Chapter 25: A New Pup
Chapter 25: A New Pup
Warning: I don’t know; maybe language and innuendo somewhere along the way.
Challenge: #4472 ‘Bunny is my what?’
A/N: Sorry to everyone that was looking forward to more Anya. Musie (and AshDawnSoulmates) struck and gave me this plot twist to explore. To speed the posting, this was unbeta’d. Sorry for any mistakes I missed.
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 1151st tracker, 55th recommendation and 657th review on TtH! Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it!!!
Half Moon, North Carolina
As the EMTs loaded her into the ambulance for the trip to the hospital in Jacksonville, Maureen Gesshel pleaded for them to call her nephew. He was number four on her speed dial. Earlier, she had watched her husband die upon impact and feared she would soon follow. Her nephew was the only one who could care properly for their child.
The EMT assured her, “Don’t worry, ma’am; the police have your phone and are contacting him now.” He took another look at her vitals and hoped her nephew didn’t live too far away. There probably wasn’t much time left before she died – despite their best efforts. There simply was too much damage.
Maureen gave a weary nod before giving into the blackness.
North Mount Vernon, VA
A few days later…
Buffy was sitting in one of the window seats, staring at the Fort Hunt Park that was practically in their back yard. That was one of the selling points for this home. When Oz felt like letting his wolfy side out, the park was a good place to go for a run. He had enough control of himself now that he could do so safely. As long as he wasn’t real emotional before the change, that is.
As her thoughts turned to her friend, a small blur streaked across the room and dove at her. She instinctively caught it since her senses told her this wasn’t a threat. It curled up into a ball and tried to bury itself into her embrace before it started weeping.
A few seconds later, Oz rushed into the room, and his eyebrows raised in surprise at the scene he found. He slowed down and walked over to Buffy.
“Hey Oz? Can you explain my watery lap ornament here?” she inquired with her own arched eyebrow.
Shaking himself out of his stupor, Oz replied overly casually, “I can tell you who he is, but I don’t know why he’s attached himself to you. That’s my cousin, Jordy.”
Recognition at the name flared in her eyes. “Ahhh. The one that bit you. What’s with the waterfall?” She took a closer look at her friend and saw the grief there. She shifted on the seat so he could join her. “Oz? What’s the matter?”
Oz fought for control of his emotions. They weren’t to the level of forcing a change, but he didn’t feel like breaking down in front of Buffy. “That thing I had to take care of in North Carolina? My aunt and uncle were in a car accident. I know I didn’t talk to you about this first, but she asked me to take Jordy. I’m the only family member who can handle his condition. In fact, I’m the only family that even knows about it.”
“‘Take care of’ as in until they get better? Or as in adopt?” Buffy tried to clarify, not caring either way.
“The second one. Uncle Ken died at the scene, and Aunt Maureen barely held on until I could get down there. I couldn’t say no, Buffy,” he answered, silently pleading with her to understand. If he had to, they’d move out, but he really hoped it wouldn’t be necessary.
Buffy glared at him, guessing what was going through his mind. “Of course not! I’d wonder who you were if you didn’t take him. I’m just sorry you went through this alone. Why didn’t you say anything?”
He shrugged. “It’s not like you could be in two places at once, and it was more important for you to be with Xander.”
“Speaking of which, you weren’t the only one to bring home new family members. I brought two and a half or two-thirds – not sure how to count that. Anya just feels safer with me than the other Slayers,” she added as an explanation. Buffy didn’t have the same concern he did; she knew Oz would accept the change in their situation with no trouble.
“I’d count it as three. One is just being a recluse right now.” Oz got a bit of a smirk on his face. “So, Anya and JR. Should we warn DC?”
Buffy chuckled softly so she wouldn’t rattle the small child in her lap. “Nah. Let everyone find out the hard way; we had to.”
Oz sniffed the air for evidence of the newcomers and only got a light scent from them. “Where are they?”
She nodded towards the hallway leading back to the bedrooms. “Resting. Between jetlag and grief, they crashed almost immediately. JR doesn’t really understand and keeps asking for ‘Daddy’. It breaks my heart that he won’t get to know how great his dad was.”
“We’ll just have to be sure to tell him. How are you doing?” Oz asked, taking her hand for both their comfort.
Her eyes glittered dangerously. “Like I want the guys responsible to be alive so I get to kill them all over again,” the Slayer growled. Oz found himself relieved not to be on the receiving end of her anger.
Oz looked at his cousin curled up in her lap. He seemed so content there – which kinda amazed him. But on the other hand, it make perfect sense. Oz knew that he would like to curl up with Buffy for comfort right now. “Do you want me to take Jordy?” he offered.
Buffy glanced down at her bundle. He had stopped crying and his eyes were closed. “Nah. I think he’s asleep now.”
“Wonder why he went to you – not that I blame him, mind you,” Oz thought aloud, tacking on the compliment easily.
She smirked at him. “Charmer.”
He continued on with his thoughts, pretending not to hear her, “The other strange thing is this is the first time he’s broken down since Saturday.”
“Well, he is related to you. Maybe stoicism is a family trait,” Buffy pointed out.
Oz smirked back before his face changed to its thoughtful expression again. “It is. That’s why this surprises me.”
“We’ll just have to ask him when he wakes up. Why don’t you go get some rest? You’re looking pretty wiped,” Buffy told him after getting a closer look at him.
“Yeah, I haven’t slept well since it happened.” He suddenly looked very nervous. He wasn’t sure how she would take his request. “Uhh, could I ask a favor?”
Curious about what would have made her friend so jumpy, Buffy assured him, “Anything. What’s up?”
Oz sighed, deciding to just bite the bullet. “Well, it’s kinda for both me and Jordy. It’s best if he and I sleep together until he gets comfortable here…” he trailed off, praying she wouldn’t make him say it.
Buffy made the intuitive leap and fought not to break out laughing. “Are you asking me to sleep with you?” she asked teasingly.
He blushed and started to stammer, “Umm--”
Then she remembered why Jordy was there and felt bad for the way she was acting. “I’m sorry. It isn’t the right time to tease you like that. I think I understand. And it’s not as if you’re gonna try anything with your little cousin with us, right?” she asked rhetorically.
But Oz felt he should answer anyway. “Absolutely not!” he declared vehemently.
She nodded her agreement. “Alright then. Why don’t we bunk down in my room? That way when Anya wakes up, she knows where to find me.”
Oz tried not to cringe. If Anya caught them in bed together… He didn’t want to hear the things she would say. “Oh, I really hope we wake up first. I can just imagine her reaction.”
“Hopefully she’ll see Jordy and know to keep quiet.” Oz just raised an eyebrow. “Right. Forgot who we were talking about,” Buffy said with her own prayer they’d wake up first.
A few hours later…
The ringing of the telephone woke Buffy out of her light slumber. She quickly checked on her bedmates as she snatched the offending item.
“Who is it?” she growled.
Gibbs’ voice came over the line, his concern clear, “It’s your dad. Did I call at a bad time? Did I wake you?”
Buffy shook off her annoyance, actually happy to hear from him. She left a message on his home voicemail when they got in earlier to let him know she was back. “Yeah, but that’s okay. I just didn’t want you waking up the others.”
“Others? Who else is in your bed?!” Gibbs demanded. More than one
person was in her bed with her? What the hell was going on over there?
Buffy laughed quietly, carefully slipping out of the bed. She moved to the chair by the window. That way she was far enough to keep from waking them – hopefully – but still close enough in case Jordy woke up. “Chill, Papa Bear. Oz lost his aunt and uncle last weekend and had to take custody of his little cousin. Jordy decided to attach himself to me as soon as he felt me in the house. Since he cried himself to sleep, and Oz looked dead on his feet, I offered to let them sleep in my room with me.”
Her father breathed a sigh of relief at the innocent answer, but was still confused by a couple things she said. “I don’t understand. Felt you? And why would Oz need to sleep with you?” he questioned, but without the previous anger.
She sighed; she really needed to fill him in on everything soon so she didn’t have to go through this every time something came up. “It’s one of those supernatural things. They are werewolves and have a pack mindset. I’m Oz’s Alpha – even though I’m not a wolf – and maybe that would explain Jordy’s reaction to me as well. Huh.” She thought to herself that it made sense. “Anyway, the two of them have been sleeping together until Jordy feels at home here so where one goes, so does the other, and we didn’t have the heart to try to pry Jordy off of me.”
“So your house is filling up,” Gibbs pointed out needlessly. Another person he had to share her with. Great.
Buffy gave another slight chuckle before explaining, “More than you know. Anya and JR came back with me to stay here. I’m the only Slayer that treats her like family, so Xander asked me to look after them. You don’t mind the family growing a lot, do you? ‘Cause there’s another one a couple months from making an appearance.”
Gibbs did a quick mental tally of what was happening. He got his daughter back after almost 20 years and now had to share her with a houseful of people who she considered family but weren’t blood related. He hoped he wouldn’t regret his decision, but offered optimistically, “Wow. Not only do I get my daughter back, but she brings more family to care about. I’m sure that if you love them, so will I.”
“Just remember you said that when you meet Anya,” she said semi-ominously.
The tone wasn’t lost on the trained investigator. “Why?”
“She’s a bit of a handful. Think of a cross between Ziva and Faith,” she told him as plainly as she could. There really wasn’t any preparing for Anya.
Knowing the Mossad officer pretty well and remembering the brunette who breezed through a while back, Gibbs cringed at any combination of the two. “You’re kidding, right?” he pleaded with her to be pulling his leg.
But she shot down his hope. “Nope. But she really is very kind-hearted if you can get past her bluntness. JR has mellowed her a little as well. At least she’s learned not to share all of her thoughts in front of just anyone.”
He decided to set aside his worry for the time being and brought up the reason for his call – besides just checking in on her, “Well, I was just calling to see if you had plans for Thanksgiving.”
Buffy looked at the pair still sleeping in her bed. They still appeared to be resting well; Jordy had turned to curl up with Oz, who wrapped his arms around his little cousin. “I honestly don’t know. Sorry to steal the holiday from you since you and I have something to celebrate this year, but between the two tragedies, I’m not sure anyone else will be up to it.”
Gibbs answered honestly, “Hey, just hearing that you feel thankful about our relationship is enough of a celebration for me. How old are the two children?” he inquired.
“Um, JR is a little over one year and I think Jordy would be about six or seven. Don’t really know though,” she replied, trying to study the young wolf for any indications about his age. All she knew was that he was young when he bit Oz about six years ago.
“If I could make a suggestion then? Ask Jordy what he wants. JR is too young to care, and I assume the rest of you would be willing to do what Oz’s cousin would prefer,” he guessed.
Even though he couldn’t see her, Buffy nodded, “You’re probably right there. Did you want to come over for dinner tonight? Meet everyone?” she offered, wanting to see him, but unwilling to leave any of her extended family right now.
Fighting the triumphant feeling of her wanting to see him, Gibbs decided not to be selfish. “Only if it wouldn’t cause problems.”
“I think if it’s just you for tonight it should be okay. You aren’t that
overwhelming,” she teased. She knew if he wanted to be, he could intimidate just about anyone on the planet, but she also knew that when he didn’t want to frighten people, he could be a very comforting presence.
Gibbs growled in mock annoyance, “Hey, watch it! You’ll ruin my reputation if you keep saying stuff like that. Need me to bring anything?” he asked offhandedly.
Laughing at her dad’s own slip, Buffy had to point out, “You were saying about your rep? Nah, just come and we’ll see what everyone feels like eating. If we need to, we can make a run to the store later. Thanks, Papa Bear,” she said sincerely.
“You got it, baby girl.” Then he bit the inside of his cheek, hoping he didn’t come to regret what he was about to say. “Try to get some more sleep. I’ll let myself in.”
“Sounds good,” Buffy replied, saying goodbye, then shutting her phone. She slipped back into the bed behind Jordy, who snuggled into her embrace.
The evening was pretty quiet. Oz woke up a short time later and moved out to the living room just as Gibbs let himself in. The older man offered his condolences and said he spoke to Buffy earlier. They ordered dinner for everyone; Oz guessed what Anya would enjoy from what he remembered of her tastes back in Sunnydale.
It was a show of the depth of her grief that she didn’t say much when she and JR joined them a few minutes afterward. Jordy woke up when he smelled the food arrive, and dragged Buffy out with him.
She had just been lying there, waiting for him to get up. Seeing as how he called her ‘Alpha’ when he opened his eyes, she guessed she was on the right track earlier about the reason for his behavior.
When they asked him about Thanksgiving, he requested that they skip it this year. Maybe he’d feel better by Christmas, but right now the pain was too overwhelming. Since none of the others were really in the mood either, they were more than willing to comply.
Buffy took the rest of the week off from NCIS to help her family settle in to their new home. After Oz and Jordy assured Anya that the younger wolf wouldn’t bite her or JR, she was perfectly fine with having them in the house as well. She even looked somewhat relieved there were more people around. Ducky came by a couple times to check them, but decided to wait until they had recovered from their losses before he subjected them to his mother.
A/N: Small canon change here. MarcusRowland pointed out that Jordy was older when he bit Oz. However, I like the idea of a younger Jordy joining the unusual family. Therefore, the episode quote will be: "My cousin Jordy. Just got his first
teeth in. Does not like to be tickled."
A/N2: Next…Anya, I promise! (I hope)