Echoes of Buffy

Summary: Something has happened to one of Gibbs' team, and he's about to rip the world apart to find out what.

Challenge: #7202 'YAHF - On the Flip Side' by misterq.

Warning: OOCness, but hopefully explainable.

Timeline: sometime before Ziva left, not sure when.

A/N: I know I've done this before with Parker from Leverage, but I thought I'd give it a try with another character.

Disclaimer: BtVS characters belong to Joss Whedon / Mutant Enemy. NCIS characters belong to Donald Bellisario, Don McGill and CBS Paramount Television. I claim no rights to any copyrighted material. Please do not copy or take this story without my permission.

NCIS bullpen

A couple days before Thanksgiving…

"Has anyone heard from Abby since she took her emergency vacation?" Tony asked before Gibbs arrived.

Ziva stared across at him in disbelief – something she was fairly used to doing when it came to her teammate. "Do you not think that if we had, we would have kept it to ourselves?"

"Especially with how prickly Gibbs has been since she left?" Tim chipped in.

"I don't know! Maybe she swore you to secrecy or something!" Tony defended himself. "If she did, then apologize to her when she gets back, but just tell Gibbs why she left and if she's okay!"

Their exasperation with Tony evaporated at the desperation in his voice. Abby had been gone for almost three weeks with no explanation other than she had an emergency that she had to deal with on her own. Talk about waving a red flag in front of a bull when Gibbs heard that…from Director Vance, not Abby. It was not a pleasant day to be at the Navy Yard.

Thankfully, things were relatively quiet case-wise. If they had needed Abby to help solve a murder or kidnapping or something, they weren't sure what Gibbs would do to get her back – emergency or no emergency.

As if thinking about him caused him to appear, Gibbs entered the bullpen. But as was normal for him the past few weeks, he didn't come from the front elevator like he used to; he came from the elevator that went down to Abby's lab…telling them that he had already been there to see if she was back or not. From the glare on his face, the answer was not.

To avoid his wrath, the three of them quickly dove back into their work, making him frown…mostly at himself. He knew it wasn't fair to take his anger out on his team, but his worry about Abby made it hard to keep his temper in check. If only he knew she wasn't hurt.

Gibbs' house

That night…

As he reached into his fridge for a beer, the hairs on the back of Gibbs' neck stood on end, warning him that he wasn't alone. He carefully reached for his gun and as quietly as he could, he flipped the safety off. It really didn't make very much noise, so he was shocked when he heard a voice call out, "It's just me, Gibbs. Please put your gun away before you shoot me!"

"Abby?" he yelled back, half in relief and half in anger, but did as she asked. Then he followed her voice to the basement where he saw her standing next to his workbench. At least he thought it was Abby. She still had the black hair, but it was styled in a way that looked softer somehow. Her makeup was more natural as well. Basically, she just didn't look like her normal Goth self. Other than not wearing a pastel suit, she looked like she was going to court to testify. It really wasn't doing anything to assure him that she was okay. Neither was the hesitant way she was biting her lip nervously. Without any other idea of what to do, he went over to pull her into a tight hug.

"Oh, Gibbs, I've been so scared!" she sniffled before breaking down in tears.

Even though he had a thousand questions racing in his mind, he just stood there, letting her cry into his chest. When she finally started to slow down, he asked gently, "Are you ready to tell me where you've been the last few weeks?"

He felt her nod and loosened his grip in case she wanted to pull away from him. She didn't, but knew she had to. "It might be better if we go upstairs 'cause this is going to take a while to explain," she said. "Better bring the whiskey; I think we'll need it."

Again, not really helping to comfort him.

Once they were settled on his couch, Abby folded her legs under the blanket she grabbed for security more than warmth. "It started on Halloween," she began. "I thought I had the weirdest dream about being in a world where demons and vampires were real, and I was some kind of Van Helsing hunter person. But I was only 16 years old and the world depended on me fighting monsters because it was my sacred duty."

She smiled when Gibbs growled at the idea of a child being forced to fight to protect others – even if just in her dreams. Unfortunately, she knew the next part wouldn't make him any happier. "I was supposed to fight on my own, but I ignored the rules and had friends who helped me, which was good because without them, I would have died. Well, I guess technically I did die once, but one of them helped bring me back with CPR. But that isn't the point," she cut off her rambling before it got too bad.

"What is the point?" Gibbs asked brusquely. The idea of Abby dying as a teenager was pushing him closer to the point of rage.

"When I woke up, I broke my bathroom door handle when I grabbed it. And a bunch of other things until I learned to grip softer. Then the idea of sleeping in my coffin bed made me hyperventilate. Apparently dream me had a fear of becoming a vampire and the coffin was too much of a reminder of that. And a whole bunch of other things like that. I honestly thought I was losing my mind," Abby explained.

"Why didn't you call me?" he asked. His mind was racing with the different possibilities of what could have happened to her: drugs leading the way.

"Because I didn't want to become a lab rat," she answered. "Dream me – her name was Buffy, by the way – had a bad experience when she tried to tell her parents. Even though it was her and not me, I really didn't feel like going through that again. I've been doing my own tests and experiments to try to figure it out. It isn't drugs…at least not any that I know how to test for – which you know means pretty much any drug known to law enforcement. I've also been practicing on controlling my strength and other abilities so that I don't give myself away when I go back into public."

Gibbs stared into her eyes, looking for the truth there. She honestly believed what she was saying, so he was willing to give her a chance to prove it to him. "What kind of strength are you talking about?"

Smirking at him, Abby replied, "Let's just say that the next time you need to fix a flat tire, you don't need a jack to lift the car…I think. She never tested herself scientifically. I could bend a steel bar for you, if you want. I haven't tested my healing abilities yet, but they're supposed to be a lot faster than normal human beings. Oh, and apparently I'm a kick ass fighter now. Might even be able to beat Ziva in hand-to-hand."

"I still think you should have Ducky check you out," Gibbs said. "He might know more obscure things to look for. As long as he doesn't find anything, what do you want to do about this?"

As much as she wanted to say no to having Ducky examine her, Abby knew that Gibbs needed to be sure she was still her. To be honest, she wouldn't mind it herself. "I really don't know…apart from keeping it a secret from everyone. I had to tell you because I couldn't handle it on my own anymore," she admitted. He was her Giles.

"If you want to keep the changes a secret, you might want to dress normal when you come back to NCIS," Gibbs teased her. "I take it this is more her look?"

"My old look is too vampire-ish for me to feel comfortable with anymore – except for when I go to concerts," Abby answered, shaking her head. "Well, technically a lot of vampires in her world didn't dress like that, but still…"

Gibbs sat there, listening to his girl babble about this Buffy person that she felt connected to somehow. He almost hoped that Ducky would find something that explained this…as long as it was treatable. He couldn't lose Abby to a disease or to a mental breakdown. And honestly, all he could think was that she sounded a little delusional the more she told him about Buffy and the world of vampires.

Abby watched his face as she shared Buffy's life with him. She recognized the look he tried to hide that said he was afraid she was crazy. Time for a demonstration.

She walked over to the fireplace and took the poker and bent it in half, then handed it to Gibbs. "I'm telling the truth, and I'm not delusional," she promised, hoping she was right.

A/N: I picked Abby because I thought having Buffy's memories would change her personality and habits a little, especially the coffin bed thing.