Buffy breathed a sigh of relief as the doctor declared that, other than a relatively minor concussion, Ziva was healthy. The gash had required several stitches, not the simple steristrips her sister had been trying to get away with, and Buffy felt vindicated for making her sister come to the hospital. Of course, now she was on concussion patrol for the next twenty four hours, but she, and more importantly her sister, could live with that.
For the briefest of moments, Buffy flashed back to the Master’s cave, lying face-down in a pool of water, to the exact moment she’d given up and allowed the darkness to win, had submitted to ‘destiny’ and felt that incredible moment of peace
Exiting the ER with Ziva beside her, Buffy smiled at her sister. “Thank you, Ziva,” she said, honestly grateful to her sister for listening to her fears.
“You’re welcome, ‘Sheva,” Ziva replied with a grin. “Ready to go home?”
“Jethro certainly is,” Buffy grinned at where her dog was lying stretched out on the back seat of Ziva’s car, two of the windows left cracked to allow him fresh air, head up as he watched them approach, expression clearly hopeful. The sisters quickly climbed into the car, Buffy in the driver’s seat, and headed for home.
Buffy logged into the computer that had recently taken up residence in her cubbyhole at the end of the row of desks used by Gibb’s team. Pulling up her email, she glanced down at the address she had long since memorised then opened a new email, fingers almost shaking with nervousness.
She sighed and set her fingers to the keyboard, starting to type, bearing in mind her father’s injunctions on what not to say. Dear Willow, Xander & Giles
Hi! Greetings from DC! Sorry it took me so long to email you, but I’ve been really busy getting settled in here. Ziva and I got a house in a mostly military suburb, ooooh, and I’ve met someone special – he’s got four legs! His name’s Jethro, and he’s a German Shepherd.
I’ve got an internship at NCIS for the summer, and I’m learning a lot about what they do here. I’m missing you guys, but I’m also really really busy with everything.
Ziva and I went and looked at schools, and I’m going to start at The Chalet School DC Campus in August. I would love to have you guys out to visit sometime, if you can make it! We have a spare bedroom that we could set up, and a really comfortable couch (that’s where I slept until Hank brought my bed from SunnyD.
I hope things are going well with Faith and her Watcher, and that I will hear from you all soon!
She re-read it to be sure she hadn’t put in any mentions of anything about NCIS she shouldn’t, or about her returning Slayer abilities, which her father did not want the Council to hear about, then hit send before she could change her mind. She was nervous about re-establishing contact with her friends, afraid of how they would react now that they had had time to reflect on her situation.
Personal business taken care of, she logged back out of her system and, glancing at the clock on her computer, sat back from her desk and glanced along the row of empty desks before standing and heading to the elevator, heading to Autopsy, where she was supposed to help out Ducky.
She exited the elevator and passed through the sliding doors to find Ducky in the middle of an autopsy. She had shocked the Medical Examiner with how matter of fact she was about the blood and gore, until she had been forced to first stake a vampire in his morgue, then explain exactly why and how she knew to do that, which had led to an explanation of exactly what the Slayer was and did. She still didn’t really care for the smell of the morgue – her sense of smell may not be vampire sharp, but it was sharper than the average human, and most of the smells here weren’t pleasant.
“Ahh, good morning, Elizabeth,” Ducky said formally, and she grinned at him, knowing that this was his way of showing affection – he still called Abby Abigail, even though he’d known her for years. “Just change, then you can come and assist me with the Petty Officer here.”
“You got it, doc,” she replied with a grin. She quickly grabbed a set of scrubs and ducked into the changing room, slipping them on, and came back into autopsy. “What do you need, Ducky?”
Several hours later, Buffy made her way into Abby’s lab, hands full of evidence bags and clipboard. Abby’s music was blaring, as usual, and Buffy paused in the doorway, looking around for both her friend and a space to put down her burdens. The benches were all covered with bags and bits of pieces of science equipment that were apparently being repaired, which meant she had to hold onto them for now, and Abby was nowhere to be seen.
She quickly made her way through the outer lab and the inner lab to ballistics, where she finally found her wayward friend, wearing earmuffs and testing a handgun. “ABBY!” she shouted over the music, and Abby whirled to face her, the gun cradled in her hands pointed at the ceiling and her finger flipping the safety, her fright not overriding her engrained safety protocols.
“Lizzy!” Abby scolded. “Don’t do that when I’m test firing!”
“Sorry,” Buffy winced. “My hands were full, I couldn’t even turn the music down!” She nodded at her loaded arms as proof and in silent entreaty. Since she was carrying twelve pieces of evidence and the clipboard, her hands really were completely full.
Abby frowned admonishingly but didn’t say anything else, instead heading out to the lab and quickly clearing a spot for Buffy to set down her load. She signed the clipboard and looked down at the pile of loot with a sigh.
“I know, it’s a lot all at once but Ducky knew you were going to be busy all morning working up ballistics, so he decided to send it all at once,” she told her, and Abby nodded. “So, this is all the physical evidence from Petty Officer Andrews’ autopsy.”
“Thanks, Lizzy,” Abby smiled at her. “I don’t suppose you want to stay and help me get the samples running?”
“Jethro and I have training this afternoon,” she replied, shrugging apologetically, but unable to keep her face completely innocent. Abby narrowed her eyes at her in suspicion, but didn’t say anything, just handed back the clipboard with a long suffering sigh. “And then I’m going over to the School to go meet two of the girls who are on Summer Stay, we’re going horse riding,” Buffy added before ducking for cover and running for the door of the lab as fast as her legs would carry her.
She only just missed colliding with Gibbs just outside the door, and he shook his head at her. “Are you ready to go? I’ve just got to talk to Abs, then I’ll drive you down to the base, meet me in the garage in fifteen,” he told her, and she grinned and nodded.
“Gotta run!” she added, hearing Abby coming up behind her, and shamelessly used Gibbs for cover as she bolted towards the stairs, not wanting to wait for the lift. She could hear Abby spluttering, and Gibbs’ calm responses, from the door to the stairway, but it blocked out the sound when it swung closed behind her.
She started up the steps to the bullpen, needing to fetch her purse and Jethro before they left, when she felt a sharp sting in the back of her neck. “Wha…” she fell, her body striking the steps and tumbling until she reached a landing, barely conscious and groaning.
“Hello, Miss Summers,” a cold voice greeted her. “Don’t bother trying to move, the drug you were just injected with is designed to control Slayers,” the voice told her unconcernedly. “You wouldn’t believe how happy I was to see you. A Slayer betraying her calling, you’re my ticket back in with the Council, girl, just as soon as I get you to England…” the quiet mutterings faded as consciousness finally slipped away from her.
“Has anyone seen Elizabeth?” asked Gibbs, frowning as he reentered the bullpen. “She was meant to meet me in the garage ten minutes ago,” he added, and Ziva rose to her feet, worry and the beginnings of panic clouding her expression.
“She hasn’t been up here, Gibbs, I still have Jethro,” she glanced down at the dog in question, who stood up at the mention of his name.
“She left me outside of Abby’s lab almost half an hour ago to come up here and get him,” Gibbs stated, turning and running towards the stairs. “If she didn’t make it up here…” Ziva was on his heels, Jethro at her side, as he yanked open the door to the stairs and ran down them.
Jethro stopped halfway down the flight of stairs that led to the floor that held the labs, whining as he pointed at something on the step with a paw. Ziva fell to her knees to look, and yelled, “Gibbs, there’s blood here!”
“There’s more down here,” Gibbs called from the landing. Crossing to the door, he yanked it open and bellowed, “ABS! ABBY! We need you down here!”
Ziva, meanwhile, turned to Jethro. She didn’t have his working collar, but thought they could probably make this work anyway. “Butch,” she said the name firmly, and the dog came to attention immediately, tail held still and low, ears pricked, whole body held ready. “Seek,” Ziva told him, pointing to the blood. He lowered his nose to it, sniffing and whimpering in excitement, then started down the stairs, pausing at the larger pool of blood before continuing on down. He led Ziva to the bottom of the stairwell, the exit to the underground parking garage, and when Ziva opened the door she found that the handle was broken, and the alarm components appeared to have been fused. “Magic,” she muttered the word like a curse and kept following Jethro, who was letting out little yips as she fell behind. She followed him only to have him stop, with a mournful sound, about a hundred meters later, pawing the ground and growling. There was some evidence on the ground that a car had pulled out of the lot in a hurry, and Ziva shook her head, this shouldn’t have been possible! Kidnapping on the Navy Yard? Unheard of. The only answer she could come up with was magic.
Fumbling her phone off her belt, she speed dialled Gibbs. “Gibbs, Jethro lost the scent in the carpark,” she told him.
“I’ve got McGee pulling up security footage for the past forty minutes, trying to figure out what happened,” Gibbs told her. “I’ve notified the gates, they’re searching every car that goes through.”
“I’m not sure that they won’t have already gotten through,” Ziva told him. “We’re…dealing with some things that are more Elizabeth’s strengths than ours here, I think, Gibbs. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to call Tel Aviv.” She hung up without waiting for a reply and dialled her father’s emergency line.
“Ziva?” he answered within two rings. “What is wrong?”
“Elisheva has been taken, Papa,” Ziva told him quickly. “There is evidence here that I believe points to the use of magic in her kidnapping.”
There was a long silence on the other end of the line, and when her father spoke, his voice was icy. “I am going to kill that son of a dog,” he whispered. “Ziva, do your best. I am sending Hank to join you; he has more experience where magic is concerned. I am going to make some calls, then I’ll be on the first plane out there.”
Ziva’s eyes widened at the news that her father was coming; the man hadn’t left Israeli soil in over a decade. “Yes, Papa,” she replied numbly, and he hung up in her ear. She felt the force of what she was sure was his recrimination for her inability to protect her sister crash into her. She was certainly blaming herself. “Jethro, heel,” she ordered and led the dog back upstairs to where Gibbs and Abby were collecting evidence. Abby had already dusted the stairwell above and below the landing, and Ziva was carefully not to mess anything up as she made her way back up to Gibbs’ side.
Just as she reached him, his phone went off, and he answered it with a grunt. “Gibbs…we’ll be right there, Tim.” He hung up the phone and turned to her. “McGee’s got something,” he told her and led the way out of the stairwell to the elevator.
Mossad Director Eli David paused and took several long breaths before picking up the phone once more, attempting in vain to quiet his temper at least a little. There was only one person he could think of who would have the resources and inclination to kidnap his youngest daughter with magic, and if he was right, Eli truly was going to kill him for it. He picked up the phone and dialled, punching the numbers rather harder than was technically necessary.
“Watchers Council, how may I direct your call?”
“This is Eli David. Put me through to Travers immediately,” he demanded, too angry to be polite.
“Of course, Director David. One moment.” There was a short interval of what could barely be called music, then the phone picked up once more.
“Eli, my friend. What can I do for you?” asked Quentin jovially.
“You can tell me, old friend
, why my youngest daughter has been kidnapped and there is evidence of magic use at the scene,” Eli replied coldly. “Why is the Watchers Council reneging on their contract? Elisheva is of no use to you any more,” he lied.
“Eli, I promise you, I do not know what you’re talking about,” Quentin replied, tone suddenly serious. “You know I would not put our professional and personal relationships in jeopardy in that way. Is there any way we can assist you in recovering your daughter?”
“I will let you know,” Eli replied after a moment. He still didn’t trust the head of the Council, but Quentin had never lied to him, he was unlikely to start doing so now, when so much was at stake. He hung up without saying goodbye and leaned back in his chair for a long moment before calling his secretary and telling her to tell his security team to start organising a trip to America to leave within the next five hours.
Quentin Travers sat back in his office, eyes wide with concern and no small amount of fear. It didn’t actually matter that he had no knowledge of the kidnapping his friend was referring to; he would still hold him responsible if it came to light that the Council had been involved in this in any way. He couldn’t think of how they could be without him knowing about it, but the very thought sent shivers down his spine.
Gwendolyn Post smiled down at the somnolent form lying well restrained in the back seat of her car. She couldn’t believe her luck when she had recognised Buffy Summers running in a DC park with a large dog. She’d had to bide her time and pick her spot carefully; the girl was too on her guard, and normally too surrounded by other people, for her to take down. Oddly enough, the Navy Yard with all of its – so easily foiled – security was the best place, because no one, the girl included, could believe she was in danger there. She was going to get back in with the Watchers Council, and receive a post as active watcher, she was sure of it; hadn’t she just proved she could control a runaway Slayer? And with a Slayer by her side, obeying her every order, she would have no difficulty recovering the Glove. She grinned widely. It was perfect.