A/N: First real episode! Go me! And now we have a definite NCIS time frame - this is set about halfway through season five. Hope you all enjoy! Thanks for reading, please review! love xx Shezzi
It was several days later and both Ziva and Elizabeth were somewhat sleep deprived. For the last two days they had been working a narcotics case at Pax River base, and the team were going to be serving a warrant today on the main suspect today, but Elizabeth was going to be spending her time with Abby instead.
The two of them had prepared the lab for the onslaught of evidence that was expected when the team got back, when they received a call to the basement. When they got there, they found McGee, who was rather heavily bandaged on his left arm and neck.
“McGee, what happened to you?” cried Abby, horrified.
“I got bitten by a dog,” replied McGee, wincing as Abby peeled the adhesive bandage off his neck to examine the injury.
What happened to the dog?” asked Abby, even as Elizabeth heard whining in the back of the car and opened the door to find a muzzled, hogtied dog, covered with a rather large amount of blood.
“He got shot,” McGee replied, indicating the animal Buffy had found.
“MCGEE!” shrieked Abby, even as she dropped to her knees and started to unbuckle the muzzle, then cut the plastic tie.
“Abby, be careful! That dog is vicious!”
“Oh, yeah, McGee, he seems really vicious,” agreed Elizabeth as the dog nuzzled her face. “Hey, boy, yeah, hello there.” She stroked his head; her face more relaxed than the other two had ever seen it.
“Who would shoot such a cute little dog?” asked Abby curiously, and McGee immediately went silent, his guilt clearly obvious.
The two of them took the dog up to the lab, snubbing McGee, and carefully took all the requisite samples before setting them to run and giving him a bath.
“There you go, boy, all nice and clean,” Buffy cooed to him, rubbing him gently behind the ears. She yawned, and stretched out on the floor, the dog whining slightly as he stretched out beside her, licking her cheek affectionately. His head dropped down on his legs as Buffy laid hers on her outstretched arm, and the two of them dropped off, Buffy’s hand burying itself in the scruff of the newly christened Jethro’s neck.
Gibbs came into the lab four hours later, and started to object to their shared positions, Elizabeth’s arm now draped over quickly quieting before Abby hushed him. “She’s been asleep for four hours, Gibbs. Keep it down.”
“The dog should be in the kennel, Abbey,” Gibbs told her sternly.
“As far as I can tell, Jethro is the only reason she’s still asleep. Every time she starts to have a nightmare…” just then, Elizabeth stirred, moaning slightly, and Jethro raised his head, whining softly, and nuzzled at her until she relaxed again, “he does that.”
“Abby, that dog fatally mauled his handler by severing his carotid artery, and you’re letting him lick a sleeping teenage girl on the face and neck? OUR sleeping teenage girl?”
“Jethro is innocent!” insisted Abby. “And this is the longest Lizzy’s slept all week, even when they’re at home, Gibbs, you can’t ask me to take him away now.”
Gibbs sighed, knowing that that was nothing but the unadulterated truth.
Just then Ziva came through the door, staring open mouthed at the sight before her even as Abby hushed her. “Come on, Ziva, he’s helped her sleep for the last four hours.”
“Of course he has. Wonderful, a killer dog is the only thing that can keep my sister from having nightmares.”
Just then, Elizabeth stirred, and pushed herself up on one elbow, stroking Jethro before she stretched. She wished again that she could talk to someone who actually knew what was supposed to happen to Slayers after they were deactivated through revival from death, because for the last few days her abilities had been taking her on a roller coaster ride. Her healing had amped up again, not quite to where it was before, but her bruises and ribs were now fully healed, something that, when she spoke to her father, he assured her was supposed to be impossible. Her strength had been waxing and waning, sometimes when she grabbed something she pulverized it, and sometimes she couldn’t even open a jar of peanut butter. It was making her even more exhausted, as at one moment she could have all the energy of the Slayer coursing through her, and the next it would just be gone, leaving her completely enervated.
Buffy had wanted to ring Giles and ask him, but her father had assured her that he would pursue the information and endeavor to discover what was going on. Until then, he told her just to sit tight and keep learning from her sister and the team.
“Elizabeth, please move away from the killer dog,” Ziva said, wincing as her sister snuggled against the animal, the dog’s head sitting right under hers.
“He’s not a killer,” the two girls said together, glaring at the agents.
“Yes, he is,” replied Gibbs firmly. “Duck has found all the evidence necessary to prove that petty officer Hanson was mauled by a large dog.”
“But not this dog!” insisted Abby. “There was human tissue in Jethro’s teeth, but it had hairs. It was from an arm, Jethro was trying to drag his owner to safety!”
“Abby!” exclaimed Gibbs in frustration.
“Jethro is innocent, Gibbs, and I’m going to prove it,” Abby snapped, angrily.
“Elizabeth, McGee wants you to help him keep going through the footage of the Pax River Five,” directed Gibbs.
Elizabeth groaned, but stood, giving Jethro one last pat and ordering him to stay in the lab as she walked out.
“In the kennel, Abby,” she heard Gibbs ordering as she made her way into the elevator.
In the lab, Ziva sighed. “It looks as though I am going to be getting a dog,” she said. “At least Sheppards are useful animals…and we have a big enough yard.”
“She can’t have this dog,” Gibbs told her, and Ziva nodded.
Two hours later, Elizabeth was back down in the lab, Jethro’s head in her lap as she thought. The council had considered her nothing more than an attack dog, to be pointed in the right direction and let loose until she was used up, and she hated the thought of an animal being used the same way, particularly a beautiful, smart one like Jethro. She felt so rested now, and she knew that that was because of him, because of how he somehow soothed her while she slept, keeping the nightmares at bay.
“Come on, Lizzy, we’re going to Pax River to prove Jethro’s innocence,” declared Abby, jumping up. “Quick!” The two of them scrambled down to the garage, Jethro following Buffy like an obedient puppy.
They drove quickly to the base, their NCIS IDs got them through the gates with not much more than a curious glance from the gate guard. They pulled up outside the suspects house, and as soon as Elizabeth opened the passenger side door to get out, Jethro took off up the hill.
“JETHRO!” the two shrieked, taking off up the hill after him. “JETHRO!” they dashed across the road, cutting off a pair of soldiers jogging.
“I’m Jethro!” one of them called after them, ogling Abby’s short schoolgirl skirt. Buffy kept up with Jethro easily, leaving Abby lagging behind. Jethro stopped suddenly and started scrabbling in the dirt.
Abby and Elizabeth’s phones started to ring at exactly the same time. Elizabeth pulled hers out and winced slightly at the name before opening it and holding it to her ear.
“ELISHEVA DAVID! WHERE ARE YOU?” shrieked Ziva. “WHAT WERE YOU THINKING? I was scared to death!” she switched languages and continued to berate her in Hebrew.
“Ziva…Ziva, I’m sorry,” Buffy said, wincing slightly. “Abby said to come with her, and I thought you knew, and…we’re at Pax River?”
“Do not move,” growled her sister, enunciating each word with an almost terrifying clarity. “I am on my way. Give the phone to Abby.”
“She’s talking to McGee right now,” replied Elizabeth, glancing at Abby, who had a righteously justified expression on her face. Moments later, it became obvious that Ziva had taken McGee’s phone, as Abby paled, and started to stammer an explanation that seemed to involve a great deal of use of the words ‘I didn’t think’.
Barely ten minutes later, a testament to Ziva’s terrifying driving, her sister was running up the hill towards them, trailed by the rest of the team. She grabbed Buffy in a hug, squeezing her incredibly tightly before she began to berate her again for her thoughtlessness, holding her at arms length as she gave vent to her fear.
Elizabeth allowed Ziva to yell at her, feeling guilty about causing her sister so much fear. She realized now how Ziva must have felt when she came looking for her only to find her gone; it wasn’t something she had considered when Abby asked her to come along.
“I’m sorry,” she said, when her sister finally finished, putting all of her emotion into those two words.
Ziva bit her lip and wrapped her sister in another tight hug. “Just do not ever do that to me again, okay?”
“I promise,” Buffy said, her honesty clear. The two of them then turned their attention to what the rest of the team were doing, and watched as Ducky finished unearthing a dog’s skeleton from the ground with all of the precision of an archeologist.
Tony moved up beside the two and Ziva moved off.
“Don’t do that again, kiddo,” he said quietly, intensely, and Elizabeth swallowed hard.
“I won’t, Tony. Now, why don’t you tell me how many movies Ziva’s reaction reminded you of?”
“None,” replied Tony flatly. “I never want to see her like that again.”
If Elizabeth hadn’t been feeling guilty enough about what she had thoughtlessly put her sister through, Tony’s attitude really drove it home. His complete lack of humour was something that rarely happened, something that Elizabeth had only seen once since she met him, when he was confronting her would-be kidnappers in Sunnydale. Shocked speechless, she simply nodded, and Tony gave a single sharp nod before moving away.
Ziva bundled Elizabeth into the car for the ride back to NCIS, and scowled but sent her back to Abby as she and Tony went to re-interview the flight crew. “Do not leave the building,” she ordered, and Elizabeth nodded, making her way back down to the lab, where Jethro greeted her excitedly, and Abby apologetically.
“Lizzy, I’m so sorry, I didn’t think, I didn’t want to get you in trouble!” the forensic scientist babbled. “That said, you should probably go…I don’t want to get you in trouble again…”
“What are you going to do?”
“Ummm…sealmyselfinthelabwithJethrotostopthemfromtakinghim?” she said in a single breath.
“Let’s do it. I won’t leave the lab, doesn’t mean I can’t push it a bit,” Buffy said, grinning slightly evilly.
The three of them made their way into the inner lab, and Abby quickly disabled the motion sensor and locked the door with the keypad.
Buffy sat at the computer, typing in strings of complicated code under Abby’s watchful gaze. The music blaring out of the stereo in the corner wasn’t particularly distracting to either of them, but unfortunately it was also not loud enough to drown out the sound of McGee pounding on the door.
“ABBY!” bellowed McGee, but the two girls remained fixed on the computer screen. “Elizabeth, don’t make me bring Ziva down here!”
That brought Buffy around from the computer, and she smirked at McGee in a most terrifying manner. “What? She told me not to leave the lab; I’m not leaving the lab. We have plenty of Caff-Pow, kibble, and clowny cakes – we’re good for three days, easy. Besides, she’s still at Pax River.” So saying, she turned up the music, patted Jethro, who was growling at the door, and went back to her computer, completely ignoring the renewed banging behind her.
Sometime later, Buffy was again lying on the floor by Jethro, playing with his ears. The dog looked kind of sick. “Abby…” she started, but she was interrupted by a new knock on the door. She glanced up and was immediately on her feet, biting her lip slightly as she met the concerned gaze of none other than Jenny Shepherd, NCIS Director.
“Go away McGee,” said Abby determinedly, not shifting her attention from the computer monitor.
“ABBY!” yelled Jenny, startling the forensic scientist to her feet. Elizabeth quickly shut off the music as Abby moved to face their boss through the glass partition.
“Do we have a problem?” asked Jenny softly, and Abby quickly shook her head.
“No, no problem.”
“Good. Then would you mind opening the door?” Abby shuffled over, Elizabeth moving out of the way and crouching down beside Jethro, who rolled one eye over to look at her, but didn’t raise his head.
“He doesn’t look so good, does he?” asked Jenny, crouching beside his head.
“I think its ‘cos he knows he’s on death row. Are you going to order me to give him back?” asked Abby, pouting.
“Is that what it’s going to take?” asked Jenny.
Before the conversation could get any further, Jethro made an odd sound, a cross between a bark and a cough, and blood spattered onto the ground in front of his mouth.
Before either of the women could react, Buffy swept the dog up into her arms and ran for the door, making it to the elevator in record time and thumping the button with her elbow. Abby and Jenny caught up with her there, trying very hard not to gawp at the young girl holding a dog that, if it stood on its hind legs, would be as tall as she was, in her arms.
“I have a gurney we can put him on,” suggested Abby, but the elevator had already arrived, and Buffy stepped inside, ignoring her friend’s suggestion as she punched the button for Autopsy.
She bounced slightly on her toes, whispering softly to Jethro to calm him.
“DUCKY!” she yelled as they exited the elevator. “Something’s wrong. He was acting strange, and then he started coughing up blood!”
“Put him down over here,” Ducky ordered, quickly clearing a few tools off one of the autopsy tables, and Buffy laid Jethro, blanket and all, on the surface. “Mr. Palmer, the x-ray, if you please!” ordered Ducky, even as he grabbed lead aprons for everyone.
Ducky and Palmer quickly shot the film and identified a small foreign object in Jethro’s stomach. Buffy stood by his head, gently stroking him and whispering in his ear in Arabic, soft endearments and entreaties. He managed to raise his head, and feebly reached out to lick her nose before Palmer sedated him. The two M.E.s operated quickly, and soon Ducky was studying the tip of a knife and Palmer was stitching Jethro.
Buffy sat with him while the others ran around, talking excitedly. Before she knew it, she and Jethro were back upstairs once more, the dog now freshly bandaged and lying on Abby’s couch with his head in her lap, her own head lolling back on the cushions as exhaustion once more hit with the fading of the Slayer energy. This was getting so old; but it seemed like every time it came, it lasted longer. She would have to find out what was going on soon; if she didn’t, she was going to go insane…or possibly hurt someone or something completely by accident.
Abby came skipping back into the lab, beaming all over her face. “Jethro has been proven innocent!” she declared, throwing her hands up in the universal signal for victory. “But he needs a new home.”
Ziva stopped in the door of the lab to watch her sister’s face at this announcement, and saw the myriad of emotions play out: relief that the dog wouldn’t be destroyed, sorrow that he would be going, then finally hope and an incredible longing.
“I was going to ask if you wanted to get a dog after this anyway; I suppose if it has to be this dog…” Ziva trailed off as she made her way over to the couch and petted Jethro’s head.
“It does,” Elizabeth replied, grinning at her sister. “Hey boy, you ready to go home?” she asked softly, and the dog raised his head with a quiet whine. When Buffy stood, he carefully slid down off the couch, and limped after her, out of the room, and into his new life.