DISCLAIMER: This is an independent, non-profit work of fanfiction. I know there are at least three sets (or more) of copyrights involved, and this story is not a challenge to any of them.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: You probably shouldn't be reading this story unless you've read my earlier fics "Life on the Farm" "Declaration of War" and "The Front" because without them this story might get confusing. On a NCIS note I need to add I am keeping the Ziva/Gibbs cannon that she killed Ari to save Gibbs, and not the more recent nonsense that it was to get Gibbs to trust her. More importantly I must send out my personal thanks to Lisa Countryman. She has been a wonderful sounding board, and has been essential in making this fic possible, including spoon feeding me the incredibly funny chapter 5, writing three whole chapters herself, and healthy sections of other chapters as well. I also need to add a special thanks and welcome to my new beta reader laura jones.
SPOILERS: This story can and will combine any elements I care to from all of the runs of Buffy and Angel as well as the Stony Man Farm/Executioner books. Now it also includes NCIS to present, but it will also contradict them as necessary, because much to my own delight it's taken on a life of it's own. I have also decided to tinker with the Buffy/Angel time lines since in the case of Buffy the show has been done almost 7 years now.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SETTING: This is the fourth story in my Lock series.

Friend of my Friend
By Dark Wyldchilde

 

Chapter 1.

No matter how many times he did it Leroy Jethro Gibbs hated this part. He was not a man known for his patience, and it was made doubly worse when there were friendly forces in unfriendly hands. Hands that considered brutalizing their prisoners as second nature.

There were two good men in there who had joined with Gibbs, trusted Gibbs, to lead them on a mission to avenge the lost life of a good woman, but for them to make that happen the two agents had to be out of touch for the better part of a day AND night before their "investigation" could turn into the "assault" they had come there to trigger.

So Gibbs was left there to watch, and wait, ready to do all he could to rescue his men when it came time.

Then something caught his eye, a flicker of shadow, but one that moved on it's own towards one of the camp's sentries.

Snapping up his night sight binoculars the shadow raised and from it's slender profile Gibbs could tell it was a woman, he'd wager not over five feet, and possessing a light enough hair color to warrant her wearing a dark desert brown bandanna over her hair to keep it from catching any stray moonlight.

Her skin was darkened with combat cosmetics, and her build was the definition of slender, but it didn't seem to stop her as she wrapped a wire garrote around the sentries neck and dragged him to the ground where she quickly finished him off before using the garrotes' handles to pull the corpse to concealment.

Quickly swiping his binoculars over the scene he got to watch another shadow rise up and snap another sentries neck with almost childlike ease. Not much taller, or much heavier it was another woman, but with brown hair that didn't need the extra concealment.

Scanning the surrounding area he was now able to spot two moving forms crawling along the desert floor towards the terrorist base. Both had the larger build of males with one having a more athletic build, while the other was a wiry sort of athletic. They were crawling in behind the two women as they slipped in silently, taking out sentry after sentry.

Gibbs switched to the night sight on his sniper rifle, not knowing who they were, or even if the two women were working with the two men, though that seemed likely as the four gathered at the wall surrounding the ancient stone compound the terrorists had taken over. Gibbs could tell they had similar styles in equipment, showing identical form fitting desert cammo suits over which they wore web gear.

The athletic male was younger and had black hair, and he gave Gibbs his first positive sign as he handed two two women their packs before readying an American M-4 Ranger Carbine.

The final member showed signs of age behind his wire rimmed glasses, but was still vital as he took out a Browning 9mm with a silencer attached.

While the girls had an assortment of weapons attached to their bodies they didn't touch any of them as they each took a rope out of their packs, and then jumped a good twenty feet straight up, and onto the wall.

It took all of Gibbs willpower not to stand up and gape at the impossible physical feat, but he possessed a tremendous will and he stayed motionless as he watched them land silently and secure the ropes while the smaller girl took out a silenced pistol to guard the men's ascent while the brown haired one took out a blackened knife as she stalked further along the wall.

He realized they had timed the guards as Gibbs himself had done and the one with the knife was waiting as he walked around the corner to see the commandos climbing on top the wall. It was the last thing he saw as the woman moved with such speed her hand was on his mouth and her knife was driving into his kidney to lock his body up so tight in agony he couldn't make a sound as he died.

Of course sentries, no matter how well watched will keep any reliable schedule, and Gibbs was hoisting his rifle to help these unknown soldiers as another came around the opposite corner. The woman's knife however had seemed to have magically teleported itself from the first one's kidney and into the other sentries' throat as he grasped the handle and fell to his knees.

Though the move had surprised the smaller girl with the pistol as well she didn't show it as she hurried over and rolled the corpse as close to the walls' parapet as possible while the other woman did the same on her end.

Gibbs knew however that while there were only the two sentries on the wall between them and those outside the camp their absence would be noted soon and all Hell would break loose. While Gibbs was ready to let the unknowns have the camp he had to get his people out, and he laid his rifle aside as he affixed a silencer to his own own Sig Sauer and started creeping towards the Byzantine fortress to make his own infiltration.

Gibbs own entrance was going to be quite similar to the unknown forces, but with the sentries out of the way he was able to make his way through the main gate. He had watched DiNozzo and McGee get captured so he knew where he was going, first. He was then counting on the men to let him know where to find their target Saleem Ulman.

The guard on the door died with a single hole between his eyes, but his AK-47 rifle was happily accepted by DiNozzo while his Makarov pistol went to McGee. Unfortunately Ulman had yet to make an appearance, but as they left from further up the corridor they heard a voice.

"Who-who are you people?"

They didn't know the answer, but the voice that had asked the question stopped the three men dead in their tracks. It was the one who's death they had come there to avenge, their fallen friend, the lost member of their family, Ziva David.

Gibbs had his silenced pistol up and tracking as all three of the men turned the corner into the room. The first thing they saw was the older commando with the silenced Browning pistol move himself in front of the chair that Ziva David was now only partially tied to, incidentally putting himself between Ziva and their guns.

The second thing they saw was the small woman with the bandanna covering her hair. She was standing over Saleem Ulman, and was the most likely cause for his neck to be bent at the hideous angle it was now turned. Her hands however were instantly full of a sound suppressed H&K sub-machine gun.

She however titled her hands up, pointing the gun away. She slung the weapon from it's spot on the web gear under her arm, and instead reached for her radio. Since the man with the pistol had holstered it before handing his knife to Ziva so she could cut herself free they didn't try to stop the call.

Instead they watched as the small woman offered the radio to Gibbs, who handed his pistol to McGee before taking it. "Hello?"

"Uncle Gibbs, it's me... Tara.. Tara Maclay. Your wife's name was Shannon, my mother's name was Diana. We met twice, once when your wife wanted to show off Kelly when she was newly born, and one more time at their funeral. I know you have questions, but right now you need to let my people get you to safety."

Ziva must have overheard Tara on the radio because she started speaking, her eyes still wide, still lost. "Safety? They have thirty armed men out there with both anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons!"

The older gentleman next to her started speaking, and did so with a British accent. "At this point it's just over a dozen, and our friends are taking care of their arsenal."

Gibbs, as well as the his men obviously had questions, but the veteran soldier realized there was a time and a place, and while Tara's voice had resulted in more questions then answers he knew she was right, and his questions could wait until they were outside of the terrorist stronghold.

He spoke into the radio once more. "Do you have a means of extraction?"

The voice claiming to be his niece spoke again. "Just follow my people, they'll get you out." She kept speaking, but it became quickly apparent she was letting him hear her on another channel. "Slayer, this is Witch Woman, do you read?"

"Slayer here."

"Scoobies One and Two encountered Gibbs and the rest of this team and will be extracting with them."

"Understood Witch Woman, Scooby Three and myself are almost done here. We will rendezvous with them at rally point alpha."

Tara's voice then came over the radio Gibbs was holding. "Do you read Scooby One?"

The small woman who had handed the radio to Gibbs stepped close as he held the unit up. "Understood, Scooby One out."

"Witch Woman out."

"Slayer out."

The small blond moved to the front of the group and had her silenced H&K up and tracking as older gentleman took out the Browning and moved to the rear. They seemed to be letting Gibbs and his people confirm Ziva's condition for themselves. It wasn't pretty, but the woman was mobile and that was what counted as they left her cell.

The extraction went off without a hitch, but on the way out the NCIS team was able to see that this strange squad of commandos had secured their exit before ever going after Ziva, and had done so without the guards ever showing they knew they were under attack.

The final door outside was metal, locked and secured to the stone. Gibbs had been expecting lock licks or explosives, but the small blonde walked up and drove a hard boot into the door next to the handle, and the door sprang open.

As they rushed into the night Special Agent DiNozzo made sure to point to his companions how the locking mechanism had been torn free from the stone by the small woman's kick.

Now escaping into the night there was some fear of pursuit, until night was turned into day by the explosions that rocked the seemingly solid structure. Secondary explosions continued as Scooby One turned to Gibbs.

"I know you have questions, and I'm pretty sure they go beyond the who are we and why are we here variety. The problem is that Tara already came close to exceeding her authority by putting this mission together."

Gibbs came right back. "They why did she?"

The small woman didn't hesitate. "You're her only remaining family, at least the only kind worth counting." She saw his expression change in acknowledgment. "It was a stretch since you two lost touch before she ever hit puberty, but once she knew you were looking for your lost person she pushed it through. So right now, we need you to trust us and I'll recommend she comes to you with whatever answers she is able."

Gibbs didn't blink. "And Ziva?"

Scooby One's voice was already soft, but it became gentle. "There was no record of her entering the country, no record of the mission that put her on the Damocles. We can get her back to the states with no record. We have medical supplies with our extraction vehicle and top notch doctors and psychiatrists already on tap. Tara knew what this mission would entail and covered every possibility. Including you."

With that she looked over Gibbs shoulder and the group turned to find the other two commandos approaching. They were both carrying M-4's, but they both had them slung over their shoulders. Instead the brown haired woman reached into her web gear and pulled out a Polaroid.

It was old, and tattered, and it took Gibbs back in time as it had his wife Shannon, his new born daughter Kelly, and his sister-in-law Diana. He stared at it along time, remembering being the one who actually took the photo, his finger reaching up to trace the beloved faces of his wife and daughter.

He then looked to Ziva, his eyes asking a question, and Ziva seemed ready to go with them, but to Gibbs dismay it seemed more to stem from her not caring what happened then a trust of Gibbs instincts.

The problem was that he knew that wouldn't change quickly, or easily, and it would take more then he had readily available to help Ziva change it.

Gibbs didn't know what to do, Gibbs hated not knowing what to do, but he knew that his gut was telling him that it was his niece, and that she had somehow ended up with the resources to not only order a commando raid with some sort of super-human soldiers to free his lost person, but that she had the resources to help Ziva David find herself.

So he nodded, almost more to himself then anyone there, then he turned to McGee and DiNozzo. "Let's go."

DiNozzo spoke for the first time since getting out of the cell he and McGee had shared. "But Boss!"

Gibbs shook his head. "Come on! We need to explain how you two lost your jeep, only to have it show up in the burned out wreckage of a terrorist stronghold."

 

Chapter 2.

Tara had kept her promise. Ziva David had shown up on her own at NCIS, and while her eyes still seemed haunted at times she was more the woman they remembered then the shell they had pulled out of that cell in Africa.

"Alone" however became a relative term after the hug given to Ziva by Abigail Sciuto had morphed into her clinging to the Israeli's arm as she reported to Gibbs. Besides her rescuers and the pilot of their jet the only person Ziva had seen was the woman claiming to be Tara Maclay.

Tara had brought doctors and therapists, and even a rabbi chaplain, but Ziva had quickly gotten the feeling that they had been brought in for her specifically, because while they deferred to Tara they didn't seem to really know the woman.

It hadn't surprised Gibbs that Tara had seen to Ziva's spiritual needs as well as her mental and physical as Shannon's side of the family had always been big on that sort of thing, having actually brought old gods and old practices with them from Ireland.

He hadn't cared much back then, as what made Shannon and later Kelly happy made him happy, and he didn't care much about it now, but he did know the questions to ask Ziva that told him this "Tara" did at least have the knowledge that he would expect from a member of Shannon's family.

The problem was that the covert search that he had McGee run said that "Tara Maclay" didn't exist. Even the records of the birth that Shannon had been there for no longer existed, and that worried Gibbs.

To erase an identity THAT thoroughly took a frightening amount of pull, and someone that Gibbs gut was saying was his family was seemingly involved with such frightening people.

Even the composite that Ziva put together looked like she could be related to Shannon, but all they were left with was composites of Tara, and her team of mystery soldiers.

She had absolutely no idea who the girls were, or how they could do the things they were seen doing. Ziva identified Slayer as the woman with the brown hair simply adding that she had brown doe eyes, full lips, and an trim, trained figure that had the lithe movements between those of a martial artist and a jungle cat.

The petite woman who had kept her hair covered had done so because she was a blonde, and had a the trained build and similar movements as Slayer.

DiNozzo had noted that Ziva had noticed a lot about their bodies, but Ziva had retorted that "Their combat suits WERE form fitting Tony. If I had wanted to know more about their bodies I would have had to buy them dinner first."

The two other men said little, and their pilot said less when he dropped Ziva at the airstrip Tara met her at before refueling and taking off again.

After that it had been the doctors, both mental and physical, as well as the rabbi and Miss Maclay's own caring compassion.

Which left the team in the uncomfortable position of having a mystery they were too grateful to try to solve.

When the mystery walked out of their elevator in a soft blue jeans and a darker blue blouse the entire team noticed however, and while Ziva's composite was dead on Gibbs could see she walked with the poise he remembered from his late wife, and was still able to smile with a brightness that made his heart ache with the memory of his daughter. It was then Gibbs knew without a doubt that she was his kin.

He stood and walked up to Tara, but before he could speak she opened her arms for a hug and he mutely allowed the embrace.

When he finally found his voice he was only able to manage two words. "Hello Tara."

Her smile mellowed, but was still obvious as she replied. "Hello Uncle Gibbs."

He had to clear his throat of the knot that formed. "Are you finally here to tell me what the hell happened?"

She lost her smile and shook her head sadly. "No, I'm here because I need to take possession of Corporal Marty Jensens body."

Gibbs confusion grew, but his voice steadied "Not happening. We have the body and we are keeping it."

Tara's expression suddenly became all business. "You have the body. Here. In the building?"

Gibbs nodded, confused by his sudden reaction. "Yeah, and we're keeping it."

"Where! Where is the body?!" Seeing he wasn't going to reply Tara flipped out her phone and pressed a single button. "I need the location of the NCIS autopsy room." She was nodding and as she turned and ran for the stairs she stashed her phone.

"On no you don't!" Came out of Gibbs and he running after Tara with Ziva half a step behind him.

Tony didn't really know why they were running, but he was two steps behind Gibbs, and seemingly not wanting to be left out McGee was a step behind Tony.

As they whipped down the stairs the sounds reached Abby's lab and she poked her head out to see what all the commotion was about, leaving her three steps behind McGee, but not bothering to run.

The doors to Autopsy were nearly taken down as Tara ran into the room, but Ziva and Gibbs were close enough behind the man to see that was the lesser commotion as the Corporal had gotten up off the autopsy table, and now the nude, dead body seemed to be ready to make Jimmy Palmer the subject as it brought a fanged mouth to the shrieking young man's neck.

The only thing that stopped him was Ducky repeatedly stabbing him in the side with the scalpel he had been planning on cutting him open with anyway.

Gibbs pistol was in his hands, and he briefly registered Ziva doing the same as he shouted. "Ducky get down!"

While he hadn't been spoken to Corporal Jensen responded as well and turned to the intruders.

Doctor Mallard responded instantly and dropped prone, and Tara slipped to the side, as Gibbs and Ziva each put a half dozen rounds each in a area so tight over the man's heart that it could be concealed by a saucer.

For his part the Corporal looked down at the dozen wounds to his chest, looked up, and snarled before charging at the new arrivals. Only to stop short when the blonde woman slid in next to him and shoved a wooden stake into his heart.

That got the last few moments of the Corporal's attention before his body crumbled to dust.

Gibbs looked at his gun, then at the pile of ashes, then up at his niece and the sharpened piece of wood in her hand.

Ziva just stared in open mouthed shock.

Ducky was looking at each person in the room like he was hoping they would explain what had just happened.

Palmer was looking at Ducky much like Ducky was looking at everyone else.

The final three in their impromptu foot race had arrived in time to see Tara stab the Corporal and turn him to dust. So Tim and Tony were looking from Tara to the dust.

The final person however emitted a delighted squeal. "I KNEW IT! I KNEW they were real! And I knew they weren't all cuddly and house trained like Twilight!"

That seemed to break the shock that Agent Gibbs was suffering, and it was replaced by anger. He was now looking at his niece like the woman had deliberately chosen to destroy his sense of reality. "You are going to answer my questions. RIGHT NOW!"

That shout, a shout that could rattle seasoned Marines had no other effect then making Tara's expression solidify before he spoke, in a calm, quiet voice. "I will answer your questions, but not right now. These are the answers you don't want to know Uncle Gibbs. It's too late now, BUT I have sworn to keep those secrets from the general public. So we need to secure this scene."

Gibbs jaw was set, but after a long moment he nodded and turned to do just that as Director Vance barged into the room, and found himself staring down the barrel of a Beretta 93-R.

"Out!"

Vance took a breath to speak, but Tara cocked the hammer back. "Out! Go to your office. You will be getting a call." The man backed out slowly, and the quickly turned away.

The fact that Tara had been allowed to bring a side arm into a secured government building said wonders, but when she took out her phone she revealed even more. "I'm sorry to bother you sir, but I have a situation. I'm at the NCIS headquarters, but Corporal Jensen was already mobile and tried to kill the medical examiner. I was able to stop him, but Agent Gibbs and his team witnessed the incident. I need you to help me seal it off."

She paused. "Thank you sir. You should probably make the call quickly as I had to point a gun at Director Vance to keep him away from the scene. Thank you sir. Here he is sir."

Tara handed the phone to Gibbs and when he looked at the caller id all he saw was "THE MAN" in all capital letters. Once he put it to his ear his spine went straight as a steel rod as he listened. "Yes Sir, of course sir, I will give her my full aid Mister President."

Gibbs then hung up the phone and handed it back to Tara. Tony was the one to voice what the rest of the room was thinking. "THE President? As in President of the United States Barak Obama President?"

Gibbs nodded once.

Abby's delighted grin grew. "So not only is she Gibbs niece, but she the President's personal hot vampire slayer?"

Ziva's brows raised at Abby's words, but then Tara's words had the rest of theirs up.

"Actually I'm their boss."

 

Chapter 3.

Returning to Autopsy was a humbled Director Leon Vance. Since Tara was willing to let him into the room at that point he quickly walked up to Gibbs. "I don't know what worries me more about this. The fact that I just had the SecNav call me to order that I hand over my best people to MISS Maclay for the foreseeable future, or the fact that YOU look shaken by it all."

Only those who knew Gibbs could really tell, but to them it was obvious Gibbs' unflappable exterior was under some serious stress.

As the two men were talking a call came through to Tara's phone. She didn't speak except for the "Hello". She then hung up. "Our ride is here."

Abby spoke up in a small voice. "Where are we going?"

She smiled, seeming truly sad at the woman's worried tone. "A safe place sweetie."

Outside the NCIS building a stretch black limo was idling. Tara calmly walked up and tapped on the window. As it rolled down he was looking into the face of Rupert Giles in the driver's seat.

In the back a grinning Alexander Harris answered the obvious first question. "He lost the coin toss."

Buffy Summers was happy to comment at that point. "I would have been happy to drive..."

None of the them had to comment as the nearly identical look all three gave Buffy simultaneously silenced her quickly enough.

Tara opened the door and held it open for the NCIS team before getting in behind them.

Gibbs STILL had the box of evidence in his lap. "Are we finally going to get some answers NOW?"

Tara smiled. "Some Uncle Gibbs, but we were going to make side trips to your people's houses in case they wanted to get some personal items for a trip."

Gibbs locked his eyes with hie niece. "Where are we going?"

"To the Lock."

Scooby Squad looked at her in alarm. "We need their help tracking down the network turning our soldiers. Their clearance was quite high anyway, so I cleared them." She then turned back to the NCIS team. "That said, if you leak any of this information you will never even make it to a courtroom to be tried for treason." The fact that she didn't blink, even when saying the words to her Uncle let them know just how serious she was.

As the vehicle started moving Tara started speaking, saying that introductions were in order. As Giles spoke Ducky's voice responded. "Doctor Donald Mallard, University of Edinburgh."

Giles smile grew. "Oxford."

Ducky continued. "A pleasure to be working with you old boy."

When Ziva introduced herself she added that they already knew her, but she had never had a chance to thank them, but they all simply smiled and shook their heads that thanks were not necessary.

The rest of the introductions were handled in short order as Xander called their attention to the limo's wet bar. "Of course there's no actual alcohol, but plenty to wet your whistle."

Tony was finding his voice again. "A non-alcoholic bar... I still don't know how that works."

Gibbs arched a brow. "Quite well if you want people to actually work."

"I would Boss, but it's looking like there's a plane trip in our future. So I figured a cocktail to celebrate meeting our new friends would be in order."

Tony and Xander shared a grin, but Gibbs obviously wasn't pleased. "I need you sober, and I need you to tell me what the hell is 'The Lock."

Tara nodded. "I am sorry it has taken so long. Put quite simply Uncle Gibbs the Lock is the headquarters for the United States Government's efforts to eradicate supernatural threats."

Realizing he was finally going to find out what was going on Gibbs was able to settle back into the limo's comfortable seat. "Like vampires?"

Xander then chimed in. "Vampires, demons, wicked witches... the hurting people kind, not the needs a spanking kind." He threw a cheeky grin at Tara, and she returned an arched brow that Gibbs team found eerily familiar. "If it's hurting people and doing so with paranormal powers we hurt them, with paranormal powers, or just good old fashioned superior firepower. We're like X-Files meets Navy Seals."

Tony chimed in himself. "With Charlie Sheen?"

Xander shook his head. "Make that Delta Force."

Tony smiled. "Chuck Norris, excellent choice."

Gibbs ignored the exchange as his brows shot up in unison. "You use the supernatural?"

Tara smiled her lop sided smile, and Gibbs flushed a little at the silent reminder of her side of their family. "The supernatural is a fairly poor term as it is just as much a part of nature as anything else, but it's a poorly understood element, and we have been tasked with battling those harmful elements."

Abby then added to the conversation. "Like vampires."

Buffy smiled at the Goth. "Like vampires."

McGee took a breath. "Okay, so you use the supernatural, but what does that mean?" He looked at Buffy. "You kicked open a reinforced door set in stone like it was plywood anchored to sheet rock."

Buffy smiled. "I'm a Slayer, as in Vampire Slayer... we're... how did you put it Giles?"

"A mongoose to their snakes."

Ducky leaned forward. "A sort of natural predator to supernatural predators?"

Buffy shrugged. "Pretty much."

Ducky leaned back. "Remarkable."

Gibbs however kept up his questioning. "So who is "Slayer" then?"

Buffy, Xander and Giles all grinned at Tara, and she blushed, but it didn't show in her voice. "Slayer was the Vampire Slayer when we were just going to expand to operations against supernatural threats. She was also the one who recognized the danger was too big to be a side project and required it's own installation. She started it all."

Gibbs wasn't convinced. "She's just a kid."

That got smiles from the Lock personnel as Giles spoke from the drivers seat. "She is a remarkable young woman Agent Gibbs, and it was her efforts that made the Lock possible. Without her a slayer would still be using swords and crossbows, and evil would be slowly devouring the Earth. She brought the Slayer line into the twenty first century and has brought this war to a point that good is starting to claim victories other then surviving to another battle."

Buffy and Xander seemed stunned by the glowing words coming from the man who had once conspired to have Faith killed, but they shrugged, having reached similar conclusions themselves.

While Gibbs still seemed unsure it was settling to more a "believe it when I see it" then the almost need to disbelieve that had plagued him earlier.

Jimmy held up a hand, and spoke when everyone smiled at him doing so. "So what are Doctor Mallard and I doing here?"

Tara smiled rather sadly. "The first concern was so that you couldn't run out and sell this story to the tabloids or something similar, but the final decision came from the case we need your help on."

"Soldiers are going missing in Afghanistan and Iraq, and turning up as vampires. Marines seem to be the most popular, we believe it's because they have the highest training standards for what could be called "standard" soldiers. The Corporal was their first turn Stateside."

Gibbs nodded in understanding. "Someone in the special forces goes missing people are more likely to notice."

Ziva spoke next. "The fact that they were willing change their methods to acquire the Corporal means that he probably had some sort of knowledge that was valuable to them."

Gibbs turned to McGee. "Whenever we get wherever the hell we are going I want you on his records."

Gibbs continued to plan as they pulled up to Jimmy's apartment. While the easy going Xander offered to come with to help carry anything they all knew they were still being watched to make sure they couldn't call the tabloids, or Director Vance with knowledge of the Government sponsored vampire hunters.

On one level it was unsettling, but everyone had dealt with covert operations before and understood the game. So they had no trouble playing along as they made their long way around to the airport.

 

Chapter 4.

The Lear Jet touched down smoothly, which was probably a good thing as it was carrying a dozen people including their pilot. Who was now coming over the intercom. "Hello everyone, this is your pilot Apollo speaking, let me apologize again for doing my impression of a marble statue when we first met, but in covert ops one of the first things you learn is stranger danger."

His words got an assortment of grins as he continued. "I want to personally welcome you to the mouth of Hell and I hope you enjoy your stay."

That got looks from the NCIS crew, and this time Buffy spoke up, but that had been the emerging trend as the NCIS crew got their mini-briefing on the Lock and everyone started to relax.

"Yeah, we call it "The Lock" for a very good reason. THE mouth of Hell resides underneath this town, and while we work at fighting monsters all around the world our primary purpose here is to keep that mouth closed."

That had the NCIS crew nervous again and Buffy tried to calm them. "Don't worry, were really good at it."

They didn't seem entirely convinced, but still followed to the two black SUV's waiting alongside the airstrip.

Gibbs was the first to comment as they got out of the vehicles at their destination. "A National Guard Armory?"

Buffy smiled. "A natural habitat for munitions and those who know how to use them."

A young woman in fatigues was jogging out to greet them. From Ziva's description Abby, Ducky, and Jimmy recognized her as "Slayer". The woman stopped in front of Agent Gibbs and started to speak, extending her hand in a hand shake which he returned.

"Agent Gibbs, I would apologize for shanghaiing your people like this, but from what I hear you consider that a sign of weakness..." There were small grins from the NCIS team, and that even included Gibbs. "What I will tell you is that bad things are happening, and we need you to help us stop them."

Gibbs took a long beat measuring the woman, and nodded once. "Where do you need us Slayer?"

A dimpled grin came on the woman's face. "Faith." At Gibbs questioning look she smiled wider. "Slayer is just my handle, Faith is my name."

"Where do you need us Faith?"

"Actually I was thinking we could get your people settled in first. I mean you went from a normal day at NCIS, to seeing Tara dust Corporal Jensen, to being flown across the country. If your people wanted to freshen up, maybe get something to eat before the briefing ?..."

As the question was left hanging Gibbs looked back at his people.

Abby was the first to speak. "Actually I AM kind of hungry."

Ziva spoke up right after Abby. "I would like to eat as well."

Tony then jumped in. "And I would kill for a shower Boss."

Gibbs nodded. "Ok Ziva and Abby can hit your mess. Tony, you, McGee, Ducky and Jimmy can take our bags to our quarters. If you don't mind Faith I'd like to jump right in."

Faith was still smiling. "Perfect, though if you don't mind I'll leave you with my second in command Riley Finn as I haven't eaten in awhile either."

Gibbs shrugged and Faith turned to Giles. "Giles, would you show them to the guest quarters?" She then grabbed a radio on her belt and called Finn outside.

The former Watcher nodded to Doctor Mallard. "Follow me please."

Once Riley arrived he nodded at Gibbs and the soldiers headed away.

Not without some last words however as Gibbs looked at his niece. "Once things are settled I would like to sit down and catch up a bit."

Tara was blushing, but smiling as she looked at the ground. "Yes Sir."

Faith then looked to Buffy and Xander, and the two spoke in unison. "Food."

Faith laughed and she led the little pack made up of her, Tara, Buffy, Xander, Abby, and Ziva to the Lock's mess hall.

At the Lock's mess hall they found Angel who were introduced as a new field asset finishing his training.

Tara smiled. "Shall we all sit down?"

While Ziva and Abby were confused by the offer they soon learned it was because the Lock's mess hall was more like a restaurant where you COULD look at a menu, but if you could think of it they would probably be able to make it.

Ziva was surprised. "This is a most unconventional mess hall."

Faith smiled. "Well I think it was Napoleon who said an army marches on it's stomach..."

Tara was distracted as she interrupted. "Actually I think that was a out of one of David Eddings'

books."

Faith shrugged. "Either way, a warm meal can do wonders for morale, even more if it's a soldiers' favorite."

Ziva accepted that answer rather readily as they placed their orders. When Buffy and Faith's would add together to match the amount ordered by the rest of the table Ziva and Abby gave them long looks.

Buffy laughed softly as she sipped her soda, but Abby suddenly spoke up.

"Wait! You guys probably have a super-hyped up metabolic rate to match all your super abilities right?"

Buffy nodded. "6000-8000 calories a day to be considered getting our nutritional needs, 10000-12000 if we're actively pushing ourselves in the field."

Ziva's brow scrunched. "That must become difficult to manage."

Faith shook her head. "Not really, with the majority of supernatural threats feeding on humans in one way or another most of our ops happen near population centers, and it's more a matter of a lot of fast food on our credit card bills. When we're further in the field our enhanced strength means we can carry plenty of MREs."

Though Faith and Buffy gave identical looks of distaste at that thought.

A slender, pale skinned red head joined their assembly, after placing her own order, pulling up a chair at the end across from Xander. "Hi guys, I'm Willow to those who didn't know already. Riley suggested I grab something to eat since your Agent Gibbs wanted me to get Agent McGee up to speed in my temple ASAP."

Abby was smirking. "Temple?"

Willow blushed. "Ummm... yeah. I'm the head of both the computer resources as well as the occult libraries here, and it's my job to get our field agents the information they need. So our pilot Apollo started calling me "The Oracle" so now our computer room is called "The Temple of the Oracle."

Abby was smiling one of her typically bright smiles. "Hey I think it's about time us brains are worshiped like the Goddesses we are."

Will smiled, though it was a bit reserved. "But Agent Gibbs thought it would be best if I get McGee comfortable before everyone gets some sleep." Willow then focused on Faith and Tara, who were sitting next to each other, with Faith on the left and Tara on the right. "Riley had already put it into motion, but he figured they could get some sleep so in the morning they could get the basic intro to demons lecture before we split them into smaller groups for specialized lessons."

Ziva quirked her brow. "We will not begin investigating right away?"

Faith was the first to shake her head. "Too dangerous. With any luck you can just find the enemy forces for us and we'll do the heavy lifting, but we have to have you ready in case you engage the enemy in the field."

 

Chapter 5.

That seemed to satisfy Ziva, and the conversation became more casual. "I am just happy to get getting some real information on the matter. If you were to believe the movies, vampires..."

On her right hand side Abby interrupted, "Ziva..."

Ziva turned to face the goth. "Well it is true."

Angel was sitting to Buffy's right and seemed interested in what she was going to say. "What's true?"

Abby sighed. "Fine, tell them."

Ziva took a breath before launching into whatever it was she was going to say. "I have always found that the vampire stories have disturbing tones of pedophilia."

Angel was too busy choking on his soda to comment so Faith stepped in. "Really?"

Tara had a overly innocent tone as she tried to help as well. "Would you care to explain that?"

Ziva seemed happy to. "Yes, well the underlying theme in the teen movies..."

Abby interrupted again. "Don't get me started on Twilight."

Ziva continued. "As I was saying, the underlying theme is completely immoral."

Buffy felt ready to comment. "Well they literally have no souls... so morality, not really an issue."

Ziva nodded. "Yes, but why do these vampires who are hundreds of years old always chase the nubile teen ingenues in movies?"

Tara spoke up. "Because they're hot."

Faith smiled at Tara. "You are so gay."

Tara smiled right back. "High praise considering the source."

Abby was laughing. "Nubile?"

Ziva held up a hand. "Ok wait, let me explain." First Ziva looked at Xander, and shook her head, then she looked at Angel. "Mister Angel, suppose you were one of those two hundred year old creatures..."

Faith's dimples were in full force with the size of her smile as she spoke brightly, and with enthusiasm. "Yes, let's suppose!"

Buffy shot her sister slayer a glare.

Ziva continued. "Okay, so Mister Angel is an ancient vampire, and lets suppose he is madly in love with some young teen."

Ziva starts looking around the table, her eyes first settling on Tara, to which Tara laughs richly. "I don't even like the living boys."

Ziva's eyes then fall on Faith, before looking back to Tara, and moving on. When she looked at Willow the young woman blushed under the scrutiny and she then looked at Abby, giving Angel an almost angry look at the idea of him falling in love with Abby.

Hey eyes then focused on Buffy. "Buffy, you. We will say you are some nubile teen."

Xander was grinning as wide as Faith.. "I like this game."

Buffy shot Xander a glare all his own.

Ziva noticed the reactions, but didn't seem worried about them. "Now, the problem is, this two hundred year old pedophile..."

Angel finally spoke. "Hey!"

Faith held up a hand. "Let's hear her story, Mister Angel."

At this point Tara had to hide her face with her hand.

Ziva continued. "Yes, well if this vampire didn't look like Mister Angel or that Paterson child, say if he even looked a third of his actual age... "

From behind her hand Tara helpfully spoke. "Sixty six, if we're saying he's two hundred."

Ziva noticed most seemed to agree with her so she was warming to her "game". "So he looks sixty six years old. What would you say if your sixteen year old daughter was sleeping with a man who looked sixty six?"

Buffy's expression said she didn't want to speak, but felt she had to. "Seventeen."

Ziva was confused. "What?"

Buffy's face was still contorted. "Just saying, sixteen seems a little young."

Ziva's brows rose. "For a sixty six year old?"

Faith's expression of distaste was obvious. "Okay, yuck."

Tara's "Ew." agreed.

Abby then added in."Don't forget the soft and cuddly thing."

Ziva's head nodded emphatically. "Fine! The 66 year old looking pedophilic vampire is EVIL. I suppose he tries to kill 16...17 year old Buffy."

Buffy was shaking her head. "Did I mention how much I hate this game?"

Angel actually growled slightly. "This is a stupid game."

Abby growled at him. "Hey!"

Ziva was looking around the table. "Do you not see my point?" Everyone seemed to see her point, and Tara, Faith, Willow and Xander all seemed to find it hilarious, though they were trying not to show it. Buffy and Angel seemed to have gotten the point as well, but seemed far less happy with it.

Abby however was thinking about the point and decided to comment. "And the thing that bothers me?"

Buffy obviously didn't want to hear as she spoke. "Great. Yay. Oh can we please hear that too?"

Abby didn't notice. " I knew vamps wouldn't be all lovesick and mooning over teen-aged girls."

Faith wasn't hiding her amusement now, but was still able to speak. "Well, there was Angel."

Buffy gave Faith a fresh glare. "Shut up Faith!"

Tara however came to Faith's aid. "And the scarier, but equally moony Spike."

Buffy gave the other blonde a glare of her own. "Not helping Tara."

Ziva's eyes had narrowed, she slid a protective arm in front of Abby as she looked closer at Buffy and Angel. "There is something I am missing, no?"

Buffy met the woman's eyes. "No!"

Ziva however kept the arm in front of Abby and watched the way Buffy and Angel were not looking at each other.

Her eyes narrowed on Angel. "Mister Angel, do you like crosses?"

He sighed, walked over to one of the windows and stood in the fading sunlight.

Xander however felt need to comment. "His tanning is a new habit."

Abby was staring rather wide eyed at Angel as he spoke. "I was a vampire okay?"

Ziva shifted and Abby was now hiding behind her shoulder. "Was?"

Buffy then spoke up. "But he's better now."

Abby peaked up from behind Ziva's shoulder. "Oh My God! Buffy and Angel lived Twilight!"

Buffy muttered as Abby was speaking. "Really hate this game."

Abby however hadn't stopped talking. "Wait! Was there a werewolf too?"

At that they all looked to see Willow had snuck off.

Once everyone realized she had vanished Abby took another breath. "Okay, but what about a real vampire movie?... Dracula? Was Dracula a vampire?"

"That's it! I'm out of here." Was heard from Buffy as she left the room.

 

Chapter 6.

Gibbs found Tara as she was leaving the cafeteria and he was entering. He smiled. "I'm sure you've already eaten, but would you like to grab a cup of coffee?"

Tara smiled and nodded, and walked back into the room with him. It took a second for her to explain the unique nature of food service at the Lock, but the career military man seemed to appreciate food that wasn't prepared in mass quantities and kept in warming trays.

He ordered a turkey sandwich to go with his coffee while Tara got herself cream and sugar, two mugs and a full coffee pot she brought to a table. There was a long moment of silence as the coffee was poured and those first sips were taken.

Tara was the one to break it as her blue eyes met his and she smiled. "So I should probably start with "What the hell happened?"

Her bright smile, and near laugh got a soft chuckle out of Gibbs, and he thought back. While he briefly remembered seeing Tara and her mother at Shannon and Kelly's funeral his stronger memories were soon after Kelly was born and Shannon HAD to show their first born off.

Tara had been about five then, small, and shy, and already setting off Gibbs gut. It had been summer, but both Tara and her mother had always had their arms and legs covered. When he added that to the young girls timid demeanor, and the way the father's eyes were either cold or angry any time the girl was in sight... it left Gibbs not wanting to act, but ready to.

What had touched him as well as her shyness, fueled by something sinister, was that even with that, she had a kind, loving and open heart. Gibbs remembered her sitting in a lazy-boy and holding Kelly. The two small girls, one practically a baby, the other infant content in her cousin's embrace, were dwarfed by the chair, but Tara sat and held Kelly and sang softly to her, a lullaby, and that had been the only time during the visit Tara lit up. Her mother had lit up as well, and like all bullies, Tara's brother didn't like his victim being the center of attention.

The problem was that when he had acted, pulling the brutish brother Donnie away from hitting his little sister the father, Caleb had gotten involved, and at that ended with the father picking up a couple bruises of his own, but when that made Gibbs the bad guy Shannon and he realized that they couldn't do anything until they were asked to.

But he still remembered the look of gratitude on her little face when he stood up for her.

He remembered her quiet strength when later, at Kelly and Shannon's funeral, he had seen her after the service at Kelly's grave. He had watched as she sat cross legged and openly wept while she sang the same lullaby and rested a hand on the earth next to the grave. Tara's father hadn't been on that trip, and the child seemed more alive even with her sincerity of grief, but Gibbs had been too dead inside to reach out to anyone.

Tara, while not even thirteen had come to Gibbs and hugged him. Now, as Gibbs looked back, he knew Tara had somehow sensed what he was feeling. The preteen had took his large, well calloused hand in her small and delicate fingers and looked up at him and said. "They both loved you very much. They still do. They always will. Don't lose yourself along with them."

She'd hugged him again and then wandered off, leaving him stunned by the words spoken by a mere child. It had felt like she knew he was ready to hunt down his family's killer and use the skills the government had given him to put a bullet in the man's brain from a valley away. He had dismissed it as his own mind playing tricks on him.

Even as he remembered, he looked across the table at Tara. She was the leader of a frightening and dangerous operation, but she walked among her people with a loving smile and eyes full of love freely given, eyes like Shannon's, like Kelly's he realized. Her people faced ugly things everyday and seemed to draw strength from Tara's love. He sighed. After all she'd seen and grown up with, she managed to keep that love out in the open. How had she not crawled inside herself after what her father and brother had done to her?

Gibbs startled when her eyes found his as if she'd been feeling his thoughts. She smiled tolerantly as if she was waiting for him to come back to the table with her. He laughed and suddenly realized how his team must feel when he showed up out of nowhere knowing exactly what they were all thinking, but he didn't know what people were thinking, not really. He had a feeling Tara actually did. He watched as Tara gave him one of her gentle smiles, so much like Shannon's it made his heart clench.

She gave him another moment before she spoke. "When I was seventeen Mamma passed and I went through a brief rebellious stage... which didn't go well."

She saw a flash of guilt on his face and reached across the table to take his hand. "And then I left. I realized I had to, but I had to be the one who realized it. Mamma never did. There wasn't anything you could have done."

He shook his head, letting her hand go. "Maybe not, but you still could have called me when you left that place."

She smiled. "Perhaps, but my destiny lay elsewhere." Gibbs look was blatantly skeptical. "I'm serious Uncle Gibbs. My destiny was written on ancient scrolls and it needed me here."

That got his attention and she grinned as she continued. "I managed enough scholarships to enroll in U.C. Sunnydale, but at the time I didn't know their tuition was so cheap because they were on the mouth of Hell."

"I first met Willow, and she introduced me to Buffy, Xander and Giles. I learned who they were and what they did, and I wanted to help." He scowled softly at his niece for volunteering to fight demons, but didn't voice it.

"And for a long time it was good, for fighting demons on the mouth of Hell goes. Willow and I were close..." She looked at Gibbs, but he didn't respond. "And things were good. Then a hell goddess named Glory showed up, and she hurt me..." Tara took a calming breath, and Gibbs reached out to take her hand, and give it a squeeze, his expression concerned. "She stole my sanity, and for a while I WAS insane, but Willow found a way to take my mind back from her and restore my sanity, but in that battle Buffy was lost."

Gibbs swallowed a bite of his sandwich. "You mean..."

Tara nodded once. "She died, and Willow brought her back." Now she knew that for Uncle Gibbs up until earlier today when he saw her dust a vampire the world of the supernatural wasn't real to him. Sure Shannon and Kelly believed in it, but she knew that even when he stood in circle with them he didn't believe in the supernatural, he just believed in them. All that said when he heard of Willow's tampering with the boundary between life and death even HE knew she had went to far, and his expression showed it.

"It was the start of a long, downward slide for Willow. She became convinced that with the right spell she could always have everything perfect. If she needed the laundry done, she cast a spell, and it was done, and folded. If she needed to research something on the net she would cast the right spell, and poof, there the information was. Then..." Tara took a steadying breath, and Gibbs, still holding her hand, gave it a squeeze. "Then Willow decided that she could make me perfect in the same way."

She felt his hand twitch, and when she looked up she saw an expression she hadn't seen since he had pinned her father to the ground after the man had foolishly tried to attack a Marine after he had stopped Donnie from beating Tara. She quickly shook her head. "I'm not with her anymore Uncle Gibbs, I may have forgiven her, but I wouldn't let myself be hurt again."

His posture calmed a bit and Tara continued. "Faith's my partner now."

His posture tightened again. "Partner? I thought you were the mission controller. They have you doing field work?"

It took Tara a second to realize what he was asking, and then she giggled. "No, no... I mean ok on occasion, like this time I went to NCIS because you're my uncle, but no, almost all the time I'm here. I mean life partner."

He shrugged, taking his hand back so he could take another bite of his sandwich. "Okay."

She was unsure. "Okay?"

He smiled. "I saw how she lit up the second she saw you. She loves you."

She giggled again, and then took a deep breath before resuming her story. "But I left Willow. Around this time Faith had been recruited by the government... there's more, but it's a story all it's own. She told them about the Hellmouth and the danger it posed. So they sent her here to scout the town out for them and get a feel for the threat level."

She took a sip of her own coffee. "She found me early on, and since I was mainly known as "Willow's girlfriend" everyone thought Faith and I were together. So we played along to give her a viable cover."

He raised a silvered brow, and she blushed as she smiled. "Yeah, turns out we were fooling ourselves most of all. Faith's report was taken seriously, and she was put in command of the facility before it was even built. She brought Riley in as her second, and initially asked me to just be the head of occult intelligence, but we soon realized we needed a mission controller..." She blushed again. "And Faith knew I could do it even if I didn't, and I've been doing it ever since."

Gibbs nodded, slowly, taking everything in. "I noticed something you said in the car... you said Faith was THE Slayer, but from what I understand all these girls that have been having DiNozzo's eyes bugging out are slayers."

Tara couldn't help but smile, for all the Lock's professionalism, and duties, the slayers rotating in and out for training did often leave it looking like a girl's dormitory. She sobered before speaking however. "She was. I wasn't kidding when I said my destiny was here Uncle Gibbs. The First Slayer was imbued with her powers by ancient shamans to protect them from the creatures of the night... and the day, and part of their spell was that when one fell the powers would be passed to the next. It had been that way for millennia. Buffy had actually been a slayer before Faith, but had drown, and while she was resuscitated she "died" long enough for her powers to pass to the slayer before Faith."

He frowned at the idea, but kept silent. "Faith however held on, while she was put into a coma for over a year at one point she survived to become the slayer spoke of in "The Prophecy of the Elder". It stated that when a slayer reached twenty, the age when the First Slayer was imbued with her powers she would be the one to awaken the entire line."

His sandwich was gone, and his coffee was nearly empty as he took a sip and looked at the pot speculatively. "So where do you come in?"

She blushed, deeply. "While Faith could become a repository for the energy needed to awaken the Slayer line she needed someone connected to her that could shape the energy and give birth to the new slayer line."

He choked on his coffee, once he finished coughing he croaked out. "Give birth?"

Tara's blush deepened. "Not LITERALLY, but sorta." Her eyes however were radiant. "But Faith and I were literally meant to be together."

He cleared his throat a couple times. "And all those girls out there are my grand-nieces?"

Tara frowned. "Kinda."

 

Chapter 7.

It was 0900 the next morning they were in the gymnasium and four training mats were set up. Faith was in sweats and a sports bra as were Buffy, Ziva, and a pair of blonde haired, blue eyed twin stunners. Gibbs, DiNozzo and McGee were there in t-shirts and sweats, everyone was barefoot.

Faith raised her voice. "Ok, there was some debate as to whether to do the mental training first or the physical, but it was finally decided that an up close and personal encounter with a supernaturally capable opponent will help you to understand why it will be so important to learn about what you had thought were myths and fairy tales. Ducky, Jimmy, and Abby, you are here to simply observe because while your work will be happening here at the Lock this should still be a valuable learning experience."

She then turned to the other seven people dressed for training. "All right, Agent Gibbs, while I was going to challenge you myself I decided to pair you with Buffy so you can learn size REALLY isn't everything."

Gibbs looked skeptically at Faith, and then even more skeptically at Buffy as she walked to one side of the mat and he walked to the other.

Buffy was shaking her head. "Don't even go there Gibbs. You saw what I could do when we raided the compound... nice job staying hidden by the way. We never knew you were there."

He smiled, and tried to flatten Buffy's nose with his fist.

Buffy slapped the hand away, smiling, and bobbing her head. "Good, good." Gibbs was dancing away from her and Buffy's smile grew. "That's right. If I get my hands on you, you're dead. Don't let me get close."

She then used her slayer speed to do just that and put her right hand on Gibbs shoulder, only to find her one hand grabbed tightly between his two as he threw her into a hip toss. Buffy however managed to grab his belt and bring him down with her.

Both were left laying on their backs looking at the ceiling as Buffy spoke. "Ok, that was good, very good." She did a kip up and was on her feet instantly as Gibbs rolled to stand. "Let's continue."

Faith smiled at the pair as she turned to Anthony DiNozzo."All right Tony. Candi here will be your sparring partner."

He smiled his most charming smile. "I dunno, I'm not sure I'd feel comfortable attacking such a beauty."

Candi grinned. "I bet you say that to all the girls."

Tim found himself standing across from a exact duplicate of the woman who had already snagged one of Tony's arms and twisted it behind his back.

The Agent tried to smile. "Thank you for taking the time to kick my ass Mandi."

Mandi laughed, smiling at McGee fondly. "You don't need to worry. This isn't to hurt you, it's just to help you understand."

Faith then walked over to Ziva, but Ziva was the first to speak, with a small smirk. "And I'm all yours?"

Faith grinned, and raked her eyes up and down Ziva's compact frame. "Yep, but it is your first time. So I'll be gentle."

A full, wicked sounding laugh burst from Ziva's frame as she kept her eyes on Faith as they walked to the training mat.

As the four sets of people started testing each other Ducky leaned over to Tara. "This could be rather difficult to keep up with."

Tara smiled and nodded. "You don't REALLY need to as this isn't a lesson in fighting specifically, but more a demonstration that the things you used to use to size up a foe can't be counted on anymore."

Tara then noticed a scowl on the face of the forensics scientist Abby Sciuto as she seemed focused entirely on Faith and Ziva. So she took a step closer to observe the woman's reactions. She also kept and eye on Faith and Ziva, but that was as much because of the effect of watching Faith work up a sweat as it was anything else.

Ziva took an opposite approach to this match than Jethro, or even her Mossad training would indicate. She came at Faith in a flurry of attacks. Her right hand came at Faith's shoulder, but as Faith's right forearm blocked that attack Ziva's knee rose to Faith's stomach. Faith's left managed to push that away, but not before Ziva looped her arm with her shoulder under Faith's chin.

As Ziva's leg came down it came down behind Faith and she attempted a hip toss on her own slayer. Slayer however managed to turn in the small bit of space between when she went into the air and connected back to the ground to land on all fours, but rather then looking stunned or like she was trying to recover she looked like a jungle cat, a hunting cat that was now sizing up Ziva David.

A cat that roared a delighted. "Oh, you are TRYING to turn me on aren't you?"

"I've never had to try very hard." Ziva's grin was both wicked, and inviting.

Abby had her own question in response to Faith's, one she posed to Tara. "Ok, just how heavy are you guys on the "Don't ask, Don't tell?"

As Tara watched Abby's reactions she felt a wide smile crack her face, and she bit down the desire to giggle. Her amusement however did color her voice as she replied. Before she replied she decided to test her own theory as she rested a hand on Abby's upper arm, and leaned in close to the Goth's ear. "The work we do here is too important. It's "Don't ask, Don't tell, because we've got far more important things to do."

Abby's response was cut off from a thud from where Ziva and Faith were sparring, but as the two women looked up Abby let out an outraged squeak. The thud had actually been the women's match going off the mat as Faith took Ziva to the floor.

At least that's what Tara presumed as Faith was now laid out, almost draped over Ziva, but she had protected Ziva's head and upper body from contact with the gym floor by having her arms around the woman's head and shoulders.

Of course now that they were on the floor it looked as if the women were sharing a lover's embrace with Faith cradling Ziva's head as if she was about to kiss her. Tara actually had to remind herself of her implicit trust for Faith no matter how worked up she got in combat.

That thought had barely finished before Abby's voice intruded into her mind. "Slayers are supernatural?... so what... she's part succubus?"

Tara had to bite the inside of her cheek not to laugh at the other woman's outrage.

Tara's next thought had a wicked grin as she realized her touching of Abby HAD broken Ziva's concentration, and confirmed that Ziva kept Abby in her field of awareness much like Faith did with Tara.

Seeing Abby's normally pale complexion getting a little red coloring to match her angry expression Tara decided to make sure it wasn't just a matter of Ziva wanting to make sure Abby was safe. So she put her hand on the inside of Abby's arm, just above the elbow, lightly brushing the skin under the sleeve of Abby's t-shirt.

"Are you ok?" Tara then felt a stab of guilt for what she did as she used something she had heard Ziva use with Abby. "Abigail?"

That pulled Abby's attention to Tara entirely, and while her flushed skin remained it seemed to change purposes as she first looked to Tara's hand on her arm, and then to Tara. "Yeah, sorry, I'm fine... Just not sued to girls getting so, butch, at work... I guess."

Both of the women looked back to where Faith and Ziva were when Faith spoke up. "Come on David. It's no fun when the girl just lays there!"

Anger flashed in Ziva's eyes, and she slid her left leg out from under Faith to wrap over the other woman's right hip. She tried to do the same to wrap her legs around Faith, but Faith countered by trapping Ziva's right leg between her own. So the women were left to struggle with Ziva's legs pinning Faith's right leg while Faith's pinned Ziva's right as well. They had each grabbed the others wrists and were now locked face to face.

Tara realized she had seen Faith in a similar position before, but she was naked, as was Tara, and occasionally they had a double-ended silicone shaft shared between them as they ground together, much like Faith and Ziva were now... Tara felt herself blush, but they were without the sex toy, and with clothes.

Looking over to Abby the scientist's eyes had grown wide, and Tara guessed she had reached the same conclusion. Looking at the other members of the NCIS scientific assets she could see Doctor Mallard was deliberately NOT looking at the women, while Jimmy Palmer's jaw was hanging open and he couldn't look anywhere else.

To her growing horror Tara realized the other three matches had stopped and their participants were watching the two women. Buffy was blushing, and trying not to giggle. Leroy Jethro Gibbs was wide eyed, and had just managed to slam his jaw shut as he started to stand.

Anthony DiNozzo's expression however had undone Tara's earlier mental work and had removed the women's clothes with his eyes and possibly put the sex toy back in play.

McGee resembled Palmer as he watched in wide-eyed fascination and wouldn't or couldn't look away. The twins even giggled alike as they tried not to.

Tara was closer to Faith and Ziva as she had been watching Abby and Ziva, and got to them first. "OKAY! I think that's enough for today. Let's take two hours so people can get showers, and we'll meet in Conference Room 3 at 1100 hours for your lessons on the supernatural."

DiNozzo's grin was still lascivious and he looked to Tara. "We don't know where the conference room is."

She shot the special agent a glare. "I'll send someone for you!"

Tara felt a wash of satisfaction as Agent Uncle Gibbs hit Agent DiNozzo in the back of the head. "Hit the showers DiNozzo!"

His head ducked. "Yes Boss..." His voice rose to Ziva and Faith. "That goes for you ladies as well. Don't forget to get all those hard to reach places."

While it got him a second strike to the head from Agent Gibbs the look on his face said he thought it was worth it as Ziva and Faith blushed in realization of what they had almost been doing, where they had been doing it, and who they had been doing it in front of.

 

Chapter 8.

Faith found herself being thrown again, and while she could have attempted to do something to counter this throw as well from the look in Tara's eyes when they got to their quarters Faith wasn't going to mind being spun so she could be pinned against the wall.

She surely wasn't as Tara's left leg hooked over her right hip while Tara's right hand tangled in her hair. Tara's left hand wasn't cupping her breast, but squeezing it, hard. As all this happened Tara's mouth was pushing into her's enough to make her head move with the pressure while Tara's tongue invaded Faith's mouth.

The kiss continued in a whimpering mashing of mouths and clicking of teeth until Faith had to let her head fall back to get in some necessary air. Tara didn't begrudge Faith but didn't stop her sensual attack as she settled for nipping and kissing along Faith's neck.

Faith realized Tara was going to leave a mark, if not several, and while she knew her slayer healing would have any love bites taken care of before sundown it was still unusual for Tara to be so forceful.

"Tara, Baby... yeah... right there unh... I mean... Tara... are you ok?"

Tara lifted her head "Yes" and then launched a passionate assault on Faith's cleavage.

Faith's arms seemed to have a mind of their own, and they showed their full support of Tara as they cradled Tara between Faith's breasts.

It left her panting as Tara savored more and more of her flesh, first caressing it with her tongue before nipping at it with her teeth. "It's not a jealousy thing?."

Tara slid her hands under Faith's sports bra, and Faith's arms continued to think for themselves as they raised to help Tara get Faith stripped to the waist. "Nope."

The witch then put her mouth to better use taking Faith's right nipple between her lips and sucking hard.

Faith's fingers were running through Tara's hair as the woman eagerly sucked Faith's nipples, but then her hands stopped, and her whole body froze. "Wait a minute!"

Tara looked up at the words.

Their eyes met as Faith continued. "It turned you on!"

Tara shook her head. "That's ridiculous, now take your pants off."

Faith was smiling widely, still naked to the waist, but not noticing as she put her hands on her hips and looked at Tara. "It totally did. You saw Ziva and I wrestling around, grunting, groaning, all sweaty as we ground against each other and it got you hot!"

Tara was taking off her dress. "Faith, Darling. First of all, no duh. Secondly, loose the sweats."

Faith grinned, hands still on hips. "I'm the CO I don't have to take orders from you."

Tara arched a brow, now in typical white bra and panties. "Out there you're the CO. In here..." Tara launched herself at Faith, already knowing she would get caught and cradled in her beloved's arms, and to her Darling's chest. Which allowed her hands to slip inside the back of Faith's sweats and grab both toned butt cheeks through the woman's panties.

She took Faith's left earlobe between her teeth and bit it firmly, smiling at Faith's moan of approval. It had her lips at the right place as she pulled her mouth away to whisper into Faith's ear. "In here we are partners, and I can tell you to take your pants off..." Tara moved her right hand, sliding it around front in between them to cup the damp spot in the crotch of Faith's panties. "I just have to make it worth your while."

As she moved her fingers in a massaging wave, through the saturated fabric, from the bottom of Faith's pussy right to the hood of her clit she grinned, whispering again into Faith's ear. "And for the record Love, I'm not good enough to have gotten you this wet, this quickly."

Faith felt what was left of her resistance crumble as her knees gave out. Tara's lips were at her ear, and she was talking dirty. When they had first gotten together Tara had been all right with being vocal during sex, and was very good at professing her love, but it hadn't been until Faith that Tara had developed the confidence to start talking dirty, and much to Faith's delight Tara had a knack for it.

"Yeah, I got hot watching you two. All that toned muscle straining, defined, glistening with sweat." Tara was now keeping Faith on her feet by digging her fingers into Faith's backside. "Oh, and the sounds you two made, grunts, growls, panting breaths."

Tara licked the side of Faith's neck and Faith had to remember to breathe. "And the best part was that *I* knew what it would do to you. Ziva is a VERY beautiful woman, a very sexual, sensual woman, and she's got as big of a competitive streak as you do. Combine that streak with Ziva, with the Hungry and Horny, and let's say I'm proud of you for not getting off right there in front of everyone."

She pushed Faith back on the bed, but kept speaking as she took off her bra. "And I would have sworn Ziva was getting turned on too. Her nipples were hard under her sports bra, but you tell me Love. Could you smell her? Could you smell arousal?"

Faith's hands flew to her own crotch as she moaned "Yes!"

Tara held up her hands. "No, you keep those hands where I can see them." She smiled as she said that. "But you'll strip for me now, won't you?"

Faith's head seemed to be joining her arms in rebelling against her mind and following Tara's orders as it emphatically nodded yes. Those traitorous arms then slid Faith's sweats and panties off in one motion that hurled the clothing items to the floor.

Tara looked at her lover, now naked, resting on her back, raised on her elbows, her legs spread not just inviting Tara, but imploring Tara to slide between them. Tara slid off her panties, and then paused right hand on her right hip, hips cocked to the right side. "You have to wonder what Ziva's doing right now? If she's got her busy hands taking care of the state you left her in? Maybe taking advantage of the shower head and directing the stream right where she NEEDS it?"

Faith groaned loudly and fall back on the bed. "If I didn't know you loved me... you know you're killing me here don't you?"

Tara was smiling as she leaned in over Faith. "My poor Baby... I'll kiss it and make it better."

Faith's head popped up. "Hold on a sec, swing your hips up here."

Tara smiled, climbing up on the bed until her hips were straddling Faith's smiling face while her face was pointed back down towards Faith's hips. She started to bring her face down to Faith's sex, but Tara's was already under attack by Faith's questing tongue and she had to brace her hands to get herself down as her body was already getting a mind of it's own as it moved against Faith's face.

Once she felt Faith's hairless pubic mound on her cheek it was easy to roll and seal her lips over Faith's swollen sex lips.

As she did so Faith's diligent actions with her tongue started to slow, started to slur. Tara knew why because she too had to mentally remind herself to give as well as receive, even as her body wanted to simply feel.

It helped that they both loved their partner's taste, with Faith's tongue seeking out more of Tara's nectar while Tara quite literally drank Faith down.

Tara felt herself getting a little frustrated as neither seemed to be able to focus enough to bring their love to climax... the position looked so much better on paper. So Tara moved her mouth to suck directly on Faith's clit while first two fingers of Tara's right hand slid deeply into Faith's pussy and started slamming in and out.

The blonde felt her mind actually clear as Faith lost what little concentration she had and simply moaned. Tara rolled to get her hips out of the way so she could see Faith's face as she moaned, and came.

Faith however didn't seem interested in reveling in what Tara had just done to her as she pulled the woman's hips to her face again and her tongue redoubled it's previous efforts. It didn't have to work very hard or very long as Tara had already been so close, and she cried out Faith's name as she climaxed, and went limp.

It took slayer reflexes to grab Tara's hips and ease her back. Tara went with the motion and allowed herself to be laid back, with a delirious smile on her face, her head towards the foot of the bed.

Faith laid back with a similar smile and her head towards the head of the bed, their bed. At least the smile remained until Tara spoke and turned it to a look of confusion.

"With a little work Ziva could have this solution as well."

Faith however wasn't as mentally aware as her witch was at this point. "Huh?"

Tara's hand was on Faith's leg, idly caressing from her knee to her hip. "Are you saying you didn't notice Ziva and Abby?"

Faith shrugged. "Sure, I mean Abby's cute, but I get a little nervous when a chick is THAT pale, and you already know I like Ziva."

Tara snickered and pinched Faith's thigh. "I mean Ziva and Abby and the fact they are afraid to ask, and afraid to tell."

Faith's head rose, just at the neck. "Is that why you were all touchy feeley with Abby?"

"See, I knew you would notice because you always keep me in your field of perception if we're anywhere near each other. I was testing to see if Ziva did the same thing with Abby."

"Ok, I noticed Ziva started to have trouble concentrating at the end."

Tara sighed a little guiltily. "That was deliberate. I needed to know if she just wanted to make sure Abby was safe, or if she wanted Abby."

Faith laughed. "So you came on to Abby."

Tara smiled. "Um hum. Now it's just a matter of how to get them together."

Faith swore silently. "Babe, I don't remember matchmaking getting added to the Lock's mission profile." When Tara said nothing. "So I'm guessing it's part of yours?" Tara continued to say nothing, but Faith could feel her lover's body was loose and relaxed next to her.

"Well then I'll say I love you, and good luck because it is most definitely not on MY mission profile." Tara continued to say nothing and Faith groaned. "Unless you use the girlfriend trump card where I'm obligated to help you in any and all things you come up with."

Tara finally spoke. "Welcome aboard Sweetie."

Faith exhaled. "Happy to be here."

 

Chapter 9.

Buffy sighed, closing her eyes she turned her face upwards towards the sun. Though she was born in California, and spent her TRULY formative years in a town called SUNNYdale. Nothing had prepared her for the middle east.

In all fairness however most of those formative years were spent being out at night in graveyards, but Buffy felt she was starting to get used to it.

"Used to it." she thought with a smile while wiping her forehead and then taking off her sunglasses to wipe the sweat on her face and behind her ears. When she was younger she had always wanted to travel, see exciting places, and meet exciting people.

Now that she had accepted Faith's offer to head up the Lock's first action team "Scooby Squad" she did travel to exciting places, where ancient evils were about to rise, and met exciting people, who were trying to unleash those evils upon the Earth and were downright happy to kill Buffy to make sure it happened.

Giles had said it best with that quote about how "The more things change, the more they stay the same." In many ways Buffy was doing the same thing she had always been, now she just did it all over the world. If the Watcher's Council had been competent she could almost see them as justified now that she had fought evils all over the globe.

Of course they weren't. The Lock was here now, and doing the job right. And the job right now had her and Xander sitting in a Humvee by the landing strip of a Marine base at the foot of the Hindu-Kush mountains while Agent Gibbs spoke with the base commander.

Gibbs, Buffy sighed, Leroy Jethro Gibbs, it was obvious the man had a good heart, and since he couldn't hide that good heart he armor plated it with gruff, and Buffy already adored the guy. Oh, there was a part of her that said she was a grown woman, a slayer, leader of a top secret team of demon killing commandos, but when Leroy Jethro Gibbs told her to do something she was doing it before that part could speak.

Xander was much the same way, and while he had earned himself a few slaps to the back of the head on the trip from the Lock Buffy's only response had been to ask him to teach her how to deliver the slap properly for when she was back in the lead.

Gibbs hadn't seemed happy to find out that Buffy was in command of Scooby Squad, but she realized quickly enough that his problem was that he "hadn't even joined the Corps by the age you had been fighting for your life against monsters".

Yeah, Buffy adored the guy, and she could tell Xander did too, but she forced her attention back to the moment and looked to the base commander's office again. While her first instinct had been to rush off to where the missing Marines had been last seen before showing up as vampires Gibbs had brought them here.

All of the confirmed locations they had put the missing soldiers within range of these mountains, and Gibbs had said that it was likely they were turning the Marines right away since keeping a live Marine prisoner had high odds of escape and the exposure of their plan.

As vulnerable as a vampire is when they are first turned Gibbs figured that they would want something more than then constantly shifting sands to shield the fledgling, and Buffy had to agree. So now she was sitting in the passenger's seat, literally as Xander was on the gun mount in the back of the vehicle.

Gibbs had slid back into the driver's seat both figuratively and literally before turning to speak to the two of them. "We might have a hit. The base commander has been having civilians bring in reports about a band of "insurgents" who have been more concerned with taking people prisoner then blowing them up."

All three knew what that meant, if you thought it was hard finding sources of drinkable water in the desert you should try to find sources of drinkable blood.

Anthony DiNozzo was sitting in a small road side diner in Kansas, staring into his cup of coffee. He now knew that there were dark forces active in the world. Unspeakable evils beyond human comprehension that sought to sew misery and despair all through out creation.

He knew it because there could be no other reason that he could be on a base literally FILLED with hot young women and wind up paired with two men. It had to be the unseen moves of an evil hand, or possibly Ziva having a laugh at his expense.

Though Ziva's training "incident" brought a smile to his face, it wasn't the laughing kind. Even if it did give him all sorts of retorts if it turned out Ziva had suggested HE needed to be kept away from the Lock's women.

"What do you think he's thinking about?" The cultured tones of Rupert Giles jarred Tony out of his memory as he was joined at the table. Rupert Giles, like Ducky without the whimsy, or Gibbs with an accent, he never slapped the back of Tony's head, but had a glare that had almost as much of an impact.

"I would imagine he's thinking about Faith and Ziva's match again." With those words Riley sat down as well. Riley Finn, if he had been wearing flannel, a truck cap with a tractor logo, or overalls the man would look like a local.

Instead he was in a suit and impersonating a federal agent... well technically he WAS a federal agent, but demon hunters didn't get badges, and Finn was carrying a fake NCIS badge to go with their cover as the investigators looking into Corporal Jensens' death.

The Englishmen cleared his throat. "Yes, well I wasn't there for that."

Tony shook his head to clear it. "Your loss. Actually I was thinking about where we should start in learning everything we can about the life, unlife, and times of one Corporal Marty Jensen." He smiled as the two men relented.

"Ok, one of the first things you do in any investigation is learn everything you can about the victim. You do that you start to figure out why whatever was done to them was done to them. Once you have that you can start looking for whoever did it. I want to start with his parents. I'll let you take point on that interview Riley since you look like you could have grown up a couple farms over."

The waitress then came over, but after she had taken their orders Riley replied. "More like states over... I'm from Iowa."

DiNozzo gave a humoring nod. "Of course you are. After that we will be interviewing the recruiter, early employers, friends from school, by the time we meet for lunch I want to know if Corporal Jensen was everyone's all American, or the quiet loner who kept to himself. Any questions?"

The two men seemed far more impressed with the professional DiNozzo, and had none.

Ziva was smirking at Faith as they walked down a hallway of the Lock's first sub-level. "So they're leaving you and I alone together?"

Faith chuckled. "Nope, we've got another field asset joining us, and while they've completed all their training here their field experience is limited."

Ziva nodded once. "Anything I should know about them?"

Faith sighed. "Yeah, yeah you probably should. Especially since you are new to the supernatural game, and I am asking you to trust her with your life, but I'm going to wait until the three of us are in a secured conference room to talk about it."

Ziva's brows nearly reached her widow's peak, but she kept her mouth shut as she followed Faith, and her patience soon paid off.

Her name was Alexandra Detton, though she was more commonly called Lex. Ziva guessed they were about the same height, and while the woman did not have as much muscle tone as Ziva, the grueling training she had finished showed in clear muscle definition. Her skin however was a lighter tan and flawless.

She was wearing a lacy white top, blue jeans and brown boots, and she was leaning against the wall with an amused grin on pink lips with a touch of gloss. Soft blue eyes carried her amusement.

Ziva was content to simply watch as Faith started to speak. "Ok Lex, before we get going I thought it would be better to let Ziva in on how you found your way to the Lock. So it doesn't cause trouble later." Lex didn't respond, long enough that Faith spoke again. "Lex?"

Lex then shook her head. "Sorry, when you told me you two wanted to talk to me alone I started composing my letter to Penthouse." The other two women blushed. "You mean about my family?"

Faith nodded, and Lex sighed. "Ok, I'm guessing you've met Witch Woman, aka Tara?" At Ziva's nod Lex continued. "Tara would be a perfect example of someone born to a light magick line. While blood isn't necessary to master the Art it can be a definite boost."

Ziva interrupted. "As it can in any profession I would imagine."

Lex seemed to consider that a moment. "Anyway, it's not just light magick that does that." Seeing comprehension dawning in Ziva's eyes Lex nodded, her eyes obviously looking at the past."And just like Tara grew up with her mother teaching her about light, and balance, and love, and all those beautiful things. My family taught me about hatred and murder, and corruption, and vile atrocities they had been perfecting for millennium."

"But even as they sat and taught me for years and years on end I knew it was wrong. I still can't tell you how, but I just knew..." Her voice drifted. "I just knew." She took a deep breath. "But I also knew that I was the only one. You know how you have the various generations and the kids who grow up together have kids who play together only to have kids that grow up together..."

Lex actually rolled her hands around each other in front of her stomach to show that hand been going on for generation after generation. "When I looked around I saw souls that had already fallen to darkness long before we had ever signed our pacts..."

Seeing Ziva's shock Lex focused more on the room she was in. "Oh yeah, you had your graduation ceremony, I had a pledging ceremony. Or at least I would have, I hadn't found the courage to stand up until then, but when I looked around and saw the kids I had grown up with, the people who said they loved me, the two very people who had brought me into this world I saw strangers, villains, nothing more."

"Luckily for me, even though I was the youngest I could trace my heritage back to the very beginning of my line, so I had a bit more freedom to wander the grounds in advance. So I said I had nerves and walked outside. I walked outside and I locked the doors,engaged the wards..." She took a deep breath. "And I burned the building to the fucking ground."

Faith stepped in before Lex had taken another breath. "We had already been on her family's trail. So when the fire happened we got there in time to watch Lex watching the flames. I'm guessing you can figure out the rest, and while we know we can trust her I decided that it would be better to tell you now rather then have you find out in the field."

Ziva was nodding, and then Lex met her eyes. "It is difficult to do what must be done, and even though your family seemed irredeemably evil I can not say I would have had the strength you did."

The three women were silent before Faith moved to the door. "All right. We need to investigate Corporal Jensen's actual disappearance. So let's move out."

 

Chapter 10.

Tony had to give the guys credit, Riley had slid perfectly into the role his fake NCIS id had given him. Giles performance had been just as seamless, and he was now snooping around the house as a"forensics technician".

As the only real law enforcement official he had to admit he probably would have been fooled. Of course right now he wasn't exactly "real" either as the NCIS id he was carrying looked like his own, but had a name and attached history that was entirely the creation of that pretty red head Willow.

At first he thought his uneasy feeling might be coming from the real/not real game he was playing with Mister and Misses Jensen, but his gut was talking too loudly for it to just be his conscience having trouble lying to two grieving parents.

So as he sat there watching Finn go through the motions questioning the couple he waited for a break in the conversation. "Mister Jensen, Misses Jensen, I know I said it when I called you about your son's death, but I wanted to say again how sorry I am for your loss."

When they thanked him for his kindness he kept his face a mask of sympathy, but his gut started screaming. He hadn't called them, he had made Probie do it.

"Mrs. Jensen" then stood up. "The coffee should be done at this point would either of you boys like cream or sugar?"

Tony stood up right with her. "I'll help you Ma'am." Of course in his mind he was thinking it would keep her from adding anything they didn't ask for like poison.

The woman however smiled at the offer and motioned for him to follow.

Tony's gut was screaming in warning, and churning with fear, and as he entered the kitchen it felt the atmosphere in the room change, not literally so, but in the way the "woman" was carrying herself.

"So what gave us away?"

Tony put on a smile. "Ma'am?"

The old woman shook her head. "What gave us away? Did another agent call us?"

Tony knew they knew, but he also knew the woman was in the mood to talk, and that worked for Tony because talking was one of the skills.

"Yes, it was perhaps our most important person at NCIS..." While he was talking Tony has slipped next to the coffer maker. "AGENT MISTER COFFEE!" With those words he grabbed the pot full of steaming black coffee in his left hand and brought it against the woman's right temple.

Some hot coffee splashed on his hand, and more got on his wrist as the pot detonated, but that pain went unnoticed as his right hand dug under his jacket for his Sig.

The woman's face was red and blistered and her eyes were red and the right one was obviously blinded, but since they were an inhuman pupil-less white he didn't feel bad.

Her left was still working however and she used it to see where he was as she howled through a mouth now filled with pointed teeth before lunging at him.

Her charge however was brought short by three 9mm Black Talon rounds to the face. DiNozzo had been surprised to see the illegal ammo when it had been handed to him, but it had been explained that if they didn't know a specific vulnerability a creature might have then massive tissue damage was the next best thing. Which was why the Lock now made the restricted rounds.

Tony could now see why as the creature now had three large holes in it's face, and three even larger ones out it's back, two in the head, and one that had found it's exit at the base of the neck.

The fact that she bled some viscous gray goop, also let Tony know he hadn't just attacked someone's helpless mother.

While it wasn't as keen to charge as it had first been it was still on it's feet and Tony's mind whirled trying to think of what to do next.

There were sounds of another fight in the living room and Finn shouted. "When it doubt, cut it's head off Tony!"

DiNozzo actually felt a small smile at the sentence, but the smile vanished. The expression on the woman's face suddenly went from anger and annoyance to murderous intent.

He didn't know what cutting her head off would do, but she didn't look like she was planning on laying down so he could try it and see.

So he shot her again, but in the thighs this time in hopes it would slow her down. He put two in each leg, and while they went straight in and out the wounds still dropped the creature to the floor.

Luck seemed to smile on him as her head caught a counter on the trip down and she landed laying on her back.

While the Lock had included a razor sharp combat knife as part of his equipment package he wasn't sure how well it would work for a beheading. Looking around frantically he saw a cutting block full of knifes.

Grabbing at the biggest he turned back to the downed demon, and saw she was trying to rise. So he instead grabbed the whole block and brought it down on the creatures' head.

It noticed the blow, but didn't stop moving. So Tony hit it again, and again, by the third blow it was starting to have trouble in it's attempts to get back up so he just kept hitting it again, and again, and again.

He lost track, but estimated a good dozen hits before he finally let his aching arms drop the block. Leaning over the bloodied kitchen implement he took out the large knife that had first attracted his attention.

Hoping the Jensen's maintained their cutlery he laid over the stilled beast and brought the knife to it's throat.

It was perhaps the most disgusting thing Tony had done in his life, but a couple minutes later the partially caved in head rolled free, and the door behind him slammed open.

The knife was still in his hand as he turned around into the drawn guns of Finn and Giles. Both looked ruffled from combat, and Finn's other arm showed the combat knife COULD work for a beheading as it was bloodied by the same gray goo the woman bled.

Giles was the first to speak as Finn scanned the room, settling on the body, and then continuing. "Are you alright Tony?"

He nodded at the Englishman as the other two joined him to stand over the fallen form. Tony was still panting as he spoke. "What took you two so long?"

Riley arched a brow at the man. "I had no idea something was up until the woman started screaming, and by that point the guy was already up and leaping at me."

"Sorry about that, but something felt off. So I said I was the one who had called with the news of Corporal Jensen's death, but I had made McGee make the call."

Giles filled in the blank. "Their species is naturally telepathic with each other, and can use that to read our emotions. They must have felt your suspicion, and sought to split you up. Which was only made worse by my being in another part of the house."

Giles looked over to him, smiling. "Still, dropping a Class Two Infiltrator on your first outing, good show!"

Tony was still panting from the exertion. "That's a Class Two?" The Lock had trained him on the identification system they had created. While they still kept records on all the demon's individual breeds their Class ranking sped up communications on the nature of the threat, and didn't require a bachelors degree in myths and legends.

Class 0 was basically human, 1 had some extraordinary ability, and if it had a marked hostility towards mankind they sought to eliminate it, 2 rated a proceed with caution, 3 warranted an automatic call for back up. If a Class 4 was encountered they were supposed to observe, report, and await orders, while a Class 5 was an automatic order to retreat.

It wasn't that they didn't deal with 4's and 5's but that they were special missions.

So Tony couldn't help but feel a sense of pride as Giles spoke. "Yes, it's not AS combat heavy as other class two demons since it's powers are more in disguise and deception, but it's still quite an accomplishment."

Tony smiled. "Well, this demon hunting isn't as hard as I thought it would be." Tony then froze, a look of horror on his face.

Giles immediately responded . "What?"

Tony looked sick. "Well that would be the cue for the monster to get back up and kill me."

Giles actually smiled. "No, I assure you it's quite dead."

Tony hadn't moved. "Promise?"

Giles was still smiling, and over his shoulder Riley could be seen smiling as well. "Yes."

Riley then spoke. "Let's secure the scene, call the Lock, and start looking for clues. The fact they're here says we are on the right track."

Giles smile had vanished. "And the remains. I would wager the remains of the real Jensens are near"

The two other men looked at him closely. "This breed of demon is from South America, they take on a human form by eating the heart of the person's form they are taking. Since I can't see them taking any truly extraordinary measures to dispose of the remains I would imagine they are somewhere near by."

 

Chapter 11.

"In with the good air, out with the bad Tim, just breathe." Willow was smiling as she spoke to the NCIS agent.

They had started with her calling him "Agent McGee", but that stopped soon enough as the two computer geeks bonded.

Now they had bonded and she was showing him around her "Temple" as the "Oracle" here at the Lock, and he had been... impressed, at the technology the top secret installation had available.

His hands were out in an imploring gesture at an opened computer tower behind her own "altar", a raised platform at the center of the room where she could send an assignment to one of her "acolytes" with a few keystrokes, and then speak to the person she had sent it to without having to pull herself away from whatever she was working on.

"But this... it's... it shouldn't exist. Not yet, it shouldn't be here for a good couple years. Maybe a year for you guys... but..."

Willow smiled at the man's reaction. "But there it is. You're right. It's theoretical, but the guy who had the theory had been taught by my predecessor and when he made a prototype he brought it to his old professor. The professor helped him clean it up, and made a clean copy for us to use here."

McGee's eyes were bright. "So can it do half of what I think it can?"

Willow laughed. "Grab a terminal, and I'll let you on it."

Kids at Christmas weren't as excited as Tim. In Willow's mind since the man worked for the Navy she almost wanted to compare it to a sailor on shore leave, but she didn't want to cheapen her baby. Yes, the Lock might be commanded by Faith and run by Tara, but her computer systems were all Willow's.

That said, while they might be her baby, they earned their keep. If anything Willow felt it was her loving care of the machines that made sure they always pulled off the digital miracles they were called upon to perform.

A more mundane concern called Willow to her altar, and she hit the few keystrokes to send it to Tim's terminal. "Grab a head set Tim. Tony's calling in."

That got a nod from the Agent as he did just that. "What do you need Tony?"

An angry voice came over his head set, and Willow's as she was listening in. "It's a conspiracy I tell you a grand EVIL conspiracy..."

Tim hunched forward in his chair. "There's a conspiracy?" Behind him Willow perked up.

"Yes! The Lock is FILLED with beautiful women and I get teamed up with two men! Now I call in and instead of getting the cute red head I get you!" The cure red head snickered and Tony heard it. "Are you listening in there Oracle?"

Willow then spoke up. "I am Tony, what do you need?"

Tony's voice then grew serious. "We encountered two Class Two Infiltrator demons posing as Jensen's parents. We've got their remains as well as the remains of the parents. Scooby Two has a profile put together based on the fact that they ate the parent's heart to take on their appearance..."

Tim's "Ew" interrupted.

"You have no idea Probie, but anyway we've got the four bodies for Ducky and Sam, and we've processed the scene. While I know your records came up clean on the parents I have a ton of prescriptions in the father's name here."

Willow nodded. "Send me all you got. Can you give me the Doctor's name?"

"Mendel."

Tim simply watched as the friendly, shy young woman was replaced by the obvious professional. "Okay what's next?"

Tony's voice came back over the line. "This place is pretty grim, and while I want to keep looking around town they guys seem to think containing the incident is more important."

Willow's fingers were flying over the keys. "I gotta agree with them. The fact that you had Infiltrators says they were going for a small presence. The odds of additional evidence are small versus the risk of exposure. I keep a patch in to monitor the local LEO's. Bag everything you got and get it back here. The guys have a plan for containment?"

Tony's voice was uncomfortable. "Fire. Since the Father seems to have been on meds any way you're supposed to have his records altered to a combo that could cause disorientation. They're going to set a fire that can look accidental. Then when were done with the parent's remains they'll need to be charred. As far as the LEO's know we were just following up on Jensen's recorded death."

Willow gave an unnecessary nod. "Ok, the plane will be fueled and waiting for you. I'll advance this to Witch Woman, but you look good to go."

"Yeah, all right..."

Willow smiled. "You still haven't picked your handle. So don't worry about it, we'll see you when you get here."

"Yeah, so this is me, out."

Willow hit some key's and sent what she had to McGee's terminal. "All right Tim I want you to start digging into the files of the local pharmacies. We know the Father's medical records were altered. I'm going to take a closer look at them, and at the Doctor's, but I'm hoping that they didn't bother to erase the records at the pharmacy that filled them."

Tim nodded. "It sounds like you got a big order yourself. Are you sure you don't want help with that?"

Willow smiled. "Want, but don't need. The problem is that we KNOW our opposition has mystic resources and you've yet to do an occult hack."

Tim's brow raised. "An occult hack?"

Willow grinned. "Decrypting doesn't help much if the original message is in a demon language, and I don't even have the TIME to get into magic/machine interfaces, but don't worry. I know you got mad skills, I'm just going to put them were they can be best used. Which actually includes calling the medical bay and letting them know what's up while sending them Giles' file."

Tim nodded once, bringing up the file that was just coming in. "On it."

A few seconds later a new voice came over Tim's headset. "Medical Bay here, this is Doctor Mallard."

McGee smiled. "Hi Ducky, you've got bodies in route. "Two Class Two Impersonator Demons, and their two victims. I've just sent Giles field observations as well so you can get ready."

"Understood. While it's terrible about the human victims I'm glad I'm going to be put to some use here. From what I've been learning from Samantha the work here is quite exciting."

Tim felt Duck get going. "Learning a lot then Ducky?"

"Oh yes, here one can encounter entirely new species on a regular basis. Though I love my work at NCIS I sincerely hope I can consult with Dr. Finn again."

Tim was smiling, but then he noticed a change in Willow's focus. "I think something's happening here Ducky. I gotta go, I'll let you know when they bodies are on the way, but it will be several hours since they have to be flown in from Kansas."

The Doctor's cultured tones continued. "That is one thing I think I may talk to Samantha about, I prefer to be able to analyze bodies in the field. You can loose so much between the crime scene and the lab."

Tim shook his head. "Ducky, from what I picked up there won't be a crime scene much longer." Ducky made a thoughtful sound, but Tim continued. "But I really do need to get going Ducky. Bye."

As he hung up he looked to the "altar" and saw Willow's fingers were a blur on the keys. "I read you Scooby One, I can get you satellite telemetry on your position in eight minutes."

As he had focused on Willow, Tim had switched his headset to listen into the conversation. Buffy's voice came back to him at a normal pitch. "That's fine Oracle, I have my monitor ready to receive."

Willow and McGee looked at each other before Willow spoke again. "Scooby One, do you actually need a satellite, or are you just speaking to make someone think you have a satellite available to spy on them?"

Buffy voice came back. "Go for both heat signatures as well as movement since we are expecting vampires."

Willow nodded. "Understood Scooby One, do you need any fries with that?"

Buffy voice came back, but it was obvious she was forcing herself not to laugh. "Nope, that's everything Oracle, Scooby One out."

McGee met Willow's eyes and Willow grinned. "Buffy must have needed to make someone think she had a satellite available, and calling here let's us know she's encountered something while she tries to fake them out."

His face scrunched in confusion. "Do you have a satellite available?"

Willow nodded. "Technically I'm borrowing, but I have the clearance, and we'll have their position in eight minutes."

 

Chapter 12.

Gibbs took a deep breath, filling his lungs to the utmost, he then let half of it out and brought his eye to his rifle's eyepiece.

It was Buffy's plan, and while Gibbs didn't like it, he couldn't come up with anything better. So he was going along with it.

He was perched over a box canyon that he had found after pouring over every available map and examining every possible shred of intel. Even then to say Gibbs had found it wasn't entirely accurate. The Marines on base had marked it as a possible supply dump, but hadn't investigated as no vehicles were ever seen in the area surrounding it, and it was too far for a person to realistically reach on foot.

But Gibbs knew that the "mystery insurgents" were not people, and would have found the isolated box canyon an ideal spot for turning their kidnapped Marines, and stashing the civilian's that had been taken for the fledgling's first meals.

The problem was that "ideal" did not mean that they had agreed with Gibbs assessment, and could be anywhere in the vast Hindu-Kush mountain range, and even if they were there this group was capturing Marines, then entering their lair would be more then walking into the single entrance to the box canyon and having a look around.

Buffy's solution had involved Gibbs taking his rifle and being let out of the Humvee early while Buffy and Xander drove to the box canyon's mouth and loudly called for a satellite image of the valley, one that was designed to pick out vampires.

The hope was that the threat of knowledgeable hunters combined with the slowly setting sun would be enough to spur any opposition in the valley to attack attack the Humvee.

Gibbs was there to spot any attackers first and call attention to them by doing as much damage as he could with his .308. He was skeptical, but Buffy reminded him of a motto coined both early and often by the Lock's soldiers. "Shooting them in the head will ruin just about anyone's day."

He was left to test that theory as a half dozen forms in mountainous ghillie suits like his own started creeping towards the Humvee. As he lined up the shot he turned on the thermographic function of the scope the Lock had given him for his rifle, and the cool bodies of the creepers were actually in contrast to the sun heated rocks.

The fact that their bodies read below that of a living human just confirmed it for Gibbs as he released the rest of the breath and squeezed the trigger. His hand was up working the lever to send a gleaming brass casing hurtling away from him.

A second round was off before the echo of the first one reached his ears, and another form was left motionless as Gibbs quickly brought the rifle to a third target. As he pulled the trigger a green smoke came across his vision. The green meant there was heat and Gibbs spared a second to swing the rifle to see what was burning.

He cracked a smile as he realized it was his first target. The second one caught fire as well as Gibbs realized his bullet must have cleaved away enough of the person's ghillie suit to leave their flesh vulnerable to the fading, but still present light of day.

Gibbs was about to line up his next shot, but the other three had raised to a crouch to find cover from his fire only to expose themselves to the .50 caliber automatic weapon Alexander Harris, or Scooby Three was firing from it's mount on the Humvee, and where Gibbs had been a ballistic artist with his rifle Harris was striking with all the subtlety of a sledge hammer, turning human shapes to tattered refuse, which then caught flame.

He growled as his eyes caught Buffy's part of the plan as the young woman charged into the mouth of the box canyon while the guys poured fire on the enemy.

A dozen forms burst out of the sand to surround Buffy, but Gibbs didn't even bother to try to get a bead on any of them. They were dancing around Summers too fast for anyone to get a bead down there, let alone to be able to shoot a target when the bullet cold take a full second to arrive.

Instead he drew his Sig in one hand and a wooden stake in the other, and started running towards the canyon floor. There was still a bone crushing drop from where he was to the sandy surface where Buffy was battling a dozen fully covered undead, but since he used one of those cloaked figures to cushion his fall it was the vampire that had it's bones crushed instead, which made it easier for Gibbs to stake it and get up to rush to Buffy's aid.

Much to his surprise she didn't seem to need it. Three were down by the time he had made the leap to the box canyon floor, and by the time he had staked his own Buffy had taken another down and brought their tally to five.

A gun sounded off to their right and Gibbs looked over to see Harris firing a round from his pistol into another vampires face at skin touch range before staking the incapacitated creatures heart.

He didn't think about it consciously, but he did realize that he would have to revise his opinion of the young people's capabilities. He would never like seeing such young faces on the battlefield, but he didn't really consider that a flaw.

The former Gunnery Sergeant felt his gut clench as his stake was blocked by a move that he first learned at Paris Island, but he knew that the Marine who had learned it was dead, and the creature he was facing simply using the skill to spread death and destruction in the world, actually betraying what the Marine Corps was all about.

It was that thought in mind as he put the Sig Sauer under the creatures chin before pulling the trigger twice, which freed his stake hand to drive up under the suit and into the creature's heart. Turning it instantly to ash and leaving Gibbs coughing as he got some of it into his lungs.

He was able to control his coughing as more material was kicked into the air. Partially because Buffy staked two more, but also because the final three dove into a pile of sand and quickly dug their way out of sight.

Xander said it best when he looked at the newly revealed cave opening. "Mother Fucker!"

He took the M-4 carbine from where it had been slung over his shoulder and in less then a minute had removed the grenade launcher from the under-barrel mount and replaced it with a flashlight.

Gibbs stowed his stake and in the now freed hand took out his own flashlight. He then threw a speculative glance over at Buffy.

She saw the glance and smiled at him as she fixed her grip on the stakes she had in each hand. "I'm fine, with your guys lights and my night vision I'll see just fine,and in these close of quarters I'll be better off hand to hand."

Gibbs didn't feel sure, but he hadn't felt too sure since he first saw this slip of a woman garrote a man over twice her weight what seemed like an eternity ago. So he nodded, but held up a hand. "You first Harris, I'm not so worried about you hitting anything as I want you driving them to cover. Buffy, you'll be right after, use your discretion. I'll come in last and fill in where needed."

No other words were necessary, but Xander held up one cautioning hand as he pulled the pin on flash-bang grenade and hurled it inside. Even at the mouth of the cave there was a flash of light and a roar of man-made thunder, but they were outside and looking away while those inside had caught the effect head on.

The three charged and found the room in disarray. There were a good fifteen vampires strewn about the room., but what was of more interest was the six figures still obviously in USMC desert fatigues who had no visible bites, but were laid out prone on the floor.

Off to their left were a good dozen and a half Afghani civilians, and Gibbs got Xander moving to them with a nod and a command. "Scooby Three, get the civilians by the Marines. Scooby One engage at will, but protect the civilians first."

Buffy seemed to already be doing that as she pulled one reeling figure up with one hand while shoving the stake from the other hand through it's heart.

Gibbs ran over to the prone forms and took a deep breath before shouting. "ON YOUR FEEET MARINE!"

Four of the six figures jerked, but rolled to their feet. He quickly handed his Sig off to the first man. "Head shots only solider!"

He got a nod as Xander got the civilians herded over. "Scooby Three, give the Marines your rifle and side arm, we're going close combat. Scooby One, toss me your side arm!"

Buffy did as she was asked by ramming the stake in her right hand into another vampires' heart before using the now freed hand to toss the Beretta to Gibbs. "Head shots only people!"

While the Marines didn't understand what was going on they knew how to follow orders, and those orders might not have killed the vampires, but it left them moaning and writing on the ground as the three stake wielding people quickly finished them off.

As the last one turned to dust Gibbs was left looking into the wide eyes of the civilians and soldiers alike.

He sighed. "You saw what you saw people. I'm not going to spin some lame story to try to convince you otherwise..." As he spoke he saw a few civilians that seemed to get the attention of the rest of them when they would speak as he took a breath, he hoped that meant they spoke English and were translating.

Now if he just knew what to say.

 

Chapter 13.

Faith was sitting with Ziva and Lex in the third floor office of the base commander where Corporal Jensen's plane from Afghanistan had touched down. Which was also the last place the Corporal was seen alive, and while she had matured a great deal in her time with the Government she was still a woman of action, and the waiting wasn't sitting well with her.

Since action wasn't really feasible in the commander's office (Lex's Penthouse reference aside.) she decided to at least break the silence the other two women were annoyingly comfortable with.

"Well turned out Tara wasn't mad at me for our "match", but she still was happy to accept my "apology"."

Lex snickered. "I bet."

Ziva however looked between the women in confusion. "I did not think we were THAT out of line. Why would Tara... OH!"

Faith laughed softly. "Oh, indeed. I just brought it up because I was worried you might have someone you would have to apologize to, and I didn't want to get you in trouble."

Ziva shook her head. "No, there is just me..." Ziva then grinned. "So I am free to wrestle around with any woman I choose."

Faith and Ziva snickered, but Lex barged in. "You do have someone you need to apologize to! You too Faith!"

The other two women looked at Lex in confusion as she put her hand on her chest and looked horribly offended. "ME! You two need to apologize to me! The two of you all hot and sweaty, grunting with effort, panting with exertion as you wrapped yourselves around each other, and I wasn't invited?"

Faith laughed as Ziva smirked and spoke to Faith. "So you are involved with Tara?" Faith nodded. Ziva then looked over at Lex. "And you?"

Lex smiled, her eyes bright. "Single, gay, not as gay as Faith and Tara though... that's more of a personal goal at this point."

Ziva wasn't terribly shocked, but she was surprised. "I've been working with the Navy several years now, and I never imagined them being so open minded about sexual orientation amongst their troops."

Faith nodded reluctantly. "They're not. We're sort of an exception to the rule as they fear getting turned into vampires more then they feared getting made queer. Though I had worried the old VP might consider it since he didn't have much of a soul left, and had pretty much taken the Reaper as a roomie."

The women all shared a snicker, part of it coming from the sexual orientation of the old VP's daughter.

After several more moments of silence Faith sighed. "Ok, I'm going to check in, and then if this guy hasn't gotten back to us we'll go looking for him."

Faith pulled out her cellphone and looked at the display. She rolled her tongue inside her mouth before speaking in a level voice. "No bars. How odd." Her voice then dropped. "Okay, we're at stage one of fucked ladies."

Ziva got up and looked at the door handle, the lock on the heavy metal door obviously engaged. "Stage two." Then feet were seen shuffling outside the door, and Ziva commented again. "Stage three."

Lex and Faith had moved over to the desk to push it against the door, but both women saw something sitting on the seat of the office chair that had been pushed tight against the desk, two blocks of plastic explosive with a timer that had just over a minute left that was sitting in a clear plastic box.

Lex looked at Faith. "Stage Four?"

Faith shook her head. "Five, they knew enough to seal their package air tight so I wouldn't smell the explosives. They knew they'd be facing a slayer."

Ziva had joined them and was examining the bomb.

Faith looked at her. "Can you disarm it?"

Ziva nodded. "If I had a full tool kit, a vacuum chamber to keep it's internal pressure, and if it read eleven minutes and forty seconds rather then one minute and fourteen seconds."

Faith swore and ran up to the window, diving back as bullets came crashing through it. The lights went out, and the three women were left with the starlight coming in the now shattered window.

Lex was examining the cinder block wall. She held her hand out in front of her, and the block started sliding back.

Faith stopped her. "Hold on Lex, if you do it one at a time they'll realize what's up." She dropped her voice in case the men outside the door were listening. "Loosen them, then when I give you the signal pull the loose ones all at once."

Lex was frowning. "This is military construction, and I have less then a minute. I can't get a hole big enough for all us to escape in time."

Faith's face had the look of a commander about to make a difficult decision, but Ziva rapidly shook her head. Wheeling the chair over quickly she gestured to show that it would take only two bricks to make a hole big enough shove the bomb outside the building, through a spot no one would be watching.

Lex smiled, whispering, but loosening the two bricks as she spoke . "So instead of getting us out of the room with the bomb we get the bomb out of the room with us."

Lex then nodded to the two women and Faith and Ziva took a hold of a side of the chair and hoisted it up for their toss. Lex then held a hand up and scurried to the window, looking out the corner with only her eyes above the frame.

She then signaled by pushing the two bricks all the way out in a grind of protesting stone. The cinder blocks had barely dropped free before the bomb was out and away. Looking over the two other women saw Lex had her hand up as she watched out the window, and once the expected explosion finally came she turned to the other two and smiled. "The ground outside is clear."

Faith smirked. "I'll go first since I can handle the drop. Ziva, you'll follow and Lex will help you to the ground before getting herself out."

They didn't even need to nod their understanding as they started moving, Faith had her H&K Mk. 23 pistol in hand as she slid out on her stomach, head first. It meant she had to twist before hitting the ground, but her reflexes allowed it.

She crouched amongst the bloody body parts and ashes of the vampires who had been outside the window before the bomb went off to minimize her profile as she waited for Ziva to join her, her stake making quick work of any thing intact after the explosion. The Israeli came out backwards, her Sig Sauer holstered as she dangled by her hands before dropping free.

The Sig had been drawn as Faith smiled at her. "An ass like that? I can't believe you're still single."

Ziva rolled her eyes, but smiled as she did so.

Lex had slid out much like Ziva, but fire was finding them and a few rounds came close enough to break the concentration Lex had over whatever magic she was using to ease herself down and she dropped with a good fifteen feet between her and the ground.

Faith slayer reflexes kicked in easily enough and Lex found herself caught, cradled in her CO's arms.

Ziva grinned, looking at Faith. "YOU are so gay!"

Faith laughed as she set Lex down on her feet.

Lex drew a Kahr PM4544N automatic pistol, and not a moment too soon as four vampires in Marine fatigues, armed with M-16's came charging at them.

While the four men had rifles they were canted against their chests. The three women had their pistols, up, ready, and speaking by the time the four realized what danger they were in, and while there was an extra man to their side they all went down with multiple head shots. So it was largely academic who shot who as they went down and the girls didn't.

Faith drew a stake, but first turned to her two companions. "Grab rifles and ammo, they'll ash after I stake em."

Words matched actions, and the three women were each left with an M-16 assault rifle, and pockets full of clips.

Ziva however seemed to be paying an undue amount of attention to Lex's sidearm. To which the witch arched a brow. Ziva finally relented. "It is a girl's gun."

Lex brow raised higher, she then quickly flashed Ziva, and Faith coincidentally, a view of her breasts in their light blue, lacy bra. "I'm a girl, if you haven't noticed."

Ziva started. "I noticed, I just..."

Faith then interrupted.. "Ladies! While I'm not going to complain about seeing Lex's tits, they and our respective weapon choices aren't a real issue at the moment."

Faith led the three in a quick run to a shadowed spot near a large military cargo truck with a cammo canvas topper. All three ducking lower as a spotlight swept their previous location. She took out her cell, and swore in a whisper. "Damn it! Signal is blocked!"

Ziva nodded, whispering herself. "Probably why they used a timer rather then a radio detonator."

"All right. I want to check the barracks because there's a decent chance that they had left the day crew intact until now to keep up appearances."

Lex had an incredulous look as she gazed at Faith, whispering as well. "Shouldn't we call for back up?"

The whispered reply was a single word. "Who?" Faith shook her head. "The Lock couldn't field anything in time to make any difference, and mortal authorities wouldn't stand a chance. No ,we need to save any living Marines, destroy the undead ones, and hopefully save a clue or two to tell us who the fuck is responsible."

Lex frowned, grumbling under her breath, tightening her grip on the rifle. "This sucks, I didn't even get to "spar"."

Ziva had a small smile as she grabbed Lex, pulled her close and grabbed the woman tightly as she pushed their mouths together, her tongue seeking entrance. Lex was stunned, but gave it, enjoying a long, surprisingly leisurely kiss.

When it broke both women looked to Faith, but she was simply grinning.

Ziva looked at Lex. "Better, yes?"

Lex nodded, surprised. "Yes."

 

Chapter 14.

While Lex knew that David had about as much field experience against the supernatural as she did, the woman knew how to take out a sentry. While the implement in her hand as she reached around from behind and drove it between their ribs and into their heart was sharpened wood rather then sharpened steel the motion was the same.

The effect on the grand scale was the same as the enemy solider was silently dispatched, but on the smaller scale Ziva wasn't left with a conspicuous body to dispose of. Instead she just had to turn her head to make sure she didn't inhale any vampire dust.

She scurried back to where Lex has hiding and took her rifle back as it was offered to her. Her expression was unsure as she looked into Lex's blue eyes. "Are you certain?"

Lex smiled, nodding. The three of them had broken into two teams to come at the only active barracks building from both sides. Slayer had set off on her own, and left David to get Lex into position.

That position was where Ziva would launch her attack on the building where they were certain the surviving Marines were being held.

Alexandra Detton on the other hand would be launching her attack from INSIDE the building. Neither of her partners liked it, but all three knew that the only reason the Marines would be kept alive at this point was to turn them into undead, and Lex was willing to risk using her teleport spell to get herself inside the building to keep them off the Marines long enough for Faith and Ziva to fight their way in and finish the opposition off.

Ziva looked even more worried as Lex slung her rifle over her shoulder, and didn't draw her pistol for the close quarters she would find indoors. Lex smiled. "I haven't been studying assault rifles my entire life." Ziva had to look closer, squinting in the darkness, but then she saw a sort of black and purple smoke and lightning dancing between Lex's fingers and running up and down her arms.

Before Ziva could voice any opinion on the matter she teleported, but to Ziva's eyes it looked like she blew away like dust on the wind. She knew that since radio signals were being blocked it was up to her to signal the attack by opening fire on her entry point.

Part of her would have preferred a more stealthy approach, but that would have given the enemy more time to kill their captives. This way their attention would be pulled to both ends while Lex was hopefully able to use that distraction to stay alive while her friends fought their way in.

A smile crossed Ziva's face as the thee round burst she put into the first sentries throat managed to decapitate him, as his body turned to dust. The second sentry had his rifle up and tracking, but it didn't save him as she put a second three round burst into his head, leaving a bloody sort of crescent as his brain pan was torn away by the mental manglers.

The two final sentries had dropped prone, much for the same reason Ziva had dropped to a knee, to alter her firing profile. They however were only now homing in on the flash of her rifle while Ziva knew exactly where they were, and while she wasn't able to line up head shots the rounds she put through their prone torsos were enough to keep them on the ground while she ran up and split what was left of her current magazine between the vampire's craniums.

A small part of her brain idly wondered if the blood, bone and gray matter she was getting on her boots would turn to ash once they got around to staking the vampires, but the largest part of her was focused on putting that bloody boot to the door and dealing with whatever lay beyond it.

As Lex materialized she wanted to laugh. While the three undead Marines pointing M-16's at nine live ones weren't terribly funny Lex realized their problem. They were out to turn the nine Marines, turning was a pretty one on one process, and an assault rifle just got in the way. So each time they would move into bite one the other eight would pull him off.

Sure the rifles kept the superior number of living Marines from attacking, but the undead Marines weren't out to simply cut the men down. So they were at a stand off. Lex provided her own solution as she blasted the one closest to her, as he was already starting to turn at her arrival.

While her magical attack wasn't accurate enough to go for a head shot the undead solider was literally cut in half, so Lex didn't think it mattered much. She was far more concerned about the two rifle wielding vampires turning towards her, but the distraction was what the surviving Marines were waiting for.

Each had a Marine grabbing onto an arm or a leg as they crashed to the floor, and while the living soldiers were getting in plenty of hits they were largely ineffective on the undead. Lex however had a stake in hand and while she had to work her way around the dog piled Marines the Marines were left staring in wonder at the two piles of dust as Lex staked the one she had cut in half.

As she did so the doors came crashing in and the rifle from the vampire she had cut in half was in one of the living Marine's hands and darting between Faith and Ziva.

Lex was shouting. "Stand down! Stand down! They're with me, and we're the good guys!"

The young man looked unsure, but brought his rifle up to a shoulder and looked expectantly between the women.

Faith walked up to Lex. "We clear?"

Lex looked over to the young Marine with the rifle. "Was it just those three?"

The young man nodded. "Them and the nine outside."

Faith threw Ziva a look and Ziva nodded. "They're down." She then focused more on Ziva. "You got em?" Ziva nodded silently and took out a stake.

Once Ziva returned Faith addressed the room. "All right. I want to retake the armory so I can get everyone armed. Then each one of us will take three Marines and sweep the base."

The young man with the rifle had seemed to have elected himself the leader. "Ma'am?"

Faith smiled at him. "I'm pretty sure you know what those things were soldier, but I'll say it out loud for you. It was a vampire, an undead thing wearing the mask of another Marine. It's what they've been doing here, and it's what they had planned for you. We hole up we might have better chance of survival, but they WILL get away, and I can tell you now that turning you into vampires was a step, not the entire plan. I'm going out there to stop it. I'm reasonably certain these women are joining me."

That was said with a bit of a smirk, which the women returned as she resumed speaking. "I'm asking you if your willing to let your duty station be over run when there's a chance to do something about it?"

The man with the rifle snapped to attention, as did the eight men behind him, and Faith smiled.

She had taken a breath to speak, but Lex interrupted her. "We don't need to retake the armory."

That got Faith's attention as Lex spoke while handing her rifle and clips off to one of the Marines. "I can teleport in there, grab rifles and ammo, and teleport back. It will take a couple trips to get enough, but that way we won't be fighting before we're ready."

Faith nodded. "Silence your pistol, and try to take out any guards inside the building quietly if you can."

Lex nodded, concentrating, feeling herself break apart, and reform where she wanted to be.

Her arrival was encouraging, both because there wasn't anyone standing guard inside the armory, but also because the fact there wasn't a guard probably meant they were starting to run low on people, and didn't have the troops to guard both inside and out.

Filing that away to report to Faith she slung a rifle over each shoulder and picked up a crate of loaded magazines, thinking a moment she tripled her load to six rifles and three crates of magazines. While her muscles groaned under the load it wasn't as bad as the physical conditioning the Lock had put her through, and she was able to carry it all while keeping the spell going as she broke apart in the armory and reformed in the barracks.

The Marines were all around her, getting rifles and taking care of the clips. Lex left them to it as she turned to Faith. "I think we're having an impact. There wasn't anyone guarding inside the armory."

Faith nodded. "Possible, or they might be bugging out, and they are content to keep us contained while they do. Either way, we need one more rifle. This next trip I want you to focus on ordinance. We're still out numbered, and blowing shit up is always a nice way around that. Any white phosphorous you can get will be good for that as it still counts as burning a vamp up, and we won't have to worry about staking them later."

Lex nodded and stood upright, she took a deep breath, held it, concentrating on doing so, then exhaled, and as the breath left her body it broke apart again. Her next breath was taken in the armory, and before she could let it out the final rifle was over her shoulder and she was grabbing the heavier weapons.

She had put a crate of grenades on the floor as she heard the doors open. Ducking down she saw four undead Marines walking in, with the shadows of another three outside the door. She had hoped they were just making a routine check, but the fact two guards on the door had turned to six said plenty.

Then when they came through the door they said it all. "I told you I heard something, now fan out."

Knowing there were armored vehicles on the base Lex grabbed a couple rocket launchers from her cramped position, and was able to do so silently.

The vampires however reminded her that hearing wasn't their only enhanced sense.

"I smell someone... a woman." There was a tone of authority to the voice and Lex thought he might be a unit leader.

Another one of them spoke up. "Even better."

The leader voice spoke up. "The slayers are female you dumb bastard, and we know we have at least one loose on the base. You start thinking with your dick with one of them around you won't be around long enough for the Marshal to cut it off. You get one from the outside and send the other for another unit."

Lex knew bad was going worse, so thinking quickly she looked to the stack of boxes of grenades she had pulled the box at her feet from, and opened it with her mind standing up she hoisted all the ordnance she had gotten so far.

"FREEZE!"

Lex didn't need to move much as in turning to face the command she could see the door the other vampires were coming in. Staying still she waited until all five vampires were in the building.

Again with the force of her mind alone she made objects move. First it was the door, slamming it, and locking it. While it locked on the inside Lex was counting on the fact that it would take time to unlock it.

Then she exhaled and felt herself breaking apart, but before she was more there then here she looked into the crate of grenades at the top of the stack, and pulled all the pins her mind could get hold of.

As she materialized she must have been showing the shock and fear on her face because Faith was looking concerned even before all her molecules were back in place.

"What happened?"

"They must have either heard, or even smelled my first trip, because half-way through my second they came in to investigate."

Faith nodded, as they laid out the ordnance to be distributed. "Then wh..."

Her words were cut off as a tremendous explosion ripped through the night, loud enough to shake the building they were in and Faith arched a brow.

Lex blushed. "I trapped them in the building and pulled pins on a case of grenades before I teleported back."

Faith grinned. "Be glad they don't store the stuff with nuclear components there."

Lex's eyes got wide, she obviously hadn't considered that, but before anything else could be said the barracks came under fire. They would guess at least a dozen rifles firing in sequence, but they were all trained soldiers, and the rounds cut through open air as they all hit the floor.

Faith however was grinning. "Well I think we got their attention." She crawled over to the case of grenades and took one in each hand. Three of the Marines with them realized what she was going to do and popped up to fire away at the enemy to let Faith pop up long enough to get an idea of where to throw her grenades rather then simply hurling them blind.

The twin explosions went off at once as Ziva crawled from where she was looking out the window until she was face to face with Faith. "I do not think so. I have seen unusual activity at the air strip, especially for a base with intruders."

Faith punched the floor. "FUCK! They're bugging out. That's why they're short handed, all their guys are at the air strip."

Even over the roar of the automatic fire being poured into their position they could hear the turbines of the transport starting up on the airstrip.

Faith poked her head up. "Looks like they're leaving a twelve pack here to keep us pinned while the rest run! One looks down from the grenades or return fire, but we've got eleven guns keeping us pinned."

Ziva had handed her rifle to Lex as she picked up a rocket launcher. "And we have eleven. So I'll be right back."

Faith didn't even have time to decide if she should countermand the order as Ziva already had the door partially open.

So Faith nodded both to her, and to the people looking at her anxiously.

Ziva said a short prayer as the eleven guns behind her opened fire, and she opened the the door the rest of the way. She had lightened her load to nothing, but the Stinger rocket launcher over her shoulder, her knife, her stake, and her side arm.

She had lowered herself to a crouch so that there wouldn't be as much to aim at, and while she had to stand up to begin her run she was already several buildings away before she heard rounds impacting the ground she was running on.

Hitting open terrain she felt her pants tear from a flying bullet, but miraculously her flesh felt unscathed.

Either way she ignored everything at that point but the Stinger, and the plane clawing it's way off the runway and into the air.

Lex may have chosen the Stinger by luck, but it was deliberately chosen by Ziva. While many of Israel's battles were land based the American Stinger was still one of the finest ground to air missiles available, and in her time in the IDF she had become familiar with the weapons' use.

The big brain in the launcher, and the little brain the missile might not know a lot, but they knew all the ways to distinguish a plane from the sky around it. The Stinger was even good enough to tell the difference between many countermeasures and the plane that might be deploying them, but none were shown as Ziva put the large, slow military transport plane in the launchers sights and depressed the trigger enough to make it start searching for a target.

The searching tone changed once the launcher was sure that yes, there was a plane in it's sights, and Ziva depressed the trigger the rest of the way, sending the rocket out with a whoosh, and little recoil on her end.

Either the plane didn't know that one of them had managed to escape, or didn't know that the escapee had a rocket launcher because there was no attempt to evade the smart missile as it impacted the aircraft's belly and turned the slow moving transport into a fast moving fireball.

With a satisfied nod Ziva dropped the launcher and took out her Sig. The loss of the transport had cut the sounds of the firefight back at the barracks and Ziva imagined the remaining vampires were now focused on escape.

She took her stake out in the other hand and slipped back into the shadows to find her way back to her people at the barracks so they could go after them and keep them from doing so.

 

Chapter 15.

Lex linked her hands together and stretched her arms up over her head. The vertebrae in her back popped back into place, and the relief of the pressure had her emitting a happy sigh. That combined with the hot shower, the being able to change into a clean set of jeans, white tank top and black boots, and the meal she ate while being debriefed had her in a good mental place.

Looking down at herself she realized it was fairly obvious she wasn't wearing a bra, but she had just finished her first combat mission, and it was tough enough that even Slayer's capabilities had been challenged. So after going through that she was more concerned with her comfort, then the effect her skipping of underwear might have.

She couldn't help but smirk to herself. One of the Lock's bigger priorities was the training of slayers, so she had to figure the place was used to half naked young women running around. Happily the novelty still hadn't worn off for Lex, and it was in effect when she saw a cute little red head lock eyes on her and approach.

The problem was the cutie had a look of concern in her sparkling green eyes, and it made Lex frown.

"Alex right?"

Lex shrugged. "Most call me Lex. Is something wrong?"

The red head... Oracle... Willow was her name, frowned. "I was hoping I could talk to you alone?"

Lex didn't bother to hide how unsure she felt, but she followed Willow to a conference room. "Ok, you wanted to talk to me?"

There was a breath, and then another before she finally spoke. "Yeah, I was updating your file to active duty, and I saw you come from a black magick line."

Lex nodded. "Think half-Addam's Family, half Manson. Pretty much the reason I was able to set them on fire without a peep from my conscience."

Willow's voice softened. "Are you sure that's the only reason?"

At that point Lex was confused. "Huh?"

"I've been there. I've tasted that power. I know what it can do to you. It started back in high school at the end of our junior year when I redid the curse that gave Angel his soul back."

Lex rolled her eyes. "And giving someone their soul back is the providence of black magick?"

"Well yeah, it's a CURSE isn't it?"

Lex sighed. "It's a SOUL, not blinding torment. The gypsies may have meant it to be a curse, but the fact that there was a ancient prophecy about a vampire with a soul long before Angel's mortal birth says that the universe was humoring them while getting Angel's destiny rolling. That's probably why you spoke in tongues as well."

Willow blinked. "You know about that?"

A nod. "Angel asked me to give him a once over since I learned curses back when most kids were just learning cuss words."

The red head took a breath. "Well that was the biggest thing for a long time. I did things like fire into ice, opening myself to the spirit realms."

Lex closed her eyes and rubbed the bridge of her nose. "With or without guardians?"

"Huh?"

The dark haired woman ran her fingers though her hair before speaking. "Who taught you?"

Willow bit her lip. "I taught me. From Giles library."

Lex nodded slowly. "Ok, and where was Giles during this?"

Willow looked down at the floor. "Telling me to be careful."

Lex waited until Willow looked back up. "He's a wise man. He got up to his knees before getting out."

Willow was nodding. "He realized he couldn't control it."

Lex shook her head. "He realized he WOULDN'T control it. There's a difference." When she saw Willow didn't see it she continued. "Ok, Giles did get in up to his knees, but Willow, I have swam in oceans of night, and I'm still here, still sane, still using my gifts to help people. You dipped in your pinky toe."

Willow's eyes darkened. "I experimented yeah, but then Glory came, and I had to dive right in. I had to find weapons to fight her when she took Tara's mind. I had to find a way to get Tara's mind back."

Lex had stopped moving. "Don't you mean that the other way around? You had to get Tara's mind back, and you had to find weapons to fight Glory?" Willow didn't answer and Lex spoke in a near whisper. "Keep going."

"Well... I, I got Tara's mind back, but we lost Buffy."

Lex interrupted, in that same near, whisper. "But you brought her back." Willow nodded shamefully. "Who did you kill?" Green eyes shot up guiltily, and blue steel eyes met them. "They might not have realized it Willow, but I know you couldn't bring Buffy back without a blood sacrifice. Who did you kill?"

"NOONE! I didn't kill anyone, not a person any way, it was a deer, a faun."

The brunette had laced her fingers under her chin. "Probably why Buffy came back ...off." Willow looked shocked. "When you killed that deer you captured the full measure of it's life, but it was an animal, you then poured that life into the vessel that was her body. Not only did you provide only the bare minimum of energy, but you used non-human energy to do it."

Willow's face was scrunched up in disgust. "So you're saying I should have killed someone?"

Lex arched her brows. "I'm saying that you took it upon yourself to tamper with the barrier between life and death, and you're damn lucky you didn't shred Buffy's soul to pieces or leave her a vegetable!"

Willow's voice was getting choked up. "But I was too far gone to care. The dark magick told me it would fix all my problems. Buffy was gone, I didn't want her to be gone, so it let me bring her back, but you're right. She was off, but I could use magick to fix her, I told myself it would just take one simple little spell. One little spell and the Buffy I remembered would be back."

Lex had stopped already stopped moving, and now she seemed to have stopped breathing. "A memory spell?"

Willow's head hung again. "Yeah." She swallowed. "I thought if I could erase her memories of Heaven she'd be ok."

Lex's voice was a whisper at this point. "A risky spell. The first time you use it?"

Willow's voice was small. "No."

Lex started moving and breathing as she slammed her hands on the conference room table and took a breath to shout. "IT WAS YOU!" Willow jumped back as Lex advanced on her. "I never knew the name, Tara wouldn't tell me, but she came to me about it. She needed SOMEONE to talk about it, someone who would know what she was talking about, and now... to stand here and have you spin this "Woe is me, the magick made me this, and the magick made me that."

Lex started pacing. "The magick didn't make you do shit! The magick came from the same source, and returns to the same source, and to blame it for what you did with it! My family was evil to the blacked bones I left behind, but damn it at least they owned up to it. They never blamed the magick, they never blamed anything."

At this point Lex's eyes had turned to orbs of obsidian in her head. "It would be in your best interest to get the hell out of my sight."

Willow was backing towards the door, seeming intent on doing just that, Lex however interrupted her. "But before you go, understand that YOU did what you did to Tara. It wasn't the magick, it was YOU. You violated her mind as surely as Glory did, and as vilely as any physical rapist would have! But you did it as someone who claimed to love her, which makes your act all the more disgusting."

Lex took a breath. "And for the record. The fact that you're still breathing is all the proof you need I am in control of my actions and my magick. Now LEAVE!"

All the glass in the room shattered and Willow ran for her very life.

 

Chapter 16.

Faith's debrief had finished quickly enough. At first she had simply thought it a small case of rank having it's privileges, but when she was told Tara was in the kitchen they wrapped it up so she could hustle down there.

Tara had always loved cooking, found it wonderfully soothing. It was why Faith felt bad when the woman's duties at the Lock kept her from indulging that passion. First as the Head of Occult Intelligence, and then as the Mission Controller.

While Tara was an amazing cook there were plenty of amazing cooks available, but only one Tara Maclay and the unique set of talents she brought to the table. So Tara hung up her apron and focused on helping Faith save the world.

That time the part of the world they were trying to save was populated by the "meat puppets" attractive young women and men that could be "programmed" to order for a client's specifications.

Gay, straight, dominant, submissive, Geisha girls to gourmet chefs, from all accounts if a real person could be it, they could make it, and make them ready to do anything and everything the client wanted.

Though most considered them urban legends the Lock dealt in myths and legends and when they investigated this one they found people who had their own personalities removed with a combination of magick and science to make room for whatever personality a paying client wanted them to have.

Magick had been involved, but it was the science that had led them to the man behind it all. The third generation of a scientific legacy both his father and grandfather had been geniuses the fields of neurology and biochemistry, using their talents for the greater benefit of all.

This puppet master, took that knowledge, that legacy to get himself a position of authority, to get people to trust him. Then he betrayed that trust, turned them into hollow shells, and acted as if they should thank him for doing so.

It had taken a while to finally get near the bastard, Faith had to keep him a mouse to her cat with her disrupting his operations as best she could, and trying to keep him from finding any more victims, but she had found him eventually.

His latest plan had never gotten off the ground, and Faith had found him there, literally at a ships dry dock as she drew her Mk. 23 with the silencer attached. He was talking to his henchwoman, a blonde bitch who had been with his whole sick program from the very beginning, but that didn't seem to matter much to him as when he saw Faith's gun moving towards him he pushed her into it's path as he dived out.

Faith knew the woman's sins and hadn't hesitated as she sent a pair of .45 caliber drills through her teeth and out the back of her head, but it had been enough of a distraction for a pair of .38 caliber slugs to catch her right under neath her left lung.

Though they hadn't went clean through the all too vital organ Faith had went down in a bloody sprawl. Having her laid out bloody on the ground seemed to please the man as he had moved over her and lifted his gun to finish her off.

If he had actually did the deed rather then blathering on about how she couldn't understand his intentions, or how he had taken shells that where already empty when he found them and made them great, gave them what they needed Faith wouldn't be here today.

He however had seemed quite intent on going on about his greatness for quite a while. So intent that he hadn't noticed that Faith had retained her grasp on her weapon when she fell, or that his blathering had allowed her to recover enough to bring the weapon up and cut his diatribe short with another pair of .45 caliber rounds put underneath his chin.

The irony had been that if it hadn't been for his un-silenced shots help wouldn't have arrived fast enough to find Faith after she had collapsed from blood loss trying to flee the scene.

Luckily when the puppet master was no longer able to provide his "goods" the Lock's friends at the Department of Justice had no one keeping them from showing him the villain and Faith the "undercover" officer who had to be taken out of the system right away to protect her identity.

That left Scooby Squad and the rest of the Lock's assets to help the Puppet Master's victims to recover the lives he had sealed away as best they were able while Faith herself was bed ridden back at the Lock.

While Tara hadn't neglected her responsibilities as mission controller the beautiful blonde pushed herself to be both Mission Controller of the Lock, and life partner of it's CO. Part of that had been insisting she make some of what she knew were Faith's favorite dishes herself.

Much to her own surprise the act of putting the meals together soothed a good deal of the tension the woman had been under, and ever since then when things got truly tense for Tara she started cooking.

As strange as it had initially seemed the effect it had on the Mission Controller was obvious and the Lock's technicians had wired the kitchen for the high speed data communications that mission control required without even having to be asked, and quickly Tara's cooking had become known as a two-sided coin.

While the normal chefs always did enough prep work that Tara was able to fix enough for everybody that everybody knew that no matter how wonderful her food tasted it had been made because she had needed SOMETHING to help her with the stress.

It didn't happen all that much, and even then she usually didn't start cooking until the mission was over and the operatives were on the way back, but when she found out where Tara was Faith had known the retaking of the base had rattled her love.

Faith stopped at the door as she finally caught sight of Tara and her heart stopped, both with a mixture of love, and of guilt. She knew that the odds of them growing old together weren't even enough to be called slim, but what made it worse was that Tara knew as well.

She had told Faith that "I would be rather left with the memories of our love, then to have never known it at all."

It still got to Faith however, because no matter how hard she fought no slayer in any record had ever died of old age, and what had been shrugged off by a younger Faith now conjured nightmares of Tara's tear streaked face as Faith's coffin was lowered into the ground.

Tara's head rose, and Faith realized that the white witch was literally feeling the pain of her beloved as she turned around and opened her arms. She didn't wrap her arms entirely around Faith as she stepped into the embrace, but that was because her hands were covered in flour.

No she first grabbed a towel and wiped her hands off as Faith rested her cheek to Tara's chest.

Once her arms were around Faith she spoke gently. "I'm here, you're here... I love you."

Faith took a deep breath, nodding, then squeezing Tara in a hug. "I know, I love you too."

The lovers eyes met, and slowly they found it in them to smile. Both knew that no one was ever promised a tomorrow, and while Faith's odds of old age were longer all they had was today, all they had was the moments they were given, and both knew it was better to savor them then dread their possible loss.

Just like the moment they were in was lost just as their lips came together. A swinging door to the kitchen crashed open and a pale and shaking Willow Rosenberg was standing there in front of them. "Oh! Geeze! Sorry! Sorry guys! But I really need to talk to Tara, and you should probably hear this too Faith."

While their lips parted, they didn't break their embrace, as they looked to Willow and Willow looked at the floor. "It's Lex. I was talking to Lex, and her eyes went all black, and I think she's hit her limit on the dark magick."

That ended the women's embrace as Tara stepped closer to Willow, speaking slowly, and calmly. "What happened exactly Willow?" While neither woman was dismissing what Willow had said they knew if there was a real problem an alert would have sounded.

Willow took a deep breath, and let it out, after doing it a second time some color came back to her normally fair complexion and her voice was steadier as she started speaking. "Ok, I was updating her file and flagging it active duty. When I was reading Lex's file I noticed her family history and saw she came from a black magick line. So I went to her because I wanted to help. I figured with my black magick experience I could help her keep it under control."

Faith and Tara shared a look, but it was Tara who spoke. "Willow, sweetie, while you have a definite gift for magick you were self-taught five years ago while Lex has been learning black magick from masters of the art since she was five."

Faith actually blinked and interrupted. "Why five?"

Tara quickly shifted her focus. "Because they wanted her vocal skills and coordination fully developed, and "oops" in magick is never a good thing, light or dark." Both women's focus shifted back to Willow as Tara spoke. "But at twenty that means she's have fifteen years experience to your five, and your dark magick experience was less then a year all combined."

Willow nodded. "She said she has "swam in oceans of night" while I dipped in my pinky toe."

Tara seemed to pause to consider the wording, and then she nodded, but Willow started speaking before the other witch could say anything. "But why is she here then? I mean if she's SO big with the dark?"

Tara spoke softly. "Because Willow, dark doesn't equal evil. Dark is primal, and dark is dangerous, but I've talked with Lex, I trust Lex."

Faith spoke from over Tara's shoulder. "If you take anything Dracula said to Buffy into account MY power comes from darkness."

Tara looked over her shoulder to her slayer. "She's right. The power of the slayer is rooted in darkness, in the spilling of blood, the taking of life, but just like Faith, and Buffy and all our slayer's put that darkness to good uses... but Willow? What made her eyes go black?"

At first Willow didn't want to respond, and Tara's eyes widened as she guessed the answer and looked over to Faith. They both however looked to Willow for confirmation of their fear as the pale young woman finally said the words. "When I talked about wiping your memory."

 

Chapter 17. (special guest author, Lisa Countryman)

Willow remembered racing from the conference room, and she didn't know where she was going until she found herself at the Temple, and the collection of books and computers was her temple. She had worshiped knowledge longer than she had worshiped anything else in her life. She went to the section that was kept under lock and key. Given that the Lock was filled with people who had higher clearance than most of the President's cabinet, that meant something.

She went to an old tome and found the section she needed and reread the part that seemed to haunt her. It was an account of dark magic addiction, and it was written in first person by a witch from the 1920s. Willow read the words, words that had given her comfort as the witch spoke of the truly horrific deeds the magic had made her do. Willow felt her chest tighten. Was Lex right? Was this account just a woman who refused to take responsibility for her own actions? A woman who was trying to avoid her own mystic DUI? She pushed the book away and shook her head.

No. Willow had seen Lex's eyes go black. Willow knew what that felt like, the rush of power washing over you, the feeling that nothing could stop you, the knowledge that with that surge of energy came the dark knowledge of the ways to use the power to bend wills and crush any who opposed you. Lex claimed to control her power but she had given into the dark force. Her coal black eyes were all the proof Willow needed.

She opened a locked drawer and pulled out a tiny white crystal, no bigger than a pea. It was a piece of quartz, and its milky white color would shift to black as it absorbed dark magic. It had been difficult to find, and it had been even more difficult to convince the stone's owner to part with it. Willow kept it in her Temple just in case. Just in case she was ever tempted. If that day ever came, she'd put the necklace around her neck so any dark magic that tried to take her over would not get past the stone. It never occurred to Willow that she was the only one who could invite any mystic energy into her body. But that was not something Willow was ready to know yet.

With the necklace in place, she knew what she had to do next. She had to warn Tara that Lex was losing her grip, that the dark magic was taking her over. She locked the doors to the dangerous section of her library and went to find Tara and Faith.

Lex stood in the conference room as every piece of glass in the room shattered. The windows seemed to implode, and the crystal glasses on a tray with an elegant pitcher shattered as well. It wasn't that Lex meant to break the glass; it was simply a side effect of the mounting rage she was feeling. Her body vibrated as she squeezed her eyes shut and clenched her fists, trying to hold in the power. She inhaled deeply and drew the energy back into her to focus and shape it until she could envision it like a ball of flame that she was forcing into itself like a collapsing sun. In reality, she knew her intense emotion had called up the power, and that hadn't happened since she was in her turbulent teen years.

Once she had the power focused, she thrust each arm out to the side and allowed it to go back to the universe, but that exchange of focused power caused a shock wave that shattered things like glassware and windows. It had all happened in an instant. A flash of power rushed in and she captured it and sent it back. Just like her mother and grandmother had taught her.

She took a deep breath and felt her body shake again, but this time it was an everyday, human reaction. She was holding in enough anger to fuel a thousand blood feuds. She wanted revenge for the wrong Willow had done. She wanted to hurt Willow the way she had brutally injured Tara. But Lex wouldn't do that. She would not cause pain from anger or revenge. That might be what much of her DNA was telling her, but she had risen above that breeding and knew that causing pain for pain's sake was wrong. She sighed and went to the wall and slammed her hand against it. It hurt, and as she shook her hand, she knew what to do.

Lex was relieved to find the Lock's dojo empty. With most of the Lock's teams either being on missions, or recovering from a mission, that wasn't surprising. That allowed Lex to train the way she needed most. She drew both hands into fists, focusing her anger and need to hit something into each hand until her fingers felt hot, like she was holding hot coals in her palms. She flung her fists across the room and the energy shot across the dojo and slowed until black wisps of smoke slowly took form. Two dark figures stood before her.

She grabbed a staff from the wall and charged at the nearest one and suddenly it had a staff. The staff looked and felt real, and she pounded it with her staff again and again, letting out a primal scream as she did. The second form came from behind and she had to spin to defend its attack. She fought at a blinding rate, and in minutes, she was covered in sweat and panting. Her defenses were slowing, but she was untouched. Each time one of the shadow fighters landed a strike, its staff would turn to mist like the fighters themselves and simply pass through Lex's body.

Her thoughts raced as she fought. She remembered Tara coming to her on her first day at the Lock. Tara had welcomed her, but more than that, Tara had made her feel like she could become a part of the Lock and its mission. Tara was there with her bright smile and impossibly gentle blue eyes. It was Tara who met with Lex three, sometimes four times a day in the first weeks when Lex had been filled with doubt. And it was Tara who stripped Lex bare in every possible way when she did her first ritual based in light magick. All these thoughts filled Lex's mind as she pounded her staff against the shadow fighters until her arms were too tired to lift the oak staff and she simply let it drop to the hardwood floor and roll away.

Now she attacked the shadows with her fists, and they took on a more solid form, like living heavy bags that she was stalking around the dojo. She thought of that first ritual and the way Tara had smiled disarmingly as they both disrobed. Lex had a natural appreciation for a woman's body, and Tara was stunning, but she had not felt anything sexual. She felt filled by love and peace and the ritual left her in tears. Lex did not cry. Yet she had, and Tara had wrapped her in a robe and pulled one on herself and then knelt beside Lex and held her as tears ran down her face, overcome by the beauty of the ritual and the way it made her feel.

Tara gave her that. And as Lex chased the shadow figures and pounded them and kicked them, she screamed for the pain Willow had caused Tara. She used a roundhouse kick as she thought of the day when Tara came to her for help and Lex had felt honored and unworthy. Tara had smiled and waited until Lex realized that if Tara chose to share a burden with her, she must be worthy, at least in Tara's eyes.

As so, Tara sat with Lex in Lex's room. At first saying nothing as tears flowed freely down her cheeks, and Lex moved closer and wrapped an arm around her friend.

"How could you hurt her?" Lex yelled at the shadow figure and pummeled it with her fists.

She remembered Tara explaining how she had loved another witch, had given herself to her and felt complete with her, or so she had thought. She explained the spell. The memory wipe and Lex had shuddered. It was a violation so vile even Lex's family refused to use it. Tara had sobbed and Lex had held her. Lex swore to deal with the woman who betrayed Tara's trust and tossed aside her love.

Now she knew who had hurt Tara and Lex felt helpless. She couldn't hurt Willow. She was a part of the Lock. She was at the Lock because Tara had made a place for her, even after all she did.

Lex screamed and pounded both fists against the shadow figure. Lex was spent and sweat now ran off her arms and face. She was so caught up in her own memories that she didn't hear the door open.

Ziva David stopped in the threshold and stared. Partly because she had never seen a person shadowbox with actual shadows, and partly because she had seen Lex's shell shocked expression on many occasions while in the IDF. Lex was battling more than shadows, or perhaps different shadows.

"Lex?" Ziva asked, not too excited about surprising a witch who was burning off some powerful emotions.

"Leave," Lex said, then wiped her forearm across her eyes to remove the sweat so she could see more clearly. She pounded her fists as she drove the shadow back, but she could barely lift her arms so her punches seemed more like pathetic waves.

"Lex, you need to stop," Ziva said as she moved behind the sweat soaked woman.

"How could anyone do that?" she asked as she switched to using her elbows to strike the figure. She stumbled and fell to both knees and continued swinging her elbows.

"Stop," Ziva aid. She knelt and wrapped both arms around Lex and pinned her arms to her sides. She felt Lex's drenched tank top soak her own tee shirt. "Shh," Ziva said as she pressed her face next to Lex's ear. "Stop fighting," she whispered.

Lex's head fell forward and she went limp in Ziva's arms as she surrendered to her exhaustion. Her muscles quivered as she let Ziva guide her to her feet and half carried her toward a row of chairs next to a pile of mats. Once there, Ziva paused and then guided Lex onto the folded mats instead. Lex settled onto her side and started to pull her legs to her chest but Ziva's hand on her thigh stopped her.

"Come here," Ziva said as she stretched out on the mat on her back. "You can fight later. Right now, just let me do this for you." Having been held hostage, Ziva knew that sometimes you had so much pain inside it felt like it would kill you if it stayed a second longer, but kill you if you let it out. Ziva took Lex's hand and tugged her closer.

Lex took in shaking breath. She saw her own pain mirrored back in Ziva's eyes and it was too much. She dove forward and landed half on top of Ziva and buried her face in Ziva's dark hair and the tears finally came. She cried for Tara, who had been trusting and kind and been violated for her troubles. She cried for her family who she knew had to be stopped. Did they feel that sting of betrayal in their last moments? For all their sins, all their wickedness they never turned on each other, never hurt each other, not until Lex. And she also cried for Willow, which surprised her. Willow had been taken down by her hubris and her belief that she knew best only to lose Tara.

Ziva rolled to her side and ran her hand down Lex's back as the witch continued to shake as tears rolled down her cheeks. Even as tears soaked into Ziva's shirt, Lex hadn't made a sound other than to draw in breaths that sounded painful. "Lex, you need to let this out," Ziva said as she remembered her own many therapy sessions. How much she hated them, but went because Tara,Gibbs niece, had insisted. She remembered the day she finally cried. One tear became a torrent of pain and after twenty minutes of sobs, when Ziva thought she might never stop crying, she had started to feel some of the burden lift. "Lex, tell me."

Lex shook and then inhaled, drawing in Ziva's scent. She burrowed beneath Ziva's hair, needing to feel skin on skin. When her skin touched Ziva's neck, she sensed some of Ziva's own pain, and that more than anything, was her undoing. She sobbed and clung to Ziva and let the pain roll from her body in salty tears. Just knowing that Ziva, who was so strong and stoic and fierce, had felt pain and anger and rage and broken, made it okay, so Lex sobbed. And just as Ziva had, Lex feared she might never stop crying.

 

Chapter 18. (special guest author Lisa Countryman)

As that was happening Tara and Faith looked at Willow, one of the smartest women they knew and both had the same reaction. "What the hell were you thinking? Tara said before Faith could.

"What?" Willow was now thoroughly confused. "I was trying to help. You know, let her know that I know what she's going through."

Faith rolled her eyes and paced. "So, Red, you ever lock your entire family in a building and light 'em on fire?" She stormed closer. "You ever stand by and listen as they screamed in agony as you made yourself an orphan?

Willow backed up, but Faith followed.

"You ever stand there even after the last whimpers stopped and watch the building burn down to coals because even though they were evil, they were your blood, and you owed them that much?" Faith asked.

Willow shook her head. "That's why I wanted to help," she insisted. "I saw how deep she was and, well, someone needs to do a Wiccan intervention, and since she doesn't have any other witches I guess I thought that I…"

"She doesn't have other witches because she burned them alive to protect the world," Faith said. "She killed them for the horrible things they did. Things like, oh I don't know, mind rape their lovers?"

"Faith!" Tara moved closer and wrapped her arms around Faith. "Honey, we don't have time for this. We need to find Lex."

"Well, what about me?" Willow asked. "She told me I should leave. I think she wanted to hurt me. She was out of control." She nodded. "Did I mention the black eyes? Because there were eyes and they were black."

Tara sighed and rested her forehead on the back of Faith's head. She was behind her Slayer, with her arms around Faith's waist. She lifted her head and looked over Faith's shoulder to meet Willow's eyes. "If she wasn't in control, you wouldn't have left the room alive."

"And you let her just roam around?" Willow asked.

"Well, to be fair, Lex has never been disloyal to us. She killed an evil line of witches single-handedly," Faith said. "Around here, that would get her a promotion. And she certainly never tried to turn me over to my worst enemies."

"Well, yeah," Willow said, she scowled, not liking where the conversation was going. She had expected much more panic and setting off alarms and people rushing to her side to see if she was okay. She had not expected Tara and Faith to rally around dark magic Lex.

Tara kissed Faith's ear. "Honey we need to find her," she whispered. "She's been holding so much inside. If she lets her concern for me open up those emotions…"

"She'll go evil," Willow insisted.

"No, Willow, she won't." Tara sighed and squeezed Faith tighter. Her position allowed her to keep Faith contained. Not that Tara could ever restrain her lover. Tara's loving embrace calmed Faith, and Faith would never break Tara's grip and risk injuring the gentle witch.

"Where should we look?" Faith asked. She leaned into Tara's body and relaxed.

"She blew up the conference room," Willow said, hoping they would see how much danger she'd escaped.

"Let's start there," Tara said. "If nothing else, I can get a feel for her emotional state."

"What about my emotional state? She practically threatened to go all dark magick eyes on me," Willow said.

Faith looked at Willow. "Oracle, why don't you go to the temple and ask if anyone has seen Lex. But don't make it an alert. Just ask for her location."

Willow nodded as Faith and Tara hurried from the room. "Well, that is not the way I thought that would go," she whined to herself.

In another part of the Lock Abby Sciuto was in heaven. Granted, this Heaven was filled with information about demons and monsters and actual vampires and werewolves, but for Abby that was heaven. She finished her latest briefing on slime demons, which ended in her getting to put actual slime from a slime demon through a mass spectrometer. The results were, well, unreal. She had dozens of compounds she had never seen. Which had fascinated her and then thrilled her when she realized she would get to name them.

She found Tony in the cafeteria having a large plate of ravioli and enjoying with such enthusiasm it should require a parent or guardian to watch. She was grinning as she walked up on the sight.

Tony's mouth was full so he simply speared another ravioli and brought it up to Abby's mouth. She opened her mouth and took the ravioli with her teeth. As she started chewing she had to nod appreciatively.

DiNozzo was grinning. "See? I think I'm going to have to ask Miss Maclay to become Mrs. DiNozzo."

Abby snorted and Tony arched a brow. "What's so funny about that? This is hand made! Made by hand! This makes Chef Boyardee squeal in shame. This, this is ravioli. Tara has ruined me for other pasta, and therefore I have no other option but to make her my wife."

Abby giggled. "I'm not sure who you should ask first, Tara, Gibbs... or Faith?"

Tony paused, confused, then he smiled that wide Anthony DiNozzo smile, that one that made him glad Gibbs was on another continent and not there to smack him in the head for smiling it.

Abby was smiling as well. "Yeah."

"But what about the "match" with Ziva?"

"From what I heard she probably could have started the lessons on the supernatural an hour earlier, but..." Abby let the sentence trail off and waggled her eyebrows.

Tony muttered. "And here I was hoping Ziva had left for a rematch."

"I thought Ziva was being debriefed," Abby said.

"Already done, and now it looks like it wasn't anywhere near as naughty as I had imagined it."

"So where did she go?" Abby looked around. "She wasn't injured was she?"

"Nah, just run of the mill vampire bumps and bruises, plus, well, she needs new pants," Tony stuffed another ravioli in his mouth and mumbled the rest of his sentence.

"I didn't get that last part," Abby said with a smile.

He smiled, swallowing. "Sorry, I was warned to get these while I could because once the slayers descend they will be GONE."

She was amazed at the volume of food slayers consumed. She would love to get Buffy in an oxygen chamber and test her metabolism.

"And I figure if I'm going to stuff myself I should have it done before all the hotties arrive."

Abby's confusion was evident by her furrowed brows.

"Slaying. It makes a girl either hungry or horny…sometimes both, and it's not just the slayers. Ziva surprised me as much as she surprised Lex when she planted one on her. Our girl has style. A style I'm going to hope to replicate soon."

"Ziva kissed Lex?" Abby asked incredulously.

"I'm pretty sure she was yanking Lex's chain," Tony said as he wiped his mouth.

"And just where are they now?" Abby asked, her tone more than a bit catty.

Tony pointed out the front entrance. "Ziva went to work out," she said and then pointed to a side door. "And Lex went to get debriefed."

"I'll just bet she did," Abby said as she spun and headed in the direction Ziva had gone. "And she can just keep her briefs on around Ziva. I may have to get a bucket of water and she if she melts."

Ziva continued holding Lex even as her body stopped shaking with each breath and her tears stopped. After a few minutes of the two women quietly holding each other, Lex rolled away, but Ziva rolled with her and they ended up spooning each other.

"Easy," Ziva said. "You have just been through a battle more exhausting than fighting those vampires."

Lex closed her eyes, embarrassed by her weakness.

Ziva leaned forward and whispered into Lex's ear. "That was more than burning off energy after a mission," Ziva said. She closed her eyes and rested her cheek against Lex's wet hair and closed her eyes. "You should not think you are weak," Ziva whispered. She felt Lex tense in her arms.

"Are you empathic?" Lex asked, a tiny smile forming.

"No," Ziva said with a sigh. "I have been through my own…release recently." She squeezed Lex tighter and felt her own throat constrict. "I have my own dark memories."

Lex rolled over so they were facing each other and she saw a flash of pain in Ziva's eyes that took her own breath. "Who did this to you?" Lex whispered.

Ziva shook her head and closed her eyes. She felt Lex's forehead against hers and she took a shaking breath, but was able to maintain control of her emotions. "It no longer matters. They are dead."

"Good," Lex said. "Well, not actually," she amended. "I was looking forward to killing them."

Ziva laughed and shook her head.

Lex closed her eyes and took the comfort and the friendship Ziva offered. They were alike. Two soldiers who had parts of them broken, parts they could not share with anyone else because people expected soldiers to be strong and unyielding. Ziva and Lex both knew that was an illusion, and it felt freeing to let her guard down with someone so like her.

Ziva sighed and her body relaxed, she was exhausted from merely witnessing Lex's pain.

Abby chose that moment to come into the dojo. She was trying her stealth approach as Ziva had taught her. Her eyes widened as she saw Ziva and Lex curled around each other. Lex was covered in sweat and her face had a glow that made Abby see red.

Lex sighed and squeezed Ziva closer. "You tell anyone about this and I will deny it ever happened."

"It will be our secret," Ziva said. "Until the next time," she added with smirk.

"This time nearly killed me," Lex yawned and snuggled closer. She felt like she could go to sleep in Ziva's arms and be completely safe. She didn't have many friends, and she could tell, Ziva was a good friend to have. "But I'm game anytime you are."

Abby backed out of the doorway and then moved quickly down the hall. She suddenly realized what she had been searching for and the answer shocked her. All the times she'd stared at Ziva or admired Ziva, or wanted to be with Ziva for a girls' night out suddenly made sense. She wanted Ziva. She wanted wanted Ziva, as in wanted her like Lex had just finished having her. That thought sent a wave of jealousy through Abby. She left the room having no idea where she was going, just as long as it was away from Lex and her sweaty, sexy post orgasmic glow and her sweat damped hair that Ziva had obviously messed up as they…

"Well crap," Abby said. "I am totally in lust with my best friend." She thought about Ziva's smile when she had a secret. Then she thought of that day when Ziva had come back from Africa and looked so lost. All Abby had wanted to do was take her in her arms and make the sadness leave her beautiful brown eyes.

"That's just great," she said with a sigh. "Not in lust with my best friend after all. I'm in love with her. Awesome," she said, clearly not thinking it as awesome at all. "I am in love with her and she is off with a witch that looks like supermodel who is just as bad ass as Ziva." She headed toward the barracks. "I am so screwed."

She didn't notice Tara and Faith heading into the dojo.

 

Chapter 19. (special guest author Lisa Countryman)

Tara reached the dojo door before Faith. It was one of the last places she could think to look for Lex and if they didn't find her soon, she would issue an alert.

Faith's mind was in sync with her lover's. "Tar, if she's not here, we need to spread this search off base."

"I know, honey," Tara said as she yanked the door open. She stepped into the entry way and staggered. "Whoa, we found her," Tara said even as Faith wrapped a steadying arm around her.

"You okay?" Faith asked, pulling Tara closer to support some of her weight.

"There's just so much pain," Tara said. Tears welled up in her eyes and brushed them away with the back of one hand.

"Do we need medical?" Faith asked, then saw her lover's tears and her concern for Tara took over. "Maybe you should wait outside."

Tara shook her head and took a deep breath and released it. "I'm fine and we don't need medical. It's not that kind of pain." She turned and wrapped her arms around Faith's neck, resting her forearms on the Slayer's shoulders. "Lex and I cast together on a regular basis. We have a connection. That's why I can feel her so intensely." She nodded toward the hall that lead to the dojo.

Tara reached the door first again and carefully opened it expecting to see Lex working out. She stiffened and pulled back when she saw Lex on a stack of mats and in Ziva's arms.

Faith noticed the hesitation and moved closer to get a better look. "Well, that shouldn't be causing too much pain," she whispered.

Tara shot her a reproachful glare.

Faith shrugged her shoulders and whispered. "What?"

Lex stirred in Ziva's arms. "Tara?" she asked without turning toward the door.

Ziva was still holding Lex but she turned toward the door and her eyes filled with relief when she saw Tara move forward. She nodded to bring the witch closer.

Lex sat up, bringing Ziva with her, and when she saw Tara her shoulders slumped and her normal spark was absent.

Tara didn't wait for an invitation she rushed to Lex's side and dropped her her knees and pulled the dark witch into her arms and clung to her.

Lex let out a heavy sigh and surrendered to Tara's care.

Tara looked at Ziva and then Faith. "Warriors out," she whispered. "This is witch time."

Ziva scrambled to her feet and headed for the door with Faith at her side. Once outside the dojo, Faith nodded toward a set of double doors in the distance. "Wanna see the really cool weapons?"

Ziva looked at Faith as if the Slayer was mildly brain damaged.

Faith laughed and slung an arm around Ziva's shoulders. "Of course you do. What was I thinking?" She pulled Ziva toward the special armory that held the mystic weapons gathered in the field that were deemed safe and ready to be put back into use. While many of the weapons looked like they belonged in a museum, all were fully functional. Faith knew Ziva would be impressed.

Inside the dojo, Tara was humming as she rocked gently, holding Lex in her arms with a kind of strength that didn't come from fighting or physical workouts. After she felt Lex relax and settle against her, she eased back and sat Indian style facing Lex.

Lex was on her knees, but she'd been in enough rituals to know what to do. She repositioned facing Tara in the same pose with their knees touching. "I didn't hurt her," Lex said quietly.

"I know," Tara said with an easy smile. "You wanted to, but you didn't."

Lex sighed and rolled her eyes. "I really wanted to," she corrected. "I've seen her around. She's always so shy, and everyone always talks about how smart Oracle is. I never would have guessed."

Tara nodded and looked down at where their knees were touching. "It wasn't just about Willow," she said as she lifted her head to look Lex in the eyes.

Lex shook her head. "No, it wasn't."

Tara reached out her hands and smiled sadly when Lex gently gripped both hands in return. Lex's hands were calloused and had scars, much like Faith's, but they also held a mystic charge from years, a lifetime, of channeling magick. "It's time," Tara whispered.

Lex shook her head. "I can't. I'm not ready," she said, when what she really meant was 'I'm not strong enough yet.'

"You are," Tara said gently. "And you are stronger than you think."

Lex smiled at how easily Tara could read her. She stared down at their joined hands. "They, my family, had rules, you know." She was shocked to feel a tear on her own cheek. She didn't think it was physically possible for her to cry any more.

"What were their rules?" Tara prompted. She knew Lex had to come to terms with the actions she had taken. Lex knew her actions were morally right, at least, the logical part of her did. It was the deep seated emotional part that Lex hid from almost everyone that was struggling the most.

"We never would have wiped the memory of someone we loved," Lex said as she squeezed Tara's hands. She looked up and wasn't surprised to see Tara's eyes locked on her with a gentle but nonjudgmental intensity. "We never hurt family," Lex whispered. "Do whatever you please to outsiders, skin them, flay them, wipe their entire identity if that's what made you happy, but never family."

She closed her eyes and sighed. "Even when we banished someone, they were not harmed. I had an uncle who was stealing, well, mystically embezzling, a lot of money from the family trust. When he got caught, the elders did a binding spell so he could never return to family ground and sent him away." She laughed, but there was no humor in the act. "He was killed a few months later when he tried the same trick on a rival family."

Tara lifted Lex's hands and pressed a kiss to the back of each wrist. "I know this is hard for you. You're not alone, Lex."

"You know, the funny thing is, everyone in my family followed that rule. Except me." Lex locked her eyes with Tara's. "So I guess that makes me the real villain, doesn't it?"

Tara shook her head. "No. They did do harmful spells, Lex. A binding, taking away a person's ability to connect is very harmful. Any spell that removes your free will violates that person's soul."

Lex inhaled and her body tensed from within.

Tara could feel anger surge through the dark witch. "No," Tara said. "I have dealt with Willow. She has paid for what she did, and I have forgiven her." She could feel Lex's anger coming in blistering waves. She squeezed their joined hands and gave them a shake to get Lex's attention. "I am at peace with what happened."

"But she didn't pay," Lex said. "She's here and she's waltzing around thinking she is the supreme goddess of moral righteousness. She had the nerve to lecture me about the evils of dark magick when she handpicked one of the most vicious spells to use on her lover."

Tara nodded. "Yes, she did. But she wasn't raised with that dark magick. She had no idea how horrible that spell was." She waited until Lex looked up and met her gaze. "To Willow, it was just a magical quick fix. Someone was mad, someone she loved, and Willow cannot deal with anyone being mad at her. So, she looked in a book and thought she'd just erase the problem like a miscalculation on a math problem, and it would all be okay."

"She hasn't paid," Lex said angrily.

Tara met Lex's fierce gaze. Tara's blue eyes hardened. "After what she did, I could never, ever, be in love with her again." Tara let the words hang in the air between them. "I still love Willow. I always will. But I will never think of her as anything more than a friend I have a shared history with."

Lex thought about that, thought about the way Tara was with Faith, how the Slayer drank in the rich sweetness of Tara's devotion and the strength that comes from knowing someone loves you with every part of their being. Then she thought back to the times she had seen Tara with Willow. She was always loving and caring, but there was never any extension of Tara's inner light that surrounded those she was closest with. Lex knew what Tara's inner light felt like. Tara had blessed Lex with that gift when they held ritual. She was being blessed with it as they currently sat together. "She has paid a huge price," Lex whispered.

Tara nodded. "She has. And she will pay that price forever." It wasn't that she was holding a grudge or punishing Willow, quite the contrary. She knew Willow was a good person. She also knew that once a person rips a part of your essence away with a casual disregard, the soul remembers. Tara could no more open her soul's most brilliant aspects to Willow than she could sprout wings and fly. Well, actually, she might be able to sprout wings with the right spell. There was no spell to heal a mystic tear like Willow had caused.

"What price do I pay for killing my family?" Lex asked.

"You are already paying it," Tara whispered. "You grieve for them every day and you will always have a lingering doubt, even though you know it was for the greater good." She sighed. "You'll never fully erase the stain on your soul that comes from taking any life."

"Well, that's a cheery thought," Lex complained.

Tara smiled. "It will eventually become just a mark, like the scars on your hands that don't hurt all the time, but remind you of your journey." She let out a breath and cleared her throat. "Now, you and I are going to cleanse your body, mind, and soul after the release you had today."

"So, you're gonna take a mystic bath with me?" Lex asked, more of her usual humor sneaking back in.

"Lex, sweetie, you so could not handle taking a bath of any kind with me." Tara laughed wickedly. "There's a reason my soulmate is a slayer." She cleared her throat and leaned closer to whisper to her friend. "One word, and that's all I am saying on the subject…"

Lex leaned forward, listening intently.

"Stamina," Tara said with a sparkle in her blue eyes.

Lex laughed and felt her soul lighten with the familiar banter. She sat up straighter, shaking her head. "Let's get me all mystically squeaky clean."

Tara nodded and began the ritual.

 

Chapter 20.

Abby sighed, Gibbs was in the middle east. He was in the middle east trying to track down the guys who were kidnapping Marines and turning them into vampires, but with him in the middle east he couldn't be here to help Abby with the ache in her chest or the thoughts running around in her head.

Gibbs needed to be there to put his arm around her shoulder in that silent Gibbs way he did that let her know that everything would work out, but he wasn't there, and Abby knew that everything wouldn't work out.

Or at least it wouldn't work out for her. It would probably work out wonderfully for Ziva and Lex... her heart clenched. Lex might even convince Ziva to leave NCIS and take up demon hunting full time, and Ziva would do it too as it would be a challenge to her abilities, and a totally worth while cause as they are saving the whole entire world instead of a couple of branches of the US military.

Abby sighed. She really needed Gibbs to be there now, or for her to be in the middle east with him. Sure, Abby had never been too terribly fond of the sun, but it seemed a small sacrifice to not be there, and not have to see what she would see the next time she saw Ziva or Lex, or even worse Ziva WITH Lex.

While Abby's brilliant brain had been tormenting herself with thoughts of what she found and lost all at once her feet were looking out for her as she found herself in the Lock's medical bay, the autopsy section.

"Abigail? What brings you by?"

Looking up at the cheerful greeting she was looking into the smiling face of Doctor Mallard.

"Hi Ducky. Working alone?"

"Yes, yes, Mister Palmer finally needed some rest, and Mrs. Finn went to report our findings to her husband for the conference call they are going to have with Gibbs in a couple hours."

She smiled, it was a sad smile, but Ducky's enthusiasm was contagious. "So you don't need any sleep?"

He smiled, looking down at his feet. "Of course I do," He then looked up "but, but it's all so marvelous Abigail. Whole knew species, all of them containing discoveries that could rewrite whole annals of human knowledge. I dare say this is the missing link, the missing links that have kept human knowledge so constrained."

She arched a brow. "You know this is all top secret, right?"

He smiled. "Of course. It's almost tragic in a way. We may be under appreciated at NCIS, but at least we exist. The way Samantha explained it while some retain their identities, especially those just rotating in for training in combating supernatural threats, much of the senior staff have surrendered their identities entirely. All the good they'll do, all the lives they'll save, and their accomplishments will never be known outside this building, and when they die they will be buried without the honors they've earned, and forgotten."

Ducky looked up from his grim musings and saw Abby's morose expression. "I'm terribly sorry Abby. I guess I just got caught up in the poetry of it all. Unsung heroes, unknown warriors standing as the bastion between an unsuspecting world and the very forces of Hell."

Under Abby's calm exterior she was kicking herself. They WERE unsung heroes. She didn't know how Lex's first mission had went, but if it was like any of the stories she had been hearing from Tara or Buffy, or Faith then it didn't seem right to hate Lex for seeing what Abby couldn't, for taking the chance Abby didn't.

It might twist in her gut like one of Ziva's knives, but she would try her best to be happy for them.

Right now however she wanted a distraction. So she took a closer look at what Ducky was working on. There were four bodies laid out on the tables. Two looked entirely human and looked like they had already been autopsied. The Y incisions however looked funny, and Abby's stomach turned as she realized the poor souls had already had their chests opened before they had gotten to Ducky.

The second two seemed far more interesting, namely because their heads were on separate tables behind them.

Ducky saw her eyes moving from the bodies to the tables with their heads. "Yes, these two beasties were the two infiltrator demons that Tony, Riley and Giles defeated."

"They had to cut their heads off?"

Ducky nodded absently as he leaned in to keep examining the severed specimens. "Quite, seems it's the only way to actually kill the fiends."

Abby leaned in next to him. "Then why is the girl demon's head caved in?"

Ducky leaned in. "That's the one Tony killed, and he had to get inventive to get her to lie still long enough for him to remove her head."

Abby stood up. "They left him alone with a demon!"

Ducky stood up with her. "Now, now, Tony was the one who realized they were not the Jensens, and it seems they are able to read our emotions. So while Tony was trying to figure out how to tell the others without letting the "Jensens" know, they already knew, and managed to separate them."

Abby nodded reluctantly, and Ducky smiled. "Don't worry, from all reports Tony handled it wonderfully."

She frowned, looking back at the heads. "Had he seen pictures? Cause they don't look like the Jensens." Abby looked between the two sets of bodies for emphasis.

Ducky grinned widely. "That's where this get's even MORE interesting." He motioned for her to lean in again and then pressed his gloved hand against the male demons' cheek, and the bones shifted under the slight pressure.

They both stood up as Ducky started speaking again. "When they arrived they were perfect duplicates of the Jensens. Now they look more like possible relatives. I imagine that by this time tomorrow they will have reverted to their natural forms."

"The bone that would correspond with the location of the left zygomatic is completely mobile." He moved his fingers to the jaw line, which had changed a great deal. He moved it side to side and palpated the bottom of the jaw line. "The mandible seems to have a suture midway along its inferior portion. The x-rays show that the split bisects the entire bone."

He went to a computer and pulled up a set of MRI scans. "The zygomaticus major is similar to a human's, but there are additional muscles connected to each side of the separated mandible. I would think that is to allow the creature to elongate or shorten the jaw line when it morphs to mimic its victim."

Abby leaned over Ducky's shoulder. "You think the change happens physically, and not you know, magick?"

"Probably a combination of both," Ducky said. "The written information on the infiltrator suggests that when the creature ingests its victim's heart, a mystical shift occurs that allows it to perfectly copy the victim. My guess is that in the absence of a heart to begin the change, it can use its musculature to reshape enough to move amongst us disguised as human."

"Or as several different humans," Abby said. "I mean if it can move its cheekbones and lengthen its jaw, it probably can look like many different people, right?"

"Indeed," Ducky said. "These creatures are men of a thousand faces. I wonder if Lon Chaney was related to these creatures? He was known by the moniker 'the man with 1000 faces, after all." He sighed. "Though, I think Dick Cheney is more likely related to demons."

 

Chapter 21.

Willow and McGee entered the room in the middle of another conversation. They both quickly recognized the voice of Anthony DiNozzo, and as they entered the room they saw he was talking to the Lock's mission controller, Tara Maclay. "It would be an open marriage. I could be with other women, and so could you."

Tara smiled in amusement. "As long as I fixed my pasta."

Tony puffed his shoulders. "I'm a man, and I have my needs."

Tara's grin grew. "Well see, men's needs are one area I know nothing about."

Tim walked up to the pair and gave Tony a Gibbs' slap.

Tony's hand flew to the back of his head where Tim had hit him. "Watch it Probie! You aren't the substitute. You don't get to hand out Gibbs slaps while teacher's away."

Tim just grinned as he walked over to where he saw Willow talking to Riley as he poured himself a cup of coffee from the provided coffee pot. She was smiling. "Hello Riley."

The man smiled. "Hi Willow."

She slipped in next to him and got the water pitcher to pour herself a glass. He noticed Tim and smiled at the young agent. "Hey Tim, would you like a cup?"

He smiled and nodded, and Riley handed Tim the mug he had already poured and made another for himself. Finn then sat down, and Tim had went to follow him, but Willow caught his elbow gently. "Actually I was going to show you how to set up one of our conferences."

He nodded and followed. "You guys have really thrown open the doors for us."

Willow smiled and blushed. "Sorta, you have access to the armory, and the first sub-level, but that was prepared as a sort of "secured" visitors center for those just rotating in to train and stuff, and our conferences are secured with software keys... you would need magick AND cutting edge technology to eavesdrop."

Tim's face scrunched in confusion. "How many sub-levels are there?" When Willow just smiled he grinned. "Or is that above my clearance?"

Willow's smile remained. "Don't take it personally. The rule is only permanent personnel get beyond the first sub-level."

Faith had entered at that point with Ziva, though Ziva didn't join Faith as she walked up and kissed Tara.

Samantha Finn entered and got her own kiss from her husband before sitting next to him.

Doctor Mallard and Rupert Giles entered next, and they were having an animated discussion on the beasts currently laid out in autopsy, with each man sharing the insights that came from their respective schools of study.

A sedate Abigail Sciuto had walked in with the two men, and while there was a seat open next to Ziva, Abby had moved near to the end and sat next to Doctor Mallard. An action that had Ziva's eyebrows scrunched in confusion.

Her confusion was set aside as Lex was the last to arrive, and Ziva found herself smiling at the return of the woman's normal pleasant nature. Lex saw her smiling and returned it as she dropped into the seat next to her.

At the front of the room Faith and Tara looked around, and then looked to each other as Faith started speaking. "Ok, we're all here. We got Gibbs?" There was a long pause and Faith looked over to Willow. "Willow? Is Gibbs on the line?"

At that moment in time Willow's eyes were wide, and locked on Lex. For her part Lex simply arched a brow at Willow, and then looked back up to Faith. That seemed to bring the woman back and she leaned over McGee to hit a few keys.

On the big plasma screen at the front of the room came to life with the image of Gibbs and Buffy.

Buffy was the first to speak as she stage whispered to Gibbs. "I think the main reason I keep him around is to deal with the computer stuff."

Gibbs grinned and stage whispered back. "Why do you think I put up with McGee?"

When his agent popped his head up Gibbs grinned.

Xander had a grin all his own as he joined them on screen. "Yes, the razor sharp wit is just a complimentary service."

Buffy looked ready to retort, but Faith cut them both off. "Okay, okay, we're all hilarious. What do ya got?"

Everyone settled and Gibbs cleared his throat. "All right, the short version is that we managed to find the place where the Marines were being turned. A box canyon in the middle of nowhere it stayed off the radar because no vehicles were ever seen, and nothing living could get there with enough supplies to get back.. Which worked for them because while they brought live captives only the dead came out."

Tara spoke up. "Your report said that the Marines HAD marked it as a potential supply dump."

Gibbs nodded. "While no vehicles were ever SEEN there's always the possibility they slipped past. The odds were long, but they marked it because they had yet to send anyone to make sure it was nothing." Tara nodded as Gibbs continued. "We encountered thirty vampires, saved six Marines, and eighteen civilians."

Faith then spoke up. "Leads?"

Gibbs nodded. "We gotta mercenary force running loose. The Marines were taken down with military tactics and gear, the civilians were taken at night, by Europeans and Americans in fatigues with no distinguishing features."

Faith mentioned off handedly. "Your first report said something about sun-proof ghillie suits." Gibbs simply nodded.

McGee slid away from Willow's laptop to the one he had been issued and was quickly typing away. "Boss, that could match with something I found on Jensens' father. Naval records showed he had been checked in with a mystery illness a month before the Marines started going missing. The Navy doctors couldn't find anything wrong with him so they gave him something for the symptoms and planned further tests. About a week after that the prescriptions Tony found at the house arrived, NOT from a local pharmacy, but parcel post."

Lex spoke up from her seat. "There are tons of curses that mimic normal sickness, but aren't detectable by normal medicine. They curse the father, then offer the son the meds to fix it as long as he does "favors" for them. Probably strung him along by having the Marines jumping ship to the mercs come to him, at night, and tell him it was their decision. Maybe he starts to put things together, but he comes stateside, ready to spill his guts and they get to him first."

Gibbs was nodding, but McGee interrupted what he was about to say. "It get's better, the return address for Doctor Mendel puts him in the same building as Coriolis Security Contractors."

Faith was nodding at the head of the table. "Mercs. Okay, that goes with what Lex heard when she was hiding in the armory. One of them talked about "The Marshal"."

Gibbs picked right up on the thought. "The Marines don't have Marshal's."

Finn spoke up from his spot a the table. "Yes, but mercenaries love giving themselves those intimidating titles."

Giles then countered. "Actually if this Marshal is he himself a vampire then he may have very well earned the rank."

Abby then raised her hand. "I've found what I think is evidence of a single originating vampire behind this."

Everyone in the room focused on her and she continued. "I was going over all the evidence and I found some blood on the uniforms of the Marines that Ziva, Faith, and Lex saved and I found blood that wasn't theirs, wasn't human. I found what looked kind of like DNA, but isn't. I'm not sure what is is exactly, but it was enough like DNA that I was able to distinguish that while there were variations I think are different generations I think it all traces back to a single progenitor. I'm sorry, it's not much, but I've never seen anything like it."

Gibbs was the first to speak. "Could it be dangerous?"

Buffy answered right next to him. "No way, Faith and I have had enough exposure to vampire blood that we would have felt the effects years ago."

Gibbs shook his head. "You're both slayers, Abby's not."

Xander then spoke up. "But I'm not and I've been exposed too."

Ducky then joined in. "It's unlikely it's harmful Jethro. Not only are there extensive records available, but they have a vast amount of experience between them. More likely it's simply how the vampires are able to function with bodies that are effectively dead."

Gibbs looked at Abby. "Still, be careful." She managed a smile for Gibbs, but even on the other side of the world he seemed concerned.

Giles had a distracted look. "We may want to look into European vampires as Marshal is a rank that has been used, and it could also explain the European troops the civilian's saw if they were this progenitor's spawn."

Faith looked to Willow, who was leaned over her laptop, typing frantically. "Oracle, that will be your first..."

Willow interrupted. "Actually I already got something." There was a small pause as everyone in the room smiled. "Their legal representation used to work at the Los Angeles law offices of one Wolfram and Hart, before Angel and company destroyed the place."

Tony then poised a question. "So these Wolfram and Hart guys aren't your typical lawyers?"

Tony watched an assortment of head shakes before Tara spoke. "I can get you a file on them, but the short version is that they offered representation to countless fiends, both otherworldly as well as the worst of the worst from this dimension."

Tony's head bobbed in understanding. "So it's looking like this guy has just made a a lateral move."

Faith then took a deep breath. "All right. Right now I'm speaking to the NCIS people because there's something I need to make sure you understand. While we're gathering evidence here, we are not putting together a case. None of the people we are hunting are going to have their day in court. Up until now what fighting you've had to do has been mostly defensive, but now that we know our enemies name the game changes. If you can't accept that there is no hard feelings, but you need to say so we can replace you now. If you don't say anything I'm going to assume you are in it till it's done."

Nothing was said and Faith smiled as she nodded. "Okay. Gibbs, I'm going to send you Tony, Riley and Giles since we can't support you as directly over there."

Gibbs shook his head. "Once the Colonel learned that there were mercs in the area kidnapping and "brainwashing" his Marines..." Everyone nodded at the cover story. "He offered his full support."

Faith arched her brows. "That said be sure you lay on the top secret on thick, and keep his personnel away from the action."

Gibbs quickly countered. "Actually four of the six Marines we saved are mobile and aware of what they saw. So I figured I would use them to help our numbers."

Faith considered that and nodded. "All the same I'm sending you reinforcements. We'll start working Coriolis's stateside operations. I'll send you their arrival time once they are in the air." Faith then addressed the room. "McGee, you and Oracle will start in on their cyber systems. Lex, Ziva and myself will invite their legal representation over to discuss his clients actions. Abby and Ducky, you'll just keep pulling whatever you can from the evidence."

Seeing everyone knew what they had to do Faith said one more word. "Dismissed."

 

Chapter 22.

Robert Young was a survivor. In law school that meant good grades and few friends, but that was ok. Sure he might not have gotten laid as much as his classmates, but he also didn't wind up chasing ambulances, or keeping that 50% divorce rate going.

No, while Bobby might not have been at the head of his class he had kept himself ahead of the mediocre middle of the herd and did well enough to attract the attention of the law firm Wolfram and Hart.

It was there his survival skills REALLY got put to use, sometimes figuratively, as he navigated the waters of office politics, and sometimes literally as he navigated the waters of Wolfram and Hart office politics, and again while Robert didn't truly distinguish himself he survived, and sometimes he wondered if it was that skill Wolfram and Hart had hired him for rather then any knowledge of jurisprudence.

Whatever the reason he managed to be the last man standing for a good ten years, until he was the one of last men standing, not in the literal rubble of the Wolfram and Hart offices, but after the smoke cleared and he found himself a free agent with a Blackberry full of contacts all over this world and stretching across others.

Of course those otherworldly contacts took more then an active cell tower to reach, but the ways to make contact with otherworldly beings were right in his employee handbook and Bobby had them memorized, but he didn't have to go looking to them for opportunities because one of them came to him.

His name was Johnathan Burken, MARHSAL Johnathan Burken a Prussian mercenary he had been turned after his sire had hired Burken's band to attack the manor home of the vampire's greatest rival and burn the place to the ground at high noon. The vampire had been so pleased with their services that he had turned the leader, who in turn turned his men.

They had served their master loyally until a band of slayers had surprised them with a night attack with modern weapons and tactics. It had surprised them utterly and three fourths of their band was lost along with their master.

Marshal Burken was a survivor as well, not only of that night, but of it's aftermath. He hadn't come to Bobby Young swearing vows of vengeance against those who had slain his sire. He saw his sire's death as the ending of his contract, and like any mercenary he started looking for his next one.

Now, not swearing vengeance didn't mean he wasn't going to learn from his last defeat. To the contrary it wasn't just going to be a new contract, but a whole, new, army. The humans were getting smarter, learning their ways while demons refused to learn the humans. It was starting to tip the balance and Marshal Burken was just the one to tip it back, for the right price of course, and Robert Young was the man to make it happen, for the right fee.

Mush to his delight Marshal Burken had no problems with Young wanting a percentage. Marshal Burken was a mercenary, and he wouldn't trust a man who didn't want his fair share, or more if he could get it, and Young could get it.

Marshal Burken and his men were military men, but military men from centuries ago, and not only did they not have any knowledge of the modern world they had no contacts to it.

Young provided the contacts, and that led to the men who had the knowledge of the modern war.

They had started slow, because even in a war zone missing soldiers get noticed, but Young's contacts were able to find them the names of Marines about ready to go home, got patrol schedules so convoys could be ambushed and burned bodies left in the Marines uniforms.

Problems started when the Marshal started "winning" and got a taste for it. He wanted more and more troops, and he wanted them last night, and he wanted supplies, all those wonderful weapons of war, and he wanted them in numbers Young's weapons dealers couldn't provide.

Then one of Young's contacts grew a conscience and tried to slip stateside. While he managed to get stateside the Marshal himself took care of the boy, which was good, and then turned him, which led to the loss of their military base stateside and their turning camp in Afghanistan.

Now Young's survivor instincts were screaming at him about the white van with no side windows and deeply tinted front windows. The fact that everywhere he went it turned up was too much of a coincidence in the first place. The fact that it was there as all their plans were starting to fall apart didn't require his delicately tuned survivor's instincts to tell him his fear was justified.

Young finally had it and turned and jogged down an alley, he cut over one, jogged up two more, and then doubled back. Or at least he tried to double back, in front of him the white van pulled across Bobby's planned exit, and he realized he had played right into their hands by leaving the busy streets.

He tried to turn back the way he came and found two women waiting for him. Both with black hair, one had brown eyes, tan skin and a windows peak, while the other had fairer skin and blue eyes. Turning back to the van he saw her, he recognized her right away from when she visited the LA offices of Wolfram and Hart back when that turncoat former vampire was in charge, but everyone knew Faith as the bitch who had awoken the Slayer line.

His anger quickly turned to fear as Faith smiled a wide, dimpled smile at him. He turned back to the other two women and found that the one with the widow's peak had gotten right behind him and had a cloth in hand she pressed to his face.

The smell of some sort of drug quickly overwhelmed his senses, and as his legs gave out he thought he heard Faith speak.

"See, sometimes it's good to be a girl with a reputation."

Another spoke, it wasn't the one who drugged him, so it had to be the one with the blue eyes.

"Would have screwed up my plan entirely." There was a pause, and Bobby felt himself being carried to the van. "Well I figured we could just pull up, open the side door and ask if they wanted a ride. I figure ninety percent of the guys and at least seventy percent of the girls would hop in."

He finally lost consciousness to the sound of their laughter.

When he woke up he was in a small room, he had been sat in a metal chair that was bolted to the floor and was looking across a metal table, also bolted to the floor, at a blonde woman with blue eyes. He knew her too, Tara Maclay, the bitch who had made it possible for Faith to awaken the slayer line. She was sitting in front of a large mirror, and Bobby knew there were people watching on the other side.

He was trying to come up with what lie he could try to tell when the blonde smiled gently and started speaking.

"You're name is Robert Young, my name is Tara Maclay. I know you recognize my name. I know you know what that means. I know who you are, and I know what you have done. This is not all some big mistake, and we DO have the right guy."

She then took out a revolver and put it on the table, pushing it towards him, and her smile remained. "The weapon has one bullet. While you COULD try to kill me, my darling Faith is on the other side of that glass along with the other two women who kidnapped you, and between the three of them you would be dead in a most unpleasant manner before the hammer cocked back."

She took a breath and straightened her skirt. "That gun is here for you. So you can avoid all the normal unpleasant means of "persuasion" there are available, as well whatever dire fates that the Marshal would come up with if he ever found out you betrayed him after our methods broke you, and please trust me Mister Young they would break you." She actually looked him in the eye, and when she saw his recognition of the fact he wouldn't withstand torture she nodded sympathetically.

"No, that gun is one of your two ways out of this room."

He put his hand on the gun, and pushed it back to her. Tara smiled, and he started talking.

Several hours later a smiling Tara Maclay walked out of the interrogation room to a fuming Faith, who had several false starts before being able to speak. "I don't know whether to yell at you for taking such a risk, or throw you on top of this table and fuck your brains out for being so damn HOT while doing so."

Tara giggled.

Lex grinned. "If you don't choose B Faith I'll loose all respect for you."

Ziva was grinning. "It was a most effective interrogation technique, but how did you know he wouldn't shoot you?"

Tara smiled. "He survived the fall of Wolfram and Hart LA as well as the Beast's earlier rampage, and those were no small feats. While he may not know the full measure of our abilities here, and with the truth spell I cast on the room I'm certain he doesn't, he's a survivor, and he knew harming me would be fatal."

While Ziva was obviously fond of the blonde witch her expression showed a new level of respect as she saw the woman's steel.

Faith was scowling, but nodding as well. "And a survivor wouldn't be able to shoot themselves either."

Tara smiled. She first caressed Faith's cheek, and then leaned in to kiss the cheek she had just touched. "What I did was give him a physical representation of his ability to resist, and then convinced him to give it back to me."

Faith nodded once. "I'm going with hot." She then picked Tara up over her shoulder and carried the witch from the room.

Both the women turned to follow, with Ziva being the first to speak. "Hey!"

Lex joined in. "You said you'd take her on THIS table." Lex patted the table for emphasis.

Ziva was grinning. "We're waiting."

Lex was smiling wide. "I was going to conjure some popcorn."

Faith left the room with Tara still over her shoulder and the other two women followed them into the hall.

Lex was the first to speak. "So, just so we're clear, watching the sex is a no."

Ziva kept up. "We were really looking forward to it."

As they turned a corner Tara got in her last words. "We'll leave it to your imagination."

Lex exaggerated a pout. "Well I've already imagined it! I wanted to see how it compared!"

 

Chapter 23.

Tara yawned, smacked her lips,and opened her eyes. She was treated to have her first vision upon awakening be Faith smiling down on her. They were both naked, and in their bed, and as Tara returned the smile and stretched, she savored the feeling of... to put it bluntly, being well and truly fucked.

The fact that Tara could find herself thinking such a thing had her wondering what the shy, stuttering thing that first enrolled at Sunnydale University would say... or would she just feint dead away at all the twists and turns her life had in store, and the ways it would change her.

Either way she knew she wouldn't change a thing that between where she had started and where she now found herself.

Raising her right hand she caressed Faith's dimpled left cheek, and guided her slayer in for a kiss. The kiss lingered, and their tongues met briefly before they pulled back to a comfortable cuddle, simply savoring the feel of their lover's skin against their own.

Tara finally spoke. "Would it be jinxing it to voice my surprise that not only were we able to make love without being interrupted, but also take a nap as well?"

Faith kissed the flesh over Tara's heart. "Probably." Both women knew that when the Lock was active sleep was a commodity, and time for the two of them to share the intimacy they had just shared practically nonexistent. "Now you're probably going to want to shower and go back to being all responsible aren't you?"

Tara laughed softly. "Nope, I'm going to make you do it this time."

Faith actually laughed normally, but didn't bother speaking as she brought her face to Tara's and began kissing her. While it was a series of kisses they weren't there to inspire passion as much as simply savor connection, to take a little of the magick they carried between them back into the battles they would both have to face soon enough.

She then smiled, nodded and stood up, and then picked up Tara again and put the giggling woman over her shoulder and carried her to their shower.

In another part of the Lock Abby was looking at a plasma screen with a super-magnified image of what she was terming vDNA, for vampire DNA. She didn't know much about it at this point, except that it looked like the meaner, angrier cousin of the monstrous looking viruses, the one that the family doesn't like to talk about.

Her theory was that the vDNA needed to be consumed, and it needed numbers on it's side. In a living cellular structure, in other words a living person, the vDNA could at worst make the person sick, if for some reason they chose to drink vampire blood.

Once the person was dead though Abby's theory was that they went to town, taking the corpse and making it into something that could get up, walk, talk, and kill people. Something supported by the fact that the newly sired vampire needed time to arise.

Her theory had each vDNA a little mystical engine, and when the living cells were in the minority, or a vampire drank blood, they would go nuts again and take all the chemicals that came in blood and turn them into what the vampire needed to keep walking, talking, and killing people.

She had come up with the theory after it had been explained to her that the reason vampires turned to ash when destroyed was that all the energies that kept them going ignited and consumed the flesh they were animating.

To help confirm her theory Abby had asked that a witch be sent to do a mystical sensory thing on a sample of ashes, and the blood she pulled off the Marines who had been fighting to keep themselves from being turned at the Marine base Faith and the girls had liberated.

Her hope was that the blood that was on the uniforms had at least some trace of energy left that the witch would be able to detect.

As she heard the door to the lab open Abby tensed, bracing herself, figuring that the way things had been going ever since she walked in on Lex and Ziva post-sex in the dojo it would be Lex who was sent to do the sensing for her.

She let out a breath when she saw it was the red-head, Willow, Oracle. She then scrunched her brow. "Doesn't Tim need you?"

Willow smiled and shook her head. "No, and that's the problem. I've got him up to speed with our mystic crackers... um cracking programs that include non-human languages and stuff." Abby nodded in understanding and Willow continued. "But everything we've found so far has been "sanitized for our protection."

Abby sighed. "More likely for theirs."

Willow nodded. "Exactly. So I decided to stretch my legs, and come see what you needed a witch for."

Abby's head titled in confusion. "So your both?"

"Uh huh, I started just a normal science/computer geek back in high school, but after I met Buffy I learned magick was real and another sort of science I could master... heck Agrippa's Books of Occult Mystery considered it one of the sciences, and we just took it out later."

Willow could see that the scientist was quite happy with her discipline, and blushed. "So what did you need?"

Abby explained her theory and Willow's eyes widened appreciatively. "Makes sense, so, let's see what I get." She first moved to the ash sample. "Yeah, nothing, not even the normal energy you would find in remains."

"There's energy in remains?"

Willow was moving to the blood slides Abby had prepared. "Yep, it's how necromancers do necromancy. Ok, I'm sorry, but the slides are just too small, and probably too old. We should put in a request to Riley for some of the slayers to be sent out to collect a live sample... cause it will take more then orange juice and a cookie to get a vamp to donate."

Abby smiled at the small joke as she watched Willow pick up the phone in the lab and make the request.

When Willow turned back much of the confidence the young woman had been showing had vanished. "Abby? You got a minute?"

The goth nodded. "Not a whole lot I can do until the sample gets here. I was going to see if Ducky needed any help..."

Willow interrupted. "Of course, he's still autopsying the infiltrators..."

Abby then interrupted. "Actually he should probably be sleeping at this point. If he isn't Jimmy's probably awake and helping him. What did you need?"

Willow sighed, swung her arms, once, twice, and then spoke. "Ok, I got the feeling that Ziva can like girls THAT way... you know."

That knife plunged into Abby's heart all over again, and it kept her from speaking as she nodded.

Willow didn't notice as she continued. "And I totally like girls THAT way, and well I'm Jewish, she's Jewish, and we could go to temple, and..."

Abby felt a wave of compassion for another snared by Ziva's beauty, she also felt a need to head off what she was sure would be a record amount of what people called "Willow Babble."

"Willow... Willow, yeah Ziva can... appreciate the female form... in a hands on way, but she's already found that particular form."

Willow stopped abruptly. "Who?"

Abby sighed again, her head dropping, not wanting to have to say the name. "Lex."

"Lex?" When Abby looked up at Willow's small sounding word she saw the fair skinned red head had went to pale. Willow however started speaking quickly. "When you say hands on appreciation, you mean, her hands to Lex's skin right?"

That knife went in again and Abby could only nod. She became frightened however at the look on Willows face, and finally found her voice. "What?"

Willow took a breath. "Lex... Lex is BIG into the dark magick, and when your as big into the dark magick as she is it makes you do things... bad things. It's how she came to the Lock's attention. The biggest bad thing she did so far was kill her family."

"SHE KILLED HER FAMILY?"

Willow was startled, and realized how that sounded. "Actually as bad as Lex may be they, were worse. The whole reason that brought her to the Lock's attention was because WE were planning on killing them. She was just able to do it without the casualties we were looking at."

Abby didn't seem convinced. "There's more."

Willow nodded. "Yeah, when I saw her file, and went to talk to her about her dark magick use she flipped out, was ready to kill me, but managed to control herself enough to only blow up one of the conference rooms."

Abby's expression showed she was making the connection to the room that had needed repair. "And she's out in the field with ZIVA?"

The red head's expression was grim as she nodded again. "Faith and Tara trust her."

"Well Faith and Tara need to get their heads examined!" With those words Abby strode out of her office, making her way to Tara's, with Willow hurrying behind her.

Abby was the first through Tara's door and she found the blonde with hair still slightly damp from a shower and a contented smile on her face, a smile that started to vanish as Tara took in the women's expressions.

She didn't get a chance to speak as Abby beat her too it. "Why do you have Ziva working with the Wicked Witch of the West Coast?"

Tara gave Willow a stern look, but Abby literally stepped in front of it. "Hey! She told me what was going on, and now I want you to tell me why!?"

Tara held up a hand to shush Abby. "FREEZE SLAYER!"

Looking behind them Willow and Abby saw Faith trying to sneak away, but they also knew that Tara couldn't have seen her from her angle. Faith stopped, hung her head, and kept it down as she walked to stand beside Tara at her desk.

"Darling, do you know where Lex is?"

Faith shook her head, and leaned over to Tara's phone, the blonde slipping her hand in to turn on the speaker phone. When it was picked up Faith spoke. "Lex. Where are you?"

Lex's voice came back over the speaker. "Just trying to convince David to dress up like a school girl."

Faith and Tara were confused as Abby's face twisted in anger and Willow's darkened as well.

Faith however was the one to speak. "So she can play bait for when we go out to get Abby's blood sample?"

Lex's voice came back after a long pause. "...Yeah?" Ziva's rich laugh came over the speaker.

Faith was smiling as she shook her head. "Could the two of you come to Tara's office?"

The four there waited in silence, until two more joined them in the still spacious, but now full office.

Once they were there Tara turned to Abby. "From the beginning please."

It took some coaxing to get past the scientist's outrage, but they got the whole story of the conversation Abby and Willow had in her lab.

Ziva looked confused. "We had sex? When did we have sex? I would think I would remember if we had sex?"

Lex grinned. "Ziva, if you had sex with me you would remember."

Lex sighed. "Willow, with those editing skills you should become a DJ." She then turned to Abby. "While Willow was free with the facts of my life she wasn't quite so open with the facts of hers." She gave a look to Tara, and while neither Tara or Faith seemed pleased the blonde nodded.

Lex continued as Willow shrunk back. "Did you know that Willow and Tara were lovers a few years back?" Abby's head shook no. "What broke them up was when they had a fight, about WILLOW'S magick use. Willow then used magick to erase Tara's memory of the event."

Abby's eyes darted to Tara, to see the pained expression, to Willow, to see the shamed expression, and then back to Lex who was speaking softly. "Now think about that for a second. She reached into Tara's mind, into the mind of the one she loved, and took away Tara's very right to be mad at her. She violated the sanctity of Tara's mind, and of her very soul just as surely as any rapist would violate a person's body."

Willow looked like she wanted to run, but to her credit stood there and let her sins be retold.

Lex continued to do so in the same soft voice. "What's worse is when Tara realized what Willow had done to her she was STILL ready to forgive, but she made Willow promise to do one week without casting ANY spells. She didn't even go a day Abby, she didn't even go one full day before she cast the memory spell AGAIN."

Lex exhaled. "I am a dangerous woman, I grew up around masters of the vilest magicks known to man, and several mankind hasn't even heard of, but Ziva's a dangerous woman, and Faith is a FUCKING dangerous woman."

The small bit of levity actually brought grins to everyone's face, but Willow's, but that was because her mind was elsewhere. "Now Abby, I want you to imagine if someone had raped Tara, and was in the same room with Ziva."

Abby's eyes looked from Tara, to Ziva's nod, and back to Lex. "Now imagine if Ziva had known Tara had been attacked, but not known who. Now imagine this person coming to Ziva and talking to her about her past, and controlling her darker impulses, and the like, and in the process Ziva figured out they were the one. What do you think might happen?"

Abby then found her voice. "They might not leave that room alive." Abby took a breath. "So you two didn't have sex?"

Lex smiled. "Nope, what made you think we had sex?"

Abby went on to describe what she had seen in the dojo.

Lex ran her fingers through her hair. "Okay, you know about my family, you know what I did to them, you even know that they deserved far worse. Still, even with all that said they WERE my family, and while I constantly reminded myself of the danger they posed to the world, killing a stranger weighs on the soul, killing a single family member is infinitely heavier, and when it's the entirety of your family... my confrontation with Willow finally broke down the walls that I had been keeping all the pain behind."

"I had went to the dojo to burn off some steam, but I was pushing myself so hard I was in danger of hurting myself. Ziva stopped me, Ziva held me, she comforted me when I was broken. Between her and Tara they helped me put myself back together after I finally let that pain out."

Abby's head was hung in shame. "Sorry."

Lex's voice was still soft. "It's okay. It's obvious you care very deeply about Ziva."

Abby's eyes widened and she looked up at Ziva in shock.

Lex giggled as she saw Ziva look at Abby curiously. "The funny thing is I didn't even mean it THAT way."

The humor left Lex's voice as she turned to Willow. "Now you Willow, you need to understand why what you did was so wrong, and why YOU did it, and not "the magick". It wasn't the spell itself, hell I remember my mom once used it to get out of a speeding ticket."

That got Willow's attention, but Lex held up a hand to keep her from saying whatever she was going to say. "BUT he was just a cop, an outsider, NOT one of us. It wasn't the spell Willow, it was who you used it on. As vile as my family was, as much misery and despair as they spread upon the Earth, they never hurt family. Even when one of us went rogue, they were sent away and magick was used to keep them from coming back, but their body, mind and soul was left intact."

"You crossed a line that even people who had been practicing the blackest of magicks for decades wouldn't cross. That more then anything should let you know it wasn't "the magick" that made you do what you did. You made a choice, and while talking with Tara has convinced me the choice wasn't made with the malice I imagined, you still made an awful, awful choice, and one way or another, one day or another you're going to have to accept that and start learning how to live with it."

At this point Willow had backed against the door. Once Lex had finished speaking she turned, opened the door, and ran out it.

Tara spoke softly. "Well done Lex. You did what I couldn't."

Lex gave the blonde a small smile. "That said I think I'll keep my job. Getting shot at is easier."

 

Chapter 24.

Finn moved over to the seat next to DiNozzo. "How are you doing Tony?"

Tony leaned back into the plush seat. "I never thought I could get so bored in a luxury jet, but other then that I'm fine."

The man's voice was gentle. "Are you sure?"

Tony smiled, a calm expression. "What are you getting at Finn?"

He smiled. "Not only have you learned that the dark forces of myth and legend are real and a definite threat to mankind, but you've had to engage them in battle. Now you are jetting off on a search and destroy mission that has nothing to do with law enforcement."

Tony shook his head, his own voice softening. "No it doesn't, but it does have everything to do with protecting people, and that's what law enforcement IS about to me. Yeah, I may be trying to be James Woods in Vampires, but even if I was more like Jon Bon Jovi in the far inferior sequel, people are in danger, and I am in the position to help them. At first it was because I have the investigation talents you guys don't, but even if it's just holding another gun or stake I'm ok with that."

Riley smiled, and nodded, but Tony was the one who spoke. "But thanks for asking."

Finn then started speaking. "I just got an update from Witch Woman. The girls got their lawyer and he's already rolled. He gave them coordinates to their main base in the Hindu-Kush mountains. That's the good news. The bad news is that they do have two modified Vietnam-era Hinds modified for air to ground combat. It get's worse because they have concealed anti-aircraft weapons."

Giles joined them when he realized they were discussing tactics.

He continued as the men settled in. "The good news there is that the Hind's can't hide in the cave network like the vampires. So if we can get close enough we can take out the choppers on the ground."

Tony was the one to point out the flaw. "You mean if we can sneak past the monsters with the superhuman senses?"

Giles countered. "Actually if we approach during the day their senses won't be entirely nullified, but will be impaired by the sun."

Finn walked over to the planes plasma screen and brought up a satellite image sent to them by Oracle and shook his head. "Easier said then done Rupert. They have continued to take advantage of the barren stretches and their base is a good 14 hours away from any sort of civilization. We travel by night and we risk running into their forward positions, we travel by day and we'll get there as night falls."

Giles sighed. "Either way their vulnerability is minimalized."

The solider nodded. "As it stands now the anti-aircraft weapons aren't visible by satellite telemetry. They force us to insert by foot and risk us having to fight the Hinds from the ground. Which is just what they were designed for. Then, even if we get past that we'll have to fight the undead in a network of caves that they know and we do not."

All three men looked grim as he continued. "From what Witch Woman got out of the lawyer she thinks their "Marshal" might be itching for a fight. It seems he's been getting a taste of success, and it's what caused them to step up operations enough to make a mistake and come to our attention."

Tony then summed it up. "So what we have is a pack of well armed, well trained vampires who have had time to prepare and are itching for a fight." At the soldier's nod Tony flopped back into his seat. "Just tell them that when they put me back together I was my chrome finish well polished."

Gibbs dropped his fist and felt rather then heard Summers and Harris drop in behind him. The Marines had been ordered to simply keep firing at anything that wasn't the three of them. Though the metal bullets wouldn't kill the vampires they had proven themselves capable of downing a vampire until they could run up and stake the creature themselves.

If it had been during the day the bullets may have ripped the vampires concealment enough to let the sunlight finish them, but it was barely past midnight now. While Gibbs had been listened to when he suggested they double the guard the undead Marines hadn't went for the subtle approach as they launched a rocket attack against the guard towers, communications center, generators, the armory and front gate.

They were throwing waves of fire against their former compatriots and as Gibbs saw a downed vampire dragged back to concealment by two other vampires he realized they were using their bullets to drive the humans to cover so they couldn't get close enough to stake their fallen.

Some rounds came close to the three of them and they were driven to cover. Gibbs grabbed his radio. "FLARES! I NEED FLARES LIGHT EM UP!"

A few seconds later the night sky was turned to day by sparking balls of slowly falling light, and the attacking vampires were well lit and fairly open, and the defending Marines fire suddenly became far more accurate.

At the same time the attacking vampire's fire started to slack off a bit, and Gibbs realized that the flares were affecting the vampire's night vision, and rather then fire wildly like a less experienced solider might do they were falling back.

He cursed when he realized that this Marshal must have not just picked Marines at random, but went for the most seasoned soldiers he could get.

Behind him he heard some strange sounds coming from Summer's position, and as he watched he saw she had taken something from her pack. As she put the pieces together he saw it was a crossbow, before he could ask what the hell she was doing he saw she had loaded a wooden bolt into the weapon and was lining it up.

Looking over he saw Harris had done the same. He nodded and poured fire from his M-16 to cover them as they lined up their shots.

Much to his dismay when the bolts contacted two undead Marines who were dragging a wounded vampire to cover the bolts stuck, but the vampires didn't dust, and he snarled when he realized they were wearing body armor.

Their legs were exposed however, and the cocky bastards ended up book ending their friend as Gibbs cut their legs out from underneath them with a sweeping burst.

When they were laid out the one in the middle suddenly turned to ash, and Gibbs realized Buffy had shot her crossbow bolt longwise under the vest, and under the rib cage, and up into the heart.

He looked to Harris and the young man shook his head. "I'm not that good a shot with this thing!" He matched his words with actions as he took the wooden bolt he had been loading and put it back with the rest in a neat little quiver, before tossing the quiver to Buffy.

She nodded, but didn't bother looking as she caught the quiver with one hand as she kept reloading the crossbow with another.

Harris picked up his M-4 rifle and resumed trying to down the attacking forces. The grenade launcher was an option, but they knew that until the attackers gave a big enough target the explosives needed to be held in reserve.

Gibbs was slamming a fresh magazine home into his M-16, and as he chambered a live round he racked his brain for fresh options. The vampires were taking full advantage of their supernatural state while being able to minimize the humans technological advantage to almost nothing.

His eyes locked on the armory, and he turned to his two young companions. "Keep down! I'm going for the armory!"

Both were shouting no, and Gibbs knew why, three Marines before Gibbs had already had the same idea, and their bodies littered the ground he was about to dash across.

He was about to make the run when Buffy shouted. "Hold On!"

She dug into her pack and pulled out a fat canister grenade, she took another in her other hand as Harris did the same. Both of them pulled the pins with their teeth and hurled them in an almost straight line towards the armory.

As the clouds of chemical smoke started to expand the enemy fire increased, but Gibbs knew they didn't know what they were firing at. It was just an attempt to break the nerve of anyone trying to make a run to the armory.

Gibbs wondered if the nerve was stored in the soul, because these undead Marines didn't even phase Gibbs with their fire as the Marine got up and made his run.

While bullets snapped around him, hitting the turf and the surrounding buildings Gibbs had seen his path before the smoke was up, and had no trouble making his way to the partially collapsed structure.

The front door was no longer a concern as the hole in the wall provided easy access, but he had to both remember the code the base commander had told him as well as see it through the haze of smoke that had either found it's way into the building, or remained there after the rocket attack.

His one stroke of luck was that the electronic lock was still lit, and providing power, and not in the lock down that a power outage would have set off.

The door clicked open, but Gibbs heard movement behind him, and had spun with his Sig P228 out and tracking, onto Scooby Three, Alexander Harris.

Gibbs wanted to shout at the young man, but he knew they didn't have the time so he spoke in a more normal tone. "You know how to use a mortar?"

At the nod he motioned to the mortar rounds. "I got the tube, you get the stand and all the Wiley Pete you can!" Wiley Pete, white phosphorous, hot enough to burn through concrete and more then enough to burn up the undead.

There was another nod, but before the men could continued they both heard movement and both had their side arms out and tracking, unto the living Marines who had used the smoke cloud to make the dash they had.

In his gut Gibbs knew not all of them had made it, but one of the harder lessons he had learned in the Corps was that the best was to honor the fallen was not to join them.

Instead he started motioning the Marines to grab every incendiary weapon they could find.

 

Chapter 25.

Faith was listening to the radio chatter, more specifically Lex's radio chatter. "Now that I think about it Ziva, it's better you didn't play bait. The kind of vampire you'd attract would be the dangerous kind and put up that much more of a fight. No, what we need for this is Buffy. She's all cute, and little, and able to take care of herself."

The mission was a low priority, and while casual chatter like this wouldn't be allowed on a higher priority assignment Lex knew it too, and that was why she didn't worry about talking to pass the time as they looked for a vamp to draw blood from so they could take it back to Abby.

So Faith joined in. "Now, now you know what the short jokes get."

Lex came back immediately. "Buffy all flustered, and angry, and adorable?"

Faith snickered. "Exactly, but then Angel gets all broody and glowering and I'm hoping to train most of that out of him."

Ziva then spoke. "Uh, do you think he may be monitoring this channel?"

Faith was grinning. "Well it's night time, his training has moved to tactical operations against local threats, and we are using standard tactical frequencies, so I gotta figure."

Lex and Faith then spoke in unison. "We love you Angel!"

Angel's voice came back over the channel, obviously NOT commenting on their humor at his expense. "You ladies need any help?"

Faith was smiling as she replied. "Nah, one of us could probably do this solo, and with the other two as back up I'm not worried."

"Understood, Angel out."

Lex then spoke in. "So we'll have to leave the tiny plaid skirts to your girlfriend."

Ziva's voice was shy. "I'm not dating Abigail."

Faith and Lex again spoke in unison. "Yet."

Faith then spoke on her own. "On an ENTIRELY different topic would you like to take the blood sample down to Abby?"

Ziva answered. "I will make sure everything is taken care of."

Lex complained. "See now that's doesn't even need my help to make it sound dirty."

Faith was chuckling. "Girl, I think we're going to have to get you treated for nymphomania."

Lex was outraged. "I am not a nympho. It's like a wine taster, they're not alcoholics, they're connoisseurs."

Ziva's voice was bright. "So you are a connoisseur of women?"

Lex came right back. "Exactly."

They were walking down the street, but they found themselves drawing close to Restfield cemetery, and Faith ordered them in. "Lets see if anyone's rising."

Ziva then felt the need to comment. "I am surprised that the vampires still come here, let alone sire."

Faith filled her in. "Their numbers are way down. A lot of them come in and just sire, turn a few poor souls and then leave them in hope one survives. We find them, they know we'll find them, but there's always a chance one will slip through the cracks."

Ziva voiced her understanding. "While it's an awful thing to do to a person tactically it is a wonderful option, being able to make your own reinforcements."

Faith agreed. "Tactically it is a huge advantage, for them. For us it is makes them deadly cockroaches. For everyone you step on you just know three more managed to make it under the fridge."

Lex had to point out the bright side. "Still, at least our trainees always have

plenty to train on."

Faith had to agree as the three women came into sight of each other. "Yeah, we are never in short supply of training dummies."

Then it was Ziva who spoke. "Now from what I understand you are NOT out to kill all supernatural elements?"

Ziva was able to see Faith's nod as Faith spoke. "No were not. It's kind of like Lex or myself, your power can come from darkness without making you evil. That said there are plenty of supernatural beings who are non-hostile to humanity. Some who are even known as protectors. Tara hopes to make friendly contact one day, but that's a long term plan sort of thing. We're definitely not a "Destroy all Monsters" mentality. Why pick unnecessary fights, and why pick fights with those who could be friends?"

Ziva seemed ready to reply, but Faith held up a hand and directed the other two to what looked like a freshly dug grave. If it had a marker. As it was Faith's slayer senses were going off, and the recently dug up patch of earth was the right size for a vampire.

Faith whispered. "They know that we keep an eye on all bodies in the morgue. So they've taken to burying them anywhere, but plenty are old fashioned and want their childe to rise in a graveyard."

Ziva nodded as the three poised over the make-shift grave.

A man's hand dug out of the ground. It was grabbed by Faith and he was pulled free only to have his hands grabbed so his arms could be pinned behind him. Lex stepped forward and poised a stake over his heart while Ziva moved in with a hypodermic needle the size of a soda can, and a needle roughly the length and half the diameter of pencil.

She pointed it at the same target as Lex, but then shoved it in, and pulled the plunger back. Her assumption that the traditionally bloody organ would still retain blood in a vampire seemed true enough as the canister quickly filled.

Once Ziva pulled the needle out Lex pushed the stake in, and Faith let go and stepped back as the vampire turned to dust. Leaving Ziva to watch as her two companions had already forgotten about the creature they just destroyed as they eyeballed the canister of blood now in Ziva's hands.

Lex was the first to speak, with a smirk. "If you actually take the time to talk to Abby you can tell her that blood is still carrying a mystic charge."

Ziva nodded, and the three headed back to the Lock.

Back at the Lock the doors to Abby's lab opened, and she looked up, only to look back down when she saw Ziva walking into the room. The Goth's typical appearance working against her as her normal pallor made her blush all the more apparent to Ziva's eyes.

"Thanks." was all Abby said as she took the sample and moved to her lab equipment.

Ziva arched a brow and stood still as she watched Abby's movements. She was still motionless as she watched Abby work quietly. "I would think that it would be easier for us to talk now rather then more difficult."

Abby stopped and looked at her. "Huh?"

Ziva sighed. "Lex said there was a mystic charge to the sample." She then stepped close to Abby, though Abby took a step back. "When I kissed Lex she was single, I was single, and I had no reason not to kiss her."

Abby protested. "You're still single, you can kiss anyone you want."

Ziva grinned. "Can I?"

Abby looked up at the sly tone, and her eyes grew wide as Ziva stepped in and kissed her. There was a moment of shock where Abby didn't respond, but then the lips pressed to Ziva's smiled.

 

Chapter 26.

That first kiss turned into a second, and a third, and by the time Abby had stopped counting them they had grown hungry. When Ziva caught Abby's bottom lip between her teeth Abby felt one hand sliding under her shirt, and another sliding up the outside of her thigh, and under her little black and white plaid skirt.

Abby pulled back, pleased, but surprised. Ziva saw the surprise. "Is something wrong?"

Abby shook her head. "Not wrong, just, wow!"

Ziva was panting, her passion thickening her voice and her accent. "Yes, I have been waiting for this, quite a while now."

Abby smiled, her adoration obvious. "So what, you knew you'd get me eventually?"

Ziva shook her head, burying her nose to Abby's cleavage before looking up into Abby's eyes. "I hoped, I wished, and sometimes I even dreamed."

Abby wrapped her arms around Ziva's head and cradled the shorter woman to her chest, and then pinched her butt. When Ziva jumped and looked up at her grinning, Abby grinned right back. "It's no dream." She then brought this lips back together to share more of their hungry kisses.

It was Ziva's turn to smile into those kisses as her hands went back to work. This time both slid to Abby's skirt while one slid the plaid material away another touched Abby's sex for the first time through the fabric of her panties.

Abby groaned, Ziva did as well, but Abby pulled her mouth away to do so. "Ziva, Ziva..."

Ziva broke her lips from where they were kissing the parts of Abby's neck not blocked off by the leather collar the woman was wearing. "What? Should I stop?"

Abby cupped Ziva's face between her hands. "No, no you better not stop..." Ziva smiled happily and looked ready to begin touching her again. "You just need to pause."

Ziva did just that, and once she did Abby gave a meaningful look around the lab they were in. Though she was panting with desire Ziva finally managed a nod. "Right."

Her solution was to grab Abby by the hips and wrap the Goth's legs around her hips while encouraging Abby to lean against her and wrap her arms around Ziva's shoulders.

Abby however arched a brow, her eyelids fluttering as Ziva's hands on her hips moved to dig her fingers into Abby's ass. "Don't you think that... might draw some attention?"

Ziva grinned. "Not as much as you might think." She then started kissing along Abby's jaw.

Abby pulled her eyes to Ziva's. "Huh?"

Ziva punctuated each word with kisses to Abby's neck and chest. "Faith carried Tara off to ravage her, rather then let Lex and I watch."

Abby pulled back, but she was giggling. "I say again, huh?"

Ziva smiled. "A joke."

Abby's pursed her lips. "Better be."

Ziva didn't control her urge to kiss those pursed lips. "At least the watching part, she really did carry her off."

Abby was surprised, but she giggled as Ziva started to lift her up, she however pulled back and took Ziva's left hand in hers, pulling her from the lab. "Let's settle for this."

"As you wish." Ziva smiled, and let Abby lead her from the lab.

Abby's forward motion carried her only so far before she gave in and pulled Ziva to her and pushed the shorter woman to the wall to kiss her passionately, only to have Ziva's responses show her that she was perfectly willing to make love to Abby right there in the hall in front of anyone who may wonder by.

So it was up to Abby to be the rational one, which her mind mildly protested, and continue dragging Ziva to her room.

A second pause was cut short as Angel rounded the corner. Abby paused, wide eyed, literally holding Ziva back. Angel simply smiled, shook his head and walked past the women. "Evening ladies... um as you were."

As he got past them they heard him speak under his breath. "Just when I thought the Fort Lesbos jokes had run their course."

Neither woman could control their giggling as they ran the rest of the way to Abby's room.

Once there they started kissing again, making a slow progress towards the bed in the center of the room. Ziva was walking forwards and Abby was walking backwards until the scientists legs connected with the simple bed of her temporary accommodations here at the lock and she allowed herself to be guided to sit.

Once Abby was sitting Ziva stepped back and pulled off her black tank top. Without hesitating she reached back and unclasped her green silk bra. As she pulled the undergarment away she looked up. She expected lust, or desire, maybe longing, as these were all things Ziva had seen in the eyes of men and women she had been with before.

When she looked at Abby though she was shocked, stunned by the look of wonder, even adoration on the Goth's features. Abby leaned forward, her expressive green eyes happy. "You are so beautiful Ziva."

And Ziva found herself speechless, found all the suave eloquent things she had either used before on her various lovers, or dreamed of saying to Abby had seemed to have failed her. She didn't even think as she allowed herself to follow the motion when Abby put her hands on Ziva's hips and laced her fingers through the loops of Ziva's belt to pull the woman right to the edge of the bed, between Abby's spread legs.

Ziva gasped when Abby rested her cheek to Ziva's firm abdomen, and then she moaned when Abby started adoring Ziva's flesh with kisses. With a start she realized that Abby didn't even avoid the scars. There weren't as many as one might expect considering Ziva's career, but that was more because Mossad preferred to have plastic surgeons remove, or at least minimize scars so that their agents wouldn't have them to be recognized by.

Abby raised up, and was now kneeling on the bed as her lips found Ziva's breasts, and Ziva finally was able to act. She cupped Abby's face in her hands and kissed the woman deeply. Then pulling back she smiled, and Abby didn't need to her explain her smile as the Goth reached down to her belt to start pulling her shirt up and off.

Ziva shook her head and placed her hands over Abby's. Abby took the hint and pulled her hands away while keeping her eyes locked with Ziva's as her shirt was pulled up and away.

There was a questioning tilt to Abby's brows as she asked another question with her eyes, and Ziva answered by reaching around to unclasp the black satin bra that stood out in glorious contrast to the woman's pale skin.

When she was stripped to the waist as well Abby hugged Ziva's chest to her own, and their kisses were mixed with a groan of appreciation at the feeling of their bare breasts pressing together.

Abby seemed ready to start kissing Ziva's breasts again, but she found herself stopped as Ziva pushed her away softly, because she seemed more intent on getting rid of Abby's panties and skirt.

The process started out well enough, but Abby had to stop kneeling and actually sit on the bed so Ziva could remove her panties, and skirt. The process had gotten difficult when Abby's platform boots had gotten in the way of Ziva's desire to get the panties down her legs after she had unzipped Abby's skirt and tossed it aside.

She had actually giggled at the flash of frustration as Ziva worked at the laces of the boots, and that had mounted Ziva's frustration until Abby thought she might try cutting the laces, but she had reached out and put her hands on Ziva's and guide her in the removal of Abby's footwear.

Once it was removed, and Ziva had actually smiled gratefully Abby had smiled, and Ziva's eyes flickered. Not in a bad way, but in surprise at how with just a glance Abby had taken control of the situation and had Ziva utterly compliant as she stood up, naked, and magnificent, a post-modern Aphrodite as she then guided Ziva to lay down so she could finish undressing her.

She had far less trouble with Ziva's boots, and that had the lover's sharing a smile, even if Ziva's was tinged with a blush.

Abby then lay on top of Ziva until their eyes met in the dark, glittering emeralds to flickering opals. "I love you Ziva."

Ziva felt her chest seize, her heart rate doubling. This was what she wanted to hear, hoped to hear, had literally dreamed of hearing, but as she heard it her whole body wanted to panic.

Abby, Abby some how knew, and she kept their gazes locked as she caressed Ziva's face and hair as she made soft sounds of comfort. "It's ok Ziva. I know."

But it wasn't ok. The words weren't empty platitudes this time, weren't promises waiting to be broken. She wanted to say it, she needed to say it, she was GOING to say it to the person who had made her feel it so deeply and truly.

Her hands reached up to softly catch Abby's caressing ones. "I love you too."

Abby's smile grew, and Ziva happily let Abby dive in for a barrage of kisses. As she did so Abby's right thigh slipped between her own and the press of warm flesh had Ziva's body make it's needs known with a loud groan.

Her eyes were hooded when she brought her eyes to Abby's, but she didn't hide her arousal. She found Abby grinning, and for a brief moment was worried.

Ziva realized she was right to be worried as she guided Ziva's right thigh between her's and sifted her body so she was sitting facing Ziva, with the legs intertwined.

Her smile was wicked. "I'm pretty sure you know how this works David."

Even in her aroused state Ziva managed to blush., but she sat up and looked Abby right in the eye. "I'm familiar, but it was you I thought of... after."

Abby's jaw dropped, when it came back her chest was heaving, and instead of just pressing her lower body against Ziva's all of her was pressed into the embrace as Ziva wrapped Abby in her well muscled arms as Abby ground her lower body down, pressing into Ziva's pubic bone as well as grinding into her privates.

That caught Ziva perfectly as the rush of sensation had her head falling back. Abby didn't pause, neither in the way she bit and sucked at Ziva's neck, nor in her rocking, grinding motion as her own body raced Ziva's towards climax.

The delicious sounds of sweat and sex was matched with the heady perfume of the same as both women reached that peak. It would have been impossible to tell who got there first because as one slipped over the edge and cried out as her body bucked in delight it pulled the other into that rejoicing oblivion with them.

The silence that fell after their passionate cries was first disrupted by Abby from her position resting on Ziva's chest.. "Ziva?"

Ziva's reply seemed sleepy. "Yes Abigail?"

"Why did we wait so long?"

The chest Abby was cradled to started shaking in silent laughter.

 

Chapter 27.

"Finn! I need you up front!" The words of the pilot Apollo were urgent as they came over the intercom, and it was only through an act of will that Giles and DiNozzo didn't follow the man up front to the cockpit, but they had both been in enough threatening situations to know that if they were needed they would have been called, and it was better not to get underfoot.

Riley however was up and through the door by the time they had realized it hadn't been their names called, and was looking at what Apollo wanted him to see. It was black smoke rising up into the early morning air, black smoke rising from the direction they were heading, most likely from the site they were headed to.

Apollo was reporting even before Riley had come to a complete stop. "Can't raise them on the base's normal frequencies, trying personal radios now, but I figured you would be better for that then I."

Riley nodded, slipping into the copilot seat and putting on a head set. At Apollo's nod he started speaking. "Boss Man, Scooby One, Scooby Three, this is Beef Stick. Do you read? Boss Man, Scooby One, Scooby Three, do you read?" Riley thought this was the first time he managed not to blush at the handle Faith had given him WAY back before they ever knew they would be working together, but he had more important things to worry about now.

The radio then crackled to life. "This is Boss Man Beef Stick I read. Run way is clear, I'll wave you in personally."

Finn understood why. It was obvious their base had been attacked, and trusting a voice on the radio that the landing zone was secure was one thing, but a recognizable friendly on the ground was another. It meant Apollo would have to circle the strip once to let them visually confirm Gibbs presence, but it was morning, so unless he was now covered head to toe they knew they could trust him not to signal them to a hot LZ.

Riley jumped back and briefed the two men, and all four were looking out the small windows in front or along the sides as they made their first pass, but the silvered hair of Leroy Jethro Gibbs made a beacon all his own, and on the second pass they set down.

As they climbed out of the plane Gibbs was treated to the sight of all three men in full combat gear as they scanned the ground they were stepping out on. Old reflexes kicked in and Gibbs had a greeting salute for Finn as he stepped off the plane before he even realized it.

Riley did the same as trained eyes started scanning the destruction. His eyes first fell on the communications array. Now twisted and blackened it told him why only personal radios had been available.

There was similar attacks on the armory, gate, generators, and guard towers, but the majority of the black smoke was actually rising from around the base, and much like a composer reading sheet music Finn realized that while it looked like the base had been the eye of a firestorm it had actually been their counter attack, because while their rifles would have had minimal effect the blanket of fire they could make with modern incendiaries would have been their only real chance against an attacking force of vampires.

Then he saw the man-size, zippered black bags. The fallen, Riley had been regular Army, and has seen human combat before being tapped for the Initiative, and had been on body detail to find the remains of brother and sister soldiers, and his heart sank. How many families out there would never know the bravery their sons and daughters had shown in a battle against literal monsters?

He knew the Lock's mission, he knew that if people knew of the beasts that hunted them in the night the only thing worse then the mass panic would be those seeking out those dark forces for their own benefit, but knowing that didn't make any of it easier.

When he looked back to Gibbs he realized the former Gunnery Sargent had seen where he had been looking, and the two men shared the pain they both felt with nothing more then their eyes. They both then snapped back to their present, and their responsibilities.

They shook hands and Finn was the first to speak. "Scoobies One and Three?" They were direct Lock assets, and they were his friends, and while he mourned all the fallen he didn't feel bad praying those two were not among them.

Gibbs shook his head. "They took a small unit of Marines and are securing the area."

Finn nodded, speaking under his breath. "Vampires?"

Gibbs spoke in a normal tone. "Confirmed, and you don't need to lower your voice. The people here spent over four hours battling the undead, and they have put it together. Hell, right now they're more interested in pay back then in the fact the dead walk."

"To be expected. Ok, we have a the location of the enemies' base, and if they want to help were going to need it, but I need to first meet with them all and lay on the whole top secret non-disclosure speech."

Gibbs shook his head. "Not sure if that will be enough."

Finn shook his head in turn. "You'd be surprised Gibbs. Most people really don't want to know. They LIKE thinking we are at the top of the food chain, and will ignore any and all proof otherwise, but we will put on the whole top secret stamp, and then just keep an eye."

Gibbs arched his brows, his expression growing angry. "And if they can't keep their mouth shut?"

"There are spells that can alter the memory, we'll already be altering the evidence. We don't like using them, but this secret MUST be kept Gibbs, but it's more likely we'll get recruits."

Gibbs was a bit surprised at that, and Riley continued. "Most of those who go through something like this and DON'T sink into denial usually find themselves more keen on fighting the monsters then on telling the world. SOP then is to have them transferred in as our black suits, trained in battling the supernatural, and then transferred to areas where we have slayers stationed so they can form local units for battling local threats.

That seemed to satisfy the man. "All right, I'll talk to the base commander and once Scoobies One and Three return we'll talk to the troops."

"And right now I think it would be best if you and I used the plane's comm gear to radio Witch Woman."

Gibbs then followed Riley back into the plane.

Lex was smiling to herself. Abby was last seen in her lab, Ziva was last seen bringing the blood sample they gathered to said lab, and while said blood sample was sitting in said lab neither woman was to be found.

Even though those two pegged her gaydar at a Defcon 4 sexual tension she could work that math with an abacus, and Lex was hating what she had to do.

As blatant as Lex was with her sexuality she was still a girl, and definitely a romantic, and she could appreciate real love. The kind Faith and Tara have, and the kind that Ziva and Abby HAD been denying, but were probably consummating as she thought about it, unless of course they were resting between consummations.

That didn't change the fact they had a job to do though, a mission, and while in all honesty she had just met the two women Lex already knew they would want to know what was up. So she was heading to the rooms they had picked, grinning to herself at the fact they had chosen the rooms right next to each other.

Getting there she found Willow pacing in front of Ziva's door with a bouquet of flowers, and Lex winced in sympathy, in spite of herself perhaps, but still.

She was actually tempted to walk past because while she might have felt a moment of sympathy her was gaydar warning about incoming dyke drama, and she was tempted to take evasive maneuvers.

BUT there was the mission and she sucked it up and walked to the door, and was promptly sucked into the drama her gaydar had attempted to warn her of when her arrival coincided with a woman's voice, most likely Ziva's, crying out, from behind Abby's door.

To her growing horror Lex saw Willow's eyes widen, and rather then simple embarrassment the expression was one of alarm as she looked to Lex.

"Well! Do something!"

Lex blinked.

"Ziva's in there and she needs your help!"

Lex couldn't have stopped the grin that came to her face if she tried.

Willow's eyes narrowed and Lex felt her start to call the energy for a spell, most likely one to take down the door to Abby's room, and while interrupting Ziva would be bad no matter how they did it, doing so in a fashion that could trigger the reflexes the Mossad had built into her could be downright fatal.

"Wait, wait!" Lex held up her hands, and then reached on out to the door handle and twisted it, the well oiled mechanism opening smoothly, silently, just like the hinges on the door as it swung wide and the two witches were treated to the sight of Ziva and Abby, nude and making love, though they mostly just saw Ziva because while Abby was nude she was laid out on her back with her head facing the foot of the bed and the door where the two women now stood.

Ziva however was straddling Abby's face where the Goth's mouth was happily providing the ecstatic expression on Ziva's tossed back head.

Lex knew she should say something, once her mind had resumed logical thought, but Lex was still Lex, and as her head titled to the side, locking the image of Abby into her mind as well as Ziva she finally spoke. "Nice technique David, but watch the dismount, it's a bit tricky"

Just as Ziva's head shot up to regard their audience the door slammed closed as Willow shouted "SORRY!"

She then grabbed Lex by the arm and dragged her down the hall as the room they had just been looking into had the sounds of two women moving around.

Willow glared at her. "You are evil!"

Lex arched her brows. "You were the one ready to kick down their door, and I'm not evil, wicked maybe... okay definitely, but not evil."

Willow sighed, looking down at the flowers in her hands. "Yeah, well..."

That damn sympathy flared up again and Lex found herself speaking. "They're nice, pretty. I'm she would have liked them..." but again, Lex was still Lex, "if she hadn't been riding Abby's fa..."

Willow frowned. "You started out helpful, now not so much."

Lex sighed. "Sorry. sucks to like a girl who is taken."

Willow simply nodded, and seemed ready to walk away, but then she paused and turned to Lex, handing her the flowers. "Sorry about calling you evil, and about, you know, the thing with you and Ziva."

Lex smiled, looking down at the flowers. "Thanks." Then in a simple motion she placed a quick kiss on Willows cheek to mirror her thanks. "I love flowers!"

Lex turned back to the door, and Willow held a hand to the kissed cheek. "Well, she likes flowers, loves them. She can't be all bad." However when she realized Lex was determined to speak to the women they had just interrupted she hurried out of there as fast as her feet would carry her.

Hearing Willow leave, Lex tucked the flowers into the crook of her right arm while reaching out to knock with her left. The door opened and Ziva David was there glaring at her. Abigail Sciuto was already showing herself a fine partner for Ziva David as she had a matching glare for the woman now smiling at them both.

Ziva was the first to speak. "Has someone died?"

Abby picked up the sentence without pause. "Because if not someone will."

Lex frowned. "Actually... yeah. The base Gibbs, Buffy and Xander were at was attacked and suffered heavy casualties." That got the two women's attention, and worry as they focused on her, and Lex knew why. "Gibbs, Buffy and Xander are all, okay. Riley, Tony, and Giles have joined them. Since the enemy is now on the move we need to do the same. Go ahead and get showered, grab a sandwich or whatever, but we need to get together with Slayer. We have our target, but we need to iron out the how."

She was about to turn when Ziva spoke. "And this was too urgent to knock?"

Lex chuckled. "Willow was here, and heard Ziva cry out... she thought she was in trouble and needed help, and while I would have been happy to lend assistance I figured that wouldn't go so well." Considering the matching glares the joke got Lex knew she was right. "Willow however seemed ready to knock down the door, and since I knew this was going to happen one way or another I figured it would be better to do it in the way that WOULDN'T set off any Mossad trained reflexes."

Abby looked at Ziva, but when she saw Ziva nodding she realized Lex was right.

 

Chapter 28.

The tired, worried expression on Tara's face suddenly broke into a smile. It wasn't the satisfied smile on the face of her lover Faith. Or the knowing smirk on the face of Lex. It was still a smile however and the freshly showered Abigail Sciuto and Ziva David blushed a little deeper.

Timothy McGee was sitting next to them too, and Tara guessed he had read the now relaxed chemistry between the two women, or possibly the faces of her two people as he was sharing his teammates blush. At least that's what she chose to think as she didn't want to know what had been said.

Her expression then sobered as she spoke. "I'll confirm now that the base where Gibbs and two-thirds of Scooby Squad was stationed was attacked, suffering both heavy damages and heavy casualties. The remainders are aware of the nature of the enemy that attacked, and have signed on for the mission with Gibbs, Riley, Tony, and Scooby Squad. I just finished planning with them, and they have opted for a night time raid on the enemy compound."

Tara wasn't sure if she agreed, but she understood that it was a coin toss which would be better, and when both Gibbs and Riley agreed that the caves nullified much of the advantage they would have attacking during the day, while traveling by day would at least give them a safe insertion, and Tara couldn't argue. She wouldn't have argued either way though as she knew the people on the ground would understand the situation better then she ever could back at the Lock.

She had the planned time for their assault, and satellite communications so they could tell her when they were in position, and now it was a matter of coordinating their assets on this end for an attack on Coriolis Security Contractors' American base in case they possessed a similar level of communications technology so they couldn't warn their counter parts.

She brought up a power point device and the images Willow had already loaded came up on the screen. The first was the Coriolis Security Contractors headquarters, on it's own isolated plot of land. "This is your target." She then hit the button and changed to another image, it was obviously from a satellite, taking shots of the buildings heat signature. There was various reds, greens and yellows, but Tara's pointer homed in on a deep blue room.

"Or more accurately THIS is your target. Young has confirmed this is their mainframe, but he has also confirmed that it is entirely isolated from outside access. It is also heavily encrypted, and possesses numerous security programs."

McGee then spoke up. "I'm guessing that's where I come in?"

Tara nodded. "That is the heart of their plan. More vampires can be turned, more guns can be bought, but the information on that system is what will allow us to truly shut them down. That said girls I want you to do more then get Tim in and out. I want a message to be sent, I want their building leveled, and everyone there destroyed."

Both Tim and Abby blanched at Tara's words, and then flinched at how Ziva didn't. Tara noticed both of these things and clarified. "Abby, Tim? Destroyed is the term we use for vampires because they are already dead."

That seemed to calm them a little bit, but Abby was still apprehensive. "So what message is it you're sending?"

Tara didn't blink. "That humanity is no longer merely prey."

Lex then spoke up, a wide smile on her face. "Oh yeah, she's totally sexy when she goes butch."

Ziva however had obviously switched over to her professional self. "Do we have any idea of the opposition we will face?"

Tara frowned as she shook her head. "No numbers. The way Young put it one of their services has been offering military level bodyguards to various ranking demons. So their staff is rotating in and out on various assignments, and since they are room temperature we can't get a read on their numbers with heat scans. Young did however confirm that they don't keep the real ordinance on that site, and you won't face anything larger then a shot gun or SMG."

Ziva however didn't seem convinced. "Are you sure we can trust him?"

Tara nodded. "If not him, then I can trust the truth spell I have on the interrogation room."

Ziva didn't seem sure about trusting magick, but did seem ready to trust Tara. "Do we have a means of insertion?"

Faith then spoke, but she too had changed into her professional persona, and while she only had the one personality her persona had it's own nickname of Slayer. "No, Young recognized me on sight. We have to assume the rest will as well. We'll have to go in hard."

Ziva didn't seem pleased with that, while Tim and Abby went a little pale, but none of them found an argument they could voice.

For her part Lex had caught up with her comrades. "Any magickal opposition?"

Tara shook her head. "Young said the Marshal only wanted military men and women, and they haven't been able to find someone with both magickal and military training." Tara had a small smirk at that, and so did the rest of the room.

Slayer then spoke. "So, go in, take out everyone there, pillage there mainframe, and then level the place?"

Tara nodded. She then brought up her power point device and started bringing up the floor plans registered with the city, with additions they imagined Young had detailed.

Abby then spoke up in a tiny voice. "Is there anything I can do?"

Tara shook her head sadly. "Nothing more then your normal research sweetie. Otherwise you get to join me for the best part... the waiting."

Faith frowned, but didn't comment. No one did until the plans started scrolling, and they started making plans.

Once the plans were made they moved to the armories armory, and started preparing their gear. Or at least the women did, McGee stood there and looked unsure.

Faith noticed this and moved over to him. "Only qualified in your side arm?" At Tim's embarrassed nod Faith shook her head and smiled. "Hey, that's ok, a couple days ago that was plenty. We threw you into this, and we aren't going to expect you to be able to miraculously develop a whole new skill set. For this mission you aren't going to be expected to do much shooting anyway, that's why we are here. So we'll keep you with the Sig with the Talons, and you just stay behind us and keep yourself and your lap top intact."

Faith then looked at him more seriously. "That said Tim. Odds are you are going to have to shoot, and when I say shoot I mean shoot, not shout an order to them to put their hands up, and then shoot. Do you understand?"

Tim didn't look happy, but he also didn't look confused, and Faith continued, giving him the full force of her dimples as she grinned. "Don't worry it's never dull working with Team Wet Dream..."

Abby then interrupted. "What?"

Lex snickered. "What? Hadn't your heard our unofficial nickname?"

Abby scowled. "No!"

Lex just grinned at the Goth. "Can YOU disagree?" Lex threw her grin back and forth between Abby and Ziva. Lex got a smack on the ass from Faith and she smiled widely. "Thank you Ma'am may I have another.?"

Faith shook her head. "But it's never dull. If Ziva isn't kissing Lex then Lex is flashing Ziva her tits."

Tara looked confused. "Her tits? Lex flashes Lex's breasts or Lex flashes Ziva's breasts? The whole female pronoun confuddles the sexy talk."

Faith looked over at her love. "Lex's tits." She then paused for a beat. "How would Lex flash Ziva's tits?"

The blonde demonstrated by pulling Faith to face her while her back was to the rest of the room and lifted her shirt up, flashing herself with Faith's breasts.

When her shirt was back down and they turned back to the rest of the room Faith shrugged. "Well, the mission is still young."

Abby was scowling as she turned to Ziva, but Ziva beat her to it. "Your breasts are the only breasts I will want to see."

Lex scoffed. "Breasts! You see one set... you wanna see more." She then looked over to see all the gear Ziva was packing. "You pack like a girl David."

Without missing a beat Ziva replied. "I am a girl." She then lifted her shirt to flash Lex, and the rest of the room.

Abby didn't look happy, but Faith interrupted whatever she was going to say. "and who doesn't love a girl who packs?"

Lex, Ziva sighed happily.

Tara however actually spoke. "Yeah."

Faith's answering smirk was obvious.

Abby's scowl was fully formed. "What the fuck happens on these missions?"

Tim had made a conscious decision to fade into the background. He figured it was wise in hopes that his wide grin wouldn't be noticed. His hopes were dashed however as Abby turned to him. "What did you like seeing Ziva's breasts too?"

Lex wasn't helping. "Why wouldn't he? They're spectacular."

Abby turned back so quickly her pig tails whipped around her head, and Lex continued to make it worse. "What? Yours are amazing to."

That got her a scowl from both Abby AND Ziva.

Faith looked over to Tara and both women arched their brows as Faith spoke. "And I thought I liked to live dangerously."

Tara nodded plainly, her voice toned as if she were relating a grocery list. "You did. Then you met this boring white witch and settled down."

Faith feigned surprise. "Really? Why didn't anyone tell me?"

Tara's tone stayed the same. "We didn't want to worry you."

Faith nodded solemnly. "Probably for the best, give the whole madly in love thing time to kick in."

The pair then kissed.

After that Ziva cupped Abby's face in her hands. "Do you remember how I like to start a mission?"

Abby seemed confused by the question and had to take a second longer to reply. "With humor?"

Ziva then used her hands to turn Abby to see the smiling, and in Faith's case openly laughing faces in the room. She then turned Abby back. "It wasn't my BREASTS, as much as my bra..." She then turned to scowl at Lex. "For the most part."

Lex was still smiling. "I regret nothing!"

Ziva shook with light laughter at the dark witches antics, then then pulled Abby to lightly kiss the Goth's lips. "Do you understand?"

Abby nodded.

 

Chapter 29.

The attack had been signaled, and on two sides of the world Gibbs people were putting their lives on the line. It was only slightly better here with DiNozzo as he could be here to watch over the man as he participated in his first full military action.

Of course Gibbs didn't delude himself, he could be standing right next to DiNozzo and Tony could still get cut down right before his eyes. Not to mention that THIS type of military action was nearly new to Gibbs himself, but despite the differences, he was a solider, this was war, and the changes were cosmetic.

Perhaps since Cain killed Abel there have been those willing to use force to get their way, and with God now leaving humanity to work out it's differences there had to be men and women ready to use violence to keep those others in check.

While the people he was fighting against were no longer people in the strictest sense they had been infected with their sires dreams of conquest as much as they had been infected with their semblance of life, and again men and women who would rather know peace were called upon to take up arms to stop them.

Both here and in the United States they were doing just that, and while they ranged from his fellow Marines out to avenge their fallen, and risen, comrades, to the shy young computer savvy agent who had wanted nothing more then to be a field agent, it was all a retelling of an ancient tale. Gibbs just sent out a prayer to whoever was listening that it would have a happy end.

Now it was up to him to do his part to make that happy end.

Their trip from their base to the enemies had taken nearly 17 of the 14 hours when they left at sunrise, because even then they had to be wary of the enemies forward positions so that they would be able to approach unseen.

They had handled the positions much like they were doing now with Giles creeping forward with his silenced Browning to cover Summers as she crept in with a stake. It probably would have taken twice as long if the two weren't as skilled as they were both separately and as a team.

Then they had taken almost a straight line, but now they were gaining a commanding position over the valley were the Hinds were stashed and a cave entry into their mountain complex rested. Their plan was to put a third of their Marine compliment along with the base commander to control the valley while Gibbs took Tony, Scooby Squad, Finn, and the rest of the Marines to sweep through the rest of the complex.

That was the part he dreaded. They would be fighting an enemy with almost identical training, comparable equipment, and superior knowledge of the cave complex, and all that was before you factored in the supernatural abilities.

Even knowing the importance of the mission Gibbs would still have refused if it weren't for several things. The first was that this group would continue to be a threat unless they were handed a crushing defeat. The second was that there way no conceivable way a large group of vampires could sustain themselves in the desert, so they would have numbers on their side. The third however was the most convincing as he knew they Lock would go ahead with the attack if he was there or not.

So now he sat with Alexander Harris, aka Scooby Three and watched as Finn signaled another two Marines to take up the now vacant enemy position.

He took a breath, that was it. It was now go time and his night vision was sharp enough to see four of the Marine teams hoisting rocket tubes to their shoulders. The light fiber glass frames would fire a single rocket and then be discarded, replaced with the M-16's they would have ready to keep the team's escape route open.

As part of the assault team Gibbs had the night vision goggles that had their own miniature light source inside them that would allow him to see inside the lightless caves around his neck while his rifle was in hand.

He gave the rest of the gear on his web harness a final check before nodding at Scooby Three so they could move out to meet Scoobies One and Two at the cave entrance. Beef Stick, Tony and the Marines joined them in pairs before they slipped into the caves, the four piles of dust signifying that the cave HAD been guarded when Scoobies One and Two had first got here.

They didn't know if their radios were being monitored so 30 seconds after the last Marine had fully disappeared into the caves their entire party heard the man made roar as each Hind got a pair of rockets. Unfortunately from the sounds they then heard deeper in the case the vampires had heard the explosions too.

Their night vision goggles were working as expected and the images of the caves were clear.

The first thing he took in was the rock floor, with the caves clean and dry like they were they obviously were above the water table, and dirt wasn't able to find it's way in with any amounts sufficient to bury any traps on the floor. So as long as Gibbs could see natural looking floor he was ready to step.

That still left the walls and ceiling, but there was dust on the floor, and Gibbs was doing his best to use the enemies footprints to find a clear path. He knew that the enemy could still put down prints and THEN set the trap in order to fool those who were doing what Gibbs was doing right now, but they tended to be a single set, or two, so Gibbs looked for the spots with regular foot traffic.

This however was part of his training, as it was part of the training of their Marine compliment and the sounds of wire cutters soon came to Gibbs as the men and women crept along with one clipping wires as another covered them.

Scooby One was showing her value on point as she held up a fist, and everyone ducked down. Moments later a riffle started barking at them from further down the stretch of cave they were in, but the warning had them all out of the way as they returned fire.

The enemy weapon fell silent, and there was a sound like a body hitting the floor. Scooby One scooted forward with a stake in hand and the vampire was dispatched.

This pattern was repeated several times, but instead of putting them at ease with the almost token resistance it was amping up their stress levels. It WAS a token level of resistance. They couldn't have put all their people outside to guard an empty cave.

Gibbs felt a headache coming on, and he could see similar expression on the faces of the rest of the team. He took a deep breath, and then realized he couldn't.

The breath he could take didn't smell of gas, and he didn't know of any nerve agents that wouldn't have already put them down. He knew both were options since vampires didn't have to breathe.

Then the realization struck him, and it made his already laboring heart pound even faster. They didn't need to breathe. Gibbs then shouted. "Fall back! It's a trap! They're pumping out the air!"

While there were various disciplines represented in their grouping they were all soldiers and they didn't stop to question the order.

They started back tracking in a quick, but cautious pace, a few moments later the resistance stopped being token and the cave they were heading into lit up with the strobe light effect of multiple muzzle flashes.

Gibbs snapped up his M-16 and fired a white phosphorus grenade down towards the muzzle flashes. He didn't like burning up more of the dwindling oxygen, but he knew that they had been content to keep their resistance low while they lured them in. Now that they were trying to leave the enemy was determined to pin them down until the oxygen ran out.

This way at least they could make a proper run for the entryway, and the life giving air they would find.

As they hit a junction the main body kept up their fast march for the door. Gibbs however saw in their retreat a single Marine slip off and slide himself into a rock crevasse that was so small he had to actually slip off his pack to get in there.

DiNozzo had been keeping close to Gibbs the whole time inside and had seen what his Boss had seen. His expression was as confused as Gibbs, but not quite as angry.

Gibbs shook his head. "Stay with the main body. I'll go get him."

Words matched actions as Tony kept up with their main force while Gibbs slipped off his pack to wedge himself between the rocks.

The angry words that had been on his lips died as he found himself staring at the industrial air pump that was causing all their problems.

New words had trouble forming, because even though this was where the air was coming to before it was directed out of the caves it was FILLED with all the vampires they hadn't been encountering in the caves.

When his words finally came they were calm, and almost quiet. "What's your name son?"

"Singer sir, Private First Class Singer."

"That was a good catch Singer, but next time you report that kind of thing to a superior rather then just rush off on your own."

Another voice spoke up from a vampire in desert fatigues in full game face. It was obvious the other vampires deferred to him. "Next time" I like that kind of attitude in my new recruits."

"Marshal Burken?" Gibbs brow was arched.

The vampire bowed, and Gibbs looked like he was ready to speak again, but as he took the breath he snatched a grenade off his belt. Rather then hurling it at the vampires he tossed it in a high arch up over their heads, and behind the fuel oil stacked by the air pump.

 

Chapter 30.

"You know I never thought I'd be glad to not have Caf-Pow handy." The words were spoken quietly from Abigail Sciuto to Donald Mallard where they were standing with Jimmy Palmer. They were in what the troops called the Temple of the Oracle, but what was officially titled the mission control center where Tara Maclay was the high priestess as she directed the efforts going on in the room.

Ducky smiled reassuringly, it wasn't the first time. He worried too whenever the team was out in the field, but the older man had learned that the sense of calm he cultivated seemed to help more then if he voiced his own concerns for their people's safety.

Instead he kept that stiff upper lip of legend, and promised they would be fine. Even when he knew they might not be. The battles their people were now facing where the things of myth and legend, against creatures quite literally drawn from those tales.

It was made even worse for the Doctor by the fact they had finished all the tests he could think of to run on the infiltrator demons, so he, and Mister Palmer were left at loose ends while his friends, his family really, laid their lives on the line.

Sure there were plenty of old files he fully intended to review, but catching up on his reading at this time just felt obscene somehow.

From what he got from Abigail she still had tests to run with her vDNA discovery, but couldn't bring herself to concentrate, her body literally trembling with worry.

Yes, the high caffeine content of Caf-Pow would not help her at the time, but Doctor Mallard wondered what else was effecting her system. While her worry was understandable it seemed excessive even for the circumstances.

He pulled her even further away from the action. "Abby is there something else?"

She looked away, biting her lip, before taking a breath and nodding. "There's Ziva."

"Ziva?" The Doctor's face then jumped from the scrunched up expression of confusion to one of understanding. "Ah!"

Jimmy had been listening. "Oh!"

Abby however was not pleased. "What's with the Ah's and Oh's? Why are you Ahing and Ohing?"

Ducky grinned. "Well Abigail, it's fairly obvious, to those who love you, that you care very deeply for Ziva."

Abby noticed an expression on Jimmy's face. "Something to add Palmer?"

Jimmy blinked. "Ah, well it's, it's pretty obvious to anyone with two working eyes connected to a working brain that you care for Ziva."

Abby's expression grew angry.

Ducky however interrupted her growing head of steam. "That however is not new, but you seem different. Did something happen between you and Ziva?"

Abby's anger evaporated, but she still got red in the face. She was however smiling as she refused to look Ducky in the eye.

Ducky then spoke again, a small smile on his lips. "Ah."

Jimmy then caught up, and signified it by saying. "Oh!"

Abby covered her face with her hands. "Oh Jeeze."

The three found their eyes pulled to the large screen hanging at the front of the room, and the way that Tara moved in front of it. Standing perfectly still, staring into it as if it were a digital divining pool from which she could discern the fates of the people she had put in the field.

They moved so they could see what she was looking at, but only saw the valley they knew held the vampire army's middle eastern base.

Abby then spoke up. "What are all those heat signatures?" Sure enough they now found multiple human heat signatures ringing the valley.

While Abby's voice had been slightly above normal speaking volume Ducky's reply was slightly under it. "I would guess that Jethro had the enemy positions around the valley taken and held by their people so they wouldn't have any nasty surprises waiting for them when they left."

Tara looked over at the three and nodded before returning her gaze to the screen.

Several long moments passed before Tara spoke. "How long have they been in there?"

Willow's head didn't raise from her computer monitor. "Eleven minutes."

It was another five before they saw a huge mass of warm bodies run out of the mouth of the cave.

Abby obviously wanted to ask another question, but Ducky shushed her. It was obvious from the look on Tara's face she had the same questions herself.

The heat figures split into two groups and ran to hug the walls a good ten feet from the mouth of the cave on both sides.

A large pack of moving, but cold figures came out behind them, and into the guns of their positions at the rim of the valley.

There were several seconds of fire that left the cold figures downed, the fire then stopped and a second after that the warm figures pulled away from the walls and ran over to the downed figures. While their motions seemed strange the downed figures vanished and the Lock knew that was because they had been vampires, and had been staked.

The warm figures then looked like they were doing a head count and Tara gave Willow a look, and it was more then enough for Willow to switch over to a normal shot with image magnification, and as her fingers flew she could see each persons picture was compared with things like height and weight, and hair color to try to identify each person from the list they had of people on the team.

Oracle then started speaking as her results came in. "They are down two people..." There were several long beats. "The first looks to be a Private First Class Jaccob Singer, the second..." There was another pause, but it was all her own. "Leroy Jethro Gibbs."

The three members of his team where shocked, but not surprised. If someone under Gibbs command was missing there was a good chance he would be missing too. They just prayed that he would show up again with the lost lamb in tow.

While Tara's complexion is naturally fair, it was obvious she paled when her Uncle came up on the list of missing soldiers, but she took several deep calming breaths, and closed her eyes. When she reopened them it was obvious she had brought what were likely some powerful emotions back under control.

It was almost sad how good she was at it.

On the large monitor the figures were now flagged with small text showing their name. The figures that were flagged Buffy and Riley had taken charge and were organizing the troops, and seeming to try to come up with a new strategy.

For their part the three scientists had lost their voices. While they had questions, they knew the only answers were on the other side of the world, in a subterranean lair of a vampire army.

She turned to Oracle, and when she spoke her voice was calm and clear. "Monitor the situation, let me know of any change. Anything new on the girls and Tim?"

Willow hit a few keys, and the satellite shot was routed to a smaller, but still good sized monitor next to the main screen. The main viewer was bank as she kept typing.

"Not much Young had set them up in LA since he still had the town wired from his Wolfram and Heart days. So they opted to drive."

The image that came up on the screen was now from street level. Probably some sort of traffic cam, but it was giving them a live image of the Coriolis Security Contractors building.

Willow high lighted the license pate of a black SUV in front of the building and magnified it. "It's ours."

At this point it was the only sign of their presence as even with the "hard entry" Slayer had predicted there was no sign visible from the camera that their people were anywhere near the building.

 

Chapter 31.

Faith took in a deep breath, and let it out slowly. At this point even she could feel the change when she became "Slayer" while both sides of her were made up by the same parts it's like the order they're in shifts around, and the fun loving, care free parts of her slide themselves to the back seat while her slayer instincts and military training take the wheel.

Her sense of humor was there either way, though it was muted when it told her that driving metaphors while driving were almost redundant. On her right was Ziva David, the other shooter for this mission she would be her partner as the two of them delivered Tara's message.

AFTER they delivered Lex and McGee to the computer room where she would keep an eye on the man as he took over their mainframe and turned it into a portable version he could download to his Lock lap top.

The good news had been that Young had given his passwords over as part of his plea for life imprisonment to avoid being sentenced to a shallow hole in the ground. The bad news was that their system wasn't built for what they were panning to do with it, but both Tim and Willow assured her it could be done. So she didn't think any more about it.

Instead she thought about the weapons and explosives filling the SUV's cargo area. In her mind she was already planning what would go with who, and even how they would carry it, but that was how she had learned to deal with the tension that would coil in your gut every time you were about to start an op.

Plan it, run through the plan in your head, revise the plan, run through the revised plan. Tension was natural, but at this point Faith knew how to control it.

Looking to her right Ziva David wasn't showing a single flicker of stress, but that didn't startle Faith. The woman was Mossad, Metsada, and if you discounted the supernatural elements easily Faith's equal, or superior in the soldiering arts.

No, her greater concern rode in back. She was confident about Lex, who was sitting on the right behind David, and her abilities, but this was only the woman's second combat mission, and she was leaving her alone with someone who was even less experienced in open combat.

If it hadn't been for David's expertise with high explosives it wouldn't be like that.

Then there was McGee, who was sitting right behind her. Faith had already heard him called Probie by DiNozzo, and after she had it explained that her dirty mind had the meaning for the nickname all wrong she knew the man was the FNG... Fucking New Guy.

That said Gibbs had brought him on, and had brought him on awhile ago. So while Faith might not be confident, she wasn't worried.

To be fair though she could have a whole team of Mossad vets and she would still worry. It's really the reason she worked alone so often. While a partner could and would watch your back you had to watch theirs, and one of the few fears Faith still had was letting down those who were counting on her.

She wished she could say that her time commanding the Lock had helped her with that, and that she had developed some familiarity with loosing people in the field, but she hadn't, and truth be told no matter how much it hurt she didn't want to ever have it not hurt.

The building lay in front of them, and since the signal that Gibbs had launched his attack had come while they were several blocks away Faith didn't hesitate as she drove up. She keyed the back hatch to open before she got out, and didn't pause as she walked to the back and started grabbing gear.

Ziva and McGee had joined her, but Lex had stayed inside, namely so she could look through the tinted glass inside the building and see where she was teleporting into, and the three people looking into the car through the open hatch saw her blow away like dust on the wind.

They didn't see her dust reform inside the main entry way, and neither did the secretary typing away at the main desk.

Lex paused a second as she brought up her silenced Khar .45, but she noticed that while her reflection could be seen in the black plastic of the computer monitor's frame the secretary's couldn't and she realized that literally EVERYONE here was a vampire.

Her hesitation vanished, and that monitor was splattered with blood, bone, and gray matter as Lex pumped two rounds through the back of the woman's head.

As she slumped forward Lex quickly searched her body for the key card she knew they needed to open the front door.

Finding it, she staked the secretary as her team was already there and waiting. They walked through the door and handed Lex her gear, including the explosives she and McGee would carry to the computer room, and keep there for Faith and Ziva to come back for after they've planted their charges in the farther reaches of the building.

The Khar was stowed and Faith, Ziva and Lex all took out sound suppressed H&K sub-machine guns.

All four were wearing similar black street clothes that covered as much as possible from neck to feet in case they needed to disappear into the night. Something that included almost identical web gear for the clips and stakes, as well as concealed armored vests.

Their first goal was the computer room, but Faith didn't want to leave vampires at their back So at each room she and Ziva would peel off, they would open the door. Sometimes there was nothing, but others there would be the sounds of suppressed auto-fire before the two women would nod and one would slip into the room with her gun slung and her stake out.

It was quick, it was brutal, but it was slowly and surely whittling down the enemy numbers. All the same McGee was pale as he watched yet another room get cleared.

Lex noticed and arched a brow.

He shook his head, his voice a whisper. "I don't get how it's so easy for them. I mean I know they are monsters..."

Lex nodded. "But it still feels like murder?"

Tim nodded.

Faith's slayer senses must have picked them up because she was whispering as she rejoined them with Ziva, as she put a fresh clip into her weapon. "That's because it is murder Tim. From everything we've gathered they think, and feel, and in a great many ways are just like us." McGee's expression showed that her words weren't helping.

Faith met his eyes. "That doesn't change the fact that they see us as a food source, and would kill us for nourishment or do other unspeakable things for the sheer joy of hearing us scream. We don't kill them because their monsters, we kill them because it's the only way we've found that will keep them from killing us."

Ziva had just finished refreshing her gun as well as she whispered. "And it isn't easy Timothy, when it becomes easy it's time to quit, but it's easier then risking one of our lives because we gave the opposition a "fair" chance."

Lex then whispered. "Something they wouldn't give us."

Tim frowned.

Faith then put in a final thought. "And the fact is combat is too chaotic. If I can control the outcome by shooting them from surprise I'll do so, and you need to as well. I'm not going to risk your life on playing "fair."

Tim was still frowning, but it was just as obvious he was comforted by Faith's words.

The way to the computer room was cleared in the same fashion. In the computer room both Lex and McGee added their weapons to the equation, and while Tim was firing single shots from a silenced Sig Sauer P288 they were all kill shots.

Once the techs were staked however Tim was a little green. Faith frowned and reached out to squeeze his shoulder silently.

Slayer and Ziva set their larger packs down around the room, reaching into some for fresh clips to replace the ones that had already been expended and pack up the explosive charges they would be setting around the building.

Slayer then looked at Lex and McGee. "Get to it. Only radio us when you're done or if it's an emergency. We'll do the same."

Ziva and Slayer then shared a nod and left the room.

Tim and Lex settled in and McGee plugged his Lock lap top into the mainframe. He took a now vacated, but slightly dusty chair and started typing.

Then an alarm sounded.

Lex looked over her shoulder from her position at the door, Tim however didn't look up as he replied. "I'm making their mainframe do things she's not used to, and she doesn't like it."

Lex smirked. "Well I could have told you. You need to start slow, like telling her it's "kissing practice" so we can be good when we kiss boys."

Tim didn't look up, but he grinned, and knew that Lex was too.

The grin vanished in the roar of a shotgun blast however as Lex screamed and fell fully into the room.

Tim's reflexes kicked in and he dropped from the chair and behind the flimsy cover it provided as the barrel of the shotgun poked into the room in a clearing action.

Realizing the person was about to peek in Tim slipped behind the larger mainframe and hid. The man with the shotgun came in and knelt next to Lex. "I've got a human female down, she's..."

Tim didn't let him finish the thought as he rose up and put two Black Talon rounds into the vampire's ear.

The other two recognized the sound through the open door and moved to cover the door with one high and one low with their own H&K stutter guns.

All that meant though was that one caught an automatic burst in most of his body while the other just took rounds in his legs as Lex lifted her weapon from where she was covered by the vampires motionless body and sprayed them with an uncontrolled burst.

They were still mobile, but hurting as Tim gave them each two rounds to the head.

As he holstered his pistol and took out his own stake he reached down to pull the guy off of Lex, and saw the shiny metal of the titanium trauma plate at the back of the vest where the Kevlar had been blasted away by the shotgun blast, but couldn't get past the metal.

She shook her head. "Stake em, stake em, I'm all right."

Tim moved to comply, and by the time all three were dust Lex had gotten back to her feet.

"Are you okay?"

She shrugged. "Relative term, but I'm upright and breathing."

McGee nodded. "Stay that way."

Lex smiled.

 

Chapter 32.

The audacious move had caught the vampires flat footed, and even as their training kicked in it had them moving away from the tiny, arcing metal sphere as it sailed up and over their heads and behind the stack of fuel oil drums.

As Gibbs had counted on.

So while they were first moving away from the live grenade normal human, and vampire it seemed, reflexes then had them tracking the movement of the tiny sphere with their eyes.

Gibbs on the other hand knew exactly where it was going and he tackled Singer, who was also watching the grenade's flight and covered the boy's body with his own.

It turned out to not be as necessary as he thought it would be as the vampires were well placed to absorb the resulting blast as the fuel oil exploded in a sheet of liquid fire that then blanketed the undead before it turned their shrieking forms to ash.

Somewhere between the grenade, the fire, and the shrapnel from the exploding oil drums the air pump gave up and it's mechanical death rattle was added to the cacophony.

The two living Marines however rose above that chaos as one as they stood and started unleashing their rifles auto-fire at the undead left standing. Often dropping them into the path of the spreading flames.

Back to back they stood as they darted their weapons left and right to engage targets all around the room. Magazine after magazine was loaded and fired empty, and all too soon they were missing the packs they had left behind to squeeze into the room.

Soon rifles clicked empty and were dropped as side arms were brought into play. On some level both wondered why their undead Marines weren't bringing their own guns into play, but the fire seemed to be effecting the undead more then them, and while they were still able to push past that primal fearful instinct it was like their higher brain functions weren't working.

So snarling vampires were continuing to fall as more were caught up in the spreading pool of liquid fire.

Then their weapons clicked empty and then there was one, walking into view after their slides locked back on empty chambers, and he was standing between them and the larger entrance to cave they used to pull the air pump in there in the first place.

It was of course the Marshal standing there with eyes yellow and fangs in full view, an inhuman expression made all the more horrific by his obvious rage.

Gibbs looked behind them to the smaller crevasse they had came in. The fire had not gotten there, but there was a stream of fire between them and the opening.

He looked to the Private. "Can you make the jump?"

The fresh faced, boy really, nodded. "But we both couldn't..."

Gibbs didn't bother to confirm what Singer had figured out. "Go, get help. Make sure that he can't get out of these caves." Singer was ready to argue, and Gibbs used his Gunny Bark. "Move it Marine!"

Singer's face was twisted with frustration, but he followed the order as he leapt the flaming fuel, landing safely on the other side and sliding through the narrow passageway.

The Marshall's expression of anger had faded, and he was actually smiling. When he spoke there was a slight tone of mockery. "Go get help." He chuckled. "We both know that was just Marine for retreat and I'll hold him off." He then smiled, his face shifting back to a almost pleasant human expression. "But that's why I picked Marines. While some special operations groups may produce a similar level of warrior I could find no one that produced such fine soldiers is such large numbers."

The Marshall's smile grew. "Ah, the "strong and silent" type is it? Only speaking when you want to distract my men from your really rather brilliant strategy. I understand."

A strong right jab came at Gibbs face, but he managed to pull away. To only find out that his face wasn't the goal as his web gear was snagged, and first used to hurl him up, and then down to the ground. When he felt himself about to be lifted up a second time he quickly drew his Ka-Bar and cut himself free.

When the Marshal found himself holding Gibbs web gear, and that the web gear was where his stakes were secured he smiled widely, and tossed the harness over his shoulder into the fire.

"I'm going to get out of here solider. While your people are good I picked these caves carefully, and burned every twist and turn into my memory. I will evade your people. I will resume my operations, and I will be that much stronger with what I've learned from this defeat."

Gibbs shook his head and finally spoke. "No, you won't. You're still out of date Marshall. Now a days the soldier isn't just the grunt in the field or the general in his tent. Now the soldiers brothers and sisters are using computers, and piloting drones, and in our case using magick. You're out of date, and we're not going to let you catch up. You may get past me, you may even get past them, but you will be hunted down, and destroyed. You've already lost. I just wanted you to know that before I kill you."

Another right handed punch came at Gibbs face, and this time he ducked entirely, slashing with his knife along the right side of the Marshall's rib cage. Gibbs then moved behind the vampire, and kept his blade cutting in a diagonal slash from the vampires right hip to his left shoulder.

The pain of the twin cuts had the vampire staggering forward and Gibbs pressed his attack, taking the Ka-Bar in both hands and attempting to shove it in the left side of the Marshall's neck.

The blow however was caught, and the vampire was back in it's game face as it lunged at Gibbs throat with it's fangs while keeping a hold on his right wrist.

While it didn't feel like the bones had broken Gibbs knew his right hand wasn't going to be useable until the vampire allowed it. So he took the knife fully in his left and stabbed it into the vampire's heart.

The Marshal howled, first in pain, and then in rage as he used the captured hand to sling Gibbs into the wall.

Though the impact rattled him to the bone he was glad the fire hadn't spread there yet, and glad that it had been a slight distance away so he had lost a good deal of momentum before connecting.

The Marshal was growling as he reached down and extracted the blade. He threw an involuntary glace over at the burning web gear and it's ashen wooden stakes, and then he laughed.

As he did so Gibbs charged, and impacted into the vampire again. The vampire caught him, but not before he felt another impact on his chest.

He hurled the human away and looked down to see a stainless steel vial sticking out of his chest. Looking over to where Gibbs had charged him from he could see a stopper on the ground, and his stunned expression met the cool blue eyes of the man who had destroyed him.

His mouth was already dribbling ashes as Gibbs nodded, more to himself then to his falling foe. The vampire had dropped to his knees, and then to his hands as knees as the holy water had him starting to vomit his own ashes out onto the ground.

He looked up, yellow eyes meeting blue one last time. "At least it was a soldier." At that he crumbled to dust.

Gibbs took a deep breath, and then another, nothing felt broken, but he felt bruised and battered down to those unbroken bones, and his body shook with exhaustion, and exertion, and the after effects as the adrenaline started to wear off.

His Ka-Bar was laying off tot he side where the Marshal had dropped it after pulling it out of his chest, and Gibbs walked over, wiping it on his pant leg before sliding it back to the sheath on his belt.

His pistol was still on his hip where he had instinctively put it after firing it empty. So he walked over and picked up his discarded rifle, and slung the empty weapon over his shoulder before walking out the large cave entrance.

As he started to make his way out foot steps came around the corner, his body tensed up, but he also realized he could hear breathing to go along with it. They weren't running as there still could be traps, but they had abandoned stealth, in order to search for him he figured.

So he stood calm, and still, and he waited.

Singer and Summers were the first around the corner, the Private having obviously lead them back to the cavern.

Buffy sighed in relief. "Boss Man..." She pointed at Singer. "He said you two had found the Marshal?"

Gibbs nodded.

Buffy waited, and waited. "AND?"

Gibbs shrugged. "I'm here, he isn't."

Buffy exhaled in frustration, reaching over to her radio. It wouldn't get outside the caves, but it would let the rest of their people know. "Singer and I found him. The Marshal is neutralized."

Singer was smiling hugely at the senior Marine. "Semper Fi Sir!"

Gibbs wanted to correct the kid for calling him sir, but didn't have the energy. So he simply smiled. "Semper Fi Marine."

 

Chapter 33.

As she chambered a fresh round Ziva popped her head out of the office and squeezed off a short burst towards the end of the hallway where the guards that had them pinned down had set up their firing positions.

While there seemed to be plenty of internal communications they were monitoring the police band, and unsurprisingly the vampires hadn't called the authorities for help. From Ziva's understanding the Lock had the clout to get them sprung if something like that happened, but the rule was to get away before the police ever got involved.

It was a good rule, Ziva had held a similar rule hailing back to her Metsada days because not only did her conscience not like the idea of shooting at cops, but a murdered police officer tended to be remembered, and their killer was never forgot.

However the undead mercenaries seemed to be doing all right on their own when they finally realized they were being attacked. They kept their heads, figured out where the attackers were, and had managed to pin Faith and Ziva down as they cleared another office.

Clearing rooms was always one of the more dangerous of tasks, but it was vital when the enemy knew the location, and you did not.

The upside was that they hadn't seemed to have found any of their demolition charges yet. The explosives were rigged with anti-tampering mechanisms, but rather then the simpler kind that detonated the charge early these had two squeals they would emit on the teams radios.

The first was if there was any sign of tampering, while the second was a definite sign of tampering, and it would be up to the team to decide whether or not to detonate.

It was an inventive system, and it had Ziva appreciating her new allies all the more.

Faith had reloaded her own weapon, but her face was twisted in concentration.

"Spy Queen, can you make them think both of us are still here?"

Ziva felt her face flush at the handle Abigail had suggested, but the larger part of her mind weighed the question and nodded as she took her pistol into her left hand while fisting the H&K in the right.

She didn't know what Faith was planning, but she nodded. She then watched a second as she saw Faith sling her weapon on it's under arm sling and cross her arms over her face.

With a start she realized what Faith had already calmly came to. The office walls where plain sheet rock with some 2" by 4" supports. While Ziva herself might have been able to bust through just the sheet rock her own body winced in sympathy at the 2" by 4"'s, wiring, and even possible piping that would connect with Faith's body even as she used her slayer strength to power past them.

As Faith started running for the wall Ziva slid both her guns out and started firing short, blind rounds. Of course hitting someone would be nice, but her goal was to keep the enemies eyes on her.

The first wall fell and even over the shooting Ziva could place the sound. Faith had four offices she would have to break through to get to a workable firing position. So at the second Ziva put down her pistol and replaced it with a flash bang grenade that she then pulled the pin on while holding the spoon.

After hearing the third, she tossed it. They saw it coming and were able to dive for cover, but the artificial lightening and man made thunder made sure they didn't realize Faith was coming up on their blind side.

Their screams were what clued Ziva in, and she slid most of her body into the hall so she could shoot at them clearly. Her obvious first priority was anyone in any position or condition to shoot at her, but once they had fallen she simply shot anyone who looked still capable of movement.

By the time she joined her partner Slayer was staking the fallen. A nod was all that was needed as the pair moved out to continue their mission.

"Are you sure you're ok?" Tim wasn't pulling his eyes away from the screen as he found himself ready to start talking to the machine like he had seen Willow do.

Lex's voice came to him over the roar of automatic weapons fire. "Fine! Keep making time with the mainframe. We need her good stuff before we bug out!"

"Is everything a metaphor for sex with you?"

Even over the gunfire Lex's laugh could be heard. "Ironically enough I often use metaphors for sex, and then use sex metaphors for everything else!"

While her voice was happy Tim was glad he didn't have to look at her. When security had figured out they had intruders in the computer room the pair seemed to become their main concern, and while Lex had been holding them back the magicks she was calling on were starting to scare Tim.

He could handle the black and purple flames and lightening, but she had been growing paler, and paler, the veins under her skin not only becoming more visible, but where they could be seen they were black.

The worst thing however was her eyes, ALL of them were black. Obsidian eyes, more fit for a snake then anything human, and yet she was going all out to keep him alive.

At one point they had made a charge into the room and Lex and cast a spell on herself giving her strength and speed that had her fighting on a slayer's level from his view as she took the four that had burst into the room in hand to hand.

It got grislier however as she didn't just take them out. She immobilized them, and then knelt over each, chanting in some strange language that made McGee's skin crawl.

One by one she then picked them up and hurled them back out towards their allies, only to have them detonate like involuntary suicide bombers.

Of course after seeing the aftermath of suicide bombings, including an involuntary one, Tim REALLY didn't relish going back into the hall.

Again, he couldn't truly fault Lex however, the men she had "prepared" had gotten into the center of their allies before exploding, and the detonations had bought them an early reprieve.

Thinking quickly Tim set the laptop to manage itself a minute and slid his chair over to another computer. Lex looked at him in aggravation, but seemed ready to trust he knew what he was doing.

"Quick! Can you bless that water in the fire suppression system?"

Lex shook her head. "No... but I can turn it into acid!"

"That would get the others!"

She grabbed her radio as she quickly used her telekinesis to crush the fire sprinklers in the room. "Slayer do you read me? Spy Queen come in!"

Slayer was the one to respond. "Slayer here. Done?"

Lex stepped back and erected a wall of what looked like bone in front of the door. "No, can you disable the fire sprinklers in the room you are in? We're going to turn them on, but they will emit 5 seconds of acid."

"Will that damage the charges?" Slayer's voice was calm and clear even as it was obvious she was in a firefight on her end as well.

"No, it's not normal acid."

"Do it Spy Queen. On my mark... MARK!"

Lex stood up on a chair and grabbed the sprinkler she had just pinched off. She nodded at Tim and heard the liquid in the pipes. She then concentrated on it, and turned it into a flesh corroding acid.

The hall was filled with screams, and Tim could even see the bone wall in front of the shattered remnants of the door was feeling the effects. When he shut the sprinklers off however Lex motioned him back to his computer.

She dropped the wall with a wave of her hand and slipped out, was gone a second, and then came back in, and even with her unnaturally pale skin, black veins and unholy black eyes she looked disturbed.

Their radios however came to life with Slayer's voice. "Good work. We'll finish here and rendezvous."

A pair of wet sounding footsteps came towards the room, and Lex peeked out. When she didn't start attacking Tim knew it was Ziva and Faith.

Ziva had a skeptical look on her face as she looked down at her feet. "Are you sure this will not eat through our boots?"

Lex nodded. "While they are dead the vampires are still "organic" and that's what the acid goes after. I wouldn't go rubbing it on any leather goods, but the soles of your shoes are rubber, and that's synthetic enough not to be effected."

Ziva nodded, but as soon as she did so she lifted her left foot and looked at the sole of her boot.

Then Ziva walked up and took Lex by the shoulders, standing her upright, then loosening her grip when Lex winced.

Faith saw the metal of the trauma plate and frowned. "Shit! Shotgun?"

Lex nodded.

Faith moved closer, kneeling down to inspect the damage to the vest. "Can you breathe normally?"

Lex nodded. "It hurts, but not enough to mess up my breathing."

There was a steely rasp as Ziva drew her cold steel tanto. Modeled after the Japanese knife of the same name it combined the benefits of the chisel point and solid steel spine with modern blade making science.

She then motioned with the blade. "Arms up."

Lex rolled her eyes, but when she saw Faith's expression obviously agreeing she held up her arms. "Ziva honey, this is neither the time, nor the place, not even with Faith kneeling in front of me." That got a roll of Slayer's brown eyes. "Not to mention you've got Abby now."

Ziva ignored Lex's banter quickly cut away first the vest's securing straps, and then the woman's shirt, leaving her in a bra as black as the rest of her outfit, and revealing the deep black and purple of the circular wound on her abdomen.

Still kneeling in front of Lex Faith gently explored the wound with her fingers, watching Lex's responses. "I don't think you broke anything, but when you get back you are getting a full set of x-rays."

Lex sighed. "Fine, as long as it's Sam. It wouldn't anywhere near as much fun if Ducky's the one ordering me to strip naked."

She seemed ready to say more, but Tim nodded and unplugged his lap top from the mainframe. "I'm done."

Faith then replied. "And were out."

She led the way, with Ziva taking their up the rear of the procession as they left the computer room, and walked straight into a vision Tim figured would sicken even Dante himself. Humanoid forms were strewn all around in twisted positions of agony as their flesh was carved, burned, into abstract patterns Tim realized showed where the sprinklers had been showering acid down upon them.

Sprinklers he had turned on. The thought brought the bile to the back of his throat. It was nearly vomited forth as he realized that the reason the burned forms were still littering the halls was that the vampires were still "alive" to a certain degree.

Faith noticed his look, and seemed to realize what he was thinking. "Don't worry, they'll be destroyed when we blow the building, and they aren't worth you guys getting burned by any residual acid."

Tim couldn't argue, but he did hurry to get out of the building, and away from it's horrible sights.

Once all four were outside all four piled into their vehicle and pulled away. After they were a block distant Faith pulled out a radio detonator, and the four of them watched as the building first exploded out ward in waves of fire, and then collapsed inward under it's own weight

McGee's voice then spoke. "For the record I'm not the one who's going to explain why Lex came back in only a bra."

 

Chapter 34.

Lex was grinning at Samantha Finn... Mrs. Samantha Finn. "I'm just saying it's a time tested medical remedy."

Sam laughed. "Sorry my med school didn't cover "Kiss it and make it better."

Lex raised her nose. "Well then it was obviously an inferior institution."

Sam laughed again. "Lex, get dressed, and get out."

Lex hung her head. She had taken a bath to get rid of the acid smell but had dressed like she had for her mission in all black in her jeans, underwear, and the t-shirt she was pulling over her head. "If I had a nickel for every woman who told me that..."

Sam interrupted. "You might be able to get a newspaper. I know your rep Detton. You're usually the one saying that you gotta get going."

Lex snickered as she put her shirt back on. "Any Doctor's Orders... and I do mean ANY."

Sam rolled her eyes. "Take it easy, give yourself time to heal up, you didn't break any bones, but your tissue was bruised right to the organs... maybe I should make it a memo to all the women here at the Lock."

Lex grinned.

Sam's expression then grew serious. "Actually I thought you would be more injured. From what Tim said you cast some sort of spell and were fighting like a slayer. I hate to say I've done slayer autopsies and they aren't built like you or I. Your body should have torn itself apart functioning under those stresses."

Lex's expression darkened. "No, the spell covered that too."

Sam was shocked. "Really?"

Lex looked down. "And all it took was roughly a year off my life."

"WHAT?" Sam moved so she was looking Lex in the eye.

Lex nodded before meeting Sam's eyes. "It's a horrible spell Doc, it basically allows the caster to burn up some of their life force to fight... hell maybe even a little bit better then a slayer, but they ARE burning their life force, and it's not the kind of thing that comes back. I can't guarantee I'll grow old here, but if I some how pull it off I will have one less year then I would otherwise, but they were in the room with Tim and I, and I figured if I didn't cast it we would die right then and there, and old age would be even less of an issue."

Sam frowned and made a notation on a chart. Lex sighed. "We done?"

She found herself pulled into a hug, then when the Doctor let her go she spoke. "Yeah Lex, we're good."

Lex rolled her shoulders, wincing when her belly felt tight and sore, but it didn't really phase her as she walked out of the office and into the hall.

A moment later a voice came to her "Lex! Hey! Wait up!"

It was Cameron Baum, one of the nurses who worked the medical bay. She had brown hair hair, brown doe eyes, and wonderfully soft fair skin... yeah Lex knew Cameron.

She had ran the little distance Lex had gotten away from the medical bay, but it didn't show as she got close and put a hand on the witches shoulder. "Is it true what you said? That spell took a year off your life?"

Lex shrugged. "Maybe a little less, but nothing more."

She frowned. "That's still a year!"

Lex looked like she was about to look away, but she found her cheek being touched, and that touch guiding her into a kiss, one Lex didn't resist. It was soft, it was tender, and while the tongues met they merely glided against each other.

When the kiss broke the women rested their foreheads together. She then spoke. "Come on Lex, let's go back to my quarters. I'll make sure Sam didn't miss anything."

Lex smirked. "You want to double check the DOCTOR'S work?"

That got a smirk right back. "I know your body a LOT better then she does."

Lex arched playful brow. "Don't you have to work your shift in the medical bay?"

She blushed. "Sam let me out early."

Lex laughed, and then put her hand to her chest. "Ow!"

Cameron walked over, put her arm around Lex's waist and started to guide her in the direction that Lex knew was Baum's quarters.

On the way they met the twins, Candi and Mandi Hansen. Both of the twins had blonde hair, blue, doe eyes (yeah, Lex could admit to herself she had a thing for the doe eyed girls), and full kissable lips, and wonderful firm, full breasts. Lex was perhaps the only person other then the twins to know just how identical they were, a memory that was fresh in her mind since Candi's good luck kiss when she found Lex in the dojo before Lex had left with Team Wet Dream had progressed until Lex was left wondering if it would have been a good thing or bad thing if Ziva or (preferably and) Abby had wandered by that time.

Both women descended on her in the gentlest way possible with Mandi actually lifting up her shirt to examine the wound. When she poked it Lex winced and Mandi did as well. "Sorry!"

Lex shook her head. "It's ok, it's ok."

Mandi then looked up slowly, and grinned, looking over at her sister before grinning some more. "So where are you two off to?"

Lex let her smirk and Cameron's blush answer the question, but that wasn't the only non-verbal communication going on. Mandi and Cameron shared a look, and seemed to come to an agreement as they both looked at Lex.

Lex seemed to realize their intentions, but before she could do anything about it yet ANOTHER voice was heard as the red-headed Army Lieutenant Charlotte "Charlie" Radcliffe hurried over.

Charlie had discovered a rash of mysterious deaths amongst wounded soldiers coming back from the Middle East. While her CO had been listing them as succumbing to their injuries Charlie had uncovered the truth that they were being experimented on with mysterious bio-medical implants. The Lock became involved because they realized it was what they were now calling Adam-tech, implants reverse engineered from the cyber-demonoid Adam.

Ironically the Lock had been experimenting with the tech as well, but so far had only implanted it in the demon hunter Charles Gunn because it had been the only option they had to save the man's life.

"Lex? Are you ok? I heard you were shot!..." Charlie's voice trailed off... "Oh, I see you are all right."

Mandi grinned, her eyebrows raising, first at Cameron, then at Charlie, then at Lex, and the non-verbal communication continued.

Candi picked up on it too, and it had her laughing. "Right, so I'm guessing you'll want them to hold your calls Lex?" She laughed at the dazed grin on Lex's face. She then looked at her sister. "I want details."

Mandi laughed. "I'll file a full report."

Lex didn't bother replying as the three grinning women had Mandi grabbing her right arm, the Lieutenant grabbing her left, and Cameron gently pushing her from behind.

At they reached their destination Charlie snickered. "We'll have to thank Faith for pushing for the queen size beds. This could get complicated on the traditional military single."

Mandi moved in front of Lex, pulling the witch into a kiss before sliding her right hand up the witches shirt to palm the woman's left breast. "It's the same reason she made sure we have the best mess hall in the armed forces. Slayer invented the term hungry and horny."

Lex was whimpering into the kiss because while Mandi was gentle when avoiding her bruise she was squeezing her breast with a wonderfully firm grip.

Cameron moved forward and knelt behind Lex, taking a moment to squeeze the woman's firm posterior, something both women seemed to like as Cameron was starting to breathe heavy and Lex let out a pleased groan.

She then moved her hands around to the front of the woman's jeans and started working the zipper. As she did so she spoke. "Why Radcliffe were you not telling before you joined us here at the Lock?"

Charlotte chuckled as she moved behind Lex, but to the side of Cameron, speaking as she reached to Lex's waist and pulled the black t-shirt off as the witch lifted her arms. "I'm not telling... I'd rather show."

Once the shirt was gone Mandi's hand stopped caressing Lex's breast and joined it's partner in removing Lex's bra. After that garment had been removed she lowered her mouth to Lex's already hard left nipple and started sucking.

Lex whimpered and wrapped her arms around Mandi's head. Or at least she tried to. Charlie pounced on Lex's right breast and was eagerly sucking the firm flesh while scrapping the taut nipple with her teeth, which had Lex cradling both their heads to her chest.

It caused Lex to cry out, and then as Cameron finished pulling Lex's panties off she slid the index and second fingers on her right hand between Lex's swollen, dripping sex lips Mandi was left to catch Lex's weight when he knees gave out as Cameron brought her thumb to Lex's protruding clit.

The fact that she had went limp in their embrace didn't deter any of the three women as Lex's whimpers, pants and moans begged them to continue, and they did with two on her breasts, and the third driving her fingers deep in a firm, steady motion.

That third could see Lex was getting close and Cameron pumped her fingers faster as she started talking. "Yes baby, come on Lexy, come for us!"

Whether it was the woman's impassioned words, or equally passionate actions Cameron had her mind flash back to her anatomy lessons as she felt Lex's vaginal muscles start contracting around her fingers.

Of course Lex wasn't quiet with her orgasm and was keening in delight as she bucked in Mandi's grip and Charlie's embrace, her fingers still in the women's hair, but none of the three seeming to notice or care if there was some pulling involved.

As she went slack again Mandi eased Lex back to her feet, and guided the languid woman to lay on top of the covers of Cameron's bed, and Lex laid there, open, wanton, her skin still flushed and covered with a light sheen of perspiration, he nether regions glistening with her arousal.

She was panting heavily, her head resting back on the pillows. "Wow, that was fast. Ladies! There is a lesson there! Never under estimate the value of team work!"

All three were grinning but Cameron spoke. "Oh, Lex honey, that was just to make sure everything is working order. Now the fun really begins." Inside she was smiling, but there was also a part of her was downright determined to give Lex her lost year's worth of attention in the upcoming hours.

When her neck regained the ability to support her head she looked up to find three sets of eyes devouring her hungrily, and she grinned that grin all three women knew and adored. "Nah uh! I love the attention... and want it to continue, but I'm not going to be the only naked one here. Strip ladies..." Her grin then grew. "And don't be afraid to help each other out."

Their "helping" made the process take almost twice as long, but Lex didn't seem to mind as she watched muttering happily to herself. "I love my life."

 

Chapter 35.

Leroy Jethro Gibbs was sitting in the Lock's mess hall finishing a plate of scrambled eggs, crisp bacon, toast, and his ubiquitous cup of coffee. He had his glasses perched on his nose while he sipped his coffee, and read the morning paper.

The lead story was about the "insurgent surge" that had been happening in Afghanistan that had seemingly culminated in an attack on a Marine base.

He frowned his displeasure even as he continued to read. Gibbs was a man who believed in the truth. He served it as a Marine, and he sought it in NCIS, and while that led many people to call him blunt or rude, he had no regrets.

What made the situation worse however was the fact that he understood the need for the deception. It was much like the terrorist events that never made the papers to avoid causing a panic, ignorance really was bliss, and a sad number of people... Gibbs cursed DiNozzo in his mind for putting a movie Marine reference in his head... "couldn't handle the truth."

There was also the fact that besides being a seeker of truth Gibbs was also a cynic, and he was sure that those who could handle the truth of the supernatural would try to handle it for power, and they wouldn't be like Tara or her people who used that power to protect others.

No they would be the selfish and the cruel who would use that power to enrich themselves or injure those who got in their way.

What really got under the Marine's skin however was the fact that the brave men and women who were lost in the attack on the base, or in the attack on the caves, or who fell under the fangs of the Marshal's men earlier, would be listed as killed by this "insurgent surge" rather then receiving the honors they deserved for battling the very forces of Hell.

A later story was about the continuing investigation of an explosion at a Los Angels based security firm. It had turned out that they were storing illegal munitions there, and at some point during the night they had went off, leveling the building. The story then went on to state that it appeared no one had been working that night since no human remains were found in the rubble, and that no one from the company could be reached for comment.

He knew they never would be as he had killed one of their top people himself, and the other had been locked away in the deepest, and darkest hole his niece's alarming reach could find.

Yet he was far more comfortable with that sequence of events as he had lived long enough to know that no matter how much he respected the legal system, it was not perfect and at times the pursuit of justice took one outside of it. He had been there more then once himself, and was confident his niece had the moral compass to negotiate those gray areas.

The sounds of multiple sets of footfalls made Gibbs look up to see the group of soldiers approaching him, his soldiers. He had been speaking from both the heart and from experience when he had been speaking to the Marshall. While Abby may have never fired a weapon at another person, and the only people Ducky cut into were already dead, they were his soldiers as much as DiNozzo or David, and his soldiers looked united in purpose as they stood before him.

Gibbs had a good guess what it was about, but he didn't let that show as he took of his glasses and regarded them calmly. "All packed?"

That made their expressions tighten, and Gibbs knew what they wanted to talk to him about, but he kept his expression, and his silence as he was unsurprised to see Tony step forward as their appointed spokesman.

"We think we should stay Boss."

Gibbs took off his glasses. "You think so DiNozzo?"

Tony sat down across from Gibbs. "Yeah I do Boss. We've done a lot of good at NCIS, but that was just for our little corner of the world. Here we can save the whole she-bang on a regular basis."

Gibbs arched his brows."You got a cape I don't know about Tony?"

Tony rolled his eyes in frustration. "You know what I mean Boss. The threats they deal with here are a lot bigger then who killed the Chief Petty Officer Du Jour. They face threats that can target whole continents on a slow day."

Gibbs look was skeptical. "They've been doing just fine already."

Abby then spoke up. "They have been doing fine, but they could do great with our help."

Gibbs looked over at Abby. "You don't know what you're talking about Abs. Tony nearly died twice out in the field, the first time when a infiltrator demon got the drop on him, and the second time when we nearly got suffocated in the caves."

Tony interrupted. "For the record Boss, I got the drop on her."

Gibbs nodded reluctantly. "And what would happen the next time DiNozzo?"

Tony met Gibbs eyes. "The same thing that could happen with a normal perp Boss. We've faced life and death situations all the time at NCIS, and that INCLUDES Abby, Ducky, and Palmer. We survived our first case here, and that was with a days worth of training. We'll do better, and they'll do better with us helping them."

McGee then joined in. "They're an excellent on the destroy in search and destroy Boss, and if the information exists electronically then Willow can find it, but when it comes to good old fashioned investigation they aren't at our level."

Abby followed Tim with barely a break between their sentences. "Not to mention their scientific resources are directed inward to maintaining their people and their gear. I already have ideas for new weapons and gear that could give them huge advantages."

Surprisingly Jimmy Palmer then spoke up. "Not to mention the vampire that attacked me did so AT NCIS. The problem is that we we can't go back to not knowing the threat is out there."

Tony nodded. "He's right Boss. I don't think I could go back to cold calling a suspects old employers when I know that on the other coast they're here fighting to keep the mouth of Hell shut."

Gibbs focused on Jimmy. "They already would have Sam, AND Ducky here Palmer. You could end up an assistant for the rest of your life."

Jimmy blushed. "Doubtful considering their workloads, especially with some of the things Doctor Mallard has planned, but even if that were the case it would be more satisfying then cutting up corpses for the FBI."

He looked at Ducky, and the older man grinned, looking at the floor. "I have a few ideas that I believe could help them around here, but I'll also honestly admit there's whole new worlds of knowledge here Jethro, and I want to explore them."

Gibbs smiled at the Doctor's obvious enthusiasm, then he looked at Ziva. "I think I've heard from everyone but you David."

She blushed a little, and wouldn't meet Gibbs gaze. "I go where Abby goes."

Abby smiled a wide, delighted smile, and took Ziva's hand in her own while Gibbs rolled his eyes, but smiled. He then paused, looking again from person to person. "And that's how you feel?" At their chorus of nods he gave one of his own. "Good, because I agree."

He stood up, making a sweeping motion with his hand. "Come on."

They followed him as a mass as he walked to Tara's office. They stopped outside it and Gibbs held up a hand. "Ok, let's not all crowd her. Wait here a second."

Gibbs reached out to the door handle, but Ziva stopped him when she spoke up. "You may wish to knock first."

He arched a brow at her.

She shrugged. "Trust me."

Abby was looking over at her girlfriend with a grin as she settled back and Gibbs stepped forward to knock.

Tara's voice beckoned from inside and Gibbs opened the door, and froze, as did the people behind him. Tara was leaning over the paperwork on her desk with a small set of glasses perched on her nose, and her resemblance to Leroy Jethro Gibbs was such that it had the man himself reeling.

So much that Tara was able to look up, regard them, take off her glasses, and then smile. "So you're staying?"

Gibbs nodded.

Tara's smile grew. "I'll start the paperwork." She then frowned. "I was actually going to have you met with Lex. I know she and Ziva work together well." A small growl of protest from Abby interrupted Tara, but she simply grinned as she continued. "And I think she would be a valuable resource for your team on supernatural matters."

Gibbs frowned, finally finding his voice. "I approve all members of my team Tara."

Tara nodded vigorously. "Of course, and if you don't think she could work you could also interview Angel. I had planned him for Scooby Squad as he has worked with them back when he was a vampire, but I want your team with someone with the full range of occult knowledge. The final choice however will be yours."

He nodded. "Okay."

Tara then frowned. "If I only knew where Lex was."

Gibbs turned to Tony. "DiNozzo. Go find Lex, and bring her back here."

Tony nodded. "On it Boss!"

 

Chapter 36.

Anthony DiNozzo had a wide smile on his face, they were staying. He knew he should probably not be so happy to be an official monster hunter now, but what he had said to the Boss was true. Now that he knew what was out there he couldn't go back to simple law enforcement, because what he said to Riley was even truer, he was in this to protect people.

Whether it meant chasing killers, or clubbing infiltrator demons with carving blocks in order to cut off their heads, he was in this to make the world a safer place, and he knew that there were few if any places better then the Lock to do just that.

Now he was left to find the next member of their team, the lovely Lex, their new supernatural expert, their magickal McGee. Of course from all accounts Lex had FAR better success with the ladies then their resident computer expert.

Far, far better if what he had heard from Abby and Ziva was accurate. His mind side tracked a moment, Abby and Ziva, Ziva and Abby. While he had been very able to enjoy watching Ziva's "match" with Faith he couldn't feel the same about the Israeli with Abby.

It wasn't that he didn't trust Ziva, he did, with his life, on countless occasions. He even trusted her with Abby's life. No, it was the intense kid sister factor that came attached to Abby. He could easily see Faith and Ziva, he could even imagine it going far, far further then it actually did.

Heck he could even take care of the Tara issue by having her join them, but Abby... Abby was Abby and Tony worked diligently to not imagine what Ziva was doing to his tattooed Goth kid sister.

The fact that he was sure Abby was doing things back, and probably with great enthusiasm was just another thing Tony fought to not imagine.

What they told him they saw however was a mental image that was happily dancing through Tony's mind at the moment. Abby and Ziva had went to the dojo. Tony made sure he did NOT contemplate why Abby had wanted to go to the dojo. At the dojo they had found Lex and the twin he had sparred with, Candi, and she and Lex were doing a whole different kind of sparring, the kind Faith and Ziva hinted at rather then the kind that had left Tony bruised and aching.

Abby had been kind enough to describe it all, because apparently with out Tara there to stop it the women had shed their clothes while still grinding against each other. They hadn't gripped each others wrists though because apparently they LIKED what each was doing to the other with those hands.

His Goth kid sister had seemed ready to describe it in even more detail, but Ziva had stopped her. It didn't matter though his mind readily filled in the blanks. Filled in the blanks, and was on a second showing when his attention was caught by one of the few things that could get his attention out of the happy mental loop it was caught in. One of the women in question.

It wasn't Lex, but her and his sparring partner Candi. At least he assumed it was Candi. He hadn't known the twins long enough to start telling them apart, but he figured there was only one way to find out.

"Hey, Candi right?"

The blond haired, blue eyed goddess was in a sleeveless red top with a short black skirt, and she smiled at him, and for a moment even Tony's x-rated imagery faded in the light of her genuine smile. "Yes Tony. Was there something I could do for you?"

And that brought the imagery back, but he figured asking for a personal screening of their previous performance might be a bit much to ask for. So he kept at least part of his mind on business.

"Yeah, I was told to find Lex. Have you seen her?"

Her grin widened, and she had a small blush to her face as she seemed ready to laugh. "I have, you can find her at Cameron Baum's quarters, but you'll want to knock."

Tony blinked. "Huh?"

Candi rolled her clear, blue eyes, and pursed her full kissable lips before she spoke. "Baum's quarters aren't Lex's quarters..."

Tony blinked again. "Oh." Then the full grin that had been lurking just under the surface broke out. "Oh."

Candi got a grin of her own. "Right, oh."

Tony then blinked again. "Oh, so you're not..." His brain then was kind enough to put a few more cells back into action. "I mean you and Lex are not..."

She interrupted with her grin still in place. "You'll find her there Tony. Just remember, knock."

Candi then walked away, and Tony wasn't able to help himself as he enjoyed the view as she left.

He shook his head, and tried to get it to contribute enough brain cells to get him to his destination.

Eventually it did, and Tony stood in front of the door a moment, taking a deep breath to prepare himself before knocking at the door. When he did so there was no response, and he was about to knock again before it opened and Lex was standing there.

Naked.

Naked, her hair mussed in all directions, her body covered with a light sheen of sweat, and at least two obvious points of arousal jutting out at Tony. The source hinted at by a variety of hickeys, scratches and love bites adorning the woman's body.

A third was fairly apparent as Lex only kept a small stripe of hair between her legs, and that left the liquid sign of her arousal to run down the inside of her thighs.

"Tony!... DiNozzo!" As his eyes snapped back to hers she had an expectant expression. "Is it something important? Are we under attack?"

He shook his head, his voice having not found it's way back yet.

Lex sighed. "Then if you don't mind I really would like to get back to what I was doing... well having done to me." A giggle came from behind her and Tony looked over Lex's shoulder to see an Army Lieutenant he remembered seeing McGee talking too... she was naked as well, lean, muscular, with sparkling green eyes and those high cheekbones that accented her grin. The equally naked owner of the room was curled up next to her.

"I... I... I was supposed to bring you back. Gibbs and Tara wanted to talk to you."

A face appeared over Lex's shoulder, an incredibly familiar face that Tony had been talking too just minutes before. Which meant it was the other twin, Mandi who was resting her chin on Lex's shoulder, wrapping her arms around underneath Lex's breasts, and pressing her equally naked body into Lex's back.

Lex smiled over her shoulder, kissing Mandi before turning back and speaking. "Did they say it was urgent?"

Tony took several moments to speak again, and by the time he did the two women in the door were grinning. "Uh, it's Gibbs, it's always urgent till he starts yelling, then it's REALLY urgent."

The two women frowned, and turned to walk back into the room. Lex then speaking. "Okay, let me grab a shower and I'll be right with you."

As she turned she noticed Tony looking at a set of three rows of hickeys. They started at her hips, right along her pelvic bone, and ran all the way up to above her breasts, and right underneath her collar bone.

She grinned. "The girls, they had a race, who could give me a complete sex of hickeys, hips to tits."

His next question came without any conscious thought. "Who won?"

Lex laughed. "I did."

She then walked in the door and Tony was left standing in the hall as first the freshly showered red-headed lieutenant walked out.

Tony frowned and mouthed the word. "Sorry."

When the blonde Mandi walked out, also freshly showered he repeated the act.

Then as he watched her walk down the hall and realized it was as pleasant of a view as her sister.

It was only after it stopped that he realized the shower had been running quite a while, and he couldn't imagine the women were taking turns.

About the time that realization formed the door opened again and a freshly showered, clothed, Alexandra Detton stepped out. Only to have a set of hands follow behind her and catch her by the head, before guiding her back to the freshly showered, wrapped in a towel, Cameron Baum who proceeded to kiss the other woman soundly.

Lex was, eventually, the one to pull back from the kiss, smiling, almost laughing as she did so. "Cameron baby, I'm sorry, but I REALLY got to go. Witch Woman is waiting, and I don't think her punishments would be half as fun as I imagine they would be."

That got a pout, but Lex was let go so she could follow Tony back to Tara's office.

 

Chapter 37.

While the process to get the NCIS people transferred to the Lock had barely started there at the Lock, not to mention the work the people themselves were facing to make the move as well as the transition, they were already being welcomed.

Of course some of those welcomes were friendly pointing and saying things like "Sucker's" or "Now you're REALLY in for it", Gibbs people were being made to feel at home.

Right now that included a meal at the Lock's mess hall where Tony, Tim, Ziva, and Abby were already gathered.

Willow was nearby, but seemed engrossed in her laptop and was typing furiously, and Faith was placing her own order.

At their table Tony was dominating the conversation with obvious glee. "So McGee, the Boss has sent me to find Lex, but she's not in her room. I figured the medical bay would be a wash because if she was there Tara wouldn't have had any trouble finding her. So I'm standing there wondering where to check next when I see twin numero uno."

"Candi, her name is Candi, with an i." Abby volunteered.

Tony face lit up, and only got brighter as Ziva followed Abby's statement with her own. "And her sister's name is Mandi, also with an i."

McGee however had been the one addressed so he also replied. "Did you have a point?"

"Point?" Tony asked. "The point is Lex is like James freakin Bond. Twin numero, er, Candi, who Lex was having sex with last night in the freaking dojo," He added, pointing in the direction of the room in question.

Abby snorted. "We know Tony. We told you about finding them." Abby didn't add that she had been dragging Ziva there to do the exact same thing that Lex was doing. After finding Ziva and Lex there days earlier, she's had Ziva-dojo sex on the brain. Now that she was actually having Ziva-sex, she had asked, well lustily begged Ziva to take her to, and in the dojo.

Unfortunately, they weren't able to do it that night because as they got close Ziva had held up a hand and the two crept forward to find Lex and Candi, naked and grinding together, covered with the kind of sweat that doesn't come from a healthy work out.

Abby had to admit the sight of the two women had knocked her senseless until Ziva had pulled her away, but it had just made their lovemaking before Ziva's mission that much more passionate.

But no, they hadn't had dojo-sex that night. A smutty grin then found it's way onto Abby's face, "that" night.

"That look has got to stop." Tony said as he pointed as Abby's smutty grin.

"I disagree." Ziva stated, her voice husky as she ran her hand along Abby's leg.

"Stop it!" Tony hissed. "Back on topic. My point is, last night Lex was doing floor exercises inspired by you and Faith," he said, pointing at Ziva.

Faith now spoke up as she sat down by their new arrivals. "Hey, I'm over here minding my own business."

Tara then walked up behind her lover and kissed her head. "Of course you are dear. What are you not discussing?" She sat next to Faith.

"Lex and Candi in the dojo, and apparently Mandi in the dorm," Faith said with a snicker. "It's like a naughty game of Clue."

Tara rolled her eyes. She glanced down at the end of the table and smiled at Willow who had stopped typing and was now blushing even though she was not involved with the conversation.

Tony's eyes glazed over a minute. "Which raises the question of which objects were used." He then shook himself. "Anyway, Candi yesterday, and I see Candi so I'm all 'Hey have you seen Lex?' knowing full well she's 'Seen Lex' if you get my drift."

"We get it." Abby and Ziva said at the same time.

"So Candi says, try checking Nurse Baum's room." Tony rubbed his hands with glee. "And I'm all, that doesn't bother you?"

Faith leaned closer. "DiNozzo, not everyone is hung up on what sex means."

"Means? It means she has girls willing to share her! SHARE! S-H-A-R-E! She is truly living the dream." Tony said with a smutty sigh.

"Anyway, I go to Cameron's room and knock. And guess who opens the door?" Tony asked with a huge grin.

"Cameron?" Tara asked sweetly.

"Wrong," DiNozzo said. "Lex. Naked." He looked around the table at his team who seemed a bit surprised, except for Ziva who shrugged.

"Lex has a healthy attitude about nudity," Ziva said.

"Healthy is definitely the word that comes to mind," DiNozzo said. "And I know, I saw the full Lexy."

"Big whup, Tony." Abby said, not liking Ziva knowing about Lex's views on nudity.

"Oh, I'm not done, not nearly done. So Lex is standing there all 'What can I do for you. I'm a little busy." He hit McGee's arm. "I look behind her, and in the bed is Baum AND the hot read head Lieutenant you were hitting on." His eyes widened. "Wait, she's regular Army, and from what I heard when they were in the shower we can call her "Don't ask, Don't yell girl number one" cause I think she was the yeller."

"Two girls?" McGee asked. "That's ambitious after getting wounded."

Tara rolled her eyes. "I happen to know both of those WOMEN wanted to make sure Lex was okay," she stressed the word women, hating when people called adult women girls.

"Trust me, she was A-okay." DiNozzo's head was nodding as he spoke. "Just when I was getting over the shock of Lex and two hot chicks, err women, guess what happens next?"

"Another hot woman came in?" Ziva asked with an arched brow.

DiNozzo came up short. "How did you know?''

"I'd like to know that myself," Abby said, with a hint of jealousy creeping into her tone.

"I was joking, though Lex sees sex as a way of bonding with her comrades." Ziva shrugged. "She is quite clear that as long as the women are not in partnered relationships, she is open to a sexual encounter." Ziva squeezed Abby's leg. "She never how you say, 'comes between' couples."

At the end of the table Willow's eyes widened.

"Well she was coming between a truple." Tony said "As in three hotties, and yet again, I'm not done. Hottie number three was not just any run of the mill hottie. No, no, it was the missing twin Mandi." Tony let out another smutty sigh. "She's bagged twins."

"What is it with men and the twin thing?" Tara elbowed Faith and the slayer leaned to the side and slapped the back of Tony's head.

"Okay, slayer slaps? I could have brain damage." Tony rubbed the back of his head.

"Too late." McGee and Ziva said in unison.

Faith leaned closer. "Tony, I can guarantee you, Lex wasn't leading anyone on."

Tony was suddenly lost in thought. "Three hotties. That's like four women. I can't even see how that would work. Well except for the racing stripes."

Ziva interrupted. "Racing stripes?"

Tony's mind came back enough to describe, smacking his lips before doing so. "Yep, turns out Lex's three play mates were feeling competitive. So they used Lex as both the field of competition and the prize as they raced to see who could give Lex a row of hickeys from hips to ti..." He looked over at Tara. "Breasts."

Tara grinned. "Tits' is fine."

Faith leaned closer to Tara. "I think you mean tits ARE fine."

Tara rolled her eyes and kissed Faith's cheek.

Tony's voice picked up. "You really have to wonder what other contests they might have held... I, I can't work this out for four women. I need visual aids, Barbie dolls or something."

Tara smirked. "I think Lex uses her vintage collection of female action figures to get the logistics down before attempting such advanced bonding rituals."

Faith disagreed. "I think it's more likely shes just winging it."

Willow scooted a bit closer, started to speak, then closed her mouth and was lost in thought.

"It is a witch thing?" Tony asked.

Faith sighed and held Tara's hand, knowing Tony had just opened a sexy, mystic can of worms.

"It can be," Tara said sincerely. She rolled her eyes when Tony's eyes glazed over. she elbowed Faith who Gibbs-slapped Tony. "Mystic energy builds up. It's like supercharging a battery. After a mission, when you've been casting a lot, your system is crackling with residual energy."

Willow looked down at the table and blushed.

Abby leaned closer to Tara. "So mystic power is sexual?" She looked at Faith. "Are you sure you guys aren't part succubus?"

"Not exactly," Tara said, still completely serious. "More like, sexual energy has a mystic component.

"So love really is magical," McGee said.

"Seriously, McEstris, you have ovaries, don't you?" Tony asked. He ducked before Faith could slap him.

Tara smiled tolerantly. "Sexuality has a emotional aspect, spiritual. And even if you're not sharing it with a life partner, that should be addressed." She glared at Tony. "Lex cares for the women she shares herself with. She's sharing parts of her soul with them."

"She's a bonobo!" Willow said, finally scooting down to join the others.

Tara's eyebrow rose and she smiled at her former lover, knowing Willow's mind made rather... unique connections.

"The sex monkeys!" Willow clarified.

Faith snickered. "Oh, I can't wait to tell Lex Willow called her a sex monkey."

Abby was nodding. "Yeah! She's totally using sex as a way to bond with her tribe. Plus did you know that bonobos are the only primates, other then us, who will have sex face to face?"

Ziva's eyebrows both rose until they almost disappeared into her hairline.

"Exactly! There all about the bonding." Willow stood and went to Abby and sat next to her. "She uses sex like most, well, some people use hugs. Bonobos meet new monkeys and are all 'Hey, nice to meet you, let's have monkey sex.' They get in a fight, and there all 'I feel bad about the fight, let's have monkey sex.' They're really all about the monkey sex. Hence the name sex monkeys."

Ziva dropped her head and sighed.

"Wait, there are sex monkeys?" Tony asked. "Do they keep them hidden in a dark back room at the zoo? Cuz kid's should not see that."

Willow waved at him in a shushing manner as she spoke to Abby."That makes so much sense. I keep hearing...stuff... and now it makes sense. Lex uses mystic powers on her missions and well, that would build up a lot of... uh..."

"Energy," Abby provided.

Willow nodded. "And since Lex is like a sexual free agent, she chooses to burn that off with her friends. Very bonobo."

"You know I consider Lex a new..." Tony cringed. "Ouch! Faith Seriously. Knock that off." He rubbed his head.

Lex walked up the table and smirked when the entire group went dead silent. "Room for one more?"

Tony blushed. "Speaking of room? Those dorm beds are cozy aren't they?"

Lex smiled wickedly.

Willow was staring at Lex like she was a chimp and Willow was Jane Goodall. She was practically scrambling to find a clipboard.

Tara smiled sweetly as her ex-lover. "Will? If you start some kind of Lex nature study, complete with field notes and colored pens, it will not end well."

Lex smiled brightly. "Any good scientist knows first hand research is the most accurate."

Willow squeaked and looked at the table. Her neck went completely red as she blushed from the roots of her hair to her chest.

"Ah, blushing. Gotta love redheads," Lex said as she sat next to Ziva.

Willow then blinked, squinted, and moved closer. "I had no idea you were so bruised! Did you fight hand to hand to? Did they hit? Oh my gosh."

Ziva moved to gently guide Will back to her seat. "Willow, most of those are from here at the Lock... last night."

Willow looked at Ziva and blinked. "Well, why would anyone hit her?" The read head's green eyes widened. "Oh... I'll just be over here under the table."

Lex smirked as she finally sat. "That's the spirit. Oh, sorry. Force of habit."

Behind them at the entrance to the mess hall Gibbs was picking up most of the conversation and smiling. He was distracted a moment as he felt someone approach. Looking over his shoulder he saw Ducky, and gave the man a nod as Jimmy passed them both to join the rest at the table.

Ducky followed the path of Gibbs eyes and saw his gaze was resting on his niece. He then spoke quietly. "There was never really a choice for you, was there?"

Gibbs replied just as quietly. "She's fighting monsters Duck, but I couldn't influence the rest of your decisions."

The cultured tones respected the quiet. "So you let us come to the decision on our own."

Gibbs simply nodded.

The End

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