Disclaimer: I'm not Whedon or Bellesario, so I don't claim to own them.
Fandoms: Buffy the Vampire Slayer; NCIS
Pairing: Tony/Xander (established relationship)
Word Count: 1,955
Timeline: Post-Chosen for BtVS; Post-Hiatus for NCIS
Written For: slash_me_twice; Prompt #26 - You; Prompt Table Here
Written For: crossovers100; Prompt #96 - Writer's Choice: You; Prompt Table Here
Beta Reader: azraelz_angel (many thanks!!)
Crossposted: spn_btvs_ncis; ncis_slash; ncisfanfic; slash_me_twice
Series: The Navy Watcher Series
Summary: Xander helps Tony deal with the emotional fallout of Gibbs leaving. Post-Hiatus
The sharp voice from Tony started Xander from his relaxed position on the couch. He winced when the door banged shut and the a few items hit the stand by the door.
“What happened?” he asked cautiously. Then he saw the stormy look in his lover’s eyes and mentally fortified himself for the upcoming explosion. When no answer was forthcoming, Xander decided to press a little more. ‘Never was one for self preservation,’ he thought to himself.
“What happened?” he repeated. “Gibbs okay? Thought you said his memories were back when you called earlier.”
“Gibbs,” Tony said with animosity in his voice. He stalked into the kitchen and Xander heard the banging of the refrigerator door as Tony grabbed a beer. Coming back into the living room, he spoke with force. “It’s always about Gibbs! ‘You aren’t Gibbs, Tony. Stop trying to be Gibbs, Tony.’ That’s what they all said to me. And then,” Tony paused, flailing his arm out wide. “Then he comes in to save the day, Swiss cheesed memory and all. You want to know the only problem with the scenario?”
Xander rubs his head when he feels a headache start to form. “What’s the problem?”
“He didn’t save the day, not completely,” Tony’s voice gives Xander visions of a little boy learning that his superhero wasn’t so super after all. “He gave them the warning and the high ranking jack assess didn’t do a damn thing to stop it and at least nineteen innocent men were killed because of it.”
Xander looked on quietly, before asking, “What else happened?”
Tony snorted. “We were all in the bullpen like the end of any other case. Only this wasn’t any other case. Gibbs went to his desk to get his gun and badge,” Tony’s expression adopted a far off look. “I had to give them to him, because I had kept them in my desk. Right after he had them, he just looked at me; had the strangest expression on his face. Then he said two words, ‘You’ll do,’ and placed them back into my hands. He gave my shoulder a squeeze and told me it was my team.”
Tony slumped to the couch. “I wanted to yell at him that I didn’t want the fucking team, that I wanted him. But I just watched with the others as he got in the elevator and left. McGee was in shock, the director too. Ducky drove him home I think. Abby, well, Abby pretty much collapsed. I should probably check on her later. Make sure she’s okay.”
“You know, all I’ve been able to think about since he walked out of that room was what I could have done different. If I had solved the case faster, maybe Gibbs would still be at his desk; not telling me that I’ll do. Hell, I knew he would leave one day, but I always expected to know before it happened.”
Tony slipped into silence, so Xander walked over to the table and picked up Gibbs’ badge gingerly, opening it to see the gold crest. “It wasn’t your fault Tony,” he said quietly as he placed the badge back down. “It wasn’t any of your team’s fault.”
“Don’t you think I know that,” Tony snapped back as he cracked open a beer and drank a large portion. “I’ve been a cop for too long Xander. I know what burnout is when I see it.”
“Then what’s wrong? If he’s burnt out, he wouldn’t be of any use in the field. Hell, if his memory is still Swiss cheesed as you think it is, he wouldn’t even be allowed in the field.”
At Tony’s silence, Xander walked over and collapsed on the couch next to him. “You’re mad cause he didn’t talk to you about it, aren’t you? Mad that he left you to clean up the fall out with everyone else, leaving no one to clean up you, because he always took care of you. Mad cause you feel the deaths of that crew was your fault because you didn’t put the clues you didn’t have together quick enough.”
Tony just turned and glared at him and finished the beer. Letting the can crush beneath his fingers, Tony looked up at Xander with moist eyes. “What makes you say that?” Tony questioned heavily.
“Voice of experience?” At Tony’s quirked eyebrow, Xander decided to elaborate. “Did I ever tell you that Buffy left once?” he asked quietly, the memories of that summer coming to the front of his mind. “And it wasn’t because she was dead either.”
Xander sank back into the couch and drew his legs up to wrap his arms around them. Maybe, just maybe this would help. “It was right after that whole Angel/Angelus thing. Willow did the spell and Angel got his soul back, but it was too late and Buffy had to send him to whatever hell that portal took him. We thought at the time that she sent Angelus, but we found out later he had his soul back when it happened.”
“How’d she take it?” Tony asked, scooting closer on the couch to Xander so he could lean into the other man.
“Don’t really know cause none of us saw her for four months. She ran. Ran from us, ran from what she had done, ran from her calling as a Slayer. Left us, a couple of high school kids and a British librarian, protecting the mouth of hell. Actually, left me, a non-talkative werewolf, a complaining cheerleader and a bookish girl who was getting in over her head with magic to do the protecting; the British librarian was too wrapped in finding his missing Slayer to be of much help.”
“You became the leader didn’t you?” Tony snaked his arm around Xander and pulled him close.
“Didn’t really have a choice in the matter. The others weren’t in a position to. Oz followed the beat of his own drum, Cordy could lead the snobs and cheerleaders but not us, Willow was… Willow was lost without Buffy. I had to pick up the pieces.”
“What happened when she came back?” Tony asked with a hint of curiosity.
“You asking because you think Gibbs is going to come back?” Xander looked sideways at him.
“I think, no, I know he’ll be back. Not sure how long, but he’ll be back when he’s got the pieces picked up. It’s just…” Tony stopped and looked down at his clenched fist.
“You just don’t want to take everything over, get it all fixed, only to be kicked back down to sidekick when he gets back,” Xander guessed.
“Yeah. Something like that,” Tony said softly.
“Can’t help you on that one Tony,” Xander said quietly as he turned to wrap his body into Tony’s. “They tried to push me out of the group once Buffy got back. Took us forever to get those issues resolved; probably still resolving them.”
“That’s reassuring,” Tony said in a crestfallen voice.
“Hey,” Xander said, as if a light bulb had just gone off, “if they push you out if and when Gibbs comes back, I could use another Slayer wrangler. How does the 10-14 year olds sound to you?”
“No matter what happens Xander, I’ll never be that desperate,” Tony said in an almost normal voice. Xander just gave him a smile before leaning into kiss him.
As they made their way from the couch to the bedroom, Tony’s face took on a contemplative look as he questioned Xander one more time. “Do you think I can lead the team? Keep them safe?”
“Yeah Tony. I know you can and will,” Xander murmured as he tugged Tony onto the bed. “Not stop worrying about it and practice your leadership on me.”
“In that case,” Tony paused as pulled his shirt over his head, “hands and knees now.”
“Yes, sir,” Xander said as he complied to the order.
Two nights later, Xander found himself standing on a beach in Mexico looking at a grey haired man watching the ocean. He cautiously approached the ex-marine and wasn’t surprised when the man turned around to face him. Puzzled blue eyes searched Xander’s face for a moment before a look of semi-recognition flashed across them.
“You’re DiNozzo’s,” he said with more conviction than his eyes showed.
“Guess you could say that,” Xander responded, keeping a safe distance away. He remembered all to well what happened the first time they met. “Nice home away from home you have going on here. Sand, sun, surf… Just missing the local girl with the big tits.”
Gibbs snorted, “What are you doing here? For that matter, how did you find me?”
“Guess your memory isn’t all there yet. Red haired girl, witchy powers, ringing any bells?”
Gibbs frowned for a moment. “Rosenberg?” he questioned. Then his eyes narrowed, “She’s the one that sabotaged my coffee.”
Xander gave a slight laugh. “That would be her. She tends to get cranky when her family gets hurt.” Xander gave Gibbs a pointed look.
Gibbs tensed up, preparing for some unknown fight. “Is that supposed to be a threat?”
“Do I need to make it one?” Xander stood his ground. “You hurt him.”
Gibbs’ face took on a chagrinned look as he let himself sink to sit in the sand. He wiped his hands over his face, wincing as he forgot about the raw burns that still lingered. “I didn’t mean to hurt him, or any of them.”
Xander moved forward to sit next to the older man. “I know you didn’t and I think he knows you didn’t. But it still hurt him.”
“What do you want me to do? Kiss him and make it all better?”
Xander just snorted. “I don’t share. And, even if I did, I don’t think that’s what he needs from you.” Xander kept the thought that Tony might enjoy it to himself.
Xander decided to switch gears. “Are you planning on coming back?”
“What’s it matter if I do or don’t?”
“If you aren’t, then you can at least give him the courtesy of knowing that he’s not just a place holder. If you are, then at least he’ll know he was right.”
“DiNozzo tell you I was coming back?” Gibbs said with a hint of what Xander thought was longing in his voice.
“He seemed to think so the night you left. After I did your job and picked up the pieces, he was ready to go pick up the others, get them working as a team again.”
“I don’t know if I will and can’t say I won’t,” Gibbs said after a moment or two.
“Figured as much,” Xander sighed. “You’re going to hurt him again if you do come back and you’ll hurt him even more if you don’t.”
“I know,” Gibbs said quietly. “Does he know you’re here?”
Xander smiled, “Nope. At least I don’t think he does, and I plan to keep it that way. So that means I need to call my ride.”
Gibbs stayed seated, but watched as Xander walked a short distance away to pull out his cell. Just after Xander disconnected from his call, Gibbs got his attention. “Keep him safe, or I will come back just to kick your ass.”
Xander smiled and decided to respond in true DiNozzo fashion. “On it Boss!” echoed across the sandy beach as Xander disappeared in a shimmering light.
Gibbs turned back around to the ocean and, thinking of how good Xander had been and continued to be for his senior field agent, let a smile play across his chapped lips. “You’ll do too,” he said quietly to the open expanse. “You’ll do too.”