Soon after Dawn had made her feelings clear, Xander had found Gibbs, and had dragged him off without warning. Gibbs had been expecting something, so hadn’t put up a fuss, but he was certainly on his guard. Xander stood before him now, sinister looking battle axe resting on the floor in front of him, and began to speak.
“When Riley started dating Buffy, Willow told him that if he ever hurt Buffy, she would beat him to death with a shovel; a vague disclaimer is nobody’s friend, she said. Of course, she didn’t do that, though I did think of it a few times. But he was in Bolivia or somewhere like that, and we were fighting Glory, so it never panned out. That said,” Xander hefted his axe, and slung it over his shoulder, “meet the new and improved shovel speech (trademark pending.)”
Gibbs looked around the room, which was bare except for a number of poster-sized photographs of people he’d never met.
Xander walked him to the first poster, a beautiful blonde with a sunny smile, and he used his axe to point to it. “This is Buffy, Dawn’s sister. You’ll be meeting her soon, and if she has any problems with you, well… Actually, if she has any problems, I’m sure Dawn will have a long and drawn-out discussion with her about boyfriends and the appropriateness thereof. After all, if you do it for the first time with a two-hundred and fifty year old souled vampire who promptly loses his soul because of the happies had, you kind of lose any cred you might ever have had. Also, Buffy is the currently longest serving Slayer, and has killed more things than you’ve had hot breakfasts. Or cold ones, for that matter. She’s died, uh,” Xander quickly and silently counted, “three times, and been buried once. Moving on…”
Xander took him to a cute redhead, this time. “This is Willow, my best friend since Kindergarten. She’s also one of the most powerful Wiccans on the planet, and nearly succeeded in destroying the world while in the depths of grief. She has performed the re-ensouling spell at least twice, the Joining spell we used to defeat ADAM, and the Empowerment spell to call all the Slayers. What she did to the man who killed Tara you don’t want to know. She and Tara looked after Dawn while Buffy was dead the second time. Oh, and she did the resurrection spell to bring Buffy back, and got pissed at Osiris – yes, the Osiris – when he wouldn’t let her bring Tara back.”
This time, it was a sharp-faced blond and an imposing brunet that Xander led him to. “Spike and Angel, also known respectively as the Slayer of Slayers and the Scourge of Europe, or, along with Darla and Drusilla, as The Whirlwind. They’re vampires, and have a combined three hundred ninety years’ experience killing things. Just because they have souls doesn’t mean they’ll hold back,” he added, “just that they’ll feel real sorry about it afterwards. Oh, and they’re really good with the torture.”
The next poster was of a sultry brunette slouching in her chair. “This is Faith,” Xander nodded. “She’s a Slayer like Buffy, with a few less years and a few less deaths. She’s been bad, and has come back from it. She probably won’t kill you, but she will, uh, make her displeasure known,” Xander smirked.
The final poster was of an older man, sitting back with a faint smile, and glasses hanging from his fingers. “And this is Giles,” Xander smiled softly. “He’s the closest thing Dawn has to a father, since her own pretty much abandoned her and Buffy even before their mom died. He was nicknamed ‘Ripper’ in his early twenties when he decided getting pissed and raising demons was a constructive alternative to college. That’s, uh, British pissed, by the way,” Xander added helpfully, “you know, drunk. Anyway… He’s been Buffy’s Watcher for a long time, even though she hasn’t really needed one for a long time, and while he may not have a kill-count like a Slayer like Buffy or Faith, he’s not someone to be sneezed at. He’s very smart, and very scary when one of his children is hurt.”
Gibbs looked around at the various people shown: a good looking, generally harmless looking group of people, even if they were being shown off by a man wielding a lethal looking axe.
Xander waited for Gibbs to turn back to him. “And then there’s me.” He let that statement rest for a moment, then went on. “I’m just an ordinary guy, when all’s said and done. I’m not a witch or a Slayer – wrong gender for that one – I’m not a vampire, and I don’t have the years of experience that Giles has. I was a construction worker before Sunnydale fell into the ground. Of course, Caleb put paid to that when he poked my eye out,” Xander frowned. At Gibbs’ surprised expression, he added, “Willow magicked me a new one. Point is, I’m the weakest, most normal person out of this group. Even Dawn can perform more magic than I can, even if I can beat her nine times out of ten in a fair fight.
“So, all that said, I’ll tell you this,” Xander declared, looking grim. “Dawn is my sister. We may not be blood, but everyone - yes, even the vampires – in this room is family, and Dawn is my baby sister. You hurt her in any way, and you’d better pray one of the others gets there first. See, they won’t actually hurt you. They may yell at you, Willow may curse you and make all your hair fall out, or make it so that you never have coffee again, but I’ll hurt you. By the time I’m done, Abby will be doing DNA tests to make sure it’s you.” He paused, and blinked reflectively. “Actually, Giles would do that too, so if you’re going to break Dawn’s heart, make sure to do it while neither Giles nor I are in the country. The others can deal with you and keep us away until we’re not actually wanting to kill you anymore. Well, as much, anyway.”
Gibbs looked at the younger man, taking in all he’d said. He was, it appeared, a man after Gibbs’ own heart, when it came down to it. He nodded his understanding, then looked at the axe. “So why the prop?”
“No prop,” Xander grinned, “it’s my favourite axe. You hurt Dawnie, and,” the axe blurred until it hovered a fraction of an inch from Gibbs’ neck, and Xander’s grin thinned, “it may well be the last thing you see. But I’m pretty sure you understand, don’t you?”
Gibbs stared into brown eyes, and nodded. He smiled. He understood perfectly.