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It had been hours. In all the time DiNozzo had been working on Gibbs' team, he had never seen anything like it. For the first two hours DiNozzo and Ziva had the observation room to themselves, McGee had turned up during the third hour, curious as to what was taking so long. Abby and Ducky materialised during the forth hour, having heard through the office grapevine something was up. (No workplace spread rumours as quickly as one full of people trained in surveillance techniques).

The Director had appeared just as the fifth hour was starting, and the atmosphere in the observation room got considerably chillier. DiNozzo knew that he was not the only one to feel that it was one thing for the team to see this, quite another for the boss. Nevertheless he gave her a polite nod of greeting �" she was after all the boss (although not The Boss) . In fact Abby was the only one not to acknowledge her presence, Abby not being one to quickly forgive little things like dress code enforcement and Chip.

DiNozzo watched as the Director acknowledged Abby's snub, and then turned his attention back to the scene in the interrogation room where, to his amazement Gibbs was showing signs of wear.

"Let's start this again. You're over here in Washington DC on an educational trip with a party from your school."

"Yeah." The monosyllabic answer was grudgingly given.

"You and your friends wandered away from the main party when you were approached by Lt Barker."

"Might have done."

"I'm going to need a better answer than that. Don't you realise how much trouble you could be in if you don't cooperate."

"Do I look bothered?"

"Lauren, do not start this again."

"Look at my face, does it look bothered?"

"All you have to do is answer the question."

"Not bothered."

"Lauren."

"Not. Bothered. Face. Not bothered."

"Lauren."

"I. Am. Not. Bothered."

"Surely your parents would encourage you to co-operate."

"Are you bringing my parents into this? Are you disrespecting my parents?"

"No! I'm sure your parents are perfectly respectable people."

"Are you calling my Mum a prostitute?"

"No!"

"Are you a paedophile?"

 

The team watched in amazed disbelief as Gibbs retreated from the interrogation defeated. He came into the observation room and paused as his took in everyone gathered there.

"She's not going to give us anything."

"Maybe I could…"

"She's a British Citizen Ziva, a schoolgirl on an educational holiday, who is not a suspect but a witness. Do you honestly think that would be a good idea?" Ziva scowled but made no reply, and Director Shepperd stepped forward.

"We need to know what happened, but we have located one of her friends. I've had her put in interrogation room 2. She's all yours Gibbs."

"OK. Let's just hope she's more talkative than this one. What's her name?"

Director Shepperd consulted the file she was holding.

"Vicky Pollard."