Disclaimer: I do not own any of the NCIS characters; I am just borrowing them for this story. Contains spanking of a minor in later chapters.

Had to be There – Pt 1

Chapter 6

Abby was sitting at Gibbs' desk when he and Ziva came out of the elevator. Ziva's eyes were red and puffy like she'd been crying. Gibbs looked at Abby who stared at him then jumped out of his chair.

"Uh, sorry, boss. I was just keeping your seat warm; I mean your chair, keeping your chair warm."

Gibbs smirked at Abby as she rambled on, blushing from her near miss, nervously looking back and forth from Ziva to Gibbs. Finally, Gibbs took pity on her and snapped his fingers loudly.

"Abby! Was there something else you wanted to share?"

Abby jerked at the sound and started instinctively to reach behind her and cover her bottom. Gibbs hid a grin as she caught herself and smoothed out her skirt instead.

"Actually, boss, there was. It seems we have a mystery on our hands."

She handed him a picture. "This is a picture of the bullet Ducky took out of Vino. We got a strong match for Tony's gun, but according to the time of death provided by Ziva, there is no way Tony could have fired this bullet."

Gibbs handed the picture back to Abby, "That's because Tony didn't shoot Vino."

McGee and Abby looked at each other uncomprehendingly. "But if Tony didn't shoot Vino, then who did?"

Gibbs grabbed his jacket and headed for the elevator. "Uh, boss?" McGee pressed. "Who shot Vino?"

Gibbs stepped into the elevator then spoke shortly. "Maria did."

As the doors to the elevator closed, McGee looked at Ziva and mouthed. "Maria?"

Ziva shrugged. "When Gibbs called Tony's cell phone last night, a girl named Maria answered. She told us where Tony was and that he had been shot. It is my guess that this girl fired Tony's gun at Vino and Delaney when they returned to finish the job."

Abby's eyes almost popped out of her head. "Does this mean there's a little girl running around out there with Tony's gun?"

Ziva nodded matter-of-factly. "That is precisely what I mean."

McGee leaned back in his chair and sighed. "So that's why the boss-man is so pissed. Some little girl has Tony's gun and we have no idea what she'd doing with it."

Ziva nodded gravely. "Either she is very brave or very stupid, and I doubt it is the latter. I would not like to be in her shoes when Gibbs catches her."

Abby stared at the both of them in horror. So lost were they in thought, they failed to hear Director Sheppard calling out to them until she got right in Abby's face.

"Where the hell is Gibbs?" Jenny barked.

Just about the time Jenny was yelling furiously at McGee and Ziva, Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs was tearing out of the agency parking deck as fast as his car would go. He was determined to go over that alley with a fine-tooth comb if that's what it took to find another clue. It was possible that in the daylight he just might find something they had missed in the dark.

Back at the gymnasium, Sam sat on a bench in the locker room and stared at the gun. More than once, she wiped clammy hands on her jeans and reached out to pick it up. For some reason she always stopped, and the gun lay untouched on the floor. This is stupid. She scolded herself mentally. What is there to be afraid of? She looked down at the gun, preparing to pick it up, when her eye strayed to the crumpled white card on the floor.

She picked up the card then gasped and dropped it like a hot potato. NCIS? What have you gotten yourself into, Samantha? She whispered to herself silently. Several minutes went by before she got the courage to pick up the card again.

She looked at the name and groaned. Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs. She shivered as the name reminded her of the two men in the alley. Was one of them this Gibbs person? Her eyes widened and she began to hyperventilate. The man on the phone had been named Gibbs. The men in the alley had shouted "Federal Agents". She had panicked, running like a scared rabbit. Marsala had hidden Sam without so much as an explanation, even when the agents had come looking for her.

Sam gulped as she fingered the card. What if this Gibbs person went back to the bar and Marsala was made to talk? Would she get in trouble for hiding Sam? Sam struggled to contain her fears, finally slumping to the floor, sobbing uncontrollably as her frayed nerves caught up with her. Finally, she cried herself out then curled up on the towels in a fetal position.

Gibbs combed the alley again in search of clues. He'd conned Fornell into helping him again, but Tobias had no idea what he was looking for and Gibbs was not very forthcoming. Gibbs dug through sme trash then stood up, a grim expression on his face. He held up his evidence for Fornell to see.

"Six shell casings. We dug three bullets out of Vino. One of them we know belongs to his gun. If two of these casings match Tony's gun, then the rest of the bullets must have hit something."

Fornell nodded then pulled an envelope from his pocket. "We extracted 4 bullets from the car. Ballistics information is all here. Let me know if it matches Tony's gun."

Gibbs watched Fornell's retreating back then put the envelope and bagged shell casings in his pocket. It was time to talk to that bartender again. She knew something, and he needed to know what she knew. Lives might depend on it.

Sam sat up abruptly, her eyes wide awake, her mind no longer clouded with fear. She knew now what needed to be done, but she was going to need some help to do it. She rummaged through the locker rooms and whatever offices were open for something she could use. Finally, she came across some gym shorts that were better looking than hers and a shirt with less rips and holes. She used the locker room shower to clean up a bit and wash out her underclothes. When her things were dry, Sam dressed in the appropriated clothes. She used her old t-shirt to wipe the gun clean before wrapping it in a clean towel and placing it in an empty shoe box she'd found in one of the lockers. Her old clothes she threw in the dumpster out back.

She felt a little self-conscious in her holey tennis shoes, no socks, and ragged t-shirt, but she squared her shoulders determinedly and approached the guard at the gate outside NCIS headquarters. "Excuse me, sir?" Sam said in her perfect, well-mannered persona. "I have a delivery here for Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs."

Sam held up the shoebox wrapped in plain brown paper with Gibbs' card taped to the top. She stared at the ground, her baseball cap effectively hiding her face from the security camera. She tried to appear nonchalant, but her heart was racing. What if he asks to see a bill of lading? What if he tells me to deliver it personally? She slapped herself mentally and tried to look unconcerned as the guard looked at her suspiciously.

"Are you the courier who was supposed to be coming by?" The guard asked.

Sam relaxed a little. "Yes, Sir. I'm the courier, but I only handle deliveries. I don't do pickups. I don't have clearance."

The guard scowled and muttered something about bureaucratic regulation horseshit, but he pulled out a pad to write a receipt. He tore off the slip and handed it to Sam. She nodded politely and turned to go.

"Hey, wait a minute." The guard called after her.

Sam turned around, dreading the worst. She was pleasantly surprised when the guard held out a dollar. "Here," he said gruffly, "a little something for your trouble."

Sam smiled a genuine smile this time. "Thanks, mister."

She waited until she was around the corner then let out a sigh. Her smile reached from ear to ear and she couldn't help but wonder if her luck had just changed for the better.

Gibbs: *smirking* You know, I'm beginning to think there's a lot of Sam in you.

Me: *scowling* Is not. I would never take your gun, or hide out in an alley, or run into a bar.

Gibbs: *snorting* I should hope not, unless you want to have trouble sitting down comfortably.

Me: *self-righteously* Sam's a good kid. She's just mixed up, that's all.

Gibbs: *squinting* Uh, huh. I hope she's not planning to do something stupid.

Me: *glaring* (hands on lips) And what if she is?

Gibbs: *growling* Maybe I'll just show you… (hand on belt buckle)