Buffy belongs to Joss. NCIS belongs to Bellisario. I just like to play in their sandboxes now and then.
Xander made sure to look casual as the elevator doors opened, but really he was scanning the room. He’d usually do that, basic security and all, but this time, he was looking for one person in particular. And yeah, she did not look happy to see him.
Dawn had flat out refused to come unaccompanied this trip. She would have skipped it altogether if not for Abby. The two of them were thick as thieves, and probably only serious injury or death would keep Dawn from making a scheduled trip that involved a meet with the Council’s Senior Goo Girl/Laboratory Goddess. (Abby was the only person involved with the Council that had not only been happy with her Faith and Andrew inflicted title(s), but had actually requested
Xander hadn’t understood why, mostly because Dawn had no idea, but apparently Ziva David had a real problem with her. Or maybe them. It looked like she wasn’t any more thrilled to see Xander than she was Dawn. If he’d thought she was a Slayer, Xander would keep his distance. Fortunately, she wasn’t. If she had been, Dawn would probably have given in to the urge to ask what her major malfunction was and gone gleefully along with the throwdown that would doubtless have ensued.
As it was, Xander was pleased to see DiNozzo bounce up from his desk, looking happy to see Dawn. Actually, looking again, he wondered if the NCIS man was possibly a candidate for a shovel speech at some point in the future.
“Miss Summers! Wonderful to see you again. I’ll just escort you down to Abby’s domain…” DiNozzo trailed off when he noticed Xander standing just behind Dawn.
“Harris,” he ground out.
Xander grinned. Good to know he’d made a lasting impression.
“Agent DiNozzo,” Xander said, smiling. “I see Dawn’s in good hands. I’ll just wait here while she and Abby do that squealing glee thing that happens whenever they get together.”
DiNozzo glanced helplessly from Xander to Ziva and back again. Ziva was looking exceedingly smug, as if this was an opportunity she’d been waiting for all along. Which, of course, was exactly what it was. She just didn’t know that Xander had planned for it to happen.
“I’m not sure,” DiNozzo began, only to be cut off.
“Come on, Tony,” Dawn said brightly, dragging him toward the elevator. “Xander deals with enough girlyness on a regular basis that we can indulge his lack of bravery on occasion.”
“Lack of shatterproof eardrums, you mean,” Xander muttered.
“Yes, Tony,” Ziva chimed in. “Mr. Harris will be perfectly safe here. I will chat with him while you take Miss Summers down to the lab.”
Xander tried not to snicker at the glare that accompanied the ostensibly cordial words. Ziva probably had no idea he could see it. He’d found that peripheral vision in his remaining eye had actually improved since Sunnydale. The Council doctors said it was his system trying to compensate for the lost eye. He still had to get regular vision checks, and every so often they reminded him that if he ever changed his mind about the patch and wanted an artificial eye instead, he only needed to say the word.
“Seriously, DiNozzo, go on,” Xander said cheerfully. “We’ll be fine up here. Ziva and I will trade stories, and maybe she can show me where the coffee lives around here.”
They both made nice until the elevator doors had closed behind Dawn and DiNozzo. Then Xander turned to Ziva, whose expression had frosted over.
“Ok,” he said, “Out with it. What’s your beef with Dawn? Or is it with me? Because I don’t appreciate people giving my girls a hard time.”
“You Watchers and your arrogance,” Ziva spat. “Always it is about you!”
“Ah, so it’s the Council you have a problem with,” Xander said cheerfully. “In that case, join the club. We hated them until we took over. That so-called ‘gas explosion’ was the best thing that ever happened to them.”
“You are not trained by the Watchers then?” she asked cautiously.
Xander sensed honesty was the best policy. Whatever her grievance was with the old Council, it was serious.
“Are you kidding?” he said. Then, for once dropping the jokes and goofiness, he looked her straight in the eye. “If someone else hadn’t done it first, I’d love to have been the one who blew up Quentin Travers. After the hell he put my best friend and her Watcher through, he deserved what he got.”
She looked satisfied with that answer.
“Your friend? She is a Slayer?”
“Buffy Summers. Dawn’s older sister. One of the longest lived Slayers on record, though some insist it she should have an asterisk after her name.”
Ziva didn’t seem to get the reference; he was sure she would have asked if she had. She merely looked thoughtful.
“So there is not anyone around from the old Council?” she finally asked. “A… deserving target?”
“Someone who deserves to be yelled at or beat on, you mean?” Xander grinned. “Sadly, no. There was a big bad a few years back that was trying to kill off all the Slayer’s allies, all the Potentials, all the Watchers. It didn’t realize that with quite a few of them, it was actually doing us a favor. Of the surviving Watchers, we forcibly retired any who weren’t going to get with the new, improved, Slayer-friendly program. Anyone that’s still with us is one of the good guys.”
He tried not to laugh as the tough girl attitude melted and Ziva all but pouted.
“What’s your problem with the Watchers, anyway? I’m not volunteering to be a punching bag, but I can listen.”
Ziva’s expression softened.
“My sister was a Slayer. Talia David.”
Xander was startled. He didn’t remember any Slayer named David, and he thought he knew all the recent ones.
“Was she called after Sunnydale?”
Ziva shook her head.
“Before. She was called in May of 2001.”
Now it was Ziva’s turn to be startled as Xander visibly paled.
“Oh, no,” he said softly. “Let me guess. She was killed in October of the same year?”
Ziva nodded, puzzled, as Xander abruptly sat in Tony’s chair looking devastated.
“I’m really glad you didn’t decide to have it out with Dawn.”