Where in the World is Vivian Blackadder?

By: lila-blue

EMAIL: delilah_miranda@yahoo.com

 

A somewhat AU ep-tag for episodes "Ice Queen" and "Meltdown". Gibbs/DiNozzo but only very gently.



"Who’s Vivian Blackadder?"

It’s not one of those trick questions Kate tries to fox me into … she’s sincerely puzzled, hands on hips, teeth worrying her lower lip, looking for the world like she’s forgotten she had an appointment or has lost her car keys.

"Why are you asking?"

Hey, I can be obtuse when necessary. It’s not true I can’t help telling everything I know. That’s just a nasty office stereotype. DiNozzo: the one who can’t keep his mouth shut. It’s like Gibbs’ stoic reputation when the man is really … well, in private, the man is a veritable font of … non-stoicism.

Besides, if I were truly the kind that couldn’t keep my mouth shut, I’d tell her that Vivian Blackadder was responsible for turning my whole fucking world inside-out, not to mention upside-down and slightly skewed to the side.

"I found her sixty-day personnel review stuck in the back of my desk drawer."

Viv Blackadder’s sixty-day review? Like I’m going to pass that up?

Not that this doesn’t call for a light touch. A bit of unconcerned disinterest. "Really? What does it say?"

Kate looks around, standing on her tiptoes in Gibbs-search. She worries about propriety.

"From Gibbs I would call it high praise."

Surprise. Surprise. That’s because there’s always a new darling who hasn’t had time to disappoint yet. That’s what I really … and after two years I mean *really*… want to say. I want to share how it’s felt for over twenty-four solid months to play the perpetual second fiddle to a series of smart up-and-comers with advanced degrees and fed-time already put in. I used to wonder why I was still here– some dufus cop from Baltimore. Okay, sometimes I still wonder how I remain employed … except I haven’t screwed up the Big One … yet.

"She was here a few months in ’02/’03."

"Okay." Kate performs another surveillance check. "Where is she *now*?"

"Got her hidden up in a closet on the next floor."

I get one of Kate’s patented Tony-get-serious looks.

Okay. I have other answers.

"She’s back investing in her dry cleaning bill." There’s no really polite way to explain it. "Gibbs kicked her back to the FBI."

Well, I leave out the "her butt" part. That’s polite, right?

"What did she do?"

What did Viv do? Blew a very important anti-terrorism op. Caused Gibbs to receive a life-threatening head injury. Made me realize "bi" was too hetero a definition of my … preferences. Oh, the girl did a lot of things.

"She screwed up a takedown of a suspected terrorist. They made us."

"Because of her," deduces Kate.

"Yep."

Kate bites her lip again, clearly living some vicarious sisterhood with a woman she only knows by name and the tale of one screw up.

I’ve watched four people pass through that position. Four up-and-coming wunderkinds who were up-and-gone before I even got used to them. Kate, I’m beginning to think, just might be the keeper.

This is not, however, a thought I’m planning on sharing.

And worrying about the Big One will do Todd some good.

Christ, Vivian Blackadder.

I should call and thank her for the worst COD ride of my life.

The thing to understand is that a furious Gibbs is, actually, a quiet one. If he’s yelling you still have reason to believe you are going to remain employed. But silence: silence is deadly.

And he had, of course, neglected to share that the blast from the grenade our little terrorist buddy dropped before Gibbs took him out had sent him headfirst down the boat’s steep, metal stairs. Don’t think even he knew he’d been seriously injured. Shock will do that to you.

Anger will do it even better.

Besides, it wasn’t like anybody was in the mood for conversation and, hell, Gibbs always said he could sleep anywhere, which is true. So a dead-to-the-world Gibbs, mid-COD, wasn’t abnormal.

I remember Viv kept her gaze straight ahead as if she was already mentally revamping her work wardrobe.

We were halfway back to Norfolk before I clued to the fact that Gibbs was sheened with sweat … in the frigid metal belly of a C-2A. Shaking him only got me a weak moan of protest. Checking his carotid netted me a tachy beat and a palmful of clammy perspiration.

Viv only came alive at my succinctly muttered "fuck," blinking as if she hadn’t been in this reality at all in an hour or so. To my slightly panicked report on the current state of our boss, our normally loquacious ex-FBI agent was reduced to muttering a Gibbs-like smonosyllabic "Huh?"

All this while, I was ghosting my hands over Gibbs’ scalp and finding an ominous swelling at the back of his skull. I wrested Gibbs out of the swinging seat and into my arms, settling on the metal floor, hoping I could at least steady him against the jolts of turbulence bumping us up and down in our airborne roller coaster. I yelled at Viv to tell the pilots we had to set down.

Of course, you can’t set down in the middle of the Atlantic.

Felt like my butt would freeze to the floor but at least I had him somewhat secured. Not much else I could do. If he was bleeding, and I was pretty sure he was, it was subdural or intercranial, inside the skull.

So I sat there, and told him to hang on, and wrapped him in the stiff cargo pads the crew offered to try to keep him warm.

When we finally touched down and the medics came to take him, I was so cold I couldn’t get up. Viv stood off by herself and stared at me. Finally, I hoisted myself up by clawing at a cargo container.

Yep. Worst fucking COD ride of my life.

Rated pretty highly on the nightmare-waiting-in-ER scale too.

Linear skull fracture with associated subdural hematoma. Even Gibbs’ hard head was no match for a grenade and a flight of steel risers.

Apparently, Ducky had been filled-in as to the cause of Gibbs’ injuries, because by the time he got there, Vivian was willing to forsake her consistent protestations concerning Ducky’s age and swoon right into his arms.

He didn’t catch her.

Which, anywhere but under the surreal blue-white lighting of the Norfolk base hospital, would have been worth a good laugh.

Think she didn’t stick around to catch the OR report, which Ducky craftily distilled into something that made trekking into the ICU and seeing Gibbs with a damned probe sticking out of the side of his half-shaved head almost bearable. A probe that I stared at for twenty-eight hours and forty-two minutes before Gibbs opened slitted eyes in response to a nurse’s neuro check and tried to say something. Which moved him to a ten on the Glascow Coma Scale. At thirteen we made it to "confused verbal response" which is how I learned …

Well, let’s just say that’s where I found out that Gibbs and I share a very … physical … appreciation of each other’s form.

Although maybe not when Gibbs’ form is found lurking immediately behind me while I’m perusing Vivian Blackadder’s personnel review.

And particularly not when Kate has managed to spontaneously transport herself eight feet away and is innocently looking through her files.

The review is removed from my hands and folded precisely four times, edges flush, folds thumbnailed into straight military precision.

"Uh … boss. I, uh … see, Kate …"

I get the brown-eyed glare-of-death from across the aisle.

"…found this in her drawer and she brought to me since you weren’t here. She was turning it in. I shouldn’t have looked at it … I mean, Kate didn’t look at it."

The death-glare softens into a kind of affection.

"Yeah, I bet," murmurs Gibbs under his breath.

In moving around me, he unobtrusively palms my ass and gives it a little scrunch. Then he turns just enough to whisper what Kate undoubtedly assumes are deprecations into my ear.

"You know we owe her one, really ought to send her a check to help with that dry cleaning bill."

The scrunch is a promise of things to come … and saving Kate’s ass from the fire may get me out of typing for a week.

Vivian Blackadder?

I love the woman.


~end~

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