Title: From Desert to Sea
Feedback address: email@example.com
Date in Calendar: 4 December 2009 (happy birthday to yoooooouuuuuuu!)
Fandom: CSI: Miami / NCIS / LWM
Pairing: OT4 baby! (Natalia Boa Vista/ Ziva David/ Calleigh Duquesne/ Abby Sciuto)
Series: Light, Water, Muses
Word Count: 3450
Summary: The pack of four arrive in the place that will be their forever home.
Warnings: Not this time!
Advertisement: Part of the FSAC:DW09
Disclaimer: "CSI: Miami," the characters, and situations depicted are the property of Jerry Bruckheimer Television, Alliance Atlantis, Touchstone Television, The American Travelers, and CBS Productions. This piece of fan fiction was created for entertainment not monetary purposes. Previously unrecognized characters and places, and this story, are copyrighted to the author. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author. This site is in no way affiliated with "CSI: Miami," CBS, or any representatives of the actors.
"NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Services," the characters, and situations depicted are the property of Belisarius Productions, Paramount Network Television Productions, Paramount Television, and CBS Television. This piece of fan fiction was created for entertainment not monetary purposes. Previously unrecognized characters and places, and this story, are copyrighted to the author. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author. This site is in no way affiliated with " NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Services," CBS, or any representatives of the actors.
Authorís Disclaimer: All original characters belong to ShatterStorm Productions and are the creations of A. Magiluna Stormwriter and Shatterpath. They also belong in the Light, Water, Muses universe.
Authorís Notes: I got to use not just Spanish in this one, but Hebrew too! Woo hoo!
Dedication: To the muses. We'd be nowhere without them. And to Spotty, the best friend anyone could ever ask for. Happy 40th, love ya!
++ Horatio Caine ++
Today is an ordinary day in Miami. Calm and cool and quiet with the bulk of the tourists home for the coming holidays and the snowbirds are settled in their winter nests.
It is a Thursday, an ordinary day. And yet, something extraordinary is happening.
Today, my team is coming back together as the family we are meant to be. Today, my lost friends and coworkers and such vital parts of who I am are returning.
Right on cue, Calleigh melts from the crowd, looking around with urgency. Even as I raise my hand to signal her, the earthy green eyes find myself and Alexx and she lights up with delight.
If she hadn't instigated the hug, I would have. "It's good to see you guys," she whispers clinging to both Alexx and I until our skulls clonk lightly together.
"Likewise Calleigh. We've been excited since getting your phone call."
With a happy sound, Natalia adds her weight to the group hug, making us all laugh. While the women chatter happily at each other, I notice the sinuous movements of a swarthy woman, average height and slender of stature, graceful as a cat.
And just as deadly.
Her dark eyes watch our group like an alert predator, her body language liquidly tense with focus. This, of course, is Ziva David. She flinches lightly at the fumbling presence of a tall woman, wildly dressed and burdened with bags, but the inky gaze does not waver from mine.
Respectfully, I nod in acknowledgement of her presence, drawing Natalia's eye to follow mine. "That's her," she says quietly and I can see her mouth quirk in an adoring smile for the dark woman.
++ Calleigh ++
While I'm not surprised to see that Horatio and Alexx have come to greet us personally, I'm still thrilled. Nat's peel of delighted laughter makes all of us look over to a bemused Ziva and grinning Abby.
"You sound like Eric," Nat giggles and gestures for the rest of our pack to come over for introductions.
"Outside," I demand imperiously, not allowing anyone to get chatty. Ziva doesn't need any extra stress on her right now. Learning this new city will be stressful enough.
Sharing a glance with Natalia, I see the longing reflecting there, the need for this damp, familiar place. Even the cool and stormy weather feels like home.
"I'll take care of the bags," Abby grins and holds up an imperious hand. She really does Sherpa too much for our group as it is. "No arguments. You three go get some real east coast air in your lungs. I'll join you soon." Kissing my nose, she flounces off into the crowd, leaving me to make a mental note to give her a proper thank you later.
Then we crowd out into the thick air and gratefully breathe in home. Ziva makes me smile, taking one of my hands, anchoring me once more to the soul of the pack, the bond she shares with Nat. As though on cue, lightning flashes in the distance, followed by a growl of thunder.
"Welcome home," Ziva grins ferally, pulling our bodies close to her as we watch the grumbling sky.
++ Alexx Woods ++
Now, I've known Calleigh and Natalia both since they were the new kids. I have a pretty good grasp on who they are, especially Calleigh. After nearly ten years, I should hope so!
But this person that she's become has changed fundamentally and I don't mean the obvious bond with these women. What has changed in her place in the world and the way she interacts with the energies around her. Formidable before, this small woman will be a force of nature now.
Natalia too is a different person now, self-assured in a way I have never seen before, her body language a dance with the dark stranger wedged in between the bodies of the pair of women I've known for years.
And aren't we all just curious as a pack of cats about Agent David!
She's a looker, that much is obvious, but beneath that is an otherworldliness that goes deeper than her exotic accent. Swarthier than Natalia's Puerto Rican good looks, though not as dark as myself, Ziva looks could be mistaken as South American instead of Israeli.
Dark, alert eyes catch mine, framed by a deceptively sweet baby face. For a moment, Ziva doesn't do more than eye me the way a zoo animal behind bars regards the tourists. Then, a mere moment before that probing gaze would make me uncomfortable, the corner of her mouth quirks into a sly grin.
I do believe that I'm going to like this new woman.
The silent conversation is interrupted by the flurry of energy that is Abigail Sciuto. "Everything's ready to go guys! Bags'll be dropped off once the hirelings find them. Time to go see that bitchin' crib you've been mooning over, Nattie."
The unexpected makes Horatio swallow a chuckle the same way I must and her green eyes, so similar to Calleigh's, focus on us.
++ Abby ++
For some odd reason, the tall red head reminds me of Ducky. Oh sure, no one could be the Duckster, but I'll take any hint of familiarity that I can get. All this moving around is nerve-wracking. When Natalia does introductions, I'm thrilled that the ginger man is the infamous H and his gentle companion the revered Alexx.
So I do my best to ramble happily at them while we head for whatever transportation awaits us. Access to a new lab has me giddy and I really want to see this city in the top five before this year is over.
It takes a bit to realize that critiquing the lab might be presumptuous.
"I think," Horatio says gently, "that you'll have a more difficult time working with such a large staff more than improving our success rate. Your reputation precedes you, after all. Both of you. There's a very annoyed and effusive NCIS director whom I've spent several long phone calls with."
Both Ziva and I giggle imaging said conversations with Director Shepherd. We know she's still upset over her entire A-team bailing on her with little notice, even though she understands why.
The car is a hulking Hummer that makes Ziva mutter almost soundlessly, "machismo."
We all laugh at that.
"You'll appreciate them once you have to drive to some godforsaken corner of the everglades," Horatio chuckles as we all pile in.
"Do you have time for a nickel tour?" I beg him as I loop an arm around Calleigh's shoulders so that she can relax into my larger body as best as seatbelts will allow.
"Until duty calls."
++ Ziva ++
The tour is mercifully brief, landmarks pointed out as we race along street and freeway to our destination. Amidst the stormy landscape, the familiar Atlantic Ocean is churned up in a white capped frenzy. Uncharacteristically, I make no note of where exactly we are going, trusting my packmates and exhausted by their energy.
Closing my eyes, I rest my head on my Guide's shoulder, drinking her sweetness and strength. "You'll like it here," she murmurs gently for my ears alone. "This city is unique because of geography and population. It can be terrifying as a hurricane or balmy as a sunbeam, but it is never boring."
"You have missed it."
"I have," Natalia smiles and kisses me on the nose, between my relaxed eyes. "It will be even better with you here now."
Like a smart mate, I do not argue with her.
I've nearly dozed off, at ease with these strangers my packmates trust so implicitly, when the transmission shifts to park and the engine dies.
"Welcome home," Natalia whispers, leading me into the chilly afternoon with her hand in mine. It is a quiet, suburban street of cute homes, heavily planted with trees that sway in the wind.
"It's as ready for you as it can possibly be," Alexx says and we all relish her smile. "We put it to rights as best we could. Now, go make it a home. We'll see you over the weekend to catch up, okay?"
Abby and I retrieve our carryon bags while the others hug and speak together for long moments. Then Horatio drops a ring of shiny keys into Natalia's hand and we four face the sweet little house.
"It will be strange to live among so many people again, after the quiet of the desert." I muse, feeling the presence of so many strangers keenly against my sensitive perceptions.
"It will," Calleigh agrees.
++ Natalia ++
Almost seven months ago I locked this door for what may have been the final time. As the lock snicks open and the door opens beneath my hand, I'm assaulted by how familiar and how utterly strange this place is now.
It's dim inside and I reach out without looking to punch in my numbers into the security system and click on the built in lamps, flooding the foyer and living room with light. To my immeasurable relief, the place looks nothing like I left it, all the tarps and protective trappings gone. Aside from being model-house sterile, everything is just as when it was home.
"It's cute," Abby comments matter-of-factly, her voice loud in the quiet and she shoves us all in and locks up before striding confidently into my old space. "Couch is too small though." It's a perfectly nice couch and she grins wickedly at my puzzlement. "To small for foursome cuddling, baby girl! We'll have to go shopping this weekend before getting back to the investigative grind."
Calleigh follows Abby quietly and Ziva pulls me along in their wake. Through their eyes, I see this house for the first time, each corner and window and piece of furniture. We hash out a few changes that will be needed to accommodate our numbers, ending with Abby's wry comment. "Only two bedrooms? We're gonna be crowded chickies."
"Wait, I forgot," I perk up and herd them towards the sliding door that leads to the backyard. "If you can brave the drizzle, let me show you."
"A pool!" Abby squeals and I have to laugh.
"This is Miami, Abs. Trust me that a pool is a near necessity. There it is."
When I worked with the contractor from so many hundreds of miles away, I knew it was a gamble. Luckily, I rolled a lucky number and the structure blends in perfectly with the property and the surrounding neighborhood. Oh, I'm going to miss that over-wooded corner, but it will be worth it.
"What is it?" Ziva asks, accepting the key I hold out.
"A bonus room. After all, we're a big family now and need more space."
++ Calleigh ++
To our group delight, the structure is like a grown-up playhouse, painted a soft palette of colors that blend with the jungly backyard and every window festooned with planting boxes. Inside is a completely finished space with slate floors, central A/C and a tiny wet bar. The oversized French doors overlook the pool and the back of the house.
"It's nearly four hundred square feet," Nat muses as we fan over the space. "Gives us a bonus room for office space or a workout space or whatever. This was as big as the contractor thought he could go. I think he was right. It's one of those shed kits, believe it or not and I had him finish it out like it was a house. Did a nice job, too."
"I'll say," Abby enthuses. "If we plan it right, this can be a multi-purpose space. Awesome. Thanks Nat, for thinking about us."
Natalia gracefully accepts Abby's hug and sweet kisses, giggling when we turn it into a dogpile of a group cuddle, there in the middle of this spectacular surprise.
We while away the rest of Thursday going through the things we had shipped ahead, starting the process of getting our lives in order. Abby makes a massive grocery order online and we'll be grateful for some food in the house. Thankfully, Nat's favorite Thai place is still in business and stocks us up with plenty of good eating for the night.
We're a quiet bunch, sprawled out in front of the television watching Star Wars, of all the odd things. Despite Abby's predictions, we've managed to all squeeze onto the couch, though it's not the most comfortable of cuddles. Ziva took the corner furthest from the floor lamp and Natalia is mostly draped all over her, while I do the same to Abby, my shoulder and head resting on Nat.
I'm asleep before Luke has left his desert world for galactic adventure.
++ Abby ++
It's always weird to wake up in a new place, especially since I've never done much traveling. Thankfully, the familiar group dogpile leads to some morning calisthenics, cut short by the arrival of a ridiculous amount of groceries. Then we went shopping for a few key pieces of furniture that turned into a wandering tour of this new home.
When Calleigh spots the couch, tapping me to point it out in a shop window, my squeal is not feigned. The employee looks bemused as I rush in to throw myself on the sleek sculpture of creamy off-white leather. Only Nat looks like she needs convincing, so I yank her down onto the cushy surface and expertly twist to straddle her smaller body, pressing her deep into the leather. "See? Not too firm, not too soft and can handle at least four, 'specially since we're friendly-like." Despite the public place, Nat smiles faintly, holding my gaze with her own. "Now, if it were up to me, I'd want it in jet black, or a hooker red, but we can accessorize." My queeny lisp makes Nat smile wider and I know the sweet couch is ours.
We scandalize one clerk and amuse the hell out of the other with a few hot kisses, Nat's hands looped carelessly into my belt, half caressing my ass. Chuckling at the antics, our packmates get delivery and payment set up before we're outside again where it looks like the storm is breaking up.
As shafts of liquidy-looking sunshine appear and disappear over our new city, I have to muse thoughtfully. "Y'know, I'm not the biggest fan of the sun, but I see the appeal of it being out most of the year."
Their smiles are agreement enough.
++ Calleigh ++
When I left here, I honestly believed that it was for good.
Because of that, the very familiarity of the place feels strange; the faces like those I knew in another life. They look shocked as I smile tentatively and welcome their various types of hellos. Max is the funniest, as she lights up like a firecracker and very carefully sets aside what she's working on to race out and pounce on Nat and myself both.
"Horatio told us you guys were actually coming back," she gushes, "but I think we thought it was all some sort of joke!"
"No, no," Nat reassures her with a chuckle. "It's all true. Max, this is the rest of the gang, Ziva David and Abby Sciuto. Guys, this is our best DNA tech, Max Valera."
Considering how much Max hated Nat after the whole 'mole' ugliness, it's heartening to see this open display of teammanship.
"Beautiful name, David," Max compliments Ziva, shaking her hand and carefully rolling out the exotic 'dah-veed'.
"Thank you, Max. I'm looking forward to working with such a big staff."
"You guys were NCIS out of DC, right? I've read some of your work, Abby. I look forward to your expertise on some of the weirdness we get in here."
And just like that, we've lost Abby for a bit as she stands with Max at the glass wall of the DNA lab and talks shop. The detective part of my brain is grateful that Abby makes no move to go inside, since we're not actually on the clock right now.
And I'm shocked at how reluctant I am to see him.
++ Natalia ++
Standing close to Ziva's back, I touch the side of my skull to hers and slip a hand to rest on her hip. There was no perceptible tension in her lithe frame, but she relaxes minutely anyway. The power I hold over this woman never ceases to humble me.
Eric is a grinning idiot, with eyes only for Calleigh as he trots over and scoops her into a bear hug. I don't need to have Ziva's enhanced senses to see that she's faintly uncomfortable with him, but we stay where we are.
Even as Ziva growls faintly under her breath at this lumbering boy/man.
"It's gonna be so great having you back," Eric gushes as he sets Calleigh down and the tableau suddenly goes still and cool as he finally takes note of Ziva and I. The smart but often immature brain behind the boyishly handsome face processes the slim stranger watching him like a hawk, my easy touch on her body.
When Calleigh offers names, Ziva nods politely but does not offer a hand. Bemused by the unspoken threat in this new woman, Eric retreats, leaving our pack amused and a bit uncomfortable.
"Really, Natalia," Ziva questions me archly and I have the grace to be embarrassed.
"Hey, I never said he was a good choice," I defend myself weakly, secretly glad to get this particular piece of dirty laundry aired out hopefully for good. "Besides, I didn't have you then, Ahuvahti (my beloved)."
For a moment, Ziva continues to stare at me disbelievingly while I give her my best puppy dog eyes and the others giggle softly. Then Z rolls her eyes expressively and gestures that the tour should continue, taking my hand and smiling faintly.
We wander around for another half hour, taking in the layout and meeting up with coworkers. Our DC packmates marvel over the seemingly endless translucent walls, despite being warned that it was not just Las Vegas that had the decorating scheme. Ziva comments that she will feel like a fish in a glass and we refrain from correcting the small mistake.
++ Ziva ++
All in all, I like this new place. While this strange penchant for glass walls makes me feel exposed, they also allow me to keep an eye out on my surroundings. Even the holding cells have perforated metal walls, adding to the open feel. There have been a few strange looks regarding our tight-knit pack, obviously so much more than friends and I can only assume that Horatio and Alexx broke the news as best they could.
It doesn't matter even if they all hated us for our unusual love. Together we are strong enough to survive anything, even my dark past. Part of me still marvels at the freedom President Bartlet bartered for me, cumulating in a phone call from my father, cutting me loose from the Mossad with no strings attached.
I cannot help but wonder what Bartlet told him.
That freedom is a weight from my shoulders that makes me lightheaded sometimes. Oh, I will forever look over my shoulder and wait for the other sock to drop, but those are habits I cannot and will not unlearn.
After a brief stop to see Horatio, we're off to the morgue to speak with Alexx as well. It smells faintly different than Ducky's space in Washington, just as the Las Vegas labs did. I don't participate in the conversation, skulking about the pristine space, taking in the smells and sounds and sights. This visit to allow me to imprint this place was an excellent idea and I will have to thank Calleigh properly for her insistence.
And I must thank Abby for that lovely couch that will be so much fun!
And Natalia for sharing her home and for just being her.
Looking at the rest of my pack, chatting amiably with Alexx, I feel that almost suffocating adoration, so foreign and so intoxicating. Everything that I have learned or experienced, the good and the bad, led me to them, Calleigh and Abby nearly as much as my bonded Guide.
As though we share one mind, each of their lovely gazes come to mine and we know that it is time for us as a unit, away from all others, to once more bond in preparation for a very public life.
Bidding farewell to Alexx we retreat to the patchy sunlight and I breathe in this sultry place.
It feels good.
ONLY THE BEGINNING!