A/N: I do not own BtVS or NCIS, although I would like to...never mind. Please review, leave me your thoughts, i need the inspiration! thanks everyone, love xx shezzi!
Dawn climbed slowly off the bus, staring around the city wide eyed. She heaved her heavy duffle bag up on her shoulder, forcing herself to ignore the bruises that covered her body. She turned one way, then another, trying to orient herself. She set out walking, hoping she was going the right way.
Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs sat at his desk, listening with one ear to Tony and Ziva sniping at each other. Without a case to work, they were stuck sitting around the office doing paperwork, and they were all getting a bit antsy. "You two, go get some lunch. Bring me back some coffee," he ordered, sick of them arguing with each other.
"Yes Boss," they replied together, and quickly left. As they approached the front entrance, they heard raised voices.
"I have to see him," cried a frustrated, young, female voice.
"I'm sorry, miss, but I'm not allowed to let you in," replied the guard.
"I need to see Special Agent Leeroy Jethro Gibbs NOW!" Yelled the girl.
"What seems to be the problem, Sergeant?" asked Tony, surprising the young gate guard.
"This young woman has no ID, but insists that she has to speak to Special Agent Gibbs, sir," replied the young Marine.
"On what business?" asked Tony.
"That would be both personal and private," replied the disheveled young woman. She hoisted a heavy looking duffel bag higher on her shoulder. "I don't have any ID because I am only fifteen, therefore I don't have a drivers license. I don't have a passport, because I've never been overseas, and fifteen year olds generally don't require ID, at least not where I'm from." She glared around the group indiscriminately.
"We'll take it from here, sergeant," Tony decided. "You'll need to let us inspect your bag, and you'll have to step through the metal detector," he added, addressing the young woman directly for the first time.
"Well, then I should probably give you these now, huh," said the young woman, and pulled out not one or two, but five knives which had been hidden in various places on her person. "Careful, there's a pair of Sais, another dagger and several pointy wooden objects in there," she added as Tony stared at the knives in shock. Ziva picked one of them up, tested it for balance, then spun it on her fingertip.
"Very nice," she commented, setting it back down again. "But why would you be carrying so many weapons?" she asked, curious.
"Never hurts to be prepared," replied the girl with a shrug.
"Well, come with us," Tony lifted the girl's duffel and took her arm, and the girl reacted instantly, twisting his wrist to force him to release her arm, her other hand snapping up in a defensive posture. A second later she dropped his hand and shook her head slightly.
"I'm sorry, I don't like being touched," she apologized, her expression chagrined.
"That's all right," replied Tony, rubbing his wrist and eying the girl's arm where her sleeve had riden up, displaying vivid bruises. "Follow me, we'll take you up to see Gibbs." He smiled kindly and led the way into the building, Ziva walking next to and slightly behind the girl.
Ziva studied the young girl in front of her. She was clearly on edge, her posture one that showed readiness to either fight or run, Ziva could see her noting the exits, and flinching slightly whenever another person appeared, especially when it was a guy. They entered the lift, and the girl seemed to relax somewhat. They exited the lift at the bull pen and Tony led the way over to their desks, then gestured the girl in front of him. She stumbled slightly, her face nervous. She walked up to Gibbs' desk, stopping a couple of feet short. Gibbs was concentrating on some paperwork, squinting fiercely at the page as though hoping he could cause it to catch fire.
"Umm...Uncle Jethro?" the girl spoke softly, tentatively, but Gibbs snapped to attention, dropping the page on the desk. He jumped to his feet, staring.
"Dawnie?" he whispered, coming around the desk. "What are you doing here, honey?" He reached out and lifted Dawn's chin gently, staring into her eyes. A tear trickled down Dawn's cheek, and she started shaking. Gibbs took another step forwards and wrapped his arms around her, cupping the back of her head in one hand, and she buried her face against his chest, sobbing.
"What happened, Dawn?" asked Gibbs again, when her sobs slowed somewhat.
"Buffy...Buffy died, Uncle Jethro. She died, and Dad didn't come, and Giles had to leave, and the others...they...and I didn't know what to do, and you were the only one I could think of to go to...I'm sorry..." this was gulped out between sobs and gasps for breath, as Gibbs led her around the desk and sat her in his chair.
"Why didn't you call me, sweetheart?" Gibbs cupped Dawn's cheek in his palm, rubbing it gently with his thumb.
"I couldn't...I can't explain here, Uncle Jethro. It has to do with stuff," she said, finally beginning to calm down. "I got the bus here, it cost me all my money, and the trip took two days..."
"When was the last time you ate?" asked Gibbs, seeing the tremors that shook her hands. He knew he would get full answers tonight, when they were alone, so for now he concentrated on the practical stuff.
"Ummmm...I don't really remember...it was before I left, maybe some toast for breakfast?" Dawn searched her foggy memory, and Gibbs stared at her in horror.
"You haven't eaten in at least two days?" he shook his head in shock. "Tony, could you go and get Ducky, please?" he asked softly, turning to where Tony and Ziva stood, staring in amazement at himself and his niece.
"Can you get them to give me my knives back?" asked Dawn quietly.
"How many were you carrying?" asked Gibbs, raising an eyebrow.
"Ummm...five on me, my sais and a dagger in the bag..." Gibbs snorted, then chuckled.
"That's my girl," he whispered, ruffling her hair gently. She reached up to grab his hand, and her loose fitting sweater fell away from her wrist, displaying the bruises Tony had noticed earlier to public view. Gibbs grabbed her wrist, and pushed the sleeve up past her elbow, staring in horror at the bruises, some older, some fairly fresh, then raised his eyes to her face.
"It has to do with stuff," she told him softly. He nodded his understanding, allowing her use of their code phrase to allay his need for answers, at least temporarily.
Tony and Ziva rushed to the elevator, exchanging puzzled glances as they went. "Did you know Gibbs had a niece?" asked Ziva, once the doors had shut.
"I didn't even know he had a family, other than four ex wives," replied Tony, who was still reeling from this information. The elevator doors opened onto autopsy, and they hurried out, glancing around. "Ducky?" called Tony, not seeing the doctor.
"Anthony? Is something wrong?" called Ducky, sticking his head around the door at the other end of the room.
"Gibbs wants you in the bullpen, you'd better bring your black bag. You may have a live customer," Tony told him.
"What's going on?" asked Ducky, even as he grabbed his bag and led the way back to the elevator.
"A girl was at the front entrance, asking for Gibbs. Turns out she's his niece..."
Ducky interrupted "Dawn or Buffy?" he asked quickly.
"You knew he had family?" demanded Tony, staring at him in astonishment.
"They're his sister's girls," replied Ducky, shrugging. He refused to say anything else, waiting impatiently for the doors to open. He ran out into the bullpen and over to Gibb's desk, where Dawn sat, Gibbs holding her hand. "Dawn, luv, what are you doing here?" he knelt in front of her, looking into her face. "Where are Buffy and Ripper?"
"Buffy...Buffy's dead, Ducky. She died...and Giles was ordered back to England..." tears ran freely down Dawn's face, and Ducky sighed sadly.
"She hasn't had anything to eat for at least two days, possibly longer." Gibbs' concern was obvious. Ducky met his eyes, his questions obvious. "It has to do with 'stuff'," he told him, and Ducky nodded his understanding.
"Let's have a look at you," he told Dawn, pulling out his stethoscope. "Can you take off your sweater?" he asked. Dawn looked slightly embarrassed, then started to slowly slip it off. She winced when she was forced to raise her arm, but bit her lip and continued. When she finally got it over her head, the group stared at her, expressions of horror plastered on their faces. Every inch of skin, except for her face and neck, was mottled in color from yellow to purple.
"I'd like for you to come for dinner with us tonight," Gibbs told Ducky, when they had recovered slightly from their shock.
"Dawn, I have one question," said Ducky, knowing he would be getting full answers that night. "Why don't you have any bruises on your face or neck?"
"Oh, they're there," Dawn replied, shrugging her shoulder slightly. "Just with a couple of pounds of cover up, you can't see them."
"Who did this?" asked Tony suddenly, and Dawn stiffened at the reminder of their extended audience. Her eyes flew to her uncle, pleading with him to take care of this for now.
"It's being handled, Tony," Gibbs told him, his tone slightly cold. Tony blinked in surprise, exchanging a glance with Ziva, who shrugged, but thought that it was how she would have reacted in the same situation.
"Thank you," whispered Dawn, her eyes filled with gratitude.