AUBB Story: The Ties That Bind by Lyndasty, Art by Xocoatldreams, Rated PG-13/R
Fandom: NCIS/Syfy's Alice
Rating: PG-13/R (mainly for allusions to violence)
Warning: Mentions of violence (off screen but the descriptions are graphic).
Word Count: 19,616
Summary: Set after the events of Syfy's Alice. When Jack Heart, King of Wonderland, is accused of murdering his wife, Duchess, he flees through the Looking Glass to the only person he knows can clear his name. On this side of the Looking Glass, Abagail Sciuto, forensics expert for NCIS, is hiding a past that is coming back to haunt her courtesy of her little brother, Jack.
Part 1/Part 2/Part 3/Part 4
It had been a touchy negotiation but Jack, Abby, and Ducky had managed to convince the Queen to agree to let the NCIS team to examine Duchess' remains and the knife she was killed with. As Jack had said, Duchess' body was kept in complete stasis the likes of which had McGee, and Abby and Ducky to an extent, completely enthralled. They'd started explaining, or trying to explain, the science and technology behind it but the non-scientific members of the expedition but were quickly met with glazed-over eyes.
"Okay, Jack, I need to take your fingerprints to compare them to the prints on the knife," Abby explained to Jack as she scanned each of his fingerprints into a small scanner attached to her laptop. Meanwhile, McGee was carefully dusting and taking fingerprints off the knife as well as blood. Even though a DNA examination was out of the question, they can still match the blood on the knife to Duchess or, possibly, to her killer if they'd injured themselves during the act.
Tony was snapping pictures of Duchess' body as Ziva cataloged everything that had been taken from the crime scene. Tony winced as he took photos of Duchess' face. Her expression unchanged from when Jack found her, her eyes were still open, a look of horror still on her face.
"Is it possible to take her out of stasis without damaging the remains?" Ducky asked after he'd made all the notes he could while the body was in the stasis chamber.
"Do I look like a scientist? Carpenter designed that thing and, thanks to Jack and that meddling trollop, Alice, he's dead now so your guess is as good as mine." The Queen's annoyance was palpable and Ducky rolled his eyes at her lack of cooperation.
"Jethro, we need to take her out of there to complete a more thorough investigation." Ducky kept his voice low so that only Gibbs could hear.
"Yep. David, DiNozzo, we have to get her out of there. McGee, figure out how." Gibbs tossed fresh rubber gloves at his agents before walking over to his forensic expert. "Abby, you get everything you need?"
"Just about." Abby sighed and looked at Gibbs for a second before turning to her mother. "I need your fingerprints, too."
"Why? I've been in exile until one of the suits thought to come find me. Why would I bother killing that silly woman?"
Gibbs turned on his heel to glare at the Queen of Hearts. "She betrayed you and helped your son in his bid to overthrow you. I'd say you had more motives than Jack did. After all, she helped him escape your death sentence."
"Hmph," was the woman's only response as Abby took her laptop and fingerprint scanner over to where her mother sat, stoically. Neither of them spoke as Abby so not gently scanned the pad of each of the Queen's fingers and archived them before moving back to the other table where Jack sat, motionless, trying not to look at his late wife's body.
"Here you go," McGee said softly, handing Abby the individual fingerprints he'd dusted and taken from the knife along with several swabs of blood from the hilt and blade. Abby mentally detached herself from what she was doing as she scanned and loaded the prints into her laptop. Jack watched her, his eyes hollow as he ignored the sounds of the stasis chamber being cracked.
"Well, my dear, I am sorry that you came to such a tragic end but I assure you, we'll find the person responsible." Ducky kept his voice soothing, more for Jack than for Duchess but he worked with reverence for the woman. She'd come from such a noble family and it saddened him to see her reduced to this.
"Duck, work quick. No telling how long..."
"I assure you, Jethro, I'm aware." The doctor set about making notes of Duchess' wounds and measuring the depth and angle of each.
Gibbs wandered over to where Abby was running a comparison program on the fingerprints McGee took from the murder weapon. The machine beeped as it found a match between Jack's prints and 4 prints found on the knife. Abby noted the matches and started the program scanning the rest of the prints before moving on to start a basic analysis of the blood swabs McGee had taken from the knife.
"You okay, Abs?"
"I'm fine. I just need to concentrate and get all the evidence sorted. Then, once Ducky's done, we can present all the evidence to him for his evaluation." Her voice was all business but Gibbs saw right through that. She was worried that they wouldn't find enough evidence to clear her brother. He kissed the side of her head affectionately and moved away so she could work.
"Whatcha got, Duck?"
"These wounds are rage-fueled, almost savage. Whoever inflicted these hated the poor girl enough to brutalize her, continuing to stab her even after her heart had stopped. The early wounds were deep, one puncturing her heart. That was the kill shot, as it were. The later wounds were shallow. Our killer was getting tired but his or her rage wasn't abating. They continued stabbing until they could barely plunge the knife into her body anymore." Ducky pointed out the different stab wounds, drawing Gibbs' attention to the variety. Gibbs nodded that he understood what Ducky was saying and moved over to his field agents.
"It seems that she was caught by surprise. There are defensive wounds to her hands but not many." Ziva reported quietly.
"Boss, she's a mess and I don't just mean the stab wounds. Whoever did this didn't give a damn how she was found. There are smears of blood on her neck...almost like somebody checked to see if she was dead." Tony's voice was thin and strained. None of their team handled violent crimes against women well. McGee was practically as white as the proverbial ghost so Gibbs didn't make him recount anything he'd observed. That would come out in Abby's findings.
Abby's laptop beeped again, getting all the agents' as well as Ducky's attention. They turned to see Abby's face go from school indifference to rage. "YOU BITCH!" Gibbs caught her just before she could wrap her hands around her mother's throat. "YOUR FINGERPRINTS! THE OTHER FINGERPRINTS ARE YOUR'S!" Abby's voice bellowed at a volume that shocked her friends.
"Abby! CALM DOWN!" Gibbs maneuvered to where he was in her face as Tony and McGee both had their arms around her waist with Ziva and Ducky behind them as backup. Jack stood up and looked from his sister to his mother and back again. Abby struggled to free herself from her friends' grasp before calming down. Gibbs took a tentative step back, unwilling to give the young woman another chance to physically attack the Queen.
"What are you talking about?" Jack's voice was the calm in the midst of the storm.
Abby closed her eyes and took a deep breath before speaking. "There was a second set of prints on the knife. I ruled out Jack's prints since he admitted to handling the knife but, when I compared the remaining prints to her prints," she motioned towards the Queen, who was standing apart from the group, "they matched. I'm talking a ten point match, Gibbs."
"Of course they match. That knife had belonged to one of my Clubs. I can't recall how many times I've handled that knife." Her voice was rushed and that was Gibbs' cue to turn so he could see the Queen as well as her children. "Besides, there's no way you could get anything definitive from that knife seeing as how Jack pried it from her bloody chest." She looked so smug that Gibbs almost missed what she'd said.
"Who said Jack pulled the knife from Duchess' chest?"
Anger flared in her eyes as she looked at Gibbs as if he were a peasant addressing her. "What do you mean who said it? It's obvious since it wasn't found still in her."
"But I never told anyone I found the knife in her chest. The only one who'd know that would be me..."
"And her killer." Abby's words dripped with venom. "Those prints were fresh and not, as you would have us believe, old prints. You killed her."
"Don't be ridiculous. Jack babbled it to one of the guards when they came to see what the commotion was and they, in turn, told it to me." She smoothed an imaginary hair from her face nervously.
"Jack, did you say anything to the guards when they got there?" DiNozzo asked the blonde man, who was a picture of shock in the face of the news. He shook his head no, unable to form words. Instead, he stared blankly at his mother.
"Prove it." She sneered.
"McGee, show her what Jack shared with us on the memory viewer." Gibbs barked, a little too harshly, but McGee didn't flinch as he powered up the computer to show Jack's memory. The Queen sat impassively, no emotion whatsoever showing on her face. In fact, she sat as still as a stone in the face of her son's horror at finding his wife murdered. Gibbs glanced at Jack, who quickly wiped a tear from his face, unwilling to show the least amount of weakness in front of his mother. Abby wrapped her arms around him protectively and he turned his face into her shoulder to cry silently.
"I don't trust your nonsense machines. They aren't of Wonderland and neither are you so the tribunal is null."
"That is for me to say, your Majesty, not you. You want this proven by Wonderland statutes? Very well. Jack, would you be adverse to an Honesty tea?" Ducky retrieved a bottle of clear liquid from his bag as well as a small glass. Jack's eyes widened for a brief second before he caught on to what the older man was saying.
"Not at all, Doctor." Jack reached out for the glass and took it so Ducky could pour a small amount of the liquid into it. Jack downed it in one gulp and sat down to wait for the formula to work.
"Now, what is your name?" Ducky asked coldly.
"Jack Frederick Heart."
"Are you married?"
"I was married."
"What was your wife's name?"
"Duchess of Diamonds."
Ducky motioned for Gibbs to take over the questioning. Gibbs gave Abby's shoulder a reassuring squeeze, hoping she understood that he'd be as gentle as he could but that, really, he couldn't be all that gentle.
"What happened to your wife?" Gibbs verbally attacked.
"She was killed." Jack's voice was small and quiet but Gibbs continued his verbal assault.
"Did you kill your wife?"
"No! I came in from Wonderland House and found her dead. She had a knife sticking out of her chest and her eyes...her eyes were wide open..." Jack rambled.
"What did you do?" Gibbs kept himself in Jack's line of sight in case he wanted to open his eyes and see who was hitting him with the onslaught of questions.
"I took the knife out of her chest to see if that would help but I knew it wouldn't. So I called for my guards to come help."
Abby inhaled sharply at the sad and defeated tone to her brother's voice but she kept quiet. This was necessary if they were to get the Queen to admit her involvement.
"And the guards came..." Gibbs prompted to get Jack to continue talking.
"Yes, the guards came and I was sitting out in the hall. I couldn't handle seeing her...Duchess...I...was waiting in the hall when they started filing in, making notes and talking about her like she was a thing instead of my wife." Jack sniffled and sighed.
"Did you tell anyone what you'd found?" Gibbs pressed and Jack shook his head no. "Why not?"
"Nobody asked and I didn't want to volunteer too much until I had my wits about me. I went into the other room to wait for the constable in charge to question me but I heard them talking. They were saying that I was their only suspect as there wasn't any evidence that anyone had broken in. So I ran."
"Where did you go?"
"To the only person I knew I could trust to always help me. I went to Aceline." Jack looked at his sister lovingly as she handed him a bottle of water to help dilute the effects of the tea. Abby looked at Gibbs, silently asking him if he was done.
"You did good, Jack." Gibbs leaned close to the younger man and gave him an encouraging pat on the shoulder.
"It's your turn, Majesty. We have your son's testimony so now we need yours so I can render a verdict." Ducky's voice was deadly calm as he glared at the red-headed woman standing apart from the group, who had condensed around Jack and Abby protectively.
"And if I refuse?"
"I will be forced to rule you guilty by omission of facts. If you have nothing to hide then simply drink the tea and tell us your side of things." Ducky moved towards the Queen, each movement an exercise in stealth and careful deliberation.
The Queen stood apart from the group of seven and glared at them, her gaze seemingly trying to scare them off but failing miserably; she wasn’t dealing with her usual subjects. Gibbs joined Ducky in advancing slowly on the aging monarch as she backed away from them. Her face betrayed the moment she knew she was defeated.
"It was my right to have vengeance on the little traitor. She'd pledged herself into my service and what did she do? She turned on me in a split second thanks to a few well placed lovey-dovey glances from Prince Charming there." She spat the words at them as if they burned her mouth to utter. "And then he sent me, the Queen of Hearts, into exile. I swore that, as soon as the opportunity presented itself, I'd have my revenge on the both of them."
"One of the Clubs was your spy. That's why he practically never left my side and, if he did, he would shadow Duchess wherever she went." Jack stood up and advanced on his retreating mother.
"The Clubs are loyal to me, all of them." She was proud to the end.
"Then they can consider themselves an endangered suit." It was Ducky's turn to speak again. "It is my decision, as representative of the White Rabbit, that you, Mary Elizabeth Constance Devillias Heart, former Queen of Wonderland, are guilty of the murder of the Duchess of Diamonds, wife to the rightful King of Wonderland and, therefore a member of the Royal family. As such, your sentence is death."
"And since the majority of Wonderland most likely still thinks that you died in exile, I won't hesitate to have your death sentence fulfilled." Jack's voice was as cold as his mother's had been when she'd sentenced first Abby and later himself to death.
"Tony, make sure everybody gets back to where we were earlier. Ducky, you can stay here if you'd like..." Gibbs' voice was completely calm, proving exactly how lethal he was at that moment.
"I have to witness..." Ducky let his voice trail off. "Jack, why don't you make sure the rest of our party doesn't get lost on their way back. You children don't need to see this." He whispered to Abby and Jack.
The siblings looked at their mother, who was looking at them as if she expected them to come to her aid. But they ignored her silent pleas, instead offering their assistance to McGee, Ziva, and Tony in packing up their gear before walking silently out of the main room. They didn't stop until they were out of the building but not even distance muffled the sound of the gunshot that made them all flinch.
Jack stood in front of his sister and watched her intently, memorizing her face in case they never saw each other again.
"Don't be silly. I expect you to keep in touch this time." Abby's voice teased gently. He'd forgotten her particular gift.
"I will. I promise. Thank you so much, Abigail. I quite literally owe you my life." Jack wrapped his arms around his sister and hugged her tightly. "You'll always be Lina in my heart." He whispered just loud enough for only her to hear.
"It wasn't just me, you know. I happen to work with the best of the best." Abby bragged on her friends.
"That you do. Thank you all. You are heroes of Wonderland and will be celebrated as such." Jack smiled and shook Tony's outstretched hand.
"Celebrated as heroes...is there a ceremony involved because..." Tony's insinuations were interrupted by a sudden slap to the back of his head courtesy of Gibbs, who'd snuck in on them all. "Right, boss, not the point. Jack, glad we could help."
Jack smiled and moved on to shake McGee's hand. "I trust you will look after Abby for me, Timothy? I believe you have quite the relationship with my sister." Jack teased as McGee turned red and shook his hand. Jack kissed Ziva's hand and thanked her.
"Your Majesty." Ducky stood at attention before the monarch.
"Doctor Mallard...Ducky, I believe is what your friends call you, if I may?" Ducky nodded. "Good. You have done your family proud and have restored my faith in the White Rabbit. There's no way I could convince you to help me restart the organization, could I?"
"I'm afraid not. I'm quite happy as a doctor and I'm afraid this lot would be lost without me to interpret the dead for them." Ducky smiled back at his friends before bowing to Jack.
"Special Agent Gibbs, thank you for taking us at our word and coming here. I don't envy Ducky the interrogation you've in store for him when you get back. I know my sister is being well looked after and taken care of. You know what it's like to lose a loved one...and no, she didn't say anything. I can see a similar sadness in your eyes." Jack sounded sad and Gibbs couldn't help but nod his head yes.
"You know how to reach us if we can be of assistance again but I hope we won't be." Gibbs mused as the two men shook hands before Jack moved back to his sister.
"You have quite the new family. I envy you that."
"Hey we're still family. Just think of them as an extended family. We never had that, did we?" Abby fought to keep from crying but the tears slid down her cheeks traitorously. "Be safe, my sweet little brother. Are you sure you don't want me to stay for the funeral? Because I can. Right, Gibbs? I can stay for the funeral if I need to?" Abby looked at her boss expectantly and Gibbs couldn't help but agree with her.
"You have a life there that you need to get back to. Which reminds me...do I need to reset the portal to put you back in time enough so you don't arouse suspicion?" Jack reluctantly moved from his sister's embrace to the control panel next to the Looking Glass. He saw that the return controls were still set for a return time of an hour after their last departure. There was nothing left to help Jack stall. He motioned for Ducky to go through first, followed by Ziva, McGee, Tony, and Gibbs. Abby was the last to move towards the portal.
"Jack Heart, King of Wonderland. I am so very proud of you." Abby whispered as she blew him a kiss before walking through the portal and back to her semi-normal life.