Chapter 22: A New Rival, Part 2
Chapter 22: A New Rival, Part 2
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, Hawkehunt and CindyB.
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 115,000th hit and over 530 reviews on TtH!
Buffy and Oz’s place
Two weeks after Faith’s visit…
When she opened the front door, Buffy was pleasantly surprised by the familiar face she saw. “Graham! It’s great to see you. And in one piece, too!”
Graham smiled back. “Thanks to Faith and her team. Can you pass our gratitude along to them?” he requested.
“Sure. She actually was wondering if you wanted me to give you her number,” Buffy lied, biting the inside of her cheek at his ‘deer in the headlights’ look.
He clear his throat awkwardly, “Uhhh…well, she’s attractive, but--” It was just his luck that the brunette Slayer expressed interest in him. Why couldn’t it have been somebody else?
Buffy couldn’t hold in her laughter anymore. When she calmed down, she apologized, “I’m sorry. I just had to tease you. Faith should never be inflicted on anyone who doesn’t ask for it.”
“Whew. She’s just a little…” Graham hesitated, searching for a non-offensive term.
“Enthusiastic?” the blonde Slayer offered with a teasing smirk.
He chuckled, “That’s one way of putting it.”
“And probably one of the nicer ways. So how did the …debriefing go?” she asked, leading him to the living room couch.
Graham sighed, relieved it was over. “I guess it went as well as could be expected. Fortunately, the morons responsible for the experiments were thorough in their notes, and that made it easy for the Oversight Committee to weed out the bad eggs from those of us just doing what we thought
was our mandate,” he finished, somewhat bitterly from having been betrayed by his leaders again – and especially by Riley, who should have known better.
Buffy considered what she was about to tell him. The battle with the First changed a lot of things; one of those things being the Council’s recruiting methods. “Well, I talked to Giles, and we’re prepared to offer anyone willing to submit to our version of a lie detector an opportunity to join the Council. Whether it’s as field back-up for a Slayer team, or research, or whatever,” she explained, carefully watching his reaction.
Which was one of extreme shock. “Seriously? After being burned twice
by the Initiative?” he asked. What kind of dream was he having now? Any minute now she would yell, ‘Psych!’
and kick him out.
But she didn’t take it back. “Like I said, they would have to be interviewed. Part of that process is lie detection. As for military personnel, I’ve cleared it with the President already. They can either be released from service or just be attached to a special unit tied to us,” she clarified. She and the President had gone over the best way to handle the servicemembers. After all, some took great pride in wearing their country’s uniform.
Graham let out a figurative breath he had been holding since finding out about the experiments. He knew that he wanted to help, but he didn’t think he could trust his leaders anymore. But if his leaders were Buffy and her
people… well, that was an entirely different situation. “I’ll let the others know, but I’ll sign up!”
He was stunned when Buffy flashed one of her brilliant smiles at him. Riley was an idiot for leaving and hurting her.
“Great! In fact, I think I might have an assignment for you. Assuming you pass the interview process,” she qualified her statement. Then she looked a little nervous when she asked, “Would you mind giving up active hunting?”
Curious what was going on the that brain of hers, Graham answered honestly, “Not really. I was kind of getting tired of it anyway – at least how the Initiative was handling it. What’s the assignment?”
Buffy dodged the question, “I’ll tell you after you’re cleared.”
One week later…
After a quick hop across the pond and back, Graham was again at the unofficial headquarters of the DC branch of the Council. “Well, Giles and the coven have cleared me for duty. Now
can you tell me?” he pleaded.
Buffy smiled when she thought of what his reaction would be. “We need somebody on the Secret Service detail,” she replied in an overly casual manner.
Graham’s brain shut down – almost
as surely if she were standing in front of him naked. He managed to stammer out, “I’m sorry, I think I misheard you. Did you say Secret Service? As in the President’s
“Yep. President Ryan was hoping for a Slayer on the detail, but since only Faith and I are over the age of 18…” she trailed off. Then she shrugged, “Anyway, we figured a demon hunter was the next best thing – at least until we could get a Slayer there. The great thing is you already have some of the necessary clearance. Andrea likes your background check. In fact, she was one of the people at your debriefing.”
“Andrea?” he asked confusedly.
Remembering that the agents weren’t really known to the public for obvious reasons, Buffy clarified, “The lead agent on the President’s detail. Now, you wouldn’t be part of any set detail, ‘cause they’d need you to go around to check for demonic problems. And obviously, you’d have us to be back-up in case you had questions. Me and Oz would work with you – unofficially of course.”
“Wow. This is-- wow,” he answered, still trying to wrap his mind around the idea.
His reaction was starting to make her nervous and she started to babble, “Will you do it? I’m sure it’s not what you were expecting when you joined the Council, but I wasn’t really expecting to work with NCIS either.”
Graham quickly cut her off before she strained something, “Are you kidding? This is like one of the greatest honors I could have ever hoped for.”
Buffy raised an bemused eyebrow at the statement, “Being asked to take a bullet for somebody is your greatest honor? You have strange goals, Graham.”
Six weeks after Faith’s visit…
Gibbs and Buffy had just gotten back from one of the more pleasant events they had gone to together since he started escorting her around the Beltway. They changed and made their way down to the boat.
“You know, Papa Bear, if you don’t watch out, you’re going to ruin your reputation as a hard-ass,” she teased her dad, using the pet name from when she was little after he told her about it in one of their gab sessions. She giggled when she remembered describing Gibbs as a Papa Bear to Tim a while back; maybe it was a repressed memory or something.
He smiled whenever she called him that. It gave him hope that she was getting to trust him more – at least as a father. He knew she still kept professional secrets, but was willing to let her find her own time to share those. His laidback approach had served him well so far with her. Why mess with success? “What are you talking about, sweetie?” he inquired.
She rolled her eyes at his obvious confusion. For such a brilliant investigator, he could be so clueless sometimes. “Tonight, at the party…you know, with the growling at anyone who asked me to dance,” she pointed out with a mild glare.
Gibbs frowned at the apparent complaint. “I thought that’s what I was there for – to keep the predators away.” If she didn’t know him better, she would have sworn he was about to pout.
The mental image made her giggle. To cover it, Buffy shot back, “The President’s Chief of Staff is a predator? Arnie? Or Fornell when he
asked? Good thing you went to the bathroom or he never would have gotten me to dance. And if he didn’t, I wouldn’t know the rumors going around about us,” she sing-songed, pouring their drinks while he got out the tools.
“Dare I ask?” he inquired, almost reluctantly.
Buffy tried not to laugh as she relayed the message, “Just that apparently I’m the lucky girl who has finally won the heart of the uncatchable Gibbs – even if I’m not
That surprised him, even though it shouldn’t have. “They really think we’re a couple?”
She shrugged, “Well, obviously not Fornell. And the President knows the truth. I had to tell him when I found out. It’s not good for Council relations with the US if I tried to keep that kind of information from him – especially when his people could find out as easily as Fornell did,” she explained before he could get upset that she had revealed their secret.
In all honesty, he was pleased she wasn’t trying to keep it hidden from everyone. It meant she wasn’t ashamed of having him as a father.
Her next words snapped him out of his thoughts, “But this would explain something I’ve noticed around the office.”
“What?” he demanded. What had he missed?
“Somebody’s been shooting daggers at me,” Buffy remarked, like it was the most normal thing in the world, now that she knew the whole story.
Maybe he had too much to drink – or not enough – because Gibbs just stood there, confused. “Obviously I’m not getting it. What are you saying?”
Deciding not to beat around the bush about it, Buffy bluntly replied, “Somebody’s jealous that I’m
your arm candy. A certain Director lady. What’s the deal there?” she asked.
Gibbs froze momentarily in mid-stroke of his planing. “Several years ago, we were involved,” he admitted. If he wanted her to open up, he had to return the favor, painful as that might be.
Buffy sat down next to where he was working, inquiring softly because she heard the ache in his voice, “What happened to rule 12?”
“I didn’t have it until Jenny. She’s why
I created the rule. But that’s in the past now,” he said, hoping this was done with.
“Not for her, it isn’t,” Buffy disagreed vehemently.
Gibbs attacked the boat again with the plane. “Sure it is. She has the social calendar to prove it.”
She shook her head, “I don’t think so, Papa Bear. Just be careful, okay? Jealous exes are never of the good,” she whispered, remembering her own love life problems.
“There’s nothing to worry about, but I’ll keep my eyes open,” he promised.
Buffy smiled up at him. “Good. So, are we anywhere near ready to paint yet?” she pleaded, changing the subject to a less emotion-riddled topic.
The next morning…
Buffy had stayed over, as was getting to be their custom on the weekends when she didn’t have other plans or he had a case to work on. Deciding to take a chance, she was wanted to tell her dad the truth about Sunnydale – or at least the non-supernatural, edited version of it for now. If he seemed to be able to handle that, she would tell him everything.
When she got to the part about being able to handle weapons almost naturally, he asked, “Then why didn’t you do well at the range?”
“Ziva was already feeling threatened by me. Why make it worse? I figured I would need to take a dive either there or when we fought, and thought my ego could take it better at the range,” Buffy remarked.
Gibbs ran his hand over his salt and pepper hair, somewhat frustrated. But he wasn’t sure if that was because of what she just told him about Sunnydale or her shooting. “That’s nice of you, but I need to know how good you really are. You need to re-qualify,” he commanded.
Instead of bristling at the order, Buffy chose to understand his position. “Okay. It’s been long enough that I could just claim I improved,” she strategized.
He couldn’t think of the Shannon he knew as this warrior-like woman’s mother, so Gibbs didn’t use her name when he asked, “So, what did your mother think of you being the head of this neighborhood watch group?”
“She hated it. In fact, when she found out, she told me not to come home if I went out that night. But one of the worst gang members had Giles and I had to try to get him back. I knew the police wouldn’t do anything, so I left.” Buffy fought the tears as she recalled that awful night. Maybe it was better that she let Gibbs think they were dead; Buffy wasn’t sure he could have taken the harshness of her words; she almost couldn’t. “So, you know…I don’t think it was you personally
that drove her away; she just couldn’t take the stress of worrying.”
“But you made up, right?” he asked, thinking that Ducky had said something about them being close when she died.
Buffy hesitated; she knew he wasn’t going to be happy to hear this part, but she had to know if he could handle it. “Sure…after I spent about three months on my own in LA. When I went back, she still wasn’t happy about it, but she knew that I wouldn’t walk away. I couldn’t even when I was in LA. I just didn’t have my friends backing me up there.”
To her surprise, Gibbs just grabbed her to give her a comforting embrace. He wasn’t real excited about her news, but it was in the past. All he could do was be there for her now. But it didn’t stop him from whispering in her hair, “I’m sorry you didn’t get to have a childhood.”
Breathing a sigh of relief, Buffy replied just as softly, “I got one. It just didn’t last as long as other kids’.”
“Is that why you’re with this Council now?” he asked, rapidly putting two and two together.
“Yep. We help out where the locals can’t or won’t. We just have special permission from the governments to step in,” she explained.
Gibbs snorted, “I just can’t believe it. But I’m very proud of you, sweetie,” he squeezed her again, kissing her forehead.
Once again, they missed the redhead that watched from the window before turning and storming away. He had moved on…and with someone young enough to be his daughter!
A/N: Next…The whole