Disclaimer: Don't own or claim rights to Buffy or NCIS
A/N: This is a one-shot, no planned sequels or does it belong to any other series. Just saying.
Gibbs glanced up to see the genial looking man enter the bullpen. Tall, dark-haired and -eyed, with a somewhat goofy smile on his face, the stranger looked around before looking at DiNozzo.
"Hey there," he said. "I'm looking for..." he consulted his phone, "Special Agent Gibbs?"
Tony nodded to Gibbs, and the stranger turned to face him. "Special Agent Gibbs?" he confirmed. When Gibbs nodded, he went on, wincing, "I really hate to do this to you, but I've got to make off with your guy."
A stern scowl fell over Gibbs' face. "Really?" he asked sourly. "And what makes you think you can?"
The man shifted awkwardly. "Yeah, um... Jurisdiction. We're a small unit, but we've got a hell of a lot of pull."
"And you think you've got enough pull to take my suspect off me?"
"As it happens, yeah." He looked around the area, chewing the inside of his cheek thoughtfully. "Look. How about I talk to him? I might not need to actually take him from you. And, honestly? I seriously doubt he did anything you need to worry about. Or if he did, he had a majorly big reason."
Gibbs rolled his eyes. "You want tea and cakes with that?"
The stranger tilted his head and grinned. "I'll have coffee, and he probably has some herbal tea. He kind of avoids caffeine," the stranger admitted.
"Yeah. Before I let you anywhere near my suspect I'm going to need some identification."
"Oh, yeah. Sorry – I'm used to dealing with people who actually know me, so..." he pulled a ID wallet out and tossed it over. "Xander Harris, IGC. Don't worry, you won't have heard of us. Though, if you had heard of us, you would probably know who I am, and wouldn't need my ID, and I'll just stop there," he finished with a goofy smile.
While Gibbs checked out the oddly full ID wallet, Tony and Ziva rolled their eyes at one another. Having satisfied himself that the name matched the face matched the man in front of him, he extracted a business card, and tossed the wallet across to McGee. "So what does your agency do?" he asked Xander.
Xander grinned. "We, uh, work outside the mainstream, and deal with problems beyond the scope of the better-known agencies."
"Which tells me absolutely nothing," Gibbs growled.
"Yeah," Xander grinned. "Kind of the point. Thing is," he added wryly, "I have the authority to do what the hell I want, even if it means removing someone from your custody who actually did what you think he did. Which you should be finding," he went on, turning to McGee, "right about now."
McGee's computer didn't conveniently react immediately to Xander's words, but it was soon enough after the statement to impress at least Tony and Ziva. McGee rapidly worked to prevent his computer from crashing, but was waved away by Xander, who sat at the desk and quickly typed in a password. The machine immediately settled down, reinstating McGee's programs, except that it showed a large dialogue box in place of the search engine.
"Will has this thing about unauthorised searches," Xander explained in an apologetic tone.
"But I was on the DOD network," McGee argued.
"Yeah," Xander smiled. "She's a real witch with the hacking stuff. And that call," he added, turning back to Gibbs as the phone began to ring, "will be about me."
Eyes narrowed, Gibbs answered the call. One tensely polite conversation later, Gibbs rose, and indicated for Xander to follow him.
Xander's hand fell on Gibbs' wrist as he went to open the door. Gibbs looked at the younger man, waiting.
"Okay, here's how it's going to go," Xander began, the earlier goofiness gone. "I go in first, you follow me, the door stays open, and no on gets between him and the door."
"Like hell," Gibbs retorted.
"Or I grab my guy and we walk. There's no guarantee we're staying as it is, bit if you want your chance to talk to him, this is the way it's going to go, okay?"
Gibbs gritted his teeth, but nodded, then glanced to the observation room as he followed Xander into the Interview Room.
Tony, Ziva and McGee watched as the unusual interview unfolded.
The small, strawberry-blond man was sitting, cross-legged and eyes closed in a corner, apparently meditating. He didn't react when the door opened, but lifted his head after a moment, and murmured, "Xan?"
"Hey, Oz," Xander replied, stepping around the table, and smiling. "What's the what?"
"Long time," Oz offered as he rose smoothly to his feet. Looking at Xander, he tilted his head and sniffed.
Xander gave a small nod. "You hear about Boca?" he asked. When Oz nodded, Xander went on. "Met Tom Thumb around then, but you know Will and making-up," Xander grinned.
Oz gave a soft 'ah' and nodded as he sat at the table. Xander grabbed a chair, and carried it around to the end of the table opposite the door, while Gibbs glanced again at observation room, hoping they were making more sense of the conversation than he was.
"So how're you feeling, Oz?" Xander went on. "Not feeling loopy?"
"No," Oz replied, glancing at the open door. "Been meditating. Have some tea, if I could get it made up," he added.
"Coolness," Xander agreed. "Let Gibbs know how you want it done, and he'll get one of his minions to do that for you."
Oz gave his instructions, Gibbs summoned Tony to carry them out, and Xander waited until the pot and a mug were brought back to the room before continuing.
"Okay," Xander began finally. "So you let me know if you're starting to feel a little loopy, okay, and I'll get you out of here."
"No probs," Oz nodded. "I am calmness, and, well, you're here," he explained.
"Really?" Xander asked, surprised.
In response, Oz met the taller man's gaze, and held it a few seconds before dropping his eyes to the table.
Xander frowned and chewed his lip while Gibbs looked on, as puzzled by this as every other part of the interview.
"That's surprising," Xander offered, finally.
"Shouldn't be," Oz shook his head. "Who you are, what you are. The stories I've heard," he added with a small smile.
With a look of growing horror, Xander asked, "What kind of stories?"
"The hospital," Oz offered, smirking. "And I always did wonder why I felt 'oddly full' after the Sisters came through."
"Shit," Xander ground out.
"Not really the kind of stories that are going to get back to the girls, though," Oz offered, in a consoling voice.
"Good. But that can't be it," Xander argued.
"Nope. Just a start. Time and place, though," Oz replied calmly.
"Okay," Xander nodded. "Track time. So. I guess the first thing these people want to know is if you did … whatever it is that they think you did."
"No. Had nothing to do with it, and this I swear on my Willow's head," Oz answered firmly. "I was about to see if I could find whoever was involved," he continued, flicking a reproachful look at Gibbs, "but I was interrupted."
"Think you could find the trail?"
Oz considered for a moment. "I'd have to meet the main people who were working the scene. Rule them out," he added absently. "Then I'd probably have to quarter the scene to get the right trail. The sooner the better, really. Night time would be more accurate and quicker," Oz considered, "but no one else comes. Only you."
"Not a prob," Xander agreed. "Sunset's in a few. What do you want to do now?"
"Hungry. Need to go out on a full stomach. You know my metabolism," he added with a smirk. "Um. Need to meet the team. Need to make up a pack."
Xander nodded. "Where's your stuff?"
"Got a cabin for the week. Not far from the scene. We can go there before we hit the scene," Oz explained.
Having watched the mismatched couple walk off to find something to eat, Gibbs walked to the observation room to meet up with his team. "Well?" he demanded.
The three agents exchanged glances, before McGee shrugged. "Sorry, boss. I haven't been able to find anything more since their hacker hit my computer. I haven't even been able to get anything on IGC, their organisation."
Gibbs scowled and nodded, remembering the spectacular attack. He looked to Ziva, who shrugged.
"They obviously have extensive history. The way they talk together is very interesting, so much coding involved. Or maybe they are using slang?" she added, looking to Tony for confirmation.
Tony shrugged. "They are Californian," he offered, offhanded. When he saw her puzzled face, he added, "The accent, the way they speak. 'Party on, dudes!'" he grinned. "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure? Not the greatest film ever made, nowhere near, in fact, but very Californian."
"So they are speaking this way because they are from California, not because they are trying to hide information from us?" Ziva asked uncertainly.
"Nope. Probably trying to do that, too. But they are Californian."
"Apart from the way they were speaking, what else did you get from them?" Gibbs pressed on.
"Agent Harris seemed quite concerned with Mr Osbourne's mental well-being," Ziva observed. "That is what 'loopy' means, doesn't it?" she asked Tony.
"Yeah. Loopy, crazy." Tony thought for a moment. "I want to hear the stories," he mused. When he noticed some confused looks, he explained. "Osbourne said he heard some stories about Harris. Something about a hospital, and some Sisters. Weird."
Tim chewed his lip thoughtfully. "Osbourne knew who Harris was before he saw him."
"How the hell'd he do that?" Tony demanded.
Tim shrugged. "Don't know. But I do know that he couldn't have seen Harris's face from the corner like that. His head came up when Harris walked in the room, and he called out Harris's name."
"He just heard the door open," Tony dismissed.
"No," Tim argued confidently, "there was a good second or two between the door opening, and Osbourne's reaction. He reacted to Harris entering the room, not the door opening. And, boss, why was the door left open?"
"Harris demanded it. He stopped me before we went in and laid down the rules: he went in first, the door stayed open, and no-one got between Osbourne and the door."
Tony frowned. "That's how you treat a dog or something. You know, some wild animal that's maybe hurt."
"Or a mentally deranged and possibly dangerous person," Ziva argued.
"But why does an agency we've never heard of before ride into town to grab a suspect who is possibly dangerously mentally unstable? Not that I want to be around someone who's coo-coo for cocoa puffs, but Harris doesn't exactly look like someone who carries long-sleeved white coats in his other pocket. So what's his deal?"
"What do we know?" Gibbs prompted.
"Harris knows a really scary hacker," Tim began.
"And as soon as you got that," Ziva waved vaguely, "attack, Gibbs got a call from someone about Harris, yes?" she added as she looked to Gibbs for confirmation. "So he's well connected."
"Very. Secretary of Defence, himself."
"Shit," Tony murmured. "Guy turns up from some little agency no one's heard of and does all that? What the hell have we gotten mixed up in?"
Gibbs shook his head. "Okay. Osbourne said he could track the real killer from the site, and they're doing that tonight." He handed over the business card he'd acquired earlier and handed it to Tim. "Set up a GPS trace on Harris's phone. I want to be able to follow him while they're out searching tonight. Tony and Ziva, I want you two to make contact with your people. See what you can find out about Harris, Osbourne and the IGC."
The three team members nodded, and they headed back to their bullpen.
"Got everything?" Xander asked as he headed for the door.
"Yep. You fine with the bag?" Oz nodded.
"Yep. So, checklist: you've eaten; you've scented Gibbs' team and his ME and assistant; you're wearing comfy old clothes that you don't mind shredding if necessary; and we're hour out from sunset. That it?"
"Sounds right. I want to get to the site early to have a look around. Also, I'm going to do a full transform, so I'll look like a wolf, or a really big dog for the idiots among us."
Xander grinned as they headed out to the car. "You can do that? That a new trick?"
"New-ish. Since I left the 'Dale that last time. People seem to find it less freaky than the hybrid that most weres do."
"I can see that," Xander agreed. He tossed the backpack onto the back seat. "So your wolf considers me an alpha," he mused.
"Yep. Physical strength isn't everything, you know."
"Just ninety-eight percent."
"That's encouraging," Xander remarked sourly.
"So," Oz drawled. "The eye."
"My left eye. A psycho priest minion of the First dug it out."
"Ew," Oz muttered, making a face.
"I wear a patch, and Will put a glamour on it so I blend. She's refusing to do any more than that until I agree to some upgrades."
"Upgrades?" Oz asked doubtfully.
"You heard about her problems?" When Oz nodded, Xander went on. "Well, the Empowering spell she did cleansed her, burnt the addiction and the darkness right out of her, so her magic's all good now. And she's been working with the Devon coven, so her power is being worked properly, or something like that. Everything's working properly, and all that. Anyway, being 'The One Who Sees' is apparently not good enough, and she wants to work on some things to make me stronger, safer, better for the fight."
Oz simply looked at Xander, slight frown on his face.
"Yeah," Xander sighed. "Anyway, she wants to work on the possessions and stuff, bring them out, or strengthen them, or something."
"Yeah. Willow didn't tell you? You missed both of them, I think. I was possessed by a hyena primal spirit back in sophomore year – she was the alpha, too – and then a soldier for Halloween the following year. Then there was swim team debacle, which wasn't technically a possession, but left some minor modifications. So she wants to make me into alpha hyena primal/soldier/fish thing. The upside of that is that last time the hyena made an appearance I nearly beat Buffy in a fight, so, you know, strong. Of course, I was trying to rape her at the time, so not so much of an upside, maybe."
"Huh," Oz grunted softly. "Meanwhile I just got the wolf."
"Will's pretty sure I won't go furry if I get the upgrade, and the primal will be under my control. Just..." Xander sighed. "Not good memories. Also, I would rather just, I don't know, be accepted for being me. Is that too much to ask?"
"Nothing wrong with being normal."
"Unless you're fighting the powers of darkness on a weekly basis. And thirty isn't exactly running away from me," Xander added.
Oz chuckled. "Damn, man. You're getting old!"
"Younger than you, man," Xander grinned.
Oz looked around the crime scene, scenting the air. "Be back," he murmured absently.
Xander nodded as he check the slim backpack, before shrugging it on and fastening and testing the waistband. He then slid a pistol into a holster at the back of his pants, and checked it sat clear from the backpack. He chose a few more weapons, settled a pair of bulky glasses on his head, then turned to scan the edges of the clearing. Not finding anything to take his interest, he settled back against the car and waited.
Finally, Xander heard a huff of sound from the edge of the clearing, and straightened from the car and walked towards the sound. "Was wondering when you'd pick up the scent. It's only, what, twenty-four hours old?"
The large, light-coloured wolf huffed again, then turned and loped off. Xander flipped down his night-vision goggles, and followed the werewolf. Oz continued on the trail, pausing now and then to confirm the scent. Xander followed silently as his friend tracked the suspect.
Xander lost track of time as he followed the wolf through the forest. The forest was quiet, and Oz showed as a long, green form on Xander's lens. Other night animals could occasionally be seen on the edges of his vision, but no other humans appeared to be around. Finally, Oz stopped and lay down, waiting for Xander to catch up.
"This is it, is it?" Xander shifted the night-vision glasses up, and looked at the house. There were lights on, but he couldn't seen anyone moving around. Then again, it was late enough that the resident could be sprawled out in front of his or her TV, ready for a night of mind-numbing entertainment. He pulled out his phone and thumbed a number.
"Gibbs," the older man barked into the phone.
"Tell me your tech has a GPS lock on my location," Xander began.
"As it happens," Gibbs retorted. "We also tracked you from the scene, so we have a clear record of the trail Oz followed. I'm interested in how he was able to do that at night, and not even on the full moon. Not much light out there tonight."
"Yeah," Xander grinned. "Oz is, um, specially talented. Really good with the tracking. So we're here, just outside the fenceline, and there's someone inside, but they're not moving around at the moment. How soon can you get here with a warrant?"
"How the hell am I supposed to get a warrant from this? 'Your Honour, I want you to give me a search warrant based on some guy I had in here as a suspect following a trail through the forest at night.' Yeah. That's going to work," Gibbs grunted.
"Would it help if I could get you a tame judge? We have a few in DC that have been read in on the IGC, and will give a warrant based on pretty much my say so."
Gibbs thought about that for a moment. "And what about in court? How is a warrant like that supposed to hold up?"
"Lets just say we have our own provisions in law. Something like the Patriot Act, only for us. We can't be cross-examined, our methods remain secret."
Gibbs sighed. "Okay. Send the details to McGee. Hopefully we can work something out where we don't need your warrant, or anything that comes from it, but I'll take it for now."
"Not a problem. You want us to wait here, or can we go home?"
"Do you think he knows you tracked him?"
Xander looked Oz, who pointedly shook his head. "Nah. We seem to be in the clear here."
"Go home, then. But come in to the office bright and early tomorrow. I want you with us when we execute the search."
"Fair enough. Okay then. See you at god-awful in the morning."
Gibbs snorted. "Unless you have a different definition to the rest of us, I'm not expecting you quite that early."
"We're night people. Anything before midday is way to early for us."
"God-awful in the morning it is then."
Tony looked up to see Osbourne all but carrying Harris towards the bullpen. The much smaller man was almost smirking as he propped the larger, coffee-carrying man up against Ziva's desk. Harris scowled at Osbourne, and then at Tony. "I don't do mornings," was his only comment.
"You barely do afternoons," Oz commented.
"Work requires me to keep vampire hours," Xander argued. "Vampires are not up at 0-shit-o'clock in the morning."
"For which we can all say 'thank God,'" Tony muttered.
Oz cocked an eyebrow at the agent. "You have a thing about vampires?" he asked.
Ziva snorted. "Tony does not like vampires. They scare him."
"They do not," Tony whined. "It's just ... I don't like horror movies, okay? At least, not ones about vampires. There was just this bed... It was creepy, and that's all I have to say on the matter," he grumbled.
Xander nodded. "Beds can be ooky."
Tony narrowed his eyes at the man. He was being mocked, he was sure of it.
"We got that warrant yet?" Gibbs demanded as he entered the bullpen.
"Got it, boss," Tim waved a printout from his desk. "It was startlingly easy once I mentioned Agent Harris' name."
"Told you it was a tame judge," Xander shrugged.
Gibbs shot a questioning glance at his younger agent.
"Yeah, well, there's 'tame judge' and there's 'Xander Harris? Anything he wants,'" Tim responded.
Xander shrugged. "Judge Ellison? Yeah, I've had a bit to do with him," he nodded.
"Will it stand up in court?" Gibbs demanded.
"Yep. Judge Ellison may be a bit, um, pro-Xander, but then he knows what we're up to, and he knows me well enough to trust me."
"So that's it?" Gibbs growled. "We just trust you?"
"You don't have to use the warrant," Xander argued calmly. "We've pointed out a potential suspect, you can just go ahead and do your normal stuff with him. If it pans out, great. Or, use our warrant, and just cover everything in the Official Secrets Act."
"'Official Secrets Act?'" Tony asked, smiling slightly.
Xander sighed. "Yeah, somehow that's what it ended up being called. It covers the IGC and a lot of what we do."
"You don't look British," Tony teased.
Xander gritted his teeth. "Yeah. Funny thing about that." Dismissing Tony's attempt at fun, he turned to Gibbs. "So... You going to use that warrant, or just do things your way? 'Cause I've got a bed I could be in right about now."
"We'll execute the warrant," Gibbs decided. "And now's as good a time as any."
In the flurry of activity that followed, Xander announced that he and Oz were taking his rental to the scene, while the others followed in whatever official vehicles they preferred. Once they were underway, Gibbs looked over to Ziva. "I want you to stick close to them, okay? I've got a feeling they may split off from us, and I want you to keep an eye on them."
Ziva nodded her understanding, and concentrated on her driving.
Xander and Oz wandered around the property. "You know the Israeli is watching us, don't you?" Oz murmured.
"Yep," Xander acknowledged quietly. "She's Mossad. Met her dad."
"I thought you would be inside, looking around," Ziva commented as she drew closer.
Xander looked around, smiling. "Oh, we just didn't want to get in your way. Not really our thing," he shrugged. He turned back to see Oz wandering off towards a woodpile along the side of the house. "Problem?" he murmured, too quietly for Ziva, still several feet behind him, to hear.
Oz turned back, and shrugged, scratching his nose.
Xander turned back to Ziva. "I think Oz has seen something," he said.
As they got closer, Xander saw the edge of a duffle bag peaking out from under a couple of logs. Ziva shooed them away, and called for Gibbs as she brought her camera up for some crime-scene photos.
Tobias Fornell signalled the barman as he approached, and by the time he had taken his seat beside his old friend, his drink was waiting for him. "So what are we drinking to tonight?"
"Weird-ass cases," Gibbs grunted.
"To weird-ass cases," Fornell toasted formally. "Any details to go with that?"
Gibbs shrugged. "Does the name Xander Harris, or IGC mean anything to you?"
Fornell narrowed his eyes at his friend. "About six foot, dark hair and eyes? Just a kid, really," he added.
"You do know him," Gibbs replied, surprised.
"He's come up a couple of times. First time he just waltzed in and took a case right off our hands. Director rang in to back him up, too. Second time," he mused, "he just walked in, handed over a file, and said it was already dealt with. There were an additional eighteen victims we would never have found if it wasn't for him. Don't know what happened, other than 'dealt with,'" he added, frowning.
"What else do you know about him?"
Fornell sipped his drink, thinking. "They're really quiet. You don't ever hear about them until you need to. Harris is liaison for all federal law enforcement agencies in the US. Except for Cleveland," he added, somewhat puzzled.
"Cleveland?" Gibbs asked. "Ohio?"
"Cleveland, Ohio," Fornell agreed. "Local liaison is a Robin Woods. Has a good rep with the locals, but never works outside Cleveland."
"How is it that DC, New York and Los Angeles have to share the one liaison, while little old Cleveland merits its own, special, liaison?"
"North American headquarters for the IGC is there."
"In Cleveland, Ohio," Gibbs repeated, doubtfully.
"In Cleveland, Ohio." Fornell took another sip. "Oh. Harris also handles any military matters, too."
"And you know this, how?"
"Spoke to a few people. He's only been doing this for a few years, but he's getting a real name."
"The kid can't even be thirty," Gibbs complained.
"Nope," Fornell agreed. "Definitely not thirty yet."
"You know Tony and Ziva's people won't even talk to them about him? They've both had hang-ups just from mentioning his name. And McGee got locked out of his computer just by doing a search on the DOD database. Harris had to get him out. Do some password thing."
"Now that's interesting," Fornell commented.
"Yep," Gibbs agreed. "Interesting."
"You following this up?"
Gibbs thought about it. "No one's talking about him, and he's got both my geeks a little freaked. I kind of want to, but..."
"They're supposed to be the good guys," Fornell offered.
"Yeah," Gibbs agreed. "It was his guy that found the suspect's grab bag. Ziva was with them the whole time they were on the property, and it was far enough from the property boundary that they couldn't have done it while they were tracking the guy, which they did," he added, frowning, "at night, when there was minimal light. Really don't know how they did that one, but the track was straight-forward. Didn't do much more than go straight from the crime scene to the perp's house. Little over two miles, through forest, in the dark. No idea how that managed that one."
"Very. For a couple of So-Cal city kids, they did very well."
Gibbs and Fornell drank in silence for several minutes. "So we're letting sleeping dogs lie?" Fornell asked.
Gibbs sighed. "I think so. For now, anyway."
"There's always the next time," his friend agreed.