Rating: G - Totally harmless. No sex, no bad language. I'd let my Mother read it.
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters used in this story. I am making no profit from the use of these characters. This is meant as a tribute to the actors, especially David McCallum, who play these roles.
Ficathon requirements: I was given two quotes. One was the lyrics of a song from the movie Chicago: "He had it coming
He only had himself to blame
If you'd have been there
I betcha you would
Have done the same!"
The second was a quote from Francis Bacon: "If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties."
I was to take one of the quotes and use it in the story, in the manner of my choosing. This is my response to the challenge.
The little man lifted the tape and entered the crime scene. A police officer stepped forward to intercept him, but stopped when he recognized the face. He nodded his respects and moved to open the door.
The little man entered the house and the smell of death impacted his senses. He wrinkled his nose and reached into his pocket for the small jar of vapo rub that he always carried. A quick swipe under his nose and the smell vanished. He looked around, getting his bearings. Voices came from another room, and he followed the sound.
He paused in the doorway and watched the routine of crime scene detection. McGee was taking pictures, DiNozzo was taking measurements and Gibbs was checking the bed for evidence. His attention was drawn to the reason he had been called; the body on the bed. He stepped into the room.
The movement had three heads swiveling around. Two went back to their tasks; the third man straightened and spoke. “Ducky, it's about time you got here.”
“Sorry, Jethro, there was an accident and traffic was halted. I’m sure the body isn't going anywhere without me.”
Gibbs gave a little huff of a laugh and turned back to the bed. Ducky got his first good look at the victim and for a moment, just a moment, his breath caught in his throat. At first glance the woman on the bed reminded him of Catlin.
Ducky stole a look at Gibbs. From the set of his jaw it had struck him as well. At closer inspection, the resemblance faded. The nose was too large, the mouth too wide, the eyes the wrong color. Ducky gave a little sigh and wondered how long it would be before a pretty dark haired woman didn’t remind the team of their lost member.
“Seems to be pretty straight-forward.” Gilbbs began abruptly. “Lt. Samantha King. Lost her fiancé in Iraq three months ago. Had been having trouble performing her duties and expressed to her CO that she was having trouble sleeping. Had been sent to a grief counselor and was given a prescription for sleeping pills. We haven’t found any note, so if was probably accidental.”
Gibbs gestured to the living area where a glass and an opened bottle of wine could be seen on the coffee table. “It looks like she had a drink or two to try to relax, then when that didn’t work, took the pills. She may have woke up and in her confusion took more pills. CO came looking for her when she didn’t show up or call in this morning. Next door neighbor had a key for emergencies. She let him in and they found her.”
Ducky had been giving the body a quick examination while Gibbs was talking. “Body is cold, but not stiff. Rigor is just beginning to set in. Best estimate I can give you for time of death is less than 12 hours. I’ll be able to narrow it down after I get her back to the lab.”
Ducky turned to the young man hovering in the doorway. “Mr. Palmer, she’s ready to transport.”
The young man nodded and pulled the gurney into the room. The two men placed the body in the bag and onto the gurney then left the house.
The body was placed on the examination table and prepared. Blood was drawn for the standard toxicology screening. Ducky picked up her hands and ran a knife under her nails, collecting samples for study. Jimmy Palmer looked puzzled.
“Dr. Mallard, she overdosed on sleeping pills. Why are you taking scrapings?”
Ducky gave the young man a very patient look. “Mr. Palmer. In our line of work there is no such thing as an open and shut case. To quote one of my countrymen, Sir Francis Bacon, ‘If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties.’ In other words, never take anything for granted. Now, be a good lad and run these down to the lab.” He handed him the vials of blood and the bags with the scrapings.
Ducky watched the young man leave, then turned back to the body. “Well, my dear, let’s see if you have any secrets for me.”
Four hours later, Ducky left the lab to see Gibbs. He got off of one elevator just as Abby was exiting the other. She waved a paper at him. He smiled. “Murder?” he asked her.
“Murder,” she beamed back at him. The two approached Gibbs’ desk.
Gibbs leaned back in his chair and looked at the pair. “Not suicide.”
Abby shook her head. “Not even close. Whoever did this is really dumb. They figured that everyone would believe the scene. Sure, they didn’t leave any fingerprints on the wine bottle, but that’s the point. There were NO fingerprints on the bottle.”
Gibbs nodded. “So how did she pour the glass of wine?”
Abby nodded. “And her prints were on the pill bottle, but in a really funky way. All five prints from her right hand. Nobody holds a pill bottle like that; it’s too small. Obviously someone put it in her hand afterward.”
“I counted the pills left in the bottle. The prescription was one of the milder sleep aids, and was only for a quantity of 10. She had filled it three days ago, so assuming she had been taking them every night, that meant there should be 4 pills left, and there were.” Abby held up her hand to stop the objection she could see that Gibbs was getting ready to make.
“Even if she hadn’t taken any until last night, six pills with the amount of alcohol that she had in her system wouldn’t have been enough to kill her. The prescription just wasn’t strong enough. Plus tox screening showed two different kinds of sedatives in her system. There was only one kind in her apartment. Where did the other come from?”
Gibbs smiled at her. “Good work, Abbs.” He turned to the other person standing in front of him. “You got something for me, Ducky?”
“Faint bruising on the back of her skull, just in the hairline at the nape of her neck. If I were to hazard a guess, I would say the thumb and forefinger of someone with a rather large hand holding her head as they forced the wine down her. Also, an injection mark, between two toes on her right foot.”
Gibbs looked amazed. “How did you think to look between her toes?”
“During my residency I saw a case where the toxicology screen showed high amounts of drugs in the system, but no needle marks were apparent. My mentor, Dr. Cavanaugh, showed me how to check for needle marks between the toes. Apparently it was a favored spot for drug addicts who wished to keep their arms unblemished.”
Gibbs nodded, and stood. “Good job you two. McGee, start doing background on our victim. See if she’s been seen with anyone since her fiancé’s death. DiNozzo, you’re with me. Let’s go interview her CO again.” Gibbs’ voice faded as he and Tony entered the elevator.
Abby stayed to talk to McGee, but Ducky headed back down to the morgue. He went to a drawer and opened it, pulling the tray out slightly. “Don’t worry, my dear, he won’t get away with it. Your family won’t have the anguish of thinking you took your own life.” He patted the body gently, and slid the tray back into the wall, closing the door.
Ducky smiled as he went to his desk and began filling out paperwork. Just another day.