Shapes and Fires
A/N First and foremost, I'd like to thank the people who have taken time to read and review my little story. That being said, I still have no proprietary claim on either NCIS or BTVS, which I consider the epitome of unfair.
SHAPES AND FIRES
“What the hell Harris, are you geared up for World War III,” Gibbs asked.
“Nope,” Xander replied. “We’ve got a lot of autonomy as to our weapons and these are the ones that I personally use, well at least for a light job.”
“Light,” McGee asked; picking up a revolver that was about the size of his forearm. “How is this light?”
“Well, you don’t see any Claymores, RPG’s or C4 do you,” Xander replied. They all looked up at this only to see Harris working hard to maintain a straight face.
“So why these in particular,” Gibbs asked almost cracking a smile.
“Well, I had to keep three things in mind, portability, versatility and a lot of blam; I mean you gotta have the right tools for any situation. So I’ve got the two Colt M1911As because they pack a heck of a punch and they are damn near indestructible. The Glock 18C in case I need to just ‘spray and pray’, not to mention the fact that it’s almost as durable as the Colt and hand held as well. The SuperRedhawk is chambered as a .454 Casull in case I need to stop something really large, like a truck. Not to mention it can work with the standard .45 rounds as well, so versatility again.”
“And the Walther PPK,” DiNozzo asked.
Xander blushed a little, “I’m kind of a secret agent and I’m at least partially a British citizen, it just seemed appropriate.”
“Harris, Alex Harris,” DiNozzo said in a passable Connery voice.
There was a bit of laughter and then Xander looked at them all. “Not bad Tony, but could you all please call me Xander, everyone does and I keep wondering who you’re talking to when I hear anything else.”
“So then why all the blades; Harris,” Gibbs asked.
Xander sighed, knowing that Gibbs would probably use the name thing to get under his skin; well two could play at that game if it came to that. “Cause I’ve been in Africa for almost a decade,” Xander replied. “Guns are great when you’ve got access to steady supplies of ammo and spare parts, but if you don’t then they’re just cool looking paperweights. Blades on the other hand, as well as bows; which I didn’t bring, require a lot less in the way of logistics to maintain. So if you’re at the back end of beyond on a regular basis, knives, swords and axes make a lot more sense.” As he was saying this, Xander was securing his various bladed weapons either to himself or in spots in and around his desk. He looked at Gibbs as his hands hovered over his guns, “you want me to bring these down to the range?”
“Just the .45s” Gibbs replied. “They’re your usual sidearms, right?”
“Yeah,” Xander replied and soon the other three hand guns plus the shotgun had vanished into the desk, as though they’d never existed at all. He then stood up, securing his Colts into a belt holster which was hidden by the hem of his Hawaiian shirt. “You’re required to be armed at all times, right.”
“Yep,” Gibbs replied, then without a word he headed for the elevator. Seeing the others following him, Xander fell in.
When the doors opened, Xander took one whiff of the air and said, “Morgue?”
“You could actually tell that by the odor,” Ziva asked, having caught the whiff.
“Formaldehyde,” Xander replied succinctly.
“You can smell that from here,” McGee asked, incredulously.
Xander held his face still for a second and then just grinned and pointed to the sign indicating what direction the morgue was in.
“Cute,” Gibbs muttered and then led the way to the morgue.
Ducky was in the middle of doing the autopsy on a Marine Lance Corporal from EOD who had cut the wrong wire when the door opened and the entire team plus one walked in.
“Good day Jethro, what brings you down to see me today,” Ducky asked, without looking up.
“That would be me,” Xander spoke up.
Ducky looked up to see the young man that he’d heard so much about. From his nephew’s descriptions of the man’s exploits, Ducky had expected the man to be some Ramboesque behemoth, but the grinning, messy-haired young man standing in front of him certainly didn’t fit that description. “You must be young Mr. Harris,” he finally said. “I’d shake your hand if it wasn’t covered in this young man’s innards. This is Mr. Palmer, my assistant,” Ducky said, waving a hand at Jimmy.
“Call me Xander,” he was told as he shook the new guy’s hand. “Jimmy is fine,” he replied.
“I’ve got some news and a present or two when you have the time,” Xander told the ME.
“Splendid,” Ducky replied. “Now I’d like to get this wrapped up so unless you have any questions . . . .”
“Just one,” Xander said. “Is the ‘Ducky’ because of ‘Donald’ or ‘Mallard’?”
Ducky froze for a second; no one had ever asked him that one. “Bit of both I suppose,” he finally answered. “No off with you young Alexander,” he made shooing motions with his gore stained hands, “I’ll let you know when I’m free.”
“Looking forward to it Ducky,” Xander called back as they headed out the door.
“So how do you know Ducky,” McGee asked.
“I don’t, never met the man,” Xander replied. “But his nephew is part of the organization I work for. When Roger heard I was going to be here he had me bring a few things and some news for Dr. Mallard.”
“So Ducky knows about the NSWC?”
“Not really, he worked with them while it was still the IWC, and the differences between the two are pretty extreme.”
“Still . . . . ,” Gibbs started.
“There’s nothing he can tell you anyway,” Xander cut him off. “Think of it like post hypnotic suggestion Gibbs, he literally cannot talk about what he knows. And understand one thing. It isn’t our security we’re worried about, it’s his. If anyone knew that he had been associated with us then he would be a target. A target of people a lot more ruthless than you’re used to dealing with.”
Gibbs scowled at that. He believed Harris to a degree, but Gibbs also suspected that the bastard knew the way to get him to back off was to say that a course of action would endanger one of his people. It suggested that not only did Harris know more about them than they did about him; but that he could predict their reactions as well. The doors in front of them opened and they were hit with a blast of music, involuntarily Gibbs smiled; Abby had a way of making that happen.
“Gibbs,” Abby yelled and turned with a smile, but then she froze and her smile turned to a scowl when she spotted the man next to Gibbs. “You,” she called out and bounced over to stand in front of Xander. She stood there frozen for a moment as though she couldn’t think of anything appropriate to say. Suddenly her hand flashed out and smacked Xander’s left cheek. “That’s for causing my systems to lock up.”
For his part, Xander was intrigued rather than hurt. He stood there trying to determine what response should be made. Being Xander, he chose the riskiest. His left hand flashed out and smacked Abby on the right cheek. “That’s for getting caught searching where you shouldn’t have been.” Xander heard almost sub audio growls coming from both Gibbs and Ziva, a gasp from Tony and a quiet “Hey,” from McGee; he noted and cataloged these responses but his focus was on the girl in front of him, her reaction was the only significant one, at least right now. She stood there stunned, her hand drifted to her cheek. Xander could see the wheels turning in her head and he mentally bet with himself as to what her response would be. “Alright then,” she said with a small grin, “no getting caught while I’m looking for stuff I shouldn’t be.”
“Promise me,” Xander said with mock severity. “I don’t want to be having to explain why your computers literally melted now would I?”
Abby gaped at him. “That could really happen?”
“Yeah, it was kinda funny at the time,” Xander said with a slow grin. “But the agency it happened to was less than thrilled.”
“I bet,” McGee chimed in.
“So who was it,” Gibbs asked.
“I’m not allowed to say,” Xander replied. “But it shouldn’t be that hard to find out who put in an order for a multi-million dollar mainframe in the last two years.”
There was a twinkle in Abby’s eyes as she turned briefly to Gibbs; “I like him, can we keep him?”
“He’s only supposed to be here a year at most.”
“We’ll see about that,” Abby replied and flounced back to her instruments. “Now go away, I don’t have anything for you right now,” she called over her shoulder.
As they were headed out the door Xander said to Gibbs, “Nice girl, she reminds me of a couple of my friends. I’m not thrilled with the whole Goth thing but whatever floats her boat.”
“What’s wrong with Goth,” McGee asked.
“It’s the whole obsession with death, to the point of romanticizing it that bugs me. Death will come when it comes, and for most of us it won’t be pretty. I’m not afraid of dying, but I’m not going to seek death out either; and I am certainly not going to rehearse it.” He turned to Gibbs; the look on the man’s face told him a lot. It was clear that Abby was a favorite of his; probably a surrogate daughter, and Xander had not been as respectful as Gibbs had doubtlessly wanted him to be. Gibbs was gonna exact some payment for that, Xander knew; the question was what form it would take. “So where to next,” he asked
“Range,” Gibbs tersely replied.
Gibbs was officially impressed. He wasn’t about to let anyone know that he was impressed but frankly it was hard not to be. Harris might be a sneaky, secretive, suspicious bastard and he was gonna pay for smacking Abby but damned if the kid couldn’t shoot the lights out. Gibbs had felt it almost as soon as they walked into the range. Something changed in the kid, it was like Michael Jordan at the end of a close game; he knew exactly where he was and what he was supposed to do. Wordlessly he’d sent a target twenty five yards downrange, then with a glance to make sure it was clear; he drew his gun in a blur of motion and pointed it downrange. The way the kid held the gun bordered on indifference, which meant, Gibbs knew; that the gun was practically an extension of the kid’s arm. He didn’t disappoint. Emptying the gun in under five seconds, he obliterated the target’s head. Then before anyone could move the kid’s left hand moved, a bit slower than the right but plenty fast; and with a slight tilt to his head as his only adjustment, the kid proceeded to shred the target’s chest.
Gibbs watched as Harris then put down both guns and turned with a smirk as the target returned; “I’m not as fast with my left, but I’m working on it.”
“See that you do,” Gibbs replied as he checked to see his team’s reaction. McGee looked both amazed and calculating and with an internal groan Gibbs realized that there would be a new character in McGee’s next book. DiNozzo just looked pleased, why, Gibbs wasn’t sure. As he looked at Ziva, he saw the light of battle in her eyes and Gibbs knew that Harris would be challenged and soon. If it came to that, Gibbs wouldn’t mind shooting a match against the kid himself. Maybe he could knock that smarmy grin off the kid’s face. “Okay, you can shoot; now go get changed for hand to hand. We’ve got to know your level and what to expect from you in the field.”
“Fine,” Harris replied, obviously disappointed that there wouldn’t be more shooting.
The kid’s problem was obvious, even to McGee who wasn’t as comfortable with hand to hand fighting as the others. “He’s slow on the attack, Boss.” And he was. When it came to defense, Harris was lightning quick and compensated well for his lack of an eye. But he seemed almost reluctant to attack. Gibbs watched as Harris either blocked or avoided everything DiNozzo was throwing at him. Wrestling, Judo, Boxing, it didn’t matter; Harris never allowed a good hit, but his few attacks were so slow that Ducky could have avoided them. Gibbs turned to Ziva and gave her a look. She just nodded without words being exchanged, she knew what to do. “Okay, next up,” Gibbs called out. DiNozzo came out of the ring and Ziva stalked in, there was no other way to put the way she moved. Gibbs was surprised to note that Harris didn’t relax, if anything the kid was more wary than he had been with DiNozzo. Usually men backed off when fighting a woman, but Harris was actually treating her like the threat that she was. Without a word she was on him, a flurry of blows that still failed to puncture the kid’s defenses. The kid was dancing all over the ring, moving and blocking and not allowing Ziva a chance to work up to some combinations. Realizing what he was doing, Ziva changed her tactics and started herding the kid and eventually pinned him in a corner, then she went all out. Harris was pure defense, blocking and re-directing everything Ziva threw at him; but he stubbornly refused to attack.
But then suddenly he did. After everything was said and done, Gibbs figured that Ziva had gotten some kind of openhanded attack near Harris’s missing eye. Whether it was that or that Ziva had somehow hit the kid’s breaking point was discussed for a couple of weeks, as was the outcome. A kick to the thigh and Ziva was forced a bit out of the crouch she’d been in. As soon as her jaw was exposed, it was met with a devastating back fist that spun the girl across the mat where she lay, not moving. Harris just stood there, looking at her; seemingly appalled at what he’d done. When Harris did move he surprised Gibbs by leaving the ring as opposed to checking on Ziva.
“You’re a bastard, you know that,” Xander snarled at Gibbs.
“We had to know you’re strengths and weaknesses if you’re gonna be in the field with us. We couldn’t know unless you went all out and you refused to do that. So Ziva forced you to go all out.”
“Yeah, yeah; ruin my bad mood with logic why don’t you.” Xander just stood there and glowered for a moment. He hated fighting anyone he worked with. In his experience it caused problems he was better off without. Gibbs was right about him holding back and their needing to know what he was capable of. That didn’t mean he had to like it.
“I think I just did; now why don’t you see how she’s doing?”
“Are you kidding? Odds are she’s playing possum just so she can kick my ass when I go over and act all concerned.”
“What is ‘playing possum’,” came a voice from the ring.
“It’s what you’re doing,” Harris replied. “Acting like you’re out of it to put your opponent in a vulnerable position.”
“Why are you afraid, you won after all,” Ziva asked, sitting up.
“I was able to surprise you,” Xander answered. “Now that you know what to expect from me, I’d expect you to beat me around the ring on a regular basis.”
“Really,” McGee asked.
“Hell yeah,” Xander replied. “She’s a trained fighter, I’m a glorified brawler. The brawler can win if he has the element of surprise, but once the fighter knows what to expect and can compensate for it, then it’s pretty much all over.”
“Your speed is quite the equalizer,” Ziva said, standing up.
“True, but I’d still take a trained fighter over a brawler any day of the week.” Here he turned to Ziva, “Would you be willing to train me, two or three times a week while I’m here?”
She thought about it, it would make it easier for her to learn about what her father was interested in. But then she remembered that Harris already knew that she was supposed to get that from him. Yet he was willingly putting himself within her reach; it was confusing. “Sure, if you really want, I could use the work outs.”
“Great, just let me know what time works for you.” Ziva nodded and as he turned away from her, DiNozzo spoke up.
“Why are you wanting training, you beat her after all?”
“Tony, in my organization I’m one of the worst at hand to hand. If I see an opportunity to learn from someone who is really good, I’m gonna take it.”
“What, you mean that most of the people you work with can take you in hand to hand?”
“Then what do you need us for.”
“Because we’re hell on wheels when the bad guy walks across our sights; but that usually means that we don’t find him until he wants to be found. This means that he’s prepared for someone coming after him and that we’re gonna lose people when we take him down. If we can learn to spot a bad guy early on, before they’re ready to be found, then we should be able to dust his ass with a lot less fuss and bother, and certainly fewer casualties. You all can teach me how to do that, how to find the ones that aren’t ready to be found and I can then teach my people how to do it as well. That way there’s a lot fewer funerals to attend, and I’m all for that.”
“You thinking about someone in particular,” Gibbs asked.
“I’m thinking about too many someones,” Xander answered and headed off to the showers.