Is This Goodbye
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Thanks to my beta Sere.
Faith stood extremely still once she’d made the statement. Gibbs watched, wondering what was going to happen.
“Oh Goddess, Faith,” Dawn whispered. The younger girl moved to Faith and wrapped her into a warm hug.
Oz said nothing. It wasn’t like he could say he’d known already; he had since he could smell the difference... He wasn’t sure Faith would appreciate that. He was also pretty sure Xander wouldn't appreciate that Oz hadn't mentioned it.
“Faith… Why…Okay, there are so many questions, and I don’t even know where to start,” Xander shook his head. “Why didn’t you say something before now?”
She looked at the man who’d slowly become one of her best friends over the years. “I wasn’t sure you’d still want me on the team…” When it looked as if Xander would interrupt, she waved him off. “Not saying you wouldn’t want me around, but Xan, we both know G-man’s makin’ changes. Why else would he call us home after this mission? Somethin’ big’s goin’ down… even D’Hoffryn said so. Big changes. Just so happens even more so for me.”
"I'm just going to sit down for a few minutes," Tony murmured, taking a seat in the same spot the Demon Lord had deposited him.
Xander ran a hand through his hair, “Of course you’d have stayed with the team, but I sure of hell wouldn’t have let you fight. You won’t be fighting anymore now, that’s for damned sure! And what’s going on with Robin? He left you? And part of it’s because you’re pregnant? Explain that to me, because none of that makes any sense?”
“Said he’d never condone the birth of a child of a slayer. Said he’d already lived that hell and wouldn’t put his kid through losin’ his mother at an early age,” Faith murmured looking off into the woods. “I told him this would be different. I was already older than his mother had been, and he was around too, where his dad hadn’t been. Said as far as he was concerned it was the same, ‘cuz this kid wouldn’t have a daddy either.”
“That lowlife, scum ball pig!” Dawn hissed. “I’ll flambé his ass! Willow and I will turn him into a Pin the tail on the Donkey game with missing pieces! I’ll take sheep shears to his privates!”
Abby grinned at the girl's threats, while McGee took a step back subconsciously.
Faith blinked wide eyes at the girl, “Damn Little D, that’s scary.” She managed a watery laugh.
Xander didn’t know what to say. He’d liked Robin well enough, they’d never been extremely close, but he’d thought Faith was happy, and he’d thought Robin really loved the brunette slayer. The man had worked so hard to get her to open up to him. Had he just wanted the challenge? “What were his other reasons Faith? Unless you don’t want to say.”
She shrugged. “Decided he couldn’t get past the mistakes I’d made. Guess I can’t blame him, it’s not like I’ve been able to get past them, why should someone else?”
“Don’t get me started,” Xander told her with thinned lips.
“I know how you feel about it Xan, and I love you for it, I do, but I got issues… I don’t deny that. He told me he’d made a mistake. He didn’t want to be married. Told me I hadn’t grown up yet, I was still too much like one of the kids at the school he works at and he couldn’t deal with that. He’d thought he was marrying an adult.”
Xander stood staring at the ground. He found that he had to agree with Dawnie. Robin Woods was a lowlife, scum ball pig.
“I don’t know what mistakes you made in your past,” Gibbs spoke and everyone jumped. They’d been so wrapped up in their conversation they’d forgotten the presence of the NCIS team. “Tony mentioned something about being exonerated on murder charges and then doing prison time for assaulting police… I can’t comment on that. And I don’t know what a slayer is, although, judging from the fact that you are one, and that you are very fast, very strong, and seem to have just a bit extra of a lot of things, I would say it’s dangerous. But I’d like to comment on some of the things you mentioned for the split of your marriage. And trust me when I say I’m a good reference for failing marriages.”
Tony nodded, “He is, he’s been divorced three times.”
“Thank you DiNozzo,” Gibbs glowered at the agent who was stilling sitting. “Sounds to me like your soon to be ex is a jackass.” Faith blinked at him. She obviously hadn’t been expecting that outlook from him. “First off, slayer or not, the world is a dangerous place. If you don’t have kids because of that, well, then, that’s sad. What if you weren’t a slayer, and you and the daddy died tomorrow? Sounds to me like he’s just a coward running away.” Gibbs made sure the girl was looking at him. “As for you not being an adult? I admit, I was skeptical when you people showed up, and you definitely have a different style of doing things than I do, but if what we saw of Harris’s memories are accurate, and what we’ve heard are accurate, then you kids have been fighting since you were in your mid teens. You didn’t even have a childhood. I have a feeling some of your antics are a way to lighten the tension.”
"You said you killed a man?" Tony asked. Faith nodded, looking over at the seated agent with haunted eyes. "How many? Just one? More than one?"
"Faith and Buff were fighting vampires..." Xander began, wanting to ease the pain for the brunette slayer.
"No, Boy Toy, it's my story," Faith murmured, cutting him off. "Me and B were fightin'. It was crazy and chaotic. I can still remember the feel of that fight. This man came into the fight, there were so many vamps... B tossed the guy, and I went in for the kill. She tried to yell out, to warn me... I don't know, or remember anymore if I didn't hear her or I just didn't pay her any attention. All I know is that seconds later the vamps were dead and so was he." Faith swallowed a lump that had built up in her throat. "I went down a real rocky road for awhile."
"You were sixteen," Dawn reminded her. "Maybe seventeen."
"You're what? 26, 27 now?" Gibbs asked.
“Seems to me, even though you were pardoned you’re still doing the time,” Gibbs told the young woman and saw surprise enter those sad, dark eyes.
Abby walked over and put her arm around the woman’s shoulders. “As far as I’m concerned if he married you, knowing about the mistakes and things you’ve done in the past; then he has no right to use those against you now. As soon as he said I Do, he accepted those.”
“Abby’s right,” McGee agreed. “I mean, if he knew about it going in… then he’s got nothing to complain about now.”
Faith watched them from confused eyes. “You are all the weirdest cops I ever met.”
“We’re not cops,” Gibbs scowled. “We’re Federal Agents.”
“Because that’s so much different,” Xander rolled his eye, and then a huge grin broke out over his face. “We’re having a baby!”
“Think of the shopping!” Dawn was giddy. “Buffy’s gonna flip out! How far along are you? Do you know when you’re due? Are you gonna find out the sex of the baby? Have you been eating right? Cravings, have you been having cravings?”
Faith started laughing, “Chill Little D, I haven’t gotten half that shit figured out yet. I’m only at eight weeks.”
“Oh! Hot Topic has the cutest little Metallica onesies!” Abby enthused, getting in on the baby excitement.
“I’m gonna go finish packin’ up the car,” Faith murmured, giving Abby a one armed hug.
“Oh, we’ll have to exchange email so we can talk all the time!” the Goth told Faith and Dawn brightly, following the two over to the SUV. McGee just shook his head and headed to make sure their vehicle was ready.
“Guess this is going to be one of those unsolved cases that piss me off all the time,” Gibbs groused as Harris approached. Tony had stood and was brushing off the seat of his pants.
Xander let a small smile tug at his lips. “For the time being. Maybe one day we’ll be able to put it in the solved pile. Unfortunately, this would probably get you a trip to a shrink’s office. Consider this, you hate having unsolved cases, think of how many other law enforcement agencies have unsolved cases similar… All because people won‘t accept what‘s in front of them.”
“Makes your job dangerous. Not having the backing of the police and other agencies…” Tony murmured.
“Sometimes. Then again, sometimes we do have the backing. In most instances though, you guys should have been off the scene before any of the nasties came out to play.”
Gibbs thought about that for a moment. He didn’t like the thought of these younger people fighting for so many years with no back up. “I’m not sorry we learned about it.”
“Part of me is,” Tony admitted. “I’ve been scared of vampires since I was little, and now to find out they’re real?” he shuddered as he spoke. “It’s comforting to know you guys are out there, taking them out of the equation. Nice to know that there are people out there with a little… more given to them so they can defeat the supernatural bad guys…” His eyes found Faith as she finished loading the SUV. “With all that extra she’s got… the stuff that makes her a slayer… she could have gone a lot farther than killing one man, and making a few mistakes. She could’ve done a lot worse.”
“That’s what we keep telling her,” Xander told the other man. “One day maybe she’ll accept it. I thought she had when Robin came into the picture. Now it seems he’s just done more damage.”
“She going to be okay?” Gibbs asked, looking over at the slayer.
Xander nodded and followed the line of sight to Faith. “Yeah… she will… She’s got us. Not just the three of us here with her, but the rest of the group at home. We’re a family Special Agent Gibbs. We try our very best to take care of our own.” He gave the agents a wry grin. “She knew I wouldn‘t let her fight. That‘s why she didn‘t tell me. She knew… Jesus, that big bastard could‘ve hurt her and her baby; killed them both. As soon as we get home I‘m gonna have to take her for a check up.”
“You have a very interesting team Harris.” Gibbs smiled at the protective note entering the man’s voice. He sounded like the girl’s father.
“Yeah, they’re pretty special… You guys probably couldn’t handle the rest of the crew.”
“You’d be surprised at what I could handle Harris,” Gibbs murmured. Xander met the ice blue gaze.
Tony noticed the way his boss’s eyes locked onto Xander Harris. He gave a small grin and walked away to give the two men some privacy. Now he could only hope they’d see the IDC agents again. It had been a long time since Tony had seen Gibbs’ so intrigued by another person.
“You’ve ended up being quite the surprise Gibbs. There have been very few people we’ve come across who can handle the introduction into this world as smoothly as you have.”
“Seems to me these monsters are just some more assholes that need to be taken care of to protect the rest of the world.” Gibbs moved closer, his voice lowering to just above a murmur. “Is that really how you lost your eye? That memory of the man in the priest outfit?”
Xander’s eye closed at the remembered pain. “Yes.”
“And all those memories that she made us see, those were all real. They were all your memories?”
Gibbs nodded. He didn’t want to walk away; didn’t want the conversation to end, but it seemed it was time. His team, and Harris’s team were ready. He held his hand out, and the other man took it. His grip was warm and firm, with something akin to a feeling of a soft electrical current. It was very pleasant. Harris obviously worked with his hands because his palms were calloused. Gibbs felt his heart quicken. “We’ll let you know if we need anything else… and we’ll contact you regarding when you can come collect your girls.”
“Thank you,” Xander said softly, neither man letting go. Finally, reluctantly, they pulled apart. “Stay safe Agent.”
“You too Harris.”
Then they turned and didn’t look back.