A/N: Happy Holidays to all of you and thanks for sticking with me through this crazy idea. Never thought I'd actually get them all done. And with time to spare, too. Cheers.
Shadowslayer requested Buffy, the Vampire Slayer/NCIS, Buffy/Gibbs, No specific prompt.
It’s seven thirty on Christmas Eve and the NCIS building is deserted. Skeleton crew of guards, a few geeks in the basement that forgot the time and, of course, Team Gibbs. They wrapped up their case less than twenty minutes ago and are about to part, one two three four, all in different directions for their version of Christmas.
Abby is dragging Ziva to a Christmas party, no protest tolerated and such measly excuses as religion don’t count. Tony has plans to get drunk with his buddies, Tim is going home. So is Ducky.
But, like they do every year, they all hesitate and fumble a bit, unwilling to leave the boss quite yet. They don’t know what he gets up to on Christmas and they’d never dare ask, but they worry. A man, a bottle of booze and sharp woodworking tools. It makes them worry. Feel sorry, in a way.
So they shuffle around, take ten minutes longer than necessary to pack their things, lose hats and gloves, find them miraculously right where they left them.
They’re a lovable bunch, but a bit obvious.
Gibbs lets them, intent on putting their minds to rest this year – L.J. Gibbs style. Abby is about to start her third round of Tickle Timmy when the elevator chirps and opens, spitting out a short blonde in a dark green cocktail dress and a heavy overcoat.
She looks around for a moment, then sets eyes on him and breaks into a grin that could melt snow. “Gibbs!” she calls, waves.
Everyone else in the bullpen grows wide-eyed and silent. She is
at least twenty-five years younger than him.
“Buffy,” he greets calmly, submitting to her hug and peck on the cheek. “How are you?”
“My flight sucked. Rome was warmer. And it took forever to hail a taxi. But I’m fine. You?”
He nods and straightens, reaching for his jacket, ignoring his team. Buffy, on the other hand, doesn’t. She looks around curiously, taking them all in and he knows that she’s trying to pin names to faces. Not that it’s very hard.
“You Gibbs’s date?” Tony asks, predictably unable to keep his mouth shut.
“Old friend,” she corrects, easily, immune to any and all lewd comments on their age difference. She’s had decades to get used to it after all.
Buffy was Kelly’s best friend.
They lived inside each other’s skin growing up, despite the fact that Buffy was older. Where one girl was, the other could be found. School, ballet classes, playground, garden, tree house. Her parents fought a lot, and it was always Kelly’s bed she slipped into. And it was him, Gibbs, who went and ripped Joyce and Hank a new one for scaring their child out of the house in the middle of the night.
They were always together, the two of them. Buffy and Kelly, Kelly and Buffy.
Until Kelly died and Gibbs was left with nothing but memories and the gun in the bottom drawer. And Buffy, ten years old and unable or unwilling to understand that, after losing her best friend and something like a favorite aunt in one day, she should lose him, too.
She kept banging on his front door, calling and calling and calling until he opened up and she climbed into his arms and settled down to cry. Eventually, he cried, too. Maybe, probably, certainly
that stubborn girl saved his life that day.
Since then she’s never left him alone on Christmas Eve. She always snuck out to visit him, even after they moved to LA. They came back for Christmas at her Grammy’s house and she took the bus all across town if she had to.
Twice, while she lived in Sunnydale, she made him drag his tired bones across the country to spend Christmas with her family.
Since she has her new job based out of London, she comes, every year. Sometimes she brings her sister. Sometimes she doesn’t.
He doesn’t know why. He waited for her to stop, when they moved, when her Grammy died, when she started high school, then college. But she never did.
He wraps his scarf around his neck, pulls his jacket closed and offers her an arm, which she takes while verbally annihilating Tony, much to the amusement of everyone else. He doesn’t pay attention to the conversation.
He asked her once, why she keeps coming back for his old carcass. She smiled at him and said, “And leave you alone with that gun?”
That was the end of that. He wouldn’t. The gun. After all these years. He wouldn’t. The pain is far too dull, the edge gone, faded. He’s left heavy and tired, but not suicidal. But she still comes, still drags him out of his basement, knowing, somehow, how he feels and how inviting that barrel sometimes seems.
That day, the day he asked her why she keeps coming, he was, for the first time in his life, a tiny bit glad that Kelly will never grow up. That she will never have her innocence torn away like Buffy’s was the year she started high school. Kelly will never look at him with tired eyes, knowing that the gun in the bottom drawer is so much more than just a gun. Kelly will never know how tired he has become.
But Buffy does and still, still
she comes back.
He pulls her under his arm as soon as they enter the elevator under a hail of ‘Merry Christmas’s, knowing she has to be cold in that dress. She smiles up at him and informs him, “I cooked.”
He feels a grin tug at his mouth, knowing full well what ‘cooking’ means. She made reservations. Buffy can’t cook to save her life.
“That Chinese place we went last year? I liked it. Do you mind?”
No, he doesn’t. He never will.
“Merry Christmas, Gibbs,” she says as he opens the car door for her.
He waits until she has her coat and dress safely away from the door before slamming it shut and walking around to get in himself and start the engine, intent on getting her warm before she catches her death, pretty and cold as she is.
“Merry Christmas, Buffy.”