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Title: Worth a Thousand Words
Fandom: NCIS with a Young Wizards fusion
Characters: Kate Todd
Rating: G
Warnings: none
Summary: Usually, Kate's Wizardry doesn't impact her job. But sometimes, it means the difference between catching a killer and not. Now she just needs to figure out how to explain where this knowledge came from...
Notes: Written for the "fusion" square on my 2013 [community profile] trope_bingo card.

Kate stood outside the tidy little house in the tidy little DC suburb and wondered why she had been stuck with this job yet again.

They were investigating the murder of a Naval Commander, and Kate had been tasked with interviewing his girlfriend, while Gibbs and Tony were off digging into Commander Finchman's background and talking to his superiors. Which meant that she was the one who got to fight with the Belt traffic. At least it was a nice day.

She rang the bell and heard footsteps, and then she heard a female voice say "Behave yourself, Brutus. The nice lady from NCIS is only doing her job."

Kate blinked, realizing that those words had not been in English, but had been in the Speech.

The door opened to reveal a tall woman and a large black lab. "Dai stiho, cousins," Kate said with a lopsided smile. "This will make things considerably easier."

The woman smiled briefly and stepped back so that Kate could enter the house.

"You are here about Jeff," the woman stated as they took a seat at the kitchen table.

"I am. Caitlin Todd, NCIS. And you are Jessica Bainbridge, high school physics teacher and girlfriend of Commander Jeff Finchman. How did you know who I was?"

Jessica touched the corner of her eye. "I Saw this conversation. I See it. Whatever. Even the Speech doesn't have the right verb forms to talk about the Sight."

Kate couldn't hold back a wince. She had met a few Wizards who were Seers, and it was not a gift she would wish upon anyone. "I'm sorry," she said. "I'm sorry for all of this. Tell me what you know about Jeff, tell me what I can do to help."

Jessica gazed, vacantly, over Kate's shoulder. "I Saw it happen last night. At least I think I did. Jeff was supposed to spend a year teaching at the Academy, so he's been spending a lot of time in Annapolis, preparing," she said, switching into the Speech. Kate breathed a sigh of relief. While it was, technically, possible to lie in that language, few Wizards would. The precision of words was too precious to them.

"I spoke with him on the phone yesterday evening," Jessica continued. "He was moaning about putting together lesson plans and I was teasing him about it, saying he might finally appreciate what I did. That was around 7. He called back around 9:30 to say goodnight and to let me know that tomorrow - today I mean - he was going to be stuck in meetings all day. Something about an incident that happened when he was a junior lieutenant, back before we met."

"A hearing?"

"No, just meetings. I think they were trying to determine if it needed to go to hearings or JAG."

"What then?" Kate prompted gently.

"I went to bed. I dreamed and - well, you understand. Any Wizard's dreams are important, and mine are even more so. I saw Jeff get a phone call, and leave his apartment, heading to the Academy. I saw him walking towards the building where his office is. I saw a woman arguing with him. I saw him throw up his hands in disgust and turn away from her. He started to walk away. She shot him twice in the back. She holstered the gun and picked up the casings and calmly walked back across the parking lot. That's when the dream stopped." Jessica's Speech had become flat, almost monotone. "I wasn't really surprised when Captain Johnson showed up here this morning," she added, switching back to English.

"Can you describe this woman?" Kate asked.

Jessica shuddered, like a duck shedding water, and refocused her gaze directly on Kate. "I can do better than that, if you'll trust me."

Kate took a deep breath. "If this isn't Errantry, I don't know what is. What do I need to do?"

"Come with me. Brutus, you stay here," Jessica ordered. The big dog whined a little but did not move when the two women rose. Jessica led them to the basement of the house, where one corner was taken up by a large shallow sandbox filled with fine white sand.

In the sand, Kate saw, were inscribed the swirling, looping visual representations of the Speech.

"Oh what a lovely ritual area," Kate said. "I've never gotten to do much work with the written components of Speech. It always seemed fascinating though."

"Thank you. I'm primarily a theorist myself. If you will step into that circle there," she said, indicating which one she meant, "and fill in your name. If I've done this right, it should let me show you my dream."

Kate did as she was asked, and the next few minutes were some of the oddest of her life. Jessica activated the array of symbols with a sharp word and Kate found herself reliving the vision she had just heard described.

When the images cleared, Jessica was on her knees in the sand, panting, and Kate had to help the trembling woman up the stairs and to the couch.

"It's okay," she told the dog, who had risen and growled protectively as soon as they emerged from the basement. "She's just exhausted. I'll put some water on the table here, and make sure she eats something, okay?"

"Wait," Jessica said faintly. Both Kate and Brutus moved quickly to her side. "Jenn Thompson," she said, naming the Senior Area Advisory.

"I'll tell her," Kate promised. "Was Commander -"

"No. But he knew. Please, find her for me."

"I will. Sleep, cousin. Let me do the work now."

Half an hour later, Kate sat in traffic on the Belt, but this time she hardly noticed. She was busy trying to figure out what, and how much, she could tell Gibbs. Knowing exactly what the presumed murderer looked like wasn't going to help if she couldn't explain how she knew.

With a sigh, she picked up her phone. Maybe Jenn would have some answers.

She creeped her car forward another three feet and dialed a familiar number.

"Hi, Jenn? Yeah, it's Kate. You have a few minutes to talk shop? I've got a doozy for you. . ."


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