointed teeth. “Come, my children!” His voice rang out as several others emerged from the shadows. Among his minions were some very familiar faces: Paula Cassidy and Mike Franks.

Mister Sinister turned his attention back to his group’s tactical leader, Scalphunter. “Find her! Bring her to me!” he commanded.

The Marauders scattered, under direction from Scalphunter.

Mister Sinister continued to pace in the lab he had made his own, since setting up a temporary headquarters in DC a few years before. It wouldn’t be long now. Kate Todd would finally be his.

--

After returning to the professor’s mansion, Gambit, Rogue and Kate had assembled some of the others together to brief them on what had transpired.

“Talk about the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Rogue.

“Is dis such a bad ting?” asked Gambit.

“Forewarned is forearmed,” said a tall man who was wearing sunglasses indoors.

“Scott, do you really think it’s a good idea to tell them?” asked a beautiful lady with long red hair.

“Scott’s right, Jean,” said Professor Xavier. “While alerting others to our existence is always a risk, I believe there is far more danger in facing Sinister without giving Agent Gibbs and his team an idea of what they are up against.”

“He’s not going to take this well,” said Kate.

“But do we really have a choice?” asked Rogue. “Your friends saw you today.”

Kate sighed. “I really wish there was a way to handle this without putting them in danger.”

“You aren’t putting them in danger; Sinister is,” said Scott.

“Make da call,” said Gambit. “If you need backup, a have a friend with NCIS. Chris LaSalle. Down in N’Orleans.”

“I should be able to handle it,” said Kate, as she took a cell phone from her pocket. “Here goes.” She dialed Gibbs’ number and the line began to ring.

--

“Gibbs.”

The answer was short. Clipped. One word. Hearing his voice made her smile, yet had her stomach churning.

“Hey. It’s Kate. We need to talk.”

Gibbs would know her voice anywhere. His breath rushed from his body as he listened. Her words came across the line, evoking myriad images: Kate laughing with Tony, Kate sketching with her head tilted in just that way, Kate the day he met her on Air Force One, Kate taking a bullet through the head, Kate on Ducky’s autopsy table. He gripped the phone harder.

“I know I’m the last person you expected to hear from, and that this comes as a shock, but…” Kate began.

“Ten years, Kate,” said Gibbs.

Silence.

“Can I see you?” asked Kate, after a long beat.

“’Course,” said Gibbs. “Everyone, or just me?”

Kate sighed. “Better make it everyone, so I can do my own explaining.” She swallowed hard, trying to get rid of the lump that had formed in her throat.

“My basement. Thirty minutes,” said Gibbs.

“I won’t be alone. I’m bringing a few members of my team.”

“Your team?” asked Gibbs, a hint of resentment in his tone.

“I’ll explain when I get there,” said Kate as Gibbs disconnected the line.

--

He had seemed angry. Of course he was angry. What did she expect? Him to be so glad to hear from her that none of the rest would matter? Maybe. Kate sighed and paced back and forth while she waited for the others. She fought back tears as she imagined the faces of those she had left behind when they realized she had lied to them – let them grieve for her. Tony. Abby. Tim. Ducky. How would she manage to explain? Would it ever be enough?

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2015 7:40 am 
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Chapter Four

“Any idea why we’re here?” Tony asked the others who had assembled in Gibbs’ basement.

“I’m sure it’s about the case,” said Ellie.

“If it were solely about the investigation, I doubt Jethro would have dragged me out of bed at this time of night,” said Ducky.

Abby leaned into Ducky in a sort of side hug. “I’m glad you came, Duckman.”

“Thank you, dear.” He patted her arm gently and returned her smile graciously.

“So everyone’s here but Gibbs, and no one knows why,” said Tim, looking around in frustration.

“I’m here,” said Gibbs as he slowly descended the staircase into the basement.

“What’s up, boss?” asked Tony.

“Kate’s alive,” said Gibbs, simply. He was never one to put off getting to the point of a matter.

Everyone began talking at once.

“What?!” “That’s impossible!” “Jethro, you must be mistaken.” “Are you sure?”

Gibbs leaned against the counter that held his tools and waited for the others to quiet.

“See for yourself.” Gibbs masked his own disbelief as he nodded toward the slight figure at the top of the stairs.

Tony couldn’t believe his eyes. It was Kate. She looked as if she wanted to turn around and run, but she steeled herself and slowly descended the stairs. It was definitely Kate. He ran to meet her at the bottom of the stairs.

“Hey, Tony,” said Kate, smiling broadly at his welcome expression.

“Holy stakes and crosses, Batman,” said Tony as he pulled Kate into his embrace, picked her up and swung her around. “My God, Kate, how are you here?”

“My turn!” said Abby, interrupting, before crushing her friend in one of her famous anaconda squeezes. “I’ve missed you!”

“I’ve missed you, too,” said Kate with an unexpected laugh.

Her face was flushed, but she looked wonderful. Tim crossed the room more slowly than the others. “Hey there, Kate,” he said quietly.

“Hey, Tim,” Kate smiled back at him, and then hugged him. “It’s good to see you.”

“Caitlin,” said Ducky, “you have a lot of explaining to do, my dear.” He claimed his own hug and kissed her softly on the cheek.

“I know, Ducky.” Kate shifted her gaze from Ducky to Gibbs.

Putting off the inevitable, she pulled her gaze away from Gibbs to Ellie. “I’m Kate,” she said, extending a hand in greeting.

“Ellie Bishop,” she answered. “It’s nice to meet you.”

“Now that we’ve been through the niceties, can we skip to the part where you tell us where you’ve been for ten years?” asked Tony.

Kate looked back at Gibbs, searching his face for answers before answering. He nodded at her, unable to stop one side of his mouth from turning up in a smirk.

“First things first: it’s really me; I’m alive. Second, there is a really bad man who has a really big thing for me,” Kate began.

Tony snorted. Kate leveled him a cooling glance. Some things never changed.

“That is not what I meant.” Kate blushed. “His name is Mister Sinister. For lack of a better term, let’s call him a villain.”

“His name is Mister Sinister?” asked Tim skeptically.

“His name is Nathaniel Essex, but they call him Mister Sinister,” Rogue explained as she walked down the stairs to join team Gibbs. “He has a whole slew o’ people who do his bidding. He’s master manipulator and skilled leader…basically, the worst kind of fella to get on your bad side. Evil, crazy, genius scientist with a penchant for clones.”

“Clones are fiction,” said Gibbs. His voice was quiet, but steely. “Who are you?”

“I’m Rogue,” she explained with a chuckle. “This is Gambit,” she said, pointing out the Cajun who was just entering the room.

“Hey ‘dere. Nice to meet ya,” said Gambit, nodding to the group.

Seeing that the members of team Gibbs were bristling at the presence of the others, Kate took back control of the conversation.
“I think I need to be as up front as possible, but in order to do that I’m going to ask you to be prepared to accept a few things you may have trouble believing.”

“Like clones,” said Gibbs.

“Dat ain’t da half of it,” said Gambit.

Kate shot Gambit a quelling look, and then continued. “There are people who have evolved past normal humankind. They have certain genetic mutations that can alter how they function.”

“Are you talking about mutants?” asked Tim. “Like in a comic book?”

“Exactly that. I am an empath. I have the ability to read the emotions of others. I didn’t realize it was anything special until I met the X-Men and began training to control my power. I thought I was just a really good profiler.”

Gibbs shrugged.

Kate sighed. Gibbs wanted proof. “Abby believes me already. Tony wants to believe me and thinks it’s cool, but isn’t completely sold on the idea. Tim needs a little more detail. Ellie is skeptical and wonders if I’m really Kate or a clone. You...” she turned to Gibbs.

“Did you read my thoughts?” asked Ellie. “I thought you were an empath, not a telepath.”

Tony and Tim stared at Ellie open-mouthed.

“What? I watched cartoons as a kid,” Ellie explained.

“I don’t consider myself a telepath, but I can sometimes read the thought of some people, and I can sometimes speak to certain people through thoughts.” Kate smiled at Ellie. “You’re an open book; nothing to hide; easy to read. Gibbs…is complicated. I got nothing.”

“Good,” said Gibbs.

“At least you’re no longer angry,” said Kate.

“Don’t push it,” warned Gibbs.

Kate smiled. “The X-Men are a group of mutants. They are led by Professor Charles Xavier, who has a passion for helping others like us learn to understand and control our abilities. In addition, he has assembled a team of experienced mutants who act as heroes.”

“Superheroes?” asked Tony.

Kate rolled her eyes at his boyish enthusiasm. “Yes, Tony. As you can guess, whenever some people are capable of doing more than others, some will be good…”

“And some will be evil,” said Abby.

“Exactly. The X-Men help maintain the balance by holding those mutants who would cause harm to humans in check. Xavier’s goal is for mutants and humans to live together, side by side, with no discrimination or hatred. At this point, any time a mutant has been discovered, the government has feared it. Then imprisoned, tested and destroyed it. Then covered it up. The world isn’t ready for us yet, I’m afraid.”

“When do you come into this picture?” asked Gibbs.

“Before I came to NCIS I met Professor X and worked with the X-Men to stop an assassination attempt on the President,” said Kate.

“Before NCIS?” asked Ducky. “Are you saying you knew of your status prior to meeting us?”

“Yes, but I was untrained and didn’t see how powerful my abilities could make me,” Kate explained. “During my short time working with the X-Men, I apparently caught Sinister’s interest.”

“Trust me when I say you don’t want dat,” said Gambit.

“The X-Men discovered his plan and were able to save me just in time. Sinister had created a clone of me to take my place. He grabbed me the morning of ‘the incident’, and sent in the clone. The X-Men were able to rescue me in transit, and Sinister’s clone took Ari’s bullet.”

“Convenient,” said Gibbs.

Kate spun to look at Gibbs head on. “Is there somewhere we can talk privately?” she asked.

Gibbs stared back at her for what seemed like a while, and then nodded toward the stairs.

“Rogue, could you…?” asked Kate.

“Of course, sugar,” said Rogue. “You go on now. I got this.” She watched Kate disappear upstairs with Gibbs, and then addressed the others. “Mister Sinister is here in DC, and he wants Kate.”

“Why would she come back to DC if he’s here? Shouldn’t she run?” asked Abby.

“Good question,” said Rogue. “She’s here because Sinister is using y’all to get to her.”

“Pacci,” said Tony, the pieces finally clicking into place.

“And probably others,” said Rogue. “Keep your eyes peeled.”

“So Kate’s here to protect us?” asked Tim. “Does that mean she wouldn’t have come back if there was no threat?”

“It’s not like dat,” said Gambit. “If ‘dere was no danger, she never would have left.”

--

Kate followed Gibbs through the house and into a back bedroom that looked as if it were rarely used. She needed to get through to him. While his thoughts were closed off to her, she could read every emotion. He was angry, but more than that, he was hurt. He was happy she was alive, but he resented her absence and sudden reappearance. He was pleased to see her, but unsettled by the situation. She really couldn’t blame him.

“I know you’re upset,” Kate began.

Gibbs rounded on her, standing well in her personal space. “Don’t tell me how I feel.”

She could feel his breath – could smell the coffee he had just been drinking. “I’m sorry,” said Kate, meeting his gaze.

“Don’t apologize,” he began.

“It’s a sign of weakness. I remember,” said Kate with a smile.

Kate continued to meet his gaze head on, and refused to step back, despite being crowded into a corner. This was the Kate Gibbs remembered. She wouldn’t back down when it mattered.

“Ten years,” said Gibbs, his eyes full of pain. “Ten years you let us think you were dead. You let us grieve for you.”

Tears were now running down Kate’s cheeks. The sight was enough to soften Gibbs, who pulled her to him, finally, for a hug. He kissed her on the top of the head.

“I wish I had a better explanation,” said Kate, still in his embrace. “I know it isn’t enough…”

“You’re alive,” said Gibbs. “That’s enough.”

--

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 7:21 pm 
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Chapter Five

Kate gingerly sat in the chair behind Ellie’s desk and looked around.

Tim and Tony locked eyes and smiled.

“How’s it feel after all this time?” asked Tim.

“Strange,” said Kate. “I never thought I would leave, to be honest. Then I never thought I’d get to return.” A note of sadness colored her tone as she recalled the events of a decade ago.

“Just so you know, we get it,” said Tony, in a seldom seen display of his sincere nature.

“I know.” The twinkle in Kate’s eye reminded them that she had a specific reason not to doubt their declarations of feeling.

“Are you coming back?” asked Tim. “I mean, once this is over.”

Kate sighed. “I’d love to. I’m more of a consultant with the X-Men. My abilities are more behind the scenes than useful in battle. I think I could continue in that vein without staying there.”

“You’ll always have a place here,” said Gibbs. He sat at his desk and began sifting through messages. He looked up at Kate sitting in her old seat. “It still looks good on you.”

“Thanks,” said Kate. “What about Ellie?”

“Bishop has made a home for herself here on the team. I can make a case for keeping you both,” said Gibbs.

“And it’s not like she actually uses the chair,” said Tony.

The ringing of Gibbs’ phone halted the conversation. They watched him as his face relaxed and then tensed. He disconnected and looked back at them.

“We have a situation,” said Gibbs, rising from his seat and grabbing his coffee.

“What’s going on?” Tony asked, grabbing his backpack and following behind his boss.

“That was Jake. He and Ellie just saw Fornell having lunch with Diane. Ellie is following them.”

--

“Good to see ya, man,” Chris LaSalle said, clapping his friend Remy LeBeau, also known as Gambit, on the back.

“Let’s get this jalopy movin’,” said Rogue. “We’ll explain on the way to DC.” She boarded the X-Wing.

“Jalopy?” a furry blue man with glasses asked from the pilot’s seat. “You refer to this amazing piece of cutting-edge, state of the art machinery as a jalopy?”

“No time for offense, Beast,” said a short, solidly built man who was only slightly less hairy. “Time’s wasting.” He raised his right fist in front of his face, and three sharp claws emerged from behind his knuckles. “Some of us have a job to do.”

“Hold yer horses, Logan,” said Rogue. “We’ll get there.”

“Let’s go put these clones to rest,” said Gambit.

“Did you say clones?” asked LaSalle. “Not..?”

“One and da same, buddy,” Gambit said somberly.

Not only had Agent LaSalle worked with the X-Men in the past, he had his own history with Mister Sinister.

“Let’s do this,” said Logan, as the door closed behind them and they took off.

--

“They just went inside that door over there,” said Ellie, when Gibbs, Tony and Tim joined her outside a warehouse that appeared to be abandoned.

“He just followed her in?” asked Tim.

“Of course he did, McSkeptic. If the love of your life just returned from the dead and you didn’t know about clones, wouldn’t you follow her?” asked Tony. He paused, and then shook his head as if clearing it from the absurdness of the scenario. “Scratch that. I can’t believe I just said that out loud.”

“Um, guys?” said Ellie when the ground beneath them began to quiver. “I think we took a wrong turn at San Andreas.”

Tony grinned, “Hey, I saw that movie…” he began, but then stopped short when the import of her words clicked into place.

They turned around and saw two figures blocking their exit. Although they hadn’t officially met, they all knew who they were from the briefing they had received the night before. Arclight and Scalphunter.

“Come inside…”

“What the…?” Gibbs looked around, trying to find out where the voice in head was originating. Neither of the villains had spoken a word.

Tony, Ellie and Tim began to head towards the door of the warehouse as if under some sort of compulsion. Gibbs shook his head hard and placed his hands on the sides of his head. The voice kept calling to him.

“Come inside, Agent Gibbs.”

Gibbs fought the urge to join the others. He knew they had walked into a trap and that he needed to remain free so he could get help, but he couldn’t resist for long. He focused on Kate and concentrated.

“Kate! Help!” was all he managed to mentally cry before he disappeared inside the warehouse with the others.

--

“Thanks so much for this, Abs,” said Kate.

“Oh, it’s no problem. I’m just happy to be able to help,” said Abby.

“I can’t believe you kept it all this time,” said Kate, astonished.

“It was one of the only things I had left from you. How could I let it go?”

Abby pulled her friend into a fierce hug.

“Kate! Help!”

“Gibbs!” Kate cried.

Abby gasped.

“I have to go!” shouted Kate, already on her way out the door.

“Not without me, you aren’t,” said Abby, close on her heels.

Kate mentally sent a message to Professor X.

“Gibbs and the others are in trouble. Meet me at the warehouse.”

“We’re on our way. Be careful.”

--

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2015 8:19 pm 
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Chapter Six

Kate and Abby made it to the warehouse, but stayed well away from the building, observing.

“What do you think’s going on?” asked Abby.

“There are several people inside. A jumble of emotions. It’s difficult to define,” said Kate, squinting in concentration.

“Is Gibbs okay? Tony? Tim? Ellie?”

“Calm down, Abby,” said Kate. “I’ll let you know as soon as I do.”

“Kate, we’re here. Prepare.”

Kate nodded to no one particular. Abby looked at her quizzically.

“Show time,” said Kate, as she withdrew the small, metal cube Abby had given her at NCIS.

“Kate? What the…” asked Abby.

--

The perimeter secured, the X-Men descended on the warehouse. Cyclops’ ruby quartz visor glowed as he blasted the door, which shuddered open.

“I smell something sinister,” said Wolverine.

“Who dares interrupt my plans?” shouted Mister Sinister.

“Gambit gon’ do more dan dat,” said Gambit.

Professor X glided forward on his wheelchair, coming to face the villain. “Do not act as if you were not expecting us.”

Mister Sinister grinned mockingly, his pointed teeth glinting. “Where is she?”

“Like we’re jus’ gonna serve her up to you on a silver platter?” said Rogue. “I don’t think so.”

“We shall defeat you again, Sinister,” proclaimed Storm. The air in the room began to shift. “You shall not get your hands on our friend.”

While the others were facing off with Sinister, Beast released Fornell, Gibbs, DiNozzo, McGee and Bishop from their bonds.

“Thanks, Cookie Monster,” said Tony, patting Beast on the back.

“Come, children!” Mister Sinister ordered. The Marauders began to emerge from what seemed like every corner of the warehouse, among them the clones of Mike Franks and Paula Cassidy.

“You bastard!” said Gibbs, swallowing a lump at the back of his throat. His voice was low and menacing.

“Trust your instincts, Agent Gibbs. You are more powerful than you realize.”

“I will finally have the genetic code I need to create perfection. I can engineer a new breed of mutant,” Mister Sinister continued.

The ground began to rumble.

“It might be a good idea to take cover,” said Beast to the agents. “Things are about to become intense.”

Ellie gasped when a giant crack appeared in the cement floor, just under Xavier. Rogue grabbed his chair and flew them across the fissure to safety.

“You’ll regret that, Arclight,” said Wolverine, claws flashing. He leapt upon her, slicing the weapon from her hand. It fell to the ground, clattering into bits and pieces.

Tony drew his weapon and fired without hesitation. The wound on Mister Sinister immediately closed, perfectly healed.

Gibbs focused on the clone of Mike Franks, who was now aiming a weapon at Tony. Gibbs wanted to stop him, but it was difficult staring into the face of a man he loved dearly. He narrowed his eyes, willing him to put down his weapon.

The Mike Franks clone lowered his weapon just as he fired. He glared at the offending hand, not sure what had caused him to do that.

Gibbs’ eyes widened in surprise. Had he done that? Or…

Agent LaSalle stood back to back with Gambit, one throwing playing cards charged with kinetic energy and the other alternating energy blasts from either hand.

Wind swirled, whistling through cracks in the warehouse walls. The sounds of combat echoed throughout the room as heroes and villains clashed. The ground shook. The air crackled with electricity.

“Now, Kate!”

On Professor X’s cue, Kate grabbed the cube and ran for the warehouse. “Stay here!” she shouted back at Abby.

“Not on your life!” Abby followed her friend as fast as the platform heels of her boots would allow.

Kate entered the warehouse to find Mister Sinister and the Marauders in the center, all held still by Jean Grey. When Kate stepped closer, the villains fell to the floor as Jean released her telekinetic hold on them.

“At last, my beauty,” said Mister Sinister, taking a step toward Kate.

“Stop right there, Sinister,” said Kate, holding the cube aloft.

“What’s that, some sort of cosmic Rubik’s cube?” asked Tony under his breath.

“Shh, Tony, be quiet,” said Abby, having finally reached the others. Gibbs wrapped a protective arm around her and pulled her to him.

“What do you think you’re doing?” Gibbs muttered.

“Later,” Abby whispered.

All eyes were on Kate as the cube she was holding began to vibrate. She gently laid it on the ground and took a step back. Everyone watched as light burst out from the cube and began to encircle Mister Sinister and his minions.

"Nooooooo!" cried Sinister.

As suddenly as the conflict had begun, it was over. The villains were sucked into the cube.

“Where did they go?” Tim voiced the question everyone was thinking.

“I can answer that,” a bald man with a blue cloak answered, seeming to step out of the ether. “I am Uatu, Watcher of Earth. While I do not normally interfere in the happenings of this planet, I was compelled to intervene.” He turned to Kate. “You have nothing more to fear from this villain.”

Then Uatu disappeared, along with the cube.

“Well, that guy could have come in handy a few times I could think of,” said Rogue.

“Is anyone hurt?” asked Storm, coming to inspect Gibbs and his team.

“All present and accounted for,” said Tony. “And none the worse for wear, as far as I can tell.”

“Well in that case, let’s blow this pop stand,” said Wolverine.

They exited the warehouse and headed out, planning to meet up at Gibbs’ later that evening. Kate sighed. Another chapter of her life was coming to a close. This was a good thing. Right?

--

They were gathered outside Gibbs’ house, debriefing and discussing what had transpired.

“Uatu’s wife is pregnant,” explained Professor X. “When Jean, Kate and I reached out to him, his wife was touched by Kate’s plight and convinced him to intervene. I believe she feels a kinship to Miss Todd.”

“I’m just glad he got there in time,” said Tony.

“That would have been a nightmare,” said Tim.

“Those guys were unstoppable,” said Ellie.

“Can I ask a question?” asked Abby, rushing ahead with her question. “How did a toy you gave me ten years ago come to be a passageway for some alien Watcher guy? Not that I’m complaining, but it’s a bit confusing.”

Jean smiled at Abby and explained, “Uatu doesn’t like to interfere in the things of Earth. He wanted to make the final decision Kate’s. So instead of waiting for the perfect time and showing up himself, he created a portal that Kate could control.”

“He wanted me to think of an object that I had a strong emotional connection to. I could have gone with anything, but I immediately thought of the day we spent at the spa and me winning that silly cube at the arcade,” “Kate shrugged. “It worked.”

“What’s next for you?” asked Rogue.

“Back to NCIS, I guess,” said Kate. “If they’ll have me.” She raised an eyebrow and looked at Gibbs.

“We’ll have her,” Gibbs answered and pulled Kate into a hug. “Just try leaving again,” he added, under his breath so only she could hear.

“Now that you know of our existence, we may be back from time to time,” said Xavier.

“You can believe that,” said LaSalle, causing everyone to chuckle.

All fell silent as the mood seemed to shift. It was time.

“We’ll miss you, cherie,” said Gambit. He bent to give Kate a chaste kiss on the cheek.

“Don’t get too friendly there, loverboy,” said Logan as he came to hug Kate farewell. “See ya, kid.”

Kate hugged each of the X-Men one by one as she said her goodbyes, coming last to Professor Xavier.

“Thank you, again, for all you’ve done. I don’t know where I’d be if you hadn’t saved me, sheltered me, trained me…”

“It was my honor and pleasure,” said Xavier. He turned to face Gibbs. “Agent Gibbs, I’d like to have a word with you privately before we go.”

“’Course,” said Gibbs, following the other man down the sidewalk a piece. He had expected this would come.

“Don’t worry, Professor; we’ll take good care of her,” said Gibbs.

“Of that I have no doubt,” said Xavier. “But that isn’t what I wish to speak with you concerning.”

Gibbs cocked an eyebrow and waited.

“If you would be at all interested in exploring your powers or in training to control them, you are welcome.”

Gibbs was taken aback. “Beg your pardon?”

Professor X smiled. “If you’re uncomfortable, you can bring along Kate or Agent LaSalle. I’m sure you noticed he is also a mutant.”

“Hard to miss,” said Gibbs.

“Your abilities are easier to hide,” said Xavier, “so you don’t have to learn to expand or control them unless you wish. Either way, the door is open.”

“Thanks,” said Gibbs as Professor Xavier wheeled away, joining the others on the Blackbird.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2015 8:39 pm 
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Epilogue
Two Weeks Later

“Just a little more,” said Kate, coaxing Gibbs to move the sandpaper a little further along the beam.

Frustration came off him in waves.

“Tell me again why I’m doing this?” asked Gibbs with a sigh.

“You are a mutant like me, Gibbs,” said Kate.

Gibbs rolled his eyes, and then fixed a stare in her direction.

“That much you knew,” said Kate with a grin. “You have a bit of precognition, the Gibbs gut if you will; telekinesis, which we’ve been working on; emotion manipulation and a little bit of empathy. If you keep working on your abilities, they could help you at NCIS.”

“I’ve done alright so far,” said Gibbs, bristling a bit.

“True,” said Kate, backing off.

“Rather sand this by hand. Relieves stress. Doing it with my mind sure ain’t,” said Gibbs. He picked up the sandpaper and began running it along the beam.

Kate smiled. “I’ve missed this. I’ve missed you.”

Gibbs smiled back at her. “Wanna help?” He offered her the sander.

Their fingers brushed as she took it from him, causing the hair on her arms to stand on end. She sat next to him, and he began to show her how to work the wood. Gibbs shifted behind her, one arm on either side, as he helped her learn the sanding motion. Kate sighed and leaned back into Gibbs. He dropped his hands to pull her back against him. Gibbs took a deep breath, taking in her scent. He sighed.

Kate knew what he was feeling. It would be wrong of her to take advantage. Wouldn’t it?


THE END

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