Chapter 39: A New Crisis
Chapter 39: A New Crisis
A/N: Trying to get this updated before my classes keep me from writing at all. This is my last term…assuming I pass the darn classes. Then I be a college graduate!!!
Warning: I don’t know; maybe language and innuendo somewhere along the way.
Challenge: #4472 ‘Bunny is my what?’
Thanks to my betas: zigpal, Chrislover, and tracysgate.
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 belong 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 – I don’t know, let’s say 300K hits – on TtH!
DC Ursagga headquarters
Deciding to jump right in, Tara announced, “The coven felt a breech in the Deeper Well.”
Not recognizing the term, Oz asked, “What’s the Deeper Well?”
Surprisingly, it was Buffy who answered him, “It’s where the Old Ones are trapped…right? What do you mean, ‘a breech’?” she demanded.
“One of the Old Ones got out. Whoever got the sarcophagus out used magick to shield it, which prevents anyone from scrying for its location. But we think it’s at Wolfram & Hart,” Tara explained.
Buffy quirked an eyebrow at the less than confident response. “You think?”
Tara shrugged her shoulder. “It took us the longest time to figure out how to find it. Andrew finally asked if there was a way to check for nothing. Whoever hid it didn’t think that the lack of a presence would be as telling as an actual presence,” she said, knowing that if they were right about this, they’d have to give the hyper ‘geek’ some special recognition for thinking outside the box. “Minutes after we found a void the size of a sarcophagus, it entered Wolfram & Hart.”
“Well, that’s not good,” Buffy stated the obvious. She chewed on her lip for a second, then inquired, “Did you ask Angel about it? Maybe there’s a good reason--”
“Why they would help free a demon more powerful than Glory?” Tara finished sardonically, quirking her own eyebrow this time. “I doubt it. Besides, when Giles tried to call him after we learned where it was, he couldn’t get through to Angel.”
“Angel wouldn’t listen to him?” Oz spoke up again, starting to worry that maybe Angelus was loose again or something. No problem was made better by having that lunatic free.
Shaking her head, Tara replied, “No, I mean Giles wasn’t able to talk to Angel at all. As soon as he identified himself and said there was a problem, the receptionist squeaked in alarm and hung up on him. Giles doesn’t have the direct numbers for Angel or Wesley, so he had to go through the receptionist. Even when we tried having somebody else call, she kept doing the same thing. We don’t know if this means Angel’s turned evil, or if--”
Buffy cut in, “His secretary is an idiot who might have stolen another unicorn and thought Giles was calling to say we were going to slay her for it? Unless Angel’s gotten rid of Harmony, that scenario wouldn’t surprise me at all,” she snarked, remembering the annoying blonde vampire from her kidnapping scheme in Sunnydale. “I guess Giles is hoping that if I show up, Angel will either explain himself, or – if he’s Angelus again – he’ll slip up and try to kill me?” she guessed.
“Something like that,” Tara said with another – this time apologetic - shrug. Her talks with Buffy over the past couple years revealed that the blonde Slayer didn’t have blinders on when it came to her ex anymore, but hearing that she was being used as bait to test his loyalty couldn’t be fun for her.
Deciding to set aside the issue of Angel/Angelus for the moment, Oz asked another important question, “What’s the worst case if this Old One gets out?”
Researching this problem back in England with all the people who weren’t already involved in critical research sessions helped show that the Council could be useful…when properly managed by the right people. It meant Tara could tell Buffy and Oz something – even if it wasn’t good. “At the very least, whoever releases the Old One will die an agonizing death as their body is consumed in order to become a vessel for it to inhabit.”
Oz grimaced at the thought, then moved on, “Okay, so once we get in, what’s the plan?”
“Well…best case scenario: the sarcophagus is intact, and nobody has been ‘infected’ with the essence of an Old One. If that’s the case, we just have to return it to the Deeper Well,” Tara said hopefully.
Buffy scoffed at the idea of them having a ‘best case’ when it came to Slayer stuff, “Uh-huh…since we know it isn’t going to happen that way, so what’s the real plan?”
This was the hard part. Tara took a couple deep breaths to calm herself, but she still stuttered a little when she answered, “It’s dangerous, and we aren’t even sure it would work.”
After Tara explained the plan the Council and the Coven – mostly the Coven – came up with, Buffy let out a low whistle. “When you said dangerous, you weren’t kidding.”
Despite knowing there wasn’t really any other option – except killing the poor person before the transformation was complete – Tara agreed with her friend. “It isn’t as if there’s precedence for something like this,” she pointed out. “But we honestly believe this is our best chance of stopping the Old One.”
This was giving Buffy that déjà vu-y feeling all over again, taking her back to the Glory showdown, and look how that one turned out. “Alrighty…guess I should make my goodbyes, just in case.” She turned to Oz and suggested, “Speaking of which, Oz, maybe you shouldn’t come. Jordy can’t afford to lose you so soon after his parents.”
Oz narrowed his eyes at her and almost growled in protest. “I think losing you would hurt him just as much, Buffy,” he pointed out. “I made a promise to fight by your side, and I intend to keep it.” Pausing for a moment, he added, “Uhh, do you think Gibbs would take care of Jordy if something did happen to both of us?”
To Buffy, there was no doubt in the world. “I’m sure he would, but let’s not make him, ‘k? Let’s go and let the others know that we’re leaving now.”~~~~~~Upstairs
Once they sent Jordy out of the room, Buffy gave a very quick explanation for the situation and said to her grandfather, “Dada Jack, this could be a bad one. I need you to help keep everyone calm – especially Jordy. I love Gibbs, but he can be like a caged animal sometimes. That’s not good for anyone.”
“You’d be surprised at how good your dad is at keeping youngsters from panicking,” Jackson chided gently. “He’s a natural with them.”
“With normal kids, I know,” Buffy agreed, “but Jordy can sense emotions better than a non-were child. If I can sense how agitated he is, so can Jordy. Since this is the first serious Slayer problem that’s come up since we found out about each other, he’s bound to be anxious until it’s over. And I promise that somebody will call the second it is – whether good or bad. I’ll give them my cell phone and tell them Gibbs’ speed dial number,” she promised.
Anya looked scared, yet determined, when she offered her help, “Do you need another magick caster?”
Tara shook her head before Buffy could say anything. “Even though we could use some more help, you couldn’t provide it Anya. The pregnancy makes your magick too…unpredictable. This idea is already a big question mark; we need to eliminate as many open variables as possible.” Besides, risking a pregnant Anya was out of the question even if it wasn’t an issue of magick stability.
Given his own time in the service, Jackson was no stranger to dangerous missions. This was the first time he had to watch his granddaughter go off into one, though. “I don’t like it, but I understand why you have to do it…or at least your motivation. You best tell Jethro goodbye, though. In person, if you have the time. Be careful, baby girl,” he pleaded with bright, wet eyes.
After she gave him a tight hug, Buffy turned to Tara to ask, “Do we?”
Even though they really didn’t, Tara couldn’t say no to the request. “Only if we make it really quick. Have him go to a place where he’s alone and there aren’t any surveillance cameras. We’ll pop in so you can say goodbye, then keep going to the safe house in LA.”~~~~~~NCIS elevator
While she grabbed her bags, Buffy called her father, “Hey Gibbs? Are you at the office? Yeah? Then could you go to the elevator and put the emergency stop on when you’re alone in there? I need to see you right away, so we’ll be using magick to get there quickly.”
Gibbs could tell something bad had happened, or was about to happen. “What’s wrong, sweetheart?” he asked.
“Just go to the elevator, Dad…please?” Buffy waited until she heard the elevator doors open, then close. When he promised he was alone, she nodded at Tara, who grabbed her and Oz’s hands to transport them and their bags. Once they arrived, she hugged Gibbs, which only made him more worried. The sight of their bags and weapons didn’t help either. Tara and Oz turned their backs to give the father and daughter a little privacy.
“Tell me what’s happening!” he demanded again.
“A Slayer-type situation came up in LA, and we have to go handle it,” Buffy answered as succinctly as possible. Gibbs didn’t like a lot of extra words, and they didn’t have time anyway. She had to keep thinking of him as Gibbs in her mind, or she might get all ‘chick flick’, and that wasn’t good just before a mission like this.
“I take it this situation isn’t a simple vampire needing to be staked?” Gibbs astutely guessed.
“You take it right,” she confirmed. “To put it in military terms, this is a spec ops mission…into very hostile territory.”
Sighing in resignation, and trying to keep from kidnapping her so she couldn’t leave, Gibbs asked, “And it requires you specifically to take care of it?” He didn’t think attempting to hold her against her will would work anyway, and it certainly wouldn’t do his relationship with her any favors.
Buffy nodded again, “Actually, yes. There are only two people in the world qualified to fulfill my role in the plan, and the other one will be there as well. We’re hoping that with both of us, it will increase our chances for success. Now before you say anything like you’re coming with us, let me tell you that your presence would only be a distraction for us. If it were a non-Slayer thing, I couldn’t think of anyone better to watch my back than you, and for something like patrolling, I believe you could handle what we usually face. You just don’t have the experience or supernatural-ness to help with this.”
Gibbs had one last desperate card to play and he played it. “Are you even well enough to handle this? You were just shot a couple weeks ago,” he reminded her.
“I’m all healed up and you know it,” Buffy answered with a small smile at his attempt to keep her out of harm’s way. If that’s the worst he ever pulled, he was the world’s greatest parent for a Slayer. Too bad she had to bring up a topic which would only worry him more. “Papa Bear? If something happens to both me and Oz, would you adopt Jordy? Oz will sign a paper saying it is his preference.”
“It’s that bad?” he asked, already knowing the answer. “Of course I’ll take him. Please don’t do anything foolish which makes me follow through on that promise, though.”
As much as she wanted to reassure him, Buffy knew it was best to be honest with him, “I can’t promise anything. If it’s a choice between myself and the world…”
Gibbs pulled her in for a hug that made his arms ache. “God, if this is what your mother felt when I was deployed, I’m not sure I blame her for leaving – even if I don’t agree with how she did it.” He pulled back and kissed her on the forehead. “I love you. Stay safe,” he ordered, determined to stay strong until he could be in private with his boat and bourbon.
Buffy went up on her tiptoes to kiss his cheek and replied, “I love you, too, Daddy. Somebody will call you with my phone as soon as it’s over.”
A/N: So, how much do you hate me right now for leaving it there? Especially since I didn’t detail the plan in this chapter. I know the general plan, but wanted to wait until they were ready to implement it before sharing it with you. About what Jackson called Gibbs, let’s say that part of their new father/son relationship involved him calling him the same name everyone else used…when they didn’t use ‘Gibbs’, that is.
A/N2: Next…Unto LA.