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Within These Walls

Title: Within These Walls
Author: Grundy (jerseyfabulous)
Rating: FR13
Crossover: NCIS
Disclaimer: Buffy belongs to Joss. NCIS belongs to Bellisario. No money is being made here, it's all in good fun.
Summary: Ari's 'safe place' to leave Willow while he does the dangerous part serves more than one purpose.
Word Count: 1010


Willow couldn’t get over the feeling of how very wrong it was for her to be here. Ok, so the door hadn’t been locked, but she still felt like an intruder.

It turned out that Ari’s ‘safe place’ for her to wait for him while he was out and about was Special Agent Gibbs’ house. No wonder he’d had that little smirk on his face when he’d said it.

“What happens if he comes home while I’m here?” Willow had demanded. “This is the man who wants to kill you, remember?”

“He won’t,” Ari said with the confidence of someone stating a fact. “He came home earlier today to change. He won’t come home again until he has a solid lead on me. And I will be keeping him rather busy for several hours. If all goes according to plan, I will have plenty of time to stop back and pick you up before Gibbs can possibly extricate himself from his agency headquarters.”

“But what if-“

“Gibbs would not harm you, Willow. Remember, I know this man. I may not like him, nor does he like me, but I know him. It would not be safe to trust him with my life just now, but he does not have it in him to hurt an innocent girl. Especially-“

Ari shook his head, and left that thought hanging. Whatever he’d been about to say, he’d evidently changed his mind.

In the end, Willow had gone along with it, because Ari’s plans had all worked so far, but it still made her nervous. There was a first time for everything, after all...

She’d walked around the house for the first twenty minutes, paranoid that if she touched anything, it would somehow alert her cousin’s best frenemy that she was here, invading his space. Then she’d finally decided it might be ok to sit down.

On her way to the couch, she’d spotted the photo. Gibbs wasn’t married, from what Ari had told her, and she felt like he would have mentioned that detail before dropping her off at his house. But he must have been at some point. He kept a photo of a woman and a girl in a prominent place on his shelf. Mother and daughter, from the looks of it. The mother was beautiful, the daughter adorable- and clearly adored.

She wondered what had happened to them. She felt sure they weren’t around anymore. From what she knew of him, a man like Gibbs would never routinely leave his house unlocked if his wife and daughter lived there. His wife’s hair had been as red as hers. She suspected that related to what Ari hadn’t said in the car- and possibly what he had said earlier about it going badly if Gibbs caught sight of her with Ari. There were some places you just didn’t go, wounds you didn’t poke at.

She sat down on the couch and frowned. She was running out of ways to kill time that didn’t feel like invading Agent Gibbs’ privacy. She flipped on the TV- and immediately wished she hadn’t. ZNN was covering the death of federal agent Caitlin Todd. She made a mental note of the channel number and then clicked through channels until she found a cartoon channel. Shaggy and Scooby were just getting scared by the monsters of the week.

Willow really wished she could talk to Ziva. Ari had given her no hint of what he intended. He couldn’t. Ziva wouldn’t get any goodbyes before the last part of Ari’s plan kicked in and Willow helped him fake his death. Ziva might not even see him again before that, not if she was running interference at NCIS and Ari was staying out of sight. There would be no explanations and no closure for her. Willow understood the necessity of it- from Ari’s point of view, at least- but it didn’t mean she liked it.

Her phone- a burn phone of her very own!- rang, breaking into her depressing train of thought.

“Yes?” she answered, just as Ari had instructed.

She was only supposed to answer if it was Ari’s latest burn number. Even so, that was no guarantee it would be him. Things could go wrong. ‘Hello’ or ‘Shalom’ each came with potential problems if the wrong person was at the other end of the phone. But even to the wrong person, ‘Yes?’ in a firm, neutral tone gave away nothing. And if the person calling wasn’t Ari, she was to hang up, drop the phone in the trash, and leave quickly.

“Just to reassure you,” came Ari’s voice. “I have finished the first part of what I needed to do. I am now going to finish the other item on the list. I will call again when I am on my way to pick you up. But in the meantime, I suggest you familiarize yourself with the house- including the basement. Just in case.”

“In case of what?” Willow demanded.

But it was no use. Ari had already hung up. He was still in his zone.

“Ok, then,” she said to the empty house. “Let’s check out the basement.”

The basement, which she found through a door in the kitchen, was somehow reassuring. If houses absorbed the character of the person living there, she was pretty sure this basement was Agent Gibbs. He was a woodworker, and worked by hand- Xander would totally approve the craftsmanship. There was a half-finished boat, a radio, all the tools you could ever need, and not much else. While she’d seen a good many workrooms that were messy, this one wasn’t. It was squared away.

Letting her eyes roam, Willow noticed the unusual drawer. She approached cautiously, as if worried something would jump out at her, and with a whispered spell, opened it. Inside, cleaned and doubtless in good working order, was a rifle. She’d never seen one up close, but she was fairly sure this was a sniper’s rifle.

Willow shivered. For the first time, she fully understood how Ari meant this to end.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
avamclean
Aug. 13th, 2013 01:43 am (UTC)
Day Twelve - Accepted!

Willow stuck alone in Gibbs' home? That seems cruel and unusual punishment regardless or not of how safe it is. :)
jerseyfabulous
Aug. 13th, 2013 01:47 am (UTC)
Ari would no doubt point out he didn't leave her there for very long. :)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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