DISCLAIMER: This is fanfic, and as such it will draw upon copyrighted material. It is a non-profit work done for the enjoyment of the author and his readers, and is no challenge to any legal properties.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Me being me there will probably be both sex and violence at some point, but with the rich mix of my Lock AU and the NCIS people I decided to do a story where I can explore that a bit before getting back to the action. It's almost a fluff piece, but will allow me to explore character elements so that when I get to the sixth fic the characters are able to get into the action without all these elements that are demanding my attention. Continuing thanks to Lisa Countryman. She's like my muses' personal trainer at this point, and continuing thanks to my beta reader laura jones.
SPOILERS: I've gotten so far from the established it is a source of pride. That said I won't fear touching on Buffy, Angel, Stonyman Farm/Executioner, or NCIS cannon.
SETTING: My Lock series. Starting with "Life on the Farm" and progressing through "Friend of My Friend."
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To Wyldchilde37[at]yahoo.com

Downtime
By Dark Wyldchilde

 

Chapter 1.

Faith put down the recliner she was carrying, with obvious ease, on the floor near the door and walked over to an obviously distraught Tara. Words weren't necessary as she reached out to caress her witches' cheek.

Tara leaned into the touch and her sad blue eyes met Faith's concerned brown. She took a deep, heavy breath that seemed almost on the verge of tears. "He's hurting Faith, so much."

Faith was nodding as she pulled Tara into an embrace. She could imagine, perhaps more then most as she had imagined before what it would be like if she were to loose Tara. It's one of the reasons she hated Tara being out in the field. Though an attack on the Lock was always possible, both above and below, Faith preferred to have her woman surrounded by slayers, war wizards, and black suits.

She rubbed her cheek against the top of Tara's head and rubbed the woman's back as Tara cuddled into her. Faith didn't bother speaking, her gestures said everything her words would, and Tara was quiet as well, her relaxing posture and the evening of her breathing telling Faith all she needed to know.

It was only after they stepped back that Faith finally spoke. "Go to him. I've got this."

Tara looked at Faith, and then down to the door to the basement where she knew Gibbs was.

The blonde took a breath, and then another, before nodding and walking towards the doorway, pausing a moment and centering herself as the grief radiating up into the house hit her in a fresh wave.

Creeping down the stairs silently Tara realized how much Gibbs' pain was consuming him. While she had learned a lot as a Scooby, and later from Faith she had known her Uncle long enough know that people did NOT sneak up on Leroy Jethro Gibbs.

That was what she did however as she found herself looking over Gibbs shoulder where he was sitting on a carpentry saw horse and holding a dirty, dusty, banged up metal lunch box. A lunch box that's cover was showing fresh wet spots from Gibbs' tears.

He stiffened suddenly and Tara knew he knew she was there. She also knew that he would be frantically trying to stuff his grief away, and she wasn't going to let him.

It started by putting a hand on his shoulder, but quickly morphed into her hugging him from behind. His posture stiffened, and while Tara wasn't afraid for herself, she was afraid that he would lock his pan away again. Putting it back in the same place where it had been gnawing at his soul for almost two decades.

Then he turned, his legs lifting up and over the saw horse so he could face Tara, and then he hugged her, tight, and Leroy Jethro Gibbs wept, and Tara felt every tear.

She felt them in the wetness was collected on her shirt, but she felt them more in the waves of raw agony that radiated off of her uncle. Even at the funeral he hadn't felt pain like this, and Tara realized that was the point, that even at the funeral he kept this pain inside.

It was something she understood however as he had to let it out in his own time, and if that was nearly twenty years later then that's what it was, and Tara was simply glad she could be be here for him as it happened.

Tara didn't move, or hum, or sing as she might do for others in this kind of situation as she knew Gibbs didn't need the intrusion. He just needed something, someone to cling to as he let it all out. Someone who would pull him clear when he was done, and keep him from going under as he did so.

So she did, she held him, she gave him that connection that let him know there was a world other then the torment that surely felt like it was consuming him.

A connection that he followed back as his tears slowed, and then stopped, and he pulled back. She was afraid that he might try to pull back emotionally, to isolate himself once more, but Gibbs seemed to have realized that there was nothing to be ashamed of here with Tara and while she might not miss them as keenly as he did she understood his pain, and he could share it with her.

He then pulled back, but not away like she feared and started wiping his eyes. Tara spoke, softly. "You don't need to sell the house Uncle Gibbs. You can either live in quarters at the Lock, or buy a new house in Sunnydale..." She gave him a small grin. "Real estate is surprisingly cheap on the mouth of Hell."

Gibbs shook his head, taking several calming breaths. "No, it's time. I'd rather know a new family was here building their own memories. I..." He took another calming breath. "I'll be taking them with me."

Tara smiled softly. "Like you always have."

Two sets of blue eyes met, and Gibbs nodded.

Outside Faith had just put one of Gibbs tool boxes in the long U-Haul truck the man had rented. While most of the now former NCIS team was sending their things via secured rail car they had quickly realized that the personal objects that the people just "had" to carry with them would fill the Lock's private jet to capacity. So Gibbs was quick to volunteer to pack up his house and drive it across country.

He had planned to do it himself, but Tara had volunteered to help, knowing what leaving the house he had shared with Shannon and Kelly would do to the man. Faith had been right behind her because she knew what helping Gibbs would do to Tara.

That and she wanted to help what she could see forming between the two family members-in-law. Gibbs had lost a daughter, and Tara had never really had a father, and she could see the two were filling holes in each others hearts, and Faith was ready to do whatever she had to to help that happen.

She knew it had been different for Tara growing up. While they both had pain from their pasts Tara had grown up with her mother Diana by her side, and when she had finally passed it had wounded her gentle lover in ways her father or brother had never been able to.

Faith on the other hand had grown up alone. If anything she had learned to take comfort in that isolation as in her early life those who got close were doing so to find a way to hurt her. It was why she had kept herself isolated from the Scoobies back in the bad old days, and while she had learned to form bonds since then she still knew the only person she NEEDED was Tara.

Tara's loving heart and giving soul however formed strong bonds, and felt both the pain and joy of others, even strangers, all too keenly. So Faith knew that the presence of Leroy Jethro Gibbs in her lover's life would do immense good.

Faith plunked herself down in the recliner she had brought in earlier... "lover", Tara was her wife. Faith knew it, Tara knew it, and all those who liked to smirk at Faith's big bad rep when she was beaming in happiness at Tara's mere presence knew it too.

Sure there was no official recognition, but at this point neither of them existed officially so Faith figured it didn't matter much.

She got out of the chair with a soft grunt and walked down the trucks ramp... he was still there, some random neighbor of Gibbs who had been out walking their dog, he had seen Faith toting the toolbox like it was an empty cardboard box and had stopped dead in open-mouthed wonder.

Yeah, definitely not in Sunnydale anymore. That got a shrug, but her mind then went back to the town as she looked at the assortment of tools that she had already brought out to the truck.

There was no way Gibbs would be able to fit that in quarters at the Lock. He would have to get a house, but they really were cheap in Sunnydale. Faith found herself thinking of the neighborhood where she and Tara had their house.

They had bought it before the Lock had ever been built, but had kept it for an escape when the women wanted to get away from the Lock and have some time for each other. There was several other houses for sale on their block, and she wondered how it would work to start staying at the house more.

An image found itself forming in her head of her and Tara making a real home, instead of just a place they slept between missions. While their larger mission at the Lock would never end Faith found herself seeing that home, quiet evenings at that home, family meals with the extended family that had formed at the Lock filling the house to capacity.

That got an audible laugh as Faith walked back into the house. She might be able to tell Tara those things, but she wouldn't ever speak them to another living soul, or her bad ass rep would be GONE.

Walking back into the house she looked around to see what was left. As she did so she could hear soft talking coming from the basement. Though she didn't have Tara's senses her's had their own advantages, and while she didn't try to make out the words she could tell that the two were talking calmly.

They were almost done here, though it was iffy whether or not they would be able to start out to visit Gibbs' father on their way to the coast, or have to wait till morning to begin the drive.

Gibbs had been unsure of how to tell him that he was moving to the coast with a "new job" but Tara had put her foot down that whatever he would say he would say in person, and while there had been an arched brow it had dissolved into a grin and a "Okay."

 

Chapter 2.

"Care to explain this DiNozzo?" The thing that Director Vance needed explained was a piece of paper he was holding out.

DiNozzo was sitting at Gibbs' desk at that moment and had to lean out over it. "That would be a resignation letter. It's considered more polite then the time tested 'Take this job and shove it' method."

Vance popped a toothpick in his mouth. "I know it's a resignation letter, it's your resignation letter. I have six more just like it. You seven get sent on some top secret case and then you all resign at once? I want an explanation. "

Tony brought his hands up off the desk, leaving them in the air with his palms up. "People change, they move on."

Vance was furiously gnawing on the small splinter of wood. "And what are you moving on to?"

Tony looked pensive. "I've been asked to take on a cabinet position on health care reform."

Vance scowled. "And is she your new secretary?" He was pointing at Lex who was standing at Tony's shoulder. The woman was in white tank top, black leather pants and boots, with an obvious holster on her hip carrying her Khar .45, and watching the conversation avidly.

Tony leaned in as if speaking confidentially. "She prefers the term 'personal assistant'."

Lex snickered and Vance glared at her to no effect before he started speaking again. "And Doctor Mallard?"

Without missing a beat Tony replied. "Following the Grateful Dead."

Vance's frustration grew, only fed by Lex fighting not to laugh. "Jerry Garcia's dead."

Tony nodded, saddened. "We're still trying to find a way to tell him."

"Sciuto?" Vance took out the toothpick to speak, held it a moment, and then put it back in his mouth.

Tony grinned. "Well recent developments have us thinking she may move to San Francisco, trade her pig tails for a mullet and her Goth gear for flannel."

Lex was laughing at this point, quietly, but laughing, and Tony arched a brow. "Like you're one to talk?"

Lex grinned. "I will confess that I have worn flannel in the past, and I will admit there is a reasonable enough chance I may wear it in the future, but if I ever get a mullet I give you permission to shoot me."

Tony nodded once. "Noted." He then looked to the Director of NCIS. "Was there anything else? Were going to have to discuss what color of flannel she would want to have with her skin tone."

Vance threw his tooth pick in the trash and stomped away.

Tony's face grew pensive and has actually ran his hands over the top of Gibbs desk. "You know, I planned on sitting here one day. I actually did for a few months."

Lex leaned in, her face curious. "Really?"

"It's kind of a long story, but Gibbs 'retired' for a few months after a really bad, bad case. I was the guy he picked to replace him, and no it wasn't because he had recently suffered a head injury."

Lex smiled. "Never thought it." Tony gave her a skeptical look and her smile grew. "Tony, you are a good man." That got a smirk. "Yeah, good enough that even I can recognize it. More then that you have that right mix of tender and tough that makes great leaders. I'm not one bit surprised that Gibbs has you as his right hand man and chosen successor."

His brows arched. "Really? Even if I don't qualify for Team Wet Dream?"

Lex laughed softly again. "Tony, in her chosen fields Ziva is amazing, but one quality she lacks is patience. I recognize it because I'm much the same way. A leader, especially a long-term leader needs that."

Tony actually blushed and looked away as Lex continued. "And while Tim is incredibly skilled in his chosen field he doesn't have the personality to pull a variety of experts together and direct them to work to a common cause, again, in the long term."

Tony grinned. "Probie just doesn't have the stamina."

Lex gave him a playful Gibbs slap. "Probie has what Probie needs to do his job. Just like you do."

Tony seemed to be getting uncomfortable with the praise. "And on that note I'll give him a call to see why he isn't here to erase our electronic signature. I think you better check in on Jimmy and Abby to make sure that Vance isn't trying to squeeze them."

Lex grabbed the black leather coat she had tossed over the wall divider for Gibbs' cubicle and headed for autopsy.

Stepping in the door she cast her eyes around the room, but the only thing she found is Jimmy looking at her strangely for casting her eyes around the room.

Lex grinned at the look. "Vance is on the war path trying to find out where you guys were and where you're going. I thought I'd see if he was here trying to put the squeeze on you."

Jimmy smiled, and shook his head, putting more into the cardboard box on the desk. "Nope, just me, and you, and... them." He made a gesture with his hand to the morgue drawers.

Lex shrugged. "As long as they stay dead I give them their proper respect."

Jimmy paused, seemingly lost in thought. "I hadn't thought about it that way. It really does put Doctor Mallard's habit of talking to them in a whole new light."

Lex's grin returned. "But a good one if you think about it." At his look she realized he hadn't. "He really is NOT just talking to himself. The dead can hear us, especially if they passed recently, or... unpleasantly. I have to think Ducky comforted a lot of confused, hurt, and angry spirits with his kind treatment."

Jimmy paused and blinked before speaking. "That's really a nice way to look at it."

Lex grin had mellowed into a thoughtful smile. "While my family was experts on the dark forces they did everything they could to take it as far as they could, and magicks that would simply give comfort to the restless dead and help them move on were twisted into imprisoning them, and binding them to my families will... I've been trying to take it back to those... nice, dark arts."

Jimmy could tell she was a little embarrassed at the idea. "I get it. Most people are creeped out by what Doctor Mallard and I do here, but part of it is giving the departed some dignity, back in a lot of cases."

The two shared a smile a nod before Lex took a breath and spoke. "But since Vance isn't here I should probably check on Abby and Ziva." She saw him grin. "I figure they're together."

Jimmy laughed. "They'll make a detective out of you yet."

Lex was laughing as she left autopsy.

At McGee's now empty apartment no one was laughing as Tim got off the phone with DiNozzo.

Tim turned to Xander. "Tony, wondering where we are."

Xander just arched his brows and looked back to Sarah McGee, just in time to watch her take another deep breath to yell some more.

"What is Tony the one who's making you leave town?"

Tim walked up and put his hands on his sisters shoulders, and she didn't fight him, she just glared angrily into his eyes. "Sarah, no one is MAKING me leave town. I got an amazing job offer, and I accepted it."

She pulled away. "What's so 'amazing' about this new job huh?" He took a breath to speak, but she didn't let him. "Right, you can't say. All you can tell me is that you're leaving!"

Tim's hands were still held in front of him in a placating gesture. "Sarah, I'm still a phone call away. Now it's just a secured one."

Her head was bobbing in anger. "Yeah, a phone call, and a plane ride!"

Tim sighed. "Sarah... SARAH! I can do a lot of good there, save lives, even more then I did at NCIS."

Xander interrupted by clearing his throat loudly, and Sarah glared at the stranger.

Tim nodded. "BUT I have to be on the West Coast, and I have to maintain a top secret security clearance. That means I can't tell you any of the details, and YOU can't go blogging about it when you get home."

The younger woman's jaw was set, and her complexion was flushed, but Tim's expression solidified. "I'm serious Sarah."

Xander then spoke up. "It's for his safety as well as yours."

That got Sarah's attention, and it managed to dispel a good deal of her anger. "What do you mean by that?"

Xander met her angry eyes with his focused stare. "With the work we do we maintain secrecy for our own safety. Now that your brother has joined us that secrecy protects him too. If you go blogging about it someone might realize Tim is now one of us. While Tim and I have been trying to make sure you know nothing beyond 'top secret and west coast' if we missed something and you My Space it someone could figure out something we don't want them too. Even if that's just that we have a McGee on staff, but that's still enough to get people killed."

Sarah was keeping the gaze. "You mean like me."

Xander kept the gaze as well. "You're a natural weak point for Tim. If someone wanted to get to him they could use you."

Sarah looked back to Tim. "This for real?"

He nodded. "Yeah Sarah, it is."

She took a breath, tears starting to come to her eyes. "I'll keep my mouth shut." She pulled her big brother into a tight hug. "And you keep yourself safe ok?"

He nodded, the two siblings sharing a teary smile. "Now I'm sorry Sarah, but we really need to go. You have my contact info if you need or just want to get in touch."

The two men nodded, and Xander made a final sweep of the apartment while McGee escorted his sister out.

Back at NCIS Ziva was returning to Abby's lab with a Caf-Pow where she found Abby staring at the floor while Director Vance talked to her.

"I'm just trying to look out for you guys Abby. If you just tell me what's going on I can look into it and make sure it's all on the up and up."

Walking into the lab Ziva strode right past Vance to put the Caf-Pow on the counter in front of Abby, frowning when the scientist didn't pounce on it in her normal fashion.

The Israeli focused her attention on the man standing in front of her. "Hello Director. Was there something we can do for you?"

He had a fresh toothpick in his mouth, and it rolled to the corner of his mouth as he spoke. "You can tell me what's going on David. A resignation or two is one thing, but to have all seven of you take off at once? In most cases not even leaving forwarding addresses? Something stinks and I don't like it, and I want some answers!"

Ziva paused, a large grin coming to her face as she then looked over at Abby. The Goth saw it, and her eyebrows arched in question, but she didn't fight as Ziva took her hand before speaking. "Abigail and I have come to terms with our feelings for each other, and have decided to resign before asking or telling becomes an issue."

Vance didn't know what to say to that. "You haven't even finished getting your citizenship David. You sure you want to be leaving your job, a job I went out on a limb to get you, before getting that taken care of?"

One of Ziva's brows arched. "Gibbs went out on a limb, and if you check your sources again you will see my citizenship has been taken care of, but it is really all academic as the Navy's policy on same sex couples is clear."

Vance scoffed. "So what. Do you expect me to believe that McGee and DiNozzo came to similar understanding?"

Both women snickered, but Abby spoke. "They have to figure that out on their own."

Ziva giggled.

Vance stormed out of the room, almost running into Lex.

Lex looked at the two women. "Everything ok here?"

Abby picked up her Caf-Pow and took a long sip as the two nodded.

Abby then put down the Caf-Pow. "Is this available on the West Coast?"

In another part of town Doctor Donald Mallard was stepping into the bright light of day. To his right Rupert Giles was trying to console him. "I'm terribly sorry Donald."

That got a sigh. "Thank you Rupert, but it wasn't a shock really. Mother's mind has been declining steadily for a long while now. At first I had hope when she called me Donald, but over the course of the visit she also called two of the orderlies and one of the nurses Donald as well. So I have to agree with her doctors that keeping her in a familiar environment here is for the best."

Giles continued to try to comfort the man. "And with Apollo and our reserve pilots you can come visit her whenever you want."

Ducky seemed surprised at that. "Really? You mean they wouldn't mind ferrying me about on personal errands?"

Giles smiled. "Well I wouldn't go asking to use them to pick up a proper blend of tea, but this IS family were talking about, and with the work we do we are given a good deal of leeway."

Duck gave a snort of laughter. "Probably because they don't wish to do it themselves."

Giles smile grew. "Quite."

 

Chapter 3.

Tara rubbed her hands on her jeans again and licked dry lips as she looked upon the store front where they had parked the rental truck Gibbs was driving, Gibbs personal vehicle Tara was driving, and Gibbs yellow sports car that Faith was driving due to her using her rarely used, but quite potent puppy dog eyes on Tara.

The store belonged to Jackson Gibbs, and while it had been her idea to stop so that Gibbs would have to talk to his father face to face she was the one having trouble approaching the door. While both of the people with her were concerned it was the junior Gibbs who voiced it.

"You okay Tara?"

She licked her lips again and nodded, actually taking a second breath when she felt her stutter try to return. "Just nervous. I... I knew your father. M...Mamma and I would come to the store sometimes... and he was always n...nice. He always gave me a piece of candy."

Though Faith seemed content to watch things unfold until she was needed she shared a smile with Gibbs as he had no trouble imagining his kindhearted father doing just that.

His expression seemed to be checking if it was ok as he walked towards the door to open it, only to have it opened in his face. "Well are you going to stand outside all day or come in?"

The smiling face of Jackson Gibbs watched as the three people entered his store. "Tara? Is that you?"

The blonde was blushing as she smiled. Jackson reached out to take her hands, and examine her from head to toe. As he let go of her hands his smile had only grew. "It is wonderful to see you all grown up, and it's also good to see you hadn't taken after my boy and waited thirty years to come back, but how did you two cross paths, and who is this beautiful young woman with you?"

While Leroy rolled his eyes at his mention, Faith's dimples were apparent as she smiled, and a close look would show a small blush coloring those cheeks as Tara spoke. "Well we're only visiting, and the reason for the visit is the thing that brought Uncle Gibbs and I back together after all these years."

He looked between the two expectantly. "Which is?"

Tara frowned. "We can't say."

Jackson actually glared at his son. "Don't you tell me that you got HER a job with the government as well!"

Tara stepped between the father and son. "I was already working for the government when I found Uncle Gibbs. We're now going to be working together on the West Coast."

Jackson stopped, looking between Gibbs and Tara, then he seemed to pause, seeing something there that hadn't been in his boy... in almost twenty years, and nodded. "Well you still haven't told me who your pretty friend is."

Tara's blush deepened. "She's not my friend. She's my life partner."

There was another long pause as Jackson now looked between Tara and Faith. It broke when he leaned into speak to Tara, stage whispering. "Good choice." He then leaned over to Faith. "You too."

That broke then tension as Jackson waved them over the sturdy wooden table off to the side. "Well come in, come in. Let's catch up as much as you are able. Grab whatever you want from the shelves. There's beer, soda, water... candy."

He said that last bit with a wink to Tara and she giggled a soft, girlish sound.

As he lowered himself into a chair Jackson continued talking. "So do you have to get going any time soon or can you spend the night?"

Tara spoke, quickly, as if she knew she would be interrupted. "Our schedule is pretty loose right now."

Jackson slapped a hand down on the table. "Well then it's settled. You'll spend the night, we'll have dinner, and I'll send you on your way with a proper breakfast."

Leroy and Faith were mostly left watching as the Tara smoothly replied. "Can I help?"

Jackson laughed. "I would hope so. I remember how well your mother cooked, and I know you got her touch in the kitchen."

Tara laughed right back and even those watching silently smiled.

They were all smiling hours later as the bell hung above the door rang, but those smiles quickly faded as they saw Caleb and Donnie Maclay walk into the store with the Sheriff behind them.

The four at the stable stood silently.

Jackson Gibbs however had a louder exhale as the elderly man found his feet.

Leroy Jethro Gibbs slid his chair back as he stood, and then slid it back further with his foot so it wouldn't be in his way.

Tara Maclay rose a second later then her two male relatives as she used that extra moment to center herself.

Faith rose slowly, almost languorously, like a cat uncurling from a nap. Her posture was anything but sleepy though. Her face was calm, her eyes were locked on the two Maclay men, and the energy her posture was putting out actually had the Sheriff put his hand on the revolver on his belt.

While Gibbs had seen flashes he realized he was probably meeting "Slayer" for the first time.

Jackson was the first to speak. "Well now I'm sorry boys, but I must have forgot to put out the 'Closed' sign. I've got family in town and I'm shutting down the store early today. You come back tomorrow afternoon and we'll get you taken care of."

Caleb looked at the old man. "I'm guessing tomorrow afternoon would be too late Jackson." He then looked at his daughter with a glare that had once had the little girl cowering and trying to protect her face with her hands as he stepped towards her.

Leroy Jethro Gibbs stepped in his way. "Not this time Caleb, never again."

Jackson stepped closer to his son. "You're not bringing this in my store Caleb."

Donnie had the answer to that as he started to step towards his sister. "Well then we'll take it outside."

"You want to retain the ability to walk Donnie, you'll use it to take three steps back." Slayer's graveyard tone was even able to chill Gibbs and he was on her side. It froze the three men across from them solid.

Her voice was still at it's glacial register as she spoke again. "That wasn't a request Donnie. It was a statement of fact."

Ed, the Sheriff finally found his voice. "Don't do anything you're going to regret girly."

Her gaze flickered to him and while he didn't reach for his gun the hand he had put there before twitched. "You managed to not get involved Tara's entire childhood. Now is not the time to start taking your badge seriously."

His eyes narrowed, but Tara tried to head things off as she turned to Faith, speaking softly. "It's ok Faith. I've got this."

Donnie decided to use the distraction to reach out and grab Tara by the upper part of her right arm, a favorite position back when the pain let her know her place and the bruise reminded her. His grip never tightened as Tara's arm pulled back so her right wrist could grab his right wrist.

She then put her left palm on the outside of his right elbow and threw all of her weight into the action.

Donnie was left with either fighting back and breaking his own arm or dropping to his knees. Tara kept him there with her right knee to his back, and his right arm at an awkward angle towards the ceiling.

Caleb was ready to charge his daughter, but Faith gave him a glare that told everyone in the room that if he took that first step he would be dead by his second.

So instead he looked over at Ed. "Aren't you going to do something?"

Ed shook his head. "He attacked her Caleb, in front of witnesses. It was self-defense, and if she'll let him up I'll escort him off the premises."

Jackson was shaking with anger. "And he better NEVER come back! That goes for you too Caleb!"

Tara released the hold and stepped back. Donnie skittered up glaring, red faced, and ready to fight. It was only Ed stepping in front of him that kept him from acting. "Don't be stupid Donnie. They WILL kill you, and there won't be a damn thing I can do about it."

Donnie was shaking, but he allowed himself to be led out with his glowering father.

As the door bell rang their exit Jackson was shaking. "Damn it, damn it, damn it!"

Tara was apologetic. "I"m sorry Jackson..."

He didn't let her finish. "You have NOTHING to be sorry about Tara. I should be apologizing to you. I knew, damn it, the whole town knew, but no one did anything to help. To get you away from that pair!"

Tara's adrenaline was wearing off, and her normal serene demeanor was taking hold once more as she walked over and hugged the man. "There was nothing you could have done, especially back then. His hold on us was too strong, and I had to break it, but I did."

They had pulled back to look in each others eyes, and Tara had put her right hand on his right shoulder. His right hand came to rest on top of hers. "Yes you did. You have a life all your own, and a woman who obviously loves you. Don't ever let those two have a hold on you ever again."

She smiled. "I won't."

Jackson then looked over at Jethro. "And you keep an eye on her Jethro."

His son nodded, and then stepped outside.

Ed was walking back to him after making sure the Maclay men drove off. "What did you bring to my town Jethro?"

Gibbs arched his brow, and somewhere inside him Ed's badge fell off the man's chest. "Nothing that wasn't already here Ed." Ed took a breath to speak but Gibbs shook his head, and spoke in a calm, level voice. "No, don't. You couldn't scare me then, and you sure as hell don't scare me now. You let those two brutalize that wonderful young woman her entire childhood, and you didn't flinch when Donnie tried to do it again."

Gibbs stepped close, invading the Sheriff's personal space. "You are going to start honoring that badge, and you're going to start doing it right now. That means that if our vehicles suffer any damage during the night I'm going to come to you. If my Dad's shop, or his house, or his person, or anything else of his is damaged I'm going to come for you, and if you're lucky Ed I'll settle for sending what I got on that stolen vehicle you framed LaCombe for. If you really piss me off I'll send that dangerous young woman you were so ready to draw on, and then you'll REALLY know scary."

Gibbs turned and walked towards the door to the shop. "Oh, and Ed..." When the Sheriff turned around Gibbs had drawn his Sig too fast to track where he had pulled it from and had it pointed right between the other man's eyes. "You ever even think of going for your gun around my family again you better be sure to point it at me."

He then holstered his side arm and turned without looking back.

 

Chapter 4.-Special Guest Author Lisa Countryman

Lex checked the mirrors again. She didn't expect a tail, but she was tense and the action gave her something to do. All she saw was the occasional set of headlights, but none that seemed to stay with them. When she was looking in the rear view mirror Ziva caught her eye and other woman's expression silently asked if Lex was expecting a tail. Silently, because Abby was asleep with her head on her girlfriend's shoulder.

That got a shake of the head. No, she wasn't expecting a tail, but she was expecting trouble. That wasn't quite true either. She was going to cause some trouble. Tara's call had come in while they were loading up the train, and something in the other witches' voice had her pulling away from the group so she could listen better.

The three had packed up Gibbs house, and while it had been as rough as Tara had been expecting she seemed to indicate that Gibbs had been able to let go of some of the pain that had been haunting him. Lex was happy to hear that. She had been able to sense the sadness that the man kept buried in that big heart of his, and she was happy to know he was finally letting it heal.

She would have been able to work for him either way, but as someone who had just let go of some pain of her own, with the help of a member of his team, Lex could appreciate what it had taken, and what it now meant.

The three had formed a convoy with Gibbs two personal vehicles and his rental truck, and had went to Gibbs and Tara's home town of Still Water. That had started well enough with Tara's happy reunion with the one person from the town she had happy memories of, Jackson Gibbs.

It went bad when the two people who made up almost all of Tara's bad memories heard she was back in town and came after her, Caleb and Donnie Maclay. Lex found a small smirk gracing her lips when she heard how Faith had pulled out her slayer persona and had the sheriff, who had followed the two men in, reaching for his gun in fear of the unarmed woman.

Slayer didn't see action however as it was Tara that Donnie had grabbed for, and it was Tara who had forced Donnie to his knees and held him there until the sheriff escorted him from the building.

Tara had called her soon after that, and while the adrenaline had worn off there was still a small shake to the white witches' voice, and the black witch didn't like it. So after the train was loaded, and the plane was loaded Lex had made a face and said the private jet looked even more packed then they thought it would be.

Lex then volunteered herself to grab a rental car and meet up with the Gibbs convoy and drive across country with them. She had thought it seemed simple enough, and she thought she had sold the idea perfectly, but Tony and Ziva had shared a look, the two partners seeming to realize Lex was hiding something and didn't need to speak to agree that they shouldn't let her run off on her own.

So to her dismay Ziva made the "friendly" offer to come with and keep her company. Then to their dismay Abby said she would come to since she was worried about Gibbs as it was, and would love to see Jackson Gibbs again.

Of course while she said that she seemed to keep looking back and forth between Lex and Ziva.

Now the three of them were on the way to the home of Jackson Gibbs where Tara had said the four were convening for a down home meal.

Lex eased the rental car into the row with Gibbs' two vehicles and the rental truck. Ziva had gently woken up Abby, and the two had climbed out, heading for the front door.

They knocked and Faith was the one who answered, both by opening the door, and arching one dark brow in question at their presence.

Ziva smiled, looking away. "The jet was full."

Faith didn't seem convinced. "Well unless Tony finally achieved his dream of picking up the Rockettes I can't imagine it was THAT full."

Abby's lips were tiled in an embarrassed smile. "Yeah, well maybe Jethro could use some... help."

Before Faith could respond Lex came in the door with a black duffel bag over her shoulder. "Wait for me. We late for dinner?"

"Expecting trouble?" Faith asked suspiciously, ignoring the witches question.

"Spare clothes." Lex said. "Never know when you might need to dress to impress." She waggled her eyebrows.

Faith stepped aside so the three women could enter the house.

"You are such a girl," Ziva said as she leaned against the couch and shook her head.

"Keep your shirt on," Abby said as pointed at Lex, who was already lifting the bottom of her white tank top. "We all know you are a woman."

Lex shrugged and casually scanned the house. "Tara around?"

It was too casual, which alerted Ziva immediately.

"She's in the kitchen cooking with the Gibbses, and mediating." Faith said, her mood shifted to serious.

Lex went to Faith's side and rested a hand on her shoulder. She leaned close so she could reach the slayer's ear. "She's in a lot of pain," Lex said quietly. "I could feel it from the end of the block."

Faith nodded, her throat growing tight.

"You should go to her." Lex sighed. "We're staying the night, right?" Once Faith nodded, Lex lifted her bag. "I'm gonna change and go get some air."

"Don't get in any trouble," Faith warned.

Lex let out a puff of air. "The only trouble I ever find is trouble you send me after."

Ziva let out a bark of laughter.

Abby smirked. "I find it hard to believe that Faith would send you out to lesbian bar to start a brawl."

"I did not start that fight," Lex swore.

"No," Ziva agreed. "From what I heard, the three women were fighting over you."

Faith rolled her eyes. "Just be careful," she told Lex.

"Just going for a jog Faith." She leaned up to Faith's ear. "Your girl needs you."

Faith nodded and pulled Lex aside, despite the curious looks from Abby and Ziva. "You're sensing her empathy for Gibbs, both of them. They might not have been tight, and she's been working on that, but it hasn't been easy. They're in pain, so she is too."

Lex's eyes narrowed. She met Faith's gaze. "That's a lot of it." She rubbed the back of her neck. "But it's also being here in this town, with these people."

"What people?" Ziva asked from across the room.

"Christ, she's got slayer hearing," Faith grumbled.

"Was there trouble?" Abby asked.

"It's taken care of," Faith said. She wasn't about to tell them about Tara's confrontation with Donnie.

"You mean that asshole brother of hers?" Abby asked.

Faith's jaw dropped. "And you're not psychic? What the hell?"

"We are part of the team now," Ziva said. "We hear things."

"Well, these things are Tara's business, got it?" Faith expression made it clear the topic was closed.

"Understood." Ziva said. She took Abby's hand.

"Got it." Abby said, though not pleased.

"I'm just gonna for a run," Lex went into the downstairs bathroom to change as Faith went in search of Tara.

Abby and Ziva slipped into the kitchen, making their greetings and saying that Lex was going for a run before dinner.

Ziva was opening a beer from the fridge when Lex came out of the bathroom, so she didn't see her teammate.

Abby's eyes widened as she took in Lex's 'running' outfit. Lex was wearing spike heels, a short plaid skirt not unlike something Abby owned, and a white button down blouse that was unbuttoned and tied in a knot under her breasts. She was clearly not wearing a bra. "Ziva!" she yelled. "Get in here," she said in a near panic. She'd seen enough of the slayer's and female soldiers leave the Lock on missions as 'bait' to recognize the outfit.

Lex sighed and rolled her eyes.

"What is it?" Ziva popped her head out of the kitchen, turning and waving to the others there that nothing was wrong. Stepping out into the main room she stopped and started. "Why are you in your bait outfit?"

"Just going for some… fun," Lex winked, obviously trying to distract Ziva. "You'd be surprised how many women like a girl dressed like this."

"Not as surprised as you would think." Ziva glanced at her lover. Abby had several similar outfits.

Abby blushed, but was undaunted. "She's going after that smarmy brother of Tara's isn't she?"

"Why would I wear vampire bait for him?" Lex challenged.

"You would not," Ziva said. She checked her gun in it's holster. "But this would certainly upset his rather narrow view of morality and proper attire for a woman." She tilted her head to one side. "And I am guessing you know where he hangs out, and plan to hit on several women in front of him, yes?"

"Tara is going to be pissed," Abby said. "Your supposed to stay out of trouble."

Lex moved closer so she could lower her voice. "You have no idea what that bastard did to her," she said in a hiss.

Ziva came closer and rested a hand on Lex's shoulder. "Tara has come to peace with her past," she said gently. "You will only open old wounds."

"Oh, no I won't." Lex smiled dangerously. "I intend to open fresh new ones."

Abby stared at Lex. She could see barely contained rage just behind her normally playful eyes. "What did he do?" she whispered.

Lex looked toward the door to the kitchen, and then back to Abby. "Tara's father was a brutal dictator. He beat her for any perceived… rebellion or mistake." She took a deep breath and released it as she clenched her fists. Blue sparks skittered across her fingers.

"Donnie beat her every single day because he enjoyed it."

Abby's eye widened as she watched the energy sparking and popping across Lex's hands. She took a step back.

Ziva took a step closer. She had heard Lex could get like this after missions when she saw something especially heinous. She put both of her hands over Lex's fists. "There is more, yes?" she shivered as the energy tingled like static electricity a hundred times stronger flash through her. She'd seen Faith calm Lex with a gentle touch, and had been frightened by the blue sparks. She soon found out, that a simple kind gesture would calm the brewing tempest beneath Lex's skin.

"Yeah," Lex said. She exhaled and extracted her hands from Ziva's, her hands no longer visibly charged. She looked into Ziva's eyes. "Her first day of high school, the captain of the girl's tennis team smiled at Tara. That day Donnie beat her with length of pipe. He knocked out one of her front teeth."

Abby gasped.

"Her father grounded her for month for wasting money on an oral surgeon to put the tooth back in." Lex met Ziva's eyes, daring her to say Donnie didn't deserve a lesson.

Abby spoke before Ziva could. "Is Donnie mystical? Is he dangerous?"

"Nope," Lex said. "Just your average human monster."

Abby rested her hand on Ziva's arm. "Put on something sexy, slutty if you have it, and go with her."

Ziva's eyes shot open and she stared at her lover. "Abigail?"

"No killing," Abby insisted. "I mean it."

"Slutty?" Lex asked. "Well, I have another of these shirts." She smirked at Abby. "Can she borrow one of your skirts?"

"I am going to ignore that you implied my girlfriend's skirt is slutty," Ziva said. "But watch your tongue."

"Use the red and black one," Abby said. "And forget about watching her tongue. Just watch her back and be careful." She leaned down and kissed Ziva.

Lex smiled and cleared her throat. "If we're both bait, I may have to kiss her myself…to sell our cover as lesbians on the prowl."

"First of all, it's not a cover." Abby put both hands on her hips. "You are a lesbian on the prowl. "Second, I'm not a jealous monster. If it's for the job, and you keep your rather well traveled tongue to yourself, then fine."

"Do I not have a say in this?" Ziva asked with a bemused smile.

"Nope." Lex nodded toward the door. "I'll be outside, Hurry up so Faith doesn't see us." She exited leaving Abby and Ziva alone.

"I will be careful," Ziva said. "I will make certain it does not go too far."

Abby nodded and smiled. She ran a hand through Ziva's hair. "Who would have thought my former Mossad girlfriend would be the voice of reason?"

"I think I resent that." Ziva kissed Abby nose and then raced to change.

 

Chapter 5.-Special Guest Author Lisa Countryman

Tara and Faith came out of the kitchen hand in hand. They'd left the father and son to continue saying goodbye. Both hoping the rift between the two at least a little smaller.

"Hey, you all alone?" Tara asked when she saw Abby at the kitchen table.

"Yeah," Abby said, her expression as guilty as if she just been caught drinking wine from the church stores on Sunday morning.

"Okay, what's up?" Faith demanded. "Where's Ziva?" she scanned the room. "Isn't Lex supposed to be here by now?"

"Abby, tell me you didn't let them go after him," Tara said with a sigh.

Faith spun and studied her lover, and then spun back to Abby. "They went after that little punk and they left me here?"

"That is not the correct response, Slayer." Tara said, a whip of command lacing her tone.

"Slayer?" Gibbs asked as he came out of the kitchen. "We got an op?"

Abby's eyes were still wide. She bit her lip and glanced around the room.

"Okay, what did Ziva do?" Gibbs asked.

"Abby?" Tara said. Her eyes narrowed. "Are you going to tell him, or should I?"

Abby sighed. "Ziva and Lex went out to … burn off some energy." She spun to face Tara. "Lex had these blue sparky things zipping across her hands. Ziva touched them and they went away." She grabbed Tara's arm. "Please tell me she didn't fry my Ziva."

"She didn't fry her. The sparks are strong emotions bleeding through." Tara rubbed her head and exhaled slowly. "If her emotions are manifesting, this is not going to end well."

"Where would they go to burn off energy?" Gibbs asked. He had a sinking suspicion.

"You tell us." Faith went to Gibbs and looked up into his eyes. "Where exactly would Donnie be on a night like tonight?"

Gibbs called Jackson out of the kitchen. The old man didn't seem happy to find out two friends of Tara's were out to raise a little hell and bring it to Donnie's door, but he knew that they would have to be able to find him if they wanted to head it off.

"Ziva's gonna kill him," Gibbs said, though he had a tiny smirk that suggested he'd rather join the ass kickers rather than stop them.

"Hey, I'll have you know, Ziva went along to make sure no one gets hurt." Abby dipped her head and then raised both eyebrows at Gibbs. "Shows what you know."

"So no one gets hurt?" Gibbs asked, his expression dubious.

"Well, to make sure no one gets killed," Abby amended.

"You need to get going." Jackson said, pointing toward the door. "It league night at the bowling alley. Three quarters of the town is there."

They had piled into Lex's rental car with Gibbs at the wheel, Tara in the passenger seat, and Faith in the back with Abby to her right..

Gibbs drove along the long narrow street in front of the bowling alley knew that whatever was going down, had already gone down. There was an ambulance and two patrol cars at the main entrance of the bowling alley and there were dozens of locals all milling around.

"Well, that can't be good," Abby said. She turned to Gibbs. "Any sign of them?"

Tara rested a hand on Gibbs arm. "Don't pull into the parking lot," she told him. She closed her eyes and inhaled deeply. West," she said, and then sighed.

"What?" Abby demanded. "Are they hurt? What can you tell?"

Tara turned to Abby. "Sweetie, I can't tell you anything about what Ziva is or isn't feeling. Lex and I cast together and we are…" She paused, not knowing how to put it in terms the forensic scientist would understand.

"Oh my god," Abby said. Her head whipped back and forth between Tara and Faith so quickly it left Abby's braids swinging. She finally stopped and pointed at Faith. "I know you're all mystic and new age-y, but hell no." She shook her head. "And if Lex thinks she and Ziva are going to start getting all…" She waved her hands at Tara, who was now giggling. "No. Hell. No." She glared at Faith, who was now snickering. "You let your girlfriend sleep with Lex?"

Gibbs wanted to jump out of the car. He didn't even care if he stopped first. He'd rather take a forty-mile an hour tumble across pavement than be in the car for the current conversation. He really didn't need to know about his niece's… polygamous activities.

Tara cleared her throat. "First of all, Faith is the only person I sleep with. Ever." She met Abby's eyes. "I do not share my slayer. Ever."

Abby's brows crinkled.

"Second, my new age-y ways? Are actually much older than Christianity. Hell, you guys are still a cult compared to goddess worship." She smiled warmly. "But we don't discriminate." She took a breath and paused to look at Gibbs. "Turn left up here." She looked back at Abby. "Lex and I are…more than friends. We have been linked mystically by shared rituals, and even more so by our shared emotional support. Other than Faith, Lex is the only person I have trusted with, well, with everything."

"So she's your witchy best friend?" Abby asked. "Your WBFF?"

"Sure, that'll do." Tara chuckled.

"So what is your witchy-spidey-senses telling you about Lex?" Abby asked.

"Turn right," Tara told Gibbs. "We're close." She sighed. "Lex is amped up, and she's, well, not giddy, but satisfied with whatever happened."

Faith smiled. "Well, that explains the ambulances."

Gibbs nodded his approval.

"Hey," Tara said testily. "This is not a good thing. Revenge is not okay."

"Vengeance," Gibbs corrected. "Not revenge."

"Payback," Faith said at the same time.

"Negative conditioning," Abby added. "Sure, the conditioning action is highly delayed, but this will definitely be a negative stimulus."

"Why do I even try?" Tara said, mostly to herself.

"Got them," Gibbs said. He slowed the car and both his eyebrows rose high onto his forehead. "We're not even going to discuss the clothing, right?"

"Right," Tara agreed. Only one of her eyebrows had risen as she took in the sight of Ziva and Lex walking down the street, their shoulders pressed together as they each waved their hands animatedly. They were obviously reliving whatever had happened at the bowling alley and from the number of punches being reenacted, Tara supposed she should be thankful there hadn't been a coroner at the bowling alley.

Their outfits could make a stripper blush. The skirts were high enough that their underwear were clearing visible and their tops were tied off so the bottom curve of their breasts showed and their cleavage was on full display on top. The stilettos finished the look.

Gibbs pulled to a stop beside the two women dressed like naughty schoolgirl porn stars and rolled down the window.

"Get in the car," Tara ordered.

Lex spun and smiled dangerously. "Shouldn't we negotiate price first?"

Ziva scowled. "I told you, I am a slut, not a whore."

"And the difference is?" Lex asked sweetly.

"A whore receives monetary compensation," Ziva said even as she opened the back door of the car. "A slut does not. If you suggest I have undeclared income, the IRS could audit me." She slid across the seat so she was next to Abby.

"Duly noted," Lex said as she climbed in next to Ziva. Once she was inside the car, under the artificial illumination of the dome light, it became clear that the dark blouse she was wearing had started the night white. Currently, the entire front of the garment was red turning dark brown as the blood soaking the fabric dried.

Faith reached across Abby and Ziva and yanked Lex across all three women so that Lex ended up on her back using the three laps as a bed. Faith tore open Lex's shirt to look for any injury as Gibbs drove back into traffic.

Lex smiled and relaxed as the examination continued, complete with Faith feeling for wounds where Lex's skin was stained red. "You know, this is a lot like how my evening of fun began the night that Tony stopped by and almost swallowed his tongue."

Abby rolled her eyes. "So not going to happen," she said.

"You're not wounded?" Faith asked. She pulled Lex's shirt closed and waiting for her sit up.

"Nope," Lex said with a sigh. She closed her eyes and exhaled as her body went limp.

"That's Donnie's blood?' Tara asked, not sure she wanted the answer.

"Yup," Lex said without opening her eyes.

Abby gave Lex a gentle poke on the belly trying to make her sit up.

"Abby?" Lex asked sweetly. "If you want my attention, you need to move those fingers a bit further south."

"Not going to happen," Ziva said. "Abigail is mine." She reached over and tickled Lex's ribs.

"Not cool!" Lex squealed as she sat up. She glared at Ziva. "So not cool."

Tara ignored the banter. "What did you do to him," she asked.

Gibbs turned left to avoid the crowds now leaving the bowling alley. He was thinking whatever Lex and Ziva had done, it couldn't repay all the pain Donnie had caused.

"Not enough," Lex said.

Tara looked to Lex's co-conspirator. "Ziva?"

"Me? I did nothing," Ziva swore. "I was merely the look out." She glanced at Lex and saw that the beautiful witch wasn't going to be forth coming. "It was not much. A tiny little spell."

"Tell me he isn't a troll, or a gerbil or some slimy bug," Tara begged.

Lex gasped, angry she hadn't thought of that.

"He was already a slimy bug," Abby pointed out. She rested a hand on Ziva's leg.

"It was over before it even began," Ziva sounded extremely disappointed. "All she did was finger him."

"What?" Abby asked.

Faith burst into laughter. "David, your English is like better than open mic night."

Tara knew instantly which spell Lex must have used, and while it seemed innocuous, it could also be lethal. "You cast a 'fingersmith' charm?"

"Yes," Ziva said with a smile. "That was it."

Tara took a deep breath. She saw that Abby was confused and expected that Gibbs was just as lost. "A fingersmith charm was invented for picking pockets," she explained. "It allows a thief to approach their target and take anything from the person they are not actively concentrating on protecting. So guns and knives in battle usually can't be stolen."

Gibbs cleared his throat. "So what about internal organs? I mean, no one sits around thinking about guarding their spleen or their heart."

Faith gave Gibbs an appreciative look. "Takes most people a lot longer to figure that angle out."

"Lex?" Tara asked.

"Please," Lex said. "I didn't yank out his heart or his spleen."

Abby opened her mouth to ask a question.

"Or any other internal organs," Les promised. She sighed and looked into Tara's eyes. She reached into her waistband and pulled out something small and white. "Seemed fitting." Lex held up one of Donnie's bloodied front teeth.

Abby however was skeptical. "Um, one pulled tooth did all that?" She said as she pointed at Lex's shirt.

Ziva turned her head to face her girlfriend. "You would be amazed how much a tooth bleeds when ripped out by the roots."

Lex scowled. "And the idiot tackled me, so most of his blood poured all over me."

Gibbs then spoke from the drivers seat. "David, you stood by while she was tackled by that oaf?"

Ziva took a moment to choose her next words. " I was... entertaining three of his bowling friends. They may have bled a bit too."

Lex however was speaking freely. "And well. I might have fingersmithed his other incisor as well. I only kept one as a token to remember him by."

Ziva was now speaking more freely. "She did an impressive move to get out from under him." Ziva smirked. "I am uncertain, but she may have kicked him in the crotch." She looked at Tara. "I am not sure you will ever be getting nieces or nephews.

Tara rubbed her forehead and sighed, but a hint of smirk crossed her lips before she could stop it.

"See?" Lex said. "I knew it would make you smile."

Tara's face remained down. "And how do you know I'm smiling?" she asked, her tone making it clear she was smiling.

Lex leaned over the seat so she could reach Tara. She pressed a kiss to the top of Tara's head. "Because a bit of that sadness for who you were when you lived in this piece of crap town just lifted." She ruffled Tara's hair. "I'd yank out all his teeth if I could send all that darkness away." She slumped back into the seat and wiggled so she was shoulder to shoulder with Ziva. She glanced sideways. "Mission accomplished," she whispered and held her palm up.

Ziva smacked her palm to Lex's.

Gibbs smiled and looked into the mirror. He saw Faith, and she smiled back at him.

Abby kissed Ziva's cheek and then pressed her lips to Ziva's ear. "Keep the outfit on when we get back. We deserve a reward."

Lex let out scoff. "Great, I use the awesome spell and Ziva gets laid for my effort.

Ziva smiled and glanced at Lex. "I appreciate your efforts. Believe, after tonight, I will really appreciate them."

Gibbs scowled. "Not at my Dad's house... and not in the back of the rental truck either!"

"Stupid hick town… only has three lesbians. Two of them are a eighty year old couple, and the third is a gym teacher from the catholic school." Lex shivered. "Her interest in my outfit was more than disturbing."

Gibbs smiled as he turned toward their destination. Tara could take care of herself, but if the time ever came when she couldn't handle something, he knew damn well there was line of people waiting to leap to her aid. He was one of them.

 

Chapter 6.

Jackson had his brow arched at the motley band as they returned, and even Lex seemed slightly cowed.

When they got under the lights however and he saw Lex's blood stained appearance his eyes got wide and his jaw dropped.

His son seemed the only one who hadn't really been effected by the old man's expression and so he was the first to reply. "No one died, and no one was hurt who didn't deserve it."

Jackson paused a moment seeming to consider his son's words. "Hell, I suppose if someone had given Donnie a taste of his own medicine early on things might not have gotten as bad as they did."

Once they got inside he pointed Lex to the bathroom. "Do you have a change of clothes?" His tone and expression seeming to say even he wasn't sure what he hoped the attractive young woman's answer would be.

Lex simply snickered. "Yes Sir."

"Well get yourself cleaned up then. Dinner's ready. I've been keeping it warn, waiting for everyone to get back." With that Jackson walked back into the kitchen, presumably to check on the meal he had been keeping ready.

Dinner was a hearty roast with carrots, potatoes and fresh baked rolls, and while Tara hadn't been expecting three extra people she had been planning on a slayer's stomach as well as leaving Jackson some left overs, so everyone left the table comfortably full.

Though Faith got several amazed looks from Jackson over the course of the meal.

After the days excitement everyone went to bed early. Jackson took his bed as no one was willing to have the old man try to sleep on anything but his own bed. Tara and Faith got to squeeze into the single that was Jethro's but was now Jackson's spare room, while the rest slept on the living room with Abby and Ziva on the sofa's pull out while Lex and Gibbs took the floor.

In the spare room Faith was laying on her back with Tara basically on top of her in the small bed. Neither woman minded as Faith rested her cheek to Tara's head and ran her hand in small circles on the blond's back.

Tara's face was snuggled to the hollow of Faith's neck as she spoke. "This was nice, wasn't it?"

Faith's face had a huge grin, but her voice was more tender then pleased. "Yeah... kind of thing we might want to try for in Sunnydale."

Tara actually sat up, biting her lip as she looked into Faith's eyes questioningly. Seeing only sincerity looking back at her she nodded and put her head back down. "Yeah, it would be nice."

Faith had a small frown as she kept rubbing Tara's back. She couldn't give Tara all the things she wanted to. She knew they wouldn't ever have a truly simple life, but she knew this feeling of family was something Tara had been missing, and while it scared her to admit it, Faith wanted it as well.

Tara's breathing had evened out, and Faith tilted her head to look at the well loved face cradled to her chest, and was still looking as sleep overtook her.

Out in the living room there was talking, but it was not the tender loving tones that had been used in the spare room.

"Something wrong Ziva?"

Ziva's eyes were wide and her mouth was open as she turned to where Gibbs was now looking at her as she tried to get the key's for Lex's rental. "No?"

Gibbs kept staring. "Then you should probably get back to sleep. We'll have an early morning tomorrow." He didn't look over at Abby as he kept speaking. "You too Abs."

There was a small huff from the scientist in question as she rolled over and tried to go back to sleep.

Lex showed she was awake as she giggled.

The morning was early and Tara was one of the first risers as she wanted to make sure everyone started the day with a good breakfast. It was no surprise that Faith had risen with her, but Lex was surprised when Faith woke her up to drive a second car with her so they could return the rental.

Gibbs had woke up as Faith and Tara had stepped into the main room, and Ziva awoke shortly after him with all the people moving around.

By the time Abby and Jackson were waking up coffee was made, breakfast was almost done, and all those already up were conversing quietly in the kitchen.

Abby had slouched over to gratefully take the cup of coffee that Ziva had started making when she heard the grumbling Goth first wake, and Abby rewarded her with a kiss before sitting down next to her. Only after the first sip did her eyes open wide as she looked over to Jackson who was making his own cup of coffee.

The old man just grinned. Then he paused, looking at each of the women in turn before looking back to Gibbs. His expression almost seemed focused and Gibbs arched a brow as his Dad spoke. "Jethro...Is this place on the west coast where you're getting all these pretty girls... Jethro... are you Charlie?"

The table erupted in laughter, and that included Gibbs, but it was Abby who answered. "Gibbs is more Bosley. Tara's Charlie."

That had a more serious look of surprise on the face of the elder Gibbs, and Tara blushed, but nothing was said of it as they sat down to breakfast.

The small talk took some work as things like "How's work?" wasn't really available for 90% of the table, but then some of Jackson's talking about things in and about the small town started getting Tara reminiscing about happy memories she had made with her mother, and even a few she had found on her own.

Surprisingly even Leroy Jethro Gibbs shared a little bit of his past, much to the shock of Ziva and Abby, and while they were with Faith and Lex when they primarily had to listen the broken ice gave way to a genuine warmth at the large table.

Soon that talk progressed to their plans once they hit the road, and while Jackson was obviously saddened to talk about them leaving he told them about local roads, rest stops, and the like

Once the meal was done and the dishes washed talk moved to action, and they found themselves outside with the six of them staring at the three vehicles.

With Faith standing by Tara and Ziva standing by Abby a good part of the driving arrangements were already taken care of, but with Faith and Ziva both looking at each other, and then at Gibbs yellow speedster they could see a new problem brewing.

Or at least the Junior Gibbs could, the Senior Gibbs, his niece, Abby, and Lex could see the situation, but found it more funny then anything else.

"David." With the single word getting the woman's attention Gibbs tossed her the car's keys. Reaching into his pocket he saw Faith was already looking at him, with a frown, but looking, so he tossed her the keys to his personal vehicle.

He then waved to Lex. "Come on." They said goodbye to Jackson Gibbs and piled into their respective vehicles, and while there was no trouble expected five of the six had military training and as they drove they quickly took up a convoy positioning with Ziva in the faster car taking the lead while Faith put her car on the semi's rear.

At their first rest stop they switched things around a bit with Tara climbing in the rig with her uncle while Faith and Lex practically competed with each other for making jokes about keeping an eye on Tara's rear.

Continuing their journey Ziva noticed Abigail seemed, distracted. "Is everything all right Abby?"

Abby had been looking a little flushed, and the question just made her blush deeper. "Yeah, yeah I'm fine."

Ziva did not seem convinced and her brows raised to match her words. "You do not seem fine. You seem, distracted."

The other woman's pale skin continued to work against her as the pale tone made the soft pink hue all the more apparent. "I am... distracted. Darn Gibbs and his wolf ears."

With English not her first language it took Ziva a second to realize Abby's problem, but then she grinned. "Well... if you wished to relive your... distraction I would not mind." She had gotten a definite grin at that point and her voice showed it.

Those beautiful green eyes widened, looking to Ziva in disbelief, but only finding encouragement. She then looked over her shoulder.

Ziva's grin grew. "It's just us in the car Abby. Gibbs and Tara are too far back to see anything from the truck." She reached out and caressed Abby's nearest leg from the inside of the woman's knee to the inside of Abby's hip. "I would hate for you to be 'distracted' the rest of the day."

Abby's breathing had deepened, and Ziva knew the woman's "distraction" was growing. Truth be told Ziva was feeling rather "distracted" herself, and had to remind herself to keep her eyes on the road.

Then slowly, ever so slowly Abby's hands moved to her knees, and slid up her thighs, pulling her short black and red skirt, the exact same one Ziva had worn out with Lex, up until it was flipped up over her belly.

The scrap of black cloth over Abby's sex was saturated with the evidence of Abby's distraction, then the hands still at Abby's hips took hold of the waistband of her thong and slide it back down over her hips, down her thighs, and just past her knees.

It took a little extra work to get them past her platforms, but soon they were pooled on the floorboards, where Abby scooped them up, suddenly looking unsure what to do with them. The solution was found when Ziva took them from Abby and stuffed them in the pocket of her cargo pants.

Abby looked over, unsure, only to find Ziva's eyes only briefly looking to the road, but otherwise locked on her, and fully dilated with arousal. That seemed to settle her and Abby nodded once, only taking one more moment to flip her skirt so the fluid already making her swollen labia glisten would land on her skirt rather then the car's seat while still leaving her open to Ziva's gaze.

Her hands then started caressing the insides of her thighs. Now that she was doing something about it the arousal that had been twisting inside her was welcome to surge through her body as Abby teased herself.

There was some motion as Ziva adjusted the rear view mirror, and Abby didn't think she was doing it to keep a better eye on Gibbs, or any of the vehicles behind them.

The teasing didn't go long as Abby was already aching with need, and her fingers quickly found her aching need, and it's upper most point.

Ziva suddenly leaned across her, and Abby found herself eased backwards as Ziva reclined her seat. Abby looked to her lover gratefully as it allowed Abby to spread her legs further and gave her the perfect angle to slide the first two fingers of her left hand inside herself while the first two fingers of her right hand found the hard, aching, little bundle of nerves of her clit.

While she had been panting softly up until this point Abby then found herself emitting a long, drawn out moan.

Her head rolled to the side from her reclined position to find Ziva watching her hungrily, sometimes through the mirror, more times directly.

"Crack your window Ziva." Dark eyebrows arched in confusion, and Abby grinned, even as her breathing hitched up further. "Crack your window, we don't want to leave Gibbs car smelling of sex."

Ziva pouted. "I like your smell."

Abby laughed softly, her eyes closing for a moment. "Thanks, but everyone would know."

Ziva's smile was soft, and fond, and the drivers side window rolled down, the sudden cool air making Abby's skin even more stimulated.

Ziva's hand on the wheel then switched so she could reach out and caress Abby's cheek. Abby's face rolled into the contact and she kissed Ziva's palm.

Then Ziva spoke. "Would you like me to caress your breasts Abigail?"

Abby let out another moan, and nodded as she realized she would like nothing more. She then felt her shirt being pulled up and her bra being unclasped. The undergarment joined it's sister in the deep pockets of Ziva's pants and Abby felt the heaven of the combination of soft skin, and battle hardened calluses that made up Ziva's touch on her breasts, and especially on the hard points of her nipples.

"You're getting close. Aren't you Abigail?" Abby moaned louder. Ziva's accent sliding inside her like the fingers that were coated with her arousal and pumping in and out of her with an ever increasing speed.

Ziva took that as a yes and gave Abby's nipple a pinch. Calling it pain was almost giving it too much credit, but the sudden change in sensation from the gentle caresses to the hard pinch did the trick and her hips arched upward as her fingers blurred.

"Ziva... Ziva... Oh God! ZIVA!" And Abby came, hard, in rolling waves that had her writhing on her seat.

As it ended her whole body went slack, her eyes closed, and her chest heaving. Emerald green eyes opened, and Abby returned the smile being directed at her.

The brown eyed grin grew. "Need a nap?"

Abby could only nod. She then reached to pull her skirt and her shirt down to cover herself.

Ziva then spoke, her face was already flushed with arousal, but now it was obvious she was shy and unsure. "Could you leave it? I will wake you before we have to stop... I just."

Abby nodded, smiling, understanding completely as she laid back. Her legs still spread, her breasts and sex still exposed to Ziva's hungry gaze as she drifted off to sleep.

 

Chapter 7.

Abigail woke up as she felt her shirt being tugged down.

As Ziva saw her eyes open she explained. "We are getting close to our next rest stop."

Abby nodded silently and reached over to Ziva's pockets to retrieve her underwear. While it was not nearly as easy to get them on in the car's cramped confines she managed, and made sure there was no evidence left on her seat.

When they finally stopped Abby climbed out of the car, convinced what she and Ziva had shared would stay between her and Ziva... though Ziva's "distracted" look might wind up giving them away.

As they walked out of the gas station Lex walked up and took the keys from Ziva and walked over to the sports car with Abby. "Don't worry. I won't leave any marks."

Gibbs spoke up from the side as he walked out gas station, putting away his wallet. "Shouldn't you be saying that to me?"

Lex smirked at the man. "I wouldn't dream of leaving any marks on the car. Come along Abigail."

Abby's eyes were wide as she followed Lex, and even Ziva looked like she needed to be reminded that Lex was one of the good guys. Faith however laughed and got behind the wheel of the car.

The sound jarred Ziva out of it and she frowned as she realized she would be the passenger. Off to the side even Gibbs looked a little unsure, but Tara just smiled and grabbed him by the elbow to pull him back to the truck.

Now in the sorts car Abby sipped her Caf-Pow nervously.

Lex looked over and smiled as she turned the key. "Tara's managed to get you a supply of that stuff at the Lock."

Abby's brows arched. "Really?"

Lex nodded putting a bag of white chocolate pretzels on the dash. "Yep, everyone was telling her it was imperative to your long term function."

Lex gave the Goth a grin, and Abby returned it shyly.

Lex let her expression mellow, and then started speaking. "Do you know why I make the jokes that I do? I mean besides you being cute when you're angry?"

Abby felt a flash of anger, but Lex cut her off before she could speak, angling the rear view mirror so Abby could see herself in it. "SEE? Tell me that expression isn't adorable!"

That rush of anger left all at once, and Abby found herself grinning while rolling her eyes. Yeah, Lex could kind of rub off... yeah even in her head Abby wasn't going to finish that sentence, and all the other comparisons involved growing like fungi or various sorts of infections, and she already knew Lex was too nice to make those comparisons.

Once the scientist's expression seemed to mellow Lex resumed speaking. "I do it because it's my nature." The witches' voice thickened and softened. "I've seen humanity at it's worst Abby, and I mean the stuff that never makes the history books. It's why I had to stop them, but it's also why I live my life as fully as I can. I want the people around me smiling, and I want to be smiling with them. I want to embrace passion, and pleasure, desire and joy."

Abby was a little confused. "And part of that is telling jokes?"

Lex chuckled. "No, the jokes are sort of a side-effect. I mean I can be serious when it's required, but if it's not then I'm going to naturally gravitate to a happy state."

Abby got that, she was perhaps the most cheerful person at NCIS, but she still wasn't clear. "And the sex?"

Lex laughed out loud. "I like sex, I love women. While combining those two are better then anything Reese's ever came up with even just spending time with a lady is wonderful." With that she gave Abby a wink, and this time Abby knew she could just smile at it.

Then her keen mind filled in a blank. "But you only have sex with women right?"

Lex nodded, and her next words had Abby's Catholic sensibilities blushing. "Sometimes I'm the woman, but yep." She noticed Abby's blush and her grin grew. Her eyes darting up to the rear view mirror when she realized Lex had returned it to it's previous position... the position Ziva had put it in when she watched Abby masturbate.

The Goth blushed deeply, and got even more red in the face when she looked to Lex and saw the woman smiling wickedly.

Lex just laughed as Abby looked on the verge of a panic attack. "Abby... Abby! Sweetie! It's fine. It's obvious you love Ziva, and it's just as obvious that love has a physical component." Lex's expression actually grew serious. "Never feel bad about that."

Abby's blush lightened, and she nodded, and Lex grinned as she put the rear view mirror back to normal and started speaking again. "But a good indicator for me is that if I'm talking I'm comfortable with you."

"Oh! I totally get that!" Abby got that because she was the same way.

"That's a small part of the reason I wanted to talk to you, because I do like you... as a person..." both of them rolled their eyes at the unneeded addition. "and I wanted us to be okay. The bigger reason is that what I see between you and Ziva has the potential to be amazing, but you seem to have some sort of block, and I was wanting to ask you about it."

Abby felt herself getting uncomfortable again. "And it's your business because...?"

Lex arched a brow. "Because one woman I already consider a friend, and one I would like too have the potential to have one of those deep, lasting, amazing loves, and if I can do something to make it happen I'm going to. False modesty aside there is far more truth to my rep at the Lock then not, and I can, and do have all those women, all on a regular basis, and I have zero cat fights or dyke drama... I know women Abby."

Abby looked like she was trying for outrage, but she deflated quickly. "I... I screw things up. I like... I LOVE Ziva, and I'm afraid that the typical me is going to do something to make her leave."

"And you might." That got Abby's attention and she looked at Lex in shock as the woman spoke while keeping her blue-green eyes on the road. "Abby... baby. Nothing is certain, nothing except the now... I wasn't part of the team that pulled Ziva out of North Africa, but I was part of the circle that cast the spell to find her. Now what if we had been too late? What if Ziva had succumbed to her injuries?' I'm guessing your feelings started before that?"

Abby was looking down at her lap. "Way before."

Lex was nodding. "And if she hadn't made it she would have died not knowing. Abby, their car could crash, our car could crash. Even discounting the scary shit we get into at the Lock the future is NOT promised."

"So worrying about something bad happening with Ziva in the future is keeping something good from happening right now."

Lex smiled. "See you ARE as smart as they say."

Abby leaned back, mulling over Lex's words, and as she did so she felt a weight lift off her shoulders.

When they stopped for the night Gibbs walked into the motel's office while the five women were left outside.

When Lex started speaking she used a little girl voice as she looked at Faith and Tara. "If I have a bad dream can I crawl into bed with you guys?"

Faith and Tara both laughed.

Abby then spoke up. "It's okay, you can crawl into bed with us."

Ziva's head darted to Abby, and then back to Lex, and her eyes were wide.

Abby started laughing loudly, looking at Lex. "You're right. That IS fun."

Ziva was scowling at them both as Gibbs came out with the keys.

 

Chapter 8.

It took them several days to get cross country, but they weren't unpleasant. Even with that said everyone was glad to see the armory that made up the public face of the top secret demon hunting facility, the Lock.

It was only midday as they pulled into the parking lot and got out to stretch their legs.

As they did so they heard a shout off to their right. "BOSS!"

Though Faith and Tara could make claim to that title it was Gibbs who stepped forward.

What he saw was a form running from the woods circling the training fields running towards them. While the runner was in fatigues and carrying a full combat pack he was quickly recognized as Anthony DiNozzo.

Far behind him a form they thought was Timothy McGee looked over his shoulder to the woods and then nodded and calmly walked the path DiNozzo had ran along.

Since he WAS running Tony got there first, and collapsed on the ground, rolling onto his back. An action that left him at an angle with his full backpack. Everyone could see he was red faced and sweating profusely, more then that run would explain. "Boss, you gotta save us Boss!"

Gibbs arched a single silver brow. "Save you from who DiNozzo?"

His right hand raised and waved limply back down the path he had ran. "Them! The Mistresses of Pain!"

Now several paces behind a Tim McGee who was also red faced and panting, calmly walked Mandi and Candi Hansen. The two blondes looked identical with their long blonde hair tight to their heads in French braids and their faces obscured with combat cosmetic. They were also wearing identical woodland camouflage fatigues.

Lex was wide eyed and smutty smirked as she devoured the twins with her eyes.

Faith had a grin herself as she spoke. "Motion to add two auxiliary members to Team Wet Dream."

Lex showed she still had her voice. "Seconded."

Faith. "All who agree say Aye."

Faith, Lex, and Ziva all said Aye in unison.

Tony gave all three a glare.

Lex didn't notice as she walked over to the twins, her smile growing almost pornographic. "I'm not sure what I like more. The GI Jane outfits and how they want me to test your Kung Fu grips, or the Mistresses of Pain name."

That got an identical, smutty, laugh from the twins. Lex didn't get it because she hadn't really worked with the twins, in a clothed capacity. Faith however had helped train the twins and had worked with them in the field, and she knew that the bond that she had formed with Buffy and could have with other Slayers went to a whole new level with the twins.

More then one monster hadn't even gotten a swing at, let alone a hit on the twins as the pair literally seemed to fight with a single mind.

It was an additional reason they were stationed at the Lock. With the awakening of the slayer line they were the first "development".

Gibbs didn't know either and he simply smiled at the two identical women. "Putting them through their paces?"

First one spoke. "While they ARE investigators it was thought..."

The second finished. "they should be trained as soldiers."

Everyone but Faith and Tara, and Tim and Tony was stunned at that.

Tony looked up from where he was still on the ground panting. "Creepy, isn't it? Now imagine that playing drill instructor."

Tara ignored him as she turned to her Uncle. "We'll also want to get you and Ziva out there, but in your cases it will be more a proficiency exam."

Both Gibbs and Ziva seemed to understand and simply nodded.

The twins looked at each other, and everyone could practically see the wordless conversation passing between them.

They looked back as one, and spoke at the same time. "We'll break for lunch."

Tim, who was still upright bent down to help Tony up, and Gibbs helped, speaking to Tony as he did so. "Never let them see you prone DiNozzo."

The two men carried the third between them into the Lock.

Four of the women followed, leaving Lex undressing the twins with her eyes.

The twins continued to grin in an equally lascivious manner. "No Lex." Was said in unison.

Lex shook her head. "No, no, no I get that... I was thinking of flipping a coin and the winner would be taken first."

The twins spoke in unison. "First?"

Lex grin grew. "Ladies we are TOTALLY into a first, and second situation not one or the other.

They giggled in unison, and then one spoke. "It couldn't be any earlier then tonight."

The second picked up the train of thought seamlessly. "When we fight, or train, we get like this..."

The first started speaking again. "And it takes a few hours to break."

The second then spoke. "Longer then we could take for lunch."

The first continued. "And to have sex when linked..."

Both the twins grimaced.

Lex pouted, but they did as well, and then they followed them in.

The twins smiled at Tony who had his arms folded on the table and his head resting on them.

"Cheer up Tony." Came from one twin.

"Maybe they'll let you learn about witchcraft from Lex." Came from the other.

When he looked up in confusion they spoke in unison. "Lex performs her rituals skyclad."

Tony's eyes got wide and he smiled. Lex simply smirked, but Tony's smile vanished as he was hit in the back of the head by Gibbs. "That WOULD be the one witchcraft term you know DiNozzo." He sat down with a fresh cup of coffee.

Ziva and Abby smirked at each other. Abby spoke first, but rolled her tongue in her mouth. "You know we got to see Lex do a ritual before she left for the mercs base here stateside."

Lex's smirk grew, and Tara had a small smile, but she also blushed slightly, seeing where the conversation was going. Faith's was grinning along with the twins. While Tim and Tony looked curious Gibbs was obviously apprehensive, suddenly deciding to place his order before, rather then after his first cup of coffee.

Tony gave Gibbs a glance as he left. "And?"

Ziva moved her head from side to side. "It was... revealing."

Abby looked over to Ziva, seemingly looking for confirmation. "Educational."

Ziva nodded. "VERY educational."

Tony was now moving his gaze from woman to woman. "What did you learn, other then Lex has no tan lines?"

Ziva paused, seeming to weigh her words. "I found it most interesting when the ritual ended... successfully."

Tony was looking more interested, his fatigue seeming to fade. "What do you mean?"

Faith was smiling wickedly, at Tara for the most part. "She means magic generally builds to a rather large...climax."

Tara giggled. "If you're doing it right."

Ziva replied off handedly. "She seemed to be."

Lex was there, but seemingly be content to simply grin widely at all the chatter about her.

Tony was confused, but seemed determined to keep going. "How could you tell?"

"The same way you can tell when a more personal...ritual has been successful." Was Ziva's reply.

Abby threw a smirk at Lex. "I'll bet Lex has plenty of experience with that too."

Ziva was almost TOO enthusiastic with her reply. "I am certain she does."

Abby seemed like she wasn't liking the game quite so much. "And how would you know?"

Ziva suddenly realized she might have taken the playful banter TOO far. "I have no personal knowledge... but I would imagine that..."

Abby's reply was instant. "So you've imagined her doing that?"

Lex and the twins were laughing at this point, but quietly.

Ziva saw she would get no help in that direction, and with Tim blushing and Tony eagerly absorbing every word she looked to Faith. "Should we be training?"

Faith abandoned her. "Nah, we're good. Gotta have lunch." The last part was almost said TOO brightly.

Abby then got a sly smile. "Nah, it's ok. Willow had talked about how magick was once considered one of the sciences. I was actually thinking about asking Lex if I could participate in some of her rituals."

Ziva glared at Lex, and Lex laughed loudly.

Tara was giggling. "Guys we need to cut it out so Uncle Gibbs can come back to the table."

That got more laughter.

 

Chapter 9.

Faith was relaxing in the control room, catching up on the reports from their slayer's stationed around the world. They didn't have the resources of the Lock, but they didn't really need them. They watched the local situation, kept vampire populations down and if something big came up they contacted the Lock.

Even when nothing came up however they sent in reports that Willow would sort, and analyze and pass on to Faith to see if any hot spots were developing. Faith ran her fingers through her hair, none were.

Riley came into the room, the "Temple of the Oracle" and walked over to the terminal that Faith was using. Leaning in he started whispering. "Um, Faith... I thought you should know Lex is sunbathing on the roof again."

Looking over her shoulder Faith stared at her second in command blankly.

He blushed, his whisper getting quieter. "Nude."

Faith's expression still said "And?" without her having to say the actual word.

He sighed. "And with our new arrivals I thought maybe someone should do something?"

Faith finally nodded. "I'll take care of it."

About an hour later Tara had finished her paperwork with Faith's report. Since the analysis of the slayer's reports was Faith's expertise she just read her Darling's notes at the end to see if they had any hotspots developing.

They hadn't and Tara walked out into the "Temple" proper, from her office.

There she saw Riley, and the experienced combat veteran looked uncomfortable and confused. An uncertain smile was on her face when she walked over. "Everything okay Riley?"

He sighed. "Not really. About an hour ago I told Faith about Lex sunbathing on the roof."

Tara also gave him the "And?" look.

He sighed a second time. "And with our new arrivals I suggested someone should do something about it, and Faith said she would."

Tara's brows were arched, and her expression was still saying "And?" but more kindly.

Riley's shoulders slumped. "And that was an hour ago, and now no one has seen Faith, or Lex, or Ziva, and I'm finding myself glad the armory is the tallest building in Sunnydale, and the airspace over top is restricted."

Tara giggled. "I'll go check on them."

As she headed for the roof access steps Tara felt her heart rate increase. She had a pretty good idea what she was going to find, and while she was utterly devoted to Faith she had excellent eye sight and a perfectly healthy libido.

Sure she had seen Lex naked during rituals, and she knew every square inch of Faith's naked body by touch, but this was... different, and it was Ziva too, and Tara bit her bottom lip, and smiled as she reached for the door knob.

And quite literally had her breath taken away. All three of the missing women were laid out on the roof on beach towels, wearing sunglasses, and nothing else.

She wasn't surprised to find her eyes first drawn to Faith on the right, as they were always finding their way to Faith if her slayer was within Tara's line of sight. Now however they were free to roam the surface Tara had explored countless times with her hands and her mouth.

Faith's face was calm, so much that Tara would almost believe she was sleeping. Her head was resting back on a second rolled up towel. Blue eyes continued down along Faith's neck to her collar bone, to inviting breasts with nipples hardened by the cool breeze on the roof here at the Lock.

Faith had a light sheen of tanning lotion on her naked frame, and it left the muscles on Faith's arms, legs and abdomen well defined even with the woman at rest.

She had a soft gasp as she looked at Faith's hairless pubic mound, her mind flashing back to how Faith always asked Tara to help her make sure it was smooth and hairless. Both women knew Faith didn't need the help, but Tara loved doing it, and Faith loved how Tara simply HAD to pleasure Faith after the intimate grooming left Faith achingly aroused.

Next in line was Ziva, and Tara had to admit the athletic frame that Tara had known was there was even more spectacular in all it's glory, accented by the tanning oil.

Ziva's bust was impressive, and her full breasts were topped with dusky nipples that too were showing the effects of the cool breeze, but what made them even more impressive was the way Ziva had laced her palms with her hands behind her head, throwing the impressive globes into stunning profile.

It seemed Ziva and Abby hadn't progressed to any sort of aiding each others grooming, but Ziva's pubic hair was still a closely trimmed triangle pointing down towards the treasures hidden between Ziva's still together thighs.

Lex was next, and while Tara had already seen her fellow caster naked at ritual, it had been decidedly non-sexual. This however was anything but. Lex was fairer skinned then Ziva, and almost even more so then Faith, but her body was glistening with the suntan lotion, and she did seem asleep.

Her muscles weren't as defined as Faith's, or Ziva's, but it gave her a girlish softness that the two warrior women's frames lacked.

Lex's had breasts tipped with rosy nipples, also pebbled in texture, and that dirty part of Tara's mind that only Faith was allowed to know about imagined she had interrupted something else as her eyes darted to Lex's neat and tiny strip of hair resting between her legs.

That same dirty part of Tara's mind thought that might have been more a courtesy to her many lovers then anything.

Her dirty mind was interrupted before it could go any further as Faith showed herself to be awake as she turned and smiled at Tara. "Hey Baby! Come! Join us! I got you a towel and your sunglasses!"

Faith had sat up to take the towel out from under her head, and reached to the side to pick up something hidden from Tara's view by Faith's body, which was showed to be Tara's sunglasses as Faith held them up.

Tara blushed softly, grinning. If she hadn't been a lesbian before walking out on the roof the vision laid out before her would have made sure she was one now. She however was a lesbian, and while she had been naked with women before, with Willow and later Faith the closest she had come to a situation like this, not counting skyclad rituals, was the showers in high school.

This however was something different and Tara felt a naughty thrill as she started unbuttoning her blouse while walking towards Faith. A giggle threatened to erupt as she wondered if THIS was what her father and Donnie were afraid would emerge, because Tara WAS a far different being then she had been when they came to Sunnydale to fetch her.

She said as much she as unbuttoned her blouse. "You know, there was a time when I would have rather faced an apocalypse than strip with three women who look like supermodels."

Ziva lowered her sunglasses and looked at the blonde. "Tara, you have looked in a mirror, yes? You are... stunning."

"Thanks," Tara said. She tossed shirt down and then her bra.

"Stunning," Lex agreed, smiling at Tara's breasts. "Ouch!" She turned and glared at Faith. "Okay, she gets a smile, and I get a Gibbs slap for the same compliment. What the hell?"

Faith was recoiling back from where she had, to the surprise of Tara's increasingly fast heart beat, laid her bare abdomen over Ziva's to deliver the Gibbs slap, as she spoke "She was looking into Tara's eyes when she said it," Faith said with a smirk.

Ziva didn't seem phased by Faith laying her naked body across her's for that moment, but she noticed Tara did and gave the woman a wink.

Lex however was distracted. "Come on," Lex whined. "Those are perfect." She laughed. "And um, yeah, I mean her eyes."

Tara had recovered as she laughed and kicked off her pants now standing naked as Faith rolled out the towel so she could stretch out next to Faith. "Honey, they can look. Hell, I look." She lifted off the towel and sighed as she noticed Ziva's tight six pack abs, then up to her breasts. "Wow."

Faith giggled and shook her head. she looked over and her gaze mirrored Tara's. "Okay, wow," she agreed.

"Hello?" Lex said sitting up and raising her arms in the air.

Faith snorted and rested on her towel. She closed her eyes. "Wow, hot," she said in a monotone.

"Hot," Tara agreed in a monotone.

"Stunning," Ziva said, in a monotone voice and without opening her eyes.

"Hey!" Lex said, clearly insulted.

Tara spoke without opening her eyes. "Lex, honey, you are stunning. It's just, we've all seen it...a lot." She giggled.

"But it is nice," Ziva offered.

"Nice?" Lex asked as if they said she looked like a troll with bubonic plague. "Fine. your loss."

Tara, Faith and Ziva all laughed even as Lex continued to let out offended sighs. Finally seeming to get over the insult Lex rolled onto her side, resting her left cheek to her left palm so she could look down the line of women. "But since we're sharing... well everything I'm going to go ahead and ask since Faith convinced you to go Brazilian too... natural blonde?"

Tara simply laughed and laid back as she closed her eyes and put on her sunglasses.

Faith however had other ideas as she treated the other three women to a view of her shapely posterior as she grabbed the suntan lotion.

Tara realized with her fair complexion it was a good idea and held out her hands to Faith for the lotion. Only to have her Darling smirk at her. Tara's jaw dropped slightly. She looked back at the other two women, only to find them smirking like Faith was.

She looked back to find Faith putting the tanning lotion on her own hands, hands she was then bringing towards Tara, and Tara gulped.

But it wasn't like she expected. The naughty expression was gone and Faith was smiling, happy, and Tara found herself mirroring it without realizing.

Faith then spoke in a soft voice. "Spread your legs Tar."

Lex snickered. "Now we're talking." The only reply was three sets of eyes rolling at her.

Faith then returned her attention to Tara where she slid in between Tara's now spread legs on her knees. She started with Tara's face, first massaging the protective cream into Tara's forehead. That moved to the bridge of her nose, and then her cheeks, her neck.

Slowly Faith moved lower and while the heartbeat that had been returning to normal sped up as Faith massaged the lotion into Tara's breasts it was done with the same attention that had been paid to her arms a moment before.

Her back was given a coating as well while the women looked into each others eyes, before Faith slid her hands to massage the lotion into Tara's backside.

Faith then directed Tara to lay back as she made Tara's stomach glisten like the others were before she did the same to Tara's legs. There was a pause, a moment as the women's eyes met, and Faith spoke. "Gotta get there too. That is definitely one area I don't want too sensitive for me to touch."

Tara giggled, surprised as the tender treatment had caressed away any trace of self-consciousness that had been left when Tara had first started stripping, and she simply kept smiling, her eyes still locked with Faith's as Faith made sure that Tara's entire pubic mound was protected from the sun.

 

Chapter 10.

Willow exhaled as she shut down the last program actively running on her computer. She never shut her girl down entirely as she had programmed the system to monitor countless other agencies through her access portals, both legal and otherwise, for reports that ventured into the Lock's realms of expertise.

Though that often left her wading through some truly nauseating details she had tracked down a great many monsters because they couldn't tidy up after their latest atrocity.

Today however the monsters were either neater then usual, or taking a day off, and Willow decided she would do the same... as in take a day off, not be neater then usual... Willow sighed, even internally she babbled.

A few key strokes and her computer was ready to call her if something came up, and Willow was ready to see what was going on, and she had the sneaking suspicion something was going on. Nothing bad because it wasn't that kind of tension, but something because both Tara and Faith were missing from the control room.

Riley had been in a couple times, and the man looked a little haggard, but again it wasn't that kind of tension. It was more like the time when a band of young slayers who had rotated in for training found a crate of unopened wine in a vampire's lair and they were left with a band of giggling drunk super humans.

The kind of tension that could be fun if Willow actually let herself relax and join in.

As Willow got up and left the control room she thought about how that idea was almost counter-intuitive for the self-professed "good girl", but that "good girl" had come a long way from as Cordelia once put it (when in one of her bitchier moods) "the softer side of Sears".

Now she was the digital diviner of a ultra covert band of monster hunters, and a little recreational trouble seemed like just the thing.

Walking the Lock she tried to find out where the trouble might be happening. She approached it like any normal research, looking through the available data to find that fact that jumps out and shows her the pattern.

It was a pair of facts in this case, an identical pair of facts, the twins Mandi and Candi Hansen. They each had their own body language rather then the strange moving in unison the women would do when expecting trouble, which helped confirm Willow's idea that whatever was happening it wasn't dangerous.

Both of the twins however were known to have a thing for Lex, and while her earlier thoughts on the dark witch were wrong Willow knew that if there was a recreational trouble brewing Lex was there... if not the one who instigated it.

She noticed the twins were wearing sunglasses, and carrying towels and suntan lotion, but they were in their street clothes rather then bathing suits. Willows jaw dropped and she froze. They weren't wearing bathing suits, and they weren't carrying bathing suits, and while they may be wearing their bathing suits under their clothes why would they bother doing that with their quarters a short walk away?

Willow had heard about Lex's sun worshiping habits, and as another gay woman she had even contemplated what that would look like.

Her contemplation of what that would look like suddenly froze again. The twins were going to join her, okay technically she didn't KNOW Lex was there, but from all indicators the gorgeous blonde haired, blue eyed, full chested twins were going to sunbathe... naked!

She could imagine what that was like, and she imagined Lex would be there... literally imagined as her mind then reminded her Tara and Faith were missing.

Tara and Faith were missing... Tara and Faith were there!

Sure she didn't KNOW Tara and Faith were there, but that fluttery feeling in her stomach said they were, and her mind added them to the growing cast of her mental image.

Of course she knew what Tara looked like naked... a old ache briefly revisited her at that thought, but she had also wondered about Faith way back when Faith had first come on the scene and Willow had her first indication about her sexuality come up and ask her if she wanted to play.

The twins were gone, but Willow had seen enough of their path to guess they were headed to the roof. Her mind however was whirring like one of her baby's towers in the middle of a mission as her mind laid out the facts.

Right now at least two naked, beautiful women were going to be laying out on the roof of the building tanning, and it was probably more then two. The best case scenario would let Willow grab a towel, tanning oil and her sunglasses, and join them. The worst case scenario would have a social situation that would make all the embarrassing things that happened to her in high school look tame in comparison.

Her mind provided the image again, and she licked her dry lips. Nudity wasn't really a big taboo here at the Lock. Sure you couldn't wander halls naked... or at least you shouldn't... no one seemed able to keep Lex dressed, but Tara had led the war witches in more then one skyclad ritual (or so she heard, as she hadn't had the heart to ask to join), the slayers were certainly comfortable enough with their bodies so that while they weren't "naked" they often dressed pretty darn close... and then there was Lex... if there was any modesty left in the Lock the witch killed it dead.

Willow nodded once, she was resolved. She hurried to her quarters, grabbed a towel, a bottle of tanning lotion (high SPF because Willow didn't really tan, but she burned easily enough), and her sunglasses. She was tempted to strip in her room, but she thought she would rather strip in front of the group of naked women then get up there naked (or just in a robe) and find them all fully clothed.

Her heart rate sped up the closer she got to the roof access door. Her mind providing the images she was SURE were happening out on the roof. Of course intellectually she knew some of the naughtier images wouldn't be happening, but they were still in her head, and still making her blush as she reached for the handle.

Opening it she saw at least some of her images were accurate. Tara was the first she saw, though whether it was because of their old bond, or just because she started at the far end and came back towards herself was the question.

The blonde was as beautiful as she remembered, but a little leaner. While Tara still had her womanly curves there was a definition Willow couldn't remember from their time together. There was also something that Willow remembered that she now couldn't see... Tara had shaved her privates bare.

Looking next to the blonde she realized she must have gotten the idea from Faith... her blush deepened as she realized the two probably took care of each others shaving. Otherwise Faith was about as Willow had imagined, partially taken from the times she had seen Buffy in the shower in high school, and partially taken from the fact that Faith's outfits never seemed to worry about showing skin.

She was lean muscle and fair skin, and firm round breasts. Ziva David was quite similar, though her skin was more of a light caramel brown, and her pubic mound was trimmed into a neat triangle rather then removed entirely.

Lex... Willow felt her throat close up at the sight of the stunning witch. She now understood why so many of the Lock's women were so ready to share the woman's bed.

Somewhere between the womanly softness of Tara and the warrior athleticism of Faith and Ziva Lex was slender with out being skinny... Willow frowned as she touched her belly, while having curves that only curved where whatever God or Goddess that made her wanted them to go.

Willow didn't realize it as she made a soft whimper when she saw Lex's pubic mound, not bare like Faith or Tara, but more trimmed then Ziva it was small strip, and Willow realized it was practically sculpted to let a woman go down on Lex while giving that soft patch that Willow liked to nuzzle after she had made the girl... well Tara, climax with her mouth.

Her mind provided the image of Willow doing just that to Lex, and her head started to swim.

So much that she barely could appreciate first one twin, and then the next shedding their clothes.

Barely being the operative word.

They both had the full breasts that Willow had to remind herself not to stare at when she was around them, and the lean frames that all slayer's seemed to develop soon after being called.

She didn't know about Abby's desire to experiment on slayer's to discover their metabolism, but Willow had known Buffy long enough to know fat reserves didn't last long on the super humans.

Their skin was lightly tanned... kind of like Lex's, and she realized they had probably been up here tanning with the woman before.

Their pubic mounds where not EXACTLY like Lex's, but when her mind suggested they were trimmed for similar purposes Willow quietly shut the door, since no one had seemed to notice her, and ran.

 

Chapter 11.

She ran, but she didn't get far. She almost literally ran into the scientist Abby Sciuto, but the Goth was surprisingly nimble on her platform boots as she managed to both side step and catch Willow as the red head stumbled and nearly fell.

Lips painted a deep ruby red were smiling at Willow as she was steadied on her feet. "You ok Willow?"

Willow was nodding, looking at the ground. "Yeah, yeah I'm fine. Sorry."

"Why were you running?" As she spoke Abby let her hands slip from where they had been gripping Willow's arms to steady the other brainy girl.

Willow's eyes got wide, and she blushed, and the forensics part of the brainy girl known as Abigail Sciuto started putting together evidence. Ziva was missing, it was why she had been wandering around to be there to catch Willow as she ran. Willow was blushing like she had gotten her first kiss from another woman, and she was carrying everything to suntan except a bathing suit.

"Willow? Have you seen Ziva?"

Abby didn't think the other set of green eyes could get any bigger, but they managed as Willow said what Abby knew was a bold faced, but poorly delivered lie. "Nope! Nope! Haven't seen anything of Ziva!" There was a small pause. "But you could try the roof."

There was a long pause as Abby knew what had happened. Part of her almost wanted to be jealous, but there was a larger part of the gentle Goth that couldn't get angry at the woman who obviously just wanted to run and hide. That part was feeling waves of compassion for the awkward, frightened soul.

Intellectually Abby also figured she should probably take care of any green eyed monsters now since unless she totally misinterpreted the evidence Ziva was on the roof, suntanning, naked, and probably with Lex. That last part could be a leap, but it fit the dark witches MO.

Abby put her left hand on Willow's right arm, and then slid it so her left arm was linked in Willow's right. The red heads eyes got wide as she looked to the link, and back to Abby. Abby smiled, restraining the urge to reach out and pet Willow's head. "Trust me?"

Willow didn't shake her head in the positive or the negative, but she didn't resist as Abby started pulling her back in the direction of the roof access.

Abby could see Willow was on the verge of panic, so she didn't give the other geniuses brain time to react as she walked up and shoved the door open, and had her breath taken away as well.

She had never really decided whether she had liked boys or girls better, and in all actuality Abby had never really gotten why someone would like boys or girls better because it was really about who the person was inside.

That said, she quite literally thanked God that she could appreciate the female form, because six of it's finest specimens were laid out before her, gloriously naked.

Apparently they had interrupted the six women in mid-conversation because Lex was speaking as they stepped out on the roof.

"Now you know how I tell them apart."

That got a round of laughter from the other five present. Including the two that Abby and Willow figured Lex was talking about, the Hansen twins. The two keen brains, keen brains even went a step further and provided what it was Lex used to tell apart the blondes on her left and right.

One had trimmed her pubic area to a strip like Lex. From the clothes near her they figured that was Mandi Hansen. While her twin Candi had a soft sided, but still obviously manicured triangle.

As the six women started looking at their new arrivals Abby quickly started speaking."WOW! Now this is the landscape California should put on its tourism web page."

Ziva actually stood up and was walking over towards Abby, and she felt her brain shut down to divert extra power to her libido as her own bronzed goddess, now more bronze walked over, naked, her already well defined muscles showing more definition with a light coating of oil.

Tara had moved as well, but she simply sat up and rolled to her knees... which had Faith eying her partners privates as they were inches from her face, but Tara didn't seem to notice as she spoke. "All right ladies... you'll be feeling a strange sensation, but don't worry that is just your personal gayness doubling. It can be unsettling. It was for me, because I thought I couldn't get any gayer, but as soon as I walked out on this roof BOOM I was twice as gay as I was this morning, and I woke up naked, in bed with another woman this morning."

That got a round of laughter, but Faith was suddenly looking worried, even as she still stared at Tara's crotch. Tara looked down, smiling. "Don't worry sweetie, still never going to get a mullet." Tara was still smiling as she laid back down.

Faith grinned. "Thank you."

Ziva smiled, leaning in, giving Abby a kiss. "Hello Abigail."

Abby sighed happily as the kiss broke, her eyes gleefully running up and down Ziva's body. "Actually after that I could say tripled. Oh, but for the record, it's all about Ziva. As hot as you ladies are no one can hold a candle to her."

Lex was faking vomiting sounds as Candi spoke from Lex's left. "That's adorable."

Her sister spoke up from Lex's right hand side. "I thought David was the whipped one."

Tara then rolled to her side. "But you should join us. The younger slayers get nervous when people are that pale."

Abby seemed to consider it, and Willow looked frantically to her for direction. "I just need to run downstairs and get some things. Willow will come with to help me get my stuff."

Abby didn't ask as she grabbed hold of the other pale skinned woman and dragged her away, only to return soon after with Abby's black beach towel, a small cooler with water and juice, and a very large, black beach umbrella.

While the cooler was well received that umbrella got some groans. Abby just stuck out her tongue before speaking. "AND Willow and I agreed to inject some modesty into this social experiment, and have at least two of us who aren't TOTALLY skyclad... we're leaving our panties on."

Willow's eyes were wide, but she nodded.

Lex was the first to notice, and she spoke. "Probably a good idea if you haven't tanned naked before. Pain... down there... above the occasional love bite..."

Mandi interrupted. "Or hickey!"

Lex grinned and blew the blonde a kiss. "Or hickey. Can be bad news."

Tara seemed to be following a long as she spoke. "That could be especially bad news for you Willow as you don't get much sun."

Abby and Willow were stripping off everything BUT their panties as Abby grinned at Lex. "So no full Sciuto for you Lex."

The witch just grinned. "It's ok. I have a really good memory."

That got her glares from Abby and Ziva as Tara arched a brow from where she was still laying on her side, her left hand holding by her left ear. "Is there a story I need to hear?"

The three women shook their heads no, Willow just blushed because the three knew she had been there too.

Faith rolled on her side, taking a similar position to Tara, but smiling when Tara rested her right hand on Faith's bare hip. "Is there a story I COULD hear?"

Abby scowled, a little... or a lot of nudity was one thing, but she still wasn't comfortable with Lex having seem them making love, or more accurately seeing a naked Ziva straddling a naked Abby's face as Abby happily used her mouth on Ziva's dripping sex.

However she knew that Willow had thought Ziva's crying out was in pain and it was the red head who was going to knock down the door. So she couldn't gripe at Lex without embarrassing the already near critical mass Willow Rosenberg. So she just shook her head. "No story... we DID forget to lock the door."

Though Ziva had been able to guess what Abby had been thinking, the last point had been very true. The two women were so eager to make love for the first time that they hadn't locked the door. So they couldn't blame Willow or Lex entirely.

Once Abby and Willow were down to their panties the group rearranged a little bit. While Faith and Tara stayed in approximately the same place, right next to each other, Ziva moved next to, but not underneath Abby's umbrella, where Abby and Willow were enjoying the sun, but not exposed to it's direct rays.

Lex and the twins were right next to them as Lex suddenly sat up, grabbed Willow's lotion, as she moved towards Willow.

"Sit up Oracle, let me get your back."

All around them women were smirking at Willow's wide-eyed look of panic that Lex didn't see as Willow sat up and Lex moved in to sit behind her.

Willow was trying to remind herself to breathe, but her body was so busy trembling at the presence of the naked woman almost spooning her from behind.

Her breathing restarted all of a sudden as warm hands started spreading cool lotion over her shoulders. The breath was long, and shaky, and Willow was proud of herself that she kept it from being a moan.

But she didn't notice the grins the three slayers were sporting as their hearing told them plenty.

Lex however seemed happy with a new lady to play with, and she was smiling softly to herself as she leaned in even closer, feeling her nipples, now hardened with more then the breeze, brush Willow's back. There was a valid reason however as her lotion covered hands ran up Willow's arms to Willow's hands as she knit their fingers briefly.

Willow's hair was hanging forward as her breathing deepened, and her head started to swim.

Abby, who was literally a few feet away found her own eyes approaching saucers as she looked to Ziva, only to find her girlfriend grinning... and after a moment she grinned too.

Lex pulled back as her hands slid back to Willow's shoulders before she put more lotion on her hands and caressed Willow's back as she rubbed the lotion in shoulders to hips.

Sliding away entirely she guided a now unresisting Willow Rosenberg to lay on her back as Lex climbed over her. Willow's eyes were wide as Lex's hard nipples were literally right in front of her face as her shoulders were guided down to the towel.

Her mouth had opened, though even Willow didn't know if that was from shock, or from a desire unspoken, but either way she didn't get the time to contemplate it as Lex spread Willow's legs and slid in between them.

Willow's green eyes were wide, but Lex's smile was disarming, but also distracted. Willow was stunned because Lex truly seemed to be enjoying her body. Lex continued to do so as she took Willow's left leg first and slid her hands to Willow's feet.

The twins were watching as well, and realized that Lex had wanted to kiss Willow's ankle, as she often did the same when sliding between their legs, but had restrained herself as she started massaging from the ankle, along the calf, and then across the thigh.

The process was repeated... slowly... so slowly Willow feared she might pass out.

Then Lex leaned in further and started massaging sun tan lotion into Willow's stomach, and Willow blushed even deeper as she felt a familiar flutter just below her stomach.

Their eyes locked and Willow was amazed to see Lex's eyes full of emotion, desire, kindness, understanding, and humor. Willow suddenly understood what all the fuss was about. She licked her lips and tried to slow her breathing.

Lex leaned down to reach the bottle of lotion and took the opportunity to whisper into Willow's ear. "Do you want me to stop?" she asked.

Willow shook her head.

Lex needed to hear Willow's response before she could continue. Though she was certain Willow was more than aroused, she wanted the young witch to be the one to choose. "Should I... finish?" she whispered.

Willow turned her head to the side and surprised herself with the huskily whispered reply. "Yes."

Lex added some lotion to her hands and warmed it and began rubbing Willow's belly again. Lex's smile was rakish and playful, but their was genuine affection filling her blue green eyes.

Oh God! Willow felt herself getting close. Then she felt Lex climb over her to straddle her hips, and Willow's eyes were treated to the sight of a naked, bronzed Alexandra Detton smiling down at her.

Lex's smile only grew. "Only one spot Lex Willow, and it's definitely one you don't want burned."

Off to the side Tara was reading the situation better then just about anyone else as she knew Willow's reactions, and as Faith looked over her shoulder as the women still laid on their sides watching the scene unfold her eyes asked a silent question, and Tara nodded the affirmative.

They looked back as Lex massaged the lotion into Willow's breasts, and Willow bit down a strangled sobbing breath that wanted to come out.

Lex was smiling. "Sorry if that was a little cold." She then leaned over and kissed Willow's cheek.

She then climbed off of Willow and went back to her towel, but as she laid back there was a satisfied smile on her face.

Lex knew the cold comment was a pretext, every other woman on the roof knew it was a pretext, and perhaps most importantly Willow Rosenberg knew it was a pretext, but as her body felt tingly and light it refused to care.

 

Chapter 12.

Faith could SMELL the satisfaction coming off of Willow. She imagined Candi and Mandi could as well, but the twins just seemed to be thinking about buying a large bottle of massage oil for Lex's quarters.

Abby was hovering somewhere between shocked and amused, but having someone brought to orgasm that close to you would have that effect on just about anyone.

Anyone except Ziva David that is, she had already laid back again to tan.

Lex looked satisfied with herself, if a bit unsatisfied after the effects Willow's orgasm kicked off in her body, but neither of those things surprised Faith much.

Tara had a bit of a concerned look, and when Faith turned and snuggled close Tara whispered into her ear. "While Willow knows Lex's rep I'm worried her heart might not."

Faith frowned as she rolled back over to look at their assembly. She couldn't do anything about Willow and Lex at this point, but she figured she could distract them all.

"Now Tara baby... I know a full conversion gets a toaster oven, but what does the increase get us?"

Tara laughed softly into Faith's shoulder. "At this point Sweetie I don't think it matters. I mean if you added together the women you and I have gotten to switch we would have earned the trip to Tahiti."

Faith laughed. "And our girl Lex probably would have kick started the economy with small household appliance sales."

Lex gave a thumbs up, and everyone laughed.

Faith decided to keep the happy attitude building. "Okay Abby, I get you wanting to keep a little mystery, but there's one question I gotta ask and I figure asking Lex could get me in trouble."

Abby had laid back on her back, but her brows were still arched.

"That isn't your natural hair color is it?"

Abby laughed, but she didn't reply with words. Instead she reached up to the waist band of her panties and rolled it down just enough so that everyone could look up and over to see the wispy blonde curls.

Candi was the first to speak. "You went from blonde to not?"

Abby shrugged. "Yep."

No one seemed to have much to say about that, but that didn't stop Faith from talking. "Of course that brings up a whole new line of conversation."

Abby raised her head. "What does?"

"Shaved versus not." Faith gave a look down to her own hairless mound.

Abby looked back down, even though she had rolled her panties back up. "Well obviously I'm not shaved. I may trim a bit if I'm wearing a bikini or something, but I came to the decision around the time I decided to go Goth. I had seen some of those old 1920's black and white "dirty" pictures and the women there had full and natural pubic hair, and it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen."

Candi was the first to comment. "So bombarding your hair... on your head, with harsh chemical dyes is ok, but shaving the hair between your legs is wrong?"

Abby was shaking her head even as she was laying down. "Not 'wrong' just wrong for me."

Faith and Tara had both laid back as Faith spoke. "I gotta disagree on a more general principle. The hair isn't what's pretty. The hair is in the way of seeing what's TRULY pretty."

Ziva then joined in. "So did Faith ask you to shave Tara?"

Tara rolled her head to look at Ziva, with a grin. "Well it was more she asked to shave me, but not right away. At first she just wanted to trim the hairs down there a bit, and I didn't really think much about it one way or another, but I noticed how much Faith liked being shaved," Tara's grin grew. "And how nice it was for me with her shaved. So I asked her if she would help me shave." Tara actually giggled. "She was so ENTHUSIASTIC, and I found I really liked how it felt, and I've been bare ever since."

Abby wrinkled her nose. "Shaved right, not waxed?"

Faith was shaking her head from side to side. "No, no, no, no. No waxing. I tried waxing once, ONCE, and I would stake the person trying to wax Tara before I would let her go through that kind of pain. Sure it can itch when it grows back, and you can get stubble if you don't keep on it, but the same can be said of legs and arm pits, and I still keep those bare."

All of the women seemed to get that point, though Willow was only loosely following the conversation. Now that her brain and body were back on speaking terms she was looking at Tara, and yes for a brief, lingering, moment she did look at Tara's shaven pubic mound.

Her Tara had blushed bright red the first time Willow had touched her there, and while they had eventually grown comfortable with each other sexually Willow never would have imagined a Tara who would have not only contemplated shaving, or tried it, but seemed to truly like how it felt, AND been able to put it on display for half a dozen other women she wasn't even involved with.

For the first time Willow realized her Tara was truly gone. The question that came to her now was if Faith was the one who took her away, and almost immediately her mind said no. Her mind went to before Faith ever came back to Sunnydale, back to before the memory spell, to the fight that caused Willow to cast it.

The Tara she had first met at the Wiccan Meeting would have never been able to fight with her like that Tara did, and shame suddenly seized her heart when she realized that instead of being proud that her love had made Tara stronger she tried to strip that strength away.

The light floaty sensations that Lex had left her with suddenly evaporated, both with the realization, and the happy sound of Tara's unrestrained laughter at something Lex was saying.

"For me I need a little something there to show that yes I have hit puberty."

Faith interrupted. "The tits kind of give it away Lex."

Lex twisted her lips in a wry grin and ignored the interruption.. "I do however like to keep it well maintained... like tidying up the house before company arrives."

Abby jumped in. "More like tidying the hotel room before the next guest checks in."

Lex grabbed her chest as if wounded, but then laughed. "It's funny cause it's true."

Faith was laughing. "I don't buy the puberty thing though. Guys shave their heads and you don't say they look like babies. Okay so it's not a perfect example, but hair removal is probably the first form of body alteration there is."

Ziva then spoke up. "Which is precisely why I don't do it."

Everyone rolled to look at Ziva, and the former Mossad agent smiled. "I have no tattoos, no piercings besides my ears. Even my scars have had plastic surgeons minimize them. All so that I am as close to natural as possible. This way if I need to dye my hair it's not already brittle from earlier dyeing," She briefly touched Abby's hip in an obvious "No offense" motion but it was obvious Abby wasn't. "Or if I would have some need to shave my privates I could, because it is quite easier to cut extra hair away then glue hair back on."

There was a series of respectful nods to that attitude before Ziva suddenly spoke up again. "Though I do shave my legs and arm pits because I am just not THAT European."

That got some more laughter.

Willow however wasn't one of those laughing. She had rolled onto her belly for at least some sense of privacy with the guilt that had finally found her. As that storm started to calm, at least a little bit, she found her eyes had decided they wanted to look at Lex.

That didn't surprise Willow as she had figured out early on that Lex was nice to look at, even with her clothes on.

Naked... she was a feast for the green eyes that were looking at Lex's face, remembering that face looking at her with a mix of passion, kindness, and humor.

Willow felt her pulse increase as she looked down Lex's neck when she found what she was sure was a healing hickey. Her mind providing the picture of Willow giving Lex that mark.

Then her eyes got to Lex's breasts... her mind didn't even have time to be glad for the distraction from her earlier darker thoughts as it was too busy sending a fresh flash of heat to Willow's privates.

She didn't know if she was a breast girl because Tara had been her first girlfriend, or if part of her early attraction to Tara was the blonde's bosom, but Willow knew she liked breasts. She knew she liked Lex's breasts. They were round, and perky with nipples Willow knew she would love to suck on. She even knew, from when Lex was naked and pressing into her back that they were firm, but still soft, still perfect for Willow to play with.

Willow bit her lip as her eyes moved down abs that might not be six pack like Ziva or the slayers, but was definitely washboard.

Then her eyes went lower to that signal Lex kept that she had hit puberty, and she was suddenly glad that Lex did her tidying up, because Willow swore she could see the little rise of Lex's clit. The hard little bump she had felt pressing against her's through the thin fabric of her panties.

"Enjoying your tanning?" Willow's eyes darted up at Lex's words to find those blue-green eyes regarding her with amusement as Lex had titled her sunglasses up to her forehead.

Willow blushed deeply, burying her face in her towel.

Apparently Lex hadn't looked up to torment Willow, because she actually sat up and straddled the back of Mandi Hansen.

The blonde looked up as she had been asleep on her stomach, and Lex leaned in, whispering in her ear. "Go back to sleep Mandi. I'm just putting on more lotion so you don't burn."

A sleepy. "Kay Lex." was the reply as Mandi drifted back off to sleep while Lex rubbed more suntan lotion in from the blondes back, to her butt, and to her ankles.

Lex finished with a kiss to the top of the sleeping blonde's head.

The conversation continued in the meanwhile, but had grown more sedate with Tara directing a question to Abby and Ziva.

"How are you ladies settling in?"

Abby spoke first. "Good here. I even like that the sub-level permanent quarters don't have windows, but we are considering going the route of having a house for ourselves, but keeping quarters here for missions and stuff."

Tara nodded. "Houses are dirt cheep here in Sunnydale. Though I've considered taking some of our budget to buy up a few because with our presence making the town safer the prices have slowly started to climb back up."

Faith looked quizzically at her lover. "You're looking to make a profit?"

Tara's jaw dropped, and she gave Faith a playful smack on the shoulder. "No! I just want to have homes available for our people if they want them."

Faith nodded, seeming happier with that answer.

Tara however focused on Ziva. "What about you Ziva? You went from being an Israeli citizen, to working towards your citizenship on the east coast, to being an American citizen on the West Coast."

Ziva spoke plainly. "I go where Abby goes."

Everyone made "Awe" sounds except for Abby and Ziva. Abby was too busy grabbing Ziva and hugging her, and Ziva was too busy being hugged.

Lex however made additional comment. "Even I can call that cute."

Ziva continued. "Faith said it best when she told me that while her calling had given her purpose there has to be something more, and that she would trade ten years as Slayer for ten minutes with Tara."

Tara had the same reaction as Abby, but Faith still had her voice as Tara hugged her. "HEY! The mushy stuff is NOT for general distribution... I have a rep to maintain."

Tara was nodding, her hands still caressing Faith's bare shoulders. "Of course you do dear. Your a fierce, strong, warrior woman... MY fierce, strong, warrior woman."

Faith looked away embarrassed, but that seemed to just make Tara all the more insistent on kissing her.

The conversation continued a little longer, but they soon came to realize they were all in danger of burning, and started to get dressed and pack up.

 

Chapter 13.

Getting back down stairs they found an interesting scene in the control room.

Gibbs, Tim and Tony had made it back from training. After Gibbs and Ziva had been put through their paces and shown their soldiering skills were first rate the former Gunnery Sergeant had requested Tara let him take over his peoples training.

Tony and Tim had asked that she wouldn't, but she didn't listen to them.

Now back in the control room all three men were still in the fatigues they trained in, but Gibbs and Tony seemed caught in some contest of wills while McGee tried to not laugh at Tony for trying to pit his will against Gibbs.

When the ladies were noticed both Gibbs and Tony seemed to relax. Tony however looked disappointed while Gibbs simply arched an eyebrow at the sun kissed arrivals.

Tara blushed, he knew, he didn't have to say it, his eyebrow said it for him, but Gibbs knew. Her Uncle Gibbs knew that she had been suntanning naked with seven other women, and while he didn't seem angry he still knew, and that was enough for Tara to turn a bright red.

She would have to get used to having family on base, and knowing her lover, and her people that would mean more embarrassment, rather then toning things down.

He however then had a small smile, and Tara felt herself relax.

Faith however had a large smile as she walked over to look at Tony.

He looked up. "Can I go now?"

Faith looked over to Gibbs. "Can he?"

Gibbs came right back. "I don't know. Everybody dressed?"

Off to the side Abby squeaked as she turned red, but no one paid her any mind.

Faith shrugged, while she considered Gibbs family too she had gotten over the whole shame thing long ago. "For now at least."

That actually got a wry grin from the older man as he nodded to DiNozzo. The other man then shaking his head. "That was discrimination. The women get go up on the roof and suntan while I can't unwind there after some truly grueling training?"

Gibbs was smiling. "You call that grueling DiNozzo?"

McGee slapped the back of Tony's head. "Now he's going to do worse tomorrow!"

Lex perked up. "I have a new name from the roof!"

Faith ignored Tony to focus on Lex as the woman continued. "No Man's Land!"

Faith nodded. "Motion has been seconded. Who says Aye?"

The women all said "Aye" though Willow's and Abby's had similar squeaks.

Faith then spoke again. "Nay?"

Tony was the single "Nay".

Faith smiled. "Oh, and for the record Tony, we don't discriminate here. If you want to get the guys together and have a naked man party on the roof I will be happy to neither ask nor tell."

He scowled as he turned to leave in the same direction as Tim to grab a shower and some clean clothes.

Faith smiled. "Ayes have it. You free Gibbs? There is an additional briefing for you as a team leader here at the Lock."

Gibbs shrugged. "Can it wait for a shower?"

Faith nodded. "Yeah we need one too. Meet back here in an hour?"

Tony gave an arched look. "How long does it take you ladies to 'shower?"

That got him a head slap from Gibbs as Faith simply smirked."It's a matter of how long we want to shower Tony. We don't run out of hot water like you guys do."

Tara had apparently heard enough and walked over to physically pull her partner away from her uncle.

They met back at the control room an hour later, and Gibbs could already see a difference in his niece and her partner. It wasn't in how they dressed, as they were in typical outfits, but rather in the way they were carrying themselves.

While they were both family to him now he knew he was dealing with the Lock's command staff.

Faith had a file folder under her left arm, and motioned to Gibbs with her right.

Gibbs gave a single nod as he fell in behind the two women.

Their path took them to an elevator that started going down. That didn't worry Gibbs as he knew the Lock had sub-levels underneath the armory, but after a point he started wondering just how far down they were going to go.

Eventually the doors opened and Gibbs followed Faith and Tara into a control room.

This control room was far different then the one they carried out most of their operations. Where that room had obvious security it still had plenty of creature comforts. This control room was designed with security and security alone in mind.

What wasn't made of reinforced concrete was made of reinforced steel, even the electronics looked like they had been reinforced with the terminals and monitors bolted to desks and thicker, hard-wired cables where plug-ins would normally suffice.

Even the people showed the different atmosphere as they carried assault riffles where the soldiers up top just walked around with side arms. There were even racks of heavier weapons readily available on the walls.

Not to mention that his new training was helping his eyes pick out countless symbols of warding and protection seemingly everywhere.

He looked at them with both brows raised, and Faith just shook her head. "This is just the control room, but this is where we get your information entered."

She waved over a technician and Gibbs followed the man while Faith and Tara followed behind. His hand prints, left and right were taken, as was his right and left retinal scans. He gave a voice print, and then watched as all the information was entered into a secured system.

Gibbs looked at the tech. "What was all that for?"

Tara answered for the man who shook his head and left. "He doesn't know Uncle Gibbs. He's not supposed to. Please follow us."

They led him to another elevator where Gibbs laid his right hand on a scanner, and looked into a retinal scanner. After saying his name for a voice print the doors opened and he stepped in, watching curiously as Tara and Faith repeated the process.

Tara joined him first and explained. "The system knows that you are cleared. If you were detected in the elevator that would be fine, but if it detected you and two other lifeforms that hadn't identified themselves the security measures would activate."

He nodded as Faith joined them and the doors closed. "We going to the Hellmouth?" Gibbs asked.

Faith shook her head. "That's another elevator, and that's part of the tour everyone gets. You've been cleared for Spoilsport."

Gibbs wanted to ask, but he figured he would know soon enough, and when the elevator doors opened and he was directed to step out he had a good idea. The sight was familiar enough with metal and hydraulics all surrounding a familiar looking cylinder in the center of the single large area.

It looked like a missile silo, but the missile was upside down. He however quickly realized that was the point.

Faith could see the dawning comprehension on Gibbs face. "It's exactly what you think it is, and it's hanging right over the actual Hellmouth."

Gibbs pondered the missile for several moments. His mind calling up the briefings he had already had on the Hellmouth and it's previous openings. "How bad would it have to be to deploy?"

Faith handed him the file folder. "That has the details, but the short version is that Spoilsport is to be deployed if the Lock can not close the Hellmouth, and can not contain the forces coming out."

His eyes were looking up and down the inverted metal tube. "Yield?"

Faith exhaled. "It goes up every time we can get a higher yield weapon."

That surprised Gibbs, and Tara was the one to answer his surprised glance. "Uncle Gibbs, from our current projections if the Hellmouth was able to open and STAY open the forces on the other side would take the WORLD in under a week. With that in mind we are ready to send the entire west coast into the sea if that's what it takes to slow their entrance into this world."

Gibbs frowned, both at his nieces words, and the fact that she was the one saying them

Faith then addressed him. "And as one of the team leaders you're cleared to know about Spoilsport and have your finger on the trigger. That means that in case of catastrophe you will be able to launch Spoilsport." He frowned, obviously not pleased, but obviously knowing it was important. "Besides us three there are only two other people know about Spoilsport. My second in command Riley Finn, and the leader of Scooby Squad, Buffy Summers."

Gibbs frown grew. "That's it? The President doesn't know? What about the Joint Chief's?"

Faith shook her head. "They know the nature of the threat, and that we are ready to deploy countermeasures that could ruin the west coast, but since their terms of service have ends and ours don't they understood that taking those secrets with them into retirement wouldn't work. We have lines of communication open, and plans ready for humanity to counterattack, but they only know that they will get a signal, from Spoilsport, that will tell them to scramble."

Tara then spoke quietly. "Just like any other nuclear missile we're hoping to never deploy it, because if we have to that means the world has started ending and we're no longer preventing it, but simply not going gentle into that goodnight."

 

Chapter 14.

Apollo was fanning his face as he climbed out of the black SUV and handed the keys to one of the mechanics. "I don't know if you're having any disciplinary problems at the moment, but if you are have them detail the vehicle and it will break them in no time."

As the mechanic took his keys the smell that had the pilot fanning his face had the mechanic fanning his own. The smell was coming from inside the vehicle, from the four people inside the vehicle, and it got worse as they climbed out.

The four people were Scooby Squad, back from a mission to South America. It was Angel's first field mission as a mortal, and while it had been heavier then most people's first field mission Scooby Squad had been scrambled when one of their slayers in Brazil had reported three villages had been emptied of their inhabitants, without any traces of gunfire.

The news reports were labeling it death squads, and this time they weren't entirely wrong. A land developer had turned to demon summoning to clear out the lands rightful owners so he could grab up the properties for pennies on the dollar.

While the Lock's people all came out ok, Scooby Squad had been tagged a group of "gringo assassins" by the land owner and his corrupt police allies, and had narrowly escaped. So narrowly that they hadn't had a chance to shower the remains of the summoned demons away, and since the private jet didn't have shower facilities they had been fermenting ever since.

The team seemed to scowl in unison at Apollo, but didn't have the energy to comment as they walked past the two men and into the main area of the Lock.

They went straight to the elevator and it let them out at the control room where they started to head towards their quarters to clean up.

"Wait!" A voice called after them. "Hold up!" The voice was revealed to be Tara as she ran into and came out of her office with four packets of herbs. The blonde was trying not to show her reaction to the stench, but they could see her eyes were starting to tear. "I made these when I heard what happened. It will help clear that up."

They took the herbs and tried to not react to the way that Tara quickly retreated. It seemed doubly worse for the slayers and their enhanced sense of smell, but that just made it four times as worse for Buffy, and she was the first to make a beeline for the quarters she shared with Angel, and it's bathtub.

Tara's herbs did the trick and Buffy was sighing happily as she dried her hair and listened to her best friend Willow's story, as Angel lingered in the shower, Buffy seeming to need to repeat the facts to make sure she had them straight, and trying not to giggle as her mind said the facts would probably be the only straight thing about the story.

"So while I'm chopping my way through rain forest hunting demon death squads you're here having a 'Naked Lady Party' on the roof?" Willow's smile was so large Buffy thought it had to be painful. "And at this party Lex..."

Willow's smile somehow managed to grow, and her voice showed it as she started speaking. "Yeah... I was nervous, I mean really, really nervous, I had tried to run, but Abby dragged me back, and I had the distinct feeling she would have wrestled me to the ground if I had tried to run."

Buffy smiled. "No, she probably would have had Ziva do it, but wrestling with a oiled up naked woman would have went with the theme of the afternoon it seems."

Willow giggled, her eyes wide and excited. "Oh I got pinned by naked girl, but it wasn't Ziva. So I was there, just in my panties, and reminding myself to breathe while I looked around at a roof FULL of BEAUTIFUL naked women. Lex then tells me to sit up so she can get lotion on my back so I don't burn. So I managed to sit up instead of passing out and suddenly she's there, and oh my God Buffy she was firm with the muscles, but her skin was SO soft, and her hands were SO warm and she was rubbing them ALL over my body and pressing her NAKED body into mine!"

Willow was shaking with glee as she continued talking, and from Buffy's expression she was starting to worry her friend might forget to breathe as she kept speaking at a rapid clip. "And I mean I could feel EVERYTHING pressing into me! Her breasts were all perky and firm, but nice and squishy when they were pressed into my back, and her... um I'm not making you uncomfortable am I? I mean you don't like the girl bits like I like the girl bits..."

Buffy laughed softly. "But I have them. So don't worry."

Willow nodded. "Ok, so I can feel her... girl bits even at the small of my back, and I'm just trying to remember in with the good air and out with the bad, and wondering if this is what a heart attack feels like..." Buffy laughed out loud at that and Willow giggled as well. "And then she tells me to lay back, and Buffy, I lay back, and I knew I would let her do anything she wanted to me."

Buffy was grinning. "Willow? You did let her do anything she wanted to you."

Willow perked up, her smile growing, her shoulders back. "Yeah! I did didn't I? So she lays me on my back, and she slides between my legs, and I think she wanted to kiss my ankle!" Buffy was just nodding. "And then she starts rubbing the suntan lotion into my legs, and I feel like I'm about to explode, and Lex... Lex saw it too because she's then leaning in by my ear, and those amazing squishy breasts are resting on top of mine, and she asks if she should... finish."

Willow let out a giggle at her own word, but didn't give Buffy any time to comment. "And I nod because on some level I KNOW I'm surrounded by women who were watching me, and would see me..."

Buffy interrupted. "And that probably made it a little hotter?"

Willow blushed deeply, and nodded. "So I nodded, but that wasn't enough! Lex was going to make me say it, and I did. I mean I just said yes, but I said the word, I let her know I wanted to to make me..."

Buffy interrupted again. "Finish?"

Willow nodded vigorously. "Finish! But she didn't just make me finish. She straddled my hips and Buffy I could feel her... girl bits pressing down on my girl bits as she rubbed the lotion into my..."

Buffy interrupted again. "Upper girl bits?"

Willow kept nodding. "Upper girl bits, and I..."

Buffy was smiling as she interrupted this time. "Finished?"

Willow sighed happily. "Finished... I mean I had heard some girls could... finish that way, but I never had, but she was so amazing as she made me finish while smiling down at me with those incredible eyes. I wonder if she would like to do a ritual?"

Buffy frowned, but Willow didn't seem to notice. The conversation had started with Willow's shock that she had turned out to be a bonobo, and after Willow explained that to her Buffy had started getting nervous.

While she was happy Willow was happy, especially after being celibate since Tara had left her, she knew Willow WASN'T a bonobo, and hearing Willow already out to plan casting with Lex just let Buffy know she was right.

Willow however still seemed to be floating on the cloud Lex had left her on, and wanted to share her tale with the third member of their old group from high school, and even as Buffy followed her to go find Xander Buffy prayed it wouldn't go further because she didn't want to see the look on Giles face if Willow tried to tell the tale to her Watcher.

As they looked for Xander Buffy thought Willow had to be hearing theme music in her head, because the slender red head was practically strutting around the Lock, and Buffy's apprehension grew. Though everyone knew Lex's rep Buffy wondered if Willow knew just how big a club she had joined.

Neither of them were surprised when they found Xander in the mess hall, and Buffy put in her order while Willow began relating her tale.

Xander's first reaction was open mouthed shock, but then it morphed into a smile. "Well! I'm glad I don't have a gypsy curse because I would have just lost my soul!"

Buffy scowled at the reminder, but didn't speak.

"All right Will! Quasi-scoring with my name sake!"

Both women looked quizzically at his words, and Xander realized he should elaborate. "I'm Alexander, she's Alexandra..."

Buffy saw an opportunity to try to remind Willow what she had gotten into. "And she scores with countless women without even trying..."

Willow however interrupted, not seeming to even notice Buffy's attempt to remind her. "And you..." Her expression softened. "Don't"

He then scowled. "Well I may have if I could have made it to the naked party on the roof."

Willow grinned. "Um, probably not Xander. Lex actually nicknamed the roof 'No Man's Land."

Xander picked up on the glowing tone Willow used for the other witches name and he and Buffy shared a worried look before Xander started speaking. "Wait a minute! It's women only? That's discrimination!"

Willow rolled her eyes. "You sound exactly like Tony."

Buffy gave Xander the eye. "You sound exactly like Tony a lot of the time. What's up with that?"

Xander smiled, shrugging as he kept eating. "We know helping the team let off steam with some humor is more important then a little bit of ego."

Both women looked at each other, and blinked before Buffy spoke. "Who are you, and what have to done with Xander Harris?"

The man grinned. "Well I've been accused of trying to make him go blind, but that's not really dinner table conversation."

Buffy smiled as she rolled her eyes. "And there's the Xander we know and love."

 

Chapter 15.

Leroy Jethro Gibbs knew his niece could take care of herself. He had actually went to the extent of training with her a bit, but between what Faith had taught her, and her earlier experience as an amateur demon hunter, and he scowled thinking of her foray into amateur demon hunting, he was sure she could ship off to Paris Island tomorrow and do just fine.

However she was also his kin as well as the mission controller for a key military facility, and he didn't like the idea of her going anywhere unescorted.

It was with that in mind that he decided to follow her when he saw her sneaking out of the Lock around midnight one night.

He waited a long count before taking up her trail and was pleased that even then it took a good deal of his skill to follow her unnoticed. His gut however wasn't as pleased as it tried to tell him that her caution went beyond simply remaining aware of her surroundings.

That didn't change anything really, because if she was engaged in something off the books of the off the books organization she may need help, and he would be there to help her. There was no way in Hell Tara would go the way of Jenny Sheppard.

The knot in his gut only tightened when she went off the well lit paths into one of the local parks. While he might trust what Tara could do with her combat training, magickal abilities, and Beretta 93-R, the foliage and poor lighting increased the danger exponentially.

So when she sat down on a park bench he took up position in some nearby bushes. As he crouched however his memory dug up the slayer patrol schedules and his body started pumping adrenaline when he realized there were no patrols anywhere near the area.

As he waited Gibbs took out a small spotters scope that had come with the new bevy of gear he was going to need for demon hunting. Putting it to his eye he was switching back and forth between the light amplification and thermographic settings.

It was the light amplification that showed him something that had him wanting to swear, whether it was at his niece or just the circumstances he didn't know.

A man was approaching Tara, tall, skinny, PALE with bleached blond hair and wearing a black leather long coat. When Gibbs switched over to thermo it was obvious the guy didn't have any body heat of his own.

Quickly stashing the spotters scope he grabbed a wooden stake in his right hand, and his new side arm in his left. Actually it could almost be called his old side arm as he had first used the Colt 45 M1911A1 when he first joined the Corps. He had started using it again when it was explained that the Lock was trying to phase out the 9mm as too many of the beasts they fought could soak up more of the smaller caliber before showing the effects.

The Colt 45 however was designed to be a man stopper, and had almost as impressive of a track record against the monsters.

It got a chance to add another to it's tally as Gibbs raised the weapon and shouted. "Tara get down!" As he put three rounds through the vampire's heart.

The vampire hadn't hit the ground before Gibbs was dashing over to drive the wooden stake through it's heart, but he was intercepted, physically, as Tara grabbed him around the waist. "Don't do it Uncle Gibbs!"

The vampire showed it's true face as it snarled and tried to get up, but Tara turned to it and spoke. "Don't do it Spike!"

Both of the men turned to look at the blonde woman, and then back to each other, and Tara sighed. "I can vouch for both of you TO both of you. Now we need to relocate before a patrol gets dispatched." She walked over to the vampire, Spike, and put his arm over her shoulder. When she gave her uncle a meaningful look he moved over and took the other arm and helped the vampire from the scene.

They relocated to a spot closer to the college campus, and Gibbs realized that while it was patrolled it was patrolled earlier in the evening for students leaving class, and their slayers would have swept on.

He felt another stab of pride as he realized Tara had the schedules memorized like he did.

Once they were all settled he turned to look at Tara and gave her his most stern expression that DIDN'T promise a head slap. "Explain."

She nodded, the vampire just took out a cigarette and watched. "Have you heard of Spike?"

He nodded in turn. "Was one of Angel's people, but went rogue after you refused to take him in." He looked between the two and realized that wasn't the real story.

Tara shook her head. "Spike was one of Angel's people, and there was some issues in taking a demon in, but I had another idea."

"You made him your mole." Gibbs tone, and expression were indecipherable.

Tara shook her head. "I had the idea, and I ASKED him to be our mole."

He looked between the two and after Spike nodded Tara continued. "While Spike could have been fairly useful as another guy carrying a stake he IS a vampire, but he DOES have a soul, and it's a soul that wants to do good. I saw a combination there that could do a LOT of good."

Gibbs tone was still a schooled neutral. "How do you know he's not stringing you along? The last report I read is that he sold that soul for power and wealth."

The two blonds grinned at each other, and Gibbs expression shifted more towards hostile. Tara held up her hands, but it was Spike who was grinning as he answered. "She knows I'm loyal because she owns me, literally, had me sign a contract and everything."

Tara was smiling, grinning in an expression Gibbs knew that meant the woman was pleased with herself. "It was an idea I had after I heard about the contract Wolfram and Heart had Angel sign to give up his chance to be human again," Gibbs looked confused, knowing Angel WAS human again, and Spike scowled when he realized he was about to hear the story again as Tara spoke. "Scooby Squad managed to intercept the contract before it could be finalized."

He nodded as she continued. "So I was able to come up with what I call the 'Soul Steward Contract'..."

Spike interrupted, with a smirk. "She had me sell my soul to her so I couldn't sell it to anyone else."

She gave the vampire a glare and he grinned. "All right, didn't SELL it, but gave her power of attorney."

Tara arched her brows. "That's essentially it. He can sign any contract they put in front of him, but without my initials they can't lay claim to a thing."

That got an appreciative nod. "But you could sell it off, and he wouldn't know until they came to collect."

Spike blew out a cloud of smoke. "Believe me Uncle Gibbs, if it was anyone but her I would never have agreed."

He frowned. "But I read you were hurt in the escape." He glared at the vampire, but as he did he could see genuine remorse on the creature's face.

He could also hear it in Spike's voice as the vampire spoke. "Broke two of her ribs, and believe me, you couldn't hate me for that any more then I could."

Tara shook her head strongly. "I TOLD you to Spike. If you were a recognized member of the Lock I would have ordered you to. It helped sell your 'turn', and Faith shattered your arm in two places, put a full clip of .45's in your chest, dislocated your jaw, and put a stake so close to your heart that if it had had any splinters you would have been dusted."

Spike was nonchalant. "Yeah and it was key in selling myself as a turn coat." He showed a flash of pain. "Much like these will be."

Gibbs frowned, almost looking embarrassed, but Spike grinned. "Don't worry bout it mate. Can tell them the truth, one of those Lock bastards nearly did me in." He then sobered. "Good to know the Bird has a good shot watching her back."

There was a moment of silence as the two men shared a silent communication, both recognizing that care for the gentle white witch in the other. The moment broke and Spike reached into his jacket, producing two optical discs. He held up one. "This is the latest report." He held up the second disc. "This is the key. I used fnarl demon tongue for the password."

The two blondes saw Gibbs confused expression and Tara explained. "The report is just that, what Spike has gotten since the last report. There are ways of emergency communication, but for the most part I just take what he gives me and filter it into the Lock's normal intelligence reports. The key itself has a password that comes from a list I have, but that Spike put the password in a demon language that he picks AS he's encoding."

Gibbs nodded. "Seems fairly secure."

Spike scoffed. "It's gotta be. I may be willing to take the risk, but we're talking about selling out creatures that practice torture like some practice wood working." He saw the two blue eyed humans share a look and he focused on Gibbs. "Wood worker?" At Gibbs nod Spike continued. "Then you can understand why I don't want to end up in their 'shop'. So I'll take every precaution I can."

Gibbs didn't argue. "You're taking big risks, I get that."

Spike didn't agree, but didn't argue. "I don't think you really get it, but I hope you never have to. Anyway, there you go Pet." The words were said as he handed the discs to Tara. "Hope it helps."

Tara smiled a warm, grateful expression. "Thank you Spike."

It was obvious the vampire wasn't comfortable with the moment, but he didn't break it as he nodded, and then turned to move off.

Tara however wasn't done. "Be safe Spike."

Spike laughed, his back already turned. "What fun would that be?"

The two family members turned to meet each others eyes, and Gibbs was the first to speak. "So Slayer knows?"

Tara nodded. "Just her, Spike, and I, and now you."

"He could get killed by friendly fire."

Tara frowned. "He nearly has several times, both Buffy and Angel seem to have taken his 'selling out' personally, but the more danger he faces from us the less danger he faces from the creatures he's around every day."

Gibbs gave her an arched look. "And you can do your best to direct Buffy, Angel, and anyone else away from him as much as possible."

Tara just smiled her half smile, but didn't speak as Gibbs did. "His intel any good?"

Tara smiled, both brows rising. "Who do you think told me to look into a Corporal Marty Jensen?"

 

Chapter 16.

Naked, Lex padded to the ritual area. She wasn't going to say that she was one of those who felt that being skyclad was necessary for her to commune with the divine, because even she would crack jokes at her own expense about just how often she's communing.

No, Lex was just at her most comfortable naked, and doing everything she could to be comfortable for ritual just made sense to her.

Taking up a set of metal tongs she picked up a coal and lit it, blowing on it to help the black lump turn to a glowing ember. Once she was certain it was smoldering nicely she put it in the tiny brazier and added some myrrh gum.

For Lex it was all about the ritual, the rite, it was where her magick truly lay. While she let people call her witch she knew it wasn't the best of descriptors as her magick didn't lie in herb or stone, but was called forth with names and ceremonies.

Her breathing dropped easily into the four fold breath, exhale to a four count, inhale to a four count, hold to a four count, and repeat. As she did so Lex's felt her body slip into that familiar rhythm as her mind reached that place of calm.

No, she didn't mind being called witch. In some cases it was better then the pick a card jokes the proper title of magician tended to evoke, and the truth was that in the modern age when magic was just a thing for TV specials and children's parties the titles had lost much of their honor and meaning.

She didn't despair however, her rituals, her rites, were based on a universe that has order and purpose and where those ancient titles were now used by fools with bad hair cuts and teams of well paid "witnesses" practitioners of the art now worked together with those they never had before.

Lex knew that associations like the Lock's War Witches/Wizards never would have been dreamed of, and her friendship with Tara Maclay never would have happened.

The universe had purpose, existence had a plan, and it was unfolding as it should. As she carried that small brazier to the east and called the Guardians of the Watchtowers of the East she committed herself to that plan, asking that universe to give her the circle she was blessing to make her own universe where her will ruled, and as she called the Guardians of the Watchtowers of the South she felt herself given that blessing. The Guardians of the Watchtowers of the West came next, and as she finished with the calling of the Guardians of the Watch Towers of the North she could feel her magic thrumming beneath her skin.

Now sitting Indian style in the center of the circle and facing East once more Lex let her mind go deeper, let her body calm further, felt her soul as more then what was bound to her mortal shell.

She gave thanks first, showing she knew how blessed her life was, and how damned it could have been. Then she asked the question that she had been asking ever since that night she burned her family alive, that question she knew wouldn't be simply answered, but could be solved in this place blessed by her will and sanctified by the divine.

It was part of the answer she had been seeking, the realization that dark did not mean damned, and that the divine was present even in the deepest of shadows. Just like it was present with her in this room.

"I can not tell you how wonderful it is to know that you know that." The voice was soft, female, and as eyes that Lex didn't even realize she had closed flew open she was left regarding a woman standing before her.

Well, not before her, but rather off to the side... in the position where one called the Goddess. The Goddess, Lex contemplated the woman as she reminded her heart to keep beating, it was an accurate enough term as mortal terms go.

Like any other mortal word it often failed to capture the majesty that was now standing before her. She was as naked as Lex, with a body that seemed the pinnacle of health while still retaining womanly curves.

The woman's skin was a soft white, and that was literal white. Not a soft pink, or a pale beige, but a genuine white that almost seemed to glow. The hair on her head was a deep, dark black, so dark that it seemed to be absorbing the light around it, there was also a small patch of hair between her legs that was a similar black, that was trimmed like Lex kept her own.

Looking back at the woman's face there was a small smile. "That was for your benefit Sweet One, since I'm here for you."

In fact the Goddess seemed a mix of either that white near light that made up the large part of her body or that primordial black that made up her hair, eyes, lips, and nails.

Lex blinked, several times, ok she was there for Lex, she was obviously not human. She was obviously not human, and she was standing in the Goddess spot, she was a Goddess. When the smiling woman stepped into Lex's circle without the circle showing any effect she knew it was because she had invited her here, called her here when she raised the circle.

She was Lex's Goddess.

That realization made the woman's smile broaden as she sat across from Lex in the same fashion, and Lex realized she could read her thoughts. That idea didn't disturb her like she thought it should, and instead she let he eyes roam over her Goddess, taking in the woman's naked form with more appreciation, and less shock.

There was a flash of arousal, and that was quickly followed by Lex giving herself a mental Gibbs slap for scoping out a Goddess.

The Goddess however grinned at her, a grin Lex would almost call wicked. "It's all right to look my Lovely. I am."

That earlier flash of arousal was seared away by a much larger one at the Goddesses admission she was checking Lex out as well, and it only grew as those black orbs made an obvious perusal to Lex's hardening nipples and down to her warming sex.

When those eyes came back up they locked with Lex and the Goddesses expression softened. "Does this truly shock you my child? You called and I answered, you needed me and I am here. Though you do not know my name I know yours." Before Lex could even form the follow up question in her mind the Goddess reached out and took Lex's hands in her own, bringing them up to her mouth to kiss them.

"I am Isis, and I am yours as you are Mine."

Lex felt her eyes want to find the floor, but the hands holding her own let go so they could cup Lex's cheeks, and Lex found herself being eased forward into a kiss. Her head swam, and her body trembled as the hands that had been cupping her face slid down to rest at the small of her back as her Goddess, as Isis embraced her.

It was good that they were because as the kiss broke as Lex was already trembling and weak in Isis arms, resting her face to the hollow of the Goddesses neck. Her mind was able to form the thought how that kiss didn't even involve tongues, and when Isis gave a soft, yet throaty giggle in her ear Lex knew she had heard that thought as well.

The right arm stayed around Lex while the left lifted Lex's chin so she was looking her Goddess in the eyes. "Do you want this My Priestess?"

Lex knew, she knew with absolute certainty what was being offered. Scared communion, divine joining, the Great Rite, and she knew she wanted it more then anything. Still reeling she took breath to voice the words, but found her mouth otherwise occupied as Isis pulled her into a kiss and Lex then felt the... divine feeling of Isis tongue against her own.

As that connection continued Lex felt Isis's right hand slide to her right butt cheek and give the firm globe a squeeze. Lex moaned at the sensation and arched harder into the Goddess.

The kiss broke and Isis smiled as her left hand moved to Lex's shoulders to lay the woman back on the floor inside the circle.

Now on her back Lex was left looking upward as her legs were gently guided apart. Unbearably soft hands seemed content to caress the insides of her thighs and along her pubic bone as Isis sat on her left side, and looked utterly engrossed in exploring the other woman's flesh.

The exploring hands moved upward to caress just under Lex's breasts and the all too mortal woman whimpered her growing need.

Isis froze for a moment, her face taking on a solemn expression as Isis then picked up Lex's right foot and kissed the sole. The action was then repeated on her left foot, and Lex knew it was a benediction.

Kisses were placed on her right and left knees, and Lex recognized them as blessings.

A kiss was placed over her womb, and Lex gasped, not in arousal, but in shock at the joy infusing her with each kiss.

Kisses were then placed on her right and left breasts, and that love was pumping through her heart along with her blood.

As Isis kissed her lips that joy filled her and Lex was blinking away tears, to which Isis smiled lovingly and leaned in to kiss them away.

One her face was dry and her emotions back to more the aching arousal rather then heart breaking joy she got a grin from her Goddess as Isis leaned in to suck Lex's left nipple into her mouth. Lex had her knees bent so her feet were flat, and they seemed to be trying to find traction, her body wanting to push more into the contact.

Her arms were laid out straight from the shoulder, and her hands seemed to be trying to find grip on the cool stone floor.

Stone, it was like an altar, Lex was the offering, and as this realization came to her she felt the mouth attached to her breast smile. Isis crawled over her, the brushing of their flesh a flame that ran from the points of contact to Lex's pounding heart and overloading brain.

Now kneeling between spread legs Isis rested her left hand at the top of Lex's mound, using her thumb and index finger to spread Lex open. Her first two right fingers moved to Lex's entrance, but Isis first looked into Lex's eyes.

There she saw want, need, desire, and love, and the Goddess smiled, as she eased those two fingers inside Lex's damp, clinging heat.

Lex moaned loudly, and while it was certain Isis didn't NEED to breathe her chest was heaving as her fingers started a slow, steady motion. A motion that was complimented when her left hand stopped holding Lex open and moved to use that index finger to guide back the hood to Lex's clit so the thumb could stimulate it more directly.

Lex had expected herself to be making more sound, but it was like what was happening to her was moving past her body, making her feel free, and light. It was as if she was floating, and the only connection to the Earth was the hands so skillfully pleasing her.

Except she knew they weren't connecting her to the Earth, they were connecting her to her Goddess, and the connection wasn't just to the here and now, wasn't just bound to this place, or even this time.

It amazed her that such a realization could come to her mind while her head just rolled back and forth, helpless in the waves of pleasure Isis was sending through her.

There was a moment things seemed to clear as the fingers on her clit vanished, but that moment passed as her body arched as a mouth replaced those fingers and Isis was sucking at her as the other fingers kept moving in and out, and Lex felt herself wanting to give everything, give her all to the divinity tasting of her.

Those lips smiled again, and she felt Isis calm her sucking, and she knew that it was because Isis too wanted to get lost in the moment, but knew if she had done so she could have and probably would have hurt Lex.

Her mind locked up with that revelation, she knew, she knew what Isis was thinking. Not everything she was thinking as she figured a full connection with the mind of a Goddess would drive her mad, but she knew the mind of the Goddess that was here and now with her.

The sucking had softened, and then fingers were removed, and Lex heard herself whimper in dismay. Until Isis started licking with her tongue, long deep motions that went inside Lex while still coming out at the top to lick her throbbing clit, and Lex knew she was close. It was perhaps the one certainty in her overloading mind.

Her back arched and she felt a set of hands clasp her own, and Lex was thankful for the contact as she felt her own body being consumed by that white light, and she heard her voice cry out that first cry of a new born babe.

When her senses came back to her she was as weak as a new born, and she too was being cradled to a woman's breast. Looking up she was looking into the smiling face of Isis, and as the Goddess brushed back her sweaty hair Lex found herself falling deeper and deeper into the Goddesses eyes, where she saw stars born and die, and it was as if she watched the universe from it's first birth to it's last gasp.

She wanted to go deeper, but she felt herself being pulled back as her body was being pushed back, but still held. "No Little One, there are places you are not ready to go. Worlds your mind as it now is could not comprehend, or even withstand."

Lex nodded, resting her head to Isis breast again. "Yes Isis."

As she was held, and her sweaty hair was pet she felt herself wanting to lean in, wanting to suck one of the still hard nipples on the firm breasts she new nuzzled.

There was something she had to first do however. Crawling down Isis's body she reached the Goddesses feet. Lifting them as one she resting her forehead to the soles while kissing the balls of the feet, not even feeling the tears in her eyes.

"Glory to your feet, each step gracing the world with your presence."

She kept Isis's legs together as she slid to the left to kiss the Goddesses knees.

"Glory to your knees, at which I bow."

Sliding further up she placed a kiss above the neatly trimmed black curls.

"Glory to your sex, from which all life flows."

Moving higher up she kissed Isis's breasts.

"Glory to your breasts from which your nourish us."

She then moved up to look into Isis's benevolently smiling face. "Blessed are your lips, from which I drink of eternity." With those words she kissed her Goddess.

She then felt unsure, wanting to ask, but already answered in the smile looking at her, and she brought her mouth to her Goddesses breast, sucking, firmly, smoothly, not as the new born babe she had felt like, and barely as the lover she was so used to being, but rather as a worshiper.

The act not an act of passion, but of devotion, and yet Isis's passions seemed more and more aroused by the act. The fingers that had been gently caressing Lex's hair now holding it to keep the mortal to her breast.

When Lex brought her other hand to the other firm globe Isis gasped and Lex sucked harder, until she felt her mouth pulled away. Looking up curiously she saw a look that told her while Isis WAS a divinity she was a female one, and Lex knew she needed more.

Lex smiled, but looked for permission, looked for the right to worship in another way. A small smile cracked her face, if they were standing she would be asking to kneel before her Goddess. When Isis giggled she knew she was still reading Lex's thoughts.

A hand gently pressing on her shoulder let Lex know she had permission, and she slid her body down as Isis lay fully on her back. While the flesh between the Goddesses legs was still the same iridescent white when she brought her mouth to that little pearl and began sucking at it she was able to use the full range of her passionate skills.

Skills that combined the sucking with her lips, and occasionally her teeth to keep that bundle of nerves on the edge of overload without going over as she slid her first two fingers into damp, gripping folds.

That connection let her know that Isis had to remind herself to let Lex move her fingers in and out as Lex did so because she found the feel of her priestess fingers inside her already so delightful.

On a sudden urge Lex curled those penetrating fingers back towards herself in a sort of beckoning motion, and she found it, that swollen bit of tissue up inside the vaginal canal, the G-spot.

Of course she found it because Isis wanted her to find it, but as she brought her finger tips to touch it the Goddess shrieked, and Lex pulled back where she could watch the Goddess, her Goddess, her Isis, writhe as warm, clear fluid squirted out of her.

It splashed on Lex as she used her fingers on the lips and clit of Isis to draw out the orgasm, and the Goddess trembled and shook.

With one last tremor she fell limp, and silent, but Lex could feel her wanting her Priestess to continue.

Lex crawled up her goddess' body, placing kisses like offerings along the divine landscape. When she reached the perfect bow of Isis' lips, she drank as if from the sacred Nile. The kisses melted one in the next and Lex was brought to tears by the joy filling her from within. She loved Isis with everything she was, would be, or ever had ever been.

They made love, and of that point, Lex was clear. She loved her goddess and her goddess loved her in return. Their passions ebbed and flowed like the tides. The circle Lex had cast earlier began to rise visibly around them like a translucent sphere, like a soap bubble tinted with gold and blue and green.

Lex cried out as her body responded to her goddess. Hours passed, and Lex's voice grew hoarse and husky as she whispered her words of devotion again and again. She whispered prayers of the ancients, prayers of thanks, prayers of every kind. Isis was at times tender and at times so full of passion it left Lex panting afterwards.

Lex returned to the well of Isis' desire, letting her lips and tongue worship, and she was once more overcome by ecstasy when she felt her goddess climax. She moved up the skin as white as pristine marble, but as soft as any woman Lex had ever known, and rested in her goddess' arms.

Lex smiled as soft, delicate arms surround her and she marveled at the strength she felt just below the sinewy muscles.

Isis pressed a loving kiss on the top of Lex's head. "You do not disappoint, my Little One."

Tears rolled down Lex's face, but there were of a kind Lex had never known. More than joy, more than contentment, the tiny droplets expressed a connection with the Divine. She's spent hours literally taking her goddess inside her in every sense of the word, or perhaps it had been days.

Isis cradled Lex as the mortal took in gulps of air and tried to steady her pounding pulse. Lex couldn't lift her arm from where it rested across the alabaster breast she'd so completely worshiped. Lex wanted to lift her head, but knew that task was beyond her at the moment, as she sighed and nuzzled into the crook of Isis' neck and let her body go limp, more spent than she thought possible.

The sound of boots on the ground registered and seemed so out of place it took a moment for Lex to remember she was still in Sunnydale, at the Lock. Then the sacred moment was shattered, shattered by the sounds of booted feet running into the room.

Looking up she was looking into the faces of Faith, Tara, a good dozen slayers, and an equal number of war wizards.

 

Chapter 17.

Tara's jaw dropped, and she moved herself in front of Faith, the slayers, and war wizard's with her hands out, and it was obvious they were the ones she was protecting, not the two naked women laid out on the floor in front of them.

Isis grinned, and placed another loving kiss to the crown of Lex's head. "You need to drop the circle Dear Heart."

Lex needed several seconds to process the command as she seemed to feel it more important to smile deliriously at the divinity.

As Isis's expression grew even more fond Tara turned to her people. "Put down your weapons now!" To their credit her students, the war wizards already had. Faith had as well, but that was more because of her unwavering faith in her lover. The slayers needed an extra minute. While they trusted Tara they could sense the supernatural, and whatever it was before them was off any recognized scale.

By the time Tara turned back the circle was down, and she motioned her people to stay back as she stepped forward. "Hello My Lady. I apologize for the intrusion, but we hadn't expected your presence."

"Isis, she's Isis." Lex paused, blinking. "I'm..."

While Lex looked confused Isis laughed out loud. "Now is not the time for humor Sweet One. No matter how funny."

Lex showed she was joking as she laughed into where she nuzzled Isis' chest.

Tara wanted to roll her eyes at Lex, but from what she could tell Lex was probably loaded, on endorphins and magick, but loaded none the less.

Isis smiled at Tara. "And ideally you never would have known I was here, and my dear child would have walked out not five minutes after I arrived as you perceive time, but I got carried away." Those obsidian orbs looked down at Lex adoringly.

"Now however she should rest in a cleansing bath, and then sleep." With those words Isis stood and picked up Lex with her, cradling her with effortlessly. She then walked through the group of mortals, who realized it would be a good idea to part before her.

She walked out the door of the ritual room, with Tara, Faith, and the two teams of warriors right behind her.

Isis was heedless as she walked the halls of the fact that every mortal who saw her stopped dead in their tracks. In the case of Anthony DiNozzo he actually stopped when his face collided with a wall, but he stopped looking where he was going because he couldn't pull his gaze from Isis, and even Leroy Jethro Gibbs, who had been walking next to him dropped his coffee cup.

Once she got to Lex's quarters she walked to the bathroom, and started running a tub of hot water. She added sea salt from the collection of ritual implements in the main area, and slowly eased Lex in.

When she stood up it was as if Lex knew she was going to go, and looked up imploringly, seeming on the verge of tears.

Isis knelt back down next to the tub and took the woman in her arms, easing her back she placed a kiss on Lex's forehead. "I'll never be too far my Treasure, I never was."

Lex nodded sadly, but was calm as she was eased back into the hot waters, and just like that she was gone. Not gone entirely because Lex could still feel her presence inside of her, but more that she was no longer bringing as much of herself to bear on that single place and time as she had been.

Her head was back on the edge of the tub as Tara walked into the room. She guessed that Tara had felt the presence of Isis depart, and decided she wouldn't be intruding at that point.

The blonde simply had an arched brow.

Lex simply gave her a smile in return. "What?"

The brow stayed up and the other one joined it, behind her Faith could be heard ushering everyone out.

The brows stayed up, but the eyes looked down at the water in the tub. Where it had just been clear water and sea salt it was now a milky white, much like the alabaster body of the Goddess, and Lex hadn't been in there five minutes.

Lex just smiled again and shrugged.

Tara sighed, shaking her head. She grabbed the sea salt, which Isis had left on the sink. "You should probably drain the tub and do it again."

Lex nodded, but didn't seem to have the strength to sit up and get to the drain. Tara sighed, but was smiling as she rolled up a sleeve and reached down to the stopper.

As her hand sunk in the water up to the forearm she froze. "Oh Lex." She felt it, a portion, and it brought tears of joy to her eyes as she felt it. The essence of a Goddess willingly given. It wasn't even in the water really, it was a mere echo, just the residue washing off Lex as much as the sweat that had coated the woman's body when they first found her.

It took an act of will that even surprised Tara to pull he hand from the water, but it wasn't completed as Lex gently reached out and caught her hand, guiding it back to the water, smiling. "She wouldn't mind."

Both of them turned when Faith popped her head in at Tara's exclamation. Tara smiled, Faith understood it was "Witch Time" but she was worried, and her slayer wouldn't be too far away as long as she was worried.

She wasn't worried about Tara though. Even with Lex naked and Tara with her hand in the naked woman's bathwater, and a joyous look on her face. Faith understood the connection the two witches shared, and not only was she not bothered by it, she was happy Tara had someone she could have that close of a bond with.

When Faith saw everyone was fine she nodded and walked back out of the room.

Tara completed the action she had started out to do, and as the water drained away she allowed herself to look at Lex fully. It wasn't like when they were at ritual, or even when they were tanning up on the roof. This time she was inspecting Lex, physically as well as mystically.

The woman was pale, and shaky, and Tara realized Lex must have had a literal marathon lovemaking session. She didn't seem dehydrated or anything though, and Tara figured Isis must have made sure her physical needs were taken care of.

Lex however was a physical being and she looked like she had been overloaded. Her mind body, and dare she say spirit taxed to the limits of it's endurance.

Tara however could tell her fellow witch couldn't be happier though.

So she smiled at her friend, leaning in to kiss the woman's forehead. In that position she could see down into the tub, and right above Lex's pubic bone there was a symbol.

Tara's soft breath of surprise drew Lex's attention, and there was a moment of confusion before she smiled. "It's a tyet, the Knot of Isis. Kind of like the ankh, but not quite so commercialized." It was in fact like the ankh, but each side of the crosspiece bent downward to lay parallel to the main body beneath the upper loop.

It was plain black, almost like a tattoo, but it looked fully healed, and she had seen Lex fully naked on the roof a couple days ago so she knew it hadn't been there at that point.

She reached out to touch it, but then paused, only to have Lex snicker. "You know damn well I'm not shy."

Tara did roll her eyes then, and let her fingers touch the symbol. There was no response, but when Lex reached down and touched it herself she smiled even wider. "It's her way of letting me know I'm not alone, and I'll never be alone again."

Tara smiled, reached out and touched Lex's shoulder. "Get some sleep, when you wake up go get a full physical, then come to me so I can scan you mystically and debrief."

Lex started to protest. "I could..."

Tara shook her head. "Isis said you'd need your rest, and I'm thinking she's right. You've just done something that hasn't been done in at least 2000 years Lex. You need to rest."

The protest had already died, and Tara could see that Lex was falling asleep in front of her. "Get cleaned up Lex. I'll be in the other room with Faith, and we'll check up on you to make sure you don't fall asleep in there."

She didn't fall asleep, but she did need two more tubs of water before she stopped turning the water white, but once she was cleansed she crawled into bed she fell asleep, for twelve hours.

As Lex woke up she nuzzled her face into the warm, soft surface she was resting against. At first that didn't surprise her, her bed, blankets and pillows were wonderfully soft, and after sleeping they were typically warmed by her own body heat, then she heard a pulse in the surface she was resting her cheek against, and she sat upright.

She found a naked Nurse Cameron Baum blinking up at her smiling. "Hello Gorgeous." She saw Lex's confusion, and her smile grew. "Don't worry, Tara realized you should probably have someone to keep an eye on you while you slept, and since I have both medical training and have slept with you plenty of times before I volunteered."

Lex just let her eyes wander up and down the nurse's naked frame, and that got a grin. "I couldn't help myself. You looked so cute, and so peaceful, so... cuddly."

Lex laughed and leaned in to place a kiss between the woman's bare breasts. She then left her face resting there, and Cameron reached up to play with Lex's hair. "So, a Goddess?"

"Yep. Isis, Egyptian Goddess of Magick."

Lex could partially hear Cameron's words from the fact the woman was speaking them, and partially because she could hear them reverberating in the woman's chest. "I knew that part, it's already been circulating."

That had the head lifting from Cameron's chest to regard the brown eyed woman who simply grinned. "What? You had a GODDESS... emphasis on HAD."

Lex bit her bottom lip as she replied. "It was more she had me."

Cameron laughed, her eyes tinkling with amusement. "Be that as it may, you are now like the Goddess of Lesbian Sex!"

Lex sat up, straddling Cameron's hips, actually sitting on them, the blankets now pooling at her waist, leaving both women exposed. "What?"

Baum kept grinning. "Lex, baby, everyone KNEW you knew how to touch a woman, but the slayers and war witches all said that Isis said she got carried away. That YOU got her carried away." Lex blushed, deeply as she listened. "So not only did you attract a GODDESS, you rocked her world... worlds... ok I'm not a witch like you so I don't know how that works, but you got a Goddess, and got her 'carried away'."

Lex buried her face between Cameron's breasts as if she wanted to hide out there for awhile, and for a short while Cameron was happy to let her, but then she started sitting up, her expression regretful. "As much as I REALLY want to stay here and let you get me 'carried away' Tara was pretty insistent you get a full exam as soon as you woke up."

Lex climbed off of Cameron and started to pad towards the door.

"Lex?"

She turned upon hearing her name and Cameron kept speaking. "Please get dressed."

Lex put her hands on her hips. "I never thought I'd hear you say those words to me."

Cameron frowned. "I never thought I'd say them, but Ducky's working the med bay right now, and while I'll do your pelvic I don't want to give the dear old man a heart attack with the full Lexy."

Lex shrugged and walked over to her dresser.

Cameron actually seemed surprised at that. "You really wouldn't care?"

Lex smiled as she took out a red halter top. "Nope. Well I mean I wouldn't want to give him a heart attack, but I'm pretty sure he's seen a naked woman before."

 

Chapter 18.

Tara arrived to a conversation already in progress between Doctor Mallard and Rupert Giles.

Giles spoke almost casually, the story having rolled off his lips countless times before. "And with the rise of humanity our world became inhospitable for the demons and most fled while others took on some humanity to survive in the new world."

It was a version of a tale he had been hearing ever since he had first accepted his destiny as a Watcher, and he was now sharing it with Donald Mallard to help the man understand why the demons he was studying had the human traits that they did.

The two men were sitting in chairs by a desk.

Doctor Mallard however didn't seem convinced. "Why only humans?"

Rupert didn't understand the question. "What?"

Ducky smiled."Why only humans? While the demons may have retreated in the face of humanities arrival it's not like we arrived alone. There were plenty of other creatures that arrived with us, and were quite happy to survive as well as we did, perhaps better in a few cases like the cockroach or alligator, but the demons still chose humanity?"

Giles took off his glasses and started cleaning them. "Well for the most part, I mean there are demons who are far more animalistic, and don't show the capacity for reason..."

Ducky was smiling and shaking his head. "I'm not picking a fight with you old boy. I'm just asking a version of the question evolutionary theory has danced around since Darwin first came up with the concept... 'Why humans?' Why did humans survive when so many stronger and faster creatures died out? The demon issue just raises the question of why demons would choose to take on elements of creatures that were so much weaker then they? From the time line you seem to be describing even massive beasts like the dinosaur would be available, but they choose humans?"

Giles put his glasses back on. "So what is it you are trying to say?"

"That perhaps the demons knew something we didn't. That perhaps they gave us more credit then we give ourselves. They DID choose humanity, and while you say that they are waiting for the mortal creatures to die out they seem extremely fond of the mortal creatures that eventually gained supremacy to bond themselves to as they wait."

The two men seemed happy to continue the debate, and while Tara was tempted to add her witchy two cents to the conversation when she looked over to a screened area of the medical bay she saw the Lex's physical had already progressed to the pelvic exam.

Walking over she saw Lex was stripped to the waist, but covered with a sheet as Nurse Baum was between her legs performing the exam.

Smiling she walked over and touched Lex on the shoulder. When the woman looked up she started speaking. "How are you doing Sweetie?"

Lex dramatized a pout. "Awful! Baum has me stripped to the waist with my legs spread and she's being a TOTAL professional!"

Tara giggled, and the rest of the room made similar sounds of amusement. She looked over her shoulder and met the eyes of Doctor Mallard. With a nod he broke off his conversation with Giles and grabbed a chart that was sitting on the desk and met Tara in the middle of the room.

"Well, even before this encounter, Alexandra was as fit as Stradivarius," Ducky said as he looked at her chart. "All her tests are within normal ranges, and if anything, she seems more healthy."

He flipped a few pages and hummed as read. "Her hormone levels are normal, and her blood counts are perfect. I'm happy to say that even her iron levels are normal. Lex tends to be a bit anemic." He glanced over at the beautiful woman. "That's common for young women, and not surprising since she tends toward the svelte side."

Tara nodded. "Did you run the other test?"

Ducky nodded but had a rather confused expression. "It was negative, as I suspected."

"What test?' Lex asked rolling her head to look at them from across the bay.

"A pregnancy test," Ducky said as he adjusted his glasses.

Lex's eyes widened. "I didn't even think of that." she said as she looked at Tara. "Thanks," she said sincerely.

"I must be missing something," Ducky said,clearly confused. "You were with a woman, yes?"

"A goddess," Tara corrected. "And a goddess could easily impregnate another woman."

"Ah," Ducky said, suddenly remembering his studies on the ancient Greeks and the many ways Zeus had impregnated women.

"Isis would not do that unless she told me," Lex said with absolute certainty.

Tara nodded. "I still had to be sure. No one has performed the great rite with an actual goddess in 2000 years." She smiled at Lex. "And as perfect as your are, sweetie, I was a little nervous at the idea of a little demi-god Lex running around. Hell, every woman on the planet would turn gay."

Lex pretended to polish her fingernails on her top and gave Tara a playfully smug grin. "I'm doing a pretty good job on that front myself," she boasted.

"Yes, you are," Tara said, but her smile was muted. It was no secret that the women of the Lock were intrigued by Lex. Heck, she was like catnip and chocolate rolled into one for almost every woman on the base. Tara's eyes darkened. Now that a Goddess had chosen Lex, the young witch might just be on the radar of a much wider field.

"What?" Lex asked.

"Just thinking," Tara said. She'd have to do some research. The last thing the Lock needed was more attention of from mystic realm.

"So no problems?" While Tara trusted the Doctor, she didn't seem entirely convinced.

Ducky just shook his head. "Not a one. I even compared the results to her previous physicals and found nothing noteworthy. Even her new tattoo seems an ordinary tattoo despite the face she didn't have it yesterday."

Tara exhaled. "Thank you Doctor Mallard."

She walked back over and Cameron looked up. "Same here, from everything we can tell Lex is the same Lex she's always been."

Lex quipped right in. "And if there would be anyone qualified to evaluate me below the waist..."

Baum scowled and Lex held up her hands. "What? I have total respect for your professionalism, but I AM naked below the waist with a hottie between my legs..." She snickered. "If I DIDN'T make jokes Tara would probably think THAT was a sign that something was wrong."

The room laughed again, and Cameron even nodded. "Okay, but now it's time to put your pants on!"

Lex dramatized another pout. "Making me get dressed before coming to the medical bay, now telling me to put my pants on. You've changed Baum!"

As Lex got her pants on Cameron then stepped in and gave Lex a hard smack on the ass, and Lex sighed happily. "Now THERE is my girl." She then grinned and turned and the two women shared a kiss... one that Tara realized was on the road to escalating.

Reaching in Tara physically pulled the two women apart to their whimpers of disapproval. Looking around she saw the two refined English gentlemen NOT looking at the display, and she simply sighed as she kept a hold of Lex's arm and dragged her from the room.

Once out of the bay Tara slowed her pace and linked her arm with Lex's. "Honestly Sweetie do you FEEL any different?"

Lex smiled. "Better, not so much in a physical or even magickal sense... I just feel... like I finally KNOW. I always believed that the world was a basically good place, that it had order, and reason and purpose, but it was just that, a belief. I had doubts, I had concerns, I had times when I truly thought those beliefs were just my mind protecting itself from some hideous reality. Now I KNOW."

Tara looked at Lex, her smile growing, and she nodded, and the two women continued down the hall. They continued to a million and three curious looks at the dark witch, and instead of seeming upset by the scrutiny Lex smiled at each and every person. Even winking at the women, to their blushing, flushed delight.

Tara rolled her eyes. "And so your legend grows."

Lex smacked her lips. "So they tell me."

As they entered the control room Willow actually sat up at the sight of Lex. "Hi Lex!" She was waving frantically.

Lex blinked at the enthusiastic response. "Hey Willow."

Tara used their linked arms to pull Lex into her office before Willow or Lex could say any more. There she found Tara frowning at her.

Lex regarded Tara carefully. "Okay, I KNOW that isn't jealousy."

Tara scowled, waving her hand at the ridiculous notion. She then sighed, moving to sit behind her desk, as Lex took a chair in front of it. "No, no, no, no. It's not jealousy. It is however knowing Willow." Seeing Lex's confusion Tara sighed. "Sweetie, your legend really is growing... and I mean that, I mean you bedded a Goddess. So everyone really does know your reputation. I'm just afraid that Willow knows it intellectually, but not emotionally."

Lex's face fell, and Tara could tell she understood. The witch ran her fingers through her hair before replying. "You may be right... all things considered you're probably right, and I'm probably going to have to have a talk with Willow, but I didn't do anything wrong Tara."

Tara protested. "I know you didn't mean to..."

Lex cut her off. "I didn't... Tara, my reputation really does proceed me, and while we could debate knowing emotionally versus intellectually Willow DID know, and I DID give her a chance to call me off. She didn't, she made a grown up choice." Her face grew sad. "If anything Babe I think the biggest problem has been that no one has been willing to have Willow face the consequences of her grown up choices. She knew what she was getting into. Hell the whole damn roof did, and she still got into it. I'm not out to break hearts, and I hope she's not the first, but she's a big girl now Tara."

Tara frowned, the words obviously having an impact. They pair looked up as Faith entered the office without knocking. "I gotta agree with Lex, Gorgeous. Red made a decision, and whatever fall out there is should be between her and Lex." Seeing the dual look of concern she smiled. "While I could hear you two I doubt even another slayer could unless she had been standing next to the door when I was walking over."

The blonde actually seemed a little withdrawn, and Faith acted on it when she walked around to sit on the desk and pull Tara into a kiss. Even when the kiss broke they rested their foreheads together and kept them that way until Tara was smiling again.

At that point Faith turned to Lex. "Now, I hear you got your first piece of body art."

Lex grinned. "Yep! Not only from a Goddess, but now I have an excuse to take my pants off in Tara's office.

Tara immediately interrupted. "Down, you have an excuse to take your pants down, and not THAT far Lex."

Lex dramatized another pout as she unzipped her pants and pulled the zipper open wide while exposing the mark Isis left on her. "It's a tyet."

Faith leaned in. "Kinda like an ankh."

Lex grinned. "But different. It's ok to touch it. Tara already has."

Faith gave Tara an arched brow, but Tara just rolled her eyes as Faith reached out and brushed her fingers over the new tattoo.

 

Chapter 19.

Faith had taken more beatings in her life then she could remember. She wanted to snicker because a small voice in her head wondered if it was because of the number of beatings she had taken, or because she had taken too many blows to the head.

Even before she had been called, as a young girl Faith got nervous any time anyone got within arms reach, because if she was lucky they would just try to hit her. There had a been a couple times they had managed to grab her, but Faith didn't let her mind get distracted thinking about them.

After being called taking hits was just part of the job, and the job was giving out more then she got in that department.

Once she found her true calling however Faith learned how to take the pain, and use it. Not like the way she once turned it into rage, but rather to let it tell her where her body was, and what it was capable of.

Right now her body was surprisingly fine for being tied to a chair while a demon smacked her around. Of course at their relative power levels it seemed more like the demon was doing more damage to it's hands then to her face, but Faith wasn't letting that on because then it might get serious.

It was red skinned with glowing eyes, they all were, and they actually reminded Faith of that demon Giles used to make her think Angel had lost his soul, but the mottling she could see on it's skin, and the horns ringing it's face both looked immature.

Or more simply it was a kid trying to make himself feel big smacking around "Slayer".

His fist was raising for another blow when a voice was heard in the cavernous warehouse they were occupying. "Well now. I see ol' Spike's tip paid off then."

Everyone looked over and it was Spike himself, the bleach blonde vampire walking into the sphere of light from the bulb hanging over Faith's head.

Faith feigned shaking her head, and blinking her eyes as if she was trying to clear her vision.

Her eyes were just fine, and she saw the flash of concern on the vampire's face, but she also saw that no one else had as he stepped in close, smiling over his shoulder a moment before looking closely as Faith's face. "Have you bothered asking questions yet? Or were you just amusing yourselves?"

"You helped us catch her, so we were waiting for you for the fun to REALLY begin."

The leering tone of the demon's reply didn't show on Spike's face, but he had his hand's on Faith's shoulders as he leaned in near her, and she felt his hands twitch. He however kept his face with an evil grin as he looked closely as Faith.

She gave him a clear eyed expression so he knew she was fine, and his smile suddenly seemed more genuine. He walked behind her, his long coat almost draping over her shoulders, and as he did so Faith felt a closed switch blade drop into her hands where they were tired behind her back.

He raised his voice, and Faith realized it was so she could open the knife without being over heard.

"Right, if you want to have your fun with a slayer your going to need to bind her a lot better then this."

The same demon that had been smacking Faith around scowled. "What do you mean?"

Spike shook his head, walking over to the young demon. "Well mate, you tied her hands behind her back, that's out of your line of sight where she could be doing just about anything to get out."

He laughed. "We checked her thoroughly while she was unconscious. There's nothing she could use to get out."

Spike didn't hide his scowl, as he took out a switch blade identical to the one he had dropped in Faith's hand. "Be that as it may mate, what if I were to come along and drop a knife like this into her hands that were bound behind her, and then keep the lot of you occupied with my scintillating conversation while she cuts herself free?"

The demon blinked, his mind needing an extra second to realize Spike wasn't taking in the theoretical. It was the second to last thing to go through his mind. The last thing was the blade of the switch blade as Spike extended the blade and drove it up and under the young demon's chin so far the tip was just visible at the top of his head.

Faith took that as her cue and rose from the chair, kicking it directly behind her with enough force to send a demon crashing to the floor as she drove the switch blade into another demon's eye.

That left them with two dead or dying, with one alive but on the ground and nine of his buddies on their feet and reaching for weapons.

"SLAYER!" Spike caught her attention as he shouted her name and she saw he was hurling her H&K Mk. 23 at her.

She caught it with one hand and had it spitting fire instantly as she sent a third demon crashing to the ground with four .45 caliber rounds distributed amongst it's head and shoulders.

Spike had grabbed a Glock from the young demon he had stabbed, and while neither knew the caliber they didn't care as he turned and put half of the clip into the demon on his left side and half the clip into the chest of the demon on the right.

Four and five hadn't hit the ground as she put another three rounds into a sixth demon that was closing on Spike's flank.

Spike had taken a Beretta off one of the fallen demons, and it was up and spitting fire over Faith's shoulder.

Seven staggered and fell as Faith put the rest of her clip into number eight, and dropped the now empty pistol.

Nine had gotten more ambitious and used the opening seconds to grab a large pump action shot gun. He had made the mistake however of doing so within arms reach of Slayer. She slid, first beside him on his right side as she slammed her right hand underneath the barrel to drive it up while driving her left down on the stock to move it up even further so she could catch it as she slipped behind him.

His weapon was now in her hands as she shoved the primed shot gun into the demon's back and pulled the trigger.

The buck shot carved a bloody channel through the demons chest cavity that exploded out the front in black blood and gore as it dropped to it's knees before landing on it's face.

Spike had number ten crashing to the ground from the fire from his appropriated pistol while Faith took the last two with a cloud of buck shot as she repeatedly pulled the rigger and pumped the weapon to send fresh round after fresh round at the charging foes. .

Spike and Slayer were the only two left standing, and they blinked at each other in the sudden silence.

The vampire was the first to speak as he shook his head. "Always up for a spot of violence, but still getting used to how quickly guns can end it." He then frowned. "Sorry I couldn't get here any faster Pet."

Faith shook her head. "I've taken worse beatings from Buffy."

That got a laugh out of the two former villains.

Faith then nodded. "The kid the one you called me in about?"

Spike nodded. "Son of a clan elder, was here to cement an alliance in the face of the new human threat." The two agents of that threat shared a grin. "We, meaning me, gave them the info to find the leader of that threat, and they made sure to take her alive so we could interrogate her about the full nature of that human threat."

Faith clucked her tongue. "Probably have quite the party in my honor planned."

Spike met her eyes. "Best not to think about it Luv. Now however with junior dead the alliance will not happen. Since you WERE caught I'm above reproach, but everyone else will be looked at nice and close... actually if you're of a mind I could give you some bank accounts to pad with 'mysterious' income."

Slayer grinned. "Actually I have just the person."

Spike looked up. "Willow?"

She shook her head. "A new arrival."

He nodded once, motioning for her to follow him to where the demons had stashed her equipment. As she started putting her gear back on he took her smart phone and started entering the bank numbers. "Probably goes with out saying Love, but you need to vary the dates on all these. I put the least trustworthy one's first so you can have them on your take the longest, but either way I would suggest at least three, but not more then five."

Faith arched her brow and Spike grinned. "Just one and they can call it a fluke. Three will cause some wonderful paranoia, and ol' Spike will be able to fan those flames good and high. May even be able to toss in a few that are basically loyal, but running some things on the side."

She smiled. "You're enjoying this."

That got a laugh. "Never saw myself as much of a piper, but it's kind of fun to have these blighters dancing to my tune on their way to oblivion." He winked. "And they're paying me to do so."

Faith smiled as the two wiped down the Beretta and Glock Spike had used while he handed her the switchblade he had used so she could dispose of it while they left the one with her finger prints to be found.

As she watched Spike disappear into the night however she frowned. Undercover work was dangerous when dealing with human predators. All it would take is one telepath, or even a demon who just believed in "better safe then sorry" and Spike would be done, and not quickly or well.

He knew the dangers however, probably better then Faith, and he chose to still make his mark, even though only three other people would ever know.

 

Chapter 20.

The call didn't seem urgent, and truth be told Tara was happy for the distraction. Faith was out helping Spike shore up his cover while breaking up an alliance that was forming in the face of the Lock's presence.

The problem was that she had to be captured to do it. Which meant her Darling had to put up enough fight to be convincing while letting herself get captured. Her stomach gave a sick lurch at the thought that even for a short time Faith WOULD have to endure being in demon captivity.

While she trusted Spike to save her, and that said a lot, she also knew he was one person and could only do so much.

She was actually thinking about breaking out her recipes for Chinese food when she was called to the infirmary. It wasn't an emergency call however so Tara didn't hurry.

Walking in she scrunched up her nose at the sight of Lex rolled on her side on one of the infirmary's beds retching her guts out into a waste bin. Tony was standing near by with his nose twisted in disgust while Ducky stood near by looking concerned, obviously waiting for the current wave of nausea to subside before he tried to do something for the woman.

Her eyes widened as she approached. When the nausea finally did seem to pass, at least for the moment Tara spoke. "Lex, did you eat blessed food?"

Tony was the first to reply as Lex decided to go for the glass of water Ducky was offering her first. "Um, so if she doesn't say grace, she gets sick?"

Tara shook her head slightly, she was amused, but seeing Lex suffering like she was tampered her mood. "Not exactly. Lex was nourished by the divine. her system is as clean as any human's ever has been. All the impurities of this world were wiped away."

Ducky realized what that meant and muttered an "Oh dear."

Lex realized what that meant to, but her exclamation was more pronounced as she groaned in pain. "Oh man, I so didn't think about that."

Tara was nodding. "Yep. For the time being, we need your food and drinks to be as organic as possible, and to be blessed by ritual. I'll talk with Camile in the kitchen. Her rituals are based on the Celtic tradition, but I'm sure she can work out something more Egyptian. We'll bless your meals and slowly introduce you back to our tainted human ways."

"Well,that's one hell of a side effect." Was Tony's reply.

Lex sighed and rolled onto her back on the bed. "It was so worth it."

Tara stepped closer, resting a hand to Lex's belly. "It shouldn't take long. I think you probably loaded up on tons of crap, yes?"

Lex was now nodding. "Well, hello? You know me. After a night of normal love making, I crave junk food. I was starved for chocolate and salty yumminess."

Tony then decided to comment, and Tara realized he was probably here because he helped her to the infirmary. "She ate like five packages of ho hos, a bag of Doritos, a huge bag of M&Ms, and about half a peperoni pizza. I was truly impressed, right up until she puked the colorful meal all the way back to the infirmary."

Ducky then commented. "I was in the medical bay stitching up a wound one of the slayers picked up on patrol," Everyone looked to the adjoining med bay where the more active procedures took place. "And I heard Lex's... signs of distress."

Lex grinned up at the man. "I love you Ducky. About as much as I can love a man, but still."

He smiled and pat her on the shoulder. "But since Tara seems to have figured out the cause of your illness as well as the cure I believe I can leave you to her care. Sam had mentioned wanting to go over potential bio-hazard procedures."

Tony scrunched his face. "We have potential bio-hazards here?"

Ducky gave a small scowl. "Tony were battling creatures quite often literally from the bowels of Hell, and it's safe to assume of them will remain hazardous to our health even after they've been dispatched."

Tony frowned as Ducky left. "Great."

Tara smiled. "It's not THAT much different from a terrorist trying to use a bio-weapon."

Tony's frown grew. "You never heard about the bio attack on the NCIS office did you?" When both women shook their heads he shook his. "Plague, nasty, still prone to bad coughs... actually a small part of why I decided on the move to sunny California instead of the dreary DC."

Seeing the genuine compassion on the two women's faces Tony felt a sudden need to change the subject. "So Lex, you think you'll need the full three nursemaid's this time?"

Tara rolled her eyes as Lex idly rubbed her chest while replying. "I am all for having three women nurse me back to health, but having them taking turns riding me did not help my bruised ribs." Her smirk grew smutty and her eyes said she was reliving the memory in her head. "Though most of the time they weren't actually sitting... on my chest."

Tony wasn't nearly as agitated as he acted. "I really hate you, Lex. look at you. Every man wants you, but nope, you only want the ladies. Plus, now every man wants to be you. You suck."

Lex was grinning lasciviously. " Yes I do. The ladies like that, by the way."

He shook his head. "And now you're not even content with mortal women. You're knocking sandals with the gods!"

Tara looked ready to reply, but suddenly Tony stared intently at her, and she was startled by the gaze. "Wait a minute... blonde cutie the leader of a band of warrior women... dark haired, smoky voiced girlfriend a warrior woman with a dark past... gods stopping by..." He pointed an accusatory finger at Tara. "You're Gabrielle!"

Tara took a breath to argue, then seemed to pause, as if considering Tony's "evidence".

He was nodding now, the joker running wild. "Uh huh, see the pieces fit. Soon we'll find Lex curled up with a valley girl blonde goddess... then those scary eyes that were shown when Hera did something to Hercules will be watching Lex in the shower..."

Lex interrupted. "You might be right Tony, but then you know who that makes you..." she let the sentence trail off with a grin.

Tony paused a moment. "I AM NOT JOXER! If I'd be anyone I'd be Autolycus. Probie would be Joxer."

Tara smiled. "But you forgot to add 'the King of Thieves' after saying the name."

Lex then started humming the Joxer theme song and Tony scowled. "Really hate you!"

Tara slipped next to Tony and gave him a swift smack to the back of the head. He paused, blinking, turning to look at her. Tara met his eyes with her own. "She needs her rest DiNozzo."

His expression grew intent again, looking deeply into the blue eyes gazing at him."Oh no! No, no, no, no, no!"

Tara blinked. "What?"

Tony shook his head. "You've got the slap. You're getting the glare. Soon you'll replace your tea with coffee..."

Lex snickered off to the side, her mind already figuring out where Tony was going. "She's already drinking coffee more."

Tara gave a playful scowl to the other witch. "That's because I need the caffeine."

Tony threw his hands up. "That's it! We're all doomed."

Tara literally put her tongue in cheek as the two agents made fun of her. "Well make up your mind Tony. Am I turning into Gabrielle or am I turning into my Uncle?"

Lex snickered. "Babe you ARE Gabby, but without the annoying subtext. Now it's just a matter of a staff and scrolls or coffee and a Sig Sauer."

Tara shook her head, first pointing at Lex. "First I use a Beretta 93-R. Second, you need to rest..."

Tony interrupted. "I thought we were trying to phase out 9 millimeters?"

Tara then pointed at Tony and pointed at the door. "Rank has it's privileges. Now, Lex needs to rest, and this Amazon Queen needs to go talk to Camile about bringing Lex a light meal to help settle her stomach."

Tony started walking towards the door, but did so slowly. "Do you think you and/or Faith will start wearing revealing leather outfits?"

Lex spoke up as they left, her voice sounding like a little girl being offered a pony. "Do you, do you?"

Tara glared at Tony and he actually took a step back. "Yeah, we're doomed." He didn't say anything else however as he left and Tara left behind him.

 

Chapter 21.

The sadness never made it past Tara's beautiful blue eyes, but for Faith that's what made it worse. Her woman was treating her wounds that she had picked up for the forty five minutes or so she spent in captivity to help shore up Spike's cover.

They weren't much by any standard as the kid was used to hurting humans, not slayers, and certainly not the founder of the modern line, but Faith knew that Tara felt every injury as if she had taken it herself, and THAT was where Faith truly hurt.

What was killing her was the fact that Tara was becoming so used to it.

The scrapes were clean, and the bruises were just small splotches of color her slayer healing was already taking away, and now Tara's touches were just her way of connecting to her love.

Her love was leaning into every touch.

When their eyes finally met Tara could see Faith's apology forming and she shook her head, placing a finger on Faith's soft, full lips, just to the side of a small split. Instead Tara pulled her finger away and brought their lips together with a softness, a gentle brushing.

Faith leaned her head forward, returning the kiss, but then simply resting against Tara as she took deep, calming, breaths. Tara could tell her darling was upset and tried to soothe her by kissing her slayers face, her cheeks, her eyes, her forehead, and as Faith's breathing evened out she could tell she was succeeding.

Tara however was getting another response as Faith used Tara's kissing of her face to start kissing the woman's soft, slender, exposed neck.

She then felt those lips on her neck smile, and she pulled back to see what made Faith smile so widely.

The question was in Tara's eyes, and Faith's eyes twinkled in response even before she started speaking. "I could give you a hickey, but you wouldn't be able to cover it up or people would REALLY get worried."

Tara grinned widely, cupping her beloved's face in her hands. "Why would I suddenly start covering your marks now?"

The smile on Faith's face grew and she brought her lips back to Tara's neck, her mouth adhering itself to the tender flesh.

There was a delighted groan and Tara spoke breathlessly. "For the record Love your technique is perfect, the vampires could learn a thing or two from you."

The hickey broke suddenly as Faith shook with laughter and found herself looking to Tara's bright eyes. She just kept laughing however as Tara spoke again. "I'm serious, they'd have all the buxom blondes bearing their necks if they knew they could do HALF as well as you."

Faith's smile calmed, but stayed as her laughter ended. "Don't you mean ' nubile teen ingenues?"

Tara's lips twisted in her half-grin. "No darling. Those poor girls wouldn't know what to do with you."

The smile remained on Faith's face, but her jaw dropped as she licked her lips. The smile became predatory, but Tara's responding smile was up to the challenge.

Her reflexes however couldn't match Faith's and Tara knew enough to simply relax as Faith grabbed her and pulled her close. Tara was unresisting as Faith lifted Tara's legs up and over Faith's hips, and when Faith rested a hand at the small of Tara's back, under her shirt Tara knew to lock her ankles together.

Faith's other hand was trying to pull Tara's shirt up and off and the woman knew that if she wanted her top to survive the next ten seconds she needed to lift her arms up.

The shirt was still intact as it dropped to the floor, and Faith buried her face in the buxom blonde's bosom.

Her ears however were still exposed, and they heard the urgent knocking on their door. Her mouth however was well between Tara's breasts, and they muffled Faith's responding growl. Tara felt it however and pat Faith's head before placing a kiss to Faith's crown, holding on to Faith's shoulders as she was eased back to her feet.

Despite her placid demeanor Tara's nipples were obviously straining against the fabric of her bra, and a sigh escaped her lips as she reached down to grab her top up off the floor.

Faith looked ready to growl, and Tara smiled as she leaned in to kiss the slayers full lips. The urgent knock repeated itself, but Tara ignored it as she kept kissing Faith. She kept kissing until she felt Faith relax.

Faith was smiling, but her voice muttered. "You're good at that."

Tara smiled widely. "The witch woman was meant for the slayer."

Faith laughed as Tara continued. "That and I don't want to have to fill our the paper work that would come with having to replace whomever is on the other side of that door."

Faith's smile was full and matched Tara's as they went to the door and found Abigail Sciuto on the other side. It was obvious the woman was upset, and whatever had upset the goth was likely her fault as she also looked guilty. Rather then speaking however she waved for the two women to follow her.

The two women shared a glance before they did, but they then followed Abby, to the control room, the Temple of the Oracle. There they found Oracle at her altar where she was standing surrounded by a wide-eyed Gibbs, Tony, Tim, Ziva, and Lex as she filled plasma screen after plasma screen with information.

The information was about hand guns, and to Faith it looked like an ammo dump had thrown up into Willow's mainframe.

Tara however noticed an offering on the altar, a chalice marked with the words "Caf-Pow". She looked at Abby and the scientist's guilty expression grew. "You gave Willow Caf-Pow didn't you?"

Abby was looking at the ground as she nodded.

Faith looked over. "Ah crap."

Gibbs had walked over to join them. "Is she going to be ok?"

Tara bit her lip as she looked at her uncle. "Willow has an... extreme reaction to caffeine."

Gibbs seemed to consider that point. He then drained his cup of coffee and tossed it into a waste basket.

At her altar Willow's voice seemed to be competing with her mainframe to relay information.

"Now Ziva, for you I was thinking we might want to look at the Desert Eagle line, they are efficient, deadly, and made by the Israeli Military..." Willow giggled a high pitched sound. "Kind of like you! It also comes in some of the biggest calibers out there with a .357 or .44 magnum or the big .50 action express round, ALL in automatics rather then revolvers!"

Tony broke in. "Geeze Ziva. Going to have them make you a Harriet Callahan id?" When Ziva looked at him blankly he sighed. "Dirty Harry Callahan... 'Make my day.''Do you feel lucky punk?" At her continued blank look he shook his head. "Either way, if you were a guy I'd say you were overcompensating."

Ziva smiled sweetly. "Shall we order two then?"

Tony smiled and held up a hand as he shook his head. "No, I was thinking I would go for something in a more tasteful, yet understated .45."

Willow jumped on that train of thought and started opening more windows. "Ah the .45, Lex goes for the sleek, sexy, yet dangerous Khar .45 which is also much like Lex herself." Lex just smiled a confused smile and arched a brow as Willow continued. "Gibbs on the other hand went for the M1911A1, or the Colt .45 automatic, a classic military machine..." She grinned again. "Much like Gibbs himself. Faith had started with that gun, but changed to the Mk.23 because of all it's neat commando options."

As Willow began to recite all of those options Faith and Tara turned in unison to Abby. "Get Ducky." Abby nodded and darted off.

Willow paced and then lifted up a small remote for clicked at the monitor and an array of weapons appeared on the center screen. "So, okay when it comes to guns, each member of the team needs to have the perfect gun. The perfect gun for them. Which means that it's kinda like a love story... um, yeah." She smiled and looked at the gathered group.

Blank stares greeted Willow.

"Ugh!" Willow rolled her eyes. "Each person has to find their perfect match. There is no universal perfect one." She pointed at the screen and new overlay with a group of semiautomatic weapons filled the screen next to the other. "Normally, the first choice is single or double action…" She spun and glared at the gathered group. "Which is really confusing, I might add." She aimed her finger like a gun. "Single action actually requires double action by the gun user." She mimed using her thumb to pull back the hammer and then pulling the trigger. "I mean, I get that it refers to the action the gun takes, but they really should be more specific."

All eyes were locked on the babbling woman. Those from the Lock knew that Willow was just beginning to enter full Willow-babble. Those from NCIS were amazed Willow could speak in such long, non-stop sentences and seemed to be picking up steam and not losing it.

"I heard double action and thought, well, my people, well, Faith's people, can't be bothered with two actions if they want to kill a demon, and then I found that double action means the gun does two actions which is a good thing and so, well, oh…" She bit her lip and pushed a few buttons and a slew guns disappeared from he screen. "Which makes the single action versus double action portion of the gun selection a moot point. Moot. Who says moot?"

More blank stares met Willow when she looked expectantly at the gathered crowd.

"Exactly," Willow said triumphantly. "No one." She clicked her remote and called up a set of semiautomatic handguns, all 45 calibers. "Now, we've narrowed the choices to double action, and well, now it's all about size." She giggled. "With demons, size really does matter. These are 45 caliber choices. We've got Berettas, HK, Sig Sauer, S&W, and the ever popular with our own Lex, the Kahr." She rocked on her heels. "Questions? Comments? Additions?"

All present merely blinked as Ducky rushed into the room and stared at Willow who was quite literally quivering with energy.

Ducky had hurried to the control room. While it wasn't a true medical emergency Abby's expression had let him know the need to make haste. Yet when he got there a quiet "Oh my." escaped his lips as he took in Willow's condition.

The Doctor's back then straightened and he put a smile on his face as he strode towards Oracle's "altar". "Hello Willow."

Willow didn't look up from her frantic typing. "Hi Ducky."

He took a breath, scowling at the grin DiNozzo gave him. "I was wondering if you would like to go for a walk? I was hoping to get some fresh air, and I thought it best to do so before sunset."

Willow nodded, and opened ANOTHER window, displaying the times for sunset and sunrise. "You've got plenty of time."

A few more grins started showing up around the room as Ducky continued. "I do so hate to go walking alone. I was hoping you would provide me with some company?"

That got Willow's attention as she looked at Ducky quizzically. "But I need to help them pick their guns."

He smiled, actually reaching to guide Willow to her feet. "You've given them all the information to make their choices, but they still need to go to the firing range to both make sure they are comfortable and assure that they are proficient."

At this point Ducky had one hand on her shoulder, and one on her waist, but she looked over questioningly only to find serious faces and simultaneous nods. "You sure?"

The nods continued, still almost entirely in unison.

Willow blinked, for perhaps the first time in almost a minute. "Ok."

His hand was on her back as they walked, but now he was rubbing in a comforting fashion as Willow seemed to despair. "Please tell me I didn't make a total fool in front of myself in front of everyone."

"Well Mister Palmer wasn't present."

Willow squealed. "DUCKY!"

Doctor Mallard quickly banished the small smile on his lips. "We all embarrass ourselves at repeated points in our lives. It's all part of living my dear. Abigail didn't know you would have such an extreme reaction to her beverage of choice, and I would imagine you didn't either."

At her noteworthy silence he looked at her with an arched brow and she finally spoke. "I didn't KNOW, but I mean I know I need to be careful with my caffeine, but I mean it's soda pop."

Ducky kept that brow arched. "With 'caf" right in the title."

Willow looked at her shoes, nodding as they kept walking. After several moments of silence she then sighed and started speaking again, quietly. "I just wish Lex hadn't been there to see me being such a spaz."

Ducky smiled knowingly, moving to link his arm with hers. "Yes I heard you had a lovely... time with Alexandra."

Willow blushed almost as red as her hair. "Yeah."

An expression of sadness appeared and disappeared from Ducky's face, he was having little trouble reading Willow's responses to Alexandra's name, but having personally run the test to see if Alexandra had been impregnated by the Goddess Isis, Ducky didn't need a forensic degree in psychology to know Willow well on her way to a heart break.

He hoped to head it off and mentioning Lex's unique worship ceremony seemed a good way to start. "Well now Lex herself provides a good example of how one can embarrass themselves. Did you hear about how she had to be escorted to the infirmary after becoming violently ill in the mess hall?"

Willow nodded. "Yeah I heard it was because after her..."

Ducky helped ."Lovely time?"

Willow nodded. "Yes after her lovely time with Isis involved temporal dilation Isis had to nourish Lex directly. It left her system as pure as a human's system can get. So when she tried to eat regular human food she became sick... is she ok?"

Ducky smiled and nodded. "Her system has adjusted back perfectly. I have to say though I knew I would encounter fantastic things here at the Lock a goddess having a personal rendezvous with a mortal was never even considered."

Willow smiled rather wickedly. "She's good Ducky, she's really, really good."

Donald allowed himself a small laugh. "So I've heard. I'd imagine a long line of women would be able to support your testimony."

Those green eyes suddenly became focused, and Doctor Mallard imagined he was now seeing the young woman who had earned her spot at the Lock and the title of Oracle.

"Is there something you're trying to tell me Doctor?"

He frowned. "Not so much trying to tell you my dear as something I fear you need explained."

"Which is?"

He nodded once. "Which is that you seem to be forming an attachment to Alexandra that she will never be able to reciprocate."

Willow was able to come back right away. "Never say never Doctor Mallard."

His reply had an undertone of pleading. "Willow, were I to gather the numbers I would imagine Lex could compete with Don Juan."

Willow's response was again immediate. "Don Juan was fictional and got dragged to Hell."

Ducky nodded. "Yes, and Alexandra has a much nobler code to her seductions, but we both know that part of that code is that she does not 'do' committed relationships, and I'm sorry Willow, but I simply can not see you settling for anything less."

 

Chapter 22.

"Relax Probie, or you're going to burst something." Anthony DiNozzo looked casual as he sat in an office chair in front of a control panel, but his friends could tell he was tense... if the M-4 ranger carbine on the table in front of him didn't already give that away.

"Probie" or Timothy McGee was being more expressive with his stress as he paced, the weight of the riot shotgun over his shoulder now almost familiar as he glared at DiNozzo. "Relax? You do know what we're doing here don't you?"

Ziva was carrying an old friend, the Galil assault rifle, which was standard issue for the IDF. "We are providing extra security for Tara while she attempts to recruit a new intelligence resource."

McGee scoffed. "They teach you that double talk in the Mossad?"

Ziva smirked. "The IDF actually."

Tim stepped closer to the woman. "Ziva, were summoning a demon! A good Jewish woman has to have objections to that."

Ziva shrugged. "King Solomon is perhaps the most famous demon summoner of all time. Lex will actually be using his technique."

Tim seemed ready to say more, but Gibbs stepped forward, while all of them were in typical street clothes they were also carrying heavier weapons along with their newly chosen side arms. Gibbs main weapon being his old friend the M-16, and it was slung over his shoulder as he spoke. "Tim, Tara is approaching a demon they have had friendly contact with before, and she is confident that she can make friendly contact with this Anyanka again."

McGee held up his riot shotgun for emphasis as he replied. "Then why are we here?"

Gibbs arched his brows. "Because she's confident, not crazy."

And because they had been stupid enough to agree to help Faith and Tara build their intelligence network. It had started simply enough with Faith asking Tim to alter some demon's bank records to make it look like they had been receiving pay offs from the Lock.

Tim however had that perpetually curious mind, and when he pressed for details he got them, along with a provision that if he didn't sign on with what Faith told him he would have his memories of the information erased.

While it was unusual he was used to high level clearance information, and he figured this wouldn't be that different.

In many ways it wasn't. He already knew the Lock was seeking to truly wage war on the forces of evil, and any general worthy of the title will tell you that to effectively wage war one needs spies.

The Lock had realized that need, and was seeking to fill it. The problem was that much like they were learning to use traditional military methods to battle nontraditional foes they were trying to figure out how to use traditional intelligence methods against those same nontraditional foes.

The problem was that they didn't have an experienced intelligence team so Faith and Tara were left trying to take on the monumental task themselves. At least they were until Leroy Jethro Gibbs came to the Lock.

From what Tim could tell the Boss was already on board when he had recommended Faith use Tim for their computer needs, and the rest of the team had followed soon after. Sure they had all been asked, and it was made clear they only wanted volunteers, but even McGee didn't hesitate when he saw the task the two women were facing, and how much good it would do to have an experienced team working intelligence.

That said he still wasn't comfortable with their resident sorceress Lex summoning up what Tara hoped would be their next spy.

The sorceress in question walked into the room, naked, and Tim sighed, Gibbs rolled his eyes, Tony smiled, and so did Ziva. Tara was standing next to her, but that sorceress was still clothed, though her expression said she too had went through whatever preparations she had needed to to be ready for summoning this Anyanka.

Gibbs was the first to speak, looking at Lex as he did so. "Is that really necessary?"

Lex looked down at her nudity, and back up at her Boss. "I'm more comfortable this way, and when working ceremonial magick like this every little bit helps."

Ziva had a small smirk. "I don't remember Solomon ever being nude for his rituals."

Tony replied even before Lex could. "I doubt King Solomon looked so good doing them."

Lex smirked, and so did Tara as Tony felt an invisible hand slap the back of his head.

Tony quickly looked back behind him, and then back at the smirking blonde witch. "Hey!"

Faith walked into the room with a M-16 over her shoulder and her H&K Mk.23 pistol on her hip. She had a small smirk on her lips so they guessed she had heard the exchange, but she made no mention as she looked around the room. " The summoning chamber and control room are secured. So, we ready to do this?"

There was a series of nods before Tara and Lex walked into the main chamber and the vault like door sealed behind them. Tim had compared it to a vault, but he understood that it had the opposite purpose, rather then keeping people out, it kept everything inside in.

It didn't help that such a chamber had already been constructed in the Lock so well in advance, but he knew that Faith and Tara had designed it from the ground up, and he guessed the two women had known they would need to do something like this sooner or later.

Now he was watching the actual process, or least he was trying to, while Lex might now carry the title of 'Goddess of Lesbian Sex' she was still a very attractive woman and seeing her on all fours as she inscribed the sigil that would compel the demon to appear he couldn't help but appreciate the naked woman's bared beauty.

Tony was appraising her openly, and even Ziva seemed to be showing a level of appreciation she probably wouldn't if Abby was in the room. Faith seemed more amused then aroused, but only Gibbs seemed unaffected as he calmly sipped the coffee he had carried down there in the hand that didn't have an M-16 slung at the shoulder.

Since he was unaffected Tim figured he would try to distract himself by talking to the Boss. "Does she HAVE to be naked Boss?"

Gibbs calmly took another sip of coffee. "Some would say she's in a pure state, the state she was born in. Others might say that by breaking the taboo on nudity she helps call forth the energy she needs to successfully call the demon and bind it's powers safely. Or it could be like she said, she's at her most comfortable naked and wants to get every advantage she can when working a dangerous summoning."

Tony showed his attention wasn't entirely on Lex's bared backside as he commented. "You actually seem to know a lot about this magick stuff Boss. I mean like more then they taught us here."

Gibbs didn't show any reaction as he replied. "I was married to a witch DiNozzo, and my daughter was learning the lessons of a member of an ancestral line."

Tony showed far more of a reaction as he looked like he wanted to slap himself in the back of the head for bringing up the Bosses murdered wife and daughter, but a second later Tony, and the rest of the room seemed to catch up with Faith's expression. While Gibbs didn't seem happy to mention them he also didn't seem angry or sad.

Looking up Tim saw that Lex was now sitting on the floor directly in front of the center circle and the symbol it contained while Tara was sitting behind and to Lex's left, both women in separate circle of their own. They realized the dark witch was speaking, but that they couldn't hear the words. At first there was some confusion, but then Gibbs leaned forward and flipped a switch that carried the sounds of the summoning spell to their ears over a speaker.

Or at least end of it as Lex spoke in a clear, strident voice. "I command thee to appear before me, taking a form pleasing to my eyes and engage me in discussion!"

Tony was the one to comment. "She's ordering this Anyanka to be cute?"

Faith was the one to reply. "She's ordering her NOT to be deliberately offensive to the eye. Demon's might not be pretty, but if they set their minds to it they can be a sort of hideous that gives nightmares."

Tony nodded, realizing that Faith, much like Gibbs had probably picked up a great deal of expertise on the mystical from her significant other.

The symbol was now glowing, and a form could now be seen, seemingly masked in shadow they could tell it was female, and the knew it hadn't been there a second before.

A voice came from that shadow, it voice gravelly and deep, and deliberately mocking. "What would you have of me oh exorcist?"

As the female form spoke the shadow seemed to fall away as if it had stepped into the light, even though they knew she had not moved, and the lighting had been set to cover the whole room evenly. What was revealed was what looked like a human woman dressed in today's style of clothing, with brown hair reaching to her shoulders.

What showed her to be inhuman was her face, a soft pink it had bumps and ridges and planes that had never been seen on a human's visage.

That inhuman visage locked on Lex first, and it looked on in disgust and rage. "Who dares to summon me in such a rude fashion?"

While Lex had already been sitting upright the dark witches spine seemed to find new steel and she took a breath to speak.

As she did so however the demoness looked closely seeming to recognize Tara, and not only did her face suddenly look human, it looked excited and happy.

"Oh Tara! You didn't need to do all this I've been waiting for you to call!"

 

Chapter 23.

While neither witch lost their concentration they kept it because their training told them they had to. The rest of their minds however were reeling in shock as the two shared a look.

Behind them in the control room Faith was holding up a hand to forestall all the questions that were threatening to bubble up.

For her part Anyanka was looking, and sounding like the Anya that Tara remembered as she reached into another manifested pool of shadow and seemed to be rummaging around as she spoke. "Just to have you know there is a line, a LITERAL line, but I told them 'The line forms here! Tara is my friend, and if anyone will be giving her vengeance it will be ME!"

With a triumphant look she pulled out a pale, yellowish tan file and smiled at Tara. While it was obvious Tara wanted to say something the combination of shock and Anya's seeming enthusiasm kept her from getting a word in edgewise. Now Anya was smiling, speaking in an almost conspiratorial tone. "You know? I actually thought I might have D'Hoffryn himself challenge me for your case."

She shook her her head, smiling, her voice returning to normal. "But he realized I had more of a stake in this case then he did so he gave it to me..." Her voice dropped back down. "But between us girls for Willow to do what she did to you after D'Hoffryn actually tried to recruit her... well I'm pretty sure if I need a little extra oomph to make your vengeance stick he'll okay it."

Anya then smiled and tried to step forward, into a discharge of energy when she contacted the edge of the circle, she fell onto her backside, but kept hold of the folder. "Ow! Is this really necessary? I mean I'm glad to see you're being careful when dealing with demons. Especially considering how angry you've been getting some of the bigger ones, but this is us. I'd never hurt you, and I always keep my clients confidentiality."

Lex finally managed to get in a word edgewise. "You are NOT getting out of the circle Anyanka."

Anya looked over at the other witch, scowling. "Hey! This is between me and..." Anya then paused, looking closer at the naked woman, suddenly her face broke into a wide grin. "Wait! You're Lex aren't you? You're Isis's new girl!"

Anya's voice then dropped a register. "I saw you you know?" She then paused and quickly amended her statement. "Not with Isis, because that was a private moment between goddess and priestess." From the way Anya looked around she was afraid the Egyptian deity might drop in, or simply strike her down.

When she was still standing Anya started speaking again. "I mean I saw you when YOU got vengeance for Tara." The deepening timbre of Anya's voice seemed to say that Lex's vengeance mission had turned the demon on. "That burning need in your heart to give Tara the retribution she needed even if she was too gentle to seek it our herself... you were wonderful!"

From the way Anya was looking at Lex it was obvious she would have been undressing her with her eyes if Lex wasn't already nude, now her eyes seemed to be doing other things to Lex, and in spite of herself the dark witch felt her nipples harden in response.

The path Anya's eyes took, and the responding growth of her smile showed she had seen Lex's response as she kept speaking. "And that sexy little outfit you wore as you did it?" Anya let out a little aroused groan. "Then the way that outfit became soaked with that bastards blood. Oh yes, I know you Lex. Even before that I knew you because you saved more then a few people from curses."

Lex paused at that, finding her voice. "I did?"

Anya nodded, her eyes still raking up and down the naked witch. "Um hum, you've mended more then a few broken hearts. Women who might have wound up calling out my name..." She snickered. "They ended up calling out yours. You're very skilled..." Anya licked her lips, "and very powerful... you're not demophobic are you?"

Though no one saw it Tara's shoulders dropped. She had been afraid something like this would happen. She hadn't imagined it would start with Anya, but she was afraid Lex's sexual prowess had become known to the women of the supernatural world. So she decided to interfere sooner rather then later. "Um Anya? You had said you were waiting for ME to call?"

The demoness blushed, clearing her throat, forcibly dragging her eyes away from Lex. "Right, right. I'm sorry that's totally unprofessional... but look at her!... Still, that was very unprofessional... which I have to compliment you on Tara. While I know you don't look at her that way because you love Faith the fact that you are with a woman Willow hated..." Anya grinned. "Is really nice work, an excellent twist to the knife."

Seeing the look of protest on Tara's face Anya rolled her eyes. "I know, I know you love Faith, and that's wonderful. Knowing true love while the woman that hurt you doesn't... even better... I'm just saying that the fact that your true love is with a woman Willow despised is the icing on the vengeance cake, but it's not enough, not nearly enough, but that's why I'm here."

She took up the folder again and started digging in it, but Tara's nose scrunched up. "What is that?"

Lex was the one to answer. "It's skin Tara, human skin."

Anya looked up. "Good eye! Very good eye." Her voice trailed off as she appreciated attributes other then Lex's eyes, but Anya then forced her attention back. "This was one of mine. A guy was harassing his secretaries and making them sleep with him. After being a working woman who knows the value of a dollar and how mistreated women are by men in power, well I got creative."

She then started pulling individual manilla folders. "Okay, I've been thinking about this for awhile and I came up with five different plans for vengeance, and because were friends I'm going to let you pick two."

Seeing Tara blinking in seeming confusion Anya quickly amended her statement. "Okay, three, and I promise she will be sane for at least two of them."

As the look on Tara's face became hesitant. "Okay, okay, because this is you, and because this is such a high profile case we'll do all five. I promise she will be sane for at least three of them... now number four will probably kill her, but I will personally make sure D'Hoffryn helps keep her spirit around to make sure she experiences all of number five."

Anya then held up a manilla folder, her voice bubbly and enthusiastic. "And I REALLY think you'll like number five."

Tara took a deep breath, and then let it out. "Anya! I didn't summon you to take vengeance on Willow!"

Anya's expression broke, she looked heartbroken, like a little girl who learned that yes there was a pony, and yes it would be going home with someone, just not her. She pointed a finger at Lex. "She got to take vengeance on Donnie!"

Lex actually paused looking over at Tara and Anya looked up, like that little girl was at least hoping to get some ice cream as Lex spoke. "She did come all this way?"

Tara glared at her sister witch. "No! I didn't not call you to take vengeance on those who hurt me Anya."

Anyanka, the ancient demoness, was pouting. "You mean I can't even rip his teeth out?"

Tara sighed. "No Anya, I didn't ask Lex to do that, and I certainly do not in any way authorize you to take any vengeance on my behalf."

Anya sunk down in the circle, sitting Indian style. "Then what do you want?"

Tara smiled, her voice soft, almost seductive in it's own way. "I'm wondering if there's anyone you want vengeance on?" She quickly amended. "Who isn't Xander!"

Anya actually smiled at that. "You had to add that didn't you? What do you mean?"

Tara smiled her half smile. "I think you know what I mean Anya. We are demon hunters, and we're very good at it. Are you telling me there aren't a few demons out there you wouldn't mind seeing in front of our guns?"

Anya rolled her eyes. "Of course there are I mean..." She then paused, jumping up, and Tara and Lex both rose to their feet in response. "Oh! Oh! I get this! You're trying to 'flip' me! Get me to roll on my fellow demons! Turn them over to the Man... or in your case the Wo-Man! Nah uh! Not talking copper!"

Tara giggled. "Anya... unless every book I've ever read on demonology is incorrect demons betray each other all the time. You kill each other without a thought, and with even less remorse then you kill humans. What would it hurt to let us help?"

Anya's nostrils flared. "Why would you want to help? I mean besides you like killing demons?"

Tara shook her head. "You know I don't 'like' killing anything Anya. I like making people safe, and I thought a vengeance demon would know plenty of threats to humanity. Maybe even those she might be tempted to kill herself, but might not be able to. Either because there are too many, or because her Boss called her off?"

Anya looked unsure. "If D'Hoffryn called me off what makes you think I could hand them over to you?"

The blonde witches smile grew. "Because I'm betting he didn't say you couldn't hand them over to your old mortal, demon hunting friends."

Anya actually smirked. "Well, no, he didn't."

Tara's gentle voice broke in. "And you of all beings should know how to work the wording."

Anya actually blushed at the compliment. "I would hope so. I've had over a thousand years of making agreements say what I want them to say."

Tara let her smile grow. "So come on Anya... who is there out there that's so evil even a vengeance demon thinks they go too far?"

 

Chapter 24.

Faith got a few strange looks as she pulled the Harley into the line of bikes, but that was because she wasn't recognized, and she wasn't wearing the marks of station that they expected to see, and that's what she considered them, marks of station because the line of riders she was with were warriors as much as any legion of cavalry, or order of mounted knights.

This legion of warriors however wasn't set to charge into battle this day, they were here to honor one of their fallen. One of her fallen actually, he had served at the Lock with distinction as a war wizard and then been rotated out to provide mystical security for the troops in Iraq. Where he had been slain by an all too mundane IED.

Now he was being laid to rest, and Faith was here to honor the solider one last time, and she was doing so with the warriors of the Patriot Guard, though not as a member.

It wasn't that she wouldn't have been honored to join, but no longer existing officially made memberships difficult, but when she had contacted the Patriot Guard branch that was set to watch over her man's funeral they had been very understanding about a war buddy of his wanting to be there to see him laid to rest.

Already one of them had come back down the line the word had been passed up moments ago, and stopped before her. "Hope?"

Faith nodded, she liked to keep her aliases close to her real name, and this time she had decided to go Biblical.

The questioner kept staring at her. "Was there a last name to go with that?"

Faith smirked. "None that anyone can remember."

A smirk came over the old soldier's face. "Word is you served with the departed. Probably nothing you can confirm huh?"

Faith's smirk mellowed. "Nothing you would believe."

He noticed her twitch as her eyes looked across the street. "First time at one of these huh? Don't let them get to you kid. Just remember we're here for the family."

Faith was here for the family, and to honor the memory of her fallen soldier, but "they" were hard to ignore. "They" were the men and women of the Westboro Baptist Church and "they" were waving signs proclaiming the IED's were God's way of proclaiming his outrage of America's acceptance of homosexuality.

Faith, now effectively a lesbian because of Tara, and she had a small smirk at that thought, knew she should have been offended. The soldier however had done her homework, and if it hadn't been homosexuals it would have been Jews, or Democrats, or whatever. The Westboro Baptist Church believed that everyone who wasn't a member of the Westboro Baptist Church was going to Hell, and were determined to make a spectacle as the spread of THEIR word.

At this point they had become a sick joke that no one would ever choose to say, but no one could seem to avoid, and when one of Willow's computers had kicked out their plans to protest at a War Wizard's funeral Faith started making plans of her own.

It wasn't surprising really. The War Wizard was a Muslim who had the handle of Gerber. While there had been plenty of baby food jokes the name had actually been an honorific to an Arabic alchemist of the same name.

Since this Gerber was also an alchemist as well as a Arab he wore the name with pride, and took the baby food jokes with good humor.

To the Westboro Baptist Church however he was just a Muslim solider, and twice as much reason for them to spew their hateful speech.

They didn't know him, they wouldn't want to even if they had the clearance. They wouldn't care that Gerber had been the one to come up with the way to bind the demon Sammael. The demon was called the "Hound of Resurrection" and once it was able to lay it's eggs it would be able to bring itself back.

Not just back, but for every one they killed two would hatch. While the Lock was concentrating on finding all it's clutches and destroying it's eggs so it would have nothing to hatch from their successes were questionable.

Gerber however looked at the original binding, a white powder said to have been made from the dried tears of angels. He managed to melt the tears and turn them into a liquid that a newly recruited Lex had managed to summon the demon's essence into, where Gerber had then solidified it into what was now called the "Angel's Tear" where it was then locked away in vaults the Lock had specifically for storing dangerous artifacts.

They couldn't know how many lives he had saved that day, but Faith found herself wishing one of those Hounds had found it's way into one of the Westboro prayer meetings before hand.

She knew Gerber would have been able to understand her anger. The man had first enlisted because he felt that every time someone screamed Allahu Achbar before committing an atrocity it was a slap to the face of God and an affront to all those who seek to live in a peaceful and loving world.

His rotation to the Lock almost seemed to displace the man at first, but as he learned the nature of the infernal threat he quickly took to their mission.

While he still held a particular contempt for the misguided souls that called themselves "Muslim" while murdering the innocent, he fought the genuine evils of the world with a definite passion.

Yet it had been no surprise that when he had the chance to continue his mission as a Lock field asset AND battle those misguided Muslims that he jumped at the chance. The fact that he lost his life doing so made Faith want to hold him up to those misguided Muslims as a real martyr.

She physically shook her head. This wasn't about those assholes. This was about Gerber, and his family. The man died an honorable death, a warriors death, and she and her people were there for them. Not for unstable fools looking for an excuse to die, or miserable souls seeking to dole out that misery to others at their most vulnerable moments.

However even as she refocused her attention she realized the two groups had far more in common with each other then they did with what had the right to call itself "civilization".

Her mind back on task she started spotting her people. It was unsurprising that Tara was the first she found, she smiled at that thought, Tara was always the first she found it seemed. Her gentle love was there with the family providing all the comfort she could in their time of grief.

It still amazed her how many "conservative" types who would object to Tara's woman loving, nature-based religious lifestyle still warmed to the woman when in her actual presence.

She snickered, it worked on the last President, it worked on the open-minded, but still traditionalist Gerber, and it was working on his family.

Just as unsurprising was that over Tara's shoulder stood Leroy Jethro Gibbs. Ever since the man had signed on at the Lock if Tara was out and about he would designate himself her Close Protection Officer.

It had been Faith's role, but she trusted the man's capabilities, she trusted Tara's, and if all else failed Faith kept herself close enough that if things truly went sideways those first two people's talents would keep Tara safe long enough for Faith to get there.

There were a few other war wizards in the crowd. Old teammates of Gerber's who would probably have defied any orders Faith might have given to stay away. That was if she had the heart to give them.

That included the now fully active war wizard Lex. She had met the alchemist early on in her time with the Lock as he had needed someone versed in demon summoning to call Sammael into his binding, and where Tara's gentle nature was able to get through to the traditionalist Muslim, Lex's flamboyant... hedonistic ways were more a point of contention.

The two soldiers however were able to leave the ethical debates to their personal time, and even then kept them polite enough so it had never been an issue.

Instead a respect had formed, and Faith imagined it was that respect that had Lex here today.

Looking at all her people she wasn't sure if they were here to prevent trouble, or secretly hoping the Westboro people would start something, but their presence was felt in the lowered level of enthusiasm the Calvinists had in portraying their "message". As if they somehow knew they were in the presence of people who had faced true evil, and knew how ridiculous the Westboro Baptist Church truly was.

It was seen in the postures of the family that were showing a greater level of calm even in the depths of their grief. As they seemed to feel that no one would be allowed to intrude on their suffering.

It was also seen in the eyes of the veteran soldiers of the Patriot Guard who kept spotting the cool eyed persons with the professional movements who all seemed to be deferring to the young woman who was standing in line with them.

They realized that "Hope" was the one they knew about, but Gerber's war buddies were all through out the crowd, and between them and the Patriot Guard they made sure that Gerber was laid to rest peacefully.

 

Chapter 25.

Lex gave a long stretch, her skin feeling the warm sheets against her naked body, and her body feeling the familiar after effects of a passionate bout of lovemaking. Rolling to her side she looked at her sleeping partner and brushed some of the woman's hair out of her eyes.

While she had started smiling a frown creased Lex's features. FBI Agent Courtney Krieger had never been with a woman, but when they discussed how to get someone close enough to find out what Tobias Fornell's chosen agent had found out about them since their departure from NCIS Ziva had mentioned that she thought Courtney would be... receptive.

That had gotten a shocked expression from DiNozzo, but that had been about the extent of any shock or surprise as Gibbs assigned Lex to Krieger.

Ziva had been right, and seducing the woman had been... well Lex wasn't crass enough to say "simple", but Ziva had been right, and Courtney HAD been receptive.

The smile found it's way back onto her lips. Courtney had been very receptive, eager even as Lex played both instructor as well as class room as Courtney learned the pleasures two women can share.

That smile grew as Lex thought how if it hadn't been for the Lock placing harsher physical demands on it's people then the FBI she might be curled around the agent, just as unconscious.

She muffled a sigh, but she wasn't. She was awake, and she had a mission to accomplish.

Quietly slipping out of bed still naked, she went to her own purse and took out her cellphone and keys. There on the key ring she had one of the little memory sticks that everyone seemed to be carrying around these days. Of course like much of the Lock's equipment it's appearance belied it's capabilities, and after she had booted up Courtney's computer and put the stick in a USB port she saw the stick flash the signal that McGee had access to Krieger's drive.

While consensus seemed to be that Courtney would keep her information digitally Lex still started a covert search of the house, because even if she was keeping her notes in a digital format that didn't necessarily mean they were on her PC.

That was another reason Lex was a good choice for this mission, because while her abilities with women were undisputed her primary skill set was magick, and she was already quietly mouthing the words to a search spell to speed things up.

It turned out the the information they were seeking WAS in Krieger's computer, but not on the hard drive. Lex had smiled as her spell directed her to the hard drive, but her night adjusted eyesight had noticed how the drive's seals showed that the case had been opened after it left the factory.

Sure Courtney could have just added extra RAM, but Lex's spell said that was where she wanted to look. So the woman found another clue when she found the tools to open the casing near by. A clue she then used to open the casing and find the memory stick that sitting inside the case.

Her estimation of Courtney's talents went up a notch. To a normal search a mass of electronics is a mass of electronics, and while she should have put the tools to open the case in another room it was still a brilliant hiding spot.

Putting the memory stick into the USB port right under the one her's was in it opened right up and the screen showed the information being copied and whisked away to McGee at the Lock. A quick text message to Lex's phone told her that it was the agent's notes, and Lex started shutting everything down.

The notes were what she was after. While they could bring pressure to bear on Courtney and her boss they preferred to find out where the FBI's people were looking and make sure there was nothing to find.

With her mission basically accomplished she stowed her cellphone and keys with their modified memory stick back in her purse, put Courtney's memory stick back in the computer case, and wiped down anything that she had touched that a casual fling wouldn't have.

She was still bent over wiping down the chair when a voice spoke over the sound of a gun's hammer being cocked, and Lex found her estimation of Courtney Krieger's abilities jumping another notch. "Honey, you're up."

Courtney's voice was cool. "Put your hands up and step away from the computer."

Lex turned around slowly to face her, with a smirk seeing the woman with a standard issue Sig and her bathrobe. "Put my hands up?' Do you think I'm concealing a weapon?" Of course with her magick Lex was always armed, but she was hoping to not have to cast on Courtney.

"Just do it!"

As Courtney's voice got hotter Lex's cooled. "Courtney. You need to take a moment and really contemplate your actions. You hid your notes because your investigation is off the books, and the reason it's off the books is because it's espionage."

Lex saw her take a breath to protest, but cut the woman off. "They left VOLUNTARILY, and the place they left to involves security clearances above anything you, Fornell, or anyone you two could get a meeting with could touch. You still sought to get access to that SECURE information. Which IS espionage."

Lex's hands were on he hips now, her posture and expression authoritative even without a stitch on. "And when ideas on how to deal with the two of you were considered ski masks, a van with no back windows, and a secured location with an ample supply of mind bending drugs WAS considered, BUT you seem to be a genuinely good person, and softer methods were preferred."

"At this point you COULD arrest me, but it would be a race to see what would happen first, my getting out, our you and Tobias getting fired, and sweet heart, fired is the better option. With the number of lives that are at stake yours and Fornell's would be considered an acceptable loss."

Lex stepped forward, her voice softening, her hands dropping to just hand by her sides. "I'm the velvet glove here babe. The hope was that I could seduce you. Get in, get your notes, and we could simply make sure none of your leads panned out. I would simply be a one-night stand and your first gay experience, and it would be as simple as that."

Courtney blushed slightly. "So you were told to seduce me?"

Lex's grin grew wicked. "I volunteered."

Courtney was definitely blushing now, and Lex took a step closer as the other woman spoke. "How did you know... I mean... how did you know... did Ziva say something?"

Lex took another step close as she responded, her grin growing both wider and even more wicked. "I was told you would be 'receptive'. Why did you mention Miss David?"

Courtney blinked. "Well you know you're wearing her perfume don't you?"

Lex laughed a wicked laugh. "I know I am, and I hoped you would recognize it and it would help you be in the mood, but I didn't think you would consciously recognize it." Lex then took another step forward, and guided Courtney to drop her gun to be held at her side to do so. "Were you thinking of her Courtney? Were you thinking of her hands, and her mouth?"

Another step had them face to face. "Did you imagine it was her you were touching? I don't blame you, you know? She is a very attractive woman... an amazing kisser..." Courtney's breath hitched at that admission, and Lex used the distraction to steal a kiss.

Lex fingers were at the robes belt, slowly untying it. "But with that said I'd like there to be one time you were thinking of me."

Courtney was unresisting as Lex untied her robe, and guided her to lean back against the wall as she started kissing her way down Courtney's body as she dropped to her knees.

Leroy Jethro Gibbs pulled the long wool coat tighter around him. He was back on the east coast, back in DC, and the weather was the overcast, dreary wet mess he remembered. He took a fortifying sip of coffee as he walked down the paved park walking path and felt the warmth spread throughout his chest.

Not many people were taking advantage of the town's public parks on a chilly day like today, but that was the idea... a surveillance team would easier to spot if they were trailing the person Gibbs was here to meet.

As he laid eyes on the old Marine sitting on a park bench smoking Gibbs knew it would be unlikely anyone would be able to tail Mike Franks for long, but he also knew the old Marine would give him one of the head slaps Gibbs had learned from Franks if Jethro didn't take steps anyway.

The steps didn't seem necessary though as DiNozzo spoke over the radio in his ear and confirmed that they couldn't detect any surveillance on Franks.

Without any further delay Gibbs walked up and sat down next to his old Boss. "Long way from Mexico Mike."

Franks blew out an angry cloud of smoke. "You don't need to tell me Probie." The elder man's tone then mellowed. "I'm glad you got my message."

Gibbs nodded, but didn't get to speak as Franks continued. "I haven't given Vance a damn thing, and I don't plan to, but the bastard is threatening to mess with my pension, and I have to go through the motions."

Gibbs nodded once more. "I'll take care of it Mike."

Mike Franks scowled at Gibbs. "You really have the kind of clout now?"

Gibbs smiled. "The people I work with do."

Franks blinked. "With?' Don't you mean 'for?"

Gibbs smiled. "Same thing really."

Franks took another puff before exhaling and speaking. "One big happily family huh?"

That actually got a soft bit of laughter from Gibbs. "Basically."

Franks pointed with the fingers he was using to hold his cigarette. "Don't get cocky Probie. Vance has starting spinning some cock and bull story about Haswari being known to Mossad, and they sent him here so David could hand him over to you to get in your good graces."

Gibbs lost his smile. "And people are believing that?"

Franks nodded once. "Enough people are. He seems to figure if the story is heard by enough people it can become the truth."

Gibbs arched his silvered brows. "And you?"

Franks shook his head. "I've been around her, and you've been working with her for how many years? I can't see her fooling us both."

A small bit of Gibbs' smile returned as he resumed speaking. "And the fact that Mossad would have had to have let Ari around the detonator for a nuke that could have turned Tel Aviv into a radioactive crater?"

Franks got a bit of a smile himself at that point. "He seems to be hoping that no one looks at the finer points of the story. The problem is Probie that there are those who are willing to mistrust Israel and Mossad with the whole mess over there right now."

Gibbs was starting to get angry and drained his coffee cup before crushing it in his hand and tossing it into a waste bin. "And the fact that Ziva's been on my team for years now?"

Franks was using his still glowing cigarette butt to light a fresh one. "Come on Jethro, people aren't going to let something like the facts get in the way of a good bout of paranoia."

Gibbs jaw was set. "It'll be taken care of."

Franks seemed calm now that he was talking with the man he had been getting blackmailed into investigating. "What the hell does that mean?"

Gibbs shrugged. "It means what it means Mike. There's a reason Vance is using you instead of normal NCIS agents, and it's not just because you know me."

Franks scowled. "So what? Another mysterious fire?" When Gibbs' didn't blink Mike's scowl deepened. "What have you gotten yourself into Jethro?"

Gibbs exhaled. "Nothing you want to know about Mike. Just tell Vance you're going back to Mexico, and go, but Mike..." Franks looked over, and could see Gibbs didn't want to say what he was about to say, but didn't have to do anything as Gibbs started speaking again. "Stay inside at night, and if you have to go out, carry these." With that Gibbs reached into his jacket and pulled out a silver cross and a wooden stake."

Franks looked at the cross and the stake, and scoffed, his wrinkled face only exaggerating the man's scowling countenance. "You're kidding me!"

Gibbs however hadn't looked away, or even blinked. Mike finally broke the stare. "If it were ANYONE but you Probie!" He didn't bother finishing the sentence as he tucked the two items away.

Instead he started a new sentence as he stood up to leave. "My door's always open to you Probie."

Gibbs grinned, sitting, looking up at his old mentor. "Kind of you to offer Mike, but... as a last piece of advice, be careful with who you invite in. I knew what I was signing on for."

Mike was shaking his head as he got up and walked away.

Gibbs got up and calmly walked to the van where Tony and Ziva were waiting. David with a scowl almost as deep as Franks, but somehow still appropriate for her much younger features.

He held up a hand. "We'll conference with Witch Woman."

 

Chapter 26.

The tension in the control room was palpable as Lex walked in, and it seemed to double as she entered. It was radiating in waves from Oracle's "altar" where Willow Rosenberg sat and glared at her, while it resonated itself in all of Willow's "acolytes" who were frowning, looking away, trying not to focus on either woman.

Timothy McGee wasn't looking away, but when his eyes met Lex's he seemed sympathetic, and she sighed. Her shoulders, first slumping, and then steeling as she realized what she was going to have to do. She had been hoping that if she avoided the red head things might blow over, but the look in the red head's eyes told her that wasn't going to be the case.

Lex however was a professional, and she was here to make sure the job she had set out to do had been done, and that was going to take priority over the heart she was going to have to break. She spoke to Tim in a level tone. "We get everything?"

From the center of the room Willow's typing became audible as she took out the emotions she was feeling on her keyboard.

Tim nodded. "We know where Fornell was looking and what Krieger had found, and we're already making sure they won't find anything."

Lex nodded, her second bout of lovemaking with Courtney had her the last person to rejoin the team, but she had been part of the teleconference on the plane where they had discussed their plans to make sure the final few loose ends of Gibbs' teams transfer were tied off, and she knew that Vance was the bigger of the two loose ends and was going to require more work to tie off.

Her assignment however was looking to be a success whether or not Courtney told her boss what had transpired, and Lex gave a satisfied nod to know she had done her part for her new team.

Looking over her shoulder however she met the angry green eyes of her own loose end and decided that she wasn't going to wait any longer. Krieger had handled knowing Lex had set out to seduce her better then Willow's consenting adult encounter, and it was time for Willow to grow up a bit, or at least learn that she was at the adult's table.

Lex locked eyes with Willow, her expression not giving an inch before she nodded her head for Willow to follow. The green eyes narrowed and Willow jumped to her feet, her own stride just as fast as she followed Lex down the hall.

They ended up in a conference room, and with a start both of them realized it was the one Lex had blown up during their first meeting. Lex laughed, more a singular sort of huffing sound before she focused on Willow, to find Willow as focused on her.

Willow was the first to start speaking. "So I guess you got what you wanted?"

Lex tongue touched the inside of her cheek. "I usually do. I'm known for it."

"Did you want it the second time too? Or was that just convenient to get what you want?"

To almost her own surprise Lex found a smile at Willow's attitude, even as she grew more enraged at the woman's gall her report was her report to the Lock on what happened during her operation against the FBI agent Courtney Krieger, NOT for Willow to give herself a boost back onto her high horse.

"The second time just sort of happened. She was a consenting adult, at that point fully aware of what was going on, as was I, and two consenting adults did as consenting adults do. Do you need someone to explain that concept?"

Willow looked away, her pale features flushing red before she looked back, her green eyes angry, but now Lex had taken control of the conversation, and wasn't in the mood to bother hearing what Willow had to say. "But we both know this isn't about Courtney, and the worst part is it's barely about me. It's all about you Willow, you decided I was going to be your new love interest, and now that you've come to realize I don't want to be YOU are acting like the injured party."

Willow crossed her arms over her chest. "What about the roof?"

Lex threw her arms open. "What about it? You're the one who tagged me the fucking sex monkey! You're the one who said I use sex like most people use hugs, and you were dead on. I do, and what I gave you was my Bonobo version of a hug, but you're treating it like it was a marriage proposal!"

Willow's face was growing redder, and she was blinking rapidly. Something in Lex realized Willow might be close to crying, but the majority of her didn't care. Willow wasn't worried about Lex's feelings in the equation, so Lex wasn't feeling too obligated to worry about Willow's.

"When I first realized you had developed this thing for me I felt bad because I thought I should have realized you weren't wired for casual sex like I was, but you know what? I got over it. You are a consenting adult who knew damn well what kind of woman I am when you said yes, and that fact that you've somehow decided to ignore that knowledge doesn't change a damn thing! Everyone on this base knows what kind of person I am, whether I am sleeping with them or not, and from what I've picked up a decent percentage of them have been trying to tell you."

She stepped close, looking Willow square in the eye. "While the Lock may have been built where your old high school stood, this is a military base and you graduated years ago Willow. It's about time you grew up." Knowing she was resolute, knowing there really was nothing Willow could say to change her mind Lex turned and strode out of the conference room.

She journeyed to her quarters, grabbed a shower, and then sat in the middle of her bed with her legs folded underneath her as she meditated. Her meditations were interrupted by a pounding on her door.

Sighing she got off her bed, and walked to her door, in her usual fashion she didn't both getting dressed before answering. While she was hoping it might just be Tony there to get another eyeful it was as she suspected, another member of Sunnydale High's final graduating class, Buffy Summers.

"What did you say to Willow?" The small slayer had her arms clasped over her chest, and her eyes narrowed in an angry expression.

In contrast Lex was calm, not happy, but calm. "What I said to Willow is between Willow and me."

Buffy's nostrils flared. "She's crying!"

Lex shrugged slightly. "Still had to be said."

Buffy's hands dropped to her sides, and clenched into fists, and Lex felt her body start producing adrenaline. "Don't you care? And put something on!"

Lex forced her breath to slow to a calmer rate. "No Buffy, I don't care, and this is my room and I'll wear as much or as little as I damn well please. You don't like it, it doesn't matter because this conversation is over."

She had twisted to grab her door to close it, but out of the corner of her eye she saw a fist coming at her and raised the protective spell she had started preparing when she saw Buffy clenching her fists.

It dropped the second the super-powered blow connected, but it kept Lex from being seriously hurt, and instead just knocked her back onto her bed. Seeing Buffy walking into the room from her prone position Lex hit Buffy with a full force telekinetic wave, knocking Buffy out of the room and into the wall.

Rolling quickly off her bed she started stride for the door until Buffy got a good view and stood up to intercept her. She then teleported herself behind Buffy and to the right where she hit Buffy with a full, but non-lethal blast of her black lightening.

Buffy screamed, but showed her status as the oldest living slayer as the pain didn't stop her from turning and diving head long at Lex in a full body tackle.

She barely managed it, but she quickly teleported out and put herself a good distance down the left hallway, before she blasted Buffy again.

Buffy actually managed to dodge that blast and charged down the hall towards her.

Lex back pedaled furiously into one of the more open areas of the hall so she would have room to maneuver. As Buffy charged towards her Lex raised a bone wall that filled the point right before the hallway opened up, and heard Buffy crash into it, and then silence.

Lex's eyes were darting around, and a sickly green energy was encompassing her hands as the barrier crumbled, and Buffy came crashing through.

Buffy managed to drop below the sickly green energy blast Lex fired at her, and was up trying to grab her again, but Lex knew if Buffy managed to touch her Lex had lost she she started to teleport, but was snatched out of mid-air, in mid-teleport, and hurled down the other length of hallway that emptied into the open area on this floor.

She realized who ever or whatever it was hadn't been out to hurt her she she looked up to see Faith catching Buffy's round house kick and sweeping the other slayer's leg out from under her.

Faith... or maybe Slayer would be the better title, looked down at Buffy and shouted. "Stay down Summers!" She then looked over at Lex. "You too!"

Lex didn't argue as she simply sat on the floor. Buffy seemed to be having more trouble complying with the command, but seemed to have come to the same realization as Lex. While the two of them could barely touch each other Faith's powers as the founder of the modern line had her taking the both of them down with ease.

She was glaring at them both as Riley arrived with a pack of slayers, and all of the new arrivals looked around in shock at the two chastised women sitting miserably on the floor while Slayer stood over them, practically making the air hum with controlled power and suppressed menace.

Faith nodded at Riley, her posture relaxing a notch. "Riley, give Lex your jacket. If I'm going to dress her down she should be wearing something. Lex, you and Buffy report to my office!"

Riley handed the fatigue jacket to Lex, where it looked like a really short dress on her svelte frame, and she and Buffy followed Faith to her office. Once there Faith turned to the two women, her voice thick with anger as she spoke. "While Buffy has more first hand experience with my history I want you BOTH to consider the irony that I am giving you a lecture on self control."

She inhaled and then exhaled. "Lex, I know Buffy started it." At both women's look of surprise Faith shook her head. "Lex may be our resident nudist if she knew she was going to be in a fight she would have put some clothes on."

The two she was addressing seemed almost surprised at such simple, yet well thought logic. Faith continued. "That said Lex, Buffy doesn't have the kind of speed I do. That's why she wasn't able to touch you while you were teleporting. Which means you could have left the fight at any time, and CHOSE to stay in it. So 'She started it.' doesn't have quite the ring to it that it normally would."

Faith then looked closer at Buffy. "But troops brawl, it happens. Officers however stop those brawls Buffy, they don't start them!"

Buffy had the good grace to blush, but Faith didn't relent. "You are a leader Buffy! I have given you responsibility and respect, and for the first time since I did so you are making me regret my decision! Even before you took command of Scooby Squad you were helping train the newly called. You tell me Summers, what would you do if one of the baby slayer's got into a super powered brawl with someone who broke her best friends heart?"

Buffy had the good sense to know the question was rhetorical and she didn't bother to answer.

Faith sighed. "One month, clean up, all on your own, and I MEAN all on your own ladies. You accept any help from anyone I will find out and your helper will get a month all their own in a whole other area of the Lock. Buffy you get the bladed armory. Lex you get to take care of the ritual area."

Faith then walked over and took Lex gently by the arm as she walked her to the door. Once outside it she grinned slightly and shook her head. "I'm not happy I'm having to say this Lex because it makes me feel too damn old. Have you ever thought about the fact that your filed experience is virtually nothing?"

Lex blinked, showing that she obviously hadn't, and Faith shook her head as she spoke again. "There are TONS of more eligible candidates that I could have picked for Gibbs team, but none of them had the potential I see in you Lex, and I don't mean the 'Go far in this organization' kind of potential, I mean that if you aren't mentioned in some prophecy somewhere I full expect one of our psychics to kick it out. THAT Lex, the one I see, she would have found that whole drama with Buffy beneath her."

There was a long pause and Lex's jaw opened and closed several times. "So you're not angry, you're DISSAPPOINTED?" Faith nodded, and Lex slumped. "You and Tara are TOO much alike."

Faith smirked. "Hey, now that Tara and I are together she can throw a meaner punch, and I have much keener insights on the human soul. I just hope you can see the Lex that I do."

Lex took a step back. "Stop it! Now you're channeling her!"

Faith however didn't. "And if you need someone to talk to..."

Lex held up her hands. "No, no, one touchy feely girl friend who makes me confront my emotions is MORE then enough. If it's okay I'm going to go get dressed and start cleaning the ritual area."

Faith nodded. "Okay, but if you need to talk..."

Lex slapped her hands over her ears and hurried away.

She waited till the witch was out of sight to allow the wicked grin onto her lips. She wasn't sure how Tara would feel about her using the emotional insights Faith had picked up from her gentle lover to pick on Lex, but Faith had her own influence on Tara and she imagined that Tara would laugh. She imagined Tara will laugh when she gets back from her meeting with the President and Faith can fill her in.

Sighing Faith walked back into the office, and sat on the edge of her desk in front of Buffy. "Did you know B that the training we gave you here qualifies you are a literal lethal weapon... just the training, not counting a single ounce of slayer strength."

Buffy frowned, obviously unaware of that. "That means that if you were entirely human with the training we've given you and you got into a fight you would be legally classified at least as pulling a knife. Mix in the slayer strength B, I'd rate that at least pulling a pistol. With YOUR abilities... Uzi, and that's me working on the principle that you didn't go there to kill her, just to put a scare into her and things got out of hand."

Buffy still hadn't spoke, but did nod, and Faith kept speaking. "Yeah, I knew you hadn't went there to kill her Buffy, or I would have at least put you in the medical bay when I took you down, if not the morgue."

The blonde looked up at that, but Faith didn't flinch. "You were attacking Buffy, and just like I couldn't tell if a burst fired from an Uzi was aimed above a persons head or in it I wouldn't have been able to tell if you were pulling your blows."

The brunette shook her head. "Which begs the question B, if Lex was supposed to face the consequences of her actions like I was supposed to face the consequences of mine? Where the hell was your sense of justice WITH Willow rather then FOR her?"

That got eyes scrunched in Faith in confusion and Faith held up a hand to start ticking items off on her fingers. "The memory spell on Tara... it was mind rape B, and I can look you straight in the eye and tell you that the only reason I didn't put Willow down was because Tara basically begged me not to. The memory spell on the lot of you, working with the Watcher's Council to try to kill me, not to mention the countless magickal oopses that HAVE killed people... LIKE when she summoned her vampire doppelganger."

Faith looked her sister slayer in the eyes. "And not a SINGLE consequence. Not for her, and not for you. I heard about Ted B, and you were LUCKY he was a robot. From what I put together you went after HIM full force, and for all you knew he was an average ordinary guy. You sat on your thumbs with Angelus, and you hid him when he came back, and while I'm sure you put on your mopy eyes when the truth came out if you applied the same standards to yourself and your people that you applied to me or Lex?..."

Buffy nodded again, but Faith was again the one who spoke. "In a way I'm sorry Buffy. I should have had this conversation with you when we first brought you on here at the Lock, but I'm hoping it has the desired effect. Dismissed Buffy."

She however didn't leave right away. "You were right at the start Faith. I am more personally familiar with your history, and you aren't her any more, and I guess I can't be that Buffy anymore huh?"

Faith shook her head sadly, and watched and Buffy walked away.

 

Chapter 27.

On the plane trip back to the Lock, Tara realized she was still frowning when Galen looked over and ask her what was wrong. She didn't verbalize her reply, but smiled and shook her head. She wasn't going to say everything was ok because everything wasn't.

While her meeting had included asking the President to have the Secretary of the Navy come down harder on Vance it was actually more of a footnote.

She sighed and rubbed her temples, looking up as Galen handed her a cup of coffee. Coffee, it had made her think of her Uncle Gibbs ever since she was a little girl, and it made her think of the man now.

If he hadn't had to tie up the remaining loose ends of his transfer he probably would have been the one to accompany her to the White House, as he had taken her personal safety... personally. She knew that some of it came from lingering pain over the loss of her Aunt Shannon and her Cousin Kelly, but she also knew part of it was genuine concern over everything Tara's job entailed.

For that she couldn't blame him. It was at the heart of this visit to the White House. In spite of the Lock's continuing successes against paranormal threats things were getting worse instead of better. They were having more encounters, and they were getting more violent, more brutal.

She couldn't remember the last time one night went by with out at least one, if not more of their psychics having a nightmare, often the EXACT same nightmare.

The War Wizard's couldn't practice divination without divining ominous signs.

Their computer resources were pulling so many freak incidents off the web that it had went from hinting of the strange to portents of the ominous.

The worse part however was when she had to tell the President that while they knew something was coming they had no idea what it was.

He however had expressed it with the eloquence that he had used to secure the Presidency when she walked through the door and he said. "Tara, I have frowning advisers walk into this office every day, but your look worries me."

A small smile found it's way to her lips, the President of the United States called her "Tara", calls her "Tara", she is on a first name basis with the President of the United States. She almost giggled when she thought how he wasn't even the first.

Now with the last one she didn't ask about his wife, and he seemed all too happy not to ask about hers, but they had managed a working relationship.

Of course part of that relationship had been her having other security to accompany her to the White House, because while her Uncle had now appointed himself head of her personal security, back then Faith considered that her job.

Now she handed it off to Gibbs because she could see that spending the time together did a great deal of good for the two family members, but back then Faith always found other security because she never could stand the ... "elephant" in the room... their relationship.

Of course Tara would love to see her name and Faith's on a marriage certificate, but she considered the Lock's mission para mount to her own feelings.

So did the former President as well as Faith, but her darling Slayer didn't have Tara's level of calm. Which led to men like Galen being assigned to her personal security.

Galen, she still felt a twinge of guilt because she was still pretty sure that the Celt was carrying a torch for her, but... much like Willow with Lex, Galen knew the score. He however seemed to have never harbored any illusions about his chances with Tara.

It was why she was entirely comfortable with him whether he was acting her personal security, or high priest to her priestess in circle.

He was however aware enough of her emotional states to know she was tense, and didn't bother her further, and the plane was quiet until it touched down at the Lock's airstrip.

As Galen opened the door and reached for his sunglasses as he stepped outside to make sure the area was secure they realized it couldn't be anything but as Slayer, HER Slayer was leaning against a black SUV waiting for them.

Tara put on her own sunglasses as she gave Galen a nod and started walking to Faith. He muttered something about riding back in with Apollo, but he could already see Tara's eyes were locked on her life partner.

Faith was leaning back against the SUV with her face turned up into the warmth of the sun. While her darling still wore her leathers quite a bit she guessed Faith had come right from base as the woman was in black BDU pants, black combat boots and a black sleeveless undershirt.

Both Faith's sunglasses frames as well as the black web belt and holster that carried a matte black combat knife and Mk. 23.

Or as Tara found herself thinking... leaving Faith with the "Butch Commando Sex Goddess" look.

Tara loved how even after all this time together Faith could still take her breath away.

A smile cracked Faith's upturned face and Tara realized the wind must have carried the scent of the flash of arousal that Faith had inspired in Tara.

The smile remained as Faith looked to her witch, and she held her arms open.

Both women walked, almost ran into the embrace, hugging each other tightly before sharing a lingering kiss, that was followed by gently touching each others face.

Tara's hands had migrated to Faith's shoulders and Faith's were resting on Tara's hips as they both admitted how much they missed the other.

When Faith asked how it went Tara went quiet however and nodded to the SUV.

The nod was quickly returned and the two women hopped in, not talking until they were headed back to the Lock.

Faith was frowning. "That bad?"

Tara shook her head. "Not really. He seemed to understand the pressures we work under I just don't like knowing something this bad is coming without any indication of what it is."

Faith nodded. "What about the branch offices?"

"He wants us to try to work up a way of running our profiles on how a person can handle occult knowledge without that person's knowledge. While he can understand our wanting to create other groups like ourself in other countries he's afraid they might to try make 'Initiatives' rather then 'Locks'."

Faith blew out a puff of air. "I can't blame him, and it's not that our foreign bases and embassies haven't been able to support our people in other nations, but as it stands right now the US is literally guarding the world as the only organized force against paranormal threats, and not only can I not see that working against the kind of signs were seeing, but I see it as yet another sign."

Tara physically turned as much as her seat belt would allow so she could look at Faith. "What do you mean?"

Faith's hands tightened on the steering wheel. "What I mean is... fuck babe I don't know what I mean!"

Tara's face was sad and she reached out to caress Faiths' cheek, and that seemed to help her lover speak again. "What I mean..." She sighed. "What I mean is that I think we're facing a threat that goes beyond opening the Hellmouth, or creating a army. I think we're facing a threat that..."

Tara finished for her. "That the Lock may be able to combat, but it's going to take the whole world to defeat."

Faith nodded. Tara took Faith's right hand from the steering wheel between both of her own, kissed it, and kept hold of it.

Faith's voice was thick with emotion. "A storm is coming Baby, and I don't think we can stop it."

Tara didn't argue, while still keeping hold of Faith's hand she sat back, and once she was facing forward she spoke. "Let's go home Love."

The End

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