A/N: Yes, I'm jumping on the "Xander becomes an NCIS Agent" bandwagon, because frankly, it's a great wagon and there ought to be more of it.
This is set post-Chosen for BtVS, post-Never Fade Away for AtS, and somewhere after early Season 5 for NCIS (ie, Vance is Director). The timelines don't add up at all; try not to hurt your head thinking about it too much, just go with the flow :) I haven't seen/read any of the canon Buffyverse material (the animated series or comics) that continued after the TV series ended, so nothing that happens there exists in this AU.
I've also taken some liberties with Riley's rank and unit -the writers on Buffy were intentionally vague about whether the Initiative was Army or Marines, and Finn's title was 'Agent', which isn't a rank in either. For the purposes of this story, Riley was a marine, and he's gained a few ranks since the events in Sunnydale.
I think that's all.. if you feel there's anything I need to explain, let me know and I'll probably include it in a note next time I post.
Disclaimer: BtVS and AtS belong to Joss Whedon, NCIS belongs to Donald P. Bellasario. I don't own anything and I'm not making any profit from this.
Xander Harris shifted nervously in the formal office and wondered if this was really the right place to be. Of all the things he'd imagined doing when he grew up, this hadn't ever made the list. The closest he'd ever come to considering law enforcement was when the school career fair had him pegged as a 'prison guard'. Yeah, right.
But a lot had changed since then. After Sunnydale had turned into a giant sinkhole, he'd gone abroad with the gang, and they'd started rebuilding a more modern version of the Watcher's Council, and networking to find and train all the new Slayers that were out there. Pretty quickly though, Xander found it wasn't to his liking. The way things were going, he was going to end up as either a manager-type, stuck in an office ordering supplies and working out schedules, or as the janitor. He didn't suit the first and there was no way he'd do the second.
And there was also that feeling that he'd never had the chance to do what he wanted; that somehow, everything he'd done since Buffy moved to Sunnydale had been in some way dictated by the supernatural. There was that half-decent stint in construction he'd done after high school, and that had been pretty good. But if he went back to that for life, he could only see himself turning out like his father. No thanks.
So, he'd talked to Willow. And Buffy. And Dawn. And Andrew (who couldn't understand why he didn't want to become a Watcher like he was). And even Faith ('Do what you gotta do, bro'). And finally, he'd spoken to Giles. Who had been the one to suggest he look into some aspect of law enforcement, since he'd liked being able to help people so much over the years. And had offered to loan him the money for college, from the bountiful coffers the old Watcher's Council had left behind.
Before long, he'd moved back to the States -to Baltimore, which was happily far, far away from where Sunnydale used to be. This was a new start.
The only real downside was how quickly he'd lost touch with the Scoobies. They hadn't meant for it to happen of course, and he still sent and received the occasional email from Dawn, or Giles. But for the most part everyone was so busy with other things: travelling round the world, training up new Slayers, and -of course -the actual slaying. He lived in a completely different world now, and brief emails had only scratched the surface of what was happening on each end. Eventually they'd faded to only a few times a year plus an annual Christmas e-Card.
Director Vance cleared his throat and Xander quickly focussed on the man seated at the desk in front of him. He resisted the urge to scratch his forehead; the elastic on his eye patch wasn't sitting quite flat. Vance was flicking through his resume with a frown. The receptionist's voice came over the intercom.
"They're here, Director."
"Send them in."
The door to Xander's right opened and two men walked in to stand beside him. The first was an older man, hair turning silver-white but still maintained in a marine cut. He glanced at Xander with an appraising look. The other was young, skinny and well-dressed, and openly curious about Xander's presence. Both turned to face the director.
"You wanted to see us?" the older man stated.
"Gibbs." Director Vance wasted no time. "I have some news, and you're not going to like it."
"Nothing new there, Leon," Gibbs drawled.
"You know Ken Winters, head of the Cyber Crime Unit? He's been diagnosed with a serious illness, he'll be off on personal leave for several months at least. We have several major operations active in that unit, and we can't afford to put them on hold. Nor do I like any of his staff for his position. They are brilliant at what they do of course, but they lack leadership qualities."
Gibbs glanced over at the man who had entered with him and back at Vance. "You splitting up my team again? I thought you realised what a bad idea that was last time."
"I don't feel I have a choice here, Gibbs. I need someone, and McGee has the necessary skills. The other staff down there already respect him, and he's more than capable."
"Er, thank you for the vote of confidence, Director," said the other man, McGee. Vance nodded in acknowledgement. "But I'm not sure I'm ready for this. I mean, yeah, I worked with those guys before but -head of the unit?"
"You'll do fine, Agent McGee," Vance smiled. "It's only temporary, in any case. Once Winters returns, you'll re-join Gibbs' team. Or alternatively, if it turns out he won't be coming back, we'll start the process of finding a permanent replacement. We just don't have time to go through that now. I need someone who can go down there and pick up where Winters left off straight away."
McGee nodded, still looking a bit uncertain but mostly mollified by the Director's faith in him. Gibbs was glaring like he'd like to kill someone.
"So my team is one short for the next few months?"
"Well, no." Vance's eyes flicked over to Xander for the first time since the other men had walked in. Gibbs saw it, and turned to give Xander another look. A much angrier, far more intimidating look. Xander self-consciously straightened into an almost military bearing. "This is Alexander Harris. I've been asked to find a place for him here."
"Asked?" Gibbs growled, still glaring at Xander. "You have friends in high places, boy? Daddy pull some strings?"
"Gibbs," Vance said, with a warning in his voice. Xander was relieved when Gibbs turned back to the Director. The Director addressed them both.
"This is how it's going to go. Harris will take McGee's place. You will put him through his paces, teach him what you can, see how he goes. When McGee is clear to return to your team, you'll give me a report on how Harris went. Depending on your report, we may or may not send him to FLETC and find him a permanent place on another team. Is that understood?"
Xander nodded but Gibbs wasn't done.
"In case you hadn't noticed Leon, he's only got one eye. He'll be a liability in the field."
That was Xander's cue. "If I may?" Vance nodded and Gibbs turned to face him. "My vision and depth perception are better than you might think, sir. I'd like a chance to prove myself."
Gibbs' glare searched him for a moment longer. Xander held himself still and forced himself to meet his gaze. Finally, Gibbs grunted. "Don't call me sir."
Vance smiled as though Gibbs had given his blessing. "Good. McGee, if you can get any last reports finished up and then clear your desk for Harris. The sooner you can start catching up on where Winters and his teams are up to, the better. Harris, you'll have McGee's desk in the bullpen." He handed the file containing Xander's information to Gibbs. "Thank you gentlemen."
They filed out and down to the bullpen. Another tall brunette sat at the corner desk as Gibbs passed him.
"Bad news, boss?"
Gibbs didn't look round. "Meet the new head of the Cyber Crime Unit, DiNozzo."
DiNozzo looked around and spotted Xander approaching behind McGee. He looked him up and down. "You don't look nerdy enough to be head of cyber. No offence," he grinned.
Xander shook his head. "Not me. Him." He indicated McGee, who was passing DiNozzo's desk on his way to his own. DiNozzo's jaw dropped.
"Vance is splitting us up again?"
"It's only me and it's only temporary, Tony," McGee explained patiently.
"How long? A week? A month?" Tony demanded.
"Several months at least, maybe a bit more," McGee admitted.
Tony's mouth opened and closed like a goldfish for a few moments.
"Can it, DiNozzo," ordered Gibbs before the other man had managed a single word. "Where's David?"
"Here, Gibbs." A beautiful woman with olive skin and an accent Xander couldn't pick walked into the bullpen. She gave Xander a curious glance as she passed out coffees from the tray in her hand. She frowned when she got to McGee's desk and saw him packing up. "What's going on?"
Gibbs ignored her question. "McGee, do what you have to do. Harris, DiNozzo, David: with me." He grabbed his new coffee and strode out of the bullpen.
Two minutes later, all four were crowded into a spare interrogation room. Gibbs seated himself and indicated for Xander to sit opposite. Behind him, Tony and the woman leaned against the wall, either side of the one-way mirror. Gibbs flicked through Xander's file. He spoke without glancing up.
"DiNozzo, David: meet Alexander Harris. The Director has assigned him to our team whilst McGee is temporarily heading up Cyber. Harris, these are Special Agents Anthony DiNozzo and Ziva David."
The three nodded politely to each other.
"Ah, excuse me if this is inappropriate," said Ziva. "But is he supposed to be joining us as a field agent? Will there not be a problem in the field if he only has one eye?"
Gibbs looked up at Xander, allowing him the chance to answer her.
"My depth perception is remarkably good for someone in my situation," Xander replied. "Most doctors have tried to tell me it isn't possible for it to be as good as it is."
"So your eye is actually missing?" asked Tony. "How did you lose it?"
Xander smiled; this was a question he got a lot, and he knew how to answer it. "Long story. There was this accident involving a priest, and, well, before the accident there were these girls -so many girls! And there was lots and lots of wine. Might have been a whole winery in fact. And then there was the priest..."
"Harris!" Gibbs barked. "You could have left it at 'an accident'."
"Rule six," stated Gibbs.
"Never apologise," said Tony.
"It's a sign of weakness," finished Ziva. Tony and Ziva grinned at each other behind Gibbs' head.
"Ah, excuse another possibly inappropriate personal question," Tony said. "But most people don't get eye patches these days -they get glass eyes put in. You can't usually even tell that they're missing an eye until you look close."
Xander shrugged. "The damage to my eye socket was severe -they would have had to do reconstruction and months of plastic surgery before we could even look at a false eye. And there were complications at the time -it couldn't be done straight away. By the time I could look at those options it was mostly healed and I had gotten used to the eye patch. I didn't want to go through all the pain of having the wounds opened up again."
"Can we see what's under the patch?" asked Tony eagerly.
"Enough about the eye," Gibbs interrupted gruffly, though he no longer sounded angry. "You just graduated from the University of Baltimore, with a BS majoring in Criminal Justice?"
"A degree you didn't start until 5 years after high school?"
"Ah." Xander thought about how to explain that. "It took me a bit to decide what direction I wanted to go in. I tried a few jobs, travelled a bit, then came back and enrolled."
Gibbs seemed to accept that. "Your references. One from the head of your program at Baltimore; he was impressed with your dedication and consistent marks. Another is from a 'Rupert Giles'?"
Again, Xander had to figure out how to explain that. "He was librarian at my high school for several years. He became a bit of a father figure to me. We still keep in touch, occasionally."
Gibbs flicked through a few pages to check something. "Says your parents are both still alive."
"Mm-hmm." Xander didn't want to go there, and Gibbs looked at him questioningly but didn't push it.
"Okay. Your last reference is from Major Riley Finn. He's the reason you're sitting in front of me?"
"Yes sir. I mean, Gibbs."
"You asked him to get you a job here?"
"Oh, no. He heard what I was studying and that I was due to graduate, said he'd like to do me a favour and that you were good people here."
In the background Tony grinned widely at the description of NCIS.
"How do you know Major Finn? Why the interest in doing you a favour?"
Xander tried to remember what Riley had told him to say. "The year after high school, there was a classified op in my home town. Riley was one of the leaders. I stumbled across it accidentally, ended up being brought on board as a sort of civilian consultant."
"No record of it here," noted Gibbs.
"A classified op on a civilian resume?" asked Xander. "Of course there's not."
Gibbs grunted. "In his reference Finn describes you as practical, quick on your feet, reliable under pressure and courageous. 'The kind of man you can trust to have your back.' What kind of civilian consultant needs to demonstrate that sort of behaviour?"
Xander shrugged helplessly. "I believe I'm not permitted to tell you anything else about it."
Gibbs glared menacingly at him but Xander just shrugged again.
"Find out where Major Finn is currently stationed. If it's not DC, organise MTAC time with him."