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White Knights and Parrots

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This story is No. 2 in the series "Black Hair and Gunpowder". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Abby Sciuto ruminates on the hazards of dating a demon magnet. (Sequel-ish to 'Black Hair and Gunpowder')

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
NCIS > Xander-Centered > Pairing: Abby SciutotigerlilyFR1313,0431198,08729 Aug 0929 Aug 09Yes
A/N:A sequel of sorts (or at least a continuation) of events in the fic 'Black Hair and Gunpowder'. If you haven't read that, you might be a little confused by this one.

Obligatory Disclaimer: NCIS and BtVS are the property of their respective owners. Lyric snippet for 'Modern Major General' song is the property of Gilbert and Sullivan. I own nothing, and am making no profit from this madness.

Hope you enjoy!

She’s not entirely sure when it happened, but somewhere in between Xander’s sudden appearance in her lab and now – two months later – Abby’s found herself in something that might be definable as a relationship.


He hasn’t said as much, but sometimes she catches him looking at her with an odd mix of gentle affection and fierce protectiveness. Abby’s not sure that he even knows he’s doing it, but she’s learnt a few things from Gibbs about observation over the years, and she grew up in a world where expressions spoke louder than the words her parents couldn’t hear.

It’s the same sort of look he gets when he talks about his ex-girlfriend.

Which isn’t that often, granted, because their ‘dates’ usually go something like this: he appears out of nowhere – sometimes with warning and sometimes without – and they go out for Mexican or Chinese or whatever’s open… or stay in and forego food for other ways of satisfying one’s hunger.

Sometimes he calls and says he can’t make a date because there’s an impending apocalypse, or a minor demon uprising, but maybe after he’s done with the beheading he’ll get Willow to ‘port him in. They lie in bed sweaty and sated (and sometimes a little sticky or bruised) and he tells her little things about demons they’ve fought or some of his high school adventures, and she tells him about firearms and DNA and all the places you can find fingerprints and the weird things that Ducky sees during autopsies.

It’s so unreal that it’s almost comical, and the funniest thing is that despite their crazy lives it’s still the most normal relationship she’s ever been in.

And damn if it isn’t the best sex she’s ever had. He’s got some serious moves, that man, which Abby supposes is inevitable when your first real adult girlfriend is an on/off demon with millennia of experience and an almost unhealthy amount of enthusiasm for the act of copulation.

She really should thank Dawn sometime for blurting that little gem out after a few too many Sex on the Beach cocktails. Sex on the Beaches? No, that sounds entirely too much like the title of a bad romance novel, the kind that make you feel like your brain is about to seep through your ears from all the long sweeping gazes and chiselled dimpled chins.

Wordy, worldly adventures in the strong arms of a dashing white knight. Ugh.

Xander apparently has some very protective or very nosy women on his speed dial, because after only a couple of weeks she was surprised by two of them turning up on her doorstep with the offer of drinks and the chance to ‘get to know Xander’s new snuggle-friend’ better.

One of which was a Slayer who was not a little scary in her intense and thorough questioning about Abby’s life and oddly enough, whether she was sympathetic to bugs and/or dabbled in summoning demons. She’d thought about making a joke (as if she has time to summon demons with all the evil the human world provides) but the glint in Buffy’s hazel eyes was very much like Gibbs’ best megawatt glare, and jokes don’t go down well with Gibbs when he’s in one of his ‘need to know’ moods.

Buffy might not have a biting tongue and a gun, but she’s all raw primal power in a deceptively small package. The Valley Girl cheerleader act is possibly an even better mask than ninja-moves and emotional avoidance or hard ice blue eyes and a biting tongue.

Bright Hawaiian shirts and a disarming grin.

Everyone’s got a cover story. They’re all a little bit dark and twisted inside, though Abby’s less about the ‘life’s dealt me some nasty blows’ and more about coffins and body art and just a touch of kink (and she’s never more thankful for her mostly-happy life than when she sees their masks drop for those split seconds when they forget that she’s paying attention).

The night of the ‘Spanish Inquisition’, she’d just shrugged and said she had no intentions of stringing their friend up from the ceiling and disembowelling him. She’s pretty sure that she’s killed enough spiders to nix the ‘bug-friendly’ tag. These people? Seriously weird, though highly entertaining.

Buffy had given her a slightly slurred but suitably unnerving speech about her prowess with weapons, and Dawn had dropped none too-subtle hints between shots about people who hurt her family sometimes waking up on fire. And then had proceeded to sing with great drunken gusto the entirety of the ‘Major General’s Song’ as Buffy choked on her drink and Abby looked on in amazement.

I'm very good at integral and differential calculus;
I know the scientific names of beings animalculous:
In short, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral,
I am the very model of a modern Major-General.

She’ll have to teach the youngest Summers the ‘Elements Song’ someday.

Abby assumes the sledgehammer-style warnings were the Summers version of her own “I know how to kill you without leaving any evidence” line, so she can’t help but be glad that Xander has people of his own to stick up for him, even if he really doesn’t need it.

It’s an endearment, really, because as criminals around the world continually fail to realise, it’s actually quite difficult to eliminate all traces of evidence from a scene. It takes some serious planning, and it’s not something you do to the random asshat that flips your pigtails in the elevator.

Abby’s not about to complain, since humankind’s general ignorance about the finer points of forensic science keeps her in Twinkies and black lipstick – and for the minor annoyances (like Slimy Pigtail Groper) she just sends Ziva to remind them about all the marvellous things she can do with office supplies.

Given that the night had ended with a bone-crushing hug from Buffy and a promise to keep in touch, Abby suspects she passed the test. That, or Buffy was trying to crush her to death, because a slayer-strength hug really isn’t conducive to having intact ribs.

For her part, Gibbs (who rarely shares anything) has made a point of talking about his days as a Marine sniper quite loudly when Xander happens to drop in, and Ziva hasn’t bothered to hide the fact that she’s well-versed in unsanctioned (by American standards) ‘interrogation’ techniques.

Hell, even the Geneva Convention would frown on Ziva’s (or Mossad’s, whichever works) modus operandi. Don’t ask, don’t tell – much like her Israeli friend’s entire past.

Xander might be a kick-ass demon hunter, but he’s not above flinching when Ziva starts cleaning her fingernails with her knife, grinning like a loon all the while as Tony looks on with fond exasperation.

It’s just what you do for your family, no matter how utterly dysfunctional a unit it is. You watch their six.

Unless you’re McGee, then you watch their six with slightly more interest than is normal and, not having much to physically threaten Xander with, attempts to out-geek him in possibly the funniest display of eventual male bonding ever.

Except for the Great Parrot Panic incident.

Early in the piece, when their whatever-ship was new and Abby was being coy about her new maybe-boyfriend, Tim tried to hack into the ICWS system to do some digging on one Xander Harris, Operations Coordinator and scout/recruiter of Vampire Slayers.

He didn’t get past the first firewall before his computer promptly turned into a live parrot which told him to “mind his own business” in a sharp strangled squawk. And then promptly jumped onto his shoulder and nipped his ear, much to the surprise of everyone in the bullpen and the horror of one junior field agent.

It turns out that McGee’s irrational phobias extend beyond boats and heights and Gibbs, though he still maintains that he did not shriek, merely let out a very manly exclamation of surprise. Back then, Abby was a little annoyed by his unsubtle displays of jealousy and general testosterone spraying whenever Xander’s around , so she let him stew for awhile before calling Xander to give the okay to lift the spell.

She also doesn’t ever tell McGee that Tony caught the whole incident (now known as “GPP” for short) on video, or that most of the ICWS command team (or ‘Scooby Gang’ as Xander fondly refers to them) almost died laughing when they saw it. Except for Mr Giles, who had glared in Willow’s direction and muttered something about maintaining positive relationships with government agencies and ‘a simple electronic warning about unauthorized entry would have done the job’.

They’ve called a truce now – Xander and McGee – but every time the field agent made a comment in the weeks after the incident, all Abby had to do was mutter ‘GPP’ and he shut his mouth faster than her old dog Bubba’s when he was snapping at flies.

Besides, it’s not that Xander’s all secretive – that title is still held by the one and only Silver Fox Leroy Jethro Gibbs, winner and eternal champion of the measured gaze and unreadable expression. He just doesn’t share much personal information, and that’s quite alright with her. Words are just strings of letters in a set combination, and she doesn’t need to hear him say it to know that he’s a little bit damaged and a lot… well, the words ‘unsung hero’ comes to mind.

Xander might not say much about his own role in the workings of ICWS, or how it came to be formed, but having met a few of the younger slayers and having seen how they look to Xander for guidance and with a healthy dose of admiration that almost borders on worship, it’s pretty obvious that he’s something special.

And this ‘something special’ is in the process of wooing her, in his own slightly awkward way. Abby’s not used to being wooed, other than by caviar-bearing multinational corporations who would kill to have her on their payroll.

Tonight, he called ahead and told her to be ready at seven and… “oh, wear something nice, not that you don’t always look good, but you know what I mean and maybe you’d better just borrow DiNozzo’s gun and shoot. me. now...

He took her to Vidalia on M Street, which is really what has sparked the whole ‘maybe-boyfriend’ contemplations in the first place. Because that’s what you do when you’re in a maybe-relationship. You date.

…Unless you’re Tony and Ziva who swing between sniping at each other and having dirty-hot eyesex across the bullpen when they think Gibbs isn’t looking. From what Tony tells her, their relationship brings a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘sparring.’ A fantastic pretext to foreplay if ever she heard one, with all the sweat and grunting and flipping people around.

Abby’s surprised Gibbs hasn’t called their attention to rule 12 yet, but maybe he figures that any improvement in DiNozzo’s hand-to-hand combat skills is a good thing. Hand to something else, more likely, especially with those two…

They make quite the pair, Xander in a shirt and tie by some fancy designer that even Tony would have approved of, but adorably messy-haired and sporting the ever-present eye patch and a ‘don’t-mess-with-me’ attitude; Abby in a black dress with a neckline that made his eye bulge alarmingly in his head when she opened the door.

Sometimes she wonders what he used to look like, and thinks of asking to see some photos from when he was younger, but she never does. It would be a little like asking Ziva to talk about her first kill or asking Gibbs to talk about when he met Shannon. Some things you just don’t want to remember.

(Nobody’s ever asked why she plays her music so loud, but if they did she’d tell them that after spending so many years living in silence she sometimes needs to remind herself how far she’s come from that ramshackle house in New Orleans.)

“Sweet merciful Zeus,” he’d said with a little squeak once he regained the ability of speech. “Formalwear still rings all kinds of bad-Xander bells. I’m really hoping that this doesn’t lead to anyone falling through the floor and getting the rebar, because if Sergeant Murphy’s in the house, I’ll be the one taking a pole to the gut.”

Abby doesn’t quite get the reference, but the wicked glint in his eyes says enough and they only barely make it to the restaurant on time.

The disapproving glance of the head waiter at their slightly rumpled appearance disappears the minute Xander whips out the famed American Express black card (obviously esteemed international agencies pay far better than lowly government ones) and ordered a bottle of their finest champagne. It’s all ‘yes sir’ and ‘certainly ma’am’ after that, and every time she hears it she looks around to see who the waiter is talking to because surely it can’t be her.

She thinks of telling the man that she sleeps in a coffin, just to see his reaction.

Xander does the same ‘are you talking to me’ glance-around a couple of times, and Abby realises that both of them would probably be more comfortable in a shabby booth with pizza and beers – but points to him for trying.

The food’s good, and they soon forget that they’re a little uncomfortable in their fancy skins and before she knows it, the bottle’s empty and she’s a little light-headed and he smiles at her a little shyly like she’s the most beautiful thing in the room.

And then she had to go and suggest they walk around the city centre for awhile. At night. Triple majors in sociology, criminology and psych and a Master’s degree, and she’s got all the sense of a five year old confronted with an open flame.

Yeah, maybe she was secretly hoping that tonight would be the night Xander was planning to define what exactly they have going here (perhaps inspired by the streets of Georgetown which are definitely high on the pretty and romantic scale), but so far it appears she’s shit out of luck.

Since said maybe-boyfriend is currently squaring off against the ugliest excuse for a human being she’s ever seen, she figures she can cut him a little slack on the sweeping declarations of love.

“A guy has big plans for a night,” Xander says ruefully as the thing – demon – advances on him in a blur of limbs and snapping of pointed teeth. Abby watches and wonders if he’d think less of her if she hid behind the nearest tree. Like most things, the reality of facing a demon is totally not as cool as the fantasy. Actually, it’s pretty scary.

It doesn’t stop her from taking a couple of pictures on her cell to show the others tomorrow. If Xander asks, she’ll blame Gibbs and Rule #3. Xander just looks at her almost apologetically and continues his rant in between ducking and striking.

“He makes reservations, and lets an overly enthusiastic Slayer drag him around every men’s clothing store in Italy looking for the winning combination of style and un-affordability…” He curses as the demon spits at him and the congealed mess sizzles through the fabric of his tie, which he rips off with a sigh.

“And wouldn’t you know it, a butt-ugly, acid-spitting Quelnek demon decides to start roaming around the streets of Washington. Another perfect entry in the Xander Harris Dating Hall of Fame.” He glares at the demon. “Enough showing off for the lady.”

Xander pulls a tiny silver sword from his pocket and gives it a little tap with his right index finger, and Abby’s eyes widen in surprise as it lengthens in his grip and cuts off a grasping demon hand with a swift swipe.

Behold the mighty, magically growing phallus of steel.

She puts her hands over her mouth to stifle the snort that bubbles up.

He’s fighting for his (and her) life and Abby’s thinking of penis jokes. And… maybe a little turned on by the sight of his rippling muscles and determined face (oh, so that’s why Tony gets that glint in his eye when he talks about sparring with Ziva). Hot.

It’s all just so wrong it’s funny, and she can’t help but laugh out loud.

His scary-cool sword flashes in the moonlight and the demon stops in its tracks like it’s frozen to the spot. Abby watches in horrified fascination (it’s like a car crash, you just can’t look away even though your brain is screaming at you that this will end in nightmares) as a line of green goo forms around the base of the thing’s neck. As if in slow motion, the head tilts, falls off and bounces to a stop right near her feet. It has three eyes, and all of them look up at her in what might be frozen astonishment.

She wonders if having three eyes makes ones vision clearer or just more confusing. Which eye would you wink with?

“And you complain I never get you anything nice,” Xander says with a grin, and Abby can’t help but grin back. She’s standing inches behind an oozing, still-warm severed demon head – and she’s smiling like he’s given her black roses or diamonds or something.

Well, she’s never been one to fit the mould.

Abby holds out her hand in what looks like a triumphant ‘Rock on!’ hand gesture, but she purposely keeps her thumb extended. One day she’ll have the guts to tell him what the sign really means.

She wonders if maybe it’s time to rethink her aversion to the white knight types, since being saved by a pirate type with a winning smile and a big shiny sword?

High on the list of ‘damn that’s hot.’

Reviews always welcomed and appreciated ;)

The End

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