April 24, 2005
"Hi, there. This is where we can find Senior Special Agent Jethro Gibbs, right?"
Ziva looked up from her monitor, where she had been completing her report on a case of identity theft perpetrated by a small group of employees at the local Naval Exchange store, to see who the speaker was. She was subsequently more than a little surprised to see two of the primary subjects in their previous investigation standing in front of her desk.
Before she could respond to the question, a gruff voice answered, "Yeah, that's right. Who are you two, and what did you want to see me about?" as Gibbs came striding up, from the direction of the coffee station.
As she watched what promised to be a quite intriguing confrontation, Ziva noticed that both Tony and Tim were staring at their visitors with the same combination of surprise, curiosity and suspicion which colored her own interest.
Both the man and woman were dressed in what were well-tailored and clearly expensive clothing; the muscular, dark-haired man was wearing a perfectly-fitted navy suit, pale blue shirt and a blue and white patterned tie, while the petite, impeccably dressed blonde wore a navy pin-striped designer suit – one which had unquestionably been personally fitted – along with a white silk blouse and matching navy four-inch stiletto heeled shoes, Ziva noted reflexively.
"I think you already know who we are, Agent Gibbs," the woman stated replied as they both turned to look at the senior agent, while clearly not ignoring or disregarding the other members of the team, the former Mossad operative also observed with professional interest.
And despite their understated style and the seeming harmlessness of the pair's appearance, both of their visitors also gave off a barely perceptible sense of danger, Ziva noted to herself. While the man was much larger and would, at first glance, appear to be a much more significant threat should trouble loom, there was also an almost elemental air of concealed ferocity about the woman which made Ziva's Kidon-honed danger sense blare in warning.
"But just to so there won't be any mistakes, let me introduce us – I'm Xander Harris, and this is Buffy Summers," the man identified himself and his companion politely enough.
"And we thought that, since we were here in town on business, anyway – well, we'd better stop by and talk to the people who've been searching so industriously for our daughter, and find out what it is they wanted to talk to her about," Harris stated with a polite smile which was belied by the intense cast of his dark brown eyes.
"All right. Good," Gibbs grunted as he gave the two visitors an evaluating look.
"We can talk in the conference room," he said, turning away and heading towards a different section of the building, taking a sip from his ever-present cup of coffee as he did so.
"So, why the hell are you two here?" Gibbs asked, deciding that a blunt and straight-forward approach regarding the case which had been taken away from them was the best way to handle things.
"SecNav made it quite clear that we're to have no further involvement, in any way, whatsoever, with the investigation into Petty Officer Clemson's disappearance," Jethro stated, the older man's anger and dissatisfaction with that decision obvious on his face.
"Well, based on what we've learned about you and your team, Agent Gibbs, neither Xand or I really believed that you'd just give up and not try to do a little more digging in private," Buffy told Gibbs, with a small smile. "You kind of remind us of ourselves, in that respect."
"And I also think it's only fair that we give you a chance to tell both of your pet geeks – I'm guessing that 'Binary Elflord' is the younger guy who sits at the desk directly opposite yours, although I can't really see the young lady at the desk next to yours calling herself 'Vampirella's Big Sister'…" Xander noted parenthetically, "…that they really should stop trying to hack into Guardian Protective Services' network, because our network administrator is getting a bit cranky about that.
"To be honest, I'm not really sure just what Will might do if you guys don't quit trying to hack in," Xander warned as he deliberately glanced over at the small tastefully decorative mirror hung on the left wall of the conference room, "but whatever it is, it won't be pretty."
On the opposite side of the wall, inside the small room where they'd been observing Gibbs' conversation with the two visitors, Ziva, Tony and Tim all glanced at each other, clearly surprised at Harris' recognition of the two-way mirror's purpose and his acknowledgement of their presence.
"Okay, now that that stuff's out of the way, let's get down to what we’re really here to talk about," Buffy declared, the look on her face shifting to a much more serious one than that of a moment earlier.
"Just so you understand the situation properly, Xand and I learned that Dawn is our daughter several years back. And as far as we're concerned, the circumstances regarding her birth aren't anybody else's business, at all," she stated, a resolute and unyielding expression on her face.
"And just in case you didn’t know it, the people who were responsible for Dawn being born are all dead, now, too," Buffy went on, taking note of the faint note of surprise which that bit of news elicited from Gibbs. "And, again, the details involved aren't anyone else's business, except ours."
"Everything about this whole situation is classified way beyond your pay grade, Agent Gibbs," Xander informed him with a serious expression. "Hell, I'm pretty sure that it's classified light years above your boss's security level, too, as far as that goes.
"What we can tell you is that having people looking into our background – and, yeah, we know all about the L.A. branch of the FBI unofficially checking into us," Harris declared, surprising Gibbs with the extent of the pair's knowledge, "could possibly draw other people's attention and make them start looking into things that need to stay buried and forgotten."
"People knowing that Dawn's related to me puts her in enough danger, as it is," Buffy informed Gibbs in a no-nonsense tone of voice
"If the fact that she's our daughter ever became public knowledge, it would make things much, much worse than they are now – and putting our daughter at risk *isn’t* something that we’re willing to tolerate, Agent Gibbs," she declared, leaning forward slightly and allowing a bit of both the Spirits empowering her to show in her eyes.
To his credit, Gibbs retained his position and didn't allow himself to lean back and away from the suddenly *very* intimidating young woman seated across from him, although a small, atavistic portion of his brain was screaming at him to run away as fast as he could manage from the creature in front of him.
Instead, he simply nodded and agreed.
"All right," he said, "I can see your point.
"None of my people will do anything further as far as this case is concerned," Jethro promised, glancing over to look directly at the two-way mirror, as though to ensure that his team had heard his orders.
"Thank you, Agent Gibbs," Buffy smiled upon hearing his words, her face almost visibly brightening up the room as she relaxed and reverted to her ostensible image of a beautiful young woman. "I knew you'd be reasonable, once we explained things to you."
"Oh, and just so you know, Agent Gibbs," Xander added as they all rose to their feet, "you also don't have to be concerned about the perps who were involved in Petty Officer Clemson's disappearance ever bothering anyone else, ever again. For all practical purposes, they no longer exist."
"Also, just for your information, not that it really matters – but you're never going to find Hank Summers, either," Buffy added, almost as an afterthought to their earlier discussion. "We found out, a couple years back, that he tried to defraud some people he was dealing with in Southeast Asia. And, unfortunately for him, his intended victims decided to make an example out of him for the people they normally deal with, so that no one else would ever try to steal from them."
"I see," the senior agent replied, taken aback the slightest bit by the off-the-cuff, almost disinterested way the young woman had delivered the information about her father's fate.
On the other hand, he mused to himself, based on the information Eppes' team had gathered, Hank Summers had clearly abandoned his family almost a decade earlier, so Ms. Summers' attitude shouldn't really be that much of a surprise.
"Well, we appreciate your taking the time to talk to us, Agent Gibbs," Buffy then smiled at him as she and Harris rose from their seats with an almost unnatural fluidity.
"I hope the rest of your day goes as well," she said as she took Harris' arm and the pair headed to the front doors.
"Thanks," Gibbs replied, the least bit uncertainly as he watched his two visitors head out the door, and out of his team's lives. "I think."
"You know, I’d say there's definitely a whole lot more going on with those two than you'd think, just looking at their files, boss," Tony stated as he, Ziva and McGee joined Gibbs by the door to the conference room.
"Yeah, you're right about that, DiNozzo," Gibbs nodded his head in agreement. "But it also doesn't have anything to do with what we do, here.
"At least, not anymore, it doesn't," he added, under his breath.
"C'mon, people, back to work," Jethro barked, as he headed back to their cubicle area. "We still haven't found out who shot at Ensign Simmons yesterday.
"McGee, have you found anything hinky about her financials? DiNozzo, has Abby come up with anything from the blood evidence? Ziva, has Ducky finished the autopsy, yet?" he barked at his team
"We need to…"