Chapter 31: An Old Holiday Curse
Chapter 31: An Old Holiday Curse
A/N: This one is longer to celebrate the fic’s one year anniversary. What do
you get a story as a prezzie?
Warning: I don’t know; maybe language and innuendo somewhere along the way. We gots us some violence in this chapter.
Challenge: #4472 ‘Bunny is my what?’
Thanks to my beta: zigpal. TwoBlackDragons is doing me the great favor of going through the entire story to pick out mistakes that have escaped notice, so big round of applause for TBD, folks! Thanks to MistressAshley for the fanart; it's wonderful!
Mental talking like 'This.'
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 1 year anniversary of the story! Can you believe it’s been that long? It was only supposed to be like 5 chapters long.
“What do you have for me?” Gibbs demanded as he and Buffy walked into the office together.
The fact they came together didn’t escape the notice of the other team members – nor was the fact they were both ‘out of town’ when the case came in. Knowing better than to ask questions though, McGee ignored the elephant in the room and started the briefing, “Commander Reynolds and her son are still missing, Boss.”
Tony swallowed his own curiosity, then added, “But we’ve managed to track down where the last cell call came from.”
“Plus, with the evidence we got from the scene where they were taken, we can narrow our search to this area.” Ziva circled the section of the map on the screen with a laser pointer. They had found traces of a mixture of different coffee dusts, and the district they were looking at was where several companies stored their coffee beans while waiting to process them.
Studying the map for a moment, Buffy felt she was back in Sunnydale and dealing with the latest big bad. It had
to be warehouses. “That looks like a warehouse district with what…about four dozen places? Whew, that’s a needle in a haystack. What’s the plan, Gibbs?”
“According to the demands we received, our victims only had 12 hours of air when the call came in.” Gibbs glanced at his watched. “That was nine hours ago. We’d need a miracle to be able to find them that fast.”
Buffy caught her dad’s eye and gestured to the empty space near the elevators. “Uhh, Gibbs? Can I talk to you privately for a second?” They moved out of earshot of the others before she reminded him, “We do
have the option of calling in special help. Somebody who’s really
good at tracking people?” she said pointedly.
“I don’t like putting civilians in dangerous situations like this one,” he replied, but his refusal felt a little hollow – like he wanted her to talk him into it.
She smiled indulgently at him; she’d feel the same way taking one of the NCIS crew out on patrol with her and Oz. “I know, but think of this as a perk of having a daughter on the UC. And you know nobody can track as good as Oz – especially with the time we have.”
He nodded in resignation; her point was a valid one. “Fine. Have him meet us at the intersection closest to the highway. He’s only
going to find the warehouse they’re in, and
he’s wearing a bulletproof vest. I’ll bring a waiver for him to sign.”
“Good. I’ll give him a call and tell him to hurry.” Buffy had her phone out and was dialing Oz before she finished her sentence.~~~~~~~~~Intersection near the warehouse district
Oz was waiting for them when they pulled up. Gibbs showed everyone the map of the search area to indicate what he wanted from the others. “Okay, folks! Let’s split up so we can cover more ground. Summers, you keep an eye on our civilian; David and DiNozzo, you take this section....McGee, you’re with me. Stay quiet and keep the comms open so we can catch up to whoever finds them first.”
Buffy leaned over to Gibbs and whispered softly, “Gotta say, little surprised you didn’t take Oz, Gibbs.”
He shrugged, “Figured you two are used to working together. Please stay safe, ‘k, kiddo?”
“You got it, PB. That goes for you too, mister,” she answered with a slight lump in her throat. It still surprised her how much she had come to love her dad after only knowing him for a few months. She thought she had closed off that part of her when Hank had given up his place in her life, but Gibbs’ persistence in being in her life plowed through those barriers like they were made of rice paper.
Resisting the urge to hug her, Gibbs stepped back and called out in a louder voice, “Everyone, move out!”~~~~~~~~~
Oz waited until the others were out of sight before removing one of the bracelets that inhibited his wolf – specifically, the one controlling his enhanced sense of smell. The difference overwhelmed him for a minute, then Buffy grabbed the bag that held the personal items of Commander Reynolds and her son.
He took them one at a time to imprint the smell in his mind. Afterward, he tilted his nose up in the air to attempt to catch their scent. Assuming Buffy and Oz were their best hope of finding the hostages in time, Gibbs stationed them in the section that held the easiest route in and out of the district to the highway.
Buffy stood back and watched in fascination as Oz searched for a hint of their scent. When Angel or Spike mentioned their preternatural smelling abilities, it kinda grossed her out. However, as she witnessed Oz use his ability in this manner, it gave her an entirely new perspective on the matter. Of course, it may have had something to do with the fact that when the vampires brought it up, they were using it in connection to blood or sex – not really great choices of conversation, in her opinion.
Oh, Oz must have caught a whiff of something ‘cause he took off running down the street – not even bothering to make sure she was with him. A couple blocks down, he slowed almost to a stop, but kept moving forward.
Using the mental telepathy set up for patrols, Oz told Buffy, ‘See that building over on the corner? The one with the volcano sign? I can make out their scents the strongest there. Only problem is, I can’t tell you how many other people are in there right now because of coffee smells around us.’
She knew what he was talking about; her sense of smell wasn’t nearly as acute as his, but she was still getting a nice caffeine buzz. ‘Good work. Stay here while I scope it out. When I give you the signal, contact Gibbs and tell him we found them. I’m guessing he isn’t too far away from us.’
Instead of approaching the building on the ground, Buffy made her way to the roof of a nearby building, checking for sentries as she moved. From where she was, she could make out three: one watching from a window in the front, another in the shadows of the alleyway, and the last one on the roof. There were probably two more on the other sides that she couldn’t see from this position.
Buffy called out to Oz mentally, ‘I can confirm three baddies as lookouts; guessing there’s a couple more I can’t see. Not sure about who’s inside. Tell my dad to use the ‘lost’ scenario when he calls me – just in case they’re listening. He’ll want you to head back to where we met. Please don’t fight him on it, alright?’
she pleaded before adding, ‘And be ready to catch anyone that gets past us, or to call in for help if we need it.’ ‘I’m only going along with this because this is NCIS and not Slayer-related. Don’t make me have to go back to the house without you, though,’
Oz replied; having to face his cousin and Anya if something happened to her wasn’t on his list of things to do…ever.~~~~~~~~~
A few minutes later, Buffy heard her phone chirp. Well, actually she felt it vibrate, but the point was basically the same diff.
“Hey cupcake, where are you? I was expecting you a while ago?” Gibbs questioned like any worried father – which ironically, he was.
Glad they had worked out different scenarios for situations like this, Buffy answered in her best ditzy blonde voice, “Sorry, Daddy. You know me and directions. I took a wrong turn somewhere and now I’m lost.”
“When should I expect you?” he asked, waiting for the code that would tell him what they were dealing with.
Buffy began her ‘briefing’ for him, “I see a few places that I could maybe ask for directions; it should only take me like 5 to 10 minutes to check them. By the way, have you gotten rid of the hideous weathervane on the roof yet?”
Gibbs knew she was asking for permission to take out one or more of the lookouts to make it easier to move in. Having watched her patrol, he had no doubts about her ability to do so without drawing attention to herself. “No, but if you want to, I’ll let you take it down tomorrow,” he said, giving her the go-ahead.
“Yay! Oh, and just so you know, I’m gonna park on the side of the house so I don’t have to worry about anyone stealing my car,” Buffy answered, letting him know she would take out the one on the roof and the one in the alley.
Staying with the guise of their false conversation, Gibbs let his worry show with his next statement, “Well, if you had gotten a sensible car – like I told you to – instead of that convertible, you wouldn’t have to worry so much where you park it. Be careful, baby girl. You know how dangerous it is to drive here at night.”
She couldn’t help but tease him, “You have to relax; you can’t spare any more grey hairs. Pretty soon they’re gonna start falling out.”~~~~~~~~~
After waiting for the right moment to make the literal leap, Buffy jumped from the building she was on to the Hawaiian Coffee warehouse without making a sound. She crept up behind the lookout and knocked him unconscious before he knew she was there. Then she used her own experiences of being tied up and how she had gotten free to ensure he couldn’t get loose until somebody came for him – preferably one of them and not one of his buddies.
She handcuffed his hands together behind his back, then his feet. To make it unlikely that he’d get free, she then used an ace bandage with duct tape on top of it to totally wrap his hands so he couldn’t wiggle his fingers to grab anything. For her final touches, she bound his hands and feet together with a pair of nylons, and the last thing she did was attach one of those BDSM gags to his mouth – one with holes so he could breathe – in order to keep him quiet without endangering his life.
Oops, she almost forgot about the cold weather. Reaching into her little pouch of goodies, Buffy pulled out the foil emergency blanket and a couple of those Hot-Hands packages to keep him warm and cozy until they could grab him later.
Once she felt she had thought of everything, she quietly lowered herself over the side of the roof with a make-shift pulley system the brainiacs on the Council came up with for times when they needed to make an ‘aerial’ assault on a target. Slayage gadgets came in so handy sometimes. Maybe she’d have to look into getting some for the team when this was over.
Within five minutes of her foot touching the ground, Buffy had finished with the second lookout and was heading back to the warehouse where she’d meet up with the team again to find out what came next.~~~~~~~~~
“Two down, who knows how many more to go,” Buffy announced as she joined the others.
Gibbs surreptitiously checked her for any injuries. “Any problems?” he inquired when he didn’t see any.
“Nope. It was as easy as getting Anya to talk about sex or money. What’s next, oh great leader?” she asked in a flippant tone, forgetting she was supposed to be afraid of Gibbs.
He glared at her for a moment before smirking. “How do you feel about a little role-playing?”
Buffy’s face screwed up in disgust for a second. “I don’t really think it’s appropriate-- Oh, you mean for the case! Sure! What did you have in mind?”
Despite his own shudder of revulsion at where her mind initially went, Gibbs grinned as he explained, “Just more of what we started with our phone conversation. You go up to the front door, looking lost and give them some kind of sob story about how your car broke down. As soon as you take care of the lookout, give us a call and let us know we can come in.”
Tony looked between the two, trying to figure out what the hell was going on with them. He did feel concerned at the plan though and interjected, “Are you sure this is a good idea, Boss? Buffy’s never done this sort of thing before.”
“Not with NCIS, but I’ve done this kind of thing all the time for the Council; it’s kind of my specialty. I’m great at being the helpless, dumb blonde girl,” Buffy said, flipping her hair over her shoulder in a very Harmony way.~~~~~~~~~
After she walked away from Gibbs and the team, Buffy slipped on the necklace that held her ‘valley girl’ glamour: coiffed hair, bright make-up, and a slinky dress with calf-high boots. She had a thin jacket on as well. Man, if the team saw her now, she’d have a lot of explaining to do. Good thing the clothes she actually had on were close enough for any comments the baddies might make…she hoped.
She backtracked a couple warehouses, then walked right to the front door of their target building, making sure she looked harmless and lost. Predictably, the guard had the door open before she could finish knocking.
“What do you want?” he demanded suspiciously.Alright, hyper-babble time
; it was her best chance to throw him off. “Well, see, I was trying to get to my dad’s house, but the car broke down a couple blocks away after I got lost, and as you can see, I’m totally not dressed for this godforsaken weather ‘cause I’m from California, and when Daddy told me it was cold, I assumed he meant cold by my
standards, not this arctic stuff; I mean, really, who
could stand to live in temperatures like this if they weren’t a polar bear or penguin or whatever?”
Only hesitating for half a second for a breath, she went on without giving him a chance to say anything – if he could even manage to get a word out in his stunned condition, “So I knew I couldn’t stay in the car since that’s the best way to end up as Popsicle Harmony, and that is sooo
not of the good, and Daddy is coming to get me – and probably chew me out, but it’s totally his
fault for not explaining things good enough for me – so I came looking for a place to keep warm, and saw somebody smoking a cigarette in the alley here, and hoped you wouldn’t mind letting me stay here until he gets here. Pretty please?” she pleaded with her full pout.
The poor guy was still mystified by the ditz act and accidentally let his gun fall into her view, causing her to gasp dramatically. “ O-M-G
! You have a gun! Oh no, are you on a stakeout or something? I didn’t screw it up, did I? You know, I love
those C-I-S shows with all their science-y talk and the way they catch the bad guys; it would have been really helpful if that were true of the police in the town where I grew up, but I think the police actually were
baddies themselves – at least for a few years; after the Mayor died at my high school graduation, I don’t know if they still were. So, who’s your baddy you’re trying to catch…drug dealers, dirty politician, slumlord? Ooo, can I help somehow? My BFFs would totally die
of envy if I got to help you catch a bad guy! Before I can help though, I have to touch up my make-up, ‘cause if I’m on camera, I need to look my best; where’s your bathroom?”
Shaking his head to clear it, the guard started walking towards the bathroom to let Buffy take care of her girly stuff. When they got there, Buffy pretended to stumble so she could bump into the guy. As she fell into him, she swung her fist hard and knocked him out. Quickly checking his pockets for anything he could use to get free, she bound and gagged him like she did with the other two lookouts. Then she pushed him into a closet and closed the door.
“Hey guys, it’s safe to come in now,” she whispered over the comm, slipping her necklace off before they could see her different look.~~~~~~~~~
By this time, Tony and McGee were trying desperately not to laugh their heads off. Gibbs had a satisfied smirk on his face, but Ziva just looked bewildered by Buffy’s act. Did even half of what the blonde said make sense? Only the reminder of why they were there kept everyone focused on the task at hand.
Fortunately, the security inside the warehouse was much less stringent than the outside. Guess they were counting on the lookouts. Bad news for them; good news for the NCIS crew. Buffy moved to the back, letting her dad take point now that they were in the final takedown situation. But, boy
did it suck to be the probie agent! It helped considerably that the others were the best of the best.
Gibbs peeked through the door, then motioned to the team that he saw two suspects in the room with the hostages. Thankfully, it appeared the kidnappers had lied about the air running out; they probably knew/hoped the authorities would act as if it were true. It would be a lot better for them if they could get at least one of them to leave, but how to manage that? He gestured for the bad guy’s walkie-talkie and changed his voice so it sounded reasonably like the front lookout’s. “Hey, could somebody come watch the front for me? I need to go to the bathroom.”
He watched as the leader – presumably – rolled his eyes in annoyance, then gestured with his head to the other guy in the room, who picked up his gun and started walking for the door. Everyone backed up into the shadows so he couldn’t see them. As soon as the door closed, Gibbs nodded to Ziva, and the Mossad agent moved up silently behind the man and knocked him out. They bound and gagged him too, then shoved him out of the way.
Checking the room again, Gibbs saw there were rafters that Buffy could use to get closer to the hostages so she could protect them while they went in to secure the leader. He whispered the instructions to his daughter, praying she wouldn’t take any unnecessary risks. She could see the worry in his eyes and just gave him a bright smile in return, then took off for the boxes she was going to use to climb up.
Once she was in position, Buffy nodded to her dad and prepared to jump down so she was between the bad guy and the hostages. As the door opened, she dropped, hearing Gibbs shout out, “Freeze! NCIS!”
The look on the leader’s face was priceless when he looked at his bargaining chips, only to see them protected by a small blonde pointing a gun at him. Damn! His meticulously planned out kidnapping was falling apart, and he had a decision to make: go out fighting or surrender. Like most criminals, he was a coward at heart and tossed his gun to the ground and held up his hands without saying a word.
“David, secure the suspect. McGee, DiNozzo, take care of the other lookouts. Summers, call for an ambulance and some back up,” Gibbs barked out as he made his way to the hostages. “Ma’am, my name is Special Agent Gibbs; you and your son are safe now. Are you alright? Do you have any injuries?”
“We’re fine, Agent Gibbs.” Commander Reynolds glanced at her son, then amended her statement, “Though, I think my son needs to go to the bathroom now. That, and I don’t think I’ll be able to drink coffee for a year or so.”
Seeing that Ziva and his daughter had the area secure, Gibbs offered the Commander a hand to stand up. “I can take you.”
A few minutes later, the three of them were walking back to the room Buffy and Ziva were holding the kidnappers – having dragged the two inside into the same room – when Gibbs stared in horror as a figure stepped out of the shadow and pointed a weapon at Ziva. He called out, feeling helpless as he did, “Ziva! Gun!”
His only answer was a gunshot.
Without waiting to see if the gunman hit his target, Gibbs put two bullets in him; one in the head and the other in the chest. He ran over to make sure the man was dead and secured the suspect’s weapon. Only then did he turn to see if Ziva was still breathing. His eyes didn’t want to admit what he saw.
Instead of Ziva lying on the floor, it was Buffy in a pool of her own blood.
A/N: I know there were some mistakes during Buffy’s hyper-babble, but they were intentional to make her look even more Harmony-esque.
A/N2: Just wanted to give everyone a head’s up that the next several months are going to be very hectic for me, so I’m not sure when I’ll be able to update any of my stories. I’m not abandoning anything, and if I get the chance to post, I will.
A/N3: Next…Hospitals and Buffy are unmixy things most of the time.