[personal profile] lit_gal
My Post-Hiatus story

Illusions Lost
Our experience is composed rather of illusions lost than of wisdom acquired.
Joseph Roux

NCIS/Criminal Minds
Gibbs has left for Mexico, and Tony’s gut is telling him he’s in trouble. Abby is too distracted by her grief for Gibbs to back Tony up, so he decides to go to the most Abbish person he knows for help: Penelope Garcia. Abby introduced them after the two women met at a forensics seminar for federal agents. So Tony asks Garcia if she will do a little digging, but bringing Garcia in means bringing in other members of the BAU. After all, if Garcia thinks a friend is in trouble, she’ll always turn to her Derek, trusting him to do the right thing. Tony just isn't sure that having Derek Morgan on his side is going to help when he has a director making unreasonable requests, a team doing the minimum required for their job and an overwrought Abby to deal with.

Earlier chapters HERE

Epilogue 2: Phillip Davenport

Phillip was near the end of his rope with Shepard. She had the backing of some powerful politicians—the first woman to head the agency and all that. Add that to the fact that he’d been new to his own position when Morrow buggered off to Homeland Security and Phillip had gotten stuck with a pig in a poke on this one. The woman was a disaster.

“Explain this,” he slid David’s file across the desk.

Shepard brought her hand down on it, but she made no move to open it. “I know that the FBI believes she killed Abdul Wazir, but I know Officer David.”

“Yes, you know her,” Phillip said. Shepard knew her too damn well. He wondered if the two women were in bed together, either metaphorically or literally, because there wasn’t another logical reason to have a damn Mossad officer in his agency. But when the request had first come across his desk, Phillip hadn’t wanted a pissing match so early in his tenure. Now he was ready, especially given the recent troubles. “Do you want me to believe that she’s not capable of killing someone?”

Shepard took a slow breath. “Mr. Secretary, Ziva is very capable of an executive action; however, she came to DC to get away from that world. She would not assassinate someone on the streets of DC.”

“So, it was coincidence that she was present at the bombing of an Israeli enemy and the two FBI agents guarding him.” Phillip couldn’t believe she was going that route. Then again, Shepard had more balls than most men he knew. After all, she looked him right in the eye despite the persistent rumors that she was using her office to investigate her father’s old contacts. What a clusterfuck. If his internal audit found one document with Benoit’s name on it, he was going to boot her to the curb so fast that her head was going to spin. The cynical part of his brain had even connected the dots between Ziva and Shepard’s obsession with Benoit. He wondered if she wasn’t trading favors with Mossad to get some intel on Benoit.

Shepard was cool as a cucumber as she said, “I suspect someone is setting Ziva up.”

“Do you really think that’s more likely than Eli David ordering his daughter to take care of Wazir? And how did the Israelis even learn he was in town?” Phillip had his theories about that, although he couldn’t prove anything since the FBI and not NCIS had been involved in that case.

“Eli is not interested in starting an open conflict.”

Phillip questioned Shepard’s intelligence if she believed that. Then again, he supposed it depended on the definition of open. Israel didn’t openly undermine US interests—they preferred to do it quietly. However Shepard had better connections in that part of the world, so Phillip didn’t have the evidence to challenge Shepard’s conclusions. So he decided to focus on the part of this snafu that was documented down to the millimeter.

“I want to know why David was on an investigative team in the first place.”

“She wanted to learn a new set of skills.”

“Apparently the skill she’s learning is to warm a seat. She’s not allowed to leave the office.” That hit a nerve. Phillip could see Shepard’s eye twitch, and it should. From the reports Phillip had read from both DiNozzo and Macy, David was a disaster in the field who needed to be benched. He would have preferred an honest assessment from Gibbs. After all, DiNozzo was too young and too civilian for Phillip to completely trust, and Macy was a woman. She had a reputation as one hell of a marine, but Phillip had enough chauvinism in him that he would prefer to have a male marine’s assessment of the situation. However Gibbs’ paperwork was all so generic as to be worthless, at least in the personnel assessments. He was equally insulting and brutal to all his subordinates. The man was old-school gunny. The more potential he saw, the more he screamed and demeaned people into improving or getting out. Morrow had already warned him to take Gibbs’ performance reviews with a grain of salt. However, David wasn’t technically in his chain of command, so Gibbs hadn’t made one comment on her performance in any paperwork Phillip could find.

“That situation will be resolved.”

“Resolved?” Maybe she thought Phillip had walked into this meeting unprepared, but he had already talked to a half dozen team leads. They had a variety of impressions of David ranging from a damaged soldier trying to escape a bad situation in Mossad to a cold-blooded killer who undermined her team. However, not a one of them was willing to work with her, and that was assuming that Shepard could get David out of the murder charges hanging over her head. Phillip was determined to make sure he personally ensured Shepard stayed inside the lines, legally speaking.

“I have the agency in hand,” Shepard said, her voice carrying a bit of ice. She didn’t like being micromanaged. Well tough shit. Phillip sat in the big chair.

“Do you know where David is right now?”

Shepard sat up. “Of course not.” She had all her offended mannerisms in place now.

“The FBI would like to ask that directly.”

“Excuse me?” Now Shepard looked alarmed.

“You brought a foreign agent into NCIS. You are keeping her on a field team despite the fact that her own team leader banned her from the field. You worked with her overseas. Is it any wonder that the FBI is wondering how far this friendship goes?” Phillip didn’t bother pointing out that with two FBI agents dead, they were out for blood. Phillip’s first instinct had been to protect Shepard, but the CIA rumors and the intel he’d found when he’d done a little digging made him think this might be a good time to hang her out to dry.

Shepard considered him, her body language all outraged angles and sharp elbows. “Do you really believe the head of a federal agency would abet a suspect in a murder case?”

“Considering that you insist David was framed, I don’t know what to think. I mean, if you were using good judgment around this woman, you would have transferred her off a field team.”

“Macy is new and overreacted to something in the field.”

“Overreacted?” Phillip said dryly, his tone challenging her to defend that bit of stupidity. Shepard blushed. “When the Judge Advocate General of the Navy knows how badly you fucked up a case, it’s hard for a team lead to overreact.”

From the quick twitch, Phillip assumed that Shepard hadn’t heard the Vice Admiral himself had thrown a fit at the blatant disregard for law that had torpedoed another JAG case. Every investigator screwed up from time to time, but two cases thrown out on blatant rights violations from a foreign national working for a federal agency had raised a few extra flags. “Get her off that MCRT team. Now.” Phillip said slowly and deliberately.

The red spread to Shepard’s neck.

“And I don’t want the FBI seen coming here to question you like a suspect. It’s bad for the agency. You will go to FBI headquarters and meet with the director.”

“I have other meetings.”

Phillip doubted that. More than one agency had cut her out of the loop, and she didn’t seem to care much. Everything took a backseat to her focus on international arms, and Phillip had once assumed it was because she did so much overseas work as a field agent. Now he wasn’t so sure. Besides, as director she shouldn’t be so quick to leave domestic issues in others’ hands.

“Tell your secretary to reschedule anything personal, and I’ll be staying here to keep the seat warm and take any meetings that absolutely can’t be rescheduled,” Phillip said in his warmest voice. He assumed that would annoy her even if she was smart enough to hide the reaction.

“I’m sure you have more important matters to attend to.”

“I do,” Phillip agreed. He made a production out of checking his watch. “My assistant will be here in ten minutes and I gave your secretary orders to allow him in. By then you should be headed to FBI headquarters. Have your driver contact me when they finish questioning you so I can close up any work that you don’t have clearance to see before you come back.” For example, Phillip would not want Shepard to see his computer expert searching her personal files on her computer.

“This is unnecessary. Secretary Davenport, I apologize that this entire situation has gotten out of control, but I assure you that my agents will do everything they can to help the FBI find Ziva, and I give my personal assurance that if she contacts me, I will inform the agent in charge of this case.” Her body language softened and her voice grew more melodious. Phillip suspected that worked most of the time.

“Go tell that to the FBI director and the investigators,” Phillip said. He stood. “And I have a lot of work to do, so move your shit off the desk so I can get some of it done.”

Now Shepard paled significantly, but with Phillip standing a foot away, there wasn’t much she could do. He watched carefully as she sorted a number of files, shoving some in her case and others in her desk. “The fact the FBI is demanding this shows a lack of respect for the work NCIS has done.”

“I think it’s just a lack of respect for you,” Phillip said with brutal honesty. She slammed the desk drawer shut and then backed up as Phillip moved into her space and commandeered her chair. For a second she seemed at a loss as to what to do, but then she closed her briefcase and walked to the door.

“And Shepard,” Phillip called. She turned around. “If there’s some dirt that the FBI is likely to find, I suggest you start writing your resignation letter during your ride over.” And with that, Phillip turned his attention to his own briefcase, refusing to look up. He heard the door close as Shepard left, and a smile tugged at the corners of his lips. Oh yes. This just might work out perfectly. If his guy could find some evidence, she would assume the FBI had dug up the dirt and he wouldn’t have to out his source in the CIA. Sometimes luck did work in his favor.

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