Chapter 15: An Old Memory
Chapter 15: An Old Memory
Warning: I don’t know; maybe language and innuendo somewhere along the way.
Challenge: #4472 ‘Bunny is my what?’
A/N: Thanks to my betas for their help... zigpal and CindyB.
A/N2: This story has been nominated for the Fang Fetish Awards at http://community.livejournal.com/fangfetish/. Thanks to whoever gave me that honor.
Disclaimer: BtVS characters belong to Joss Whedon / Mutant Enemy. NCIS characters belong to Donald Bellisario, Don McGill and CBS Paramount Television. Jack Ryan and his friends belongs to Tom Clancy. I claim no rights to any copyrighted material. Please do not copy or take this story without my permission.
Posted In Honor of the 32 recommendations, over 62000 hits and over 350 reviews on TtH! Wow!
Special New Bulletin…This just in from physicsteach: Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger called President Ryan today to express his displeasure at not being notified of the intended pardon of Faith Lehane. He reminded the President that Miss Lehane’s crimes were State and not Federal, meaning that only the Governor would have the right to pardon her.
Shortly thereafter, he came out of a teleconference call with an unnamed female representing the group that was requesting the pardon. The pale and shaky ‘Governator’ quickly announced that he was backing the President’s request and that Faith Lehane was free to do her ‘duty to save humanity’. Now back to our regularly scheduled program…
The workday was over and they still hadn’t heard from the lab. When Gibbs was alone with them, he invited Ducky and Buffy to his house for a barbecue dinner. They could get talk while they waited. Buffy agreed as long as Giles and Oz could join them. They were her moral support and she needed them there when she found out. Not that she said that to Gibbs though. He might have misunderstood her meaning and have been hurt by it.
Buffy opted to ride with Gibbs while Ducky picked up the other two. This was Ducky’s suggestion so they could talk privately. He whispered in her ear as he helped her into the car, “He’s a good man. And even though you’re an adult and the Slayer, he’d make a great father. He already sort of is for Abigail.”
They stopped at the market to pick up dinner supplies and as they were walking out to the car, the lab finally called. Since they were only a couple blocks away, they said they’d swing by to pick up the results immediately. The technician was a good friend of Ducky’s and told them that it would be fine with him.
After thanking the man profusely, Buffy clutched the envelope tightly, telling Gibbs that she wanted to wait until they were back at the house to read it. Even though his nerves were just about shot by this point, he agreed with her. He knew that whatever it said, he would be too out of it to drive carefully. It was bad enough as it was.
If Buffy hadn’t been so focused on not tearing the envelope open, she might have grown pale at his speed and recklessness. But then again, she was the Slayer and apparently got her driving abilities from him.
They barely set the groceries on the counter before Buffy gave into her urges and ripped the paper out. She quickly scanned it, hoping for some non-scientific indication of what the results were. Fortunately, in bold print it stated clearly that there was a 98.63% correlation between the blood samples.
Next to that, the technician scrawled, ‘Congrats! It’s a girl!’
He didn’t know exactly what it all had been about, but Ducky said that he was looking to prove paternity for two of his friends. He assumed that it meant they were hoping for this result.
Blindly, Buffy thrust the paper at Gibbs for him to read. Her vision sharpened as he read the same thing she did. She noticed a joyful smile flit across his face before he schooled his features and turned to her to see her reaction. She managed an expression that resembled happiness, but he wasn’t fooled. He only hoped that it was the shock of it all and not displeasure at being his daughter.
Before either one could say anything, the front doorbell rang and Gibbs reluctantly excused himself to let the others in. Buffy took the opportunity to look for an escape.
Buffy snuck downstairs for some privacy while she dealt with the reality of the situation. It was one thing to suspect it, but seeing it in black and white was quite another. The strange part was that she wasn’t very heartbroken to find out she wasn’t Hank’s daughter. Ten years ago it would have just about destroyed her. She had been daddy’s little princess.
However, when she stopped acting like a princess, that’s when his interest in her faded. Even before they left LA, he stopped having that look of pride he usually had when he looked at her. And for several years she saw that as her
But one of the things she learned during her so-called ‘vacation’ with Giles was that Hank was a selfish ass that didn’t deserve to have the title of dad. From that moment on, she didn’t even think about Hank Summers – even in hatred. He just ceased to exist for her.
Now she had a chance at having a new father. And while it was true that part of her relationship with Giles over the years mirrored a father/daughter relationship, that really wasn’t the case with them anymore. It hadn’t been since her 18th birthday and the hell it brought with it. So the question remained…could she trust Gibbs to be her dad?
Thinking about the last couple days, she considered it. Obviously, her past was riddled with her failures of trusting the wrong people, but she still thought that her instincts were pretty good – when she didn’t allow others to taint them with their own opinions. She didn’t count her pre-Slayer days because those ‘friends’ were chosen by her parents’ expectations.
Her one glaring mistake was Angel. She had picked him, despite
what other people thought of him. Of course, now that she thought about it, that might have been part of his appeal. She had been so angry at her destiny and dating a vampire was the ultimate rebellion. She admitted that in some weird way she loved him. But in the years since, she saw that it was the ‘obsessive, first love’ kind of thing. Even without the threat of Angelus, it was an unhealthy relationship that was doomed to end in disaster.
Buffy quickly set aside those thoughts to get back to the present. Gibbs was her dad, father, dad. Oh what the hell was she supposed to call him? She wondered if it would hurt his feelings if she asked him to wait before announcing it to the others. Partly because she wanted to get to know him without their scrutiny. But also partly because they might see it as suspiciously convenient that their new liaison was the team leader’s long-assumed dead daughter.
Gibbs brought the three other men back into the kitchen when he noticed Buffy didn’t follow him to the door. He grew alarmed when he didn’t see her in the room. Would she have run off? Before his worry could blossom into panic, he noticed the open door leading to the basement. Handing the paper to Ducky, he went to join her.
He stood on the stairs for a moment to watch her. She was so beautiful and petite. But he knew that her perceived fragility was just an illusion. If she wanted to, his daughter could be one of the deadliest people alive. He was sure he hadn’t seen the extent of her fighting skills yet, but he instinctively knew that people only had one chance to underestimate her…unless she chose to hide her talents for some reason.
Because of that, he knew that he couldn’t treat her the same way he treated Abby. Not only did she not need
to be physically protected, she would probably be quite offended at any attempt to do so. That still left emotionally though. Did she need protection emotionally? If she wasn’t dating Rupert Giles, was there someone else in her life? Had she been hurt by a past love?
He watched in bemusement as she picked up a piece of sandpaper and went to the boat. He silently made his way down the stairs, ready to show her how to do it…again. But before he could reach her, she started to sand absentmindedly. The remarkable part was that she was doing it correctly – with the grain and not in tiny circles like so many people did.
“Did a boyfriend teach you that?” Gibbs asked, cringing at the thought of her dating.
The question startled her, as well as the fact that he managed to sneak up on her. “Uh, no. I really don’t know where it came from. My friend Xander does carpentry stuff, but I don’t remember him ever telling me how to sand.” A thought occurred to her. “Did you
ever teach me?”
He seemed surprised by the idea that she would remember something as trivial as that, but not him personally. ‘But at least it was something,’
he thought happily.
Back upstairs, the others read the paper with avid interest. Oz was uncharacteristically the first to speak, “That would explain the pack feeling I got from him when we met.”
Ducky looked at him in surprise. “You mean to tell me that Jethro is a werewolf?”
Oz shook his head, “No. Pack, meaning family. Buffy is my Alpha even though she isn’t a were. And given that he’s her dad, it makes sense that my wolf felt he was family as well.”
“Fascinating,” the older man declared. He walked to the basement stairs to check on the two of them and turned back when it looked like they were bonding over the boat. He chuckled and thought that if Buffy drank bourbon, that they could just call her Gibbs Jr.
Giles still hadn’t spoken. He couldn’t think, much less talk. He already knew that he had to share Buffy with Ducky and Oz. And he was okay with that…really
he was. And he hadn’t been her father figure since high school. He didn’t even want to be that for her. But now that she had a man that – by Ducky’s assurances – would serve as a caring father, would that mean that Gibbs would become her best friend? And if that happened, where would that leave his own
relationship with her?
As they stood there, sanding the boat together, Buffy figured she’d better deal with her earlier behavior at NCIS. She turned to Gibbs and began, “I just want to say sorry for biting your head off this afternoon. It’s just the guy who called me said some stuff that he should have known would piss me off. Then he had the nerve to tell
me to come and fix his mistakes.”
She sat down on the platform and Gibbs joined her as she continued, “I shouldn’t have taken it out on you, but you really didn’t make me happy with your eavesdropping. I get that you have like a dozen reasons for being curious where I’m concerned – especially now that we know for sure that you’re my father. But what you
have to get is that it doesn’t give you an all-access pass to my life.”
Gibbs looked disappointed when she said that. His nature was to investigate and now she was warning him that her life was basically off-limits. “Does that mean you won’t tell me what those calls were all about or how exactly you are on speaking terms with the President?”
“Sorry, but in that particular case, I can’t
tell you. As far as I know, you don’t have the necessary clearance to be told.” She gave a deep sigh and went on, “A lot of my life is secret and has to remain that way…for good reason. And I’m not talking about the Witness Protection thingy, because today was the first I’d ever heard of it. Some of my secrets I may be able to tell you once I feel I can trust you. What I need from you is the patience to wait for me to tell you and not to go digging for answers on your own. Can you do that?”
“Do you think that you’ll be able
to trust me?” he asked with a hint of pleading in his voice.
She gave him an apologetic smile. “Well, you’re the unfortunate recipient of a set of baggage of three things that have hurt me in the past, both personally and professionally – one at the same time. You represent the police, the military and most importantly, a father figure.”
He carefully grabbed one of her hands but held it loosely. “Can you tell me why those things hurt you? I mean I can probably figure out the father issue, but--”
Buffy interrupted him, “The first two…I can’t…not yet. They are part of that whole secret package thing. But I suppose I can tell you more about Hank.” At his look of shock that she would refer to him by name, she explained, “When he didn’t show up for Mom’s funeral, I decided that he lost the right to be called dad.”
Gibbs nodded in agreement when he abruptly remembered something. “That reminds me, your friend Rupert said that my pictures of Shannon looked like your mom, but her eyes were a different color. Do you know why?”
“Now with this Witness thing, I have a different idea of why, but what she told me growing up was that she wanted blue eyes. And having contacts that gave her the color was the next best thing to natural. Also, when I was younger, she used to color her hair dark. But when she and Hank divorced, she let her hair go natural again,” she explained.
Then she stared at him with new hope in her eyes. “You said that you had pictures of her. Can I see them? I lost all mine when Sunnydale collapsed.”
Gibbs moved across the basement and pulled down the lunch box that used to belong to Kelly and handed it to his daughter. He fought to control the tears threatening to spill over.
Buffy gingerly took the box from his barely shaking hands. She was suddenly overcome with sympathy for the man in front of her. He may be the parent in their relationship, but he looked like he was suffering more than she was. All because of a decision that her mom made years ago.
Watching him struggle with his emotions, she made a choice. One she prayed she wouldn’t regret. Her head and heart were screaming at each other about the danger she was putting herself in, but her heart finally won out. Setting the box down, she stood and moved to hug Gibbs. ‘No,’
she mentally corrected herself, ‘her dad.’
He deserved a chance to be that for her.
Gibbs stood there frozen as he watched this strong, independent woman who used to be his little fairy princess. His heart sunk when she set the box aside without even looking in it and the stab of rejection when she stood up. He was sure that she was going to go up the stairs and leave. And the worst part was that he didn’t even know what he did to cause this reaction.
Then his world was turned upside down again when he felt her arms circle his waist and her head rest on his chest. That was what broke his control. He clutched her tightly and started crying softly in her hair. He wasn’t sure what she was offering him, but whatever it was, he would take it – no matter the cost.
Giles and Ducky watched as Oz tilted his head to the side as if he was hearing something. Before they could ask, they saw him give a small smile of satisfaction. Whatever he heard, it made Buffy’s friend and pack member happy and they could only take that as a good thing.
Oz looked at the basement door with a thoughtful expression before turning back to the others. “I think we should get dinner started for them. Whenever they finish up down there, I’m guessing that they’ll be pretty wiped and needing some food.”
A/N1: So now that they know, that means the story's over, right?
A/N2: Well, I hate to tell you this, but I won’t be updating this for a couple weeks because of real life stuff. But hopefully, Musie will find time to write during those weeks and when I get back I’ll have something to post. If you want, feel free to entice her with ideas.
A/N3: Next…Not sure yet. I’m thinking I should deal a little with them growing closer before moving to a supernatural problem that requires Buffy’s attention.