Connections: Official and Unofficial By:
My site (Worlds of Possibilities), my LJ, and TtH. Disclaimer:
I own none of the recognizable characters. They belong to their respect creators/producers. Spoilers/Setting:
Umm, post Chosen for Buffy (nothing from the comics) and while there are no definite spoilers, at least season 5 for NCIS. Summary:
When two cases intersect, Buffy finds she has more than one connection to them. A/N:
Written for the TtH holiday ficathon. This is Amers prompt: Characters:
Buffy/Tony Three things wanted:
Buffy and Tony having a long term email relationship, meeting for
the first time at a crime scene, Buffy being a military liaison of some sort Not wanted:
anything about the other Scoobies and set before the end of the series
I hope this fits the bill! Connections: Official and Unofficial
Tony’s face broke into his most charming smile as he and Gibbs approached the young blonde woman standing outside the house. Her petite body was nicely tanned that was highlighted by the slight sundress she wore. He couldn’t tell the length of her hair was by the way it was pulled back, but he was hoping it was long.
Interestingly enough she didn’t look freaked out despite the fact that she was standing outside the house that held the dead body of a marine. If anything, she looked resigned to wait as if this was a frequent occurrence for her. He hated subscribing to Gibbs’ standard everyone is a suspect theory, but her behavior was so atypical that he could feel his smile fraying around the edges.
She looked closely at Gibbs’ badge when he showed it to her, but her eyes lit up with delight when he introduced himself.
“Tony? I had hoped your team would be assigned the case,” she said with a brilliant smile. One delicate seeming hand stretched out towards him. “I’m Buffy Summers.”
It took his brain a moment to make the connection, but when it did his smile came back full force. “Buffy! I didn’t know you were in town. It’s great to finally meet you face to face,” he replied, shaking her hand before pulling her into a hug. He wasn’t sure if the hug was kosher but there was no way that a handshake was going to be adequate.
“You, too,” she said, hugging him back. “I just got in a few hours ago and I found out on such short notice that I didn’t have time to call.”
Tony pulled back and looked down at her. “Man, I know you said you were short, but I didn’t think –“ He broke off as the familiar sensation of Gibbs smacking the back of his head registered. “Sorry, Boss.”
“Could you explain to us what happened and how you knew to call NCIS?” Gibbs asked, turning to Buffy with a sour expression on his face.
“I had arranged to meet with Corporal Nicholson to discuss a case I’m working.”
“The company you work for?” Gibbs interrupted.
“It’s a private company called the IWC. I was contacted by a friend of mine who wanted me to look into a situation for him. I had followed the lead to the Corporal and called him. When I arrived this morning he didn’t answer the door. I peeked through the window and saw all of the blood and him lying on the floor. I entered the house long enough to see if he was really dead. When I discovered the body was cold, I left without touching anything else and called NCIS,” she said, calmly giving the details.
“How did you know to call us?” Gibbs asked, his blue eyes carefully studying her. Tony didn’t have to guess what he was thinking. The same thoughts that had crossed his mind earlier were now going through his boss’ head.
“Tony had explained what he does for a living and since I knew the victim was a marine I figured it was only natural to call you,” she replied with a shrug.
The younger agent couldn’t help but be impressed how unruffled Buffy seemed to be while facing Gibbs’ scrutiny. Her gaze was steady as she stared right back at the older man and he swore he could detect a smirk playing at the corners of her lips.
“This other case you’re working on, how does Corporal Nicholson figure in to it?” Gibbs asked.
“I can’t tell you,” she said firmly.
Gibbs glared at her and Tony winced. He had been on the receiving end of that look before and it was never pretty. But still, Buffy didn’t flinch and she didn’t offer up any more information despite the long silence.
“If we need to speak to you again, we’ll call,” Gibbs finally replied, his words brusque.
“Not good enough. I need to know what’s going on,” she stated.
“What if he was murdered in connection to my case? I need to know,” she said. Her back straightened and her chin rose a fraction of an inch in defiance. Tony’s respect for her increased some more. It wasn’t often that someone dared to defy Gibbs.
Gibbs let out a derisive snort. “I don’t think so. If we need you, we’ll call.”
Buffy let her smirk come out to play before taking a few steps away from them and getting out her cell phone. She continued to walk out of earshot as she quickly dialed a number.
Tony didn’t have to look at Gibbs to feel his steely gaze turn to him. “I’ve known her for a few years, Boss.”
“Really? Then how come you didn’t recognize her?” He dryly asked.
“Met her online in a chat room. She’s originally from California, now she lives in Rome,” Tony explained, turning to look at Gibbs.
Gibbs gave him an incredulous look. “Rome? And you don’t think it’s suspicious that she shows up now
at a crime scene?”
“She’s good people, Gibbs. There’s no way she would have done this,” Tony insisted, keeping his gaze as steady as Buffy had.
“You don’t know that, DiNozzo,” Gibbs stated, taking a step forward and invading Tony’s personal space. “You can’t even be positive that who you were talking to online was the real Buffy Summers, or that she
is for that matter. You’re a trained agent, you know better than that.”
“We’ve been talking for years,” Tony said, his voice dropping to a harsh whisper. “It hasn’t just been online chats; we’ve talked over the phone. I even performed a cursory background check back when we first got more serious in our discussions. Minus a couple of scrapes while she was in high school, she’s clean. I’m telling you she can be trusted.”
Gibbs opened his mouth to respond but his phone rang. He gave Tony a look that clearly said they weren’t finished discussing the topic before pulling his phone out and answering it. Removing himself from Tony’s personal space, he walked away to talk to the person on the other end.
Tony turned to smile at Buffy as she walked back over. “I’m sorry about Gibbs. He’s like that with everyone, don’t take it personal,” he said, leaning down to whisper in her ear.
“It’s okay, really. It’s his job to be suspicious,” she said with a slight shrug of her slim shoulders.
Gibbs clicked his phone shut and turned to scowl at Buffy. “I’m not sure what strings you just pulled, but you’re working with us. But the moment you step out of line or jeopardize this case I won’t hesitate to remove you from the loop.”
“Understood,” she agreed with a nod.
“Sweet,” Tony said with a grin. He had a feeling that watching the two of them butt heads was going to provide an endless amount of entertainment.
Plus the added bonus of having Buffy around for a while. She was the best friend he had. A connection outside of work who managed to see who he was beneath the frat boy persona he had worked so hard to perfect. He could be himself when he talked to her and she had helped him through the rough patches over the past few years. Buffy had kept him sane.
He only hoped that she wouldn’t be too disappointed in his behavior around his teammates but he had a reputation to keep.
Buffy stood back and watched Gibbs lead his team. It wasn’t hard to see why Tony respected the man so much. He was clearly an intelligent man who knew how to get the job done. His people skills were a bit lacking, but she could see how people could overlook it due to his competency.
It was obvious that this was a team used to working together. Gibbs only had to start an order for the other agent to complete it as they moved to do so. She found it a little intimidating but did her best not to show it.
Once he was finished getting his team to work, he turned to her. “You’re with me,” he said, walking by her.
She hastened her steps to catch him as he reached the elevator. Not only were his legs much longer than hers, but he had a quick stride. “Where are we going?”
“Autopsy,” was his short reply before taking a sip from his seemingly ever present cup of coffee.
Buffy had the feeling that he was separating her from Tony for a reason. It was already clear that he didn’t like that she had wormed her way onto the case and he didn’t trust her. From the looks he had been throwing in Tony’s direction, she didn’t think he was on Gibbs favorite list of people at the moment either.
While she wasn’t exactly squeamish about blood, after all she had spent the better part of the last twelve years surrounded by it, she wasn’t looking forward to what they’d find in autopsy. Seeing the inside of a human being wasn’t something she ever wanted to do. Riley was going to owe her big time for this.
Gibbs was silent on the way down and Buffy tried to come up with a way to hide what she knew about the body without actually lying to the man or Tony. When Riley had asked her to look into the death of a friend because he was out of the country on a mission, she had no idea that it was going to get this involved. It started when she discovered that the old Army buddy was actually a half demon who could pass as human and progressed to finding that he wasn’t the first one it had happened to.
She pulled all sorts of favors to get a surprisingly good sized list of other half demons who were enlisted in America’s military. Corporal Nicholson just happened to be the first one she had tried to contact. It was her luck that the killer had found him first. She wondered if there was something else the victims had in common so she wouldn’t have to create a false one to tell them. She didn’t think that telling them that ‘they had been killed because they were half demons who could pass for humans’ would work.
They exited the elevator and went partway down a hallway before veering into a large room. Two men looked up from the body on the table as they entered.
“Jethro, I was just going to call you,” the older one said, stepping away from the table. His voice carried a slight Scottish accent that instantly reminded her of the IWC’s headquarters and it caused her to relax just a little. He smiled at her. “Hello there.”
“She’s working with us,” Gibbs said shortly before doing a cursory round of introductions. “Buffy Summers, Doctor Mallard, and Jimmy Palmer. What have you got, Ducky?”
“Cause of death was clear. Our Corporal was shot once in the head,” Ducky said, leading them over to the light box where the x-rays were on display. “As you can see, the bullet entered at a downward angle from the front temporal lobe and there is a circular burn around the entrance.”
“Executed,” Gibbs surmised, turning to leave.
“But that’s not the interesting part,” Ducky spoke up, causing Gibbs to stop and turn back around.
Buffy and Gibbs followed the elderly ME over to the body. The younger ME, Palmer, gave her a half-hearted smile as Ducky continued with his findings. She did her best to not look directly at the open cavity before them, but it was nearly impossible as Ducky was pointing to several things inside it.
“I found some anomalies in Corporal Nicholson’s body that I can’t fully explain,” Ducky began.
“Like what?” Gibbs asked and Buffy had a feeling she knew what was coming next.
“For starters, the left and right ventricles of his heart were larger than what they should be.”
“Wouldn’t something like that have prevented him from being able to enter the military?” Buffy asked, her forehead creasing slightly in confusion. She had wondered how these men had been able to pass the medical exams.
“Not necessarily. It could have been the result of something that happened after he enlisted or it may not have affected his vitals enough to raise suspicion for the doctor to look deeper,” Ducky explained.
“Was that it?” Gibbs asked.
“He was born without a spleen,” Palmer spoke up.
“Are you sure? Maybe he had surgery -” Gibbs began.
“Definitely born without one,” Ducky said. He pointed at a spot in the open cavity. “There is no evidence of any surgery and his records confirm that. In fact, he was rarely sick. He had only been prescribed antibiotics once in his entire life.”
“This spleen thing, how would that have affected him?” Buffy asked, looking at the indicated area and deciding that she had no idea how the ME could tell whether it had been surgically removed or not.
“For the most part, he would be able to live a normal life, he would just be more susceptible to infections and that’s the strange part. Since he was born without one, he would have been a sickly child, but his records don’t reflect that. Children without a spleen are more prone to infections than adults.”
“Anything else?” Gibbs asked.
“That’s all I could find. I sent some samples up to Abby to see if she could detect whether the heart and spleen anomalies showed up in his DNA.” He raised one of the Corporal’s hands. “There is some evidence that he fought back, but I didn’t find anything under his nails. Hopefully not all of the blood on his knuckles is his own.”
Gibbs nodded at him and turned to go. “Thanks, Duck.”
“It was nice meeting you, dear,” Ducky said, smiling warmly at Buffy.
“You, too, Dr. Mallard. Mr. Palmer,” she said, giving them a brilliant smile before chasing after Gibbs.
“Now where?” She asked as the elevator doors closed.
“Abby’s lab,” he replied before taking a sip of his coffee.
Buffy stifled the impulse to grin. Some of Tony’s best stories were about their genius forensic analyst and she had carried a tiny hope that she’d get to meet her. Tony cared a great deal about Abby and from what she could tell the feeling was mutual.
However, if the young woman was as good as what Tony said she was, she was going to discover that the anomalies that Dr. Mallard had found were a bit beyond what was normal for human. She did some quick thinking to come up with some answers to possible questions that would be posed towards her. But she didn’t have long. They only traveled up a few floors before the doors opened again.
Loud music could be heard down the hallway and Buffy felt the bass thrumming in her chest. She chanced a look over at Gibbs and caught what looked like a fond smile on his lips. It was refreshing to see a new expression on the man’s face.
They entered the lab to see a tall woman who wore her black hair in pigtails. She spun around and gave Gibbs a broad smile. “I haven’t had time to run all the tests on Ducky’s samples yet. DNA takes a little time to process completely and who is this?”
“Buffy Summers. How lo-”
“Oh my God! Are you really Tony’s Buffy?” Abby squealed, bouncing on her toes with childish delight.
“Yeah,” Buffy said, blushing just a little. She was more than a little surprised to hear herself being referred to as Tony’s.
Abby rushed over to the smaller woman and hugged her tightly. “It’s so good to meet you. Tony talks about you sometimes. He just thinks the world of you.”
Buffy could feel her cheeks grow darker still. “He talks about you quite a bit, too.”
“How long are you in D.C.?” Abby asked taking a few steps back.
“Not sure. I’m here at least through the end of the case.”
“The case? How are you involved with it?” Abby turned to Gibbs. “What have I missed?”
“Apparently less than me,” he said with a small glare. “You knew about Tony’s friend?”
“Well, yeah. They’ve been talking to each other for years,” Abby said with a small frown. “I’m surprised you didn’t know about it Gibbs.”
He sighed softly before asking, “What about the evidence from the crime scene.”
“No prints, it appears the place was wiped clean. Same thing for the bullet Ducky removed. I can tell you that it’s a very common round from .45. It could have been purchased anywhere, so no help there. I just started going through his computer, but so far there’s nothing there to indicate who would want him dead.”
Gibbs nodded before turning on his heels to leave. Buffy watched him leave before looking at Abby. “Is he always this grumpy?”
“Normally, yeah. But I’d say learning that Tony has somehow managed to hide your existence from him isn’t helping,” she replied, giving Buffy a sympathetic look.
“Great, so this does
have to do with me.”
“How did you get mixed up in all of this?” Abby asked, picking up a large plastic cup with the words Caf-Pow written on it in big, bold letters.
“Long story, I’ll fill you in later, if I can. But basically I was doing a favor for a friend and the Corporal was my lead.”
“Ouch,” Abby said with a wince. “Hope everything works out for ya. And you might want to catch up with Gibbs, he doesn’t like to be kept waiting.”
“Thanks,” Buffy said hurriedly, not quite jogging out of the room, but it was faster than her usual pace.
Gibbs barely glanced at her as she arrived, but seeing as how the elevator doors chose to open just then gave her a moment’s reprieve. The doors slid shut behind them and just seconds after the elevator began moving, he flipped a switch on the panel and they came to a halt. The lights inside the small space switched over to emergency ones, casting a blue glow over everything.
He turned to her, his face a mask of barely contained fury. “And just how did you manage to get involved in this case.”
“I made a call,” she stated simply.
“Not good enough. I can’t conduct a thorough investigation if I don’t have all of the facts. What else do you know?”
Buffy sighed. “I have a friend who’s on a special assignment for the Rangers. An army buddy of his was murdered and he wanted me to look into it in case it had anything to do with his previous posting.”
“And how would you know anything about the post?”
“I was brought in as a civilian consultant, of sorts. It’s very complicated, and extremely classified. So classified that only a handful of people outside the project knew anything about it,” she said, neatly sidestepping the inevitable question.
“And did it?” he asked, his anger only dissipating slightly due to her disclosure.
“Yes and no. I think I know the reason why, but I can’t exactly tell you how I know that. Plus, there were others and I can provide you with a list of possible targets.”
He shook his head. “I need more than that.”
Buffy’s eyes narrowed. “No, you don’t. This is still highly classified material. I can only provide you the names.”
Gibbs slammed his palm against the wall and it echoed through the small space. “I can’t do this with so little -”
“Too bad, you’re going to have to. I’ll give you what information I can, but you just need to accept the fact that you’re not going to get me to divulge classified information. Believe me when I tell you that the project was only involved on the fringes of this. The others who died had nothing to do with the project, and neither did Corporal Nicholson. I had never met him before I found him dead at his house, we had only briefly spoken over the phone,” Buffy did her best to keep herself from yelling. She understood he just wanted to solve the case, but like hell was she going to let him bully her around.
“Fine,” he nearly growled and he stepped back to the panel to flip the switch. The rest of the ride back to his floor was spent in silence, which was no different than before, but the atmosphere around them had definitely shifted.
The doors slid open with a soft whoosh and Buffy found herself being extremely grateful to be out of the elevator. The man was infuriating to be around and she wondered how he ever convinced four women to marry him. Tony claimed the man could be charming if he wanted to, but at the moment she couldn’t see it.
Her eyes sought out Tony as she entered the floor and his smile helped ease the tension that had been building in her shoulders. She really hoped that her need to stay evasive on matters wasn’t going to hurt his relationship with his boss or with her.
Tony hung up the phone as she approached his desk. “Gibbs isn’t giving you too much trouble is he? ‘Cause I could always… I don’t know what I’d do, but I’d do something.”
“I’m fine,” she assured him with a smile. “Your boss is a pussycat compared to some other stubborn men I’ve met.”
“Boss, a pussycat? I find that hard to believe,” Tony said with a chuckle. “You mean he didn’t try to press you for more information?”
“Oh, he did. I don’t think he’d be much of an investigator if he didn’t. It’s just, I’ve had worse people than him try to break me.”
Tony’s eyebrows raised in surprise.
Tony pulled his gaze from the house they were watching for a moment to look over at Buffy. She alternated between observing the house and the surrounding area. With her help, they had been able to narrow down the next possible victim to two marines living in the area. He wasn’t quite sure what criteria she was using, but she was positive that the next victim would be a marine. Gibbs had taken McGee to the second house, leaving Tony with Buffy and Ziva at Sergeant Lewis’s house.
Not for the first time since she had managed to get herself attached to the case, did Tony wonder exactly what she did for the IWC. There was a lot of red tape around the company and without employing the expertise of McGee or Abby he couldn’t break into their system to find out more about them. All he knew was that it was a very old company that went through a shake down a few years ago and that Buffy emerged as a high ranking position within it.
Usually the not knowing thing didn’t bother him since he valued her as a friend rather than an asset. She usually talked about problems with people rather than situations and he had done the same. More than once she had pointed out to him that a lot of his problems with his coworkers would disappear if he stopped pretending to be so dumb and then he’d call her kettle and she would laugh.
But now that people’s lives were hanging in the balance, he was more than a little curious. Not to mention concerned about how she would handle herself when they confronted the bad guy. She didn’t carry a gun because she wasn’t licensed to and didn’t particularly care for them either. Ziva had given her a strange look about it, but hadn’t said anything.
“Tony, movement on the east side of the house,” Ziva said, her voice coming through the earwig.
He turned back to the area she had indicated. Sure enough a tall figure was keeping to the shadows of the house. They were acting suspiciously enough that Tony decided to give the order to move in. “Buffy, stay here.”
“Don’t think so. This is my case, too,” she reminded him.
“You’re not trained -”
“I’m more trained than what you think. We’re wasting time, let’s move now before he attacks,” she said opening the car door and getting out.
“Damn it,” he muttered, hurriedly getting out of the car. He clicked on his radio. “Ziva, we’re moving in.”
“Buffy’s already on her way.”
“Tony, she is not -”
“I know, Ziva,” he said tersely, cutting the connection.
He reached under his coat to draw his weapon as he chased Buffy across the street. Ahead of him Buffy moved silently and quickly through the night. His eyes widened in surprise as she just seemed to melt into the darkness. He would have sworn that her blonde hair would have stood out like a beacon to their suspect, but if he hadn’t known where to look for her, he wouldn’t have seen her.
His feet had barely begun traversing the Sergeant’s yard when Buffy made her move. She seemed to appear out of nowhere as she tackled the large man to the ground. Tony’s hands raised his gun, ready to fire if the suspect pulled his own weapon, but it wasn’t necessary. He had to force himself to remain neutral as Buffy smoothly disarmed the man and brought him to the ground - unconscious.
Her knee was placed firmly on the man’s back as she pulled his arms back and placed his wrists together. She grinned up at him. “See, told you I’d be okay.”
Tony looked at her in complete wonderment. He doubted that even Ziva, who had been trained as a Mossad assassin, could have pulled off that sneaky move.
Buffy ripped off a small piece of her bread and dipped it in the seasoned olive oil. Her eyes fluttered shut as she savored the light peppery flavor. A small moan of pleasure escaped her lips as it faded to a sweeter aftertaste.
“Good?” Tony asked with a chuckle from his seat on the other side of the table.
“Very,” she said, reaching out with another piece of her bread for more. She did a light scan of the small Italian restaurant before returning her attention back to him. “This is a nice place. Trendy but homey all at the same time. How’d you find it?”
“By complete accident. But the food here is almost as good as what my Nana used to make,” he said with a wistful smile.
“If it’s as good as this bread is, I can’t wait to try it.” Buffy delved in for another dip of her bread.
The case wrapped up pretty easily once they had captured Navy Ensign John Peters. He was completely human and once he had awoken, began ranting about the demons he was ridding the world of by killing the officers. Luckily he seemed mad enough that no one at NCIS questioned his use of the word demons.
She had already left a message for Riley letting him know that she had found out what happened and that he was being prosecuted for his crimes. She also left a not so subtle hint that he owed her big time for this. Gibbs forced her to fill out some paperwork for his own files and she was now finished with the case. Which also meant she had no official reason to remain in DC.
Tony’s expression turned a little sad. “So when do you leave to go back to Rome?”
“Officially my plane leaves tomorrow,” she said, her gaze dropping as she wiped the excess oil from her fingers with her linen napkin.
Buffy thought she could detect a hint of hope in his voice. She looked up at him through her lashes. “Depends on whether I have a reason to stay a little longer.”
“I might have a reason or two,” he said, leaning forward to rest his elbows on the table.
“And what would they be?” She coyly asked.
“You haven’t seen the sights! And you’ll need a guide. Someone who knows this city. Knows the best restaurants, places to visit.”
“And who would fit that bill?”
Tony’s chest puffed up slightly as his grin widened giving him a boyish look. “Me, of course.”
A silvery laughed fell from her lips. “I think I could rearrange my schedule.”
“Awesome. You are not going to regret it,” he promised her, his green eyes twinkling with excitement. “I only have one request.”
“What’s that?” She asked, curious.
“Could you do those super moves on Ziva? I think you could take her.” ~finis~