Disclaimer: I own nothing. BtVS & all its characters belong to Joss Whedon & Co. NCIS belongs to Donald Bellisario & the people at CBS. I own nothing but the ideas in my head.
A/N: This is the big story in Dawn’s NCIS. This takes place after ‘How it all began and why it ended’ and ‘The beginning of Elizabeth Tali’ but before ‘Good Job’.
“Angel’s depressed,” Dawn Summers said, pushing Spike’s feet off her desk. “He needs an intervention.”
“Sorry, bit, you’re on your own there,” Spike said. “Peaches and I came to an agreement, I stay out of his affairs and he stays out of mine.”
“But he’s depressed,” Dawn said. “He’s broodier than normal, and that’s saying something.”
“He’s pushing on three-hundred years, bit, over two-hundred and fifty years spent as a vampire,” Spike replied, “a hundred and fifty of those years spent as sociopathic, narcissistic, murdering bastard. Why wouldn’t he be depressed?”
“I’m not saying that his past doesn’t depress him, because I’m sure it does, but that isn’t what’s bothering him,” Dawn said. “He’s depressed. He’s lonely. I mean, you’re practically living with Anne so you’re not here to bug, Wes and Fred are too busy with the baby, and Gunn is either in court or with Gwen. You don’t see it because you don’t hang out with him much but Angel’s depressed. He’s needs something else besides Wolfram & Hart.”
“I know, pet, but you can’t convince Angel of that,” Spike sighed. “He’s bloody stubborn.”
“I know,” Dawn agreed. “Which is why I did something about it.” Dawn slid a file across her desk to him. “By signing that, you will become a temporary CEO of Wolfram & Hart.”
“What’s this, bit?” Spike frowned.
“Angel needs a change of scenery,” Dawn said. “He needs out of L.A. for a while, needs something new. And after talking to Giles, I think I found the perfect place for him.”
“Where’s that, pet?”
Spike laughed, loudly.
“No, not like that,” Dawn shook her head. “It’s nothing like the Initiative, he won’t be in any danger, well, no more than normal.“
“And the fact that he’s a vampire doesn’t make a bit of difference?” Spike arched a brow.
“Well, yeah, it does but that’s why I came up with these,” Dawn tossed a small box across the counter to him.
“Aww, bit, you shouldn’t have,” Spike said after opening the box. “You know I’m with Anne….”
“Eww, Spike,” Dawn wrinkled her nose. “That’s gross.”
“Hey, it wasn’t so long ago that you used to hang out in my crypt, bit, making moon eyes at me,” Spike frowned.
“Yeah, but that was when you were evil,” Dawn said. “You were so much hotter then. Post-Buffy Spike is not my thing.”
Spike scowled at her.
“Fine then,” Dawn reached for the box. “I’ll take back the magical happy ring that lets you go out in the sun and gives you a glamorized human characteristics so that you can go into bars with mirrors without people realizing you aren’t a real boy.”
“What now, bit?” Spike grabbed the box out of her hand. “What have you been up to?”
“Actually me, Fred, and Willow,” Dawn said. “It’s something I’ve been working on since I came to work here.”
“How’s it work?” Spike slide the silver ring on.
“Magic, of course,” Dawn said. “It won’t make you invincible, you’re still vulnerable to crosses and holy water and you won’t be able to see your reflection. But you can go out into the sun and it also casts some cool, tough glamours, for example, anyone that should see a reflection will see a reflection. Or if someone gets close enough to feel your non-existent heartbeat, they’ll feel one. A rather genius glamour if I do say so myself.”
Spike stepped in front of a window.
“You can‘t see yourself, Spike, and since I know you don‘t have a reflection, I won‘t see it either,” Dawn said, wrapping her arms around him from behind. “But you can take Anne to her favorite restaurant and not have to play dodge the mirrors.”
“Thanks, bit,” Spike turned and kissed her forehead. “Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s a blond beauty that I’ve always wanted to see in the sunlight.”
“You have to sign first,” Dawn said. “Then you can go.”
“Fine,” Spike rolled his eyes and grabbed a pen. “Can’t see why you…”
“Dawn, what the hell did you have me sign?” Angel roared as he strode into the room.
“Sign,” Dawn squealed urgently. “Sign quickly.”
Spike scrawled his name across the line.
“Ha,” Dawn turned around, shoving the other box against Angel’s chest. “You just signed over temporary CEO power to Spike, effective immediately until I say otherwise.”
“What?” Angel growled lowly.
“You need a break from here,” Dawn said. “You need something different, a change.”
“And a ring is your idea of a change?” Angel frowned.
“No, it just goes along with the change,” Dawn said. “We, as in the Council have a job for you….and me.”
“She’s sending you to work with the Government, peaches,” Spike smirked. “Think they’ll give you a chip?”
“Dawn, you have two seconds to tell me what’s going on,” Angel growled.
“You’re depressed,” Dawn wrapped her arms around him in a tight hug. “Spike’s got Anne, Wes has Fred and the baby, Lorne has his club, Gunn has Gwen, I have Lizzie, and you’re alone.”
“I spent over a hundred years alone, Dawn,” Angel kissed the top of her head. “I’m fine.”
“Nope, you’re sad,” Dawn said. “And I’m making it my personal duty to make sure my surrogate big brother vampire guy is happy, especially now that he can be happy without going all crazy-killer on everyone.”
“Dawn, I appreciate the concern but…”
“No buts,” Dawn said. “You need a change of pace. Every since Buffy finished baking or whatever and married Leo, you’ve been all Mr. Depressed.”
“I’m okay with Buffy’s marriage, Dawn,” Angel said. “I’m happy for her. She deserves the be happy, to have the normal, family life that she always wanted, which Leo gives her. I still love her but like Spike, I’m not in love with her anymore.”
“That’s good but so not the point,” Dawn said. “You need a change, a new place, a new purpose that doesn’t involve making billions of dollars a year. I mean, it’s nice, after what, five years you’re now the richest man not alive, which given the fact that you’re almost three hundred years old it isn’t too surprising but anyway, you need something else, a different connection to the world. And I found it.”
“With the government,” Angel arched a brow.
“It’s not the Initiative, Angel,” Dawn said. “I swear on my life that nobody is going to shove a chip in your head or do experiments on you. The government completely understands why we’re going and is well prepared to let us do our thing.”
“And why exactly are we going?” Angel asked. “And what is with the ring?”
“We’ve been getting intel that a demon has infiltrated one of the armed forces….” Dawn began.
“Demons can’t join the armed forces, not now,” Angel said. “They’d never pass the blood test. Years ago, there wasn’t a problem and some did join…”
“Duh, I know this,” Dawn said. “Which is why we didn’t believe it at first. Then we started thinking about it, if a demon went through all the trouble to find a way to pass an armed forces vigorous tests, including detailed blood work, then they did it for a reason other to serve the country. There’s been a lot of talk underground about plans for an uprising in the military.”
“So, what, we think that demons are trying to take over the military?” Spike laughed. Angel chuckled with him, both vampires stopping to look at her when she didn’t laugh with them. “Seriously?”
“That’s what Giles and Willow think,” Dawn said. “It would be a genius idea, if you think about it. They’re already the best trained military force in the world according to most sources and if even one branch was taken over, the amount of damage that would be done….I can’t even imagine, can you?”
“No,” Angel said quietly. “Does Giles know you’re pushing for me to do the job?”
“It was Giles’s idea,” Dawn said. “Buffy or Faith would be the two only slayers that could be trusted to undercover for this long but Buffy can’t because of the kids and Faith can’t because of the, you know, murder convection. Willow could, in theory, but she’s never been good at deception so I don’t see her carrying on an undercover gig for long. Xander can’t for basic reasons, the use of only one eye limits him in a lot of ways, working for a federal government agency, albeit fake or not, is one of those limits.”
“So, what, I’m the last resort?” Angel asked.
“No, actually you were the first choice,” Dawn said. “But I knew you would want to know why were weren’t sending someone else so I decided to get that out of the way. You’re as smart as hell, you can handle yourself in any situation, you don’t get flustered easily, and you have experience both investigating and running a crew, whether it be a PI team or a huge, multi-billion dollar law firm.”
“You said we, what about Lizzie?” Angel asked.
“She’s not even four, Angel, I don’t think she’ll protest too much, especially if she gets to spend lots of time with one of her favorite uncles,” Dawn said. “Like me, my daughter is pretty much easy going with life changes.”
“I also think you’re forgetting a few things, like my little aversion to sunlight, that I don‘t have a reflection and half the time I forget to breathe, which I think government officials might notice,” Angel said.
“Which is where the ring comes in handy,” Dawn opened the box. “It’s a magical ring that will protect you from the sun and will also give a fake human characteristics…it’s a complicated glamour-slash-charm thing that me, Fred, and Willow came up with. Basically, if you stand in front of something reflective, something that should show your reflection, anyone that doesn’t know you don’t have one, will see one. Or if someone touches your chest that doesn‘t know you don‘t have a heart beat, they‘ll feel one.”
Angel stared at the ring, his face expressionless.
“And don’t even start with the martyr, masochistic crap that you have live in the dark,” Dawn scolded, elbowing Spike when the other vampire laughed. “The people in the light need you too. You can’t just be a champion for the night, you have to be a champion for everyone.”
“I haven’t been a ’champion’ in a long, long time, Dawnie,” Angel said. “The last couple years, all I’ve done is push papers around.”
“And patrol every night with Spike,” Dawn added. “You’re a champion and now it’s time to get off your dead butt and start being all championy. So, pack your bags, the jet leaves in a couple hours to take you to D.C. Wolfram & Hart has a nice house out there where we’ll be living. You’ll have to drop in on the branch out there, it’s pretty small but they’ll get all freaked out and thinking you’re trying to take over their branch if you don’t stop in and say hi….or whatever it is you CEO types say to each other. Then you can explore the city, get the lay of it, try not to mistake any politicians for soulless demons, and get settled in. I still have some details to get sorted out but in a week or so we’ll start our mission.” Dawn then kissed both vampires on the cheek and hurried out of the room, Spike’s signed contract tucked under her arm.
“She’s much scarier than her sister,” Spike said.
“Much scarier,” Angel agreed. “Try not to burn the place down or make it go bankrupt while I’m gone.”
Spike just grinned. “I’ll try, Peaches, but I make no promises.”
D.C. was much more relaxing that L.A. He didn’t want to admit it, and he wouldn’t to Dawn, but he was already feeling less confined now that he was out of Los Angeles. His stop in at the D.C. branch of Wolfram & Hart was as annoying as he thought it would be. The CEO, Alan Bench, was a paranoid bastard with his hooks everywhere, figurative hooks, he was human, and was terrified that Angel was there to take over the East Coast. Angel assured him that he had no plans to take over another branch, he could barely stand the branch he ran as it was.
He tested the ring once, stepping out back at the small mansion, it wasn’t a house like Dawn led him to believe, where he would be living with Dawn and Lizzie once they arrived. The morning sun was warm on his face and despite the fact that he didn’t burst into flames moments after stepping into it, he quickly went back inside.
Like L.A., the nightlife of D.C. was pretty active but hidden behind businesses, law offices, celebrities, and politicians….and his favorite, lobbyists. One in ten politicians was a demon while every fourth lobbyists was a demon or vampire. Thanks to modern technology, it was easier to hide the fact that you never went outside at night.
He’d been in D.C. for two nights and thanks to his photographic memory, knew his way around downtown D.C. In the seventies, before the incident in the diner, he used to make money by delivering pizza at night, in New York City. Without ever using a map.
He hadn’t been in D.C. since before President Kennedy was assassinated and like every other city, it had changed greatly since he was last there. He was actually looking forward to seeing how much it changed.
It was a little after ten-thirty and given that it was a Friday night, the sidewalk he was using was filled with teenage kids. Teenagers weren’t really his thing, Buffy and most of her friends excluded (when they were teenagers of course). He was never really around Dawn when she was a teenager, he left when she was twelve and didn’t really spend time with her until she was sixteen, after the hell mouth sank. And she wasn’t a teenager then. She was more adult than her sister. She became Giles’ right hand, traveling all over the country finding resources and hidden watchers during the first year after the hell mouth sank. He was not the only one that was completely dumbfounded when she ended up pregnant at eighteen, refusing to tell anyone who the father was. Even now, at twenty-two, she was as responsible and resourceful as Wesley or Giles, maybe even more so given the fact that she was a mother. Luckily, she still maintained her playful side, that sarcastic, bratty side that made her Dawn.
A bookstore caught his eye and because he didn’t have anything to do, he’d already killed three vamps, he decided to stop in to get a couple books.
He loved books. In all honesty, he was as much of a book nerd as Wesley, the fact that he was a vampire kept most people from pointing it out. He roamed around the store for a good hour, half watching people and half looking at books. Because they’d been burnt in the fire that almost killed Connor when he was a baby, he decided to replace a few of his old favorites that he’d never gotten around to buying. The first being ‘Art of War’, a book he’d read many times and the second being a collection of works by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Then he grabbed some books on local history and politics, wanting to get caught up on the goings on in his new city.
He thought it was a man, for the briefest of seconds, but only because of the height. A tall, solid body slammed into his, which he thought was male until her scent registered. Dark, earthy, and musky, it was a completely unique and distinguishable scent, with layers of different things under it. Latex, explosives, blood, gun powder…she was a mass of contradictions when it came to scent, but instead being nauseating, like it should have been, it was rather alluring.
“Oh my god, I’m so sorry,” she said in a rush, her voice a husky, layered sound. She was only an inch or two shorter than him, but a glance down showed that a good three inches of that height was her boots. Huge, black clunky boots with buckles up the side that hit her mid-calf. Fishnet stockings ran up her legs, escaping under a short plaid skirt. A black short-sleeved shirt cupped high breasts, hugged a flat stomach, and was tucked into the waistband of the skirt, a black, silver studded belt wrapped around her waist. Her neck was long, a spiked-dog collar around her neck, partial covering the spider web tattoo on the left side. Her lips were painted dark, an almost blood color, and her hair was sectioned off into two ponytails.
He’d met more Goths then he’d like to remember. He lived in New York City in the eighties where Goth was very popular. And if that wasn’t enough, he spent the past five years with Spike, who had an almost obsessed love of anything gothic. He’d been exposed to Goth before but never found it attractive. The girl in front of him was attractive. Maybe it was the brightness of her smile or the sincerity of her apology, but she was beautiful. “It’s okay.”
“I stepped on your shoe,” she said, her eyes trained on his feet.
Angel looked down and sure enough, there was a smudge on his boot that wasn’t there before, along with a bit of mud on the bottom of his pants. “It’s okay.”
“No, it’s not,” she said. “I messed up your shoe and pants.”
Angel smiled. “Honestly, it’s okay.”
“You have to let me apologize,” she said. “There’s a coffee shop, I can buy you coffee.”
“You don’t have to, it’s not a big deal,” Angel said.
“But I’ll feel guilty,” she said.
And she would. He could tell by the look on her face that she would feel guilty for at least a day. “As long as you promise not to apologize anymore and you stop feeling guilty.”
She crossed her heart. “I promise.”
Angel took the plastic bag out of her hand and gestured for her to walk in front of him. “After you.”
“Thank you,” She smiled and led the way through the crowded bookstore to the café in the back. She took a seat at a round table in the corner, leaving the chair against the wall for him. He sat the books on the table and took the empty seat. A waitress was there before he sat down, a chipper blonde named Kaylee.
“Decaf, black,” Angel said, listening as the girl ordered some complicated drink with foam and espresso, maybe caramel, he wasn’t sure. Maybe it was his age but he didn’t understand what happened to coffee and when it became so complicated.
“Decaf?” the girl arched a perfect brow.
“Caffeine makes me jittery,” Angel replied.
“Hmm,” she placed her elbow on the table, hand cradling her chin. “David.”
“What?” Angel asked.
“Your name, I’m guessing David,” she said.
Angel frowned. “I look like a David.”
“Yes,” she nodded. “You’re not a David?”
“No,” Angel smiled. “Angel.”
“Your name is Angel?” she asked.
“Yes,” Angel nodded.
“You just don’t seem like an Angel,” she said. “You seem more like a David.”
The waitress delivered their drinks and he studied her as she took a sip.
“Are you going to try to guess my name?” she asked.
“No,” Angel shook his head.
“Come on, please?”
“Oh, so close,” she grinned. “You’re off to the right start.”
“Andrea?” Angel asked. “You go by Andy?”
“Right first and last on the nickname.”
“Abigail, nickname Abby?” He knew he was right by the grin that crossed her face. “I’m right?”
“Yes,” Abby nodded. “How’d you do that?”
Angel shrugged. “Lucky guess.”
“So, what’d you buy?” she reached for his bag, pausing long enough to look at him. “Can I look?”
“Tourist?” she asked as she pulled out books on D.C.
“Recently moved here,” Angel replied. “Wanting to get to know the area.”
“Hmm,” she murmured and pulled out the last two books. “The Art of War and poetry by Elizabeth Barrett Browning?”
“What’s wrong with that?” Angel asked.
“Nothing, it’s just a strange combination,” she said. “What made you interested in them?”
“I’ve read them both multiple times,” Angel said.
“Seriously?” she arched a brow.
“So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will fight without danger in battles,” Angel says. “If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose. If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself. It’s the last verse of chapter three. It’s been condensed and used today as ’if you know both yourself and your enemy, you can come out of hundreds of battles without danger’.”
She just stared at him.
“The face, which, duly as the sun; rose up for me with life begun; to mark all bright hours of the day; with hourly love, is dimmed away; and yet my days go on, go on,” Angel said. “From De Profundis, published in 1862.”
“That’s….that’s amazing,” Abby said.
“Not really, I have a photographic memory,” Angel replied. “What did you buy?”
“Pure fluff,” Abby pulled out a hardback book. “Breaking Dawn, it’s the last installment of the Twilight series.”
“I’ve never heard of it,” Angel said.
“It’s about vampires,” Abby said. “The movie’s coming out soon for the first book.”
He’d stopped paying attention to vampire movies, books, and other media a long time ago. Reading Dracula was enough for him. He’d give anything to kill that son-of-a-bitch, probably should have the first time they met.
“They’re a nice read,” Abby said. “You should check them out.”
“I’ve never been much for vampire novels,” Angel replied.
“You don’t like the supernatural?” Abby asked.
“No, that’s not it,” Angel traced his finger around the rim of his cup. “I just believe there is very little reality in most written word, especially that of the supernatural.”
“So you believe in the supernatural?” Abby asked.
“There is very little that I don’t believe in,” Angel replied. “How about you, do you believe in the supernatural?”
“I don’t know,” Abby said. “I’m a scientist at heart so as much as I think I might believe in the supernatural, I can’t without proof.”
“You’re a scientist?”
“Forensic specialist, I work at NCIS.”
“Naval Criminal Investigative Service,” Abby said.
“When did they change their name?” Angel asked. “They used to be NIS, correct?”
“Yes,” Abby nodded. “But they changed names in the early nineties.”
“Oh,” Angel murmured, cursing inwardly. It wasn’t the first time he’d done it, remembered something from the past, long before he should, and recalled it in the present. He looked anywhere from late twenties to early thirties, which would have made him between ten and twelve when NCIS went by NIS. “I haven’t heard much about them, I didn’t realize they’d changed names.”
“We don’t get much publicity,” Abby said. “It’s kind of nice, the anonymity.”
“So,” Angel said, “tell me more about this science that you love so much.”
“I can’t believe you’re a lawyer, you seem so nice,” Abby frowned.
Angel laughed. “I’m not a lawyer, I just own a law firm.”
“How does that work?” Abby asked.
“It’s a long story but basically, I was bequeathed the law firm,” Angel said. “And I wasn’t given much of a choice in the matter of taking it.”
“Oh, sounds mysterious,” Abby leaned forward. “They forced you to take a law firm?”
“Yes,” Angel nodded, hiding a smile at the inquisitive look on her face. She was the most open person with her emotions that he’d ever met. Everything she felt flashed across her face. He couldn’t help but wonder what pleasure would look flashing through her green eyes.
“I used to run a private investigative agency,” Angel said. “I lot of my business was against the clients of Wolfram & Hart. In the end, they decided L.A. wasn’t big enough for all of us and signed the law firm over to me.”
“Do you not like it?”
“No,” Angel shook his head. “I do it because I must but it is not something I enjoy.”
“Is that why you moved?”
“No, not at all,” Angel said. “My being here has nothing to do with my law firm. I am here to look for something, not really sure what and not sure where.”
“I signed something without reading it and am now forced to live in D.C. until further notice.”
“You should never sign something without reading it.”
“Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t, but the person that handed it to me is someone I trust very much.”
“I guess not now.”
“No, I still trust her,” Angel said.
Abby arched a brow.
“Dawn did it out of concern, she felt I needed to get out of L.A. for a while.”
“Apparently, I’m depressed and brood more than normal,” Angel shrugged. “Dawn’s always been like a little sister and she’s made it her mission to make sure I’m happy, whether I want to be or not.”
“Do you not want to?”
“I haven’t been happy in so long that I’m not sure I remember what it feels like,” Angel said. “So, honestly, I don’t know.” He could tell that she didn’t like his answer, that she couldn’t understand why he didn’t want to be happy.
“How can you not remember what it’s like to be happy?”
“I suppose there have been things in my life that have brought me happiness but they’re nothing but brief moments,” Angel said. “Maybe Dawn was right and I needed a change of scenery. I’m liking D.C., the air’s cleaner.”
“Um, we’re closing so you’ll have to leave.”
Angel looked up to see their waitress, the teenage girl looking rather nervous. “I’m sorry.” He pulled out his wallet and handed her a couple twenties, glancing down at his watch, startled that they had been talking for four hours. “Keep the change.”
“Hey, I was supposed to buy,” Abby protested.
“Then I guess you’ll have to buy me coffee some other time,” Angel stood up, taking both bags of books. “May I walk you to your car?”