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Previously: Tony and Gibbs were watching Abby outside a Halloween party. When Tony was attacked, Gibbs and Abby revealed some secrets to each other and set into motion a chain of events that could change everything.

After Tony had drunk more than his fill of Gibbs’ blood, Gibbs sat quietly, monitoring Tony’s vitals and watching Abby pace. After she’d healed Tony a lot of the life had gone out of her eyes, her vitality fading. And he was as worried about her as he was Tony. She’d had a near miss and had helped him save Tonyâ€"and he was sure they’d saved him. He hadn’t said anything, not wanting to alarm Abby, but his lover’s pulse had been sluggish, his respirations labored. Gibbs needed to do a full workup of Tony but he didn’t dare do so until Tony was more stable.

This was all new to Gibbs, he’d never tried to save someone’s life this way. When he’d been turned, he had been unconscious, so he awoke to a whole new world. And there wasn’t exactly a Vampire 101 college course. He and the other newbies learned what they could from others and figured out the rest as they went. There was no information on how one single blood transfer from vamp to human worked. Tony could wake up as a baby vampire, or he might just have a bad headache and an aching throat. He might remember the incident or he might never. Gibbs just didn’t know.

And that frustrated him…

He turned his attention back to Abby. –Abbs? You need rest. I’ll watch over you, I only need three or four hours of sleep a night at most.” And he was too keyed up to sleep right now anyway.

–It’s my fault he was there, Gibbs. I’d been having some bad feelings leading up to this rave, but I went anyway. I should know better.” Abby had been raised to be careful. To conceal what she was. But she had totally ignored what she knew and put not only herself in danger, but also her friends.

She rubbed his arm. –You should sleep. You lost blood helping Tony. You need to make sure you replace it suitably. Do you need a donation? Fairy blood might have some healing properties. I don’t know, I’ve never donated.”

He pulled her into a tight, fierce embrace, every bit of protectiveness welling up for her. –It’s my fault too. I let him get involved in staking out and I lost track of him in there. More mine than yours. I should have expected something. I got complacent.”

He looked down at Tony, shaking his head. –I don’t know what mixing our blood might do, Abbs. I don’t dare risk it. When Tobias gives me a sitrep, I’ll ask him to come over and give me some, if I feel weak at all. You recognized his voice, didn’t you?” he asked, knowing she had. –I’m not leaving him and I’m not running any risk that I could be incapacitated. And he or you or both of you could come to harm. Not happening.”

–I’d watch over him, I can take care of the two of us. But I understand.” Abby felt guilty, she may not be directly at fault, but she had something to do with Tony being injured. –I want to give him a good dusting, which will help keep any pain at bay for a little while longer. I’ll give him a charge too, when he wakes up. Just a little energy boost. I may not be able to completely fix him, but I can assist his healing all the same. It’s the least I can do.”

–I’m the man, let me protect and defend, Abbs.” Gibbs smiled fondly. –Dusting? Like a pixie? What does the dust do?” He looked down at Tony. The blood plus his saliva were doing their jobs. –It’ll be completely healed inside and out by morning, but I don’t know what having my blood will do. I guess I should call the one who changed me but…”

The last thing he wanted was Diane over here clucking about Tony. She’d want to bring him into the clan and that was not an option. Tony was not going to be a vampire without deciding himself if Gibbs could help it. If he’d started the transformation, Gibbs would damn well put a stop to it, by sheer force of will.

–Tell me more about yourself, Abbs. What can you do that normal humans can’t?” He began ticking things off on his fingers. –I don’t need much food, don’t need to sleep much. Aging has slowed, almost stopped. Being immortal has its plusses. I can be injured but it is a bitch to kill me.” He shrugged. –Enhanced hearing, sight. The glasses are for show, because you all expect them. I’m stronger and faster than I let on.” And there was the blood and the craving for rare meats, but he wasn’t sure she wanted to know about those.

–Similar to a pixie, but I’m no Tinkerbell. I could pull the little green outfit on, and some wings if that’s your kink. But it doesn’t make me a Tink. Tony’s not going to be able to think happy thoughts and fly, or do anything he normally couldn’t. It will help ease the pain and anxiety of his injuries. I’ve been known to alter moods, although I try not to do that. There’s nothing that says that dusting becomes addictive, but I’d rather not think that I’m changing someone’s true personality just to suit my needs.”

Abby had holes in her own heritage, not having been raised with other fairies. She didn’t seem all that different from any mortal she knew, but then again, she’d thought her boss had been mortal. –Where you crave rare meats, I crave vegetables. I’m not strictly a vegan, not by any stretch. But I need to eat a lot of veggies, flora and fauna. Black roses are a delicacy. So I make sure to take those home with me before they wilt. It’s like the best chocolate in the world, but all natural. You’ll have to try them someday. I’ll bring them over; you might get an all-natural pick me up. I know everyone thinks they’re morbid, but they’re fantastic mixed with strawberry tops.”

–Seeing that I never knew pixies existed either…” He trailed off with an ironic grin. –You know all your life or did they tell you where you came from when you were older? I never believed in hocus pocus and all that stuff until I was changed. And even then, I didn’t get a book or descriptions of who does what. Just figured things out my way, even though I had assistance.”

He arched an eyebrow. –You can eat black roses?” Then he chuckled. –I don’t even know what to say to that. But then again…” He motioned around the room. –Guess I have more than one secret, huh? You ever suspect anything?”

–Of course you can eat black roses. Well, I can. I suppose anyone could, but you have to know about it first. Not everyone sees a dozen roses as dessert.” Knowing now that Gibbs was something more than human, a lot of things fell into place. The way he knew that she needed him, just a minute before she knew she needed him. His uncanny ability to sneak up on her too also made much more sense.

–I’ve known what I was from a young age. Maybe not right away, but my adopted parents never hid what I was. I was trained from very young to not talk to animals or heal people. I did, sometimes if no one there to help. But by doing so I could have given myself away. I can also talk to animals and control plants, as much as you can control them. They’re like cats in a way. Just when you think you’ve got them under control, they do something that you didn’t want them to do.”

Abby had always known that there were others out there. She’d heard there were elves and pixies and dark ones, but she had never put that much stock in vampires. –There are otherworldly things out there, Gibbs. The things I hide from, they aren’t anything to laugh at. They aren’t going to stop until they get me. It might be time for me to leave and start my life somewhere else.”

–Don’t think so, Abbs. You have a life here. With us. Not letting you go, especially now that I know you could be in danger.” He absorbed her information. –Guess it was naive of me to think that we were alone out there but I didn’t realize there was…so much. What else is out there? Tell me what I have to defend us from.”

He glanced over at Tony, making sure he was still deeply asleep before continuing. –I have to know what to do, what their weaknesses are. Too damn many people know ours and even though a lot is rumor, the stakes to the heart and the cutting heads off are permanent.” He motioned to the window. –Sun is fine, still eat garlic, can go to church. But the stakes. Will kill. Permanently.”

He smirked, deep in his thoughts. –Was always a dog guy but cats started coming around after I was changed. I don’t know if they can hear me but I can understand ‘em and they can understand me.”

But they were dancing around the bigger issue. –Someone tried to kill Tony. And you have to understand, Abbs, there are few people more important than you, but he is.” He gestured around the room at Tony’s clothes, the big screen TV, the game system. –He’s my mate, Abbs. And I’ll fight to the death for him. The fact that they touched what’s mine makes it as personal as it gets. And add the threat to you to this. I’m taking them down, Abbs. Painfully and slowly. They’re going to spill everything before they die.”

–I don’t know what’s chasing me this time, Gibbs, and I won’t put you or our family in danger any more than you already are. I won’t put Tony, Ziva or Ducky in danger. No one asked to have to deal with what’s going on with me. No would know to ask to deal with my life, I mean come on. Royal fairy, being chased by some paranormal bad guy. I mean, even on the worst day, Ziva couldn’t imagine that.”

Because Abby didn’t grow up in a world that dealt with witches, wizards and vamps, she didn’t know for sure what else might be out there. –I know about elves, pixies and trolls, Gibbs. Well, and now vamps. But everyone has a boogieman growing up. I’ve heard of various mythical creatures, although you’ve proved one thing wrong today. Zombies, mummies, selkies, brownies, dragons and griffins are spoken of, there are good fairies and bad ones. Just like I’m sure there are good vamps and bad vamps. This could be anything; it could be humans with a vamp complex. It could be another fairy coven. I really don’t know.”

–Too late. I’m involved and so is Tony. He didn’t choose it and it is a bad deal, but it happened. When they touched my Tony, all bets were off. It became as personal as it gets.” He wondered why she didn’t mention McGee, if that meant he was something supernatural as well. Ziva could hold her own…as Tony could under normal circumstances, but these weren’t normal. But Ducky…with his elderly mother. They’d be too easy a target.

–Have you seen Duck outside work recently, Abbs? Could anyone tie you to him or vice versa.” Gibbs assimilated what he was told. –I need to bring my creator in on this. We might be able to get additional insight. And as soon as Fornell calls in, he’s in. You have any objections to that, state ‘em now.”

–"No, I haven't seen Ducky outside of work. We've both been pretty busy. I didn’t want you involved, I should have known better. I knew something wasn’t right, but I wanted to go out and enjoy myself.” She’d have a lot of making up to do, once Tony was better and up and about again. –Bring in Fornell, anyone you think might be able to help. The team too, I can try to explain about me, we don’t have to tell them about you. Or about you and Tony. That is no one’s business but your own. Even if I am happy you’ve found someone to love again. I worry about you, and I know that Tony will take good care of you.”

He looked over at Tony, his expression softening. –Don’t worry, Abby. We’re making it. And don’t blame yourself. You could never have known that things were going to happen the way they did.”

~*~

Fornell quietly cursed and strained against the thick length of chain that bound him to a tree. The perps, and there were three of them, had gotten the jump on him somehow. They’d tortured him for a while, pressing a birch stake against his chest and penetrating inward until they met ribs. They’d taken wickedly curved blades and sliced deeply into his flesh, but he hadn’t given over the information, not that he had it anyway. He could assume she was with Jethro but she may have gone underground.

He hoped that whoever had been hurt had survived the attack. It was bloody lucky if they did. There was a lot of blood loss.

He rested his head against the tree once more, conserving his energy in case they came back and sent a distress cry to his mate, the one who had turned him originally.

Diane had been at a very late business dinner when she heard a keening cry in her head. She knew that couldn’t mean anything good. Her children never called, at least not when they were hurt or in trouble. She often had to rely on phone calls from well-placed moles to hear if the boys were injured.

Excusing herself, Diane hurried out to her car, where she could concentrate and try to track Tobias. She took a couple of deep breaths, trying to home in on where he might be. Opening up her senses completely, she drove where her internal compass directed her. She only hoped that she wasn’t too late.

When she pulled up to a deserted field, she was surprised, but as soon as she opened the door, the smell of blood was overpowering. –Toby, where the hell are you? What mess have you gotten yourself into?”

–Diane!” he managed weakly. –Against the tree. They…” He closed his eyes and sent a mental picture of what happened to his mate. And she was his mate, even though she had created him. They’d found each other again recently, coming together with fanged lust and desire and need. A need that overwhelmed him and threatened to choke him sometimes. He’d never wanted anyone as much as he wanted his vampire queen.

He struggled against the magically strengthened chains and growled low. He’d lost over half his blood volume and was as weak as he’d ever been. –Diane…help….”

–Oh Toby.” Diane rushed around the tree, having seen the mental image but it hadn’t prepared her for what she saw in front of her. She tried pulling the chains, but even with her extra strength, she wasn’t able to break them.

Offering her wrist to her childe and lover, Diane considered just what they were going to do. She could have a delivery from the blood bank taken to her house, but she would have to get Tobias there first.

–I need to call Jethro, someone is coming for him and his team and he needs to know. I can also call a friend, someone who knows what I am and who may be willing to help us with the chains. That means though, that I’m going to have to expose you and what you are. We also need to get you stronger. I can’t lose you again Toby.”

–Jethro knows,” he managed. –Called me, one of his people attacked. Male…lot of blood.” He shook his head. –Won’t weaken you, Diane. Won’t put you at risk. Emily…” He closed his eyes and gathered strength from deep inside.

–Call your friend. And Jethro if you need. Expose us if you have trust. Won’t lose me.”

Something occurred to him and he gripped her arm. –Emily…where is she? Get Jethro to her. Someone could be after her. Di…” He trailed off, gasping for breath. –Could be a distraction. Could…” He struggled again, throwing himself against the chains, slick with his blood. He hated being weak. He hated putting her at risk.

–Emily is fine. She’s with her guards, in a secure location. Nothing will happen to our daughter.” Emily was the first hybrid vampire child born, and would lead their people into the future. –If someone is coming for Jethro, we can’t send her there. She’ll be fine where she is. And you need to feed. Not a lot, but my blood will go further then your average redhead’s Toby. You can take less and it will heal you and help with the hunger pains you have to be having. I won’t have you dying on me while I get some help here.”

~*~

Ziva David had been sleeping when she was shaken awake. Halloween and the Christian All Souls’ Day brought them out in droves, so sleeping was the only way she could find peace. –Go away and leave me alone,” she said for perhaps the hundredth time tonight.

–You don’t want to send me away, Ziva.” Jenny Shepard might be dead but she knew she could still bring her agents to attention with a soft reprimand. –You need to wake up, you’re needed, Ziva. Jethro, he’s in trouble and I don’t believe he can fight the forces that are coming for him and the rest of the team. Without you, all could be lost.”

Ziva had often dreamed of Jenny lying so still and bloodied in the diner in California, but she had never sounded this urgent. Ziva’s eyes opened of their own accord and she stared, reaching out to touch her friend. Before pulling back, breathing deeply to ensure that she herself was still alive and drawing breath.

–Jenny? Are you real?”

"Real is a relative term. I'm real in the sense that I'm here, and not a dream. I'm not alive though. But by the visitors I've seen coming and going tonight, I don't think that's much of a surprise." During their friendship, Jenny had never realized that Ziva had special powers, outside of what was listed on her resume. But those powers were going to be needed, to tip the scales and bring balance to good and evil once more.

Ziva had never seen a friend or family member before, though she’d always been worried that Ari would hunt her down and stalk her for what she’d done to him. Ziva sat up, studying her friend, still in the bloodied shirt she’d been wearing when she was gunned down. She reached a hand out, touching an arm that was warm and alive even though the body no longer drew breath. –Jenny? Why are you here?” she asked wearily. What would her friend want of her?

–I realize it’s early for the ghosts of past, present and future. But I’m here to guide you through what may be a very difficult time for you and your team, Ziva. I can only hope we aren’t too late. There will be many changes, your skills will be needed to make sure that everyone survives this time.”

Ziva screwed her face up in intense concentration. She didn’t know what Jenny meant of these ghosts. Were there ghosts in her future? She gripped her friend’s arm. –Tell me about the diner. What happened to you there? Tell me that first and then you tell me the rest of this story that you have for me. Jenny, Tony and I regretted letting you go on your own. We were so foolish. We’re so sorry that we left you. Why did you do it? Why did you let them kill you? What were you hiding?”

"My own stupidity, and my inability to allow anyone to help me. I was dying Ziva, the bullets may have ended my life, but it was the more humane way to go. I had a brain tumor, I wasn't going to go fast and painless if I hadn't have been killed. I would have withered away, forgetting my friends and the people who loved me." Jenny hadn't wanted to die either way, yet if she had to choose, the way she went was preferable. But she hadn't expected that Tony or Ziva would still be feeling guilty over what transpired.

"You did what your superior told you. If you hadn't, you would have ended up dead too. It wasn't either of your time. It was as it was meant to be."

Ziva met Jenny’s eyes and nodded slowly. –Still, I am sorry. Tony…he still drinks. He is tormented. They separated us, Director Vance. He sent me back to Mossad and my father, Tony was sent on an agent afloat assignment where he brooded. And McGee was sent to cyber crimes. The excuse and reasoning are sound, but we were broken apart and Tony still has not recovered.”

Ziva was aware that her voice had sharpened and she closed her eyes briefly. –I am sorry, Jenny. I wish you had let us know so that he would not continue to carry the guilt around. The only one who can reach him consistently is Gibbs.”

Ziva and Jenny had saved each other’s lives before and Ziva had been tormented for a time but she learned from a young age not to blame herself. But Tony, he hadn’t moved on. –Dos anyone know? Does Gibbs? May I tell him and Tony?”

–Ducky knew, he was working on a treatment plan. I expect he may have told Jethro. But if he hasn’t, you can share. Confirm with Ducky, he’ll be honest with you, if you ask him outright. He still feels as if he needs to protect my legacy.” It was sweet of her friend to want to protect her, but her place in history was cemented as being the first female director of NCIS, and doing the things she accomplished. –I don’t want Tony to be guilty, I hope you will let him know that. That was never the plan.”


–You could be self obsessed but you were never needlessly cruel,” Ziva commented. She had questions that only someone like Jenny could answer. –Have you seen either Ari or Rene Benoit? Have you…seen my sister?”

"I haven't done a lot of visiting. But I can say that if there were a way for me to find either of those men, I would. I believe they're doing their penance on another plane, but your sister. Now I know what you were like as a child. She's beautiful and so vibrant. You shouldn't feel guilty over her death, there was nothing you could have done to prevent it, Ziva. She loves you, and doesn't hold any ill will about what happened."

Ziva pulled in a deep breath. –She should never have died so young, Jenny. Tali was all that was good about me. She should never have died.” She looked away, pain in her eyes. –If you see her again, will you tell her that her death was not in vain, could never be in vain?”

–I know I’ll see her again Ziva. She’s a lovely girl, and I always enjoy her company. The days are very long, with little to do besides watch our loved ones. She makes the days more joyful. She knows that though, Ziva. You don’t have to worry, she knows and loves you as much now as she did then.”

Ziva nodded, unaccustomed to being so vulnerable. –Well then. Thank you for that that, Jenny. She was…she is…my inspiration.”

She stood slowly, reading the emotions in Jenny’ eyes. –I will speak with Ducky and try to have a chat with Tony. And Gibbs. They seem to have grown into close friends since Tony’s return.”

Ziva wasn’t ready to explain that she’d often driven by Gibbs’ house, seeing Tony’s car there. –I believe he must use Gibbs’ spare room on occasion rather than sleeping in a lonely apartment. His underover assignment was hurtful; it cut him deeply. He hasn’t dated, even casually, since.”

She paused for a long moment. –Jenny, you hurt him deeply. You should never have allowed him to become so involved.”

Tony had been the one issue Jenny hadn't been able to resolve before her time on Earth was done. "He wasn't supposed to fall in love with her. It was why I chose Tony, he was so good at his job, and he should have been able to walk away from this without any attachments. I never would have asked him to take the assignment if I thought he'd fall for Jeanne. I don't know that I can make things right for him, Ziva. With your help though, I might be able to."

–But he did, and you knew and you did nothing to stop it. We all saw the changes in him. I was convinced he was ill again because he talked about hospital this and test that. And he even told me he was bringing a stool sample to his doctor.” She gave Jenny an intense look. –You must try to make it better for him. He has suffered deeply.”

–I’ll need your help, Ziva. I don’t know that if I tried, he’d be able to see me or know I was there. I’ll work on making it better, but I might need someone to do my work for me. Are you up for the challenge?”

–I am, fix Tony though, Jenny. You do not let him keep drinking so much and falling into this hole. He is becoming more like Gibbs every day and while that works quite well for Gibbs, Tony is not Gibbs.”

She sighed. –What is it you need of me, Jenny? For Tony and for the rest? You woke me up with your commentary that made no sense then as it makes no sense now. Why did you summon me? For what purpose?”


~*~

Donald Mallard soothed the old woman’s brow and placed a cup of tea in her hand. Mother had awoken screaming a short time earlier. She’d been in the throes of one of her fits, or visions. He wasn’t sure any more. She had once been a powerful seer, but time had dulled her memories as well as her talents and Ducky never knew if he could trust her visions, if they were dreams or the ruminations of a feeble-minded woman.

This one had dealt with their friends, though, and Ducky couldn’t take any chances.

When she was asleep, he’d do what he could to protect his friends, but they could never know about his magical heritage. It wasn’t as if they would accept it. Well, perhaps Abby would be open minded enough to do so, but Gibbs? It was laughable. Jethro Gibbs would snort in the face of anything magical and the Mallard family had magic going back centuries.

–Mother, can you tell me what you saw, so that I might protect my friends as best I can?”

–Blood, I saw lots of blood, Donald. And the tall dark haired girl, the one with the stuffed animal.” Victoria Mallard tried to focus on her dreams, but they were so horrible, she hated thinking about them. –She is in grave danger. She is one of the few left, Donald, she must be kept safe no matter what. She is the hope, and those who wish her harm will try to extinguish her light. You can’t allow that to happen, none of you can. For if she falls, you all will. And then we will all be in trouble. You can’t allow that to happen.”

~*~

Gibbs pulled Abby into his arms, the primal need to comfort and protect her rearing up. He had to make himself feel useful, to guard her. –We tell the team nothing. Too many people know now and that puts you at risk. Much as I trust the team, they are to be protected, not become a part of this.”

"If we have to, we tell them about me. I won't put all of you in more danger than you're already in. Them not knowing could be worse than becoming a part of all of this. They're already a part, it's a matter now of how we keep them safe."

He motioned to Tony, where the younger man lay still against the bedding. –Not doing that, not allowing them to be in his position, Abbs. If we lost one of them because of your heritage or what I’ve become, we’d never forgive ourselves.”

–We won’t have to, Abbs. They wouldn’t believe it anyway and as much as I trust them, you’re in a heck of a lot of danger yourself. They’re trained investigators and they know to cover each other’s sixes despite what else is going on and how stressed we all are. I trained ‘em to be prepared for anything.”

–This happened to Tony without knowing. If he knew, maybe he would have been closer. Maybe he would have been more aware of his surroundings.” Abby might not agree, but Gibbs was the leader and she’d accept his decision unless something else happened.

–You trained them to be prepared for anything? Does that include rogue vamps or any other paranormal being? It’s not like dealing with a human.”

–He can’t know, Abby. He’ll…he could leave and then where would we be.” He wasn’t being at all rational but this circumstance was beyond him. He really needed to know what they were up against, both with Abby’s situation and what lasting damage he’d done to Tony.

‘We might not have a choice. He may have started to change. I didn’t know when I was changed until it was over, Abbs, so I’m flying blind here. I don’t know what was done to change me.”

It had happened and there were times he regretted it but he knew he had to live with it. –I trained them to expect the unexpected and that could include things that stretch their imaginations. I know we’re not human, Abbs. I don’t know about you, but I think differently now. And sometimes I think of humans as prey. Not often, but I’ve done it before and will do it again.”

The basic fact was that he wanted to protect the team from their world, a world he didn’t understand and needed to learn quickly now. He’d spent too long avoiding matters of his own clan and it was coming back to bite him.

"If we don't have to tell them, we won't. I don't want them hurt though. Whatever this is that is targeting us, we're going to need to face it head-on. Doing that without the full team might be difficult." She did understand why he didn't want to tell, and why he didn't want Tony to know what had happened. But she wasn't sure it was the right decision. She could only hope that what they were deciding now, was right.

"Tony might leave, but he is your mate. He won't stay away for long. Who can live without you, Gibbs?"

–And doing it with the full team could kill them, Abby. You want that on your conscience for eternity? I sure as hell don’t! I couldn’t.” He was well used to responsibility but this was different. They could be killed by something they didn’t know or understand.

–They all leave, Abbs,” he said heavily. –All the ex wives, team members.” He didn’t have faith even though he knew he should, even though he knew Tony was different and broke the mold.

–If it was just you, would you tell him? Could you tell him, Abbs? I couldn’t, can’t. If he doesn’t accept me, I lose my best friend and my mate and one of the only people I can trust out in the field to always be there and on my six.”

He couldn’t give that up. He couldn’t lose Tony, not after he’d finally found happiness with his mate. –If he left in anger, that’d kill me.”

–If it were me, and he was my lover. I’d have to tell him eventually. There gets to be a point where someone notices that you aren’t aging anymore. If I were going to marry someone, I’d have to be honest.” She had never gotten to that point. Having this kind of secret made her seriously consider if she was in love or it was just a bout of lust.

–But I’m not you. I want to believe that someone I was in love with, who loved me back, would accept the weirdness of my life.”

–You think this is just honesty?” He’d never thought of it that way. –I’ve just been trying to protect him from all of it, Abby.” He was so worried that he might lose Tony and he wasn’t being objective.

–Just don’t know, Abbs. Know I don’t want to lose him though. Whatever it takes, I’m not losing him.”

"Don't see it happening. One thing I know about Tony, he's loyal. If he's given you his heart, he's not planning on leaving."

–Don’t want him to either,” Gibbs admitted.

He rubbed her back in slow circles before he backed away, grabbing a pair of sweatpants, a T-shirt and a comfortable pair of socks. –The bedroom gets cool at night, Ms. Flintstone. Why don’t ya change into something more practical? If we need to fight, you don’t need the distraction of a clunky necklace.”

"I thought I was being sassy, with my red hair and little costume. Even if you weren't going to see me dressed in it. Monday, or if we got a call over the weekend, I was going to show up with my red hair, minus the necklace, and get a smile from you." Silly joke, get the boss to smile or laugh and this was how it ended. She should have stuck with her dark hair and pigtails. The red was actually close to her natural color, a strawberry blonde. "You give me your sweats, you might not get them back Gibbs. I've got your USMC t-shirt at home still. I don't think you're ever going to get it back."

He looked her up and down, managing a smirk. –You’re sassy as a redhead and damn sexy, Abbs. I’m smiling. And you didn’t do this, so stop. You didn’t attack him. This could have happened the same if you were at home, Abby. Cut the guilt and focus. And you wanna keep my clothes, you’re welcome to ‘em. Look better on you than on me anyway.”

–But if I were home, you two would have been at home, not out on the streets waiting for me.” Abby did guilt, and until she talked to Tony she wasn’t going to feel better about what had happened. –Let me have my guilt. I could have gotten him killed Gibbs. I need to work through that.”

–Bull. Tony would have dragged me over there just like he dragged me to the rave. The curiosity over what was going on was killing him. He would have dragged me out and I could have said no, but I didn’t.” Gibbs sighed. –Fine, have your guilt. Want a drink while we both sulk. What do faeries like to drink best anyway? I’m thinking bourbon isn’t refined enough for the royal princess I have here. What is the protocol anyway? Should I bow or call you ‘your highness’ or something?”

He realized that sounded sarcastic and he shrugged. –Never wanted to educate myself about a world I didn’t want to inhabit. Sorry, Abbs. Not personal. I just never chose this and I guess I’ve been a bastard for not informing myself and that was what got Tony in trouble. Not you.”

"Gibbs, it's fine. You're in unfamiliar territory and you don't know what to think about it." Abby thought that her boss was handling her less than humanness rather well, especially considering everything that had happened already tonight.

"Bourbon is fine, although if you have a jar of honey and some tonic, it might do more to calm my nerves. But whatever you're having is fine. And you don't have to do anything special; I'm still just Abbs. Nothing changes, unless you were a fairy, and then you might want to bow or something. But I don’t follow any of the formalities. I'm not the queen; I have no real desire to be queen, even if it's expected. I want to be a forensic scientist, that's plenty for me right now. Anything else would just be a distraction."

–Got gin, tonic, honey. Knock yourself out and bring me some bourbon back. Don’t get drunk any more but it helps to mellow me.” He was too keyed up and on edge. He couldn’t stay like this, not until he replenished his blood supply or it replicated. Tony had taken a hell of a lot.–Go down, don’t be down there long though. The basement and this floor are more heavily protected against invasion than the main level. In case I entertain.” He smirked.

–Not that I entertain much. Just the team and you have all been allowed past the protection. She gave him a curious look and he shrugged. –My creator set up protection in case the house was ever needed for others like me. It’s a big house, a nice house, and I have a lot of bushes in the back yard. Would be easy for them to come inside if they needed a place to rest or heal. Never been used, but the option is there.”

And ut was a safe haven if they ever needed it for little Emily.

He swatted her. –Go get us some drinks. I think I have some bagged salad too if you want to eat some weeds.”

–I might in a little bit. I’ll make you something that will help calm your nerves but isn’t bourbon. You’re talking to an organic girl who learned to mix drinks at her uncle’s knee. I spent my fair share of time in a Bourbon Street bar, no one can mix them like I can.” Abby wasn’t sure she should leave Gibbs alone; he still seemed a bit unstable.

–You keep bagged weeds in your fridge? Am I going to have to take away your man card? Really, that’s about as unmanly as it comes. Unless you’ve got a little blonde pixie type girlfriend you’re trying to appease. But Tony isn’t exactly the type. I’ve seen what the man eats.”

–I sometimes eat salad when we grill steaks. Veggies aren’t unmanly. Especially if you drown ‘em in dressing. Prefer a nice rare steak but I still try to eat a balanced meal when I can. And I keep Tony healthy enough despite his bad eating habits”

Gibbs ran a hand through his hair. –Go ahead, make me something. Just promise me that I’ll like it or I’ll have a good chance at not spitting it out.”

"You'll love it, promise. I'll bring up some snacks or something too. You lost some blood, and you need to take care of yourself too. Tony's going to need you at full strength."

Abby ran down, raiding the fridge. There was the promised bag of weeds, but there were also some cheese cubes that she grabbed. Looking through the pantry, she was able to find some crackers, which would make an okay snack. She also dug deep and found a honey bear that had seen better days. But it would work for what she had planned. Her next step was to raid the bar, taking two glasses and several liquors and the tonic water for her. She rushed back upstairs, not wanting to leave Gibbs alone too long.

"You need a woman in this house. Your fridge is pathetic, so you only get cheese cubes, and whatever I choose to pour you."


While she was puttering around, he just watched Tony sleep, the rise and fall of his lover’s chest, the stillness of Tony’s body rather than his constant motion. It was unnatural and yet it was touching in its own way.

He’d been so deep in thought that he was a little startled when Abby came back in. –Don’t eat a lot at home and I haven’t shopped in a while. He makes some great pasta but most work nights we go out for a quick burger, or order in pizza or Chinese or I grill either chicken or steak.” He shrugged. –Just like most working guys do. Not so much different there, Abs. Given the schedule we keep. Like I said, Tony has no idea about me. I eat and drink like normal. Or normal for me anyway.”

–Cheese is fine. And whatever it is you’re making me. Not one of McGee’s inventions, right?”

–No, it’s one of my own inventions.” Abby started pouring liquor, knowing she wouldn’t get Gibbs drunk made her a little more liberal with what she could give him. –A touch of honey goes a long way in calming the nerves, and you don’t even hardly notice it’s there. It has soothing properties. Add a little dust, and you’ve got a great drink that will tranq a rhino, or give a vamp or fairy a little buzz.”

–You feed many vamps, Abbs?” he asked, motioning to the drink, a swirling purple concoction. It smelled okay, he supposed, taking a tentative taste. –Okay Abbs, besides honey what do you have in this?. It isn’t bad. Not bad at all.” It wasn’t the same as a beer or the smoothness of bourbon but he could deal with this, even if he wouldn’t drink it in mixed company.

"A little bourbon, a little gin, a little rum, a lot of honey and dust. I'd normally add some more organic flavors, but you don't seem the type to want to be drinking daisy juice or shredded lilac. I could work up something for you, that involves blood or something more to your taste. I'm a whiz at drinks, the Big Easy flows through my veins. I may not be a native, but New Orleans is still my home."

He snorted and shook his head. –No, I’ll pass on the weeds, Abbs. Unless they’re a part of a huge salad followed by a nice rare steak.” He gave her a naughty grin. –And Tony for dessert. Or chocolate ice cream. Same level of addiction for me.”

–You don’t know what you’re missing. And please, I really don’t want to know about your proclivities or that you smear chocolate ice cream on Tony or whatever it is you two do.”

–Didn’t mean sexually, Abbs. Tony’s like my ice cream. Essential to my health and well-being. Feeds my soul. That was all I meant by it.” Though the idea of Tony with chocolate drizzled on him was a damn good idea. He couldn’t help licking his lips and smirking.

"Oh, stop it. You don't normally give so much away, and that grin is giving away every little thought." Obviously Gibbs was beyond filtering right now, and while interesting. There was a lot Abby didn't feel the need to know. "If you want to smear him in chocolate ice cream, roll him in nuts, drizzle hot fudge on him before spraying him down with whipped cream, that's fine. Just don't want to know about it."

Obviously his defenses were down if Abbs was getting uncomfortable by what he said. She didn’t even have a common sense filter like every other adulyt in the world did. But when she talked about making Tony a sundae, he couldn’t help smirking. That actually sounded pretty damn good.

–Abby doesn’t like food play, check. Will remember that next time we talk and…” Well, when he’d talk. He didn’t usually talk like this. Must be the blood loss or the tension or something he didn’t even dare to put his finger on. He’d always been comfortable with Abbs but this was different. Their rapport and teasing had never been like this, but given all they’d gone through tonight, maybe it was natural. He hoped so anyway. Was this his new reality? One where he talked and made sexual innuendoes even more than DiNozzo. Was kind of scary. No…correct that. It was quite a bit scary. He hadn’t been that guy since before the Kyle Boone case and wondered not for the first time how he’d become who he was at the office.

And how he was changing now.

–Abby likes food play, when she’s involved. She doesn’t need to know what her boss and friend are playing at though. Now if you’re offering to let me watch, we might discuss it.”

Gibbs laughed, shaking his head. –Up to Tony, Abbs, But if he says yes…” he shrugged. It was nice to be relaxed for a moment, despite what had happened. Gave him hope that things could be repaired with not only Tony but overall. –I love him and his comfort is the most important, Abbs. If he says yes, you’re in for the ride of your life. But it has to be completely up to him, Abbs.”

He wouldn’t tell her that he knew they could both be interested. That was a discussion best saved for later. Much later. Maybe never if the timing wasn’t right.

–Let’s survive the weekend. Then we can think about me coming to watch.” It made her happy to hear Gibbs talk about how he loved Tony and that everything was for his comfort. –Pretty boys making out and having sex, I could get into that. But if I have to, I can run down to my local smut shop and buy the DVD. Or you could make me a DVD. Even better if you ask me.”

–No. No DVD making in our future. Sorry, Abbs. But I think maybe we could negotiate something else or if not, we could share DVD suggestions.” Gibbs regarded Tony with a small smile. –He’s got quite a collection, Abbs. Didn’t know two guys could do some of the things they do in his DVDs. Mind boggling. Just like how much he loves pizza.”


Gibbs leaned against the wall, breathing deeply. –When I was first turned I hoped I’d still want food. Couldn’t imagine not wanting or tolerating eating. Only thing that changed is I don’t gain any weight and I love my meat rare. Can still eat all the same things, they mostly taste better too.” Enhanced senses, he knew she must have them as well.

–Knowing what I am change how you look at me very much?” He knew it had to change things somewhat, but as for how much, that he was curious about.

–You’re Gibbs, doesn’t change just because you’ve had some dental work. What you are matters to me less than who you are.” Abby wouldn’t allow such a little thing in her mind to change how she looked at her friend. –Really, I could care less. That you drink a little blood isn’t a horrible fate, the fact that I could have lost you before I even knew you. That’s what scares me.”

–But it does, Abbs. I’m a predator now and while it might not mean a great deal to you, it does to me. Sometimes I look at people differently.” Not often but when he did it shook him to the core.

He tapped her on the nose lightly. –Was meant to stay against my best wishes and against my body’s strength in the end. I was saved, not by medicine but by someone else’s hand. Someone who deserved better than me and got the booby prize. I’m not the guy you want me to be, Abbs. The NCIS agent is just a part of who I am. The guy who needs blood is a bigger part some days, the guy who thinks about going dark in Interrogation and just taking. Won’t happen, but my mind goes there and that bothers me.”

"You say predator, I say protector. I know that you can not only handle the fact of what I am but that I can count on you to protect me if it came down to it Gibbs. I can live with the blood; I can live with the need. But I can't live without you."

He thought he liked protector a hell of a lot more than predator. –You don’t feed off others, Abbs. There is a huge difference there between healing and eating few red meats and drinking what I have to drink sometimes. Not often, not every day, but once or twice a month, I have to have it. Tony has no idea. I steal a sip here or there, take more from my blood family…” He was lucky to have them. They never rolled their eyes, they never said no. When he called them and they heard the desperation in his voice, Toby’d come over, rip an arm open and just press it against his mouth. There was no anger or emotion and for that he was supremely grateful. They’d never judged him or his choices and considering how he and Diane had parted he knew he was lucky.

–No, I don’t. But I still know that I trust you. You don’t change in my eyes, I am very happy to have you in my life though. So drink what you want, and eat raw steak if that makes it better. Just don’t try to convince me that you are an animal. I won’t believe it.”

–Not an animal. I’m not that angst laden and upset by what I am. I just don’t always care for the…seedier aspects of what I am. The blood, the need. I don’t take unless I absolutely have to but there is an underlying need there that makes me vulnerable in ways that don’t thrill or excite me.”

Abby couldn’t understand the need sometimes thrumming through his veins and how even the rare times he was a prisoner to it, he hated himself. Gibbs hated giving up power, even to himself, especially to himself.

–I’m glad to hear it. You can’t beat yourself up over needing something. Sure, it’s not easy but it’s not like you’re denying yourself chocolate. That would make me crabby, but I don’t require it. You need blood. Think of it like milk. It does a body good.”

–Abbs, I’ve got it covered. Tony doesn’t have any idea. And I like it that way. We work well together as is right now. He does my soul good. Forget the milk, forget the blood. All I need is my boy here.” Here he was being vulnerable again but she wouldn’t judge him.

~*~
When the men rushed in and killed Kenny, Emily started screaming. Her babysitters were never like the ones her friends had. All of Emily’s were big strong men who had guns and very sharp knives. She didn’t understand why but she liked them. And now Kenny’s head was across the room from his body. And something had happened to Ivan, she could hear him yelling.

Emily had tried to crawl under the bed, but a man had pulled her hard by the leg, causing her ankle to hurt real bad. He made her sit down as he packed a bag for her but then he opened her mouth and looked at her teeth, poking them real hard. He wore a hood and she couldn’t even see his face.

All his friends came around and laughed meanly. Emily tried to make herself invisible, like Harry Pottter but she wasn’t magic and she didn’t have a cloak. When she tried to move, they called her filthy names and pulled her hair so she stayed quiet. Mommy and Daddy had always told her that if a mean man came by and he had friends, she should be really good until she could get free. And then run like hell, Daddy had said. But Emily knew hell was a bad word.

–Mommy? Daddy? Where are you?” she said, crying, as a man dressed all in black picked her up and carried her out. He wasn’t rough but he smelled bad, evil and she couldn’t help the tears that ran down her face. Her friends Peter, and Ivan and Kenny and Darnell were dead. All her guards were gone. Even Mrs. Orton who cooked and cleaned for them was lying on the ground still, a piece of wood sticking out of her chest. Were her Mommy and Daddy dead too? What about Uncle Jethro? Who would help her now?

–Don’t you know, Princess? No one will be able to help you. But if you’re a good girl, I might just bring your mother and father here, before I remove all of you from the world. So if you want to see your precious mommy and daddy, you better behave.” He had read the young girls thoughts, although it hadn’t been hard. She was broadcasting them loud and clear. –Let’s hope that your uncle comes looking for you or is willing to trade what is mine to get you back alive. You’re much too valuable, I’m surprised that they didn’t guard you better, pretty girl. A lesson I hope they learn, because there may not be a second chance.”

–Don’t you hurt them!” Uncle Jethro was like another daddy to her, he was her daddy’s brother and once, way before she’d been born, he’d been married to Mommy but it didn’t work out. So Mommy and Daddy said Uncle Jethro was like a stepfather and he was her safe place in a storm if Mommy and Daddy couldn’t get to her.

–I’m valuable,” she repeated. –A princess and you can’t hurt the princess or there is no happily ever after. Why did you hurt my friends? They were nice and you killed them. Why?” More tears ran down her face. –You poked sticks into them and everything and you’re gonna go to hell. That’s where murderers go. My daddy takes care of killers every day.”

–I can promise you, if I’m going to hell your father and uncle will be joining me there. But don’t worry, princess. You might not even be here to see it. Again, we’ll see how well your father and uncle play the game. For now, I need you. But if I come to find out you’re not needed.” The voice paused, the man knowing what a smart girl Emily Fornell was, being the child of a vampire and a federal agent. –Well, I’m sure you can figure out what happens when you’re no longer needed.”

She struck out like Daddy had taught her, the little fist hitting the man where his fly was. –You can’t hurt me! I’ll kill you first.” Her mouth all of a sudden felt all prickly and icky, like her teeth were too big for it, and she touched it. –Ow! My tooth grew! What did you do to me?”
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