NCIS

Spencer Donovan McNabb is looking for the chance to get back into regular N.C.I.S agent case work, after serving as investigating agent aboard a Navy ship.

He's been called back to Washington, DC for a meeting with N.C.I.S Director Jenny Sheppard, not as he'd hoped about getting a gig in an office on dry land where he can be with his wife and their newborn baby boy.

He's about to be plunged into an undercover operation that will pit him against terrorists and arms dealers but also corrupt agents in an attempt to locate millions of dollars stolen from a top secret task force.

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2. A Less Than Ordinary Morning

9:17am September 11th, 2001

At Stuyvesant academy, the news of what was happening began to circulate.

 

Twins Max and Michael were seniors in high school the day it happened, they along with almost the whole student body and faculty had been gathered by the principal in the gym to watch the news on the tv's they wheeled in, they had all them all on ZNN.

 

The room was a mixture of the sounds of crying and the stunned silence of those who couldn't believe what they were seeing.

 

By the time they watched in horror as the first tower fell everyone was too shocked to say or do anything, the tears, the speculation and conspiracy theories about everything else that was happening across the United States had stopped.

 

The rumors that President Bush and the entire administration were dead, the fears the US had launched a nuclear response against multiple countries, that World War III had begun had all come to a stop, replaced by a deathly silence.

 

People had even stopped trying to phone their loved ones, their parents, husbands, wives and children who worked in the towers or the Pentagon or for one of the airlines.

 

Max and Michael weren't in school by that time, they had sneaked out flagged down a cab and were on their way downtown all the while desperately trying to get in touch with their mom who worked for a company with offices on the 57th floor of tower two.

 

The cab stopped several blocks away, nothing was getting through the NYPD barricades the whole of downtown was sealed off.

 

The moment they stepped outside the school building they could see the smoke billowing from where both towers had been hit, but as they jumped out of the cab and paid the driver they got their first really good look at the devastation.

 

Being unable to go anywhere, the cab driver Mohamed Salam turned off the engine and got out to see it up close he fell to his knees and began saying a silent prayer for all the people.

 

That's when the weight of what they were seeing hit Michaela and tears began to fall. She was rooted to the spot.

 

Max tried to force her sister to move, to run toward the towers, but then she was stopped in her tracks as a blood curdling scream from Michaela frightened her and as she pointed to the sky, Maxine didn’t want to look, she was gripped by fear, she knew Michael had always been the stronger one of the two of them emotionally, she knew anything that could have that effect on her sister might just break her.

 

She shouldn't have done, but she had to look; she had to see for herself what had caused Michael’s reaction. Almost immediately she wished she hadn’t, she wished she could unsee what she was looking at, but she couldn't and she couldn't take her eyes off it.

 

Tower two had almost completely collapsed and in her heart, she knew their mom had just died, that now the two of them were alone and the only real thing the two of them had left was each other. Maxine vowed right then that nothing would ever break them, nothing would ever tear them apart.

 

Maxine stood for a long time with her eyes closed so she didn't have to look at the hysterical Michaela, she had never seen her cry like that; not even at the funeral after their dad died.

 

Max had her fingers in her ears as well, so she didn't have to hear the sound of her twin crying. 

 

Maxine felt herself physically shaking and the fingers in her ears weren't doing their job of drowning out the sounds, not just her sister whose crying had now slowed down to a low sobbing and was being comforted by the cab driver.

 

The sounds of screams and sirens and a helicopter flying low somewhere overhead was for the most part stopping her from completely breaking down, but she was stuck totally lost for what she should do next. She couldn't think clearly, she just stood there absolutely horrified by what was happening around her, that morning had been so normal her and Michaela arguing over who got the bathroom first.

 

Michaela practically stood outside the whole time she was in there and her constant complaining that she had taken too long and she was still having to finish doing her hair and make-up in the car as mom drove them to school.

 

Then she thought she couldn't remember if she had kissed mom goodbye or even said goodbye or I love you before she drove away, she must have done; mom was a stickler for that she insisted that no matter what mood they were in they should part on friendly terms.

 

“You never know what the day will bring,” is what she always used to say, whether it’s just a goodbye or a kiss.

 

She couldn't remember if she had that morning and that is what broke her, “used to say, the thought hit like a kick to the gut, everything mom said or did, every memory she would have of her for the rest of her life, would be began with used to say, used to do.

 

Mom used to say, love you sweetheart before they went to bed at night. Mom used to cook them their favourite food to cheer them up, but that would never happen again.

 

The thought that everything that would happen to her, that she would do and achieve in the rest of her life her mom would not be there for any of it. High school and college graduation, her first day back at school teaching, or as an computer expert in an office or maybe if she went the sciences route as a forensics expert. Whatever career choices she would finally have chosen she would never have her mom there to see any of it.

 

Nor when she married Scott, if it was going to be Scott she settled down with, what about when she had babies of her own, it was inconceivable she would never get to tell her mom she was pregnant, that she wouldn't be there the day she gave birth or for all the calls she would make after that for advice.

 

She wouldn't even be there to punish her when she misbehaved, no more grounding her, docking her pocket money when she was a little girl or these days taking money she earned from either of her jobs to pay for it if she broke anything in their house.

 

No disapproving of Scotty or Snotty as she called him no matter how much she asked her not to.

 

The memory of her mom doing an impression of Scotty, "hello Mrs. Bourne, how are you Mrs. Bourne, you look lovely today Mrs. Bourne." Not that she was particularly keen on Ryan or Simon the only two boyfriends she’d had before Scott.

 

Her one moment of happy memories where spoiled as she thought about the two of them would never go to the theater together again to see all those Rom-com's they enjoyed so much, that she would never again watch E.R. or Law & Order again. 

 

Worse still the two of them would never watch Friends again, mom wouldn't be there for her to get annoyed with, like she had after the home made attempt to copy the latest Rachel hairstyle went so very wrong.

 

A million other memories of times spent with her mom and of the things she will never get to share with her in the future, ran through her mind and that’s what caused her to collapse to her knees and begin to cry so hard, she didn't know if she could ever stop.

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